by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Fantasy owners always look for the shiny new toy. That’s why we target rookies, looking to them to provide value while the rest of your league ignores them. Is it a prudent move, however? Obviously there’s going to be drafting value in rookies, as long as you don’t reach to acquire them. When we look at 1st round wide receivers, like Tayvon Austin, chances are where you need to draft them will make the cost prohibitive however.
Looking at the list of wide receivers drafted in the first round since 2005 is like looking at a who’s who of wide receivers. Included in the list are Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Percy Harvin, A.J. Green, Julio Jones and more. In total there have been 28 receivers drafted in the first round over this span and they’ve produced the following numbers in their respective rookie seasons:
- 700+ – 10 (35.71%)
- 800+ – 5 (17.86%)
- 900+ – 3 (10.71%)
- 1,000+ – 1 (3.57%)
The only receiver who exceeded 1,000 yards in his rookie season was A.J. Green in 2011. In fact, more than half of the rookie wide receivers had 600 yards or fewer over this span.
- 50+ – 7 (25.00%)
- 60+ – 5 (17.86%)
- 70+ – 1 (3.57%)
The only receiver who had at least 70 receptions in his rookie season was Braylon Edwards in 2007, who had exactly 70. There were two first round receivers last season to eclipse the 60 reception mark (Justin Blackmon & Kendall Wright), which could be indicative of the changing NFL mindset. That said, this is a long enough sample size to know that we shouldn’t go into the season expecting big reception totals.
- 5+ – 8 (28.57%)
- 6+ – 5 (17.86%)
- 7+ – 2 (7.14%)
- 8+ – 1 (3.57%)
The only receiver to score at least 8 TD was Julio Jones in 2011, who had exactly 8.
So what does this mean? To put it in perspective, there were 21 receivers with at least 70 receptions, 19 with at least 1,000 yards and 16 with at least 8 TD in 2012. That’s not to say that this year’s class, which includes Tayvon Austin, DeAndre Hopkins and Cordarrelle Patterson cannot be productive. Just remember that the risk may outweigh the reward.
Don’t overreach because of the hype, because chances are the results won’t live up to the expectations.
What are your thoughts of drafting rookie wide receivers? Do you think anyone in this year’s class will have value? Why or why not?
Make sure to check out all of our 2013 preseason rankings: