A Very Early Look at Wide Receiver ADP
We’re going to continue our early look at football ADP here with the wide receivers today, but before we do, there just seems to be a need for some clarification. The current ADP numbers we are looking at are going to change. Based on historical ADP-watches, we know they’re going to change. Between injuries and job battles and the fact that, hey, it’s only June right now, that HAVE to change. All we are looking for right now is a base from which to start from as we begin to head into draft season. We will be taking a look at the trends that will develop the more people draft and the closer we get to Week 1 of the NFL season, but for now, we need a starting point and the best place to begin is to see how we are looking now in comparison to last year’s draft data.
So let’s take a look at the current ADP numbers for the top 20 wide receivers and see just where they are starting to come off the board in comparison to last year.
|1||Calvin Johnson||DET||5.00||Calvin Johnson||DET||7.96||2.96|
|2||Dez Bryant||DAL||14.00||A.J. Green||CIN||20.73||6.73|
|3||Brandon Marshall||CHI||15.00||Larry Fitzgerald||ARI||21.26||6.26|
|4||A.J. Green||CIN||16.00||Victor Cruz||NYG||25.19||9.19|
|5||Julio Jones||ATL||18.00||Greg Jennings||GB||32.61||14.61|
|6||Larry Fitzgerald||ARI||20.00||Andre Johnson||HOU||32.80||12.80|
|7||Andre Johnson||HOU||22.00||Brandon Marshall||CHI||34.39||12.39|
|8||Vincent Jackson||TB||29.00||Julio Jones||ATL||38.95||9.95|
|9||Demaryius Thomas||DEN||30.00||Hakeem Nicks||NYG||41.18||11.18|
|10||Roddy White||ATL||33.00||Percy Harvin||MIN||43.13||10.13|
|11||Michael Crabtree||SF||34.00||Miles Austin||DAL||44.32||10.32|
|12||Dwayne Bowe||KC||42.00||Roddy White||ATL||46.44||4.44|
|13||Victor Cruz||NYG||43.00||Wes Welker||NE||48.01||5.01|
|14||Hakeem Nicks||NYG||44.00||Marques Colston||NO||49.49||5.49|
|15||Randall Cobb||GB||47.00||Dez Bryant||DAL||53.02||6.02|
|16||Jordy Nelson||GB||48.00||Mike Wallace||PIT||53.51||5.51|
|17||Mike Wallace||MIA||50.00||Vincent Jackson||TB||57.17||7.17|
|18||Eric Decker||DEN||52.00||Jordy Nelson||GB||57.67||5.67|
|19||Danny Amendola||NE||54.00||Steve Smith||CAR||57.95||3.95|
|20||Percy Harvin||SEA||55.00||Dwayne Bowe||KC||58.32||3.32|
After the opening trends we witnessed with both the quarterbacks and the running backs, the fact that we’re seeing receivers go as early as they are should come as no surprise. The general lack of depth at the running back position, the overall lack of faith in the running backs we have to choose from, as well as the steady increase in number of passing plays from most teams has seemingly pushed the trend away from the “running back-first” mentality. The first round might remain running back-dominant through the first six to eight picks, but once that small upper tier of backs is gone, people are turning to the receivers and the quarterbacks a whole lot more.
The “Difference” column says it all. In the early reports, every single wide receiver in the top 20 is going earlier than they did last year. Again, we’re not as concerned with the names right now as we are with just the fact that any wide receiver in the top 20, whether it’s number 3 or number 19, is going earlier than his counterpart did last season. Most notable is between the number four receiver and number 11 – not the super-elite, but still high-end, close to top-tier – where they are going , on average, almost a full round earlier than last season depending on how many teams you have in your league. We used to see a heavy number of receivers come off the board in rounds three and four and now it appears that you may have to look for them in round two.
Keep in mind, the table above is also just for NFL Standard scoring. We haven’t even gotten into PPR leagues where high-end receivers go even earlier. It’s difficult to imagine someone taking Calvin Johnson ahead of one of the top five running backs, but in a PPR format, there is a definite argument in favor of it that has many people second-guessing their early picks.
The receiver who should stand out to you immediately is Michael Crabtree. If he doesn’t then you haven’t been keeping up with the news, have you? A ruptured Achilles tendon puts him on the shelf until at least December, is he even returns this season at all. He’ll obviously be dropping very quickly once more drafts take place.
The numbers that Dez Bryant put up last year were outstanding. They’re actually even more impressive if you realize that he put up most of those totals after Week 10. But with the criticism he’s received over his first two years and an apparent decline in Tony Romo’s overall game, is he really worthy of being the number two receiver off the board? I was always more impressed with Brandon Marshall’s totals. He faded a little over the last three weeks which is obviously a crucial time for fantasy owners, but not only did he post seven 100-plus yard performances, but he did it with the league’s highest target percentage because the Bears really had no other legitimate options. Not to mention the fact t hat he had a tomato can like Jay Cutler throwing him the ball.
The Giants tandem of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks remains a major option for fantasy owners, but the obvious health concern are something to think about. Well, not the health of Cruz so much as with Nicks, but Cruz’ numbers always suffer when Nicks is out of the lineup as defenders are keying in on him much more. Should Nicks remain healthy, this could be a very productive pair which would also elevate the status of Eli Manning who has dropped in the QB rankings.
How much will the change in quarterback affect some of these receivers? Mike Wallace now has Ryan Tannehill throwing him the ball in Miami, Danny Amendola gets Tom Brady’s veteran attention, and Larry Fitzgerald goes from the Kevin Kolb nightmare to Carson Palmer. The arm of Palmer can still be potent, but of those three, Amendola, who replaces Wes Welker, should be huge in PPR leagues. He also broke a number of long touchdowns in St. Louis, something we didn’t see Welker do too much last year, so that adds another element to that offense. Dwayne Bowe and Percy Harvin also get new quarterbacks this year. Harvin should thrive in Seattle opposite Sidney Rice and Bowe….well, Bowe has had such disastrous QB situations over the last few seasons that something tells me he’ll still manage to do well with Alex Smith at the helm.
For me, Randall Cobb seems like someone to watch this year but not because I believe in a repeat performance. True, Greg Jennings is now with Minnesota, but he [Jennings] was hurt last year anyway. As was Jordy Nelson. Cobb stepped up in a big way and became Aaron Rodger’s most reliable possession receiver, but with a healthy Nelson and James Jones out there, will Cobb see enough targets and catches to keep him in the top 20?
There will be plenty more to look at as we head closer and closer to draft season so stay tuned. And keep your eye on my Twitter feed as the Mock Draft Army is gearing up for a big summer this year!
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.