They were simpler times. Rappers weren’t using auto-tune. There were no photo filters to make everyone look at least mildly attractive. And drafting a running back with your first pick made all the sense in the world.
These days, drafting a RB not named Adrian Peterson with your first pick is about as risky as not packing “protection” for your summer vacation at the Jersey Shore. Unlike a trip to the Jersey Shore, when you draft a wide receiver in Round 1, chances are you won’t look back with regret and embarrassment.
Last season, early round running backs were a complete disaster for most Fantasy owners. If you are reading this thinking, I drafted a RB in Round 1 last year and it worked just fine. Imagine your level of enthusiam for RBs had you drafted the likes of Eddie Lacy, C.J. Anderson, LeVeon Bell, Marshawn Lynch or Jamaal Charles. You’d be more than willing to break off your relationship with the early round RB and travel to the Shore for a fling with an early round wide receiver.
According to Fantasy Pros ADP data, there are currently seven non RBs being selected in Round 1 of Fantasy drafts. Todd Gurley, David Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Ezekiel Elliott and Lamar Miller (and LeVeon Bell for you non-risk averse types) all represent the high upside play that could help you make the Fantasy playoffs. Unfortunately, they also all belong to the group that has the best odds of being pictured in next season’s First Round Busts article. Buyer beware.
The So-Called Fantasy Experts Draft Kit is now available! Stay a step ahead of your competition by getting a breakdown of this season’s rookies, sleepers, busts, rankings and more. ADP data is courtesy of Fantasy Pros.
Drafting A Wide Receiver With Your First Pick
Wide Receivers Worthy of Drafting in Round 1
- Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (ADP 1)
- Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (ADP 2)
- Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (ADP 4)
- DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (ADP 8)
- Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (ADP 11)
- A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (ADP 12)
- Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP 15)
- Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (ADP 18)
- Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears (ADP 20)
- Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP 24)
Running Backs Worthy of Drafting in Round 1
- Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (ADP 3)
- Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (ADP 5)
- David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (ADP 6)
- Lamar Miller, Houston Texans (ADP 13)
Drafting a WR with Your First Pick: Now What?
In 12-team leagues, you can make a case for taking any of the above 14 players in Round 1 of Fantasy Football drafts. Let’s assume you snagged one of the above WRs to begin your draft. The inevitable panic of not having a RB sets in almost immediately and your initial reaction is to reach for who you think is the next best available back.
Instead, relax and take a deep breath. Take your favorite anti-anxiety medication and think about this objectively. The next best RB on the board might be someone who slipped and is worthy of your pick. Perhaps Devonta Freeman or Jamaal Charles is somehow available at the end of the second round. But if they’re not, going WR with back-to-back picks will suit you just fine.
To put you at ease with the possibility of going WR early, let’s look at some of the better RB values within the Top 10 rounds of Fantasy drafts thus far.
RB Values According to Fantasy Pros ADP
- Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (ADP 21)
- Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (ADP 23)
- LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (ADP 26)
- C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (ADP 34)
- DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans (ADP 45)
- Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (ADP 48)
- Dion Lewis, New England Patriots (ADP 56)
- Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (ADP 68)
- Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (ADP 76)
- Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions (ADP 77)
- Chris Ivory, Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP 78)
- Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (ADP 80)
- Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (ADP 85)
- T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP 90)
- Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (ADP 99)
- Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP 116)
- Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (ADP 119)
QB Values After Round 9
Does drafting a WR with your first pick impair your ability to draft a quality QB? The answer is no. Sure, if you’re not taking an elite RB at the top, you may need to use an extra pick or two throughout your draft to make sure you land someone solid, but there’s plenty of value remaining.
- Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (ADP 115)
- Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (ADP 123)
- Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP 131)
- Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (ADP 137)
- Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (ADP 148)
- Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (ADP 155)
- Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (ADP 165)
- Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans (ADP 185)
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