Saturday - Feb 27, 2021

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Drafting the old vs new WR

It seems year after year a couple of young guns are picked well ahead of the old and reliable WR. Is it that upside and potential seriously outweighs the proven facts?

It dawned on me recently that each and every year, especially at Wide Receiver, a whole bunch of proven WR’s fall in each and every draft I am in. And they fall dramatically.

These names sound familiar? Rod Smith (old), Jimmy Smith (old), Chris Chambers (old), Keyshawn Johnson (old), Amani Toomer (old), Eric Moulds (old), even Jerry Rice (really old).

If you ask other people about why they drop or why they are still around, you hear a quote like this, “heck, pick one…they are all the same”.

In contrast each year a number of young guns move up the list and are taken much much earlier than their old counterparts. Guys this year like:  Ashley Lelie, Roy Williams, Anquan Boldin, and Larry Fitzgerald move way up the list.

Does it make sense? Maybe. Depends. When you talking about the 6th-9th rounds of you FFL draft, everyone is a bit of a crap shoot. So, the potential for Anquan Boldin to break out into a star receiver is probably much greater than a tremendous up-year from Jimmy Smith.

But, I think people discount Jimmy Smith greatly. The guy started all 16 games last year. And caught 75 passes for 1,144 yards. That puts him in the top 20 of receivers. Take a guy like Roy Williams. He had as much potential as anyone last year. He played in 14 games caught 54 receptions for 817 yards. Not even in the league of Jimmy Smith. Even Larry Fitzgerald didn’t prove his potential until Anquan Boldin went down (and don’t tell me you actually drafted Boldin either last year in rounds 7-9).

The problem with all of these middle round Wide Receivers are they are frustratingly inconsistent. You see 800, 900, 1000 yards from these guys in their yearly totals. But, each and every one of them probably fired up for a 140 yard 2 TD day last year at least once and also showed up on the stat sheet 1-12 yards the next week. It’s almost like those QB’s purposely move the ball around to another guy. It’s either that or the team the next week purposely tries to shut down their opposing teams #1 WR. Especially after coming off a spectacular week. You rarely see that kind of inconsistency from the top RBs or WRs.

So, the bottom line is you probably need a little old and a little new. Sure, going for the flyer is usually much more fun and has big potential for upside and crash and burn downside. But, the old fart is still worth something and likely will help you win your league. Wouldn’t you want Chris Chambers 900 yards last year from a 7th round pick? I certainly would.

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