Draft Strategy: Does Math Still Support Taking WRs Early?
Draft Strategy: Does Math Still Support Taking WRs Early?

This article is part of our Fantasy Football Draft Strategy series.

In my last strategy column I looked at how top running backs are being historically undervalued and wondered if that presented a buying opportunity for 2016. For someone who is usually all-in on taking wide receivers early, that was an unexpected twist. So I wanted to do some math to see if there really is value in taking running backs early.

Let's start with my basic drafting premise of the last few years: Taking wide receivers in the first few rounds is the best strategy. Here are the main reasons why:

  • WRs get hurt less frequently than RB, QB or TE.
  • It's easier to manage your roster by leaving top wide receivers in your lineup rather than mixing and matching lesser receivers and leaving good performances on your bench.
  • It's harder to pick up wide receivers than running backs on the waiver wire. Few wide receivers emerge out of nowhere. Running backs are literally signed off the street and put into a starting lineup.
  • Taking running backs in quantity rather than quality in middle to late rounds can pay off because backups become starters or those in time shares can still be used in starting lineups.
Since 2006, just three of 40 wide receivers taken in the overall top 15 of average draft position have ended up as busts (a bust being defined as a player who would not finish in the top 30 of wide receivers or top 24 of running backs. Essentially someone not worthy of a starting
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Schoenke
Peter Schoenke is the president and co-founder of RotoWire.com. He's been elected to the hall of fame for both the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and Fantasy Sports Writers Association and also won the Best Fantasy Baseball Article on the Internet in 2005 from the FSWA. He roots for for the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and T-Wolves.
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