Early RB and WR Draft Results and Analysis

My die-hard fantasy football aficionados and I held our annual Suicide Draft recently for the 2016 season.

The idea for the league happened one off-season about 6 years ago. It was May and most of our fantasy drafts were an agonizingly long 3 months away in August. As much as our fantasy withdrawal hurt, not many wanted the added responsibility of maintaining another league.

So in order to satisfy our fantasy fix, we formed a low-maintenance standard scoring league with a twist: No drops — No adds — No trades
Basically, it is draft, set, go – then hope no one gets hurt or suspended.

As simple as it sounds, many owners have mentioned over the years that this league format does change the way they value players, and also alters their draft strategy.

The rosters: 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1K, 1D/ST, 5 bench (168 players total)

Rather than recap the entire draft, instead let’s look at just the RB and WR fantasy positions to see if there were any surprises, risks and gems. Draft results for each position are posted below to give you an idea where players were selected.

Running Backs
Overall Round Players Team Bye
1 1 Le’Veon Bell PIT 8
2 1 Ezekiel Elliot DAL 7
3 1 Adrian Peterson MIN 6
4 1 Todd Gurley LA 8
8 1 David Johnson ARI 9
12 1 Jamaal Charles KC 5
13 2 Doug Martin TB 6
14 2 Lamar Miller HOU 9
16 2 Eddie Lacy GB 4
20 2 LeSean McCoy BUF 10
21 2 Thomas Rawls SEA 5
23 2 Matt Forte NYJ 11
28 3 Devonta Freeman ATL 11
33 3 C.J. Anderson DEN 11
38 4 Mark Ingram NO 5
39 4 Carlos Hyde SF 8
42 4 Latavius Murray OAK 10
49 5 Dion Lewis NE 9
51 5 Jeremy Hill CIN 9
53 5 Matt Jones WSH 9
54 5 Jonathan Stewart CAR 7
55 5 Jay Ajayi MIA 8
56 5 DeMarco Murray TEN 13
63 6 Ryan Mathews PHI 4
66 6 Jeremy Langford CHI 9
67 6 T.J. Yeldon JAX 5
68 6 Danny Woodhead SD 11
70 6 Frank Gore IND 10
73 7 Chris Ivory JAX 5
84 7 Ameer Abdullah DET 10
89 8 Melvin Gordon SD 11
91 8 Giovani Bernard CIN 9
92 8 Karlos Williams BUF 10
94 8 Tevin Coleman ATL 11
95 8 Rashad Jennings NYG 8
97 9 DeAngelo Williams PIT 8
101 9 Duke Johnson CLE 13
104 9 Derrick Henry TEN 13
105 9 Jordan Howard CHI 9
106 9 Isaiah Crowell CLE 13
110 10 LeGarrette Blount NE 9
112 10 Devontae Booker DEN 11
122 11 Justin Forsett BAL 8
131 11 Kenneth Dixon BAL 8
139 12 Charles Sims TB 6
154 13 Bilal Powell NYJ 11

One player that may jump out immediately is Ezekiel Elliot being drafted #2 overall – which seems too early, but as one owner, Treff, reasoned on the strategy:

“I think you have to consider Zeke Elliot at #2 overall a reach. I can’t fault the owner for taking him, because if he’s a guy that you want, and you’re not in the lower end of the draft, that’s where you have to take him.”

Another player that got a lot of attention in round one was Arizona’s David Johnson at #8. I feel Johnson’s situation is a bit risky with both Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson possibly sharing attention (All 3 averaged over 5 yards per-carry), but I know that I’m in the minority since several other owners applauded the selection. Owner “Lefty” commented:

“Johnson was an absolute beast down the stretch last year when given the chance. He has 3-down back potential and proved he could do so. In the Arizona high powered offense, I like his chances to excel.”

Devonta Freeman is going much higher on some boards. Here he slipped to round 3 at #28. Could be a good value selection. But not everyone is sold on Freeman this season. Owner TKO warned:

“Freeman is lucky that Coleman was injured. I see a 50/50 split this year and I would bet Coleman is the goal line back. Freeman owners will be cursing themselves for paying for seven ridiculous games.”

Even C.J. Anderson as the #33 pick raised some contention since the drafting of rookie Devontae Booker, but owner Chef sternly pointed out:

“The Broncos just paid CJ to be their bellcow for at least this year. In my opinion, that is not in dispute. Hillman is the short term wild card and Booker is the aim for the future.”

The next debate came in round 6 with the selection of second year back T.J. Yeldon (#67 overall) as the RB26. Some owners such as Fuzzies sees the addition of Chris Ivory “as the lead back in front of Yeldon.

“Ivory is a bruiser and should at least keep early down and goal line work.”

Ivory was selected 6 picks later as the RB29 in round 7. I have trouble with this optimistic view of Ivory, especially since New York replaced Ivory with an older and smaller Matt Forte. Meanwhile Yeldon maintained a 4.1 ypc and averaged 84.9 all-purpose yards each game. Admittedly he did tire down the stretch which leads me to believe that Ivory is there for quality depth to spell him. Nothing more.

It remained pretty quiet until round 9 where both Cleveland backs were drafted. Duke Johnson came off the board with pick #101 (RB37) and Isaiah Crowell went #105 (RB40). Head coach Hue Jackson has gotten some fantasy praise since he made both Cincinnati backs (Hill and Bernard) relevant with his offensive scheme. Fantasy owners see some upside in both Duke and Isaiah in the mid-late rounds.

Wide Receivers
Overall Round Players Team Bye
5 1 Odell Beckham NYG 8
6 1 Antonio Brown PIT 8
7 1 Julio Jones ATL 11
9 1 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 9
11 1 Dez Bryant DAL 7
15 2 Allen Robinson JAX 5
17 2 Jordy Nelson GB 4
18 2 A.J. Green CIN 9
19 2 Alshon Jeffery CHI 9
22 2 Sammy Watkins BUF 10
24 2 Demaryius Thomas DEN 11
25 3 Brandin Cooks NO 5
26 3 T.Y. Hilton IND 10
27 3 Mike Evans TB 6
29 3 Brandon Marshall NYJ 11
30 3 Keenan Allen SD 11
31 3 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 7
32 3 Amari Cooper OAK 10
35 3 Randall Cobb GB 4
36 3 Jeremy Maclin KC 5
37 4 Doug Baldwin SEA 5
44 4 Golden Tate DET 10
46 4 John Brown ARI 9
47 4 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 11
52 5 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 9
57 5 Donte Moncrief IND 10
58 5 Julian Edelman NE 9
59 5 Eric Decker NYJ 11
60 5 Michael Crabtree OAK 10
62 6 Kevin White CHI 9
65 6 Jarvis Landry MIA 8
71 6 Michael Floyd ARI 9
72 6 Tyler Lockett SEA 5
74 7 Allen Hurns JAX 5
77 7 Dorial Green-Beckham TEN 13
79 7 Jordan Matthews PHI 4
80 7 Marvin Jones DET 10
81 7 DeVante Parker MIA 8
82 7 Corey Coleman CLE 13
85 8 Brandon LaFell CIN 9
93 8 Steve Smith BAL 8
100 9 Josh Gordon CLE 13
102 9 Stefon Diggs MIN 6
111 10 Markus Wheaton PIT 8
117 10 Tavon Austin LA 8
118 10 DeSean Jackson WSH 9
120 10 Travis Benjamin SD 11
124 11 Laquon Treadwell MIN 6
129 11 Nelson Agholor PHI 4
130 11 Sterling Shepard NYG 8
133 12 Vincent Jackson TB 6
141 12 Phillip Dorsett IND 10
144 12 Terrance Williams DAL 7
146 13 Chris Hogan NE 9
150 13 Torrey Smith SF 8
155 13 Mohamed Sanu ATL 11
157 14 Sammie Coates PIT 8
160 14 Kendall Wright TEN 13
161 14 Willie Snead NO 5
165 14 Will Fuller HOU 9

Right from the get-go Odell Beckham was selected before consensus #1 Antonio Brown. Not too many owners were phased by ODB’s selection. Perhaps a lack of reliable RB strengthens Beckham’s value? By the same token, perhaps LeVeon Bell returning to Pittsburgh backfield takes some focus away from Brown?

Brandon Marshall was selected at #29 as the WR15. This could be a steal, but with the QB situation still murky for the Jets at the time of this writing, it could be a risk. But as owner Monkey suggested:

“He should be productive “regardless of who’s throwing him the rock. Plus, it’s not like Marshall has ever had elite talent at QB. Hasn’t stopped him from posting numbers so far.”

Kelvin Benjamin selected #31 (WR17) seemed to aggravate a number of owners who were hoping that he would fall to them. If you covet Benjamin too, you may want to note his mid-third round selection.

After Benjamin’s selection the banter quieted down regarding the wide receivers. But notice that only four WR were selected in round four; five were selected in round five, then four more in round six. That’s 13 wide receivers selections over the next 37 picks. As deep as the WR position seems to be, many wide receivers in this grouping could be trouble. Well, perhaps not the WR themselves, but their situation.

Yes, Josh Gordon was drafted at #100 (WR42). While Gordon’s latest reinstatement request has been denied this past April, he does have another shot for reinstatement this August. In this Suicide format, drafting Gordon is an extreme risk. Or as owner and Fantasy Assembly writer Tommy Landseadel summarized:

“The owner drafting Gordon could have had him in round 14 and it would have been a reach there too.”

One receiver that was a bit of wild card of opinion was DeSean Jackson at #118 (WR46). Several owners labeled him as a boom or bust player. He came back in the second half of 2015 and averaged 8 points per week, but it was a roller-coaster of (standard) scoring 1, 4, 14, 12, 12, 4, 21, 4, 0.

By the later rounds, owners may already have their starters in place and begin the process of swinging for the fences on other players. Three players that I like at the tail end of this grouping are:

  • Torrey Smith #150 (WR55). He’s the starting WR for the latest version of the Chip Kelly offense now on display in the Bay area. An offense that averaged a rank of 6.3 in yardage and 6.6 in scoring over 3 years in Philly.
  • Mohamed Sanu #155 (WR56). Takes the place of Roddy White in Atlanta. Despite low production, Roddy was on the field 82% of the time and saw 70 targets.
  • Willie Snead #161 (WR59). Had nearly 1,000 yards while competing with Marques Colston for targets. With Colston gone, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark seems very much in reach.


Fantasy Rundown BannerJust because football is over doesn’t mean there isn’t any fantasy news. Fantasy Rundown has you covered throughout the off-season.

Joe Mica

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Joe has been passionate about fantasy football since 2001. He has experience as an owner as well as a commissioner in H2H, auction, redraft and IDP leagues. He has written fantasy football columns since 2010. Submit any fantasy football questions you may have to me on twitter @JoeFMica

5 thoughts on “Early RB and WR Draft Results and Analysis”

  1. Nice work Joe – – as always. Suicide is a blast and a great way to gauge values (in opponents eyes) to start the season. A great start to the season !!!!

  2. Well put together. Way to represent, Joe! Love the opening… to which I may add, our “egos” (and I mention that lightly, as I’ve never met a more respectful group) came to the forefront, with each of us wanting to be the “fantasy whispered” so to speak.

  3. Great stuff and a great idea I’ll try to sell the suicide idea up in Canada
    Really love the articles
    Hey can I join this league

  4. Good job Joe. The guys in this league with you sound like geniuses to me. A collection of such astute knowledge about fantasy football is rare. Hold on to these guys!!

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