So, every year when I put together my draft board I intentionally don't look at any projections until after I have a preliminary cheat sheet -- the idea being I can see who I'm over/undervaluing and try to figure out why.
This year, among WRs, my early rankings -- again, with much tweaking obviously left to do -- have Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco above guys like Dwayne Bowe, Roddy White, Marques Colston and Anquan Boldin. In short, guys that it doesn't appear anyone else is putting behind those first two divas.
Since that's the communal view, I'm wondering if you'll all help convince me. I mean, I'm looking at Owens putting up 1000 yards and 9+ TDs in 8 of the last 9 years and Ochocinco with 1274+ in 5 of the last 6 years and thinking that aging or not, these guys will still get solid numbers (especially since Ocho's injuries had more to do with his dropoff last year than much of an apparent decline in skills). Why am I wrong?
No issues with Owens being there... an argument can certainly be made for him. Issues to consider when evaluating Owens... new team, new, young QB, playing in Buffalo, age.
The issue with Chad is this... even when he was one of the top 10 WR's his production was very erratic, even for Wr's. I will use his last good year, 2007, as an example. In 17 games he put up 192 points in a non ppr league. 11 of those games were 10 points or less. HE can win you some games but he can lose you more.
Chad should be targeted as a good WR2 or a great WR3 this year. You do not need to reach for him ahead of guys like White, Boldin or anyone else you mentioned. They should all be chosen ahead of Chad. I personally have him as WR22 but can see arguments for anywhere from WR15 to WR24.
Well, first of all, big problem with TO this year is the significant downturn in situation. Not only is he NOT on as pass heavy a team as he was on in Dallas, but his QB situation is worse and he's yet again another year older having to adapt to a new offense with a new guy throwing him the ball. That age factor comes into it with everyone eventually and no one wants to be the guy who has TO when he finally breaks down.
The problem I have with Chad OchoCinco is just his pure inconsistency. Now that might seem weird you since you just pointed out how his numbers from year to year have generally been good, but if you look closer you'll see that he's very wildly inconsistent from week to week and he generally gets a large amount of his production within just a few weeks each season. So he's laying eggs for 75% of the season and producing big for 25%...that's not something I want on my fantasy team personally.
Just take a look at this:
2007: Season: 93 receptions, 1440 yards, 8 TDs Weeks 2, 3, 12, and 17: 36 receptions, 580 yards, 7 TDs Rest of the Season: 57 receptions, 860 yards, 1 TD (4.7 receptions, 71.6 yards, and .08 TDs per game)
2006: Season: 87 receptions, 1370 yards, 7 TDs Weeks 2, 8, 10, and 11: 29 receptions, 606 yards, 7 TDs Rest of the Season: 58 receptions, 764 yards, 0 TDs (4.8 receptions, 63.6 yards, and 0 TDs per game)
2005: Season: 95 receptions, 1432 yards, 9 TDs Weeks 2, 3, 6, and 11: 26 receptions, 540 yards, 5 TDs Rest of the Season: 69 receptions, 892 yards, 4 TDs (5.7 receptions, 74.3 yards, and .3 TDs per game)
So in those 3 seasons he had 33% of his receptions, 40.7% of his yards, and 79.2% of his TDs within just 25% of the season. That equals out to about 50% of his total fantasy output for the whole season coming in 4 games each year. It's even worse if you look at just 06 and 07 as in those years he scored just 1 TD total in 2 seasons outside of those 4 big outbursts per year. That right there is the definition of inconsistency.
Now then...onto how I would have these guys ranked:
1. Roddy White - This guy just keeps getting better...he's young, on a up and coming team, has a great young QB throwing him the ball with whom he has already developed great chemistry. The Falcons will likely only pass more this season which means that even with the entrance of Tony Gonzalez, he will potentially get as many or more opportunities as he did last season. He'll get the benefit that Dwayne Bowe had last season of a great TE like Gonzo opening up the field for him as teams can't focus as much on him anymore. He's a guy who's being drafted outside of the top 5 of WRs but who definitely has top 5 potential at the season's end.
2. Anquan Boldin - For some reason he seems to always be undervalued but he's a great WR and when he's healthy playing alongside Fitz he's actually just as good if not better from a fantasy standpoint than Fitz is. Last season he #1 in average fantasy points per game for WRs. He averaged more targets (10.5 to 9.6), more receptions (7.4 to 6), and more TDs (.9 to .75) per game than Fitz did last season. The only stat Fitz would have beat him on in a full 16 games is yardage and he only averaged 3 yards per game more than Boldin did. So if you're looking at a WR who can put up numbers comparable to Fitz without having to pay as much...wouldn't you say that he has more value than someone like TO or OchoCinco? I sure do.
Big Drop Tier 2
3. Marques Colston - The guy does produce very well when healthy and it's because he's got so much potential being the #1 target on the most pass heavy offense in the NFL that ends up with him being ranked higher. I have him ranked lower than most I think but still above the others (although things get more jumbled and closer here). He gets targeted an enormous amount of times by Brees (87 times in just 7 starts last season) and he's a great redzone threat with 24 TDs in his first 3 seasons despite missing 7 games and parts of many others. His potential leaves him higher than the other just because his ceiling is so much higher.
4. Terrell Owens - I'm not a big TO fan...I don't think that he'll be considered a WR1 in Buffalo by the season's end and I think he's nearing the end of his career. Trent Edwards is not as good as Tony Romo and Buffalo is (and will continue to be) a run focused team. I think TO could very well be a very good WR2 and a mediocre WR1 but I don't think I'd draft him as a WR1 and so he'll probably not end up being on any of my teams this year.
5. Dwayne Bowe - This is more a statement on Matt Cassel than Bowe. I don't think Cassel is really that good, I think he benefited largely from having exceptional WRs in Moss and Welker while in New England and a large majority of his big plays passing came from short passes that were made into big plays by his WRs. His downfield accuracy is weak and considering that there is no Tony Gonzalez now to take pressure off of Bowe as a target, teams will be keying in big time on him and he'll struggle to produce like he did this past season.
6. Chad OchoCinco - For all the reasons above and a few more I put him down here. First off, I don't think Carson Palmer has ever been the same QB since he went down with that knee injury and I don't know that he ever will be again. Chad had trouble getting free and putting up numbers on a consistent basis even with TJ Houshmandzadeh there taking pressure off of him and now without that possession WR to help him out, he's going to be focused on even more than he was before. I could see him breaking 1000 yards again, and probably score a handful of TDs but past that, I don't see it and that's not enough to be anything better than a solid WR2.
1) Colston i think he comes back in a big way. he had to rejoin the team midseason when they were moved on with lance moore and co. if he stays healthy, he's top5 talent.
2) Boldin like colston, produces in almost every game he plays healthy. he should play more games than he did last season, and his numbers should go up accordingly.
3) White immense talent, but i see the addition of tony G as a liability more than an asset. gonzalez is going to command 60-80 targets next year, and those have to come from somewhere, especially on a run-oriented team. i see white's 09 season being very similar to his 08. also, gonzalez is going to get red zone looks that white sorely needs to get his TD totals up.
4) Bowe loss of gonzalez hurts, but he's going to see so many balls thrown his way that he'll have to produce. i wouldnt be surprised to see him in the top 3-4 targeted receivers next year. KC is going to be playing from behind, and they don't have anyone else to throw to.
5) Ocho 85 is a perfect low WR2/ high WR3. while mattb is right in his incosistency, its also sort of a blessing. the weeks he lights it up, you are almost guaranteed to win. that's 4-5 games in traditionally a 13-14 game season where you'll get 20-30 points out of nowhere. you don't want to rely on him, but if you can get him cheap (which you can this year) he makes for a fantastic upside pick.
6) TO he turns 36 this year, which is sort of the WR equivalent of an RB turning 30. typically, this is when big declines start to happen. he's playing half his games in an outdoor stadium that has wretched weather. he's taken a downgrade at QB. he has less talent around him to soften up coverage, and the offense is built around the run. i wouldnt be surprised to see him <1000 yards and <8 TDs. for where he's being drafted, no thanks.
I have T.O. and Ocho Cino ranked belowe Bowe, Colston, White and Boldin.
T.O. looked like he was starting to slow down a little last year. He is now moving from a pass happy team to a more run orienated offense. His Qb is going to be T. Edwards, who is a downgrade from Romo. Also, he is going to be playing in the harsh winter conditions of Buffalo. I think T.O. is a low end #2 WR this year, there is no way I would want him as my #1.
I like Ocho Cinco more than T.O, but I still think that he is over hyped based on his antics. Chad has only scored 10 TD's once in his career. With the loss of Housh, I expect Chad to see even more double coverage this year. If I were you I would stay away from the diva's and draft the younger studs who have much higher ceilings.