1. Terrel Owens - On a team that sees lots of bad weather and it's TO so he could get himself benched anytime.
2. Wes Welker - has some really good games and some really bad ones
3.Anthony Gonzalez - Decent upside with Peyton and indoor stadium
4. Brandon Marshal - Has all sorts of problems and lost Jay Cutler
5. Roy Williams - unproven for Dallas not even sure if he is capable of being a #1.
6. Vincent Jackson - again another up and down every week. No consistency.
7. Chad Johnson - who knows
8. TJ Housh - on a declining Seattle team
9. Eddie Royal - No Cutler and with Marshal in trouble he could be the number one getting double covered
The list only gets worse from there. Nearly all of these guys will have you playing matchups week to week and getting stuck on roughly half those weeks with players that fail to perform. .
The list of RB's available in round 3
1. Marion Barber - Should bounce back will always be getting 15+ carries
2. Clinton Portis - 15+ carries goal line
3. Brian Westbrook 15+ carries goal line
4. Ryan Grant 15+ carries
5. Kevin Smith 15+ carries goal line
6. Pierre Thomas 15+ carries goal line
7. Lendale White 15 carries goal line
8. Joseph Addia 15+ carries
9. Larry Johnson 15 + carries goal line
Two problems with your analysis here. In the average 12 team non-PPR league I have a hard time seeing one if not all of Barber, Portis, Westbrook, and possibly even Pierre Thomas being available in round 3. A lot of these guys won't make it into the third round at all and those who do make it could just as easily get taken with the 1st or 2nd pick of that round like you mentioned Anquan Boldin was being taken.
Narrow the list down to:
And I'm not necessarily buying any of those guys in the 3rd round of my draft outside of Ryan Grant. Grant may go early in round 3 as well, similar to where I expect Pierre Thomas to go in the majority of drafts as we get closer to the season. Instead of forcing myself to choose one of those guys in the third, I will keep my options flexible and take who is left in the 4th or 5th. Include Parker, Moreno, Wells, Ray Rice, etc. on that list and we are talking. There are plenty more options available than what you have listed and they will be around even later than the 3rd.
Second point, I think you are being overgenerous with the RBs available in the average 3rd round, you are at the same time underestimating the average WRs available. The traditional first round is maybe 10 RBs and 2 non RBs. The traditional second round is maybe 5 RBs and the rest WRs and QBs. The third round mirrors the 2nd round with potentially even less RBs being taken.
Break it down:
1st round: RB10, WR2
2nd round: RB15, WR7, QB2
3rd round: RB19, WR14, QB3
Assuming that your top 9 are the consensus top9 WRs being taken, on average I would estimate that 2 of them are lasting into the 3rd round. In reality it may go either way. People may draft more QBs early. A TE could go off the board. Different WRs are being taken. More RBs are taken. More Wrs are taken. There is no real way to anticipate how the draft will play out until the middle of the 2nd or end of the 2nd round. Chances are a RB/RB team with go WR third, a WR/WR will go RB third, but any other team can go whatever direction they want. With all that said, I think that even in the worst case scenario when those RBs fall and those WRs all get taken, I think several of the players you listed hold value.
-TO has a good shot at 10 TDs yet again and has traditionally been a big value at that point in the draft. Buffalo is said to be working almost exclusively out of the no-huddle offense in training camp and I think the coaches there have come to the decision to let Edwards take the reigns in that offense. Both of their RBs can catch passes and I think with an attacking philsophy (similar to what Tony Romo has run the past couple years) TO should be a money pick well worth a third. The guy is getting dinged because he is old (hasn't shown his age IMO) and his new situation (look at his first years on other clubs). TO is not necessarily my target here, but I think the guy is a very solid pick.
Roy Williams is the popular black sheep, but I see him putting up Dwayne Bowe like numbers (2008) on the level of targets he should receive. Roy Williams has always been a talented guy, he has just been injured and in a bad system a lot of years. I'm really starting to come around on him in the 4th round where he generally goes so that tells me that I think he has a 3rd round value. Talented guy in an unknown situation = breakout potential. Its too easy to call this guy a bust and observe that TO is a better player, but TO had 15 TD potential in Dallas every single year he was there. Roy Williams could easily put up 10 or more if he stays healthy and gets the same level of targets in the redzone.
Chad Johnson is a steal anywhere past the 3rd round IMO. His expectations are similar to what they have been over the past 5 or 6 seasons IMO and he used to go in the 2nd round of those drafts. If you didn't take into account week to week varience, Ocho lived up to his ADP almost every year when looking at year end numbers. This guy should be a target at WR2 for every owner in the league, yet somehow I'm on of the few guys that has made it my priority to target this guy anytime after 4 rounds in every single league I've been in.
TJ Houshmanzadeh is similar to Owens in that he is a TD producer. Watch as Hasselbeck turns this guy into the next Plaxico Burress. If you've been reading the training camp rapid reports, you will known that Houshmanzadeh is catching multiple TD passes at every 11 on 11 redzone drill out there. Talented player in a new situation = potential breakout player.
Eddie Royal is the best young WR in the NFL. How can people underrate a player that had 90 receptions as a rookie, is the one true star at Broncos training camp, with Marshall gimpy coming off surgery and an additional injury and legal troubles, and playing on a team with the worst defense in the league, one of the best schedules, and in a freaking spread offense, base 3 WR philosophy, that should pass 600 times this season, AND is run by a short armed QB who was hand picked to get the ball in Royals hands is beyond me. Eddie Royal should lead the NFL in receptions this year. And unlike Wes Welker, he has the potential to be the #1 WR on his offense with those catches. I like other players ahead of the guy, but he should carry a 3rd round price tag as well.
The only elite WR theory I can get on top of is Randy Moss as a 1st round pick this year. Larry Fitzgerald hasn't shown true blow up potential and he has the old QB and curses working against him. Andre Johnson doesn't score enough. Calvin Johnson has way too much going on in his situation that even with that kind of talent he carries a lot of risk. I think you can get similar production to all of these guys with a Steve Smith, Colston, Boldin etc. later into the 2nd and 3rd rounds therefore eliminating any type of benefit from taking that second WR that early. Once you make that second WR pick you lose a whole lot of flexibility if a RB run does occur. If you want to gain a potentially "real" advantage, why not draft a Tom Brady instead? If the RBs get tapped early, take another WR and then load up on the discards at RB in rounds 4-8. If you draft a Moreno, Parker, Benson, Julius Jones, Willis Mcgahee combo, something might stick.
If I can land Moss/Brady from a middle pick out of the first two rounds, I feel I can turn that team into a dominant force with the RBs I will be selecting in the next 4 or 5 rounds. I don't feel the same way except maybe Moss/Calvin and that only works if Calvin elevates himself to yet another level in 2009.