By Jonathan Robertson
Is it imperative to take a wide receiver in the first or 2nd round? Maybe. However, let’s look at the production in 2016 and compare our WRs with an ADP in the 3rd or 4th round as opposed to the 1st or 2nd.
The difference between the APS in the 1st round and the 4th round was 66.32.
Now, let’s evaluate 1st round running backs to 4th round RBs excluding rookies and those who have no statistical data in 2016.
*For the sake of statistics, we will extrapolate Ezekiel Elliot's data over 10 games to create a scenario relevant to his drafting position. His points for 10 games would equal 203.37.
*Fournette and McCaffrey were excluded from the 2nd round due to their lack of statistical data.
The difference between the APS in the 1st round and the 4th for RBs was 119.54.
Now, let’s look at the comparison between the WRs and the RBs through the first four rounds.
As you can see from the graph above, if you draft a WR in the first round, the average score is 17.12 points less than if you drafted a RB.
Now, let’s say you draft a WR in both the 1st and 2nd rounds and neglect to draft a RB in those rounds. You have netted +7.27 points as opposed to if you went RB/RB.
However, If that is the case, you are most likely now hoping to draft a RB in the 3rd round. On average, if you wait to draft a RB in the 3rd round, you are netting -6.99 points.
This is an issue, but -6.99 points isn’t horrible. However, you only have 1 RB and need to grab another because as the curve shows value is dropping quickly.
If you draft a RB in the 4th round and your league opponents draft a WR, you are not just -6.99 points overall, you are now on average netting -43.09 points through the first four rounds.
Let’s look at the antithesis of this scenario. If you draft a RB in the first 2 rounds and a WR in the 3rd and 4th, you would net +9 points as opposed to drafting a WR in rounds 1 and 2 and RB in 3 and 4.
We can put all this information into a graph for better viewing and comparison:
As you can see the most efficient way to draft is not RB/RB or WR/WR, in fact it is to draft in an alternating manner (RB/WR/RB/WR) through the first four rounds.
These numbers are based on averages, so this can obviously change depending on what spot you are drafting. However, it serves as an “umbrella policy” when drafting through the first four rounds.
One fact that stands is that when taking a WR in the first round, you are on average losing in overall points through the first four rounds.
Do yourself a favor and draft a RB in the first round.
*** This information can change if taking a TE in the 3rd or 4th.
Good luck drafting!