Wayne is ranked between 15th and 18th overall on most cheat sheets. The
only receivers ahead of him are Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, and Larry Fitzgerald.
That ranking seems about right. He has proven himself to be a top-five
fantasy receiver the past two seasons, he is the favorite target of a very
talented quarterback, and he plays in a very potent, pass-oriented offense.
When it's your turn to pick in round two, don't get cute. Take Wayne.
I had a choice between Wayne and Greg Jennings in last year's draft in the
second round, I took Jennings, and I have not forgiven myself.
Clark is ranked between 39th and 45th overall and is generally regarded as
the top tight end in fantasy football. He could again be the league's most
productive player at his position and he certainly garnered a lot of
well-deserved attention in 2009.
Collie could be a very valuable late-round pick in your fantasy draft
AP Photo/Wade Payne
The issue is that, in my mind, there is
no reason to take a tight end in the third or fourth round. You only start
one and there are plenty of suitable substitutes out there. The tight end
is becoming a more important position in the passing game with teams throwing
the ball more and faster players at the position creating favorable match-ups.
If you instead draft quality starters in round three and four at receiver and
running back — or even quarterback — you should still be fine with John Carlson, Jason Witten, or Vernon Davis as your starter. If you need to
draft a tight end that early, though, Clark is a better option than Antonio Gates.
The battle at flanker still needs to shake out, but Garcon is currently
ranked higher than Anthony Gonzalez on most boards and is a consensus fifth- or
sixth-round pick, with Gonzalez currently in the ranks of the undrafted.
If a starter is named prior to your draft — unlikely, but possible — then
that's a good round to take a player with the production potential of that
position, a viable option and important part of a pass-oriented, potent offense
with a very talented quarterback.
But, judging by recent historical
trends, neither Gonzalez nor Garcon has had a season as productive as the one
enjoyed by Austin Collie in 2009. Collie had more catches (60) and more
touchdowns (seven) last season than the season highs of Garcon or Gonzalez for
their respective careers.
It's true that Garcon will benefit from a full season under his belt with
Manning and Gonzalez spent some time with Manning in Tennessee this offseason,
but both of those factors also work in Collie's favor.
As the odds-on favorite to win the slot receiver job for the Colts, Collie's
rankings are fairly consistently in the 130s or 140s. In a 12-team league,
that puts him in the tenth or 11th rounds in most drafts, which is a tremendous
value pick no matter how you look at it. Typically, receivers drafted in
these rounds are second receivers on poor passing teams, third receivers on
excellent passing teams, or unknown primary targets on restructuring teams.
To select a player with Collie's 2009 numbers that late in the draft is a
gift to any fantasy owner. He's the best value pick on the list and should
be available somewhere between the tenth and 12th rounds. If he's there when you're looking,
Though many believe — myself included — that Gonzalez will win the flanker
job, he'll be too much of a risk for most fantasy owners. After all,
that's what the waiver wire is for before the season starts. If you draft
Peyton Manning, however, you should draft one of his receivers so that the offense they
create adds to your point total each week. If Gonzalez is still there in
the round before you take your kicker and your defense and you haven't taken any
of the other players on this list, take a shot on Gonzalez.
You could wait until a decision is made at the position and try the waiver
wire, but the waiver wire is not a sure-fire place to count on for talent.
Most players taken that late don't finish the season on your roster, so it's
worth it to burn a pick on Gonzalez late and hope that the Colts make a decision
that favors your team.
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