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Average draft position can be one of the best tools to use before entering a Fantasy Draft.  It’s important, it can be over emphasized for sure, but it’s still a good measure of what’s going on out there.  A more important thing is to determine what kind of people you are drafting with.  In a recent 20 round draft, a guy drafted over 10 running backs, and I wasn’t even phased.  I knew this was coming 100% because it’s his style.  I also know the guy who reaches for everyone two rounds too early, just so he can tell you who panned out when the season is over.  The people in your draft are far more important than average draft rankings, but they still mean something, because it reflects what the majority of people are thinking.

ESPN has a list up of their current average draft positions.  I assume this includes all of the drafts on that site, meaning their free and public drafts as well, where people occasionally join but don’t participate.  Also, I understand things change and preseason injuries and so on, and the people who already drafted can’t be blamed for that.  Even still, the order on their page seems reasonable, and not too skewed.

Either way, it’s probably the best list of average draft position I could find, I don’t see how another site would be any different, so here goes:

The first thing I find interesting is that no one averages a pick between 6.5 to 9.  (Meaning Steven Jackson is 6.4 and Randy Moss is next at 9.1).  So it seems most people are pretty consistent with the top 6, and then you’ll see variations from there. 

Frank Gore:  Rank 8.  Avg Pick 9.3.  Too High. The big thing we keep hearing about Gore is how “he’s the running back in a Mike Martz system”.  If the success of Kevin Jones weren’t enough to drive you away, the fact that Alex Smith is the quarterback should. 

Peyton Manning:  Rank 10.  Avg Pick 11.1.  Too High. But only a little too high.  The knee isn’t really of concern, except that he hasn’t been practicing.  The big concern is he had too many weak Fantasy games last year to warrant this high a pick.

Larry Johnson:  Rank 14.  Avg Pick 14.6.  Too High. Early second round is too high for these damaged goods.  Maybe Herm will run him into the ground again, which is great for stats, until the wheels come off.

Ryan Grant:  Rank 15.  Avg Pick 17.7.  Too High. He is a proven NFL running back, but his offense is being led by an unproven quarterback.  I think teams will stack the line until Rogers proves he can play.  Grants stats should suffer until this happens (if it even does).

Tony Romo:  Rank 17.  Avg Pick 17.7.  Too Low. TO, Marion Barber, Jason Witten, even Patrick Crayton.  I love his weapons and the opportunities his team will get.  I’d rather have him than all the players listed above.

Maurice Jones-Drew:  Rank 21.  Avg Pick 21.5.  Too High. A second round pick on a guy who splits carries?  Couple this with the news of his ankle sprain and I’m not convinced.

Brandon Jacobs:  Rank 27.  Avg Pick 29.0.  Too High. The news that the Giants would run by platoon came out long enough ago where I’m surprised he’s this high.  He’ll get the goalline carries, but I don’t think he’s a number 2 back you want.

Steve Smith:  Rank 31.  Avg Pick: 33.1  Too High. He’s only had double digit touchdowns once in his career, he’s injury prone, his quarterback is injury prone, and he has the two game suspension.  There are at least 12 other receivers I’d rather take before him.

Carson Palmer:  Rank 36.  Avg Pick 36.1.  Too High. He just had too many poor games last year to warrant this high a pick.  Especially if you take away week two (six touchdowns) his year looks particularly poor.

Edgerrin James:  Rank 43.  Avg Pick 45.6.  Too Low. The passing attack in Arizona is potent enough where he gets a little room to operate.  He’s not the old Edge, but he gets a lot of carries.  He was ninth for running backs last year.

Earnest Graham:  Rank 47.  Avg Pick 50.1.  Too High. The Bucs have three guys who could end up as their number one, so why take one of them this high?

Marvin Harrison:  Rank 60.  Avg Pick 63.7.  Too Low. Maybe it’s not 2000-2005 anymore, but he’s still Marvin Harrison.  Reggie Wayne has proven himself to the point where he should actually pull the coverage away from Harrison at this point.

Chris Chambers:  Rank 84.  Avg Pick 87.6.  Too Low. It takes time to get used to an offense.  If you extrapolate his stats from the last 4 games of the season last year, and you get 64 catches, 1250 yards, and 9 TDs.

Chester Taylor:  Rank 85.  Avg Pick 89.2.  Too Low. This tells me Adrian Peterson owners aren’t too concerned about handcuffing him.  I would be.

Jerricho Cotchery:  Rank 94.  Avg Pick 97.2.  Too Low. I think this is low even before the Favre trade.  But now that Favre is in town, it’s way too low, he could become Favre’s go to guy.

Shaun Alexander:  Rank 111.  Avg Pick 112.4.  Too High. How can you pick a guy who doesn’t even have a team?  And a guy where all signs point to him being washed up.  A lot of people I’d rather have are being drafted well after this.

Reggie Williams:  Rank 136.  Avg Pick 130.  Too Low. One out of every four of his catches was a touchdown last year.  And he had ten touchdowns, so there’s nothing wrong with that.

David Patten:  Rank not in top 181.  Avg Pick not in top 160.  Too Low. It takes time to get used to an offense, right?  And the Saints were awful for the first month or so last year.  His last four games of the season extrapolate out to 98 catches, 1300 yards, and 9 touchdowns.  And Colston will definitely draw most of the coverage.

Donte Stallworth:  Rank not in top 181.  Avg Pick not in top 160.  Too Low. Another number two wide receiver who has a great number one drawing coverage.  Donte (and Niko) have wheels.  Couple this with the emergence of Derek Anderson last year and I like his chances to return to Fantasy prominence.

Clearly you can’t live by these average rankings (I’ve seen Tom Brady get drafted first overall this year), but it will give you an idea on someone you can pass on for a round or two and still hope to snag later.  I have Donte Stalworth ranked higher than Hines Ward this year (Avg Pick 60), but I still drafted Hines four rounds earlier, because I knew Stalworth would be there later on.  It’s about getting the best you can while you pick, so if you think Stalworth is going to go, you take him, but I thought he’d sleep, and he did. 

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