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Dynasty Leagues

First-round wideouts

Hit rates on top-15 picks

Rookie drafts are occurring in some dynasty leagues this month (if they haven't already happened), and I expect the first round will be wide receiver-heavy in most of them. That was the case in the actual NFL Draft, with four selected in the top 12 picks. I wondered how often those early selection pan out in the NFL -- what are the odds of them busting?

I looked at all the wide receivers selected with a top 15 draft pick this century, like Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave (pictured) and Jameson Williams were in April. There have been 41 since 2000, so 2 per year on average. Then I pulled out the best season (PPR rankings) for each player.

Of those 41 previous wide receivers, almost exactly half of them (21) had a top-20 fantasy season at some point. That alone doesn't make those picks a success story, however, since some of them only did it once and had an otherwise forgettable careers: Koren Robinson, Michael Clayton, Peter Warrick and Rod Gardner. No way would those players be selected in the top 15 again.

Better to say that 12 (so a little more than a quarter of them) had at least one top-10 season. Roy Williams had one, and his overall career wasn't successful, and the same can be said about Braylon Edwards. But most of those guys did it multiple times, and many are among the best wideouts in the game over the last 20 years: Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Julio Jones, A.J. Green.

Of the 20 wide receivers from this group yet to record a top-20 season, a couple are just getting started and might well do it in the next year or two: DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy. A couple of the others have at least been decent pros: Corey Davis, and Charger Mike Williams.

But 14 of them didn't ever record a top-20 season, and most of those weren't particularly close to it. Those are the disappointments: Kevin White, Corey Coleman, David Terrell, etc.

The best seasons from those 41 top-15 wide receiver picks from this century are below. Historically, looks like about a 1-in-3 chance that the players selected never come close to living up to expectations. Hope you don't pick that guy in your rookie draft.

TOP 15 WIDE RECEIVER PICKS, BEST NFL SEASONS
PkYearPlayerTgtRecYdsAvgTDRk
32009Andre Johnson171101156915.591
22012Calvin Johnson204122196416.151
62015Julio Jones203136187113.882
32008Larry Fitzgerald15496143114.9122
72016Mike Evans17396132113.8123
42013A.J. Green17898142614.6114
32007Braylon Edwards15480128916.1164
122016Odell Beckham169101136713.5104
52021JaMarr Chase12881145518.0135
132006Lee Evans13782129215.888
72006Roy Williams15182131016.079
42019Amari Cooper11979118915.1810
142019DeVante Parker12872120216.7911
82005Plaxico Burress16676121416.0711
62021Jaylen Waddle14010410159.8612
102016Michael Crabtree14589100311.3812
92002Koren Robinson14178124015.9514
152004Michael Clayton12280119314.9714
42003Peter Warrick1227981910.4716
152002Rod Gardner14171100614.2819
42015Sammy Watkins9660104717.5920
132005Donte Stallworth1297094513.5723
102002Travis Taylor1186186914.3625
132013Michael Floyd11365104116.0527
82015Tavon Austin87524739.1527
72011Darrius Heyward-Bey1156497515.2428
52020Corey Davis926598415.1529
52012Justin Blackmon1326486513.5529
102021DeVonta Smith1046491614.3530
72018Mike Williams (Clemson)664366415.41033
92008Ted Ginn935679014.1233
92007Reggie Williams603862916.61035
102010Mike Williams (USC)1106575111.6241
152020Jerry Jeudy1135285616.5345
82004David Terrell904269916.6155
92019John Ross562850618.1374
72006Troy Williamson763745512.3077
152016Corey Coleman733341312.5382
122021Henry Ruggs362446919.5286
22003Charles Rogers522224311.1388
72016Kevin White36191879.80122

--Andy Richardson

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