A Look at the 2011 NFL Draft First Round RB and WRs From a Fantasy Perspective

Apr 29, 2011


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There was only one running back selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram was selected by the Saints with the 28th pick in the draft. This is a good spot for Ingram. He won’t have to worry about being driven into the ground from overuse, which is the perfect recipe for a running back with knee concerns.
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For starters the Saints are a pass-first team. They aren’t your prototypical grind it out offense. The Saints rely first and foremost on Drew Brees’ arm. Sure, they need a running game to balance the attack, but the Saints are probably the last team that is going to overuse a running back.
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Besides, they have Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory to share running back duties. Even Reggie Bush feels his days with the Saints are likely over. Three good running backs and only one football. This is a great problem for the Saints to have, but it’s not ideal for fantasy owners. Ingram’s value is seriously diminished in redraft leagues because he will be a part of a committee. He takes a lesser hit in dynasty leagues, but still a hit nonetheless.
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There were three wide receiver taken in the first round. As expected A.J. Green was the first off the board. He should easily step into the starting role opposite of  Jerome Simpson, which should make people hit the brakes on proclaiming Simpson as a big-time sleeper in this year’s fantasy drafts.
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Now we just need to find out who is going to throw the ball in Cincinnati. Carson Palmer and Mike Brown are engaged in a high stakes game of chicken. If they can settle their differences, both Green and Simpson will be solid fantasy options. If they have to settle for Carson’s brother Jordan, their values take a hit.
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Julio Jones found a good home. He gets to catch passes from Matt Ryan in a high-powered Falcons offense that also features Roddy White, Michael Turner, and Tony Gonzalez. Washington and St. Louis were likely destinations for Jones, which would have made him the primary receiver. With Atlanta he is able to play opposite of Roddy White and ease into the league. He won’t see as many targets as he would as the number one receiver, but he also won’t draw the number one cornerback either. Though Green has more question marks at quarterback, I still rate him one and Jones two in both redraft and dynasty leagues.
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Jonathan Baldwin finds himself in a similar scenario as Jones. He gets to play opposite of Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City’s up-and-coming offense. They’ll miss Charlie Weis, but with Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel, and now Baldwin, the Chiefs should have no problem putting points on the board.
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Baldwin is a player to take in the later rounds of your fantasy drafts. He’s going to take some time to develop, but is a solid add for dynasty leagues. He’s nearly 6’5″ with good speed and leaping ability.
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This has the makings of a good rookie wide receiver class. Knowing that receivers have a longer shelf life than running backs, I would take Green and Jones before Ingram in keeper leagues.
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2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Minnesota Vikings Fail To Address Need With Second Pick | NFL Touchdown
    April 29th, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    [...] 2011 NFL Draft First Round Running Back and Wide Receivers [...]

  2. Vikings Make Good Call With Christian Ballard | NFL Touchdown
    April 30th, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    [...] 2011 NFL Draft First Round Running Back and Wide Receivers [...]

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