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Fantasy football

Posted by Ed Ryan October 30, 2008 05:52 AM

If you used a high draft pick on a big-name receiver this season, you’re probably regretting the move.
Of the first 10 receivers taken in my draft, only four have lived up to their billing, while six have underperformed and left their owners with weekly decisions they never expected to consider.

We’ve already documented why the first receiver taken in my draft, and the only wideout taken in the first round, has struggled. Randy Moss is still an elite talent, but Tom Brady’s injury has limited Moss’ stats. Now, the same situation is occurring with the second wide receiver taken. Terrell Owens was having a tremendous year until his quarterback, Tony Romo, went out with an injured finger. In the last three weeks, Owens has no touchdowns and has not eclipsed 36 yards receiving.

The third receiver off the board was Braylon Edwards, and I regret making that pick. Edwards has one big game under his belt and is not approaching the production you would expect from a second-round pick. He has just two touchdowns; the Browns have struggled putting points on the board this season, and I never saw that coming.

Reggie Wayne went next, and Wayne has been solid, despite the Colts’ slow start. Wayne gets his numbers more often than not and was a worthwhile pick in the bottom of the second round. Taken directly after Wayne was Torry Holt of the Rams, and Holt has been terrible. He has one touchdown and just 23 receptions.

Larry Fitzgerald was selected two picks after Holt, and he has been outstanding. The Cardinals love to throw the ball, and Fitzgerald has accumulated the third-most receiving points in my league. He’s on pace for just over 100 catches.

Another value pick at the end of the second round is probably the top wide receiver in fantasy football. Andre Johnson has 41 catches, two touchdowns, and 593 yards in his last four games. No one is playing at a higher level, and it’s no coincidence the Texans have suddenly won three in a row for the first time in franchise history.

Steve Smith, the eighth wideout taken in my draft, is a lot like Reggie Wayne: consistent and always putting up big numbers. Smith remains an elite wide receiver and has three touchdowns and 351 yards in his last three games. He should not have lasted until the third round.
The ninth and 10th receivers taken were T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson of the — hold your nose — Cincinnati Bengals. Houshmandzadeh has been average, but neither player has been consistent or a game-changer, and now that their quarterback, Carson Palmer, is injured, nothing is likely to change. Not what you hoped for from the 29th and 30th picks in the draft.

The top receiver in my league this season? Take a well-deserved bow if you drafted Atlanta’s Roddy White. No one knew he’d be this good, particularly the team in my league that ended up with him in the sixth round — the team owners didn’t even make the draft, and our commissioner had to make the pick for them. Something about being lucky rather than good.

Ed Ryan writes about fantasy sports and betting for OT and can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com

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