Drafting Calvin Johnson in the first round is a risky proposition this year. There’s no doubt he’s the top of the wide receiver heap, but with running backs as scarce as they are this season, can you survive if you miss out on a running back in the first round?
Christopher Harris at ESPN recommends against the Calvin Johnson play in the first, and I tend to agree. [Note: Unfortunately, ESPN has removed this video from ESPN.com. We’ll proceed without it.]
The argument really is the depth at the wide receiver position. I’ve already drafted in a few leagues and found late wide receiver plays who will easily be startable for me throughout the season. Chris Givens, T.Y. Hilton, and DeSean Jackson are all nice picks in the middle rounds to fill the WR2 role.
I’ve always been a huge proponent of getting at least one elite wide receiver so you have some reliable points each week from that position, but the list is longer than it has been in the past in that category. You can often catch a solid, elite wide receiver in the second or early third round, which leaves you two shots to take a running back with your first three picks. I’d be perfectly happy with Dez Bryant or A.J. Green in the second.
If you want to go with an elite quarterback with one of those picks, I’d suggest making it the third round spot. I know there are some out there who like the quarterback in the first round, but I’m not a fan of that this season with the depth there. Much like wide receiver, you can find second tier talent at a much lower price later in your draft.
ESPN covered the strategy of waiting on your No. 2 receiver in their fantasy roundtable before the season started, and I like many of the guys they name here.
So if you are deciding how to play your first round this season, consider passing on Megatron. Drafting him that high will force you to chase running backs through the next several rounds while the rest of your league is taking the wide receiver talent just a notch below him.