Draft Kit '04: Wide Receiver Report

Originally Published: July 20, 2004
By Scouts Inc.
Jason Langendorf
Drafting a receiver isn't all that different from, say, buying a used car. It's nice if you luck into a real gem, but most of them are a dime a dozen. More than anything, you just want to avoid getting stuck with a lemon.

Not the most ambitious goal, but under the circumstances it's better to be prudent than a putz. Mostly because their production can be drastically affected by the performance and health of their quarterbacks, the play-calling of their coaches and changes in their team's personnel, receivers are an unpredictable lot. Last season, for instance, only five of what would have been a generally accepted top 12 of fantasy receivers actually delivered like No. 1s. And one of those five -- Terrell Owens -- took quite a tumble down the rankings.

And when you consider just how little separates the second- and third-tier players at the position every year, the incentive to be bold on draft day just isn't there. Randy Moss and Torry Holt were far and away the best fantasy receivers in just about any remotely standard league in 2003 (No. 2 scorer Holt was almost 21 percent more valuable than No. 3 Chad Johnson in ESPN's traditional format), but the difference between the next 12 fantasy receivers was relatively insignificant (less than 19 percent).