Underrated 2012 fantasy WRs

Julio Jones, Brandon Lloyd among fantasy WRs being drafted too low

Originally Published: August 23, 2012
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Julio JonesAP Photo/John AmisJulio Jones is poised to have a breakout season for the Atlanta Falcons.

The primary trends of this fantasy football draft season have angled toward increased interest in quarterbacks and decreased interest in running backs in the early rounds.

That mindset has led to value options among fantasy football ball carriers and passers, but hasn't seemed to impact wide receivers in the early rounds, as there are only six wideouts being selected in the first 23 picks on average in ESPN draft rooms.

The reason for this is fantasy owners rightfully believe there is a lot of quality depth among wide receivers. It's a passing league, and the wealth gets spread. A side effect of that viewpoint is that there are pass-catchers falling much further in drafts than their metrics and abilities say they should.

Wide receivers who are being underrated and drafted lower than they should be include:

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Average draft position (ADP): 32.0 (ranked 11th among wide receivers)

Last year, Jones was one of only 31 wide receivers to post 50 or more vertical targets (passes thrown 11 or more yards downfield) despite battling hamstring injuries that cost him three full games and being a rookie in a lockout-truncated offseason.

That is enough of a reason to like his upside over the course of a 16-game schedule that follows a typical offseason, but there is another, even more compelling motive for drafting Jones -- he could end up being more valuable than his Falcons pass-catching counterpart, Roddy White.


To read more about where Julio Jones, Brandon Lloyd, Antonio Brown and other WRs should be drafted, plus to get access to all of Insider's NFL coverage, sign up today.