Jermichael Finley was one of our breakout candidates heading into 2011, yet the tight end didn’t quite perform like we expected. What did we expect? Honestly? I thought he would do exactly what Jimmy Graham did in 2011. We also projected big things out of Graham, but we just had both pegged as elite breakouts last year. Well, I say don’t give up just yet on Finley having that Jimmy Graham-type season.
The facts are that Finley didn’t have that bad of a 2011 campaign, as he still managed to pull in 55 receptions for 767 yards and 8TDs… He only had three games pulling in 80 yards or more, and three of those eight touchdowns did come in one game (week 3)… but that’s still a solid season for a tight end. Still, I expected more, and I’m talking 80 receptions or so for 1,000-1,100 yards and 8-10 scores. I think this will be the season he cranks those kind of numbers out, which will get him a seat at the table of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
Average Draft Position
The good news? Well, Finley’s ADP is in the 6.11-7.04 range. That’s steal territory right there, and it makes him low-risk/high-reward… if Finley doesn’t produce those Graham- or Gronkowski-like numbers, he will still earn you that 6th- to 7th-round value. If he does become a tier one tight end, though, you might be looking at one of the biggest steals of 2012 fantasy football drafts!
So what’s the better draft strategy in 2012? Is it better to draft a Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski in the 2nd-round, or grab a Jermichael Finley in the 6th- or 7th-round? I say take the Finley approach. Why? It’s not that I don’t expect either Graham or Gronkowski to relatively replicate last year’s numbers in 2012, I just think each player loses their ability to outperform their draft position when you start taking them in the 2nd-round. So, what looks better in a yearly-league draft?
Jimmy Graham (2nd-round range) &
Antonio Brown-type (6th-round range)
Andre Johnson-type (2nd-round range) &
Jermichael Finley (6th-round range)?
I take Johnson and Finley, but it’s debatable, especially if you think you can land a wide receiver or running back in the 6th- to 7th-round. All in all, I think you win leagues landing those players that explode like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski did last year… sure, you can draft those guys the following year at mega-high value, or you can try and find the next player set to explode… to me, that player is Jermichael Finley, and to me, that’s the strategy worth using!
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