Fantasy Football

2012 Average Draft Position Comparisons to Fantasy History

Marshall Faulk

For a few years now, everyone has been talking about dual running-back systems and how they have been affecting the world of Fantasy Football. So I thought I’d go back and take a look at how things went about a decade ago, back when Marshall Faulk and The Greatest Show on Turf was dominating most Fantasy drafts.

Lucky for us, there are people out there that can help us. Like the fine peeps at, who have Average Draft Position dating all the way back to the late ‘90s. They’ve kept the stats on where players were drafted each season over the past 15 draft seasons, and we all get to pour over them for FREE!

Some of the questions I wanted answered had to do with the running back position primarily, but I also wanted to look at how quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends were handled. Remember, back then, it was a less pass-friendly world, with just TWO quarterbacks throwing for more than 4,000 yards (Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning), compared to 10 in 2011 (with a hurt Manning!)

First, let’s take a look at the top 30 players drafted in the current Average Draft Position for all of the drafts this NFL offseason. This is for all scoring systems in non-keeper leagues, in all league sizes.


2012 Average Draft Position

#             Player                                      
1.            Foster, Arian HOU RB
2.            McCoy, LeSean PHI RB
3.            Rice, Ray BAL RB
4.            Johnson, Calvin DET WR
5.            Rodgers, Aaron GBP QB
6.            Newton, Cam CAR QB
7.            Jones-Drew, Maurice JAC RB
8.            Mathews, Ryan SDC RB
9.            Johnson, Chris TEN RB
10.          Fitzgerald, Larry ARI WR
11.          Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE
12.          Brees, Drew NOS QB
13.          Graham, Jimmy NOS TE
14.          Stafford, Matthew DET QB
15.          Green, A.J. CIN WR
16.          Forte, Matt CHI RB
17.          Nicks, Hakeem NYG WR
18.          McFadden, Darren OAK RB
19.          Brady, Tom NEP QB
20.          Peterson, Adrian MIN RB
21.          Johnson, Andre HOU WR
22.          Jones, Julio ATL WR
23.          Charles, Jamaal KCC RB
24.          Welker, Wes NEP WR
25.          White, Roddy ATL WR
26.          Jennings, Greg GBP WR
27.          Richardson, Trent CLE RB
28.          Lynch, Marshawn SEA RB
29.          Murray, DeMarco DAL RB
30.          Cruz, Victor NYG WR

Position breakdown for Top 30 players drafted:

  • 5 Quarterbacks
  • 13 Running Backs
  • 10 Wide Receivers
  • 2 Tight Ends

Position breakdown for the First Round:

  • 3  Quarterbacks
  • 6 Running Backs
  • 2 Wide Receivers
  • 1 Tight Ends


2002 Average Draft Position

#             Player
1.            Faulk, Marshall STL RB
2.            Green, Ahman GBP RB
3.            Alexander, Shaun SEA RB
4.            Warner, Kurt STL QB
5.            Williams, Ricky MIA RB
6.            Moss, Randy MIN WR
7.            Garcia, Jeff SFO QB
8.            Owens, Terrell SFO WR
9.            Manning, Peyton IND QB
10.          Holmes, Priest KCC RB
11.          Culpepper, Daunte MIN QB
12.          James, Edgerrin IND RB
13.          Martin, Curtis NYJ RB
14.          Harrison, Marvin IND WR
15.          Tomlinson, Ladainian SDC RB
16.          Dillon, Corey CIN RB
17.          George, Eddie TEN RB
18.          McNabb, Donovan PHI QB
19.          Thomas, Anthony CHI RB
20.          Boston, David SDC WR
21.          Holt, Torry STL WR
22.          Davis, Stephen CAR RB
23.          Favre, Brett GBP QB
24.          McAllister, Deuce NOS RB
25.          Smith, Rod DEN WR
26.          Brooks, Aaron NOS QB
27.          Horn, Joe NOS WR
28.          Taylor, Fred JAC RB
29.          Johnson, Keyshawn TBB WR
30.          Bruce, Isaac STL WR

Position breakdown for Top 30 players drafted:

  • 7 Quarterbacks
  • 14 Running Backs
  • 9 Wide Receivers
  • 0 Tight Ends

Position breakdown for the First Round:

  • 4 Quarterbacks
  • 6 Running Backs
  •  2 Wide Receivers
  •  0 Tight Ends


Breaking down the breakdowns

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

Despite uncertainty from the Cardinals QB situation, Larry Fitzgerald continues to be a top-five pick among wide receivers. Photo Credit: ijohnson

While you’re still blinking in disbelief that Aaron Brooks, Anthony Thomas and David Boston were all top-30 picks, let me tell you what I gleaned from this comparison.

As you can see, there are minimal differences in the number of running backs drafted in the early rounds. But one very interesting difference is the number of quarterbacks drafted early, including in the first round, back in 2002. But again, with fewer 4,000-yard passers, there seemed to be a bigger difference between the superstars and the average QBs, making it a smart move to grab one early.

The other thing that jumps out at me is that two tight ends are expected to go in the early rounds this season, compared to zero tight ends among the first 30 picks in 2002. Sure, this was pre-Antonio Gates’ dominance, but still, Shannon Sharpe was no slouch, and Tony Gonzalez was in the midst of a Hall-of-Fame career. And most of the rest of the tight ends were nowhere near the Fantasy caliber of Gonzo and Sharpe, which is very unlike the current set of tight ends. That’s further proof that reaching for someone like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham is a mistake – especially with so many other good tight ends producing.

Hopefully, looking at the Average Draft Position of these two seasons, a decade apart, gives you some insight for your upcoming drafts!


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