Ten wide receivers, one quarterback and one running back went off the board in the fourth round of our 12-team mock draft. Shonn Greene was the final selection and while we should anticipate Greene as the starter week one, he’s clearly not a value pick at this point in the draft.
Criticized recently by Greg Cosell as a runner that fails to “make unblocked defenders miss,” we shouldn’t expect Greene to flash much lateral agility.
It’s hard to get behind Greene as a fantasy option, but his situation could be promising, especially if Tim Tebow takes over as the starter at some point. With Tebow in the game, defenses will focus a linebacker on respecting his threat as a runner and it should open some holes in the defense to help Greene.
Willis McGahee was helped by this last year, and Chris Johnson used to benefit from this element back when he had Vince Young.
While I don’t like Greene as a fourth-round pick, if he can hold onto the starting job he could give us low-end RB2 value. Still, we want to target him as more of an RB3 option. In the fourth round, you’re better off going for one of the many potential game breaking receivers on the board.
37. Victor Cruz (ADP 3.10) -
If Hakeem Nicks fails to stay on the field, it will be interesting to see how Cruz does facing each teams' top corner. Cruz is making the transition to playing more on the outside, but the Giants will use him in the slot and put him in motion to help him out.
If Cruz can beat press coverage on the outside, he will be a top five fantasy receiver. If not, I still like him as at least a WR2 option.
38. Roddy White (ADP 3.07) -
White will still be viewed as the Falcons No.1 receiver by opposing defenses, but Julio Jones is expected to be the top fantasy performer on this team. Only time will tell if that will happen, but White will still lead this team in receptions and targets.
39. Hakeem Nicks (ADP 4.01) -
Unless we see Nicks find the practice field in the following weeks, I’m not going to recommend you draft him this high. Nicks suffered a foot injury at the beginning of OTAs and has been unable to condition throughout the summer.
This is a problem, and it’s a perfect setup for other lingering injuries. Given Nicks track record of nagging health problems, it’s best to stay away, unless he falls out of the first five rounds.
40. Jordy Nelson (ADP 4.02) -
Nelson will continue to benefit from having Greg Jennings on the opposite side of the field and Jermichael Finley presenting miss match problems when he’s moved to the slot. Nelson isn’t the fastest receiver, but he knows how to get enough separation to allow the game's top quarterback to get him the football.
41. Steve Smith (ADP 4.06) -
Don’t count this bulldog out to have another WR1 performance in 2012, with one of the game's top electric quarterbacks looking his way. Newton has a good arm and won’t be afraid to challenge the defense, allowing Smith to make plays down the field.
For a small receiver, Smith plays much bigger than his size and is probably better than anyone in the sense of his timing and positioning when going up for the football against a defender.
As long as Smith is on the field, he’s still one of the better receivers in the game.
42. Michael Vick (ADP, 4.01) -
As the summer has moved along Michael Vick’s stock continues to rise. It seems unquestioned at this point Vick is the top quarterback to target after Newton, Brees, Brady, Rodgers and Stafford.
His upside as a running threat gives him the ability to jump back into the elite tier of quarterbacks and it looks like the Eagles are focused for a big year.
43. Dez Bryant (ADP 4.05) -
Bryant was having a good offseason until he had an altercation with this mother in July. A troubled individual, Bryant could face a suspension or discipline at anytime, if not for his recent transgression, for something else he may do in the future.
Bryant has the talent to be a top five receiver in fantasy leagues, but I’m staying away from him in the fourth round.
44. Miles Austin (ADP 4.07) -
Another problem child receiver in Dallas, but for a different reason than Bryant. Austin had hamstring issues last year, and recently he pulled his hamstring again. This is concerning and we should view him as an injury risk even if he’s a full go in a couple of weeks.
45. Mike Wallace (ADP 4.09) -
Assuming Wallace comes to camp in the coming weeks, I have no problem with you targeting him at this point. In fact, he may be a little undervalued in standard leagues because of the explosive element he brings to the Steelers' offense.
46. Brandon Lloyd (ADP 4.10) -
A solid pick at this point in the draft. In a standard league, Lloyd could easily finish as a top ten receiver like he did two years ago with Kyle Orton as his quarterback. With a talented group around him, and a savvy quarterback, Lloyd should cruise to a Pro Bowl appearance.
47. Demaryius Thomas (ADP 4.11) -
Expect a breakout season from Thomas as he builds on his success from the end of last year. Thomas should be Peyton Manning’s favorite target in the offense, especially on vertical round and in the red zone.
48. Shonn Greene (ADP 5.07) -
The Jets are switching to a power run-blocking scheme and they hope it plays to Greene’s strengths. Despite his size, Greene hasn’t shown a physical nature that many thought he was going to bring coming out of Iowa.
I don’t mind Greene at the right price. That said, look to him as more of a sixth-round pick than a fourth-round pick, and you will be fine.
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