NFL Fantasy Football 2010: How High Should Andre Johnson Be Drafted?

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJuly 26, 2010

MIAMI - DECEMBER 27:  Wide receiver Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans breaks away for a long play while taking on the Miami Dolphins for a touchdown at Land Shark Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Andre Johnson is a consensus first-round selection, and with good reason.  The numbers he puts up as a wide receiver are impressive, to say the least.

He led the league in yards in 2009 by a healthy margin. While he had 1,569 yards, the second best total was Wes Welker’s 1,348.  In fact, it was his second consecutive 1,500+ yard campaign (he had 1,575 in ‘08).

He had nine touchowns in ‘09, his third straight year of eight or more.  While nine TDs in his career high, there’s good reason to believe he can reach double-digits for the first time in his career.

Not to mention, he’s had 100+ catches in three of the past four years (he had 60 catches in just nine games in 2007) for those in PPR leagues.

Oh yeah, he also rarely fumbles, having just one fumble per year every season since 2004.

He is the best of the best, that’s not what is in question… The real issue is, just where does he fit into the first round?

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The top four players are virtually set in stone.  Yes, the order may vary, but you’re not likely to select Johnson over any of these players, no matter what the format:

Chris Johnson
Adrian Peterson
Maurice Jones-Drew
Ray Rice

    After that, let the debate begin.

    Frank Gore has a ton of talent, with four straight years of over 1,000 yards, but fantasy owners look at his nearly 1,700 yard 2006 campaign and wonder what could be.  He’s now three years removed from that, so type of production shouldn’t be expected.

    However, he is a great receiver out of the backfield, with 50 or more receptions in three of the past four years.  When you total is rushing and receiving yards, the two are quite equal.  TDs have always been close, before 2010 (Gore rushed for 10 TDs and caught three more).  In a PPR league I could see selecting Johnson before him but in non-PPR leagues, I’d go Gore.

    Michael Turner has not been a starting back for long, but in his first season he rushed for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns.  Last season injuries limited him to 11 games and he rushed for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Even if he had been healthy, the yards would have been drastically down.

    He also is of no value in the passing game, never having more then six receptions in any season.  In a PPR league, Johnson is a no-brainer.  Even in a non-PPR league, it is easy to imagine Johnson outperforming Turner.  It’s impossible to predict someone scoring 15-plus touchdowns in a season, meaning Johnson will likely out gain Turner in yards with the TDs being close.

    Steven Jackson is the focus of the Rams offense, rushing for over 1,000 yards each of the past five seasons.  He also is a factor in the passing game, with 51 catches for 322 yards in ‘09.

    His problem is touchdowns.  Since rushing for 13 TDs in 2006, he has 16 total over the next three seasons.  Over that same span he has just two receiving TDs.  Unless Sam Bradford can do something special, defenses are going to continue focusing on Jackson and there’s no guarantee the touchdowns are going to come.

    The bottom line is that Johnson, the elite WR, seems to make sense at sixth for me.  If I’m picking from that point on and he’s on the board, he’s going to be my pick.

    What about you?  When would you pick Johnson?  Which running backs would you draft before him?

    Make sure to check out our 2010 rankings:

    Also, make sure to check out our recent rookie rankings: