In the Face-Off series, I'll be taking a look at two players, comparing their ADP's and which gives you better value for your fantasy drafts in 2014.
Marques Colston #12 – New Orleans Saints – 8 seasons
(Career Stats: 117 Games, 607 Receptions, 8,337 Yards, 63 Touchdowns, 71.1 YPG)
Andre Johnson #80 – Houston Texans – 11 seasons
(Career Stats: 154 Games, 927 Receptions, 12,661 Yards, 61 Touchdowns, 82.2 YPG)
Marques Colston is the long-lost fantasy football commodity. Actually, he’s not lost...he’s always been there. He’s just overlooked.
The opposite is true of Andre Johnson. Johnson isn’t overlooked. He’s over-drafted—just about every year.
In past years, fantasy owners debated whether Andre Johnson or Calvin Johnson was the top wide receiver pick. Here's the ADP for 2011:
It’s hard to grasp why Andre Johnson continues to be drafted so early on draft day.
Johnson is entering his 12th season and is still looking to eclipse the double-digit touchdown mark. He’s pulling in a mediocre 5.5 touchdowns per season. And I say mediocre because of the pedestal the fantasy community has placed him on.
And let’s face it, his quarterback situation went from, well, Schuab to Fitzpatrick. If Fitzpatrick throws 25 touchdown passes in 2014, it’ll be a career high. The arrow is pointing due South for the passing “attack” in Houston.
But Johnson has always been viewed as a “yards” guy—he makes up for the lack of touchdowns by racking up receiving yards, which he has done very well. He is averaging 82.2 yards per reception since 2010. There's no taking that feat away from him.
But fantasy points are ultimately what matter. That, and getting good value for your draft picks. Therein lies the face-off between Johnson and Colston.
Other receivers have come and gone in New Orleans, but for the past eight years, Colston and Drew Brees have formed a tight chemistry with one another.
In fact, Brees said earlier this week how Colston is more of a “guidelines” guy, rather than a “rules” guy when it comes to running his routes. In other words, these two are on the same page.
Beginning with his rookie season, Colston has shown seamless chemistry with Brees and has put up solid fantasy numbers. He’s a guy who has averaged 7.9 touchdowns per season, including grabbing double-digit touchdowns in two of his eight seasons.
Colston has more touchdowns than Johnson (63-to-61, respectively) despite playing in 37 fewer games. The smart money is on Colston racking up more touchdowns than Johnson this year too. Remember: Fitzpatrick vs. Brees.
And it’s not like Colston is a stranger to 1,000-yard seasons. He’s broke that mark in six of his eight seasons. In the two seasons he didn’t reach 1,000 yards (2008 (760 yards) and 2013 (943 yards)), he played in 11 and 15 games, respectively.
The Saints moved up seven spots in the 2014 draft to secure Brandin Cooks. Cooks will actually do what Lance Moore was supposed to do: be a match-up nightmare for defenses. That will allow Brees to pick apart defenses even more so than he’s done in the past.
I admit that Colston has had his fair share of injuries, but it’s not like Johnson is a stranger in the trainer’s room either. Both guys are banged up and walk hand-in-hand down the risk plank each year.
While most will point to how many yards Johnson tallies, Colston averages only 10.9 fewer yards per game than Johnson. You’re talking a single fantasy point per game.
And again, the real issue for me is value. I’m sure you’ve heard of Value Based Drafting by now. And if you’re deciding between these two guys, Colston gives you much better value.
Since 2010, Johnson has averaged 11.3 fantasy points per game. Those points have cost fantasy owners picks in the first round (in 2010, 2011) and second or third rounds (2012, 2013) based on his ADP in those years.
Colston has averaged 10.0 fantasy points per game over the same span while making owners shell out picks in the third round (2010), fifth round (2011), and fourth round (2012, 2013).
And so far this year, Johnson is costing owners a pretty penny in the fourth round, while you can get Colston at a nice discount three rounds later.
The fourth round is crucial in fantasy drafts. It’s where you’re probably picking your second running back or wide receiving (assuming you go RB, WR, WR or WR, WR, RB, or any combination thereof).
That’s not the time to grab a sputtering 33-year old wide receiver dealing with a failing passing game being ran by Fitzpatrick. It’s just horrible value to do so.
Colston gives you options. Because he’s a decent WR2 you can get in the seventh round, he allows you to grab a quarterback a little earlier than you normally would, or lets you go heavy on running backs earlier in the draft.
Johnson is a pick that, after you make it in the fourth round, you get nervous and feel the need to defend it. Don’t be that owner. Wait on Colston.
Andre Johnson appears to have an inside track with the Pro Bowl having appeared in seven thus far. Colston is the best wide receiver to never make a Pro Bowl while Miles Austin has made two.