If there is any downside to the start of real football, it's the end of another fantasy football draft season. It'll be another year before you can again rag on your friend for taking both Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in the first five rounds, a year before you can again remind your buddy that he thought he had a steal in spending a third rounder on Peyton Manning last season, and a year before you can again wrestle with a decision like the one of whether to take Miles Austin or DeSean Jackson in the sixth round.
In these parts, naturally, many of those drafts tend to be tinted a Patriotic shade of red and blue. Provincialism tends to creep in, and people start picking guys they can root for on the field as well as their fantasy roster.
But what is the national opinion of New England's talent? Expert opinions are one thing, but the fantasy owners themselves are sometimes another, so we've compiled a Patriot-centric look at average draft results from four popular fantasy sites in the chart below. The numbers were accessed Wednesday night, with the first two categories concerning standard draft leagues, while the latter two categories are for auction drafts (for which data from cbssports.com wasn't readily available).
As you can see, the results weren't particularly surprising -- but they do suggest a lot of respect for what the Patriots offense could be capable of doing this season.
A few notes on the numbers:
- As you'd expect, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers was the quarterback with an earlier average pick than Brady in every league. Drew Brees was the other who Yahoo! users paid more to acquire.
- In addition to teammate Rob Gronkowski, the tight ends taken ahead of Aaron Hernandez on average in the ESPN rankings are Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, Vernon Davis, and Jermichael Finley.
- Graham, of course, is the tight end ranked higher than Gronkowski in the Yahoo! and CBS leagues.
- By Thursday night, Stephen Gostkowski's average draft position in standard ESPN leagues had slid to 101.7. That was 12 spots -- essentially a full round -- sooner than the next-earliest kicker.
- The Pats' defense and special teams aren't highly regarded by fantasy owners. Its average rank ranging from 11-21 in standard leagues, that doesn't make it a "starter" in most cases.
- CBS provides the range in which each player was picked -- and, interestingly, as of Thursday night Brady hadn't been taken first in its leagues. Here are those high/low splits: Brady, 2/9; Stevan Ridley, 38/97; Wes Welker, 13/46; Brandon Lloyd, 31/84; Gronkowski, 11/36; Hernandez, 28/74; Gostkowski, 66/153; Defense and special teams, 97/187.
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