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According to the Data: Rules for Drafting Rookies

Jonathan Bales

Jonathan Bales

Jonathan Bales is the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. In addition to RotoWire, Jonathan also provides content to the New York Times, Dallas Morning News, DallasCowboys.com, and NBC.

Rules for Drafting Rookies

Even though the majority of NFL organizations seem to make draft picks using a combination of a Ouija board and, even worse, the opinions of scouts, the top draft picks still turn into the best pros. That's probably mainly a self-fulfilling prophecy because the highest picks get the most playing time and more opportunities to succeed.

It doesn't really matter why the highest draft choices record the best fantasy numbers; for our purposes, we just want to know how much better a first-rounder is than, say, a third-round pick, and how we can use that data to predict rookie stats at each position.

Here's how rookies in each draft round have been able to contribute since 2000:



Third-round picks have provided around half as much bulk production as first-rounders. Interestingly, the difference between a fourth and sixth-rounder hasn't been all that much. Onc

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