Earlier this offseason I made an appearance on Ship Chasing to participate in a rookie mock draft. I had the second pick and took Drake London, explaining that I was breaking the tie between him and Treylon Burks in favor of London because he is more than a year younger than Burks. The responses in the comments included joking accusations of ageism. All I can say is that when it comes to rookie wide receivers in fantasy football, I plead guilty.
To understand why I’m an ageist about rookie wide receivers, it helps to understand some of the dynamics of draft age — why and how much it matters, and just how long it continues to matter in an NFL WR’s career. We’ve looked at this issue in some depth before, but I want to revisit it with another year of data, and to provide a few other ways to look at the numbers.
Measuring the Effects of Draft Age
First, how much does it matter? The table below indicates the average output over a player’s first two seasons for PPR, expected points, and fantasy points over expectation for each draft age cohort. Draft age is calculated as a player’s age on December 31 in the year of his final college season. It coincides with the Final College Age metric in the WR Prospect Lab.