ZWK

ZWK's Dynasty Rankings (Updated February 2017)

958 posts in this topic

Nice. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your 2013 rankings.

In your thread we'll discuss your rankings. In this thread, allow folks to discuss ZWK's rankings. Thanks in advance.

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If everyone ignores the troll, he'll go away folks.

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I just wanted to say happy independence day to all you copy pasting aficiandos! And especially to old crusty's like Aabye, I hope you are all having a great day!

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Worth remembering that Pete Carroll had some monstrous defenses in college, too, and yet he still managed to turn Reggie Bush into a Heisman Trophy winner. He gave Bush 34 touches against Fresno State, and then a week later gave him 28 against UCLA (who USC beat by 50 points). He's never shown himself shy about putting his weapons to work in the past, and early indication out of Seattle is that he won't be shy about it now. Early talk is that Harvin will handle every single kickoff return this season. If Carroll is willing to use his new toy on special teams, you have to think he'll be willing to use him a lot on offense, too. He certainly didn't pay all that money and send all those draft picks just to make Harvin a returner.

Usually it's taken as good news when a player's special teams role is reduced - didn't it add to the Cobb buzz earlier this offseason when McCarthy said that he would like to take Cobb off return duty? Before you heard the talk out of Seattle, were you thinking that it would be a bad sign for Harvin if they wanted to use him only on offense & not as a returner?

Carroll will get the ball to his weapons, and Harvin is a pretty safe bet to top 1000 yfs (with a bunch more on special teams). But Percy Harvin isn't his only weapon. Sidney Rice is a weapon. Marshawn Lynch is a weapon. Golden Tate is a weapon (2nd in the NFL in yards per target last year). Russell Wilson is a weapon running the ball. I don't think that Harvin will get the ball on offense 12 times a game anymore (targets + carries). Carroll is talking up Harvin, but he's also saying things like:

We’re not counting on tilting the field toward one guy or the other. I’m not thinking that way. We’re just going to go play football.

Golden is really ready to be a terrific football player. We love what he does, and we just have to get him the ball more and spread it around to him. It took him a couple years to get going and now he’s legit for us and we love what he brings. And he does different things than what Percy does. Percy is a very unique quality guy. I think it’s going to fit together just fine.

Before I heard Seattle wanted Harvin to dominate kickoffs, I was much more convinced that they were going to limit his usage to keep him fresh. After hearing Seattle wanted Harvin to dominate kickoffs, I am much more convinced that they want to get the ball in his hands as much as possible.

Getting a reduced special teams role is a positive development for young players like Randall Cobb, David Wilson, and Antonio Brown because those players use special teams as a stepping stone. The team doesn't really trust them yet, so they get special teams reps, and eventually they graduate to offense (leaving the special teams jobs for other up-and-comers looking to prove themselves). For players like Percy Harvin, Patrick Peterson, or Desean Jackson, they're already proven on their primary unit. They've demonstrated that they're top-notch contributors, and those primary-unit contributions are going to be more valuable to the team than anything they do on special teams. As a result, their teams wouldn't consider it a good tradeoff if they swapped out 3 offensive touches for 3 special teams touches. Any extra special teams reps they're going to get are not going to come at the cost of their offensive workload.

Similarly, if Carolina came out tomorrow and said that they were going to make Steve Smith a full-time punt returner, I would view this as a positive development for Steve Smith. I would not view it as an indicator that they were going to reduce his role on offense, as he's already demonstrated how integral he is to that unit; instead, I would view this as an indicator that the coaching staff is looking for even more ways to get the ball into Smith's hands. Or, to use a more extreme example, if Seattle was saying that Russell Wilson would handle all punt returns, I wouldn't take that as an indication that Wilson was getting phased out on offense, I would take it as an indication that the coaching staff felt Wilson was a peerless talent and was looking for more ways to get the ball in his hands. If you don't like the Russell Wilson analogy, then feel free to substitute Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Rob Gronkowski, etc.

Realistically, I think Harvin has reached a point where his offensive involvement is probably pretty independent from his special teams involvement (i.e. getting more or less work on special teams won't make a difference to how much work he gets on offense.) The main value of Harvin's special teams work to me is as a signal. When the coaches broadcast a commitment to using him on special teams, it signals to me a broader commitment to using him, period. It tells me that they aren't afraid of taking their new toy out for a spin and really opening it up on the country roads.

Fair enough. You've clearly thought this through, and I think I'd agree with you if this was Steve Smith (although it would be a very weak positive signal, perhaps not even strong enough to outweigh the added injury risk). I don't see it applying to Harvin, though. For one thing, there is also a signal in the other direction. If Seattle traded for Harvin with only an offensive role in mind then that would be a signal that they had bigger hopes for him on offense. But on the whole, I just don't think this indirect signal provides much information. We knew that Seattle wanted to use him a lot when they gave up a first+ and a big contract. The main question is whether he'll get the ball on offense 9 times a game or 12 times a game, and I don't think his special teams role does much to distinguish those two possibilities.

On some other particular players:

Hakeem Nicks: I am worried about his injuries and about the possibility that he could leave NY, but there are few receivers that match both his youth & track record. His expected number of remaining top 15 fantasy seasons is still more than the guys behind him, and if re-signs with NY, stays healthy, and plays near his 2010-11 level then he could easily jump into tier 3.

Michael Crabtree: He would've been in tier 4 if he was healthy, as another young receiver with a nice track record and a likely high-end WR2 for the next few years. I figure that the injury cost him about 25% of his value - 10% for being a year older the next time he plays, 5% for having to wait a year to get him back, and about 10% for the chance that he might never return to form. (I'm least confident about the last of these 3 numbers.) That's roughly the same cost as aging 3 years, and if Victor Cruz or Jordy Nelson was 3 years older than they are now (and in the same situation that they are now) then each of them would be in tier 5.

Eric Decker: I suspect that he'll be the odd man out in Denver, meaning probably a WR3 this year, with upside if DT or WW gets injured. He seems like the kind of player whose value depends a lot on his situation, so I think that his remaining time with Peyton accounts for the majority of his expected value.

DHB: He is indeed a Colt this year. Also, Brandon Marshall is a Bear. Surprised you guys missed that one. And there are at least 2 more that haven't been spotted.

Edited by ZWK

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Not to rain on the parade but these look like a copy and paste job, and has very little helpful info. I will just put my rankings in a list and post them without any rhyme or reason as to why I organized it as such. Should help so many.

Also, you didnt put together positional rankings, you just copy and pasted the WRs ones, so on top of that, your title is misleading.

He said he was starting with the WR's and adding other positions later.

Why don't you stick to polluting the dynasty trade thread. It's easy to ignore you there.

Yet you still respond, I feel you pollute the page... so there we are even.

Let's just litter the page with lists, no reasoning for it however, then we will be all set. It is a cut n paste job, don;t be foolish. HE DIDNT EVEN CHANGE THE TEAM DHB IS ON AND CRABTREE IS RANKED 23RD. Let's ignore the facts and not call out a fraud, because, you know, I'm not patting the guy on the back.

Sorry, I have been working on my anger issues. I should have said.

LET'S GIVE EVERYONE RIBBONS! Good job, you should be a staff member with this in depth reasoning for your rankings of WR. Can't wait to read a list of QBs RBs and TEs that I cannot get anywhere else.

Is ZWK too high on Crabtree, or too low? I'm honestly unclear on which you meant to imply. The staff consensus dynasty rankings have Crabtree at WR26. The DLF staff consensus also has him at 26, so it's not an FBGs-Echo-Chamber effect. I wouldn't think that ZWK's ranking of Crabtree at 23rd would raise any eyebrows.

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Not to rain on the parade but these look like a copy and paste job, and has very little helpful info. I will just put my rankings in a list and post them without any rhyme or reason as to why I organized it as such. Should help so many.

Also, you didnt put together positional rankings, you just copy and pasted the WRs ones, so on top of that, your title is misleading.

He said he was starting with the WR's and adding other positions later.

Why don't you stick to polluting the dynasty trade thread. It's easy to ignore you there.

Yet you still respond, I feel you pollute the page... so there we are even.

Let's just litter the page with lists, no reasoning for it however, then we will be all set. It is a cut n paste job, don;t be foolish. HE DIDNT EVEN CHANGE THE TEAM DHB IS ON AND CRABTREE IS RANKED 23RD. Let's ignore the facts and not call out a fraud, because, you know, I'm not patting the guy on the back.

Sorry, I have been working on my anger issues. I should have said.

LET'S GIVE EVERYONE RIBBONS! Good job, you should be a staff member with this in depth reasoning for your rankings of WR. Can't wait to read a list of QBs RBs and TEs that I cannot get anywhere else.

ZWK is one of the most thoughtful and data-driven posters I've seen on this site, sir, and I'm not one to give everyone ribbons. If you'd like evidence (you know, before calling a guy a "fraud"), you might consider searching for his posts and topics, where you'll find a large number of intelligent and well reasoned arguments on a variety of fantasy football related topics.

ZWK also won the (un)prestigious* "SSoG's Poster of The Year" award (aka the "SPOTY") for 2012, and oddsmakers have installed him as a front-runner for the 2013 honor, as well.

There are a lot of phenomenal posters on these forums. I've never met any of them, but there are plenty that I nonetheless still consider friends, and even more who I greatly respect and admire. There are far too many amazing contributors for me to say that ZWK is my favorite among them... but if I had to pick favorites, he'd certainly be making my shortlist. He's flown under the radar for a while, but the secret is getting out; ZWK is a rising star in fantasy football, and I would recommend to everyone that you keep an eye out for his work going forward. I have yet to be disappointed.

*unprestigious is not technically a word, but I didn't think the traditional antonyms for prestigious sufficed; I demur from any quirk of the English language that places "modest" or "humble" in such close proximity to "SSoG". ;)

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Excellent work by the original poster ignoring the wreck like a #####.

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TIGHT ENDS

There is a weird distribution of TEs right now - two elite guys at the top, then a huge gap, then a ton of guys with a reasonable shot to be top 12 this season, or at least not far off the pace. That makes low-end TE1 production not that valuable - the main question is who else has a shot to get some separation from the pack. I have some opinions but not anything all that strong, so to me it looks like a good offseason to go for value: trade for whoever comes cheap (in the top 20-25) and trade away TEs that you can get a good price for (outside the top 2).

1 1 Rob Gronkowski NE 24.3
1 2 Jimmy Graham NO 26.8
3 3 Jermichael Finley GB 26.4 **

3 4 Jason Witten DAL 31.3
3 5 Vernon Davis SF 29.6
3 6 Greg Olsen CAR 28.5
3 7 Kyle Rudolph MIN 23.8
3 8 Tyler Eifert CIN 23.0
3 9 Dennis Pitta BAL 28.2
3 10 Jared Cook STL 26.4
3 11 Martellus Bennett CHI 26.5
4 12 Dustin Keller MIA 28.9 **
4 13 Coby Fleener IND 24.9

4 14 Tony Gonzalez ATL 37.5
4 15 Dwayne Allen IND 23.5
4 16 Zach Ertz PHI 22.8
4 17 Travis Kelce KC 23.9
4 18 Jordan Cameron CLE 25.1
4 19 Fred Davis WAS 27.6
4 20 Jermaine Gresham CIN 25.2
4 21 Owen Daniels HOU 30.8
4 22 Brandon Myers NYG 28.0
4 23 Antonio Gates SD 33.2
4 24 Jordan Reed WAS 23.2
4 25 Robert Housler ARI 25.5
4 26 Brandon Pettigrew DET 28.5 --
5 27 Zach Miller SEA 27.7
5 28 Ladarius Green SD 23.3
5 29 Heath Miller PIT 30.9
5 30 Jacob Tamme DEN 29.5
5 31 Brent Celek PHI 28.6
5 32 Lance Kendricks STL 25.6
5 33 Marcedes Lewis JAX 29.3
5 34 Jake Ballard NE 25.8
5 35 Delanie Walker TEN 29.1


Rob Gronkowski has been on another level at TE, with a significant gap even between him and Graham. If he was healthy then he'd get his own tier; if he was healthy and listed as a WR then I think I'd put him 6th (between Dez & Harvin). But back injuries are no joke, which makes TE1 a close call and prevents any TEs from cracking the top 10 WRs in raw expected fantasy points (though TEs G&G are both ahead of Cruz in my overall rankings, because of positional value).

Jason Witten is a safe bet to have a gap on TE12. But in non-PPR it probably won't be that big a gap, and at 31 years old he doesn't have many years of this left. Two years of 30 VBD isn't worth all that much - he is a sell if you can get anything good (even a tier 7 WR - Hilton/Decker/Austin/etc.).

My earlier comments on why I like Jermichael Finley & and Dustin Keller. Short version: 1) don't worry too much about one bad year - look at the track record since 2009 or 2010. 2) Quarterback matters a lot for TEs. Aaron Rodgers good. Mark Sanchez bad. Tannehill maybe pretty good? (I'm keeping a close eye on the Indy & Washington TEs for the same reason.)

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My earlier comments on why I like Jermichael Finley & and Dustin Keller. Short version: 1) don't worry too much about one bad year - look at the track record since 2009 or 2010. 2) Quarterback matters a lot for TEs. Aaron Rodgers good. Mark Sanchez bad. Tannehill maybe pretty good? (I'm keeping a close eye on the Indy & Washington TEs for the same reason.)

1) Okay, so let's look back at Finley's track record since 2009. If we toss out 2012, Finley's averaging about 7.6 fantasy points per game (he's been remarkably consisting, with between 7.2 and 7.8 points per game in each of the three seasons). That's about 122 points per 16 games, which would be good for 26 VBD in 2012, 24 VBD in 2011, 25 VBD in 2010, or 23 VBD in 2009. So, basically, if you give Finley a complete mulligan for last season, (which would be unwise), he's a 24-25 VBD a year kind of guy- or, in other words, 6 VBD a season less than Jason Witten has averaged (without the assistance of a mulligan). Keller is even worse, as his mulligan only manages to get him to 105 points per 16 games, or about 7-8 points of VBD.

2) I get that you're upgrading Keller because he's likely seeing a big upgrade at QB. I don't get why you're giving Finley such a big boost for Aaron Rodgers. Finley is on the last year of his contract, and there's been enough bad blood in his relationship with Green Bay that there's a very good chance they don't bring him back. Hell, there were reports coming out in December that Green Bay was going to cut him outright after the season was over. It seems to me that, for someone who puts so much emphasis on the quality of quarterback play, you're ranking Finley as if there's a 100% chance he's still playing for Green Bay in 2014 and beyond. I'd put the real odds much, much lower than that.

In other words, Jermichael Finley is a guy who, while playing with arguably the best QB in the league, only manages to average 26 VBD a year if you do him the huge favor of tossing out a third of his last 50 games. And it's very possible, perhaps even probable, that this is the last year he'll ever play with that great quarterback of his. I happen to really like Finley- only one staffer (Borbely) has ranked him higher for dynasty, and only one staffer (Hammond) has him ranked higher for redraft. I sniped him from Dodds in the Staff Mock. I totally get being high on Finley, I just think TE3 is unreasonably so. Obviously I don't know what your overall rankings would look like, but for most, their 3rd ranked TE falls somewhere between the very tail end of the 3rd round and the very tail end of the 5th round. Again, it's possible you only have 2 TEs who you have rated as worth a pick in the first 6 rounds (Tefertiller, for example, has Witten as his third TE coming in at 72 in his overall rankings). Still, I would think that a TE3 ranking would typically suggest that you consider that player worth a pick in the 4-5 round range, and there's absolutely no way Jermichael Finley deserves to be picked anywhere near that.

If Finley signed a 6 year contract extension, then I think TE3 might be more justified. Unless and until that happens, though, it's just not realistic, even in such a brutally weak tight end crop.

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TIGHT ENDS

There is a weird distribution of TEs right now - two elite guys at the top, then a huge gap, then a ton of guys with a reasonable shot to be top 12 this season, or at least not far off the pace. That makes low-end TE1 production not that valuable - the main question is who else has a shot to get some separation from the pack. I have some opinions but not anything all that strong, so to me it looks like a good offseason to go for value: trade for whoever comes cheap (in the top 20-25) and trade away TEs that you can get a good price for (outside the top 2).

1 1 Rob Gronkowski NE 24.3

1 2 Jimmy Graham NO 26.8

3 3 Jermichael Finley GB 26.4 **

3 4 Jason Witten DAL 31.3

3 5 Vernon Davis SF 29.6

3 6 Greg Olsen CAR 28.5

3 7 Kyle Rudolph MIN 23.8

3 8 Tyler Eifert CIN 23.0

3 9 Dennis Pitta BAL 28.2

3 10 Jared Cook STL 26.4

3 11 Martellus Bennett CHI 26.5

4 12 Dustin Keller MIA 28.9 **

4 13 Coby Fleener IND 24.9

4 14 Tony Gonzalez ATL 37.5

4 15 Dwayne Allen IND 23.5

4 16 Zach Ertz PHI 22.8

4 17 Travis Kelce KC 23.9

4 18 Jordan Cameron CLE 25.1

4 19 Fred Davis WAS 27.6

4 20 Jermaine Gresham CIN 25.2

4 21 Owen Daniels HOU 30.8

4 22 Brandon Myers NYG 28.0

4 23 Antonio Gates SD 33.2

4 24 Jordan Reed WAS 23.2

4 25 Robert Housler ARI 25.5

4 26 Brandon Pettigrew DET 28.5 --

5 27 Zach Miller SEA 27.7

5 28 Ladarius Green SD 23.3

5 29 Heath Miller PIT 30.9

5 30 Jacob Tamme DEN 29.5

5 31 Brent Celek PHI 28.6

5 32 Lance Kendricks STL 25.6

5 33 Marcedes Lewis JAX 29.3

5 34 Jake Ballard NE 25.8

5 35 Delanie Walker TEN 29.1

Rob Gronkowski has been on another level at TE, with a significant gap even between him and Graham. If he was healthy then he'd get his own tier; if he was healthy and listed as a WR then I think I'd put him 6th (between Dez & Harvin). But back injuries are no joke, which makes TE1 a close call and prevents any TEs from cracking the top 10 WRs in raw expected fantasy points (though TEs G&G are both ahead of Cruz in my overall rankings, because of positional value).

Jason Witten is a safe bet to have a gap on TE12. But in non-PPR it probably won't be that big a gap, and at 31 years old he doesn't have many years of this left. Two years of 30 VBD isn't worth all that much - he is a sell if you can get anything good (even a tier 7 WR - Hilton/Decker/Austin/etc.).

My earlier comments on why I like Jermichael Finley & and Dustin Keller. Short version: 1) don't worry too much about one bad year - look at the track record since 2009 or 2010. 2) Quarterback matters a lot for TEs. Aaron Rodgers good. Mark Sanchez bad. Tannehill maybe pretty good? (I'm keeping a close eye on the Indy & Washington TEs for the same reason.)

I like Graham > Gronk, mainly because I think he's a lot more likely to maintain his value for several years. Gronk just has the feel of a guy that's going to flame out early, and we've already seen some of that with his mounting injury problems. Wouldn't touch him at his ADP in dynasty myself.

Other than that, the main thing that jumps out at me right away is the low ranking of Tyler Eifert. With Hernandez out of the picture, I have Eifert ranked as the dynasty TE3. He looks the part of a solid starting TE and passes every test in terms of production, draft position, and workout numbers. I think an Olsen type of career is basically his downside, so I'd much rather have the 23 year old version than guys like Davis, Olsen, and Finley. I think his speed and big play potential give him a big edge over Rudolph, who had really poor yards per target numbers last season and seems to offer little in the playmaking department besides jump ball ability.

Other than that, I'd find room for Gavin Escobar and Vance McDonald over some of the has-beens and never-weres like Zach Miller, Heath Miller, Ladarius Green, and Jacob Tamme. Either one of those guys could be a viable starter 2-3 years from now.

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The way I see ZWK ranking these players. I do not see it as that relevant where a guy might be ranked ahead of another when both of those players on in the same tier.

TE 3-11 are pretty much the same player. Which one of them you like more than the others is a matter of preference, current team needs and in the end may not matter much as they will all be scoring in the same range. Tier 4TE from 12-26 after that they may not be worth rostering.

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My earlier comments on why I like Jermichael Finley & and Dustin Keller. Short version: 1) don't worry too much about one bad year - look at the track record since 2009 or 2010. 2) Quarterback matters a lot for TEs. Aaron Rodgers good. Mark Sanchez bad. Tannehill maybe pretty good? (I'm keeping a close eye on the Indy & Washington TEs for the same reason.)

1) Okay, so let's look back at Finley's track record since 2009. If we toss out 2012, Finley's averaging about 7.6 fantasy points per game (he's been remarkably consisting, with between 7.2 and 7.8 points per game in each of the three seasons). That's about 122 points per 16 games, which would be good for 26 VBD in 2012, 24 VBD in 2011, 25 VBD in 2010, or 23 VBD in 2009. So, basically, if you give Finley a complete mulligan for last season, (which would be unwise), he's a 24-25 VBD a year kind of guy- or, in other words, 6 VBD a season less than Jason Witten has averaged (without the assistance of a mulligan). Keller is even worse, as his mulligan only manages to get him to 105 points per 16 games, or about 7-8 points of VBD.

2) I get that you're upgrading Keller because he's likely seeing a big upgrade at QB. I don't get why you're giving Finley such a big boost for Aaron Rodgers. Finley is on the last year of his contract, and there's been enough bad blood in his relationship with Green Bay that there's a very good chance they don't bring him back. Hell, there were reports coming out in December that Green Bay was going to cut him outright after the season was over. It seems to me that, for someone who puts so much emphasis on the quality of quarterback play, you're ranking Finley as if there's a 100% chance he's still playing for Green Bay in 2014 and beyond. I'd put the real odds much, much lower than that.

In other words, Jermichael Finley is a guy who, while playing with arguably the best QB in the league, only manages to average 26 VBD a year if you do him the huge favor of tossing out a third of his last 50 games. And it's very possible, perhaps even probable, that this is the last year he'll ever play with that great quarterback of his. I happen to really like Finley- only one staffer (Borbely) has ranked him higher for dynasty, and only one staffer (Hammond) has him ranked higher for redraft. I sniped him from Dodds in the Staff Mock. I totally get being high on Finley, I just think TE3 is unreasonably so. Obviously I don't know what your overall rankings would look like, but for most, their 3rd ranked TE falls somewhere between the very tail end of the 3rd round and the very tail end of the 5th round. Again, it's possible you only have 2 TEs who you have rated as worth a pick in the first 6 rounds (Tefertiller, for example, has Witten as his third TE coming in at 72 in his overall rankings). Still, I would think that a TE3 ranking would typically suggest that you consider that player worth a pick in the 4-5 round range, and there's absolutely no way Jermichael Finley deserves to be picked anywhere near that.

If Finley signed a 6 year contract extension, then I think TE3 might be more justified. Unless and until that happens, though, it's just not realistic, even in such a brutally weak tight end crop.

I don't have Finley as a 4th-5th rounder - more like a 7th rounder (although I haven't made full overall rankings). As the intro to my TE rankings suggested, I see TEs 3-10 (Finley through Cook) as a pretty tight cluster (Bennett is a straggler, sort of between tiers).

Obviously Finley's value depends a lot on whether he stays in GB. I think that he has a pretty good chance of getting re-signed long-term, especially if he plays well this year (which means that the possible zeroes that he'll get from switchin to a worse team mostly cut out of the scenarios where he wouldn't have had much value in GB either).

25 VBD per year in GB is a reasonable projection for Finley as the most likely outcome. He has downside - a repeat of last year and then out of town & essentially valueless. And I think that he has plenty of upside too. There is a history in GB now of a receiver sticking around for a few years, looking like a middling talent with only a modest amount of fantasy value, and then stepping up into a bigger role. It happened with Jordy Nelson a few years ago after I had essentially given up on him (if he going to break out he would've done it by now, I figured), and then last year with James Jones (at a lower level). Finley could be next.

You think that it's not realistic to have Finley at TE3; is there any one particular TE that you think it's unrealistic to have him ahead of? I see that you have Witten at TE3 and he is the obvious choice. I actually had Witten ahead of Finley on my first pass through of the rankings, before I took a closer look at Witten and got more quantitative about it, and I think I would've kept Witten at #3 for a PPR league. But the 5-year age gap outweighs Witten's modest VBD advantage.

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On further consideration, I think I'm still overrating Witten, and I'm underrating Vernon Davis. They should flip spots and possibly move even farther - Davis vs. Finley is a close call, and I could see Witten ending up anywhere from 5th to 9th.

Both of these look like cases of anchoring and insufficient adjustment - I had Witten as the obvious #3 and then only slid him down below Finley at the last minute after guessing at Witten's numbers. And I don't think I'd fully incorporated Crabtree's injury into my thinking about Davis. Davis has the talent but didn't get the ball much from Kaepernick last year. Crabtree's injury should give him a big boost this season, and there's a good chance that there will be some carry-over after Crabtree comes back as he continues to have Kaepernick's eye (and at least some of the plays designed for him continue to be used).

Other than that, I'd find room for Gavin Escobar and Vance McDonald over some of the has-beens and never-weres like Zach Miller, Heath Miller, Ladarius Green, and Jacob Tamme. Either one of those guys could be a viable starter 2-3 years from now.

Gavin Escobar & Vance McDonald: Similar thoughts to what I said about Chris Harper. My philosophy is that it's not worth waiting 2-3 years on a guy who probably won't pan out and doesn't have much upside. Roster spots are valuable - I try to fill them with guys who might start some games for me this year, or for prospects with a reasonable shot to be at least solid fantasy starters, or for guys who might be more of a long shot but have a chance to emerge very soon.

Obviously this depends on roster size (the value of a roster slot is much lower with huge rosters), and on your league's taxi squad rules. If I'm looking to fill a taxi squad spot, then the relevant list for me to look at is my overall rookie rankings rather than my positional rankings.

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On further consideration, I think I'm still overrating Witten, and I'm underrating Vernon Davis. They should flip spots and possibly move even farther - Davis vs. Finley is a close call, and I could see Witten ending up anywhere from 5th to 9th.

Both of these look like cases of anchoring and insufficient adjustment - I had Witten as the obvious #3 and then only slid him down below Finley at the last minute after guessing at Witten's numbers. And I don't think I'd fully incorporated Crabtree's injury into my thinking about Davis. Davis has the talent but didn't get the ball much from Kaepernick last year. Crabtree's injury should give him a big boost this season, and there's a good chance that there will be some carry-over after Crabtree comes back as he continues to have Kaepernick's eye (and at least some of the plays designed for him continue to be used).

Other than that, I'd find room for Gavin Escobar and Vance McDonald over some of the has-beens and never-weres like Zach Miller, Heath Miller, Ladarius Green, and Jacob Tamme. Either one of those guys could be a viable starter 2-3 years from now.

Gavin Escobar & Vance McDonald: Similar thoughts to what I said about Chris Harper. My philosophy is that it's not worth waiting 2-3 years on a guy who probably won't pan out and doesn't have much upside. Roster spots are valuable - I try to fill them with guys who might start some games for me this year, or for prospects with a reasonable shot to be at least solid fantasy starters, or for guys who might be more of a long shot but have a chance to emerge very soon.

Obviously this depends on roster size (the value of a roster slot is much lower with huge rosters), and on your league's taxi squad rules. If I'm looking to fill a taxi squad spot, then the relevant list for me to look at is my overall rookie rankings rather than my positional rankings.

2nd-4th round has yielded some good TE value in recent years. Witten, Gronk, Graham, Hernandez, Daniels, Finley, Pitta, and Fred Davis to name a few.

I'd rather take a flyer on someone like McDonald or Escobar developing into that kind of player than use the spot on a retread like Lewis, Tamme, or Z Miller. Those guys are known mediocrities and a bigger waste of roster space than a more unknown quantity who might have a higher ceiling.

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I would also rather not use a roster spot on guys like Lewis, Tamme, or Z Miller - that's why they're tier 5. They're low-end stopgap players, who are probably only worth owning if you might have a hole in your starting lineup TE. If I don't need that on my roster then I won't have any of them - I'll use that roster spot on some other position.

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Two things surprise me with the tight ends. 1st I can't believe Pitta is 28. Didn't he come out in the same draft with Gronk and Hernandez?

2nd. Another poster said he prefers Graham to Gronk because he thinks Gronk flames out early and with his injuries we have already started to see it. When have we seen it? When the guy has been on the field he has been a monster and has shown no signs of previous injuries slowing him down, he is also only 24 and 24 year olds heal better than 34 year olds.

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Two things surprise me with the tight ends. 1st I can't believe Pitta is 28. Didn't he come out in the same draft with Gronk and Hernandez?

2nd. Another poster said he prefers Graham to Gronk because he thinks Gronk flames out early and with his injuries we have already started to see it. When have we seen it? When the guy has been on the field he has been a monster and has shown no signs of previous injuries slowing him down, he is also only 24 and 24 year olds heal better than 34 year olds.

Pitta went to BYU. I would guess that he's LDS and that he went on a mission at some point in college. Hence the advanced age.

As for Graham/Gronk, the main difference in their production has been TDs. In 2011 Graham had 99 catches for 1310 yards. Gronk had 90 catches for 1327 yards. Last year Graham averaged 65 yards per game compared to 71 yards per game for Gronk. Those numbers are pretty similar. Similar enough that Graham could have more catches/yards than Gronk in any given year. Gronk seems to have an edge in terms of scoring touchdowns, but IMO those are always a bit more volatile and prone to variance than yards. I'm willing to give him a slight edge if both are 100% healthy, but it's not like he's leaps and bounds better. It's pretty close.

My main issue with Gronk is that I don't trust him to stay healthy. Graham is a lot more fluid and nimble than Gronk. He's capable of avoiding hits and protecting himself. Gronk is more of a pure bulldozer who tries to run over everything in his path. That's fun to watch, but probably not the best long term survival strategy. We've already seen him laid up with recurring back problems and a broken forearm. With his playing style, I think he's a prime candidate to flame out early. So even though he's two years younger than Graham and presumably has more left in the tank, I would be reluctant to use a top 20 startup pick on him.

Granted, that's more of a subjective hunch than really strong statistical analysis. The number of injuries has to be alarming though, especially since he missed an entire college season because of his back. I just get the sense that there's a lot more risk here than you'd think just looking at his age and production to date.

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On further consideration, I think I'm still overrating Witten, and I'm underrating Vernon Davis. They should flip spots and possibly move even farther - Davis vs. Finley is a close call, and I could see Witten ending up anywhere from 5th to 9th.

Both of these look like cases of anchoring and insufficient adjustment - I had Witten as the obvious #3 and then only slid him down below Finley at the last minute after guessing at Witten's numbers. And I don't think I'd fully incorporated Crabtree's injury into my thinking about Davis. Davis has the talent but didn't get the ball much from Kaepernick last year. Crabtree's injury should give him a big boost this season, and there's a good chance that there will be some carry-over after Crabtree comes back as he continues to have Kaepernick's eye (and at least some of the plays designed for him continue to be used).

You hit on my two. I've got Witten ahead of Finley only because staff dynasty rankings are PPR, and Witten pretty much doubles his VBD totals in PPR leagues. I'd have Davis ahead of Finley in all formats, just because he's a better talent and I think his role is going to be substantial. I also prefer Eifert to Finley, because I think he's a better talent with a pretty high floor, and because he's only 23. I've got Finley as my TE6, but I think there's a small tier break between those three and the Finley-through-Pitta/Gresham group.

I do think you're underestimating the chances that Finley plays well, but Green Bay lets him walk anyway. Green Bay is teeming with capable pass-catchers, and I'd imagine they wouldn't find it any harder to part with Finley than they found it to part with Jennings.

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I am curious what is your method (methods) for evaluating exit value for these players? How do you take age into account?


I am noticing that you have Fitzgerald in tier 3 while Andre,White, VJax are a tier below. All of these guys are slightly older than Fitzgerald. Is this part of why Fitz makes the 3rd tier instead of the 4th with those others?


Other players with similar age and track record are Colston tier 5 Mike Austin and Jennings tier 7. I know why Jennings is this low, Ponder sucks. Is Colston due to injury risk?


What are your projections for Fitzgerald, Andre, White, VJax, Colston, Austin for 2013? What about beyond that? How many seasons do you take into consideration for your ranking?

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It's fun to get this pushback - it's making me take another look at some of these players and put more thought into how I'm ranking them. I've been reshuffling my top 10 TEs, and now have them ranked:

3 Vernon Davis
4 Jermichael Finley
5 Kyle Rudolph
6 Tyler Eifert
7 Jason Witten
8 Dennis Pitta
9 Greg Olsen

There are a lot of changes in there, which I think is appropriate - when players are tightly clustered together, it shouldn't take much for them to move past each other.

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I am curious what is your method (methods) for evaluating exit value for these players? How do you take age into account?
I am noticing that you have Fitzgerald in tier 3 while Andre,White, VJax are a tier below. All of these guys are slightly older than Fitzgerald. Is this part of why Fitz makes the 3rd tier instead of the 4th with those others?
Other players with similar age and track record are Colston tier 5 Mike Austin and Jennings tier 7. I know why Jennings is this low, Ponder sucks. Is Colston due to injury risk?
What are your projections for Fitzgerald, Andre, White, VJax, Colston, Austin for 2013? What about beyond that? How many seasons do you take into consideration for your ranking?

I don't have numerical projections for everyone. My dynasty rankings for these guys roughly match up with my redraft rankings - I have Andre, Fitzgerald, White, and VJax in the 2nd half of my WR1s (roughly 7-10), Colston as a high-end WR2, and Austin & Jennings as WR3s. Age is why Fitz is a tier ahead, and lack of upside is why Colston is a tier below. Last year, Demaryius Thomas (WR5) was worth almost 1.5x as much as Colston (WR11); the guys ahead of Colston all have a real shot to put up seasons like DT's but Colston does not. Colston's injury history roughly cancels out his age advantage over guys like Roddy & Andre.

My rankings are based on expected fantasy production, not on future trade value, so I don't account for exit value. I take into account all future seasons, with future years discounted only slightly compared to closer years. You could think of my rankings as a rough (intuitive, approximate) attempt to guess at expected remaining career VBD, with some slight subtleties (e.g., accounting for the value of a roster space). To the extent that players' trade value in your league does not match their expected future fantasy production, that is something to take into account when you make trades or draft players; I account for it separately rather than trying to incorporate it into my rankings.

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Are you using quality years remaining? Or how are you valuing them in terms of long term expected VBD performance? When they hit certain ages do you discount them for that landmark? I seem to recall you saying you are using QYR? I am interested in the process moreso than the results.

accounting for the value of a roster space

This is interesting. I would like to see some analysis of the value of roster slots relative to one another. A 12 team league very different than a 16 team league. 20 roster spots compared to 40 each spot would be worth half as much as they would in a 20 slot league. The scoring baselines would be the same but the larger the number of roster spots the more players below baseline will be rostered. Part of what I do not like about deeper leagues is there is less waiver wire action and less viable prospects for a rebuilding team to usefully churn through and get back to competitive again. Draft picks become more valuable I think the deeper the roster. There are no free agents on the same level as prospects as the rookies in that situation except for occasionally a guy might slip through.

Pairing the value of a roster spot to a draft pick would be some useful information I think. Not sure how I would try to answer that question.

Edited by Biabreakable

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Are you using quality years remaining? Or how are you valuing them in terms of long term expected VBD performance? When they hit certain ages do you discount them for that landmark? I seem to recall you saying you are using QYR? I am interested in the process moreso than the results.

accounting for the value of a roster space

This is interesting. I would like to see some analysis of the value of roster slots relative to one another. A 12 team league very different than a 16 team league. 20 roster spots compared to 40 each spot would be worth half as much as they would in a 20 slot league. The scoring baselines would be the same but the larger the number of roster spots the more players below baseline will be rostered. Part of what I do not like about deeper leagues is there is less waiver wire action and less viable prospects for a rebuilding team to usefully churn through and get back to competitive again. Draft picks become more valuable I think the deeper the roster. There are no free agents on the same level as prospects as the rookies in that situation except for occasionally a guy might slip through.

Pairing the value of a roster spot to a draft pick would be some useful information I think. Not sure how I would try to answer that question.

I am not being that systematic about how I do these rankings - a lot of it is just an intuitive "would I rather have this player or that one?". But I do a fair amount of thinking, looking at stats, number crunching, and other analysis which feeds into that question (though I spend more time on some players than others).

I am taking into account something like quality years remaining (QYR) - I did an analysis of aging patterns for RBs & WRs and found that age is more important for RBs than for WRs. When a RB gets 1 year older that reduces his expected number of remaining years by about 0.5; for a WR it's only about 0.3. RBs pretty much never make it past 31; with WRs that cutoff is age 35. When I did that "years remaining" analysis I also calculated the average remaining VBD (by age), and I use that as a rough guideline for how much to take age into account.

I do consider redraft rankings (based in part on other people's published rankings and ADP, and in part on my own opinions). And I try to at least consider how I'd rank the player for redraft in 2014 as well (and occasionally also for 2015). That gets me thinking more about talent, about how a player's current redraft value depends on his role & situation, and about how stable his situation & role are and in what ways they might change. For example, I like Jordy Nelson a lot this year but his 2015 value is hard to predict, since two years from now he'll be 30 years old and at the end of his contract. That makes him somewhat similar to older receivers like Andre, Roddy, and Colston, as he's someone who is likely to have a lot of value over the next 2 years but has a high risk of offering nothing beyond that (he is still ranked ahead of all of them because of the chance that he'll re-sign).

Another thing that I try to do is to keep multiple possible scenarios in mind, and to give them the appropriate weight in my projections. I try to explicitly consider the main few possibilities, smushing/averaging together similar ones, with a rough sense of their likelihood and how to combine them. For example (sorry if this example is hard to follow), I think Jordy Nelson has a bit under a 50% chance of leaving GB in 2 years, in which case his value will plummet; his total future worth is worth roughly 2x his 2013 value in the leaves-town scenario. If he re-signs GB at age 30 then I'd guess he'll have another 3 years more in GB in expectation, with value each year a bit lower than in 2013 because of age-related decline and the risk of a shrinking role if they find another talented receiver. In the stays-in-GB scenario his total future value is roughly 4x his 2013 value or a little more. Combining those, I'd guess that his remaining career value is a bit over 3x his 2013 value, before taking into account the standard risks that every player faces (e.g., injury, etc.). This year he's worth maybe 80-90% as much as guys like Andre or Roddy, and a bit more than someone like Colston, and those guys probably have more like 2 years (worth of 2013-level production) left in expectation. I usually don't calculate this all out in numbers, but I do think through the scenarios and try to hone my intuitions to roughly match this kind of reasoning (e.g., with Amendola).

With younger prospects who haven't done much yet in the NFL, I'm more likely to use my generic rookie rankings as the starting point for my intuition.

For the value of a roster spot - in a league with about 250 position players rostered, a ballpark figure that I use is that a roster spot is worth 10 VBD per year. (I don't remember exactly where that came from; I may have just pulled it out of my, uh, brain.) If you spend the next 3 years with Gavin Escobar, Christine Michael, or Brock Osweiler on your bench, waiting to see if he'll take advantage of his chance once he gets it, then you burned about 30 VBD by not having that roster spot to churn. (Another ballpark figure: 100 fpts = 1 win; so you cost yourself about 0.3 games.) With Christine Michael I think the player is easily worth that cost - a starting RB can make those 30 pts up very quickly. With Escobar & Osweiler I'm not so optimistic. With larger rosters, that number can drop dramatically which changes the calculation considerably; managing the bottom third of your roster is a very different game then.

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QUARTERBACKS

1 1 Aaron Rodgers GB 30.7
2 2 Robert Griffin III WAS 23.5 **
2 3 Andrew Luck IND 24.0
2 4 Cam Newton CAR 24.3
3 5 Drew Brees NO 34.6
3 6 Matt Ryan ATL 28.3
3 7 Russell Wilson SEA 24.8
3 8 Colin Kaepernick SF 25.8
4 9 Peyton Manning DEN 37.4
4 10 Tom Brady NE 36.1
4 11 Matthew Stafford DET 25.6 --
5 12 Tony Romo DAL 33.4
6 13 Ryan Tannehill MIA 25.1
6 14 Josh Freeman TB 25.6 **
6 15 EJ Manuel BUF 23.5 **
7 16 Andy Dalton CIN 25.8
7 17 Sam Bradford STL 25.8
7 18 Eli Manning NYG 32.7
7 19 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 32.5
7 20 Michael Vick PHI 33.2 **
7 21 Joe Flacco BAL 28.6
7 22 Philip Rivers SD 31.7
8 23 Geno Smith NYJ 22.9
8 24 Jay Cutler CHI 30.3
8 25 Matt Flynn OAK 28.2
8 26 Ryan Mallett NE 25.2 **
8 27 Matt Schaub HOU 32.2
8 28 Carson Palmer ARI 33.7
8 29 Jake Locker TEN 25.2
8 30 Matt Barkley PHI 23.0
8 31 Nick Foles PHI 24.6
8 32 Alex Smith KC 31.4
9 33 Tyler Wilson OAK 24.1
9 34 Brock Osweiler DEN 22.8
9 35 Kirk Cousins WAS 25.1
9 36 Christian Ponder MIN 25.5
9 37 Brandon Weeden CLE 29.9
9 38 Chad Henne JAX 28.2
9 39 Blaine Gabbert JAX 23.9
9 40 Kevin Kolb BUF 29.0

Brief capsules of my top 22 (described in terms of their fantasy value, not their style of play):

Rodgers & Brees are super-elite fantasy QBs (near 100 VBD); Rodgers is not old for a QB.

RGIII, Luck, and Newton are already very good to elite fantasy QBs (mid-range QB1's or better), and have a shot to join the super-elite and stay there for a long time.

Ryan, Wilson, and Kaepernick are good to very good fantasy QBs, and young, with some upside (but not as strong as the other 3).

Manning & Brady are elite fantasy QBs (a step back from Rodgers & Brees but ahead of everyone else), but getting up there in years.

Stafford & Romo are good fantasy QBs (low end QB1's); Stafford is young but I don't see much upside for either.

Freeman is a high-end QB2 with some upside; EJ Manuel is a boom-or-bust guy who could become a mid-range QB1 (thanks in part to his running); Tannehill is in between. QBs usually show what they can do in their first year or two of starting, so it's worth getting them young based on something like the urgency consideration (which works on a longer time scale for QBs than for WRs).

Dalton is Freeman with less upside. Bradford is like Manuel after a few years without booming (but he started as a better prospect, so he has only fallen to a bit below Manuel). Eli & Ben are like Freeman but older. Flacco & Rivers are similar to them but worse (or: Flacco is like Dalton but older). Vick is like a riskier Romo, with less time left.

In tier 8 you're looking at much riskier options, or guys who are probably mid-range QB2's at best. Mallett is a tier ahead of other backups like Osweiler because he is likely to get a shot at a starting job sooner. Tier 9 (like my last tier at the other positions) has guys who I'd rather not have on my roster; Barkley and/or Foles is likely to join that tier after we see how camp shakes out in Philly.

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I like the RG3 ranking. Everyone seemed to panic about him this offseason. I think he'll be fine.

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Two things surprise me with the tight ends. 1st I can't believe Pitta is 28. Didn't he come out in the same draft with Gronk and Hernandez?

2nd. Another poster said he prefers Graham to Gronk because he thinks Gronk flames out early and with his injuries we have already started to see it. When have we seen it? When the guy has been on the field he has been a monster and has shown no signs of previous injuries slowing him down, he is also only 24 and 24 year olds heal better than 34 year olds.

I'm sorry I must be confused, since when has it become age that wins titles and not production?

I know a few old TEs that are way better then some young ones. By the time that old one is done, you acquire another old one, who used to be one of the younger ones you speak of. See how the cycle works and how age is one of the most over valued ratings systems of dynos. Just my thoughts.

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I like the RG3 ranking. Everyone seemed to panic about him this offseason. I think he'll be fine.

Knee will not be an issue, but people laughed at me when I said that about ADP last year. ACL injuries are not what they use to be, especially when the team doctor is the doctor who performed the surgery. Andrews has been there every step of the way. I would put value on that knee becoming mechanical like ADPs.

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Thanks for the response ZWK. I think I have a better understanding of where you are coming from when forming the rankings. Hopefully that helps others reading the thread understand them as well.

You are moving too fast for me! I was still working through the WR list. :)

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Flacco is too low in my opinion. I'm also going off of a 10-12 team league where QB is kinda deep. In that case, no team is viewing Flacco as a starter, but rather as a #2. As such, if you have a "stud" as your #1 (Rodgers through maybe R Wilson on your list), then would you rather have a 28 year old QB locked up in a long term deal, or any of the 2 (maybe 3) guys right above him who are all 4-5 years older as your "solid backup QB"? I'll take Flacco and then with my "stud" not have to worry about QB at all for the next 5-7 years.

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Thanks for the rankings. Really enjoy them; great work.

My thoughts on TEs - 2 guys offer major advantage this year, and for the next 5+. 1 more offers you a major advantage this year and for the next 2-3. 1 more offers major advantage for this year alone. That's it - in terms of proven production. The other proven guys aren't going to win you fantasy games.

Give me the proven advantage or the potential for that advantage. Swing for the fences and hedge your bet with the best incoming crop of TEs in my time playing (at this point in the process). Give me Witten or Eifer after the big 2. Give me Fleener/Allen as a combo late. But no way I would overpay for Davis, Finley, etc. It's choosing baseline production when said production rarely matters. Give me Daniels late over Finley early, etc. Baseline is baseline.

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I like the RG3 ranking. Everyone seemed to panic about him this offseason. I think he'll be fine.

Knee will not be an issue, but people laughed at me when I said that about ADP last year. ACL injuries are not what they use to be, especially when the team doctor is the doctor who performed the surgery. Andrews has been there every step of the way. I would put value on that knee becoming mechanical like ADPs.

I don't think the knee is the biggest issue. If it's not the knee, it will be the ribs, the head, the ankle, etc. His game is going to have to change some, and what does it look like, fantasy wise, when it does? That's the concern I have and the reason I am willing to take Newton and Rodgers over him, as well as consider other options, like Wilson and Luck.

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QUARTERBACKS

1 1 Aaron Rodgers GB 30.7

2 2 Robert Griffin III WAS 23.5 **

2 3 Andrew Luck IND 24.0

2 4 Cam Newton CAR 24.3

3 5 Drew Brees NO 34.6

3 6 Matt Ryan ATL 28.3

3 7 Russell Wilson SEA 24.8

3 8 Colin Kaepernick SF 25.8

4 9 Peyton Manning DEN 37.4

4 10 Tom Brady NE 36.1

4 11 Matthew Stafford DET 25.6 --

5 12 Tony Romo DAL 33.4

6 13 Ryan Tannehill MIA 25.1

6 14 Josh Freeman TB 25.6 **

6 15 EJ Manuel BUF 23.5 **

7 16 Andy Dalton CIN 25.8

7 17 Sam Bradford STL 25.8

7 18 Eli Manning NYG 32.7

7 19 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 32.5

7 20 Michael Vick PHI 33.2 **

7 21 Joe Flacco BAL 28.6

7 22 Philip Rivers SD 31.7

8 23 Geno Smith NYJ 22.9

8 24 Jay Cutler CHI 30.3

8 25 Matt Flynn OAK 28.2

8 26 Ryan Mallett NE 25.2 **

8 27 Matt Schaub HOU 32.2

8 28 Carson Palmer ARI 33.7

8 29 Jake Locker TEN 25.2

8 30 Matt Barkley PHI 23.0

8 31 Nick Foles PHI 24.6

8 32 Alex Smith KC 31.4

9 33 Tyler Wilson OAK 24.1

9 34 Brock Osweiler DEN 22.8

9 35 Kirk Cousins WAS 25.1

9 36 Christian Ponder MIN 25.5

9 37 Brandon Weeden CLE 29.9

9 38 Chad Henne JAX 28.2

9 39 Blaine Gabbert JAX 23.9

9 40 Kevin Kolb BUF 29.0

Brief capsules of my top 22 (described in terms of their fantasy value, not their style of play):

Rodgers & Brees are super-elite fantasy QBs (near 100 VBD); Rodgers is not old for a QB.

RGIII, Luck, and Newton are already very good to elite fantasy QBs (mid-range QB1's or better), and have a shot to join the super-elite and stay there for a long time.

Ryan, Wilson, and Kaepernick are good to very good fantasy QBs, and young, with some upside (but not as strong as the other 3).

Manning & Brady are elite fantasy QBs (a step back from Rodgers & Brees but ahead of everyone else), but getting up there in years.

Stafford & Romo are good fantasy QBs (low end QB1's); Stafford is young but I don't see much upside for either.

Freeman is a high-end QB2 with some upside; EJ Manuel is a boom-or-bust guy who could become a mid-range QB1 (thanks in part to his running); Tannehill is in between. QBs usually show what they can do in their first year or two of starting, so it's worth getting them young based on something like the urgency consideration (which works on a longer time scale for QBs than for WRs).

Dalton is Freeman with less upside. Bradford is like Manuel after a few years without booming (but he started as a better prospect, so he has only fallen to a bit below Manuel). Eli & Ben are like Freeman but older. Flacco & Rivers are similar to them but worse (or: Flacco is like Dalton but older). Vick is like a riskier Romo, with less time left.

In tier 8 you're looking at much riskier options, or guys who are probably mid-range QB2's at best. Mallett is a tier ahead of other backups like Osweiler because he is likely to get a shot at a starting job sooner. Tier 9 (like my last tier at the other positions) has guys who I'd rather not have on my roster; Barkley and/or Foles is likely to join that tier after we see how camp shakes out in Philly.

I think RG3 is ranked a couple spots high, I would rather have Cam since he is 240 lbs and hasn't had 2 ACL injuries already. I would also take Luck over him,and I would consider Brees but I guess I am just nitpicking.

I am not sure why you don't think Stafford has any upside? He is a young borderline qb1 that is in a pass happy offense, with the best receiver in the game for the next few years, and already has a 5k 40+ touchdown year under his belt. I am trying to buy in my leagues because I actually think he will be a top 6 dynasty guy after this season.

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Flacco is too low in my opinion. I'm also going off of a 10-12 team league where QB is kinda deep. In that case, no team is viewing Flacco as a starter, but rather as a #2. As such, if you have a "stud" as your #1 (Rodgers through maybe R Wilson on your list), then would you rather have a 28 year old QB locked up in a long term deal, or any of the 2 (maybe 3) guys right above him who are all 4-5 years older as your "solid backup QB"? I'll take Flacco and then with my "stud" not have to worry about QB at all for the next 5-7 years.

A player's value to you depends on what the rest of your team looks like. This is especially true at QB, since you can only start 1 and it is the most stable & predictable position in fantasy football. The value of Ben or Eli is very dependent on who else you have at QB. If you need a starter, then a borderline QB1 like that (even one who doesn't have many years left) is worth a decent amount, but if you're set at starter then that kind of player isn't worth very much.

But a pure backup QB is never worth very much. Unless your starter is very injury-prone, your backup is only going to play 2-3 games per year in expectation. Guys who you pick up off the scrap heap (Palmer, Fitzpatrick, Henne, A. Smith, Cassel, etc.) score maybe 4 ppg less than a solid QB2 like Flacco on average (with a lot of variability - Palmer actually outscored Flacco last year ). That's only ~10 fpts per year vs. a bargain basement backup QB, which shows that your 2nd QB is just not that important.

In other words, you can consider yourself set at QB for the next 5-7 years if you have Rodgers as your QB1, regardless of what you have at QB2. A Flacco-level backup just isn't worth that much, and you can get along fine without one. (Though you may need to devote some attention to keeping a warm body at QB2, especially if all of the starting QBs in your league are rostered. And if a Brady 2008 scenario happens then you might need to scramble for a stopgap.) I wouldn't bother to spend many resources on the QB position if I had a young stud QB1, except maybe only rookies or other high-upside guys who might emerge with significant trade value (which is often a smart thing to do, if the QB trade market in your league lets you). Instead, I'd make due with cheap bye-week filler (or injury stopgaps), and trust myself to figure something out on the fly if an injury suddenly created a bigger need.

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Two things surprise me with the tight ends. 1st I can't believe Pitta is 28. Didn't he come out in the same draft with Gronk and Hernandez?

2nd. Another poster said he prefers Graham to Gronk because he thinks Gronk flames out early and with his injuries we have already started to see it. When have we seen it? When the guy has been on the field he has been a monster and has shown no signs of previous injuries slowing him down, he is also only 24 and 24 year olds heal better than 34 year olds.

I'm sorry I must be confused, since when has it become age that wins titles and not production?

I know a few old TEs that are way better then some young ones. By the time that old one is done, you acquire another old one, who used to be one of the younger ones you speak of. See how the cycle works and how age is one of the most over valued ratings systems of dynos. Just my thoughts.

I am not sure which comment you are poking at, if it is Pitta it has nothing to do with his age or production I was honestly surprised he was already 28.

If it is the comment about Gronk I was just saying if Gronk and Gates had the same surgery this off season Gronk would heal faster and be more likely to produce at a high level because of his age.

Or maybe you are trolling

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I think RG3 is ranked a couple spots high, I would rather have Cam since he is 240 lbs and hasn't had 2 ACL injuries already. I would also take Luck over him,and I would consider Brees but I guess I am just nitpicking.

I am not sure why you don't think Stafford has any upside? He is a young borderline qb1 that is in a pass happy offense, with the best receiver in the game for the next few years, and already has a 5k 40+ touchdown year under his belt. I am trying to buy in my leagues because I actually think he will be a top 6 dynasty guy after this season.

Everyone has some upside, but Stafford has less than most. He is not an elite passer (like Rodgers, Brady, Manning, etc.) and I don't think he ever will be; I doubt that he'll catch Matt Ryan. His situation (including volume) is already maxed out, and will probably regress somewhat. And he doesn't get the running bonus that guys like Kaep & Wilson have.

RGIII showed last year that he was a great passer. Add that to his elite running ability and he is hard to top. Injuries (injury history & risk of future injuries based on his style of play) are his only downside, but I'm willing to take that risk vs. Cam (who is not as good a passer), Luck (who is not as good a runner, and did not pass as well as RGIII last season), and Brees (who has a degenerative physical condition that is approaching the stage where it will put his career in jeopardy - a human body subject to aging).

Thanks for the rankings. Really enjoy them; great work.

My thoughts on TEs - 2 guys offer major advantage this year, and for the next 5+. 1 more offers you a major advantage this year and for the next 2-3. 1 more offers major advantage for this year alone. That's it - in terms of proven production. The other proven guys aren't going to win you fantasy games.

Give me the proven advantage or the potential for that advantage. Swing for the fences and hedge your bet with the best incoming crop of TEs in my time playing (at this point in the process). Give me Witten or Eifer after the big 2. Give me Fleener/Allen as a combo late. But no way I would overpay for Davis, Finley, etc. It's choosing baseline production when said production rarely matters. Give me Daniels late over Finley early, etc. Baseline is baseline.

I think we just have different TE projections for this season.

First point (not sure if there's a disagreement here): no one else is anywhere close to Graham & Gronk, in redraft or dynasty. They offer more than twice the VBD of any other TE this year (at least for VBD per game), and ought to get different adjectives. If any other TE can be said to offer a "major advantage" then they offer a super-ultra-major-enormo advantage (or somesuch).

On to the main disagreement: Witten, Gonzalez, V Davis, and Finley. In non-PPR I have Witten & Davis essentially tied this season, as ~30-35 VBD guys (with a slight edge to Davis). Finley & Gonzalez are close to each other in my eyes and not far behind - they're perhaps 20 VBD guys. (This is roughly in line with their track records over the past 3 years). And I think that Davis & Finley have as much upside as any other TE in the league, after the big 2.

Finley: it is not a coincidence that Graham & Gronk have Brees & Brady, or that Dallas Clark had Manning.

V Davis: he looks to be the #1 receiver on a team where Crabtree put up 85/1105/9 last year.

That said, the strategy of targeting young upside guys (like Eifert or Fleener) and if necessary a late stopgap (like Daniels) seems very reasonable this year.

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QUARTERBACKS

1 1 Aaron Rodgers GB 30.7

2 2 Robert Griffin III WAS 23.5 **

2 3 Andrew Luck IND 24.0

2 4 Cam Newton CAR 24.3

3 5 Drew Brees NO 34.6

3 6 Matt Ryan ATL 28.3

3 7 Russell Wilson SEA 24.8

3 8 Colin Kaepernick SF 25.8

4 9 Peyton Manning DEN 37.4

4 10 Tom Brady NE 36.1

4 11 Matthew Stafford DET 25.6 --

5 12 Tony Romo DAL 33.4

6 13 Ryan Tannehill MIA 25.1

6 14 Josh Freeman TB 25.6 **

6 15 EJ Manuel BUF 23.5 **

7 16 Andy Dalton CIN 25.8

7 17 Sam Bradford STL 25.8

7 18 Eli Manning NYG 32.7

7 19 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 32.5

7 20 Michael Vick PHI 33.2 **

7 21 Joe Flacco BAL 28.6

7 22 Philip Rivers SD 31.7

8 23 Geno Smith NYJ 22.9

8 24 Jay Cutler CHI 30.3

8 25 Matt Flynn OAK 28.2

8 26 Ryan Mallett NE 25.2 **

8 27 Matt Schaub HOU 32.2

8 28 Carson Palmer ARI 33.7

8 29 Jake Locker TEN 25.2

8 30 Matt Barkley PHI 23.0

8 31 Nick Foles PHI 24.6

8 32 Alex Smith KC 31.4

9 33 Tyler Wilson OAK 24.1

9 34 Brock Osweiler DEN 22.8

9 35 Kirk Cousins WAS 25.1

9 36 Christian Ponder MIN 25.5

9 37 Brandon Weeden CLE 29.9

9 38 Chad Henne JAX 28.2

9 39 Blaine Gabbert JAX 23.9

9 40 Kevin Kolb BUF 29.0

Brief capsules of my top 22 (described in terms of their fantasy value, not their style of play):

Rodgers & Brees are super-elite fantasy QBs (near 100 VBD); Rodgers is not old for a QB.

RGIII, Luck, and Newton are already very good to elite fantasy QBs (mid-range QB1's or better), and have a shot to join the super-elite and stay there for a long time.

Ryan, Wilson, and Kaepernick are good to very good fantasy QBs, and young, with some upside (but not as strong as the other 3).

Manning & Brady are elite fantasy QBs (a step back from Rodgers & Brees but ahead of everyone else), but getting up there in years.

Stafford & Romo are good fantasy QBs (low end QB1's); Stafford is young but I don't see much upside for either.

Freeman is a high-end QB2 with some upside; EJ Manuel is a boom-or-bust guy who could become a mid-range QB1 (thanks in part to his running); Tannehill is in between. QBs usually show what they can do in their first year or two of starting, so it's worth getting them young based on something like the urgency consideration (which works on a longer time scale for QBs than for WRs).

Dalton is Freeman with less upside. Bradford is like Manuel after a few years without booming (but he started as a better prospect, so he has only fallen to a bit below Manuel). Eli & Ben are like Freeman but older. Flacco & Rivers are similar to them but worse (or: Flacco is like Dalton but older). Vick is like a riskier Romo, with less time left.

In tier 8 you're looking at much riskier options, or guys who are probably mid-range QB2's at best. Mallett is a tier ahead of other backups like Osweiler because he is likely to get a shot at a starting job sooner. Tier 9 (like my last tier at the other positions) has guys who I'd rather not have on my roster; Barkley and/or Foles is likely to join that tier after we see how camp shakes out in Philly.

Not sure what I was thinking with Weeden - a first round QB going into his 2nd season should be in tier 8 or better, regardless of other factors. I'll tentatively slot him in at 30, ahead of the Philly mid-rounders, and he could move higher.

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Finley: it is not a coincidence that Graham & Gronk have Brees & Brady, or that Dallas Clark had Manning.

V Davis: he looks to be the #1 receiver on a team where Crabtree put up 85/1105/9 last year.

That said, the strategy of targeting young upside guys (like Eifert or Fleener) and if necessary a late stopgap (like Daniels) seems very reasonable this year.

Finley: He's had one big year, TD wise, and aside from that has been a baseline player when accounting for flex value; this with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. Randall Cobb is a major threat to Finley, in my opinion, too. GB will have to go 4 wide to get Finley in the slot.

RE:VD. I don't think it's a given that he's the #1 target, and would actually be very surprised if that ended up being the case. I don't think they'll move him around enough, and, at this point in his career, I don't know how much of threat he is in a hybrid role. I think he can do it, but well enough to be a top target? I personally wouldn't bet on it. This could be due to usage and recency bias - but he doesn't look like the same guy to me.

I think you're right, and it comes down to projections. I just don't see Finley and Davis doing enough to justify a premium over younger players with equal, or higher upside (Colts, Eifert), or cheaper players with similair production (Daniels, Olsen).

A guy I'm coming around on is Dennis Pitta, and I'd add a good deal to either VD and Finley to get him. Baltimore not investing in a replacement for Boldin, coupled with news that Pitta is playing the slot and acting as the first read on most passing plays - a lot of potential there. There is a very clear trend for Super Bowl winning QBs Flacco's age; they get a lot better statistically from that point on. Pitta could benefit from that.

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Jennings seems too low to me. Amendola seems to high - we have minimal reason to think he can stay healthy, and even if he does, no guarantee that he replaces Welker's production.

Great list, but I strongly disagree with you placing Amendola over Crabtree (even with injury). I move Amendola down about 5 spots and Crab up 10.

eta--stick to your guns on VD this season. He will lead the team in targets. TE3 is about right IMO.

Edited by 5Rings

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Everyone has some upside, but Stafford has less than most. He is not an elite passer (like Rodgers, Brady, Manning, etc.) and I don't think he ever will be; I doubt that he'll catch Matt Ryan. His situation (including volume) is already maxed out, and will probably regress somewhat. And he doesn't get the running bonus that guys like Kaep & Wilson have.

RGIII showed last year that he was a great passer. Add that to his elite running ability and he is hard to top. Injuries (injury history & risk of future injuries based on his style of play) are his only downside, but I'm willing to take that risk vs. Cam (who is not as good a passer), Luck (who is not as good a runner, and did not pass as well as RGIII last season), and Brees (who has a degenerative physical condition that is approaching the stage where it will put his career in jeopardy - a human body subject to aging).

Nice job overall, but the bolded is just plain silly. How can a guy with a 5000+ yd and 40+ td season on his resume (at age 23 no less) have less upside than most? He certainly has issues, but upside isn't one of them.

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