ZWK

ZWK's Dynasty Rankings (Updated February 2017)

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Because Stafford has already been throwing the ball a million times per season.

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Because Stafford has already been throwing the ball a million times per season.

So that means he doesn't have much upside?

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It depends on what you mean by upside. If you mean that he has the potential to perform significantly better than he has in past seasons, I don't think so. He threw for 5000 yards and 41 TDs in 2011. He will probably never hit either of those marks ever again in his career.

Stafford is a perfect example of why efficiency stats are important. If you looked at his 2011 season in terms of FF points, you would've thought he was an elite player. If you looked at the stats from an efficiency standpoint, there were some reasons to doubt his high ranking. Even in that career year he only averaged 7.6 yards per attempt. Solid, but nothing amazing. And that was better than his typical performances. Stafford's career average is 6.87 yards per attempt. He throws too many INTs. His accuracy is below average.

He's still young, but at this point he basically looks like Jay Cutler + Calvin Johnson. The reason why people confused him for an elite talent is because he has thrown the ball so much. He leads the NFL in pass attempts over the past two seasons. He's well ahead of the next guy on the list (Brees). When you are already throwing the ball more than anyone else in the game, it means there's nowhere to go but down. As the Lions improve their defense and running game, I'd expect Stafford's pass attempts to regress significantly. So where is the upside going to come from? He's not going to throw the ball more than he has been. In order to get better, he will need to become more efficient.

I think his efficiency will rebound somewhat if he's not forced to throw the ball every down, but I don't know that the increase will be enough to keep him in elite territory. The reason why guys like Manning, Brees, and Brady are gold is not only that they throw the ball a lot, but also that they have great per-throw averages. Stafford lags well behind them in the latter category. Maybe he can improve. Maybe not. I don't think he's worthless, but I would rather take a higher YPA passer like Russell Wilson and hope that he can get more attempts in the future as opposed to taking a more mediocre passer who's already been throwing the ball a lot.

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Because Stafford has already been throwing the ball a million times per season.

So that means he doesn't have much upside?

I think a lot of people are thinking about regression to the mean. Being that they just added a pass catching RB I don't really buy that theory. They are a passing 1st, passing 2nd team.

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It depends on what you mean by upside. If you mean that he has the potential to perform significantly better than he has in past seasons, I don't think so. He threw for 5000 yards and 41 TDs in 2011. He will probably never hit either of those marks ever again in his career.

Stafford is a perfect example of why efficiency stats are important. If you looked at his 2011 season in terms of FF points, you would've thought he was an elite player. If you looked at the stats from an efficiency standpoint, there were some reasons to doubt his high ranking. Even in that career year he only averaged 7.6 yards per attempt. Solid, but nothing amazing. And that was better than his typical performances. Stafford's career average is 6.87 yards per attempt. He throws too many INTs. His accuracy is below average.

He's still young, but at this point he basically looks like Jay Cutler + Calvin Johnson. The reason why people confused him for an elite talent is because he has thrown the ball so much. He leads the NFL in pass attempts over the past two seasons. He's well ahead of the next guy on the list (Brees). When you are already throwing the ball more than anyone else in the game, it means there's nowhere to go but down. As the Lions improve their defense and running game, I'd expect Stafford's pass attempts to regress significantly. So where is the upside going to come from? He's not going to throw the ball more than he has been. In order to get better, he will need to become more efficient.

I think his efficiency will rebound somewhat if he's not forced to throw the ball every down, but I don't know that the increase will be enough to keep him in elite territory. The reason why guys like Manning, Brees, and Brady are gold is not only that they throw the ball a lot, but also that they have great per-throw averages. Stafford lags well behind them in the latter category. Maybe he can improve. Maybe not. I don't think he's worthless, but I would rather take a higher YPA passer like Russell Wilson and hope that he can get more attempts in the future as opposed to taking a more mediocre passer who's already been throwing the ball a lot.

Upside from expectations/value. The OP has him as QB 11, and I think he presents plenty of upside from there (and from ADP).

No one is arguing he's the best QB in the league, and no one is valuing him as if he's going to continue to set records for attempts. However, he can still put up ridiculous FF numbers with fewer attempts- just look at 2011, when he was more efficient.

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Because Stafford has already been throwing the ball a million times per season.

So that means he doesn't have much upside?

I think a lot of people are thinking about regression to the mean. Being that they just added a pass catching RB I don't really buy that theory. They are a passing 1st, passing 2nd team.

I know they are, but it seems they've forgotten about 2011. He threw the ball 64 fewer times than he did last season, but put up 100 or so more ff points. He can regress in terms of attempts and still have tons of upside.

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Because Stafford has already been throwing the ball a million times per season.

So that means he doesn't have much upside?

I think a lot of people are thinking about regression to the mean. Being that they just added a pass catching RB I don't really buy that theory. They are a passing 1st, passing 2nd team.

I know they are, but it seems they've forgotten about 2011. He threw the ball 64 fewer times than he did last season, but put up 100 or so more ff points. He can regress in terms of attempts and still have tons of upside.

he'll probably be my redraft QB on all my team this year.

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Because Stafford has already been throwing the ball a million times per season.

So that means he doesn't have much upside?

I think a lot of people are thinking about regression to the mean. Being that they just added a pass catching RB I don't really buy that theory. They are a passing 1st, passing 2nd team.

I know they are, but it seems they've forgotten about 2011. He threw the ball 64 fewer times than he did last season, but put up 100 or so more ff points. He can regress in terms of attempts and still have tons of upside.

He lead the league in passing attempts that season too.

If you can get him in the QB7-10 range it's good value.

In redraft I'd take him over someone like Russell Wilson. In dynasty I'd rather have a QB who isn't so reliant on his usage.

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Compared to Ryan, Wilson, and Kaerpernick, I think that Stafford is significantly less likely to develop into a perennial top 5 (70+ VBD) type of fantasy QB. Ryan is a better passer - I think he's the best passer under age 30 in the NFL. Wilson & Kaerpernick add a bunch of fantasy value with their legs, though it might take a couple years for their passing attempts to rise. I also suspect that Wilson is a better passer than Stafford, though it's a bit soon to say.

Stafford is around QB10 in terms of NFL talent in my eyes. I expect him to be a relatively high volume passer in a relatively QB-friendly offense going forward, but not to the same extent that he has been the past couple years. He doesn't get a bonus for his rushing value. 2011 was an amazing fantasy season for him, but I don't see strong reasons to expect more seasons like that going forward.

The past two years have been pretty much a perfect storm of situational factors in Stafford's favor (especially 2011). Calvin Johnson. An awful running game (especially in short yardage), but with RBs who were very good receivers (Best and Smith, then Bell). Good pass blocking. Near the top of the league in number of possessions. Stafford led the NFL in passing attempts both years, and was responsible for most of the Lions' goal line TDs (inside the 5: 67% in 2011 and 58% in 2012). In 2011 he somehow he managed to get a ton of other passing TDs, but that did not repeat in 2012. To a first approximation, Stafford's 2011-2012 average is roughly what we can expect of him going forward if his situation remains ridiculously amazing (for a fantasy QB), and most likely his situation will decline somewhat.

If you want to put him ahead of Brady & Manning that seems reasonable, but I would not put him any higher.

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Because Stafford has already been throwing the ball a million times per season.

So that means he doesn't have much upside?

I think a lot of people are thinking about regression to the mean. Being that they just added a pass catching RB I don't really buy that theory. They are a passing 1st, passing 2nd team.

I know they are, but it seems they've forgotten about 2011. He threw the ball 64 fewer times than he did last season, but put up 100 or so more ff points. He can regress in terms of attempts and still have tons of upside.

He lead the league in passing attempts that season too.

If you can get him in the QB7-10 range it's good value.

In redraft I'd take him over someone like Russell Wilson. In dynasty I'd rather have a QB who isn't so reliant on his usage.

Someone has to lead the league, and his passing attempts aren't predicated on how many the other QBs get. I was just pointing out that he could get fewer attempts than last season and still provide significant upside, which 2011 should prove.

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Detroit Lions-


2009 332 1st downs given up on defense. 585pa 409ra Culpepper played 6 games. 43 sacks. Staffords rookie year. Calvin had not quite broken out yet 67 catches 984yds.


2010 320 1st downs given up on defense. 633pa 404ra Hill played more than Stafford. 27 sacks. Slight improvement on defense leads to more passing plays.


2011 325 1st downs given up on defense. 666pa 356ra. 36 sacks. Main difference here is the Lions ran 50 less times increased pa by about as many plays.


2012 305 1st downs given up on defense.740pa 391ra. 29 sacks. Slight improvement by the defense of 20 less 1st downs. The passing attempts increased by 80 and the rushing attempts got back closer to the 400 mark.


The volume of pass attempts has been pretty amazing. They have increased passing attempts by 160 total attempts since 2009. The range of offense over the last 2 seasons seems what one should expect for plays from the Lions unless they start running the ball more frequently.


I do think that is possible because the Lions offensive line is in flux right now. I think Stafford is at higher risk of injury because of the Oline and the trend in passing attempts. The Lions line does not look good at any position really, but they may be slightly better run blockers than pass protectors. If Stafford starts off the season taking more than 2.5 sacks a game I would start to worry. I think he may get sacked and hit more frequently and if so the passing attempts could drop down to 2009 level and Stafford may miss time.


So it is possible if the Oline is bette suited to run blocking that they could increase rushing attempts somewhat but I would still expect the floor on passing attempts to be around 600 with the upside for 700 like last season. The rushing attempts 390-450 is what I would expect moving forward with Stafford to Johnson being the main show in town and the rest being built around that.


Reggie Bush should help Stafford a lot with some easy completions so I can see his completion percentage possibly going up a bit because of that. Even if the passing attempts are around 600 if they run a bit more and Staffords effectiveness is higher then it may be somewhat of a wash. I do not think 700pa is sustainable long term and would have an expectation more around 600pa for stafford each season with the Lions moving forward unless a really good RB younger than Bush emerges. Bush will get some rushing attempts too so a 2 150-200 carry Rb should have the Lions around 400ra unless LeShoure is better than I think he does, then perhaps they would run 450 with passing attempts possibly dipping a bit below 600.


I do not have enough evidence to rank Wilson or Kaepernick ahead of a QB such as Stafford who has more of a track record and I think stable situation. The Lions are not going to want to start over with a new QB 3 years from now and waste Calvins career waiting for another guy to maybe develop. I think they stick with Stafford longer term than that for better or worse. Although the rushing stats do even things out a bit compared to Stafford I do not see those QB ever getting the passing attempts that Stafford will to justify ranking them ahead of him right now. Perhaps after I have seen more of Wilson and Kaep I might be willing to do that and perhaps that means I am behind the curve, but that is 150-200 passing attempts a year we are talking about here. That is a lot of rushing yards and TD for those QB to match up to. Wilson has some good WR but none of the QB have Calvin like Stafford does.

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Compared to Ryan, Wilson, and Kaerpernick, I think that Stafford is significantly less likely to develop into a perennial top 5 (70+ VBD) type of fantasy QB. Ryan is a better passer - I think he's the best passer under age 30 in the NFL. Wilson & Kaerpernick add a bunch of fantasy value with their legs, though it might take a couple years for their passing attempts to rise. I also suspect that Wilson is a better passer than Stafford, though it's a bit soon to say.

Stafford is around QB10 in terms of NFL talent in my eyes. I expect him to be a relatively high volume passer in a relatively QB-friendly offense going forward, but not to the same extent that he has been the past couple years. He doesn't get a bonus for his rushing value. 2011 was an amazing fantasy season for him, but I don't see strong reasons to expect more seasons like that going forward.

The past two years have been pretty much a perfect storm of situational factors in Stafford's favor (especially 2011). Calvin Johnson. An awful running game (especially in short yardage), but with RBs who were very good receivers (Best and Smith, then Bell). Good pass blocking. Near the top of the league in number of possessions. Stafford led the NFL in passing attempts both years, and was responsible for most of the Lions' goal line TDs (inside the 5: 67% in 2011 and 58% in 2012). In 2011 he somehow he managed to get a ton of other passing TDs, but that did not repeat in 2012. To a first approximation, Stafford's 2011-2012 average is roughly what we can expect of him going forward if his situation remains ridiculously amazing (for a fantasy QB), and most likely his situation will decline somewhat.

If you want to put him ahead of Brady & Manning that seems reasonable, but I would not put him any higher.

I'm not talking about his ranking (although I would have him higher than you do), it's the "less upside than most" comment. No idea how you can come to that conclusion seeing how he's already has one huge season, and all of those things you are holding against him are the reasons why he has a lot of upside.

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Compared to Ryan, Wilson, and Kaerpernick, I think that Stafford is significantly less likely to develop into a perennial top 5 (70+ VBD) type of fantasy QB. Ryan is a better passer - I think he's the best passer under age 30 in the NFL. Wilson & Kaerpernick add a bunch of fantasy value with their legs, though it might take a couple years for their passing attempts to rise. I also suspect that Wilson is a better passer than Stafford, though it's a bit soon to say.

Stafford is around QB10 in terms of NFL talent in my eyes. I expect him to be a relatively high volume passer in a relatively QB-friendly offense going forward, but not to the same extent that he has been the past couple years. He doesn't get a bonus for his rushing value. 2011 was an amazing fantasy season for him, but I don't see strong reasons to expect more seasons like that going forward.

The past two years have been pretty much a perfect storm of situational factors in Stafford's favor (especially 2011). Calvin Johnson. An awful running game (especially in short yardage), but with RBs who were very good receivers (Best and Smith, then Bell). Good pass blocking. Near the top of the league in number of possessions. Stafford led the NFL in passing attempts both years, and was responsible for most of the Lions' goal line TDs (inside the 5: 67% in 2011 and 58% in 2012). In 2011 he somehow he managed to get a ton of other passing TDs, but that did not repeat in 2012. To a first approximation, Stafford's 2011-2012 average is roughly what we can expect of him going forward if his situation remains ridiculously amazing (for a fantasy QB), and most likely his situation will decline somewhat.

If you want to put him ahead of Brady & Manning that seems reasonable, but I would not put him any higher.

I'm not talking about his ranking (although I would have him higher than you do), it's the "less upside than most" comment. No idea how you can come to that conclusion seeing how he's already has one huge season, and all of those things you are holding against him are the reasons why he has a lot of upside.

Who will have a better fantasy season in 2015, Russell Wilson or Matt Stafford? My answer: That's a pretty close call; I lean slightly towards Wilson but it's 60/40 at best.

Who is more likely to be the #1 fantasy QB in 2015, Russell Wilson or Matt Stafford? My answer: Russell Wilson. And it's not that close. If I imagine how surprised I would be to see Stafford finish the season at #1, and I imagine how surprised I would be to see Wilson at #1, there is a very clear difference in my level of surprise. (Or, you could use the question "who is more likely to have at least 100 VBD in 2015?"; I'd give the same answer.)

In my eyes, the median career trajectories (in terms of fantasy value) for Wilson and Stafford aren't all that different, but Wilson has a noticeably larger chance of having a ton of fantasy value. That's what I mean when I say that I don't see much upside for Stafford, compared with Wilson (or Ryan, or Kaepernick). ("Less upside than the other youngish QBs who are near him in the rankings" is a clearer, more precise way of putting it than "less upside than most.")

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Compared to Ryan, Wilson, and Kaerpernick, I think that Stafford is significantly less likely to develop into a perennial top 5 (70+ VBD) type of fantasy QB. Ryan is a better passer - I think he's the best passer under age 30 in the NFL. Wilson & Kaerpernick add a bunch of fantasy value with their legs, though it might take a couple years for their passing attempts to rise. I also suspect that Wilson is a better passer than Stafford, though it's a bit soon to say.

Stafford is around QB10 in terms of NFL talent in my eyes. I expect him to be a relatively high volume passer in a relatively QB-friendly offense going forward, but not to the same extent that he has been the past couple years. He doesn't get a bonus for his rushing value. 2011 was an amazing fantasy season for him, but I don't see strong reasons to expect more seasons like that going forward.

The past two years have been pretty much a perfect storm of situational factors in Stafford's favor (especially 2011). Calvin Johnson. An awful running game (especially in short yardage), but with RBs who were very good receivers (Best and Smith, then Bell). Good pass blocking. Near the top of the league in number of possessions. Stafford led the NFL in passing attempts both years, and was responsible for most of the Lions' goal line TDs (inside the 5: 67% in 2011 and 58% in 2012). In 2011 he somehow he managed to get a ton of other passing TDs, but that did not repeat in 2012. To a first approximation, Stafford's 2011-2012 average is roughly what we can expect of him going forward if his situation remains ridiculously amazing (for a fantasy QB), and most likely his situation will decline somewhat.

If you want to put him ahead of Brady & Manning that seems reasonable, but I would not put him any higher.

I'm not talking about his ranking (although I would have him higher than you do), it's the "less upside than most" comment. No idea how you can come to that conclusion seeing how he's already has one huge season, and all of those things you are holding against him are the reasons why he has a lot of upside.

Who will have a better fantasy season in 2015, Russell Wilson or Matt Stafford? My answer: That's a pretty close call; I lean slightly towards Wilson but it's 60/40 at best.

Who is more likely to be the #1 fantasy QB in 2015, Russell Wilson or Matt Stafford? My answer: Russell Wilson. And it's not that close. If I imagine how surprised I would be to see Stafford finish the season at #1, and I imagine how surprised I would be to see Wilson at #1, there is a very clear difference in my level of surprise. (Or, you could use the question "who is more likely to have at least 100 VBD in 2015?"; I'd give the same answer.)

In my eyes, the median career trajectories (in terms of fantasy value) for Wilson and Stafford aren't all that different, but Wilson has a noticeably larger chance of having a ton of fantasy value. That's what I mean when I say that I don't see much upside for Stafford, compared with Wilson (or Ryan, or Kaepernick). ("Less upside than the other youngish QBs who are near him in the rankings" is a clearer, more precise way of putting it than "less upside than most.")

I think his point - correct me if I am wrong (and with which I agree with) - is that Stafford has a historic fantasy season under his belt already. Shouldn't his "upside" at least be something he has already done? He's shown he can do it. He has done it. His 2011 season would have placed him at QB1 in more seasons that not, even only looking back 10-15 years.

I'm not a Stafford fan, myself, but feel his fantasy upside is very high.

He has as many 400 FP seasons as Peyton Manning, for example (1).

Edited by Concept Coop

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I'm not sure if there's confusion here about what we mean when we talk about Stafford's upside, or if there is just disagreement. In case there is confusion: for each player, there is some probability distribution of what their future fantasy value will be. When I talk about "upside", I am talking about the right tail of that distribution. If we look at (say) the 10% of the possibilities where that player has the most fantasy value, how much fantasy value does he have in those scenarios?

I see the argument that a guy who has already had one huge season is more likely to have a huge season in the future. It's a pretty good argument. But in this case, comparing Stafford to Ryan, Kaepernick, and Wilson, I disagree with its conclusion. I think that the right tail of the distribution (the top 10% of possibilities) for Stafford is not as good as the right tail of the distribution for Ryan, Kaerpernick, or Wilson, for reasons that I sketched out in my previous comments.

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And now the position that we've all been waiting for, kicker

RUNNING BACKS

1 1 Trent Richardson CLE 22.2
1 2 Doug Martin TB 24.6
1 3 Jamaal Charles KC 26.7 **
1 4 LeSean McCoy PHI 25.1
2 5 C.J. Spiller BUF 26.1 **
2 6 Adrian Peterson MIN 28.4
2 7 Ray Rice BAL 26.6
3 8 Arian Foster HOU 27.0 --
3 9 Alfred Morris WAS 24.7
3 10 Matt Forte CHI 27.7
3 11 David Wilson NYG 22.2
4 12 Marshawn Lynch SEA 27.4
4 13 Stevan Ridley NE 24.6
4 14 DeMarco Murray DAL 25.5
4 15 Darren McFadden OAK 26.0
4 16 Eddie Lacy GB 23.3 **
4 17 Ryan Mathews SD 25.9
4 18 Giovani Bernard CIN 21.8
4 19 Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 28.4
5 20 Montee Ball DEN 22.8
5 21 Chris Johnson TEN 27.9 --
5 22 Steven Jackson ATL 30.1
5 23 Chris Ivory NYJ 25.4
5 24 Lamar Miller MIA 22.4
5 25 LeVeon Bell PIT 21.6
5 26 Reggie Bush DET 28.5
5 27 Rashard Mendenhall ARI 26.2
6 28 Frank Gore SF 30.3
6 29 Ben Tate HOU 25.0 **
6 30 Darren Sproles NO 30.2
6 31 Jonathan Stewart CAR 26.4
6 32 Christine Michael SEA 22.8 **
6 33 Ahmad Bradshaw IND 27.5 **
6 34 Bernard Pierce BAL 23.7
6 35 Mark Ingram NO 23.7
6 36 Shane Vereen NE 24.5
6 37 Marcus Lattimore SF 21.9
7 38 Robert Turbin SEA 23.7
7 39 Ryan Williams ARI 23.4
7 40 Pierre Thomas NO 28.7 **
7 41 Knile Davis KC 21.9 **
7 42 Zac Stacy STL 22.4
7 43 Johnathan Franklin GB 23.9 --
7 44 Andre Brown NYG 26.7
7 45 Isaiah Pead STL 23.7
7 46 Bryce Brown PHI 22.3 --
7 47 Mikel Leshoure DET 23.4 --
7 48 Daryl Richardson STL 23.4
7 49 Vick Ballard IND 23.1 --
7 50 DeAngelo Williams CAR 30.4
7 51 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN 28.2
8 52 LaMichael James SF 23.9
8 53 Kendall Hunter SF 24.0
8 54 Mike Goodson NYJ 26.3
8 55 Toby Gerhart MIN 26.4
8 56 Ronnie Hillman DEN 22.0 --
8 57 Knowshon Moreno DEN 26.1
8 58 Latavius Murray OAK 22.5 **
8 59 Denard Robinson JAX 23.0
8 60 Danny Woodhead SD 28.7
8 61 Isaac Redman PIT 28.8
8 62 Brandon Bolden NE 23.6
8 63 Beanie Wells FA 25.1
8 64 Fred Jackson BUF 32.5
9 65 Alex Green GB 24.2 **
9 66 Andre Ellington ARI 24.6
9 67 Roy Helu WAS 24.7
9 68 Jonathan Dwyer PIT 24.1
9 69 Stepfan Taylor ARI 22.2
9 70 Jahvid Best DET 24.6 **
9 71 Willis McGahee FA 31.9
9 72 Joseph Randle DAL 21.7 --
9 73 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL 23.6 --
9 74 Shonn Greene TEN 28.0 --
9 75 Michael Bush CHI 29.2 --

The shape of RB value: I see a relatively steady dropoff in value from RB1 (tier 1) through RB 37 (tier 6), and then the bottom falls out. From tier 7 onward, if you can find anyone who will bit then I'd be looking to trade guys away for receivers, or draft picks, or top 37 RBs. Some of the guys in tier 7+ are worth owning as fairly reliable but low-upside RB3s, if you're thin at RB. Some of them have a shot at a starting RB job in the next few years, but not a great shot, and they probably won't be great starters. Basically, I see them as stopgaps and not-so-great lottery tickets. It's fine to use a few roster spots on them, but I wouldn't get too attached to anyone.

Some brief player capsules, mostly for guys where I'm somewhat out-of-line from the consensus (I shared more thoughts on the rookie RBs here):

Charles is my #2 in redraft, even in non-PPR. I'm a big believer in what he'll do in Reid's offense.

Ray Rice is elite as a receiver but merely good as a runner. Pierce could win a pretty big chunk of the workload.

Arian Foster showed hints of decline last year which have me worried (including a huge drop in YPR). Sometimes the cliff comes before 30.

Lynch is gold as the workhorse in the Seahawks' offense, but he now has 2 much cheaper guys chomping at his heels on a team that could be looking to find cap space in the coming years.

I like Lacy's talent, and am willing to take the injury risk.

In my mind I group Montee Ball with the older RBs more than the other young prospects, because I suspect that most of his career fantasy value will come while Manning is his QB. If the workload is there, he could have a few Addai-like years as a fantasy RB1 (look at what McGahee & Moreno did last year). The rest of his career is just a bit of a bonus over guys like Chris Johnson & Steven Jackson.

Chris Johnson is starting to get up there in years and he just hasn't been that good a RB the past few seasons.

Ben Tate and Christine Michael both look like they could have the talent to be a starting RB, if you wait a year or three. Both have the athleticism and draft pedigree, and Tate has at least had one NFL season where he looked the part.

Bradshaw could easily be a high-end RB2, if his feet will carry him.

Pierre Thomas seems like the safest of the solid, low-upside RB3s.

I liked Knile Davis as a boom-or-bust prospect and his draft position matched that evaluation, but KC is an awful landing spot. Could he be the next Correll Buckhalter?

Zac Stacy Zac Stacy Zac Stacy Zac Stacy Zac Stacy Zac Stacy Zac Stacy.

Johnathan Franklin is down in tier 7 for much the same reasons as Stacy.

Toby Gerhart is second to Ben Tate among the contract year backups vying for a starting job next season.

I don't like handcuffs, but I'll make an exception for Darren McFadden. Latavius Murray has a similar running style and a good shot at winning that role.

Alex Green was coming off an ACL last year, so I'm not ready to give up on him entirely.

Jacquizz Rodgers doesn't have Danny Woodhead's raw athleticism, but he could win that type of role in the right situation.

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Compared to Ryan, Wilson, and Kaerpernick, I think that Stafford is significantly less likely to develop into a perennial top 5 (70+ VBD) type of fantasy QB. Ryan is a better passer - I think he's the best passer under age 30 in the NFL. Wilson & Kaerpernick add a bunch of fantasy value with their legs, though it might take a couple years for their passing attempts to rise. I also suspect that Wilson is a better passer than Stafford, though it's a bit soon to say.

Stafford is around QB10 in terms of NFL talent in my eyes. I expect him to be a relatively high volume passer in a relatively QB-friendly offense going forward, but not to the same extent that he has been the past couple years. He doesn't get a bonus for his rushing value. 2011 was an amazing fantasy season for him, but I don't see strong reasons to expect more seasons like that going forward.

The past two years have been pretty much a perfect storm of situational factors in Stafford's favor (especially 2011). Calvin Johnson. An awful running game (especially in short yardage), but with RBs who were very good receivers (Best and Smith, then Bell). Good pass blocking. Near the top of the league in number of possessions. Stafford led the NFL in passing attempts both years, and was responsible for most of the Lions' goal line TDs (inside the 5: 67% in 2011 and 58% in 2012). In 2011 he somehow he managed to get a ton of other passing TDs, but that did not repeat in 2012. To a first approximation, Stafford's 2011-2012 average is roughly what we can expect of him going forward if his situation remains ridiculously amazing (for a fantasy QB), and most likely his situation will decline somewhat.

If you want to put him ahead of Brady & Manning that seems reasonable, but I would not put him any higher.

I'm not talking about his ranking (although I would have him higher than you do), it's the "less upside than most" comment. No idea how you can come to that conclusion seeing how he's already has one huge season, and all of those things you are holding against him are the reasons why he has a lot of upside.

Who will have a better fantasy season in 2015, Russell Wilson or Matt Stafford? My answer: That's a pretty close call; I lean slightly towards Wilson but it's 60/40 at best.

Who is more likely to be the #1 fantasy QB in 2015, Russell Wilson or Matt Stafford? My answer: Russell Wilson. And it's not that close. If I imagine how surprised I would be to see Stafford finish the season at #1, and I imagine how surprised I would be to see Wilson at #1, there is a very clear difference in my level of surprise. (Or, you could use the question "who is more likely to have at least 100 VBD in 2015?"; I'd give the same answer.)

In my eyes, the median career trajectories (in terms of fantasy value) for Wilson and Stafford aren't all that different, but Wilson has a noticeably larger chance of having a ton of fantasy value. That's what I mean when I say that I don't see much upside for Stafford, compared with Wilson (or Ryan, or Kaepernick). ("Less upside than the other youngish QBs who are near him in the rankings" is a clearer, more precise way of putting it than "less upside than most.")

I think his point - correct me if I am wrong (and with which I agree with) - is that Stafford has a historic fantasy season under his belt already. Shouldn't his "upside" at least be something he has already done? He's shown he can do it. He has done it. His 2011 season would have placed him at QB1 in more seasons that not, even only looking back 10-15 years.

I'm not a Stafford fan, myself, but feel his fantasy upside is very high.

He has as many 400 FP seasons as Peyton Manning, for example (1).

Yes, this is what I'm saying. The OP said he doesn't see much upside for Stafford, and that he has less than most. That just doesn't jibe with his track record, which includes one of the best ff seasons ever.

Edited by humpback

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I have thought about the Gronk vs Graham argument a lot and the fact is, Gronk is simply a lot more effective on the field than Graham. His PPG is about 2 points better per game. That's important. That's concrete. The rest is speculation as to career length and injuries. Lots of guys get hurt. Graham isn't superhuman. He could miss more games over the next 5 years than Gronk, we just don't know.

I think Gronk is simply just a better player.

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I could be wrong but I took the limited upside comment on Stafford to be that Stafford has already maximized his value. It is going to be very difficult for him or any QB to get 727 passing attempts. That number is still boggling my mind.

Meanwhile Wilson was only a rookie and had 393 passing attempts.

Attempts for Wilson's career going up, Stafford's attempts not likely to go up from 727.

Wilson has stronger rushing numbers and will likely do better as a runner than Stafford will. This mitigates some of the difference in passing attempts and yardage as long as Wilson continues to be an effective runner.

If someone offered me Wilson for Stafford straight up I would likely decline just because Stafford has a track record, Wilson only has a season. With both players in similar tier I don't think the expected difference is much.

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I'm not sure if there's confusion here about what we mean when we talk about Stafford's upside, or if there is just disagreement. In case there is confusion: for each player, there is some probability distribution of what their future fantasy value will be. When I talk about "upside", I am talking about the right tail of that distribution. If we look at (say) the 10% of the possibilities where that player has the most fantasy value, how much fantasy value does he have in those scenarios?

I see the argument that a guy who has already had one huge season is more likely to have a huge season in the future. It's a pretty good argument. But in this case, comparing Stafford to Ryan, Kaepernick, and Wilson, I disagree with its conclusion. I think that the right tail of the distribution (the top 10% of possibilities) for Stafford is not as good as the right tail of the distribution for Ryan, Kaerpernick, or Wilson, for reasons that I sketched out in my previous comments.

Stafford has already established an incredibly high right tail of that distribution, hasn't he? Seriously, it was one of the best ff seasons of all time. Do you really think Ryan, Kaep, and Wilson have a higher upside than that?

In any event, like I said, this wasn't a discussion on relative value. You said you see little upside in Stafford and that he has less than most. I see a ton up upside in Stafford, and my evidence is his near record setting performance and fantastic situation. I suppose you could make an argument that he has less upside than Ryan, Kaep, and Wilson (although I don't think it's a strong one), but when you say "most", I interpret that to mean most QBs. There's just no way he has less upside than most QBs.

Sorry for hijacking- good job overall, I just thought that comment was strange.

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Nice rankings on the RB's! Why so down on Bryce Brown? Just curious.

Nevermind. After reading your comments I saw your take on the guys in that tier. That answered my question. Thanks!

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Nice rankings on the RB's! Why so down on Bryce Brown? Just curious.

Nevermind. After reading your comments I saw your take on the guys in that tier. That answered my question. Thanks!

But what's the difference between Brown and someone like Pierce, who's in the top 37? I think I'd rather have Brown.

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Nice rankings on the RB's! Why so down on Bryce Brown? Just curious.

Nevermind. After reading your comments I saw your take on the guys in that tier. That answered my question. Thanks!

But what's the difference between Brown and someone like Pierce, who's in the top 37? I think I'd rather have Brown.

Agreed, I like Brown over Pierce.

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If this is non-PPR, then how do Harvin and Cobb make your top-7? I can understand that ranking in PPR, but are they that high in Non-PPR as well?

Time for my favorite stat of the offseason: In his last 16 games, Percy Harvin has 112 receptions, 1492 offensive yards, 11 offensive TDs, and a kickoff return for a TD. I don't care what scoring system you're using, that's elite production.

SSOG

Don't u usually have a Dynasty ranking?

I use to love when you and Chris wesseling posted in the old Dynasty Thread. It was always a great read. Kinda Like this.

Edited by new-guru

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If this is non-PPR, then how do Harvin and Cobb make your top-7? I can understand that ranking in PPR, but are they that high in Non-PPR as well?

Time for my favorite stat of the offseason: In his last 16 games, Percy Harvin has 112 receptions, 1492 offensive yards, 11 offensive TDs, and a kickoff return for a TD. I don't care what scoring system you're using, that's elite production.

SSOG

Don't u usually have a Dynasty ranking?

I use to love when you and Chris wesseling posted in the old Dynasty Thread. It was always a great read. Kinda Like this.

His rankings are now part of the FBG rankings, as he is now staff.

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I realized that I never responded to the Bryce Brown question.

I see Brown as more comparable to Knile Davis than to Bernard Pierce. He's a high-upside boom-or-bust prospect, who has flashed talent but has a limited track record and some clear issues with his game. Pierce, like Ben Tate, is someone who could be a starter now (though he'll have to wait for his chance). He has the track record, and his game looks to be polished enough to perform right now.

Brown was a highly touted prospect when he entered college, with NFL size and good speed (although he didn't do as well on his other workout drills). But he had a very limited track record in college, wasn't all that impressive when he played, and was just a 7th rounder coming out. And now he's stuck behind a top young RB who is signed long term. Earning his coach's trust to win the backup job and start when McCoy was out was a plus, which helps reduce the character/motivation concern. Last year on the field he had his ups and downs. He broke a lot of long runs and a bunch of of tackles, but he also had an awful success rate and kept trying to take plays outside. Plus the fumbles. And he didn't do much in the passing game.

After thinking about him some more, I think he was too low in my rankings. I wasn't putting enough weight on his upside - his chances (compared to the guys near him in the rankings) of becoming a starting fantasy RB, or even a RB1. I also got a bit too caught up in thinking about reasons why he'd be overrated, which were thoughts about other people's opinions of Bryce Brown rather than thoughts about Bryce Brown. For example, the fact that he had two huge fantasy games but was pretty lousy in several of his other games, and that he benefited from excellent blocking in those two games, is a reason to suspect that other fantasy owners would overvalue him. But it's not directly relevant when I'm trying to choose between Bryce Brown and Ryan Williams or Pierre Thomas. Right now he's up to 38 in my RB rankings.

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Here are my updated rankings, right before the start of preseason. This isn't a complete re-do, just a reshuffle based on training camp reports, reading other analysis (including Football Outsiders Almanac), injuries, and further thought.

Biggest risers: Golden Tate, Rueben Randle, Aaron Dobson, Rod Streater, Kenbrell Thompkins, Jeremy Kerley, Riley Cooper, Bryce Brown, Ronnie Hillman, Roy Helu, Vernon Davis, Fred Davis, Ed Dickson. (Tate, Randle, and Dobson are now grouped around Alshon Jeffery in the 40s as top young WR prospects without great draft pedigree.)

WIDE RECEIVERS

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev

1 1 Calvin Johnson DET 27.9 (1)
2 2 A.J. Green CIN 25.1 (2)
2 3 Julio Jones ATL 24.6 (3)
2 4 Demaryius Thomas DEN 25.7 (4)
2 5 Dez Bryant DAL 24.8 (5)
3 6 Randall Cobb GB 23.1 (7)
3 7 Brandon Marshall CHI 29.4 (8)
3 8 Percy Harvin SEA 25.3 (6)
3 9 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 30.0 (9)
3 10 Victor Cruz NYG 26.8 (10)
4 11 Jordy Nelson GB 28.3 (12)
4 12 Hakeem Nicks NYG 25.6 (11)
4 13 Andre Johnson HOU 32.1 (13)
4 14 Roddy White ATL 31.8 (14)
4 15 Vincent Jackson TB 30.6 (15)
5 16 Tavon Austin STL 22.5 (16)
5 17 Dwayne Bowe KC 28.9 (17)
5 18 Marques Colston NO 30.2 (18)
5 19 Kenny Britt TEN 24.9 (19)
5 20 Justin Blackmon JAX 23.6 (20)
5 21 Mike Wallace MIA 27.1 (21)
5 22 Danny Amendola STL 27.8 (22)
5 23 Pierre Garcon WAS 27.1 (24)
5 24 Michael Crabtree SF 26.0 (23)
6 25 Josh Gordon CLE 22.4 (25)
6 26 Cecil Shorts JAX 25.7 (26)
6 27 Steve Johnson BUF 27.1 (27)
6 28 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 21.3 (28)
6 29 Cordarrelle Patterson MIN 22.5 (29)
6 30 Michael Floyd ARI 23.8 (30)
6 31 Torrey Smith BAL 24.6 (31)
6 32 Antonio Brown PIT 25.1 (32)
7 33 DeSean Jackson PHI 26.7 (35)
7 34 T.Y. Hilton IND 23.8 (34)
7 35 Wes Welker DEN 32.3 (38)
7 36 Jeremy Maclin PHI 25.3 (33)
7 37 Greg Jennings MIN 29.9 (36)
7 38 Sidney Rice SEA 27.0 (42)
7 39 Eric Decker DEN 26.5 (37)
7 40 Miles Austin DAL 29.2 (39)
8 41 Danario Alexander SD 25.0 (41)
8 42 Mike Williams TB 26.3 (43)
8 43 Justin Hunter TEN 22.3 (40)
8 44 Reggie Wayne IND 34.8 (44)
8 45 Golden Tate SEA 25.1 (67)
8 46 Alshon Jeffery CHI 23.5 (45)
8 47 Rueben Randle NYG 22.3 (57)
8 48 Aaron Dobson NE 22.2 (65)
9 49 Emmanuel Sanders PIT 26.4 (46)
9 50 Steve Smith CAR 34.4 (48)
9 51 Ryan Broyles DET 25.4 (49)
9 52 James Jones GB 29.4 (51)
9 53 Kendall Wright TEN 23.8 (54)
9 54 Lance Moore NO 30.0 (52)
9 55 Anquan Boldin SF 32.9 (58)
9 56 Markus Wheaton PIT 22.6 (50)
9 57 Santonio Holmes NYJ 29.5 (47)
9 58 Stephen Hill NYJ 22.4 (56)
9 59 Robert Woods BUF 21.4 (64)
10 60 Denarius Moore OAK 24.7 (53)
10 61 Chris Givens STL 23.7 (55)
10 62 Brian Quick STL 24.2 (59)
10 63 Vincent Brown SD 24.6 (61)
10 64 Greg Little CLE 24.3 (63)
10 65 Rod Streater OAK 25.6 (76)
10 66 Terrance Williams DAL 24.0 (62)
10 67 Keenan Allen SD 21.4 (66)
10 68 Andre Roberts ARI 25.6 (73)
10 69 A.J. Jenkins SF 23.9 (60)
10 70 Brandon LaFell CAR 26.8 (81)
10 71 Stedman Bailey STL 22.8 (69)
10 72 Josh Boyce NE 23.6 (70)
10 73 Jeremy Kerley NYJ 24.8 (88)
10 74 Kenbrell Thompkins NE 25.1 unr
10 75 Jonathan Baldwin KC 24.1 (68)
10 76 Darrius Heyward-Bey IND 26.5 (75)
10 77 Malcom Floyd SD 32.0 (71)
10 78 Brian Hartline MIA 26.8 (74)
11 79 Quinton Patton SF 23.1 (72)
11 80 Da'Rick Rogers BUF 22.2 (85)
11 81 Joseph Morgan NO 25.5 (78)
11 82 Nick Toon NO 24.8 (79)
11 83 T.J. Graham BUF 24.1 (89)
11 84 Charles Johnson GB 24.5 (77)
11 85 Riley Cooper PHI 26.0 unr
11 86 Austin Collie SF 27.8 (94)
11 87 Julian Edelman NE 27.3 (86)
11 88 Mohamed Sanu CIN 24.0 (82)
11 89 Brandon Lloyd FA 32.2 (80)
11 90 Marquise Goodwin BUF 22.8 (84)
11 91 Jacoby Jones BAL 29.1 unr
11 92 Tandon Doss BAL 24.1 unr
11 93 Doug Baldwin SEA 25.9 unr
11 94 Griff Whalen IND 23.5 unr
11 95 Marvin Jones CIN 23.5 unr
11 96 Deonte Thompson BAL 24.6 unr
12 97 Nate Washington TEN 30.0 (90)
12 98 Patrick Edwards DET 24.9 unr
12 99 Chris Harper SEA 24.0 unr
12 100 Nate Burleson DET 32.1 unr
12 101 Tavarres King DEN 23.2 unr
12 102 Davone Bess CLE 28.0 (91)
12 103 Leonard Hankerson WAS 26.3 (83)
12 104 Domenik Hixon CAR 28.9 (87)
12 105 Andrew Hawkins CIN 27.5 (93)
13 unr Arrelious Benn PHI 25.0 (92)
13 unr Juron Criner OAK 23.7 (95)

TIGHT ENDS

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev

1 1 Rob Gronkowski NE 24.3 (1)
1 2 Jimmy Graham NO 26.8 (2)
2 3 Vernon Davis SF 29.6 (5)
2 4 Jermichael Finley GB 26.4 (3)
2 5 Tyler Eifert CIN 23.0 (8)
2 6 Kyle Rudolph MIN 23.8 (7)
2 7 Jason Witten DAL 31.3 (4)
2 8 Greg Olsen CAR 28.5 (6)
2 9 Jared Cook STL 26.4 (10)
2 10 Martellus Bennett CHI 26.5 (11)
3 11 Dennis Pitta BAL 28.2 (9)
3 12 Coby Fleener IND 24.9 (13)
3 13 Fred Davis WAS 27.6 (19)
3 14 Dustin Keller MIA 28.9 (12)
3 15 Tony Gonzalez ATL 37.5 (14)
3 16 Dwayne Allen IND 23.5 (15)
3 17 Zach Ertz PHI 22.8 (16)
3 18 Travis Kelce KC 23.9 (17)
3 19 Jordan Cameron CLE 25.1 (18)
3 20 Owen Daniels HOU 30.8 (21)
3 21 Brandon Myers NYG 28.0 (22)
3 22 Robert Housler ARI 25.5 (25)
3 23 Jermaine Gresham CIN 25.2 (20)
3 24 Antonio Gates SD 33.2 (23)
3 25 Jordan Reed WAS 23.2 (24)
3 26 Brandon Pettigrew DET 28.5 (26)
3 27 Ed Dickson BAL 26.1 unr
4 28 Zach Miller SEA 27.7 (27)
4 29 Ladarius Green SD 23.3 (28)
4 30 Heath Miller PIT 30.9 (29)
4 31 Marcedes Lewis JAX 29.3 (33)
4 32 Gavin Escobar DAL 22.6 unr
4 33 David Ausberry OAK 26.0 unr
5 34 Lance Kendricks STL 25.6 (32)
5 35 James Casey HOU 28.9 unr
5 36 Tony Moeaki KC 26.3 unr
5 37 Vance McDonald SF 23.2 unr
5 38 Delanie Walker TEN 29.1 (35)
5 39 Jacob Tamme DEN 29.5 (30)
5 40 Brent Celek PHI 28.6 (31)
5 41 Jake Ballard NE 25.8 (34)

QUARTERBACKS

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

RUNNING BACKS

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev
1 1 Trent Richardson CLE 22.2 (1)
1 2 Doug Martin TB 24.6 (2)
1 3 Jamaal Charles KC 26.7 (3)
1 4 LeSean McCoy PHI 25.1 (4)
2 5 C.J. Spiller BUF 26.1 (5)
2 6 Adrian Peterson MIN 28.4 (6)
2 7 Ray Rice BAL 26.6 (7)
3 8 Arian Foster HOU 27.0 (8)
3 9 Alfred Morris WAS 24.7 (9)
3 10 Matt Forte CHI 27.7 (10)
3 11 David Wilson NYG 22.2 (11)
4 12 Marshawn Lynch SEA 27.4 (12)
4 13 Stevan Ridley NE 24.6 (13)
4 14 DeMarco Murray DAL 25.5 (14)
4 15 Darren McFadden OAK 26.0 (15)
4 16 Eddie Lacy GB 23.3 (16)
4 17 Giovani Bernard CIN 21.8 (18)
4 18 Ryan Mathews SD 25.9 (17)
4 19 Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 28.4 (19)
5 20 Montee Ball DEN 22.8 (20)
5 21 Chris Johnson TEN 27.9 (21)
5 22 Lamar Miller MIA 22.4 (24)
5 23 Steven Jackson ATL 30.1 (22)
5 24 Chris Ivory NYJ 25.4 (23)
5 25 LeVeon Bell PIT 21.6 (25)
5 26 Reggie Bush DET 28.5 (26)
5 27 Rashard Mendenhall ARI 26.2 (27)
5 28 Christine Michael SEA 22.8 (32)
6 29 Ben Tate HOU 25.0 (29)
6 30 Frank Gore SF 30.3 (28)
6 31 Shane Vereen NE 24.5 (36)
6 32 Darren Sproles NO 30.2 (30)
6 33 Bernard Pierce BAL 23.7 (34)
6 34 Jonathan Stewart CAR 26.4 (31)
6 35 Ahmad Bradshaw IND 27.5 (33)
6 36 Mark Ingram NO 23.7 (35)
6 37 Marcus Lattimore SF 21.9 (37)
7 38 Bryce Brown PHI 22.3 (46)
7 39 Johnathan Franklin GB 23.9 (43)
7 40 Andre Brown NYG 26.7 (44)
7 41 Pierre Thomas NO 28.7 (40)
7 42 Ryan Williams ARI 23.4 (39)
7 43 Robert Turbin SEA 23.7 (38)
7 44 Isaiah Pead STL 23.7 (45)
7 45 Knile Davis KC 21.9 (41)
7 46 DeAngelo Williams CAR 30.4 (50)
7 47 Ronnie Hillman DEN 22.0 (56)
7 48 Daryl Richardson STL 23.4 (48)
7 49 Vick Ballard IND 23.1 (49)
7 50 Zac Stacy STL 22.4 (42)
7 51 Mikel Leshoure DET 23.4 (47)
7 52 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN 28.2 (51)
8 53 Kendall Hunter SF 24.0 (53)
8 54 LaMichael James SF 23.9 (52)
8 55 Toby Gerhart MIN 26.4 (55)
8 56 Mike Goodson NYJ 26.3 (54)
8 57 Knowshon Moreno DEN 26.1 (57)
8 58 Danny Woodhead SD 28.7 (60)
8 59 Roy Helu WAS 24.7 (67)
8 60 Brandon Bolden NE 23.6 (61)
8 61 Alex Green GB 24.2 (65)
8 62 Denard Robinson JAX 23.0 (59)
8 63 Latavius Murray OAK 22.5 (58)
8 64 Isaac Redman PIT 28.8 (62)
8 65 Beanie Wells FA 25.1 (63)
8 66 Fred Jackson BUF 32.5 (64)
9 67 Joseph Randle DAL 21.7 (72)
9 68 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL 23.6 (73)
9 69 Shonn Greene TEN 28.0 (74)
9 70 Michael Bush CHI 29.2 (75)
9 71 Bilal Powell NYJ 24.8 unr
9 72 Andre Ellington ARI 24.6 (66)
9 73 Felix Jones PHI 26.3 unr
9 74 Jonathan Dwyer PIT 24.1 (68)
9 75 Stepfan Taylor ARI 22.2 (69)
9 76 Willis McGahee FA 31.9 (71)
10 unr Jahvid Best FA 24.6 (70)

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Pitta only down to 11?

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Given recent news on Riley Cooper I am confused as to why you are moving him up?

I moved Cooper up when Maclin got injured, leaving Cooper as the favorite to be the Eagles' #2 WR. His off-the-field issues might cost him his job, but given that he's still on the roster I'd guess that he has a pretty good shot to win that role. The urgency consideration also points in his favor - his issues are likely to be resolved before the season starts, one way or the other.

Pitta only down to 11?

I'm assuming that the most likely outcome is for him to lose a season and be back around 100% a year from now. If that happens, then I think he has better prospects for 2014 than anyone else in tier 3+.

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Given recent news on Riley Cooper I am confused as to why you are moving him up?

I moved Cooper up when Maclin got injured, leaving Cooper as the favorite to be the Eagles' #2 WR. His off-the-field issues might cost him his job, but given that he's still on the roster I'd guess that he has a pretty good shot to win that role. The urgency consideration also points in his favor - his issues are likely to be resolved before the season starts, one way or the other.

Pitta only down to 11?

I'm assuming that the most likely outcome is for him to lose a season and be back around 100% a year from now. If that happens, then I think he has better prospects for 2014 than anyone else in tier 3+.

Even if he gets back to 100% by this time next year, he'll be 29 and there's a decent chance the Ravens bring in more weapons for Flacco. Much of the appeal of Pitta is that Flacco has no proven possession receivers to throw to. People were projecting monster target numbers. Will that appeal be there next year? It might, depending on his health and the Raven's offseason acquisitions.

I do know that I like the upside of tons of guys below him on that list, going forward.

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Given recent news on Riley Cooper I am confused as to why you are moving him up?

I moved Cooper up when Maclin got injured, leaving Cooper as the favorite to be the Eagles' #2 WR. His off-the-field issues might cost him his job, but given that he's still on the roster I'd guess that he has a pretty good shot to win that role. The urgency consideration also points in his favor - his issues are likely to be resolved before the season starts, one way or the other.

Pitta only down to 11?

I'm assuming that the most likely outcome is for him to lose a season and be back around 100% a year from now. If that happens, then I think he has better prospects for 2014 than anyone else in tier 3+.

I am not sure if Cooper will ever play in the NFL again and I am pretty sure he is not going to be a starter for the Eagles or anyone else now. I could understand moving him down, not up.

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Given recent news on Riley Cooper I am confused as to why you are moving him up?

I moved Cooper up when Maclin got injured, leaving Cooper as the favorite to be the Eagles' #2 WR. His off-the-field issues might cost him his job, but given that he's still on the roster I'd guess that he has a pretty good shot to win that role. The urgency consideration also points in his favor - his issues are likely to be resolved before the season starts, one way or the other.

Pitta only down to 11?

I'm assuming that the most likely outcome is for him to lose a season and be back around 100% a year from now. If that happens, then I think he has better prospects for 2014 than anyone else in tier 3+.

I am not sure if Cooper will ever play in the NFL again and I am pretty sure he is not going to be a starter for the Eagles or anyone else now. I could understand moving him down, not up.

I would be surprised if Cooper was cut by the Eagles at this point for anything unrelated to his football performance. If the Eagles wanted to distance themselves from him, they would have cut him by now- it certainly would have been a better PR move to move on immediately, like New England did with Hernandez or Food Network did with Paula Dean. Currently the biggest threat facing him, in my opinion, is if everything takes too long to finish playing out and Cooper finds himself behind the 8-ball on getting reps. Still, Cooper's chances of being a usable fantasy receiver this season are a lot higher today than they were two months ago.

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ZWK, could you please expand on having Harvin ranked at WR8 and Crabtree ranked at WR24? Both seem to share superficial similarities- very similar ages, both with a lone top-10 season, both with injuries projected to keep them out until the final month or so of the 2013 season. Harvin has advantages over Crabtree (his history of elite production is 16 games vs. 8 games, he's a year younger, his team has made more of a commitment to him, he's a more talented and dynamic player, he's coming off of an injury which has historically been less scary for a player's long-term prospects). I would absolutely prefer Harvin. At the same time, Crabtree has a lot of advantages, too- he's not on a new team or in a new system so there's less of a transition, he's a much more prototypical WR, his injury history is much less troubling. Prior to their respective injuries, both receivers were valued pretty closely (with an edge to Harvin). According to DLF's ADP data, in April Harvin was being selected as the 7th receiver, while Crabtree was the 10th. In May, Harvin was the 7th while Crabtree was the 9th. Any thoughts on the 18-slot gap in your rankings for the players?

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Given recent news on Riley Cooper I am confused as to why you are moving him up?

I moved Cooper up when Maclin got injured, leaving Cooper as the favorite to be the Eagles' #2 WR. His off-the-field issues might cost him his job, but given that he's still on the roster I'd guess that he has a pretty good shot to win that role. The urgency consideration also points in his favor - his issues are likely to be resolved before the season starts, one way or the other.

Pitta only down to 11?

I'm assuming that the most likely outcome is for him to lose a season and be back around 100% a year from now. If that happens, then I think he has better prospects for 2014 than anyone else in tier 3+.

I am not sure if Cooper will ever play in the NFL again and I am pretty sure he is not going to be a starter for the Eagles or anyone else now. I could understand moving him down, not up.

I would be surprised if Cooper was cut by the Eagles at this point for anything unrelated to his football performance. If the Eagles wanted to distance themselves from him, they would have cut him by now- it certainly would have been a better PR move to move on immediately, like New England did with Hernandez or Food Network did with Paula Dean. Currently the biggest threat facing him, in my opinion, is if everything takes too long to finish playing out and Cooper finds himself behind the 8-ball on getting reps. Still, Cooper's chances of being a usable fantasy receiver this season are a lot higher today than they were two months ago.

I do not think Cooper was going to be worth much even without what he said but I won't belabor this any further. I think you are both reading the situation wrong and I do not see a reason for the upgrade while I see plenty or reason for the opposite.

Cooper's career in Philadelphia can't survive this, because Kelly's first season in Philadelphia can't survive him. http://espn.go.com/nfl/trainingcamp13/story/_/id/9529775/riley-cooper-philadelphia-eagles-wide-receiver-mistake-cost-job

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ZWK, could you please expand on having Harvin ranked at WR8 and Crabtree ranked at WR24? Both seem to share superficial similarities- very similar ages, both with a lone top-10 season, both with injuries projected to keep them out until the final month or so of the 2013 season. Harvin has advantages over Crabtree (his history of elite production is 16 games vs. 8 games, he's a year younger, his team has made more of a commitment to him, he's a more talented and dynamic player, he's coming off of an injury which has historically been less scary for a player's long-term prospects). I would absolutely prefer Harvin. At the same time, Crabtree has a lot of advantages, too- he's not on a new team or in a new system so there's less of a transition, he's a much more prototypical WR, his injury history is much less troubling. Prior to their respective injuries, both receivers were valued pretty closely (with an edge to Harvin). According to DLF's ADP data, in April Harvin was being selected as the 7th receiver, while Crabtree was the 10th. In May, Harvin was the 7th while Crabtree was the 9th. Any thoughts on the 18-slot gap in your rankings for the players?

Pre-injuries, Harvin and Crabtree may have been 7 & 9 in the rankings (or more like 6 & 12, in my rankings), but I would not say that they were valued that closely. I think you wrote about the dynasty WR situation as an obvious top 7 with a clear gap on everyone else, and then someone has to fill in spot #8. I had it as an elite top 5, and then Harvin as the obvious #6 (trailing a bit behind them), with the dropoff continuing fairly steeply until WR14 or so. The drop is steep enough for me to prefer one of Dez Bryant (#5) over two of Andre Johnson (#13), and back in April you would've needed to add a lot to Crabtree to trade him for Harvin.

Harvin wasn't quite at the Dez/Demaryius level, but he was in that neighborhood where few other receivers are, so a ~25% drop in value only slips him back a few spots, behind Cobb & Marshall to be neck-and-neck (-and-neck) with Fitz & Cruz in the #8-10 range. Crabtree was closer to that Andre Johnson neighborhood (a bit above him), and the pack of receivers gets a lot denser after that, so a ~25% drop in value for him cost many more spots in the rankings.

Harvin is an undeniable talent. He has been an elite NFL player since day 1, at least on a per snap basis, and has put up fantasy numbers ranging from very good to elite. There aren't many players like him, so even with a major injury not many guys are in a position to pass him. Crabtree has performed like an elite receiver for half a season, as a target hog while he was Kaepernick's #1 read, after spending most of his career as a low-end NFL WR1 and a low-end fantasy WR3. His true talent is probably somewhere in between - very good, but not top 10. There are more receivers like him, or who have other advantages for their fantasy prospects, so a lot more guys passed him when he got injured.

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It's possible that I anchored too much on my previous rankings, and didn't adjust enough for news. I think that is what I did with Pitta - I compared him with Martellus Bennett and it felt like #10 was too high, and then I considered him at #11 and that felt reasonable (putting him ahead of Keller or Fleener felt okay). But, looking at it again, #18 also feels like it could be reasonable - Pitta vs. Kelce isn't an obvious call to me either.

So, to counter anchoring, I added some random noise to scramble my rankings, and then did a quick gut re-ranking of each position. Looking at the results, my tiers held up pretty well (except my WR tiers 11 & 12 bled together, as did my RB tiers 8 & 9). There was some shifting around within tiers (average movement was 2.0 spots, but only 1.0 spots if you just focus on the top third of each position), and about a dozen players jumped tiers.

Biggest movers (based on a mix of spots & tiers):

WR: Antonio Brown (up), Miles Austin (up), James Jones (up), Kendall Wright (up), Markus Wheaton (down), Malcom Floyd (down)

RB: Marshawn Lynch (up), Ryan Mathews (down), Christine Michael (up), Ronnie Hillman (up), Daryl Richardson (up), Kendall Hunter (up), Brandon Bolden (up), Shonn Green (up), Jacquizz Rodgers (up), Denard Robinson (down)

TE: Dennis Pitta (down), Travis Kelce (up), Heath Miller (up), Marcedes Lewis (down)

QB: Geno Smith (up), Tyler Wilson (up), Nick Foles (down)

I'll have to take another look at these guys to figure out why I disagree with me, and which one of us is wrong.

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Given recent news on Riley Cooper I am confused as to why you are moving him up?

I moved Cooper up when Maclin got injured, leaving Cooper as the favorite to be the Eagles' #2 WR. His off-the-field issues might cost him his job, but given that he's still on the roster I'd guess that he has a pretty good shot to win that role. The urgency consideration also points in his favor - his issues are likely to be resolved before the season starts, one way or the other.

Pitta only down to 11?

I'm assuming that the most likely outcome is for him to lose a season and be back around 100% a year from now. If that happens, then I think he has better prospects for 2014 than anyone else in tier 3+.

I am not sure if Cooper will ever play in the NFL again and I am pretty sure he is not going to be a starter for the Eagles or anyone else now. I could understand moving him down, not up.

I would be surprised if Cooper was cut by the Eagles at this point for anything unrelated to his football performance. If the Eagles wanted to distance themselves from him, they would have cut him by now- it certainly would have been a better PR move to move on immediately, like New England did with Hernandez or Food Network did with Paula Dean. Currently the biggest threat facing him, in my opinion, is if everything takes too long to finish playing out and Cooper finds himself behind the 8-ball on getting reps. Still, Cooper's chances of being a usable fantasy receiver this season are a lot higher today than they were two months ago.

I do not think Cooper was going to be worth much even without what he said but I won't belabor this any further. I think you are both reading the situation wrong and I do not see a reason for the upgrade while I see plenty or reason for the opposite.

Cooper's career in Philadelphia can't survive this, because Kelly's first season in Philadelphia can't survive him. http://espn.go.com/nfl/trainingcamp13/story/_/id/9529775/riley-cooper-philadelphia-eagles-wide-receiver-mistake-cost-job

In my mind, clear comments from the head coach trump random speculation from media "personalities".

"There's never been any question of cutting Riley," Kelly said.

Even if we believe that Philly might still cut him (and, as I said, if they were going to cut him, from a PR standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense for them to have waited- they have to deal with all the fallout of having kept him, and get none of the goodwill from having cut him), Cooper's situation has still improved from two months ago to today. Cooper has gone from a guy who had a 100% chance of making the roster and a 0% chance of being fantasy relevant if he did to a guy who has an (insert some number greater than zero here)% chance of making the roster and an (insert some number greater than zero here)% chance of being relevant if he does. It doesn't matter what numbers you plug in, the chances of Cooper being fantasy relevant have gone up over the last two months. And ZWK and I have both advocated for the concept of urgency, or rating more highly a player surrounded by uncertainty for whom we will very soon receive a large dose of clarity. The idea is that roster spots have value, and rostering a player presents an opportunity cost. We're going to get a big dose of clarity on Riley Cooper in the next two weeks- either the Eagles will cut him, or they won't. If they cut him, we can cut him as well, and the opportunity cost of rostering Riley Cooper was a big fat zero. If the Eagles don't cut him, then Cooper will shoot up everyone else's rankings, but they'll be too late as we'll already have him rostered. Compare that to someone like Da'Rick Rogers, who we might have to hold for years before we get any sort of clarity about whether he'll be able to cut it in the NFL. I'd rather tie up a roster spot for a week to find out what's going to happen with Riley Cooper than tie up a roster spot for two years to find out what's going to happen with Da'Rick Rogers.

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It's possible that I anchored too much on my previous rankings, and didn't adjust enough for news. I think that is what I did with Pitta - I compared him with Martellus Bennett and it felt like #10 was too high, and then I considered him at #11 and that felt reasonable (putting him ahead of Keller or Fleener felt okay). But, looking at it again, #18 also feels like it could be reasonable - Pitta vs. Kelce isn't an obvious call to me either.

So, to counter anchoring, I added some random noise to scramble my rankings, and then did a quick gut re-ranking of each position. Looking at the results, my tiers held up pretty well (except my WR tiers 11 & 12 bled together, as did my RB tiers 8 & 9). There was some shifting around within tiers (average movement was 2.0 spots, but only 1.0 spots if you just focus on the top third of each position), and about a dozen players jumped tiers.

Biggest movers (based on a mix of spots & tiers):

WR: Antonio Brown (up), Miles Austin (up), James Jones (up), Kendall Wright (up), Markus Wheaton (down), Malcom Floyd (down)

RB: Marshawn Lynch (up), Ryan Mathews (down), Christine Michael (up), Ronnie Hillman (up), Daryl Richardson (up), Kendall Hunter (up), Brandon Bolden (up), Shonn Green (up), Jacquizz Rodgers (up), Denard Robinson (down)

TE: Dennis Pitta (down), Travis Kelce (up), Heath Miller (up), Marcedes Lewis (down)

QB: Geno Smith (up), Tyler Wilson (up), Nick Foles (down)

I'll have to take another look at these guys to figure out why I disagree with me, and which one of us is wrong.

What if you're both wrong? ;)

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