ZWK

ZWK's Dynasty Rankings (Updated February 2017)

958 posts in this topic

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? ;)

Well, I can at least try to figure out who's wronger.

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Mid-season WR update (11/18/13). I don't know if I'll get to other positions.

Age is as of 12/1/13. Prev shows my 8/3/13 ranking.

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev
1 1 Calvin Johnson DET 28.2 (1)
2 2 A.J. Green CIN 25.4 (2)
2 3 Dez Bryant DAL 25.1 (5)
2 4 Demaryius Thomas DEN 26.0 (4)
3 5 Julio Jones ATL 24.9 (3)
3 6 Randall Cobb GB 23.4 (6)
3 7 Brandon Marshall CHI 29.7 (7)
3 8 Percy Harvin SEA 25.6 (8)
3 9 Victor Cruz NYG 27.1 (10)
4 10 Josh Gordon CLE 22.7 (25)
4 11 Jordy Nelson GB 28.6 (11)
4 12 Pierre Garcon WAS 27.4 (23)
4 13 Antonio Brown PIT 25.4 (32)
4 14 DeSean Jackson PHI 27.0 (33)
4 15 Michael Crabtree SF 26.3 (24)
4 16 Alshon Jeffery CHI 23.8 (46)
4 17 T.Y. Hilton IND 24.1 (34)
4 18 Andre Johnson HOU 32.4 (13)
4 19 Vincent Jackson TB 30.9 (15)
4 20 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 30.3 (9)
4 21 Wes Welker DEN 32.6 (35)
5 22 Michael Floyd ARI 24.1 (30)

5 23 Tavon Austin STL 22.7 (16)
5 24 Torrey Smith BAL 24.9 (31)
5 25 Hakeem Nicks NYG 25.9 (12)
5 26 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 21.5 (28)
5 27 Danny Amendola NE 28.1 (22)
5 28 Justin Blackmon JAX 23.9 (20)
5 29 Cecil Shorts JAX 26.0 (26)
5 30 Cordarrelle Patterson MIN 22.7 (29)
5 31 Marques Colston NO 30.5 (18)
6 32 Keenan Allen SD 21.6 (67)
6 33 Roddy White ATL 32.1 (14)
6 34 Eric Decker DEN 26.8 (39)
6 35 Dwayne Bowe KC 29.2 (17)
6 36 Mike Wallace MIA 27.4 (21)
6 37 Golden Tate SEA 25.4 (45)
6 38 Rueben Randle NYG 22.6 (47)
6 39 Aaron Dobson NE 22.5 (48)
6 40 Steve Johnson BUF 27.4 (27)
6 41 Jeremy Maclin PHI 25.6 (36)
6 42 Terrance Williams DAL 24.2 (66)

6 43 Kendall Wright TEN 24.1 (53)
7 44 Kenny Britt TEN 25.2 (19)
7 45 Mike Williams TB 26.6 (42)
7 46 Justin Hunter TEN 22.6 (43)
7 47 Jarrett Boykin GB 24.1 unr
7 48 Markus Wheaton PIT 22.8 (56)
7 49 Robert Woods BUF 21.7 (59)
7 50 Denarius Moore OAK 25.0 (60)
7 51 James Jones GB 29.7 (52)
8 52 Greg Jennings MIN 30.2 (37)
8 53 Kenny Stills NO 21.6 unr
8 54 Miles Austin DAL 29.5 (40)
8 55 Marquise Goodwin BUF 23.0 (90)
8 56 Marvin Jones CIN 23.8 (95)
8 57 Riley Cooper PHI 26.2 (85)
8 58 Sidney Rice SEA 27.3 (38)
8 59 Emmanuel Sanders PIT 26.7 (49)
8 60 Santonio Holmes NYJ 29.8 (57)
8 61 Reggie Wayne IND 35.1 (44)
8 62 Danario Alexander SD 25.3 (41)
8 63 Steve Smith CAR 34.7 (50)
9 64 Stephen Hill NYJ 22.7 (58)
9 65 Vincent Brown SD 24.9 (63)
9 66 Rishard Matthews MIA 24.2 unr
9 67 Marlon Brown BAL 24.4 unr
9 68 Brian Hartline MIA 27.1 (78)
9 69 Anquan Boldin SF 33.2 (55)
9 70 Chris Givens STL 24.0 (61)
9 71 Kenbrell Thompkins NE 25.4 (74)
9 72 Rod Streater OAK 25.9 (65)
10 73 Stedman Bailey STL 23.1 (71)
10 74 Brandon LaFell CAR 27.1 (70)
10 75 Doug Baldwin SEA 26.2 (93)
10 76 Harry Douglas ATL 29.2 unr
10 77 Andre Roberts ARI 25.9 (68)
10 78 Lance Moore NO 30.3 (54)
10 79 Brian Quick STL 24.5 (62)
11 80 Josh Boyce NE 23.9 (72)
11 81 Quinton Patton SF 23.3 (79)
11 82 Ryan Broyles DET 25.7 (51)
11 83 Joseph Morgan NO 25.8 (81)
11 84 Nate Washington TEN 30.3 (97)
11 85 Jeremy Kerley NYJ 25.1 (73)
11 86 Jerome Simpson MIN 27.8 unr
11 87 Greg Little CLE 24.6 (64)
11 88 Da'Rick Rogers BUF 22.5 (80)
11 89 Jermaine Kearse SEA 23.8 unr
11 90 Julian Edelman NE 27.6 (87)
11 91 Jarius Wright MIN 24.0 unr
11 92 Charles Johnson CLE 24.8 (84)
11 93 Leonard Hankerson WAS 26.6 (103)
11 94 Marquess Wilson CHI 21.2 unr
11 95 Tavarres King CAR 23.4 (101)
11 96 Nick Toon NO 25.1 (82)
11 97 T.J. Graham BUF 24.4 (83)
11 98 Mike Brown JAX 24.8 unr
11 99 Brice Butler OAK 23.9 unr
11 100 Kris Durham DET 25.7 unr

Top 9 are relatively stable since the offseason. There's a pretty big dropoff from #9 (Cruz) to #10 (Gordon).

The 10s contain a lot of youngish guys with a legitimate shot to put up some top 10 seasons, who are also fairly safe bets to string together a few top 25 seasons. Gordon, Jeffery, and Hilton have put a bit of separation on the other WRs in their first 2 seasons, by putting up performances that are really good without being graded on a curve (not merely good for a rookie). The bottom of this tier contains elite older receivers, who are destined to slide down the rankings as the clock ticks away. Jordy Nelson would belong in the top 10 if he was guaranteed to re-sign with Aaron Rodgers, and he'd belong with the Andre Johnson & Wes Welker group if he was guaranteed to leave town.

Next tier (the 20s) is mostly top prospects who haven't emerged yet (at least not as anything more than a WR3), mixed in with some guys who are likely to top at as WR2s (Torrey Smith, Shorts), carry extra risk (Nicks, Blackmon), or are old (Colston).

Tier 6 (the 30s) mixes young guys with less pedigree or upside, and solid veterans with more warts.

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Just to nitpick, I feel like Decker and Terrance Williams are a bit low, Randall Cobb, Wes Welker, And Hakeem Nicks are a bit high.

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Can't see any way im taking a 33 yo Roddy White over Decker, Wallace, Randle or a half dozen guys below him.

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Decker is probably a mid-to-low WR2 the rest of this season. Then he's a free agent, and more likely than not to leave Denver and go someplace where he won't do as well. Even if he manages to stick around in Denver, he has maybe 2 years left with Manning (most likely as a low-end WR2).

Roddy White has been a WR1 until this year, and if he's healthy he has a pretty good shot at being a borderline WR1 down the stretch, and again next year. He's similar to Andre Johnson or Wes Welker, but with extra risk because he has been struggling with injuries.

Each year of low-end WR1 play is worth double a year of mid-to-low WR2 play. (So far this year, Welker has been worth almost twice as much as Decker.) So it's worth paying a fair amount for guys who can give you that, even if it's just for a year or two.

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If you're looking purely at VBD then you're missing a couple important variables. Namely, what you'll be able to trade the player for both in the future and now. Roddy seems like he's cooked to me and with that perception probably being pretty widespread, I doubt you could get much for him in a trade. A younger player like Randle will hold his value better and you'll have a better chance of packaging him for a truly elite WR if you decide you need to have someone like Patterson or one of the incoming rooks. I've been guilty of living in the future too much at times, but the age paranoia isn't without reason. Untradeable players like Roddy who die on your roster really limit your flexibility. If your team craps out or you spot a rising player you want to acquire, you're SOL.

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If you're looking purely at VBD then you're missing a couple important variables. Namely, what you'll be able to trade the player for both in the future and now. Roddy seems like he's cooked to me and with that perception probably being pretty widespread, I doubt you could get much for him in a trade. A younger player like Randle will hold his value better and you'll have a better chance of packaging him for a truly elite WR if you decide you need to have someone like Patterson or one of the incoming rooks. I've been guilty of living in the future too much at times, but the age paranoia isn't without reason. Untradeable players like Roddy who die on your roster really limit your flexibility. If your team craps out or you spot a rising player you want to acquire, you're SOL.

We've all had this conversation before. Some of us put a lot less stock in trade value than others, and our rankings will reflect that.

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If you're looking purely at VBD then you're missing a couple important variables. Namely, what you'll be able to trade the player for both in the future and now. Roddy seems like he's cooked to me and with that perception probably being pretty widespread, I doubt you could get much for him in a trade. A younger player like Randle will hold his value better and you'll have a better chance of packaging him for a truly elite WR if you decide you need to have someone like Patterson or one of the incoming rooks. I've been guilty of living in the future too much at times, but the age paranoia isn't without reason. Untradeable players like Roddy who die on your roster really limit your flexibility. If your team craps out or you spot a rising player you want to acquire, you're SOL.

I typically rank in terms of VBD, and think about fit with my team (roster flexibility, positional needs, whether I'm in win-now mode vs. rebuilding, etc.) when I actually pull the trigger on a deal.

If I think that a player's trade value is less than his VBD, then that's a sign that I should trade for him (provided that he fits with my team). There is a cost with seeking out players who are undervalued, which is that sometimes my roster gets full of players who I see as undervalued and that makes it hard to make trades. But that's a relatively small price to pay, if I can in fact consistently make moves that increase my team's expected VBD. And that state is temporary, since it is typically only a matter of time before my estimate of a player's VBD and other people's valuations of the player come close together. There is a kind of clock which represents how long it will take for them to converge, and with Roddy there is a decent chance that the clock will run a few weeks into next season (although it could be over in as soon as one week, if Roddy has a big game next weekend).

When I don't own a player, that clock represents how long I have until the window to buy low has closed. When I do have a player, it represents how long I'm stuck with reduced roster flexibility.

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If you're looking purely at VBD then you're missing a couple important variables. Namely, what you'll be able to trade the player for both in the future and now. Roddy seems like he's cooked to me and with that perception probably being pretty widespread, I doubt you could get much for him in a trade. A younger player like Randle will hold his value better and you'll have a better chance of packaging him for a truly elite WR if you decide you need to have someone like Patterson or one of the incoming rooks. I've been guilty of living in the future too much at times, but the age paranoia isn't without reason. Untradeable players like Roddy who die on your roster really limit your flexibility. If your team craps out or you spot a rising player you want to acquire, you're SOL.

I typically rank in terms of VBD, and think about fit with my team (roster flexibility, positional needs, whether I'm in win-now mode vs. rebuilding, etc.) when I actually pull the trigger on a deal.

If I think that a player's trade value is less than his VBD, then that's a sign that I should trade for him (provided that he fits with my team). There is a cost with seeking out players who are undervalued, which is that sometimes my roster gets full of players who I see as undervalued and that makes it hard to make trades. But that's a relatively small price to pay, if I can in fact consistently make moves that increase my team's expected VBD. And that state is temporary, since it is typically only a matter of time before my estimate of a player's VBD and other people's valuations of the player come close together. There is a kind of clock which represents how long it will take for them to converge, and with Roddy there is a decent chance that the clock will run a few weeks into next season (although it could be over in as soon as one week, if Roddy has a big game next weekend).

When I don't own a player, that clock represents how long I have until the window to buy low has closed. When I do have a player, it represents how long I'm stuck with reduced roster flexibility.

Sometimes the clock gets stuck on midnight indefinitely. Wes Welker owners have been waiting for 6 years for his trade value to be commensurate to his actual value. Somehow, I doubt they're crying into their Cheerios over their inability to trade him away over that span.

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Yup, I can't get anywhere near what I believe is fair value for Gronk, so I a guess I am "stuck" with him in my FFPC league. LOL.

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If I think that a player's trade value is less than his VBD, then that's a sign that I should trade for him (provided that he fits with my team). There is a cost with seeking out players who are undervalued, which is that sometimes my roster gets full of players who I see as undervalued and that makes it hard to make trades. But that's a relatively small price to pay, if I can in fact consistently make moves that increase my team's expected VBD. And that state is temporary, since it is typically only a matter of time before my estimate of a player's VBD and other people's valuations of the player come close together.

I hear what you are saying, but I don't think a pure VBD approach is ever going to be ideal for reasons that I already touched on. If player X will get you 50 VBD and player Y will get your 35 VBD, but in two years you'll be able to trade him for player Z who will get 25 VBD then you're better off with player Y if forced to choose between X and Y. I am always on the lookout for rising players and when I'm saddled with aging stars like Marshall and Fitzgerald it hinders my ability to go out and get the guys I want because the other owners in my leagues don't want to trade for the old players.

I try to treat the players not only as an end, but also as a means to acquire other ends. Just popping ppg numbers into a computer isn't going to tell you much about that side of things. Roddy is an illustrative example. You're probably a little higher on him than most owners. You think he has more career VBD in the tank than his market price would indicate. Even if you're right, I don't think that makes him an automatic buy. His numbers would be pretty useless on a rebuilding team. More importantly, he's a decaying asset who will have very little value as currency in the coming years even if he somehow manages to remain productive. Even if a guy like Randle or Wright is never more than a WR2/WR3, the allure of youth/upside will give you more ability to package those players for something of real value. If you look at your teams more from the perspective of accumulating currency (which I do) and less from the perspective of VBD, you're probably not going to have much interest in getting Roddy White unless he makes perfect sense for your team and you can get a cheap price (i.e. you're an immediate contender with need at WR and someone offers him to you for a mid-late 2nd round rookie pick).

In a vacuum I would rather have Randle even if I knew Roddy was going to outscore him for another year or two (which I doubt btw).

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If I think that a player's trade value is less than his VBD, then that's a sign that I should trade for him (provided that he fits with my team). There is a cost with seeking out players who are undervalued, which is that sometimes my roster gets full of players who I see as undervalued and that makes it hard to make trades. But that's a relatively small price to pay, if I can in fact consistently make moves that increase my team's expected VBD. And that state is temporary, since it is typically only a matter of time before my estimate of a player's VBD and other people's valuations of the player come close together.

I hear what you are saying, but I don't think a pure VBD approach is ever going to be ideal for reasons that I already touched on. If player X will get you 50 VBD and player Y will get your 35 VBD, but in two years you'll be able to trade him for player Z who will get 25 VBD then you're better off with player Y if forced to choose between X and Y. I am always on the lookout for rising players and when I'm saddled with aging stars like Marshall and Fitzgerald it hinders my ability to go out and get the guys I want because the other owners in my leagues don't want to trade for the old players.

Here's the thing: The only way you can trade Player Y for Player Z worth 25 VBD in two years is if the market consensus value of Player Y is 25 VBD two years from now. So, if we expect Player Y to be worth 35 VBD over the next two years, and we expect that we will expect him to be worth 25 VBD two years from now, then he's not a "35 VBD player", he's a "60 VBD player", and he should be preferred over Player X for reasons that have nothing at all to do with his trade value.

Trade value in dynasty leagues is a proxy for actual value. A player's trade value is the market's best estimate of the actual value he will provide for a franchise. In that respect, trade value doesn't serve as the great distinguishing factor that you think it does. Either two players are so close in ACTUAL value over the next two years that one player's ACTUAL value beyond that (not his trade value) pushes him over the top... or one player will provide so much more ACTUAL VALUE over the next two years that it won't matter if he's "used up" at the end of that span, he'll still have been more valuable than another player who will have value remaining. As an example, consider a guy who'll score 60 VBD this year and then retire vs. a second guy who'll score 10 VBD every year for five years. The second guy will have a whole hell of a lot more trade value left at the end of this season, but the first guy will still be dramatically more valuable.

Either way, this is a horse that has been beaten so badly he's practically liquified. I vote we just leave his poor carcass in peace. Both sides have made their cases, neither side is going to say anything to convince the other. Some prefer rankings that anchor much more heavily to anticipated trade value. Others do not.

ETA: I strongly suspect that ZWK would agree with you that the EV of Reuben Randle for the window starting in 2016 is many times greater than the EV of Roddy White for the window starting in 2016. The difference then is that ZWK thinks the EV difference from today until the end of 2015 is so greatly biased in Roddy's favor as to render that difference moot, while you disagree. It has nothing at all to do with one party disregarding trade value, it has everything to do with a fundamental difference of opinion over how the two WRs will produce over the next two seasons. ZWK, feel free to let me know if I'm being a bit too bold in my assumptions, here.

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Here's the thing: The only way you can trade Player Y for Player Z worth 25 VBD in two years is if the market consensus value of Player Y is 25 VBD two years from now.

You touched on a key point, which is that your trade options will be dictated by the market's perceptions. Having played in a variety of fairly competitive dynasty leagues over the past decade, I can say pretty confidently that the market for trendy young prospects is typically a lot more robust than the market for fading stars on the very backslope of their prime. So let's say Roddy and Rueben both have 50 career VBD left in the tank. Which of the two players is likely to be overrated by the market and which of the two is likely to be underrated? I think I know the answer. If you're a pure VBD guy then you're going to see that as further cause for acquiring Roddy. If he's worth more points than his price tag then he's a slam dunk buy, right?

What I'm saying is that it isn't that simple. Rueben can actually be worth a lot less, but if people are likely to think he's worth a lot at some point in the future then he might be the better buy because of the flexibility that he affords you. Specific cases are highly debatable, but there's no debate when it comes to the general principle. If you could somehow know with 100% certainty that player X with less functional value, but more perceived value than player Y would give you the opportunity to acquire player Z with far more functional value than either then player X is the correct choice if forced to select between X and Y. That's not really up for debate.

The questionable aspect of it is how accurately anyone can actually make these spots and act accordingly. I would say results are very mixed there. When teams in my league have managed to corral an insane amount of VBD on one roster it was usually because they worked the market well and not because they sat back and merely collected higher VBD players. To give you a concrete example, JPeso (sometimes posts on these boards) traded me Brandon Marshall for my Hakeem Nicks back in 2010. It looks like I "won" the VBD side of that deal, but...Peso turned around a few months later and packaged Nicks with AJ Green and Vernon Davis for Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, and Aaron Hernandez. And, partially on the strength of those players, he won the league in 2011 or 2012.

So did I "win" the Nicks trade because I got the higher value player or did I lose because I missed the opportunity to convert Nicks into someone who should have even more career VBD than Marshall (or who at least has more market value and buying power)? I would rather have Marshall than Nicks, but I would rather have Dez than Marshall. From a certain perspective I lost that deal even though I won it. Of course, it's pretty unlikely that I would've sought out a deal if I'd kept Nicks. I might have been stuck with him and ended up with a much worse outcome than I got by landing Marshall. Nobody is psychic and it's not realistic to expect anyone to constantly buy/sell the right players at the right time.

However, I'll always pop up to point out the importance of perceived value because it's a significant factor that must be considered. If one player is going to score more points than another player, but the other player gives you more potential to acquire superior value down the road then you should heavily consider going with the inferior scorer. This is the logic behind ranking a guy like Christine Michael ahead of a guy like Marshawn Lynch. It isn't that he's a lock to score more points. It's that he's likely to achieve a higher perceived value at some point in the next 1-2 seasons than Lynch will ever have for the rest of his career and at that point you'll have the option of either A.) keeping him if you think he's legit or B.) cashing out for more value than Marshawn ever would've landed you.

Again, there are specific cases where the simple VBD approach is going to kill the stock market approach, but the reverse is also true at times. The ideal strategy (even if it's purely theoretical and nearly impossible in practice) would obviously be a mixture of both. So sticking your fingers in your ears is not the solution.

Edited by EBF

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I try to add value (roughly, expected VBD) to my roster with every trade that I make. There are two obvious ways to do this:

1. acquire players that are undervalued (their market value is less than my estimate of their expected VBD)

2. trade away players on my roster that are overvalued (their market value is more than my estimate of their expected VBD)

I mostly focus on #1, since opportunities for #2 are much rarer than opportunities for #1 (the number of overvalued players who are on my roster is always going to be much less than the number of undervalued players who are not on my roster). So I put a lot of my attention into identifying undervalued players, and I have various theories to help me do it (e.g., injured players are often undervalued).

There is a third thing that someone could do:

3. acquire players that are not overvalued now, but that are likely to become overvalued in the future (their market value will be more than my estimate at that time of their expected VBD)

If you're trading to acquire future trade value, then it seems like you're doing #3 in the hopes of setting up #2. That sounds harder than just doing #1, because you need to predict errors in market value in advance (rather than just identifying them when they happen).

But maybe it's doable, if you have some systematic theories or heuristics about when players tend to be overvalued, which depend on predictable underlying factors.

For example, one plausible theory is that middling RBs who were starters as rookies tend to be overvalued in the offseason after their rookie year. So you could try to acquire RBs with a chance to be rookie starters, looking to flip them after the season. So you'd be looking for the next Steve Slaton, Julius Jones, etc., so that you can watch their value rise and then trade them away. Unfortunately for this approach to exploiting market inefficiencies, mid-round rookie RBs with immediate opportunity (Zac Stacy, Delone Carter, etc.) are often valued pretty highly in rookie drafts, which suggests that the margins are fairly thin (unless you can find RBs with opportunity who slip between the cracks).

Another theory is that hot WR prospects who don't pan out tend to retain their market value for too long. So you can buy them young, with the knowledge that you can get a large chunk of your investment back by selling quickly in case they don't pan out. But I don't actually have much confidence in this theory. It seems like many young WRs have seen their market value drop quite quickly (e.g., A.J. Jenkins, Brian Quick), and some had their market value drop too far before rebounding when their performance improved (e.g., Mike Williams, Golden Tate). I'm not convinced that anyone can do much better than the market at identifying when to sell, which makes it hard to profit by buying these guys in advance.

Alternatively, instead of using this combo of #3 & #2 in order to add value to your roster, you could just try to avoid costing yourself value by avoiding players that are likely to become undervalued in the future. That is a relevant consideration, but it seems lower priority since 1) it's usually just a matter of time before the market sorts itself out, and 2) you can just start the guy - the VBD of a player who is undervalued by the market is worth just as much as anyone else's. So instead of incorporating this into my rankings, I think about it mostly as subissue for roster fit. If it makes sense for me to have this guy as a starter on my roster, then concerns about future trade value aren't that important.

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I try to add value (roughly, expected VBD) to my roster with every trade that I make. There are two obvious ways to do this:

1. acquire players that are undervalued (their market value is less than my estimate of their expected VBD)

2. trade away players on my roster that are overvalued (their market value is more than my estimate of their expected VBD)

There is a third thing that someone could do:

3. acquire players that are not overvalued now, but that are likely to become overvalued in the future (their market value will be more than my estimate at that time of their expected VBD)

If you're trading to acquire future trade value, then it seems like you're doing #3 in the hopes of setting up #2. That sounds harder than just doing #1, because you need to predict errors in market value in advance (rather than just identifying them when they happen).

It's always going to distill down to #1 and/or #2. Even if you treat players as trade currency and not as units of production, you are still trying to buy below actual value and sell above it. The difference is that you're considering the player as a means to other ends and not purely as an end. It actually goes back to #1. If I know that there are going to be undervalued players out there every season then I need ammunition to acquire those players. If nobody is willing to pay anything of note for my VBD collection of Welker, Roddy, and Fitz then I've possibly just lost out on an opportunity to pull off a #1 because I had a roster full of ugly ducklings. Even if they're productive, the fact that nobody else values them at their actual value prevents me from exchanging them.

If certain groups of players (proven stars on the tail end of their prime) are chronically undervalued and other groups of players (trendy prospects who flash potential) are chronically overvalued then I think you have to factor that into your roster decisions. It's been my experience that you can't get fair value for aging stars most of the time. That's great if you're buying those guys or you're happy holding them, but not so great if you find yourself wanting to ship them out.

As far as your #3 is concerned, I'm not really a big proponent of buying players that I don't believe in. The one thing I'll say with regards to predicting future market inefficiencies is that there seems to be a pretty consistent error in the market where players are perceived to have a static value between ages 21-26 even though their actual value is dropping every week. Look at LeSean Mccoy. Probably half his prime is done and dusted, but he's still valued approximately the same (or higher) than he would've been 3 years ago. Knowing that good young players are going to hold their value like this gives you a bit of a built-in #3 when you're buying them early in their career because you're working with the assumption that you'll be able to ride the wave for a few years and then eventually sell when they're no longer worth what people are paying. It's still fundamentally a #1/#2. Buying the player when he's undervalued and then eventually selling him when he's overvalued. The difference is that you're anticipating that moment from the get-go.

With a player who's already on the tail end of his prime, you're not going to get that free ride. If anything, people excessively downgrade old players, so you're basically signing up for the reverse. Buying a player knowing that he's about to become undervalued. That is obviously problematic if you have any intentions to shuffle the deck.

Edited by EBF

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The fantasy football player "market" is highly illiquid. There is only one of each player, with one owner of that player, so the trade value can vary greatly from league to league and owner to owner. I know there are tons of players I've tried to get throughout the years but just haven't been able to, simply because the other owner either hardly trades or has an unreasonable view of the players' value.

It's the main reason that I don't use the "stock market" approach to FF very often- it just doesn't work that way in practice (unfortunately).

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On to the desolate wasteland of dynasty running back.

Here's a fun (by which I mean disturbing) puzzle: try to predict who the top 12 fantasy RBs will be in 2015. Or even worse, 2016. There aren't a lot of guys who you can be confident in - almost everyone has some mixture of old, "yikes!", "meh", or an extremely brief list of NFL accomplishments. If I had to include 12 names of the guys most likely to be there in 2015, I'm tempted to include both Marshawn Lynch and Christine Michael, even though the chances of them both doing it are rather small.

The top two RBs in my preseason rankings both looked like the worst running back on their team this year (though only one of the two was traded and demoted, and also gained an extra year of age). There may be a lesson in there about being cautious with your rankings of rookie RBs, but if there is I apparently did not learn it - as you can see by looking at my top 5, or my top 20.

Age is as of 12/1/13. Prev shows my 8/3/13 ranking.

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev

1 1 LeSean McCoy PHI 25.4 (4)
2 2 Jamaal Charles KC 27.0 (3)
2 3 Doug Martin TB 24.9 (2)

3 4 Giovani Bernard CIN 22.0 (17)
3 5 Eddie Lacy GB 23.5 (16)
3 6 Alfred Morris WAS 25.0 (9)

3 7 Adrian Peterson MIN 28.7 (6)
4 8 C.J. Spiller BUF 26.4 (5)
4 9 Matt Forte CHI 28.0 (10)
4 10 Stevan Ridley NE 24.9 (13)
4 11 Ray Rice BAL 26.9 (7)
4 12 Marshawn Lynch SEA 27.7 (12)
4 13 DeMarco Murray DAL 25.8 (14)
5 14 Trent Richardson CLE 23.4 (1)
5 15 Christine Michael SEA 23.1 (28)
5 16 David Wilson NYG 22.5 (11)
5 17 Le'Veon Bell PIT 21.8 (25)
5 18 Ben Tate HOU 25.3 (29)
6 19 Zac Stacy STL 22.7 (50)
6 20 Montee Ball DEN 23.0 (20)
6 21 Arian Foster HOU 27.3 (8)
6 22 Lamar Miller MIA 22.7 (22)
6 23 Knowshon Moreno DEN 26.4 (57)
7 24 Chris Johnson TEN 28.2 (21)
7 25 Reggie Bush DET 28.8 (26)
7 26 Chris Ivory NYJ 25.7 (24)

7 27 Ryan Mathews SD 26.2 (18)
7 28 Andre Ellington ARI 24.8 (72)
7 29 Shane Vereen NE 24.8 (31)
7 30 Darren McFadden OAK 26.3 (15)
7 31 Jonathan Stewart CAR 26.7 (34)
7 32 Andre Brown NYG 27.0 (40)
8 33 Mark Ingram NO 24.0 (36)
8 34 Frank Gore SF 30.6 (30)
8 35 Bernard Pierce BAL 24.0 (33)
8 36 Pierre Thomas NO 29.0 (41)
8 37 Darren Sproles NO 30.5 (32)
8 38 Danny Woodhead SD 29.0 (58)
8 39 Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 28.7 (19)
8 40 Marcus Lattimore SF 22.1 (37)
8 41 Bryce Brown PHI 22.6 (38)
8 42 Rashad Jennings OAK 28.7 unr
8 43 Donald Brown IND 26.7 unr
8 44 Bobby Rainey TB 26.1 unr
8 45 Fred Jackson BUF 32.8 (66)
8 46 Joique Bell DET 27.3 unr
8 47 Rashard Mendenhall ARI 26.5 (27)
8 48 Ahmad Bradshaw IND 27.8 (35)
8 49 DeAngelo Williams CAR 30.7 (46)
8 50 Steven Jackson ATL 30.4 (23)
9 51 Kendall Hunter SF 24.3 (53)
9 52 Roy Helu WAS 25.0 (59)
9 53 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL 23.9 (68)
9 54 Denard Robinson JAX 23.2 (62)
9 55 Vick Ballard IND 23.4 (49)
9 56 Knile Davis KC 22.2 (45)
9 57 Latavius Murray OAK 22.8 (63)
9 58 Robert Turbin SEA 24.0 (43)
9 59 Dion Lewis CLE 23.2 unr
9 60 C.J. Anderson DEN 22.8 unr
9 61 Ronnie Hillman DEN 22.3 (47)
9 62 Toby Gerhart MIN 26.7 (55)
10 63 Shonn Greene TEN 28.3 (69)
10 64 Chris Ogbonnaya CLE 27.6 unr
10 65 Bilal Powell NYJ 25.1 (71)
10 66 Mike James TB 22.7 unr
10 67 Johnathan Franklin GB 24.1 (39)
10 68 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN 28.5 (52)
10 69 Joseph Randle DAL 21.9 (67)
10 70 LaMichael James SF 24.2 (54)
10 71 Daryl Richardson STL 23.7 (48)
10 72 Isaiah Pead STL 24.0 (44)
10 73 Jonathan Dwyer PIT 24.4 (74)
10 74 Daniel Thomas MIA 26.1 unr
10 75 Brandon Bolden NE 23.9 (60)

Note the tier drops near the top. My opinion of Christine Michael & Ben Tate has not actually changed much since the start of the season - they have risen mostly through attrition.

Tier 1: This is the place for RBs who are really good (fantasy top 5 caliber), young (under 26), and safe-ish (healthyish, little doubt that they're top 10-15 in the NFL). In other words, LeSean McCoy.

Tier 2: Charles's only knock is his age, which is pushing 27. Mike James and Bobby Rainey's big games highlight Martin's risk, but also his upside if he retains the Tampa workhorse job.

Tier 3: Bernard & Lacy both check a lot of the boxes. I liked them both predraft. Effective runners this year according to advanced stats (PFF's elusiveness rating, FO's DVOA and success rate). Good situations. Borderline fantasy RB1's this year. Likely borderline first round picks in redraft next year. It feels crazy to have these two second rounders in the top 5 with such a brief track record, but they have a lot going for them and who else am I going to put there?

Tier 4: It's interesting that some folks are attributing Rice's rough year to age-related decline, but I don't hear anyone saying that about Spiller. They're only half a year apart. I'm inclined to blame them both on playing through injuries, plus Baltimore's OL troubles. Lynch would be at the top of this tier if I was convinced that he'd hold onto his role for the next 2 years, but I can't be confident in that with Michael in the wings and Lynch's contract on a team that may be seeking cap space.

Tier 5: These are the guys with youth and upside, without an impressive track record.

Tier 6: Stacy's performance so far this year is close to Bernard and Lacy's, but with such a limited track record the boxes the other unchecked boxes (lack pedigree) are still rather weighty. Arian Foster is hurt in part by the decline of Houston's running offense, which saps his upside. Going into the offseason, Montee Ball will be in a fairly similar position to where he was last offseason, with limited talent (I suspect) but a decent shot at getting a couple years in the high-value role of RB1 in an elite Peyton Manning offense. Moreno is probably headed out of town given the Denver cap situation - his ranking could easily move up 10 spots or down 20 depending on the offseason.

Tier 7: This tier is full of disappointment, but it's still a place where you might find your RB2 for the next couple years.

Tier 8: Stopgap RB2s, plus guys with a reasonable shot at eventually getting a starting job and becoming RB2s for a little while. If you can get any of these guys for cheap, then it's worth collecting as many of the under 28-year-olds as you can (and the older guys would make nice cheap additions if you need a starter right now).

Tier 9: Looking down the depth chart, these are mostly the guys on a team whose starting RB spot is unsettled, creating a potential opening for next season.

Tier 10: And the rest.

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8 35 Bernard Pierce BAL 24.0 (33)

8 41 Bryce Brown PHI 22.6 (38)

9 56 Knile Davis KC 22.2 (45)

9 62 Toby Gerhart MIN 26.7 (55)

10 63 Shonn Greene TEN 28.3 (69)

Outside of rookies and established players, I think these guys are interesting. I had Michael/Pierce/Brown rated pretty closely in the offseason. I agree that Michael has separated from the pack a bit since then. I think he was RB12 on my list and I would maybe prefer him to guys like Peteterson and Forte for certain rosters. Pierce and Brown look like potential (maybe even likely) starting caliber talents as well. It may take a couple years, but I expect them to push for an expanded role eventually. With Bryce probably being the cheapest of that lot now, he might be the best buy target. If I could get him for a 2nd round rookie pick I would feel pretty good about it. Might give a late 1st, but it would probably depend on who's out there in the rookie draft.

I like Gerhart as a low cost flyer. Free agent this offseason. Maybe good enough to land a decent role for a couple seasons.

I don't really like Knile Davis subjectively, but...he was a high draft pick and he's with a coach who gets great production out of his backs. I don't know that he'll ever be a starter in the league (I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't end up being Charles's long term replacement), but people are so down on him that maybe he's worth a cheap punt.

Greene could be a stopgap RB2 for a year or two if Chris Johnson is jettisoned in the offseason. I don't know how likely that is, but I read that Tennessee could entertain the idea of cutting him. Not much to get excited about, but if you just need a warm body in a deep league he's another candidate.

Not so high on guys like Andre Brown, Donald Brown, Chris Ivory, and Rashad Jennings. Here today, gone tomorrow IMO. Only exception might be Andre if he can somehow stay healthy, which he most likely can't based on his injury history. Guy is the Danario Alexander of RBs.

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8 35 Bernard Pierce BAL 24.0 (33)

8 41 Bryce Brown PHI 22.6 (38)

9 56 Knile Davis KC 22.2 (45)

9 62 Toby Gerhart MIN 26.7 (55)

10 63 Shonn Greene TEN 28.3 (69)

Outside of rookies and established players, I think these guys are interesting. I had Michael/Pierce/Brown rated pretty closely in the offseason. I agree that Michael has separated from the pack a bit since then. I think he was RB12 on my list and I would maybe prefer him to guys like Peteterson and Forte for certain rosters. Pierce and Brown look like potential (maybe even likely) starting caliber talents as well. It may take a couple years, but I expect them to push for an expanded role eventually. With Bryce probably being the cheapest of that lot now, he might be the best buy target. If I could get him for a 2nd round rookie pick I would feel pretty good about it. Might give a late 1st, but it would probably depend on who's out there in the rookie draft.

I like Gerhart as a low cost flyer. Free agent this offseason. Maybe good enough to land a decent role for a couple seasons.

I don't really like Knile Davis subjectively, but...he was a high draft pick and he's with a coach who gets great production out of his backs. I don't know that he'll ever be a starter in the league (I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't end up being Charles's long term replacement), but people are so down on him that maybe he's worth a cheap punt.

Greene could be a stopgap RB2 for a year or two if Chris Johnson is jettisoned in the offseason. I don't know how likely that is, but I read that Tennessee could entertain the idea of cutting him. Not much to get excited about, but if you just need a warm body in a deep league he's another candidate.

Not so high on guys like Andre Brown, Donald Brown, Chris Ivory, and Rashad Jennings. Here today, gone tomorrow IMO. Only exception might be Andre if he can somehow stay healthy, which he most likely can't based on his injury history. Guy is the Danario Alexander of RBs.

Ivory is looking like he may take hold of the lead RB role for NYJ, like a lot of people thought he would when he signed there. 73/352/2 over the last 4 games, while Powell has put up 27/81/0 over the same stretch. That's worth a spot ahead of the old RB2s and the not-so-exciting prospects.

Before the season I had Christine Michael a tier ahead of Pierce, and Pierce a tier ahead of Bryce Brown. That was based on my perceptions of their talent, which are still roughly the same. On Bryce Brown in particular, see my post earlier on this page comparing him to Knile Davis. This season, Pierce & Bryce Brown have both done pretty badly. Pierce at least has the excuse of an awful O Line and a backfieldmate with similarly poor numbers; not so with Bryce Brown.

Andre Brown (who I had near Bryce preseason) has seen his competition falter (unlike Bryce) and looked pretty good when he's played. He's somewhat comparable to Chris Ivory, but more injury prone, a bit older, and with more competition on his current team (plus a contract that is running out).

Looking at similar guys, I think I'm underrating Lattimore (who I have listed at #40, one spot ahead of Bryce Brown). He should be up at the top of tier 8, or even low tier 7. Seems a bit more promising than Bryce Brown in a vacuum, and his competition is Gore & Hunter rather than McCoy.

On Rashad Jennings & Donald Brown: how low can you go with them? They both look like the best RB on their team right now, and could justify their RB40ish ranking just by being solid RB2s the rest of the way. Just look at some of the old guys around them in the rankings. Their modest chance at future value is a bit of a bonus over the Fred Jackson types.

I share some of your intrigue for Knile Davis & Gerhart. I think I was higher than you on Davis preseason, but I have been unimpressed with what he has done on the field this year. I have Gerhart at the bottom of tier 9 because, even though he has a better chance of being a top 30 fantasy RB than several of the guys ahead of him, his odds of being a top 12 fantasy RB are not so good (compared to people like C.J. Anderson or Latavius Murray).

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I may have been guilty of overrating Bryce a little bit, but his background is pretty unique. His college career was basically nonexistent. 101 carries as a true freshman at Tennessee and 3 carries for Kansas State. It's kind of a miracle that he got drafted at all. The guy is sorely lacking in game experience, which I think explains some of his bad habits and inconsistency. From a certain perspective, he's basically a college freshman or sophomore in terms of his skill development. Just hasn't played very much football yet, so what you're seeing is pretty raw and unrefined. Maybe he gets a little better with experience. There's an interesting foundation there for a coach to work with because he has a solid size/speed combo and seems to cut pretty well for a bigger back.

I think guys like D Brown, Jennings, and Ivory are at constant risk of replacement because they're mediocre talents. I just don't like to invest in mediocre talents in dynasty. Maybe if the draft comes and goes without event those guys will start to look pretty solid, but right now I just view them as placeholders.

Andre Brown is a slightly different beast. I don't think he's capable of staying healthy. Moreover, there's risk there with Wilson and with NYG maybe drafting a new face. I would rather have him than Jennings or Donald Brown, but he's a luxury item. When healthy, he might be startable. He's just not going to be healthy most of the time.

I think I had Lattimore about where you have him on my list. There's upside there. I also think his talent has been exaggerated and his injury risk is severe.

My interest in Gerhart is mainly in deep leagues. He's obviously not some kind of world beater talent. I agree that RB1 upside is a big stretch. On the other hand, if any coach is crazy enough to feed him the ball, he can produce good stats. Just look at LeVeon Bell. Another big back with quality receiving ability for his size. Gerhart is no worse than him from a talent standpoint. If he can luck into a similar role he can put up numbers. More likely is low end RB2 or bye week value.

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The fantasy football player "market" is highly illiquid. There is only one of each player, with one owner of that player, so the trade value can vary greatly from league to league and owner to owner. I know there are tons of players I've tried to get throughout the years but just haven't been able to, simply because the other owner either hardly trades or has an unreasonable view of the players' value.

It's the main reason that I don't use the "stock market" approach to FF very often- it just doesn't work that way in practice (unfortunately).

Different leagues will have differing stock markets. The key is understanding what your league over and under values. In some of mine, picks are by far the most over values asset. In others, they come at a reasonable price. In some, IDPs are second rate citizens, in others they are more equal with offense. Position values are all over the place.

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For EBF on his Marshall for Nicks deal. How do you know that NIcks was the key to that deal and the other owner does not take it with Marshall also in the deal and maybe give a little more. That 2nd trade really is irrelevant because you are making too many assumptions. Put Marshall in for Nicks in that deal and the team getting Marshall, Green and Davis wins that deal and maybe wins a championship instead of Peso. Plus does Peso win the league because of that trade or because of other factors. You won the deal for your team and it was not close in the end. You have got way more points and will continue to get more points from Marshall than Nicks and the age factor I dont think will ever catch up.

Knile davis is ranked way too low. NOt sure what you are seeing that you dont like but I watched the game vs Denver and while he only had a few touches, he looked very good getting them. He has to have touches and they will come sooner or later. He is a buy candidate IMO and in 2 years from now we could be talking the same value as LeSean Mccoy who is #1 on your list. I take him over the Browns, Pierce, Gerhart or even Michael right now if looking purely to the future. MIchael is close and why I would rank him 2nd in all of these players. Lamar Miller is another guy I like higher than you have ranked. I think way more talented than a guy like Montee Ball. Right now his situation sucks but again about the future. Ball is not winning you anything right now either. If you want to win now, you probably go Stacy but is he a difference maker. Miller is the most talented out of these guys and will be used right somewhere down the road. I think Miami has new management in place next year and than watch out. Even though I do hate RB and think it is some a crap shoot at this point in time. I also prefer Vereen to Ridley especially in PPR. Ridley makes way too many mistakes all the time.

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On Montee Ball: If it was announced tomorrow that Knowshon Moreno is out for the rest of the season, then Montee Ball's value in redraft leagues would skyrocket. He is Moreno's clear backup, and the presumptive next man up, and he'd be stepping into a role that has made McGahee & Moreno RB1s over the past two seasons.

Looking ahead to next season there is a bunch of uncertainty, but the most likely scenario is essentially that. Moreno is gone, Manning and the offense keep dominating, and Ball steps up to the RB1 role where he follows in the footsteps of Addai & Moreno. And if that happens, then Ball is clearly the back to own over Lamar Miller or Zac Stacy. Even though he's not a special talent (on talent alone, I ranked him last out of last year's five 2nd round RBs).

Of course there are lots of other things that could happen - Moreno sticks around, Anderson or Hillman wins the job, a rookie or free agent RB takes over, value-killing RB committee, Manning retires, Manning declines, etc. Which is why Ball is only 20th.

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Knile davis is ranked way too low. NOt sure what you are seeing that you dont like but I watched the game vs Denver and while he only had a few touches, he looked very good getting them. He has to have touches and they will come sooner or later. He is a buy candidate IMO and in 2 years from now we could be talking the same value as LeSean Mccoy who is #1 on your list. I take him over the Browns, Pierce, Gerhart or even Michael right now if looking purely to the future. MIchael is close and why I would rank him 2nd in all of these players.

I understand liking a guy like Knile Davis, but thinking he has even a minuscule chance of holding RB1 value within 2 years is pretty out there. He was a late 3rd round pick, he hasn't done anything exceptional thus far, and most importantly, he's behind 26 year old Jamaal Charles. In two years Davis will still be caddying for Jamaal Charles barring some type of unpredictable catastrophic injury.

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Didn't notice Dennis Johnson on the list. He is a must stash IMO since Ben Tate is all but gone and Arian Foster going on his 34,000 carry in 4 years. If Houston struggles next year like they have this year and decides to pack it up he could be next in line.

Thoughts?

Edited by starks

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I hope you don't mind the constructive criticism because I do appreciate the list, I just disagree with a few things.

Wide receivers.

Josh Gordon - too low in my opinion, I would put him 6 and move everyone else down 1. He has showing that is he is going to be quarterback proof for the next 5 or 6 years. There is a chance Cleveland deals him still, and I think teams would be more interested in the off season when he has a chance to learn the play book.

Pierre Garcon - too high, he is doing all his damage on volume. Washington will bring in more talent to help RG3 in the off season. Nicks, Decker, even Reed will have another year under his belt and should be better.

Kenaan Allen - too low. I think he is way to low. I would put him top 15 right now. He is a rookie and having his up and downs, but has already shown he is going to be a number 1 receiver on a team with a lot of weapons and Rivers is coming back to his former self.

Roddy White - too high. He might be a wr1 or 2 for the rest of the year but I think he will be a wr3 starting next year and beyond and with his age he should be in the 40's.

Eric Decker - too low. Why does everyone think that when Peyton retires, him and Julius Thomas are going to just be awful? We have no idea where he may end up or how good Brock might be. People give Peyton too much credit. Did Reggie Wayne fall off the face of the planet when Peyton left? Did Garcon when he went to Washington? You don't have to have a top 2 or 3 quarterback to be a valuable fantasy commodity. I am not saying he will be as good as Jordy, but this is the same thing people said about him the last few years. His 15 touchdown year was a fluke, he couldn't handle being the number 1 receive when Jennings left, then he couldn't, hold off Cobb and Jones.

Rueben Randle - too low, the guy is showing flashes already and Nicks is basically gone. This guy has wr2 written all over him and the upside to be a wr1.

Kenny Stills - too low, it is going to take a couple years but he is going to be a solid wr3 with the upside as a wr2 when Moore and Colston go.

Running backs

Stevan Ridley - too high, the fumbling is going to kill him. If Vereen can stay healthy Ridley's ceiling is going to be a low end rb2 like the Law Firm was.

Christine Micheal - too high, I love his talent but I wouldn't pay running back 2 price for a guy that still isn't even the primary back up to Lynch. Maybe next year but not yet.

David Wilson - too high, I love him too, but this neck thing sounds too serious, I wouldn't pay rb2 price for him until he shows he is healthy.

Leveon Bell - too low, I would put him borderline top 10. There just aren't very many bell cows anymore and he is a good receiver.

Zack Stacy - too low, I would put him just after Bell for the same reasons.

Moreno - too high, his days are numbered in Denver and Ball is actually starting to show something. He would have to go to the perfect place to still put up numbers.

Shane Vereen - too low, if he can stay healthy he will be a rb2 easily.

As a side note I think people say Rice is near the edge because of age because of his workload, Spiller on the other hand is close to his age but his workload is way less. Rice is near or over 2000 carries with playoffs, I believe Spiller is still under 500 for his career.

Edited by msudaisy26

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Didn't notice Dennis Johnson on the list. He is a must stash IMO since Ben Tate is all but gone and Arian Foster going on his 34,000 carry in 4 years. If Houston struggles next year like they have this year and decides to pack it up he could be next in line.

Thoughts?

He's worth a stash, but let's not act like its impossible that Houston drafts a RB or signs some depth in free agency during the upcoming offseason.

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The fantasy football player "market" is highly illiquid. There is only one of each player, with one owner of that player, so the trade value can vary greatly from league to league and owner to owner. I know there are tons of players I've tried to get throughout the years but just haven't been able to, simply because the other owner either hardly trades or has an unreasonable view of the players' value.

It's the main reason that I don't use the "stock market" approach to FF very often- it just doesn't work that way in practice (unfortunately).

Different leagues will have differing stock markets. The key is understanding what your league over and under values. In some of mine, picks are by far the most over values asset. In others, they come at a reasonable price. In some, IDPs are second rate citizens, in others they are more equal with offense. Position values are all over the place.

Yeah, that's my point. It's not just league specific either, most leagues have a variety of owners who place very different values on assets.

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I hope you don't mind the constructive criticism because I do appreciate the list, I just disagree with a few things.

Wide receivers.

Josh Gordon - too low in my opinion, I would put him 6 and move everyone else down 1. He has showing that is he is going to be quarterback proof for the next 5 or 6 years. There is a chance Cleveland deals him still, and I think teams would be more interested in the off season when he has a chance to learn the play book.

Pierre Garcon - too high, he is doing all his damage on volume. Washington will bring in more talent to help RG3 in the off season. Nicks, Decker, even Reed will have another year under his belt and should be better.

Kenaan Allen - too low. I think he is way to low. I would put him top 15 right now. He is a rookie and having his up and downs, but has already shown he is going to be a number 1 receiver on a team with a lot of weapons and Rivers is coming back to his former self.

Roddy White - too high. He might be a wr1 or 2 for the rest of the year but I think he will be a wr3 starting next year and beyond and with his age he should be in the 40's.

Eric Decker - too low. Why does everyone think that when Peyton retires, him and Julius Thomas are going to just be awful? We have no idea where he may end up or how good Brock might be. People give Peyton too much credit. Did Reggie Wayne fall off the face of the planet when Peyton left? Did Garcon when he went to Washington? You don't have to have a top 2 or 3 quarterback to be a valuable fantasy commodity. I am not saying he will be as good as Jordy, but this is the same thing people said about him the last few years. His 15 touchdown year was a fluke, he couldn't handle being the number 1 receive when Jennings left, then he couldn't, hold off Cobb and Jones.

Rueben Randle - too low, the guy is showing flashes already and Nicks is basically gone. This guy has wr2 written all over him and the upside to be a wr1.

Kenny Stills - too low, it is going to take a couple years but he is going to be a solid wr3 with the upside as a wr2 when Moore and Colston go.

Running backs

Stevan Ridley - too high, the fumbling is going to kill him. If Vereen can stay healthy Ridley's ceiling is going to be a low end rb2 like the Law Firm was.

Christine Micheal - too high, I love his talent but I wouldn't pay running back 2 price for a guy that still isn't even the primary back up to Lynch. Maybe next year but not yet.

David Wilson - too high, I love him too, but this neck thing sounds too serious, I wouldn't pay rb2 price for him until he shows he is healthy.

Leveon Bell - too low, I would put him borderline top 10. There just aren't very many bell cows anymore and he is a good receiver.

Zack Stacy - too low, I would put him just after Bell for the same reasons.

Moreno - too high, his days are numbered in Denver and Ball is actually starting to show something. He would have to go to the perfect place to still put up numbers.

Shane Vereen - too low, if he can stay healthy he will be a rb2 easily.

As a side note I think people say Rice is near the edge because of age because of his workload, Spiller on the other hand is close to his age but his workload is way less. Rice is near or over 2000 carries with playoffs, I believe Spiller is still under 500 for his career.

It would be disappointing if no one disagreed with me on anything. That would mean no arguing, which is no fun. And it might also mean that either people weren't listening, or that they weren't thinking, neither of which is a good thing.

Comments on a few of these:

Gordon: no one is quarterbackproof - just ask Dwayne Bowe, who proved how quarterbackproof he was by finishing as the #2 fantasy WR with Matt Cassel throwing him the ball. It's hard to put Gordon any higher than 10 with his limited track record, especially given what the guys ahead of him have shown.

Garcon: #12 feels too high to me as well, but I look at the guys behind him and I don't feel more comfortable with anyone else there. He's currently a high-end WR2 in redraft, and he does have upside beyond that if Griffin gets healthier & improves (which seems pretty likely). And in fact he flashed that upside during the times in 2012 when he & Griffin were healthy - his efficiency numbers then were quite good.

Randle: young WRs who have shown flashes and have a shot to step up and be their team's top WR are actually fairly common, and a lot of them don't pan out. Coming into the league, Randle didn't strike me as a prospect who had a particularly good shot of turning into a top 10 WR, so I wouldn't feel comfortable with him on the Floyd/Hopkins/Patterson tier where elite upside helps balance out the risk. Randle also has Cruz stuck pretty firmly in the role of Manning's go-to receiver.

Stills: he has done very well in the Henderson/Meachem/Morgan Saints deep threat role, but success in that role is not a very strong indicator of future fantasy value. If you expect to need to wait a couple years until Colston wears down, then you'd better hope that 34-year-old Drew Brees lasts for a long time, and that the Saints don't find another WR to leapfrog him. If you think he has to wait his turn as Lance Moore wears down, then you can't be all that excited about his talent.

Christine Michael vs. Le'Veon Bell: who is more likely to make a Pro Bowl (at some point in their careers)? Who is more likely to have a top 5 fantasy season? For me, the answer to both is clearly Michael. In a year or two, he could be doing what Lynch is doing this year. Bell has a higher expected number of career top 24 RB seasons, but a fantasy RB2 doesn't do that much to help you win a championship. My pre-draft opinion was that Michael was a better RB (and significantly more likely to turn into an elite runner); winning the 3-down workhorse role is a nice plus for Bell but he hasn't done much to change my mind on that question. (It's similar with Wilson & Stacy.)

Didn't notice Dennis Johnson on the list. He is a must stash IMO since Ben Tate is all but gone and Arian Foster going on his 34,000 carry in 4 years. If Houston struggles next year like they have this year and decides to pack it up he could be next in line.

Thoughts?

Dennis Johnson looks to me like a meh fourth stringer who circumstances have temporarily raised to the backup RB role. He would be "next in line" if Tate went down right now, but I highly doubt that Houston would see him as the "next in line" starter if they were making plans in the offseason to move on from Foster & Tate. Looking beyond this season, he does not particularly stand out from other deep cuts like Michael Ford, Mike Gillislee, or Stepfan Taylor (just looking at the basics of size & athleticism, Ford is actually the only one of those 4 who is within the range of typical NFL starters.) Johnson may be just barely worth rostering right now, based on the urgency consideration (and those 10 snaps/game that he's getting), but I would not plan on holding him into the offseason unless he shows something more on the field.

Edited by ZWK

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I think I'm underrating Lattimore (who I have listed at #40, one spot ahead of Bryce Brown).

I agree. I was going to post just that.

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Roddy White is sliding down my rankings after Thursday night's game. Now that he's supposedly recovered from his injury, each unimpressive game shifts the weight of evidence away from temporary injury-caused ineffectiveness towards permanent decline.

I've also been rethinking the top of my RB rankings, considering whether the rookies should be higher than 4&5. I just looked up some numbers for comparable players to Gio (who I have at #4, on tier 3) & Charles (who I have at #2, on tier 2). Gio is 22 years old and on pace for about 50 VBD, while Charles is 27 & on pace for about 130 VBD. Historically, RBs who had 50-99 VBD at age 22 have gone on to accumulate about 360 VBD more over the rest of their career (on average), while a RB who scored 100+ VBD at age 27 had only about 200 VBD more. That is a surprisingly big gap in favor of youth over track record, and although there are various reasons to quibble with it (Charles is a young 27, Gio is near the bottom of the 50-99 range in VBD this year) it is at least enough to convince me that Charles does not belong a tier ahead of Gio.

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Roddy White is sliding down my rankings after Thursday night's game. Now that he's supposedly recovered from his injury, each unimpressive game shifts the weight of evidence away from temporary injury-caused ineffectiveness towards permanent decline.

I've also been rethinking the top of my RB rankings, considering whether the rookies should be higher than 4&5. I just looked up some numbers for comparable players to Gio (who I have at #4, on tier 3) & Charles (who I have at #2, on tier 2). Gio is 22 years old and on pace for about 50 VBD, while Charles is 27 & on pace for about 130 VBD. Historically, RBs who had 50-99 VBD at age 22 have gone on to accumulate about 360 VBD more over the rest of their career (on average), while a RB who scored 100+ VBD at age 27 had only about 200 VBD more. That is a surprisingly big gap in favor of youth over track record, and although there are various reasons to quibble with it (Charles is a young 27, Gio is near the bottom of the 50-99 range in VBD this year) it is at least enough to convince me that Charles does not belong a tier ahead of Gio.

While you're at it, move Le'Veon Bell up from 17th. He's the youngest back in the league, and he's averaging more points per game than Giovani Bernard. His ypc is terrible, but the team's offensive line is a well-known mess, and Bell's yards per reception has been phenomenal to offset. There are not 10 backs I'd prefer over Bell right now, let along 16.

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I have Bell at RB20 and even that feels a bit gross. The only thing I really like about him is that he's a big back who catches passes. There aren't a lot of those out there, but I don't have much faith in his staying power. Soft body with very little explosiveness. Putrid YPC (albeit on a bad team). Is he better than a replacement level runner? I think that's a huge ??? going forward. And if the answer is no, Bell will be at constant risk of being replaced by whoever Pitt grabs in the draft or off the free agent scrap heap. Then there are the situational factors. Bell's main value right now comes from the fact that he's getting a big workload. Tomlin is on his second straight losing season with Pitt. One more of those and he might get canned. Will the next staff be as committed to Bell and his plodding ways?

There are scenarios where he pays off long term (he could get better as a runner), but in dynasty I always have a really tough time hitching my wagon to players that I perceive as talent risks and Bell is exactly that. He might be a top 10 back in production right this minute. I'm not convinced that he's a top 10 back on merit. I would have some interest in him as a RB2 in 2014 redrafts, but there's no chance I would roster him in a long term format.

Edited by EBF

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Again, we're watching the same thing and seeing something totally different. I think Bell looks like a very solid runner in a bad situation. Not Adrian Peterson, but at the very worst, Mendenhallesque. And given your history with Mendenhall, it seems odd to see you shorting Bell.

Bell looks every bit the workhorse he was drafted to be. One of the few 3-down RBs in the league with no obvious usage cap. Moreover, as I mentioned... youngest RB in the NFL. He's the only back in the league with a 1992 birth date. He was a top-50 draft pick. There's a lot to love about Le'Veon Bell.

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Again, we're watching the same thing and seeing something totally different. I think Bell looks like a very solid runner in a bad situation. Not Adrian Peterson, but at the very worst, Mendenhallesque. And given your history with Mendenhall, it seems odd to see you shorting Bell.

Mendenhall was chosen a whole round higher. First round picks are typically about twice as likely to pan out as second round picks, so that's significant. He was also a more dynamic runner in his prime. Clocked 4.41 at the combine at 225 pounds (compared to 4.56 for the 230 pound Bell). He was never the greatest juker in the world, but one thing that set him apart from the typical BJGE/Greene level grinder was his speed. If he could get a lane he could bust long runs. It is easy to knock him now that his career has gone south, but for a time he was a pretty good player. He was Pitt's unquestioned starter for three uninterrupted seasons from 2009-2011. You don't last that long as a starter in the NFL unless you're a good player.

Here's something I posted in the offseason. It's outdated now, but the logic still applies:

Here is a list of all active NFL RBs who have at least three seasons of 200+ carries:

Steven Jackson

Willis McGahee

Frank Gore

Adrian Peterson

Michael Turner

Cedric Benson

Maurice Jones-Drew

Chris Johnson

Marshawn Lynch

Matt Forte

Ray Rice

Ronnie Brown

Brandon Jacobs

Arian Foster

Rashard Mendenhall

LeSean McCoy

What stands out to me about that list is the extremely high quality of the players. There are a couple "meh" names like Ronnie Brown and Cedric Benson, but even those guys were high picks and decent players at one point. By and large, the guys on the list are all really good. The fact that only really, really good RBs survive for multiple years in high volume roles is important. It suggests that a very high talent level is necessary for longevity and that anyone who doesn't have a certain level of talent is highly unlikely to become a long term NFL starter.

We've talked about how the NFL is a pretty efficient marketplace. There are very high stakes for the involved parties and coaches simply can't afford to trot out liabilities year after year when it's costing their team production. That's why you see Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, and Brandon Weeden pushed to the bench pretty quickly. This is a cutthroat league. Survival of the fittest. Weak links will be identified and replaced very quickly. Which brings me to the real point...

Moreover, as I mentioned... youngest RB in the NFL. He's the only back in the league with a 1992 birth date. He was a top-50 draft pick. There's a lot to love about Le'Veon Bell.

None of this matters at all if he isn't talented enough to last. Isaiah Pead is young. AJ Jenkins is young. Jon Baldwin is young. It's irrelevant because none of those players are good enough to stay on the field. If the same is true of Bell then his youth won't matter either. He'll just be one of the youngest backups and eventually one of the youngest cuts in the league.

So it really boils down to how much you believe in his ability. I did not like him much at Michigan State. He's nimble for a tall guy and useful as a receiver, but he lacks explosiveness. That comes from the eyeball test and also from watching him at the combine. He's not a chiseled athlete like Christine Michael or Adrian Peterson. More of a doughy body type like Jonathan Dwyer. He also tested really poorly in drills. The 4.56 40 time is solid enough and the 6.75 three cone time is very good, but the 31.5" vertical is terrible and the 9'10" broad jump is quite bad for a 6'1" NFL athlete.

Bad workout numbers aren't a death sentence, but Bell hasn't exactly inspired confidence with his rushing performances so far in the NFL. He has one of the lowest YPC averages in the NFL among regular players at RB. Part of that is OL-based, but even so Football Outsiders has him with a negative DVOA. So from my perspective what you have is a guy who didn't look all that amazing in college, didn't test very well at the combine, and hasn't played very well in the NFL to date. That's a consistent pattern pointing downward. He's almost the bizarro version Christine Michael (who looked pretty good in college, destroyed the combine, and looked sensational in the preseason). Whereas Michael is underrated based on lack of immediate opportunity, Bell is overrated for the same reason. I just see him as Ron Dayne/Anthony Thomas/LenDale White all over again. He can grind his way to useful production on high volume, but you never want him as your starter in the NFL.

I've been wrong before (Matt Forte) and maybe this will be another one of those cases. On the other hand, I've been right before and I wouldn't commit much of anything to add Bell to my FF roster. I think now is a pretty good time to move him while people are still projecting his long term value based on his age/ppg without reservations about his talent level. If he's as bad as I think he might be, he probably won't last more than another year or two in a prominent role before quietly fading into obscurity ala Dayne/A-Train/LenWhale.

Edited by EBF

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Geez that's a great post EBF.

I love this place and posts like that are the reason.

Thanks and Cheers

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Again, I'm confident that we're watching the same games, but we're seeing totally different things. When I watch Le'Veon, I see Mendenhall reincarnated. An NFL-caliber (if uninspiring) runner who is built to handle the load and who does enough else well that the team will not be motivated to replace him when they have so many other glaring needs. If we set the over/under on carries in his next 48 games (3 seasons) at 600, I'd very gladly take that over. Add in some serious receiving chops (which are sort of a big deal in PPR), and I think Bell is a strong play in a weak crop.

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I hope you don't mind the constructive criticism because I do appreciate the list, I just disagree with a few things.

Wide receivers.

Josh Gordon - too low in my opinion, I would put him 6 and move everyone else down 1. He has showing that is he is going to be quarterback proof for the next 5 or 6 years. There is a chance Cleveland deals him still, and I think teams would be more interested in the off season when he has a chance to learn the play book.

Pierre Garcon - too high, he is doing all his damage on volume. Washington will bring in more talent to help RG3 in the off season. Nicks, Decker, even Reed will have another year under his belt and should be better.

Kenaan Allen - too low. I think he is way to low. I would put him top 15 right now. He is a rookie and having his up and downs, but has already shown he is going to be a number 1 receiver on a team with a lot of weapons and Rivers is coming back to his former self.

Roddy White - too high. He might be a wr1 or 2 for the rest of the year but I think he will be a wr3 starting next year and beyond and with his age he should be in the 40's.

Eric Decker - too low. Why does everyone think that when Peyton retires, him and Julius Thomas are going to just be awful? We have no idea where he may end up or how good Brock might be. People give Peyton too much credit. Did Reggie Wayne fall off the face of the planet when Peyton left? Did Garcon when he went to Washington? You don't have to have a top 2 or 3 quarterback to be a valuable fantasy commodity. I am not saying he will be as good as Jordy, but this is the same thing people said about him the last few years. His 15 touchdown year was a fluke, he couldn't handle being the number 1 receive when Jennings left, then he couldn't, hold off Cobb and Jones.

Rueben Randle - too low, the guy is showing flashes already and Nicks is basically gone. This guy has wr2 written all over him and the upside to be a wr1.

Kenny Stills - too low, it is going to take a couple years but he is going to be a solid wr3 with the upside as a wr2 when Moore and Colston go.

Running backs

Stevan Ridley - too high, the fumbling is going to kill him. If Vereen can stay healthy Ridley's ceiling is going to be a low end rb2 like the Law Firm was.

Christine Micheal - too high, I love his talent but I wouldn't pay running back 2 price for a guy that still isn't even the primary back up to Lynch. Maybe next year but not yet.

David Wilson - too high, I love him too, but this neck thing sounds too serious, I wouldn't pay rb2 price for him until he shows he is healthy.

Leveon Bell - too low, I would put him borderline top 10. There just aren't very many bell cows anymore and he is a good receiver.

Zack Stacy - too low, I would put him just after Bell for the same reasons.

Moreno - too high, his days are numbered in Denver and Ball is actually starting to show something. He would have to go to the perfect place to still put up numbers.

Shane Vereen - too low, if he can stay healthy he will be a rb2 easily.

As a side note I think people say Rice is near the edge because of age because of his workload, Spiller on the other hand is close to his age but his workload is way less. Rice is near or over 2000 carries with playoffs, I believe Spiller is still under 500 for his career.

It would be disappointing if no one disagreed with me on anything. That would mean no arguing, which is no fun. And it might also mean that either people weren't listening, or that they weren't thinking, neither of which is a good thing.

Comments on a few of these:

Gordon: no one is quarterbackproof - just ask Dwayne Bowe, who proved how quarterbackproof he was by finishing as the #2 fantasy WR with Matt Cassel throwing him the ball. It's hard to put Gordon any higher than 10 with his limited track record, especially given what the guys ahead of him have shown.

Garcon: #12 feels too high to me as well, but I look at the guys behind him and I don't feel more comfortable with anyone else there. He's currently a high-end WR2 in redraft, and he does have upside beyond that if Griffin gets healthier & improves (which seems pretty likely). And in fact he flashed that upside during the times in 2012 when he & Griffin were healthy - his efficiency numbers then were quite good.

Randle: young WRs who have shown flashes and have a shot to step up and be their team's top WR are actually fairly common, and a lot of them don't pan out. Coming into the league, Randle didn't strike me as a prospect who had a particularly good shot of turning into a top 10 WR, so I wouldn't feel comfortable with him on the Floyd/Hopkins/Patterson tier where elite upside helps balance out the risk. Randle also has Cruz stuck pretty firmly in the role of Manning's go-to receiver.

Stills: he has done very well in the Henderson/Meachem/Morgan Saints deep threat role, but success in that role is not a very strong indicator of future fantasy value. If you expect to need to wait a couple years until Colston wears down, then you'd better hope that 34-year-old Drew Brees lasts for a long time, and that the Saints don't find another WR to leapfrog him. If you think he has to wait his turn as Lance Moore wears down, then you can't be all that excited about his talent.

Christine Michael vs. Le'Veon Bell: who is more likely to make a Pro Bowl (at some point in their careers)? Who is more likely to have a top 5 fantasy season? For me, the answer to both is clearly Michael. In a year or two, he could be doing what Lynch is doing this year. Bell has a higher expected number of career top 24 RB seasons, but a fantasy RB2 doesn't do that much to help you win a championship. My pre-draft opinion was that Michael was a better RB (and significantly more likely to turn into an elite runner); winning the 3-down workhorse role is a nice plus for Bell but he hasn't done much to change my mind on that question. (It's similar with Wilson & Stacy.)

Didn't notice Dennis Johnson on the list. He is a must stash IMO since Ben Tate is all but gone and Arian Foster going on his 34,000 carry in 4 years. If Houston struggles next year like they have this year and decides to pack it up he could be next in line.

Thoughts?

Dennis Johnson looks to me like a meh fourth stringer who circumstances have temporarily raised to the backup RB role. He would be "next in line" if Tate went down right now, but I highly doubt that Houston would see him as the "next in line" starter if they were making plans in the offseason to move on from Foster & Tate. Looking beyond this season, he does not particularly stand out from other deep cuts like Michael Ford, Mike Gillislee, or Stepfan Taylor (just looking at the basics of size & athleticism, Ford is actually the only one of those 4 who is within the range of typical NFL starters.) Johnson may be just barely worth rostering right now, based on the urgency consideration (and those 10 snaps/game that he's getting), but I would not plan on holding him into the offseason unless he shows something more on the field.

A lot of good calls here, msudaisy26. Since November, about half of the players that you picked out have moved substantially in my rankings in the direction that you said they should move, and none of them have moved significantly in the other direction (the other half have basically stayed put).

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