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Rookie WRs - talent vs opportunity/situation debate (1 Viewer)

rickyg

Footballguy
As a dynasty league player, we always are trying to balance building for the future with winning today. I've been pretty successful in my dynasty league since we started it up in 2008 (2 sb wins and make the playoffs every year). Personally for me, it's more important to win now then to build for future.

This philosophy can sometimes bite me in the #### though, because when the rookie draft comes, I find myself many times grabbing a player that might not be as talented as other available ones, but his situation is much more favorable (i.e. he is going to start for his team right away with a significant workload in a great offense).

So what I'd like to hear people sound off on is this year's class of rookie WRs.

1) Tavon Austin - world class talent, great situation, should be used immediately. Good qb throwing him the ball. But can he score Tds and take the punishment of the nfl?

2) Patterson - phenomenal talent and should start right away but a gawd awful qb throwing him the rock.

3) Hopkins - phenomenal talent in a good not great situation, BC although he will start immediately he is in a run first offense. His qb is sound and solid if unspectacular.

4) Keenan Allen - phenomenal talent in a decent situation (its not a given that he will start in 2wr sets this year). Plus that knee is concerning. And his qb is average now.

I know there are more wrs and I'd like for people to chime in with more names but that's good enough for now to start this debate. Now lets look at these 2 wrs and tell me if in crazy for taking one or both before any of the guys listed above based on opportunity and situation over talent:

Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins.

We don't know exactly which of these rookies will truly end up being the apple of Tom Brady's eye (it could be both), but whichever one it is, that receiver steps in to one of the most potent offenses in the nfl as the #2 wr and has a legendary hall of fame qb throwing him the rock.

Lets forget about thompkins for a second BC he was undrafted and this a lot of people will have a real issue with taking him over the names above in a rookie draft.

What about Dobson though? Is it crazy to take him over any of the names above (excluding Austin)?

I don't know much about him but he seems to be a big wr who runs good routes, has sticky hands, very athletic, high points balls, and most importantly seems to have Brady's trust.

If the training camp news continues to show this trend, I am thinking that I am going to pull the trigger on Dobson over Hopkins, Patterson, or Allen if all are available?

I think there is a legitimate chance that Dobson could end the year as the top rookie wr and perhaps in the top 25 wrs overall.

Long term, it seems that dobson's outlook can be just as rosy as the others if not more. He should have Brady as his qb for at least another 3-4 years which is the most you can really be forward looking in dynasty leagues.

Am I nuts here? What am I not seeing?

 
I'm not sure I'd take him over Patterson or a fully healed Allen. Consider NE loves to spread the ball around to keep the opposing defenses guessing and on their heels yet I can see him as a #2 receiver just expect some games in which he's a monster then some games he sees very few targets but at the end of the year he'll have some decent numbers.

Tex

 
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I'm always leery of drafting players based on their landing spot more than their talent level. There are guys like Randall Cobb, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Lance Moore who have seen their FF output elevated above their talent level by virtue of playing in an explosive offense with a good QB. In general though, I think the cream rises. I would usually rather have a guy with WR1 tools in a terrible situation than a guy with fringe ability who might have a chance to start in a potent offense.

I use situation as more of a tiebreaker than a guiding variable. For other owners with different managerial styles, I think it's more important. I look at my rookie picks as long term investments, but other owners hope for a quick payoff so they can flip the player for something else. If that's the method that works best for you then I can see emphasizing the immediate returns more than the long term outlook. In that case you might be more inclined to reach for someone like Dobson based on his immediate opportunity.

Historically, 2nd round NFL picks are about half as likely to pan out as 1st round picks. So if you take Dobson over someone like Patterson or Austin, you're definitely betting against the house. Doesn't mean that you can't be right, but it might make more sense to trade down and take him closer to his ADP instead of getting fancy with an early pick.

My subjective opinion is that Dobson is pretty unlikely to become a star player. He's actually not that great of an athlete. Good speed and decent leaping ability. Light for his height though and not very quick or fluid. Ran a slow three cone time (which is supposed to measure agility). Not elusive in space. No return man skills. Limited YAC ability. Below average college production. He's just a tall, stiff receiver with a big catch radius and some speed. Interesting potential as a jump ball/red zone weapon. Not much else to get excited about IMO. I'll be surprised if he really blows up. If you look at most of the top NFL guys with similar height (Thomas, V Jackson, Dez, Julio), they're all quite a bit stronger and more nimble.

 
I never pay for situation and virtually always look for guys I think are talented players who are cheap. Which typically means they're injured, an unknown quantity, or playing with a crappy QB. Buy enough of those guys and be patient and things will resolve themselves over time.

 
Appreciate the input. So far most of you feel it's better to go for talent over situation. Appears that I am in the minority.

I'm always torn by this decision.

 
Talent over situation........situations change more than the talent. And a special talent ending up in a great situation is the stuff elite numbers are made of.

 
Appreciate the input. So far most of you feel it's better to go for talent over situation. Appears that I am in the minority.

I'm always torn by this decision.
That's because outside of injury the talent will always be there but the situation maybe there today but gone tomorrow because there's so much that can change from year to year. For instance if a new Head Coach or Offense Coordinator takes over with a different philosophy then you're stuck with a player that you over-reached for. The NFL is not the same as it used to be................always go for the talent don't over think this.

Tex

 
Sure it has been a while but I just can't forget Chad Jackson, Bethel Johnson, and a host of other disappointing Patriot 2nd rounders at other positions

 
Look at michael Floyd from last year. Amazing talent, terrible situation. And his production made him unstartable. This year is hopefully a different story that make holding him as dead weight on my roster for one year worth it.

If you go talent over situation you have to be prepared to keep the player on your bench and not get any production from him in the current year. Which is ok i guess..that's part of dynasty.

But I like more immediate gratification.

 
I'm more on the opinion of the OP. Every story has at least two sides so while there are people saying "talent is always there" or "talent will rise", the same is true on situation. A situation can make even an average talent a force in fantasy.

People get caught up and loosely throw around terms about guys being elite and beasts,etc, but in the game of FF, that is only part of the formula.

In general, I have done as well with situations as I have talent. Example:

If a team has JSTEW and Fitz and Jamaal Charles last year. most people will say "that's a talented group. You can win with that. Let's throw in Big Ben, Vernon Davis, Dwayne Bowe and Jeremy Maclin too. So there's your team. Pretty talented bunch of players.

But how would that very talented team had fared against a team that found itself situational?

Did James Jones beat out those WRs? Yes. Is he more talented than any of them? Not likely.

Was Alfred Morris viewed as a great talent? No.

Arian Foster, one of the most important ff players in the last few years is by and large often referred to as a guy in the perfect situation and not a standout talent in and of himself. So when all those guys grabbed Ben Tate that year as the "talent", they found themselves waiting...and still do.

To the Op's thoughts: In dynasty, it is always about winning the year you are in. The trap of thinking too dar into the future in dynasty usually blows you up because, as was said, things change quickly in the NFL. Even a great talent IN a great situaiton can succumb to teams not working out, injuries, etc (aaron Hernandez). So go win THIS year. And to do that, you want the guy in the best situation to produce THIS year. Not the guy that you daydream about being a stud for 10 years. Sure, if you have those players, that's great and you want them. But planning on them is like trying to float a check. Someday you'll bounce.

 
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I'm more on the opinion of the OP. Every story has at least two sides so while there are people saying "talent is always there" or "talent will rise", the same is true on situation. A situation can make even an average talent a force in fantasy.

People get caught up and loosely throw around terms about guys being elite and beasts,etc, but in the game of FF, that is only part of the formula.

In general, I have done as well with situations as I have talent. Example:

If a team has JSTEW and Fitz and Jamaal Charles last year. most people will say "that's a talented group. You can win with that. Let's throw in Big Ben, Vernon Davis, Dwayne Bowe and Jeremy Maclin too. So there's your team. Pretty talented bunch of players.

But how would that very talented team had fared against a team that found itself situational?

Did James Jones beat out those WRs? Yes. Is he more talented than any of them? Not likely.

Was Alfred Morris viewed as a great talent? No.

Arian Foster, one of the most important ff players in the last few years is by and large often referred to as a guy in the perfect situation and not a standout talent in and of himself. So when all those guys grabbed Ben Tate that year as the "talent", they found themselves waiting...and still do.

To the Op's thoughts: In dynasty, it is always about winning the year you are in. The trap of thinking too dar into the future in dynasty usually blows you up because, as was said, things change quickly in the NFL. Even a great talent IN a great situaiton can succumb to teams not working out, injuries, etc (aaron Hernandez). So go win THIS year. And to do that, you want the guy in the best situation to produce THIS year. Not the guy that you daydream about being a stud for 10 years. Sure, if you have those players, that's great and you want them. But planning on them is like trying to float a check. Someday you'll bounce.
You basically said exactly what I'm thinking except much more eloquently. Thanks!

 
To the Op's thoughts: In dynasty, it is always about winning the year you are in. The trap of thinking too dar into the future in dynasty usually blows you up because, as was said, things change quickly in the NFL. Even a great talent IN a great situaiton can succumb to teams not working out, injuries, etc (aaron Hernandez). So go win THIS year. And to do that, you want the guy in the best situation to produce THIS year. Not the guy that you daydream about being a stud for 10 years. Sure, if you have those players, that's great and you want them. But planning on them is like trying to float a check. Someday you'll bounce.
I don't agree with this. Dynasty is about more than one season, and that's why we play the format, rather than redraft.

Put me in the talent boat. Nothing is absolute, and there is middle ground on the issue. But making roster moves based solely on "THIS year" is a mistake, in my opinion. Especially when talking about rookie WRs.

 
My thoughts are that if you take and hit on a guy like Dobson immediately BC he is in a great situation you might be able to parlay this avg talent into something much bigger.

Let's say Dobson starts out the season on fire. Other dynasty owners in your league will be kicking themselves do not taking him and instead going for the more talented player who is now rotting in their rookie taxi squad.

You might be able to trade away Dobson to that owner for a Patterson plus something else. Maybe a pick in next years rookie draft. Maybe another good player with upside.

Or you can just enjoy Dobson

There's always more embedded optional its in picking a guy who produces rt away IMO

 
My thoughts are that if you take and hit on a guy like Dobson immediately BC he is in a great situation you might be able to parlay this avg talent into something much bigger.

Let's say Dobson starts out the season on fire. Other dynasty owners in your league will be kicking themselves do not taking him and instead going for the more talented player who is now rotting in their rookie taxi squad.

You might be able to trade away Dobson to that owner for a Patterson plus something else. Maybe a pick in next years rookie draft. Maybe another good player with upside.

Or you can just enjoy Dobson

There's always more embedded optional its in picking a guy who produces rt away IMO
If Dobson puts up top 25 numbers, will he have been worth taking over more talented options? Likely. And if you project that - draft him.

But that is a different question than was asked in the thread title. I think you'll find that most veteran dyansty owners will agree: talent over situation.

 
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My thoughts are that if you take and hit on a guy like Dobson immediately BC he is in a great situation you might be able to parlay this avg talent into something much bigger.

Let's say Dobson starts out the season on fire. Other dynasty owners in your league will be kicking themselves do not taking him and instead going for the more talented player who is now rotting in their rookie taxi squad.

You might be able to trade away Dobson to that owner for a Patterson plus something else. Maybe a pick in next years rookie draft. Maybe another good player with upside.

Or you can just enjoy Dobson

There's always more embedded optional its in picking a guy who produces rt away IMO
The flip side of this coin is safer IMO. If you take a guy like Patterson, and he doesn't produce right away, others in your league are still likely to take a gamble on him, blaming the QB, situation, whatever. They'll still buy the talent.

If you take Dobson, and he's terrible... there's not much left to blame but the player himself when you're catching passes from a HOF QB in an offense that takes advantage of its most skilled players.

In other words, if you miss on Dobson, you miss entirely. If you "miss" on Patterson for the immediate production, you can still flip that for a veteran while selling a rebuilding owner on Patterson's talent and the likelihood that Minnesota drafts or signs a better QB. There's nothing to sell with Dobson if he sucks.

 
My thoughts are that if you take and hit on a guy like Dobson immediately BC he is in a great situation you might be able to parlay this avg talent into something much bigger.

Let's say Dobson starts out the season on fire. Other dynasty owners in your league will be kicking themselves do not taking him and instead going for the more talented player who is now rotting in their rookie taxi squad.

You might be able to trade away Dobson to that owner for a Patterson plus something else. Maybe a pick in next years rookie draft. Maybe another good player with upside.

Or you can just enjoy Dobson

There's always more embedded optional its in picking a guy who produces rt away IMO
The flip side of this coin is safer IMO. If you take a guy like Patterson, and he doesn't produce right away, others in your league are still likely to take a gamble on him, blaming the QB, situation, whatever. They'll still buy the talent.

If you take Dobson, and he's terrible... there's not much left to blame but the player himself when you're catching passes from a HOF QB in an offense that takes advantage of its most skilled players.

In other words, if you miss on Dobson, you miss entirely. If you "miss" on Patterson for the immediate production, you can still flip that for a veteran while selling a rebuilding owner on Patterson's talent and the likelihood that Minnesota drafts or signs a better QB. There's nothing to sell with Dobson if he sucks.
Nice point

 
hyperbole tends to get thrown around message boards (world class and phenomenal in the OP). but this is always a good topic to revisit, and every year there are some UDFA's or late round picks that have a great camp.

personally, I weigh talent >> situation. The latter tends to get hyped in the short term, but situations change so much from year to year that can change the opportunity. Dobson and Thompkins are good examples. If NE goes big into the FA next year and signs a WR or two, situation has changed greatly. Conversely, if either or both have a good year this year and NE doesn't sign a FA, then the situation is a positive.

I will also say situation is malleable in the sense that QB can be a fluid position. We could all rattle off a half dozen QBs we wouldn't want throwing to "our guys", but this time next year when Bridgewater, Boyd, etc. come into the league, all of a sudden it is a positive.

we could go on to change in head coach, offensive coordinator, health, etc., but I think we can agree that situation is fluid.

talent is something that is more fixed. ( yes, there can be an injury)... hopefully, they want to improve physically, mentally, learn their craft to become a better player, etc. This reminds me of Blackman and Floyd last year. Both have WR1 skills, but were drafted into bad situations. JAX still doesn't have a QB so that situation has not changed, and the suspension doesn't help, but Floyd's has gotten a little bit better. It is rare when the AJ Green's of the world produce right out of the gate, since there is such a sharp learning curve plus a reluctance to rely too much on a rookie. Julio Jones, too. Dez took a couple years to put it all together, but there were flashes.

when putting all the BS above into a blender and deciding who I like this year in redraft, there are about a half dozen who I think might get to WR3 numbers or better (top 36). Austin and Patterson because I think they will be force fed. Wheaton, Allen and either Thompkins or Dobson because of situation. Hopkins and Woods I am cool on this year since I don't think either team will throw enough to support two Top 36 WRs.

long term, I only think Patterson can be a WR1 (top 12). I like a lot of the other rookies I just listed as good for depth, but just don't see elite talent. If one or two ends up in a system like NO/DET/IND where they throw 650+ times a year, sure you can get a solid low end WR1 like Colston, but without the talent and/or great situation (not just a good), just don't see it happening.

 
To the Op's thoughts: In dynasty, it is always about winning the year you are in. The trap of thinking too dar into the future in dynasty usually blows you up because, as was said, things change quickly in the NFL. Even a great talent IN a great situaiton can succumb to teams not working out, injuries, etc (aaron Hernandez). So go win THIS year. And to do that, you want the guy in the best situation to produce THIS year. Not the guy that you daydream about being a stud for 10 years. Sure, if you have those players, that's great and you want them. But planning on them is like trying to float a check. Someday you'll bounce.
I don't agree with this. Dynasty is about more than one season, and that's why we play the format, rather than redraft.

Put me in the talent boat. Nothing is absolute, and there is middle ground on the issue. But making roster moves based solely on "THIS year" is a mistake, in my opinion. Especially when talking about rookie WRs.
I agree with most of this, but it is still a relevant point that it becomes pointless to project out more than 3 seasons. Now you can't be stupid and trade AJ Green for Andre Johnson, in extreme cases age must be looked at. But, injuries, unexpected retirements and sudden decline in talent all offer tough obstacles to predict when a commodity's value is up. When you're talking about long term strategy, I agree that the rule is talent over situation. However, if your team is in a win now mode, and all you need is a WR3-4, or RB2-3, I can't argue against going with the situation, especially when the difference in talent of the two rookies is negligible. That said, I think Patterson offers higher upside than Dobson this season and obviously into the future. If Dobson won the WR2 in NE, I would put him in the same tier as Hunter, Woods, and Wheaton, with Patterson, Hopkins, and Austin being the top tier.

 
Enjoying the posts on this so far, good points being made for both sides of this perspective.

For the folks saying talent over situation, what qualifies as talent? Would you take talent over a good football players in a good situation just because that player had better measurables than another? I think there is a place for that and have done so myself, but at the same time it is hard to measure things like heart, work ethic, durability, endurance, vision, understanding of coaching concepts, blocking ability, how crisply they run their assignments. We could go on all day listing these qualities that all go into what makes a player a good football player. It is not all about size/speed.

I think coaches are looking for players who can win. Players have different strengths/weakness. It is up to the coaches and front offices to find players who can win in the system they run and also to adapt their systems to what their best players do best. Put them in situations to be a success.

So to say talent always wins over situation seems like incomplete analysis to me. What talent are you referring to when you say this? Because if the player is that talented they should be able to work their way onto the field. If they do not then maybe those players talents may not be enough to overcome their weaknesses, will take time to develop that talent so it can translate into them being good football players.

For the WR I advocated for Dobson possibly having some value right away because of being a good blocker and red zone target. He has abilities that people may not be giving credit for in their evaluations of his "talent". Again all the talent in the world is not going to get you on the field if the coaching staff does not trust the players performance as football players. Which means blocking, running the right routes, proper effort and technique on fakes, knowing all of the audibles and adjustments in the playbook and how precisely the player executes.

That was before I knew anything about Thompkins, who looks like a legit threat to the role Dobson was drafted for.

So I think you want to consider both of these things about equally, or try to, both talent and situation. I try to focus on prospects skills as football players moreso than what kind of athletes they are. Things like blocking for a WR often get overlooked, but that is a trait that I have found to be representative of the players work ethic and focus on being a good football player while others are just getting by on raw physical ability.

I had a difficult time ranking the rookie WR this season. There were a few guys I really liked such as Stedman Bailey, Aaron Dobson, Quinton Patton because they are football players. Good blockers and all around hard workers. At this point in time it does not appear that Patton's work ethic has translated to him fighting for a roster spot yet. So I find that disappointing, because the opportunity is there for the taking. Even as a full time starter Patton may be lacking the speed to ever become relevant enough in most leagues. Remains to be seen but I have him in that same category with Bailey and Dobson.

I knew nothing at all about Thompkins pre draft. But he has been the story of training camp. You do not want to overlook players like this who emerge during camp/preseason.

For now I see the rookie WR ranked like this-

Patterson
Hopkins
Austin

I think these 3 are interchangeable as the top tier. Just my order of preference. BTW Hopkins is a good football player. Austin and Patterson have more value in return leagues. I wouldn't argue with him much as 1st overall if I did not so much like Stedman Bailey.

Allen - To me Allen was a lot like Hopkins as a prospect. Great hands. Good football player. I only have him a tier below because of injury worries.

Dobson - might be the best bet in redraft outside Hopkins (if your league does not award kick returns). But Thompkins is a risk to his already somewhat limited role.

Bailey - I think he becomes the Rams high volume/possession receiver.
Woods - Very good situation for opportunity and good football player as well. Questions more about the QB/team. May be undervalued.
Williams - I think Austin moves on and Williams becomes 1b to Bryant in 2014. Could perform in spots as a rookie.

Thompkins - not on my radar pre camp. I am not sure where he should be on this list honestly. Maybe in the 2nd tier maybe the 3rd. It is entirely possible he becomes the best WR as a rookie. I doubt it but Brady is a hell of a QB.

Wheaton - Big Ben. This player seems somewhat one dimensional right now though.
Hunter - Athletic ability to be the best WR of this class. Not making his way up the depth chart though at this time.
Boyce - Many like him more than I do. I mainly have him here because I respect their opinions about him.
Goodson - impressed with how he started. Read a bit more on him and if he can contribute as a WR might be a poor mans Austin. I read a lot of stuff saying he was more track star than football player, but I am starting to doubt those statements now that I read other opinions about him.

This group mostly consists of the best athletes of the rookie WR. I liked Hunter more than this pre draft. But situation and how he has done thus far in camp are not encouraging signs. He is a player many advocated for as a 1st round pick. He may be a player they are holding quite some time before they see any pay off.

Patton
Stills

I talked about Patton a bit already. Stills is a guy I liked during pre draft evaluation as well. Having Brees as a QB certainly helps too. I am not sure if he can earn much playing time this year though, not likely but I don't follow the Saints enough to be sure how he has been doing in camp so far.

There are some other players to consider than these also. I don't have these guys ranked, they are more watch list players for me.

Tavarres King is a player who interests me on the Bronco's but obviously his path to playing time is not just blocked but log jammed. I think he has a lot of talent but not enough to force his way into playing time here.

Chris Harper, Correy Fuller, Marquess Wilson and Aaron Mellette are guys I have also been watching. Mellette has drawn the anger of his coaches, that is not good. I have not heard anything about Wilson so far but maybe I missed some stuff. These teams are good situations but a lot of good football players ahead of them. I am almost ready to write Mellette off and it is very early. I did like him as a prospect though.
 
The type of offense generally trumps all for me when deciding between players of equal perceived skill. It's why I took Cobb a few years ago despite not really knowing much about him. It's one of the reasons I am down on Hopkins this year - that offense can't consistently support a 2nd WR. It barely supports AJ.

 
Enjoying the posts on this so far, good points being made for both sides of this perspective.

For the folks saying talent over situation, what qualifies as talent? Would you take talent over a good football players in a good situation just because that player had better measurables than another? I think there is a place for that and have done so myself, but at the same time it is hard to measure things like heart, work ethic, durability, endurance, vision, understanding of coaching concepts, blocking ability, how crisply they run their assignments. We could go on all day listing these qualities that all go into what makes a player a good football player. It is not all about size/speed.

I think coaches are looking for players who can win. Players have different strengths/weakness. It is up to the coaches and front offices to find players who can win in the system they run and also to adapt their systems to what their best players do best. Put them in situations to be a success.

So to say talent always wins over situation seems like incomplete analysis to me. What talent are you referring to when you say this? Because if the player is that talented they should be able to work their way onto the field. If they do not then maybe those players talents may not be enough to overcome their weaknesses, will take time to develop that talent so it can translate into them being good football players.

For the WR I advocated for Dobson possibly having some value right away because of being a good blocker and red zone target. He has abilities that people may not be giving credit for in their evaluations of his "talent". Again all the talent in the world is not going to get you on the field if the coaching staff does not trust the players performance as football players. Which means blocking, running the right routes, proper effort and technique on fakes, knowing all of the audibles and adjustments in the playbook and how precisely the player executes.

That was before I knew anything about Thompkins, who looks like a legit threat to the role Dobson was drafted for.

So I think you want to consider both of these things about equally, or try to, both talent and situation. I try to focus on prospects skills as football players moreso than what kind of athletes they are. Things like blocking for a WR often get overlooked, but that is a trait that I have found to be representative of the players work ethic and focus on being a good football player while others are just getting by on raw physical ability.

I had a difficult time ranking the rookie WR this season. There were a few guys I really liked such as Stedman Bailey, Aaron Dobson, Quinton Patton because they are football players. Good blockers and all around hard workers. At this point in time it does not appear that Patton's work ethic has translated to him fighting for a roster spot yet. So I find that disappointing, because the opportunity is there for the taking. Even as a full time starter Patton may be lacking the speed to ever become relevant enough in most leagues. Remains to be seen but I have him in that same category with Bailey and Dobson.

I knew nothing at all about Thompkins pre draft. But he has been the story of training camp. You do not want to overlook players like this who emerge during camp/preseason.

For now I see the rookie WR ranked like this-

Patterson

Hopkins

Austin

I think these 3 are interchangeable as the top tier. Just my order of preference. BTW Hopkins is a good football player. Austin and Patterson have more value in return leagues. I wouldn't argue with him much as 1st overall if I did not so much like Stedman Bailey.

Allen - To me Allen was a lot like Hopkins as a prospect. Great hands. Good football player. I only have him a tier below because of injury worries.

Dobson - might be the best bet in redraft outside Hopkins (if your league does not award kick returns). But Thompkins is a risk to his already somewhat limited role.

Bailey - I think he becomes the Rams high volume/possession receiver.

Woods - Very good situation for opportunity and good football player as well. Questions more about the QB/team. May be undervalued.

Williams - I think Austin moves on and Williams becomes 1b to Bryant in 2014. Could perform in spots as a rookie.

Thompkins - not on my radar pre camp. I am not sure where he should be on this list honestly. Maybe in the 2nd tier maybe the 3rd. It is entirely possible he becomes the best WR as a rookie. I doubt it but Brady is a hell of a QB.

Wheaton - Big Ben. This player seems somewhat one dimensional right now though.

Hunter - Athletic ability to be the best WR of this class. Not making his way up the depth chart though at this time.

Boyce - Many like him more than I do. I mainly have him here because I respect their opinions about him.

Goodson - impressed with how he started. Read a bit more on him and if he can contribute as a WR might be a poor mans Austin. I read a lot of stuff saying he was more track star than football player, but I am starting to doubt those statements now that I read other opinions about him.

This group mostly consists of the best athletes of the rookie WR. I liked Hunter more than this pre draft. But situation and how he has done thus far in camp are not encouraging signs. He is a player many advocated for as a 1st round pick. He may be a player they are holding quite some time before they see any pay off.

Patton

Stills

I talked about Patton a bit already. Stills is a guy I liked during pre draft evaluation as well. Having Brees as a QB certainly helps too. I am not sure if he can earn much playing time this year though, not likely but I don't follow the Saints enough to be sure how he has been doing in camp so far.

There are some other players to consider than these also. I don't have these guys ranked, they are more watch list players for me.

Tavarres King is a player who interests me on the Bronco's but obviously his path to playing time is not just blocked but log jammed. I think he has a lot of talent but not enough to force his way into playing time here.

Chris Harper, Correy Fuller, Marquess Wilson and Aaron Mellette are guys I have also been watching. Mellette has drawn the anger of his coaches, that is not good. I have not heard anything about Wilson so far but maybe I missed some stuff. These teams are good situations but a lot of good football players ahead of them. I am almost ready to write Mellette off and it is very early. I did like him as a prospect though.
Excellent post. Thank you!

 
Make a list of your top 10-15 dynasty WRs; talent is going to be more of a trend than situation.
Not really. They are talented, but 4 were later picks and only one has Below average QB.
Not being below average was not the cutoff I was using, personally. I'd be interested to see who you feel is a dynasty top 15, based on situation, and not talent.

Looking at CPs dynasty rankings, the WR group full of 1st round draft picks. Much more than RB and TE.

 
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For the folks saying talent over situation, what qualifies as talent?
I take the guy I think is, or is going to be, the better football player. There are some exceptions, or players I rank very closely together, in which situation plays a big part. I am much more willing to invest in situation when it comes to runningbacks, for example. But, in general, I think talent wins out. You're not going to get Dez, Calvin, Julio, AJG, AJ, DT, Fitz, etc., drafting based on situation. All of those guys were drafted into poor situations, or to a team with a top 10 WR already on the team.

 
To the Op's thoughts: In dynasty, it is always about winning the year you are in. The trap of thinking too dar into the future in dynasty usually blows you up because, as was said, things change quickly in the NFL. Even a great talent IN a great situaiton can succumb to teams not working out, injuries, etc (aaron Hernandez). So go win THIS year. And to do that, you want the guy in the best situation to produce THIS year. Not the guy that you daydream about being a stud for 10 years. Sure, if you have those players, that's great and you want them. But planning on them is like trying to float a check. Someday you'll bounce.
I don't agree with this. Dynasty is about more than one season, and that's why we play the format, rather than redraft.

Put me in the talent boat. Nothing is absolute, and there is middle ground on the issue. But making roster moves based solely on "THIS year" is a mistake, in my opinion. Especially when talking about rookie WRs.
Keep in mind when I say situation that I am not exclusive to wrs. I'm talking about looking at any position where a situation develops.

Dynasty IS about long term but my bigger point is that people tend to be extremists. They want a team full of 26 year old studs and they often become short sighted. I can't count the times that I see the best long term teams that have several consecutive seasons of good runs being the teams that have the aging Marvin Harrison, the ray Lewis at the tail end of the career, the Reggie Wayne and roddy white. Those teams blended with other young caliber players are the situation I refer to.

While some teams sit on their teams for 2-3 years with their talented coby fleeners, demarco Murray's, and Julio joneses, waiting for all that talent to get their shot, they sit back and watch the teams with the gore, the Steve smith, and the Alfred Morris take the titles.

The other subtle yet important things that occur when you lock on talent:

-you've got a young talent like Crabtree. He's hurt and useless. But you paint yourself into a corner because you won't trade him to win this year. You wait it out. For a year. And because you have a guy like Crabtree, you tend not to create depth at the position as much because a few months ago, you thought you had an automatic guy locked in. Simply put, you're not as hungry at the position so you don't look at hard for the situations. We get a little complacent.

-you've got a young talent like Dez Bryant. You spent a fortune for him. As a result, you develop an artificial sense of expectation for him that is higher. He comes out "human" and before you know it the boards are full of "is this guy a bust". You get impatient. You go out and spend more resources to get another young wr talent. You are impatient and some guy comes along and takes your Dez/JSTEW/Ingram,etc headache off your hands. It's human nature. You gave up on the talent. The other owner saw the situation for opportunity. So, yeah, if you draft a big name, you get more of a pass than if you draft Dobson and he stinks but you paid a lot more for Patterson than you do Dobson. So when you give up on them or are just wrong, you lose a ,to more, relatively speaking.

-underlying the whole concept is the actual ability to recognize talent.we like to give ourselves credit and think we know who the studs are coming out but half the time, we are collectively wrong. It is easier to recognize (and take action on) a situation than it is talent. Yeah, we can all see Calvin and Richardson. But how many of us saw Ingram bombing or Brandon Marshall soaring? Did we call JSTEW a talent? Did we let gronkowski and graham fall into the third round of rookie drafts?

Overall, it's clearly a thing where both concepts work but I think there is a lot to consider past simple assuming we know talent and it rises.

 
In general, I have done as well with situations as I have talent. Example:
If a team has JSTEW and Fitz and Jamaal Charles last year. most people will say "that's a talented group. You can win with that. Let's throw in Big Ben, Vernon Davis, Dwayne Bowe and Jeremy Maclin too. So there's your team. Pretty talented bunch of players.
I can't name too many players who clearly have awesome talent who didn't eventually put up awesome FF stats. Every now and then there is a crazy situation like with JStew and DeAngelo where a player's prime is wasted, but that's definitely the exception. Much more common to see a Larry Johnson, Deuce McAllister, Shaun Alexander, or Steven Jackson type of situation where a player with awesome talent eventually becomes a superstar despite not having an immediate route to a starting job when drafted.

People pick and choose the exceptions in order to suit their argument. The overall odds are more important than one or two exceptions. Tom Brady was a 6th round pick. This does not mean that 6th round QBs are likely to become Hall of Famers. Likewise, Jonathan Stewart has been buried for most of his career. This does not mean that first round RB prospects with elite talent are likely to be buried for most of their careers. It has happened to 1-2 guys in the past decade. On the flipside, how many "opportunity studs" like Montario Hardesty, Ben Tate, Ronnie Hillman, Tatum Bell, Isaiah Pead, Zac Stacy, Eric Shelton, Chris Henry (RB), Kenny Irons, and Brandon Jackson have totally flopped? Lots. The "win now" folks tend to have selective memories about this stuff.

Opportunity is necessary in order for a talented player to produce, but opportunity can't turn a bad player into a good player. The best it can do is elevate a fringe player like Lance Moore or James Jones into a decent FF starter. In the case of total flops like Irons and Shelton, all the opportunity in the world couldn't have saved those guys. They simply didn't have the talent to hack it in the NFL. And that's the key variable because, with 10+ RBs drafted every year and a handful of proven veterans flushed into free agency every offseason, the extreme competition for places means no junky talent is going to hang onto a starting job for long. That's just not how the NFL works. Bad players get found out quickly and replaced.

I think it's human nature for some people to use short evaluation windows and high urgency when they manage their FF rosters. This kind of owner is always going to look for the quick fix, become impatient with slow developing assets, and practice a highly reactive management style (i.e. panic selling any time a player is in the news for the wrong reasons). Some people (maybe even MOST people) are like this, and it's not necessarily a bad way to be. Sometimes being trigger happy and reactive works out well. For example, if you managed to dump a turd like AJ Jenkins or Jon Baldwin early in their careers, you probably got decent value. If you had waited too long, you would've gotten nothing.

But, as I've said before, there's a "good twin" and "evil twin" with all of these strategies. The guys who bailed on AJ Jenkins and Jonathan Stewart are the same guys who would've bailed on Roddy White and Marshawn Lynch. When you're overly reactive and you have an itchy trigger finger, you're going to miss out on players who reward patience. You're going to sell away players at the first sign of adversity. You're going to bail on your developmental guys before they really have a chance to bloom.

The key is finding the right middle ground between the two approaches. Knowing when it's worth it to make a 2-3 year commitment to a long term project vs. knowing when to make reactive buy low/sell high decisions to capitalize on short term market inefficiencies. That's the gold standard, but it's far easier said than done. How many people who lucked into Arian Foster or Alfred Morris sold high thinking those guys were flukes? How many people thought Braylon Edwards and Roy Williams were perennial studs? How many people bailed on Roddy White after two disappointing seasons in Atlanta or Marshawn Lynch after he fell out of favor in Buffalo? Lots.

As the song goes, you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them. That's not easy. A William Green can easily look like a Marshawn Lynch. A Robert Meachem can easily look like a Roddy White. Having the ability to discern between the two is critical, but there's no real bankable or reliable way to make those calls with consistent accuracy. I think that's where the "skill" or "talent" aspect of running an FF team comes into play. Some owners are just better at gauging uncertainty than others, and those guys have the edge in the long run. They will know when to switch gears to become Mr. Patience and when to play the stock broker and flog off a fading star or go all in for an ascending talent before consensus value catches up with their assessments.

Poker really is a good analogy. The best players aren't 100% tight or 100% loose. They weigh each specific case independently and apply the ideal strategy to each unique situation. When the situation dictates they they play loose, that's what they'll do. When they situation dictates that they play tight, that's what they'll do. There isn't a "correct" strategy because different situations require different solutions.

 
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Sure it has been a while but I just can't forget Chad Jackson, Bethel Johnson, and a host of other disappointing Patriot 2nd rounders at other positions
When you have a rookie WR with a stud QB and he isn't impressing the 1st year, you know he is a Chad Jackosn like bust. A bum like Jackson is held onto a lot longer if he is with a team like the Jets because you can't be sure he is the bum or his QB. But with Brady, you don't have to hold him for 3 years. You know by the end of the year that you picked a bust.

Thus I grabbed Thompkins 2 weeks ago in dynasty. I like what I see and by the end of the season I'll know for sure if I have a keeper. I also grabbed DaRick Rogers and I won't know as much about him because he is playing with a rookie QB.

 
Make a list of your top 10-15 dynasty WRs; talent is going to be more of a trend than situation.
Not really. They are talented, but 4 were later picks and only one has Below average QB.
Not being below average was not the cutoff I was using, personally. I'd be interested to see who you feel is a dynasty top 15, based on situation, and not talent.

Looking at CPs dynasty rankings, the WR group full of 1st round draft picks. Much more than RB and TE.
Depends Howe you define talent, but Cobb was a 2nd round pick, as was Nelson, Wallace a third, Marshall went in the fourth although perhaps not just due to talent, vjax a second, Torrey Smith a second, Colston was a 7th, victor cruz wasn't drafted...

To me, Colston is a prime example but the rest wouldn't be as good if not for a good qb.

To a degree, D Thomas is an example of talent wasted with a bad qb but excels with a good qb. Also took him a while to learn the pro game, but it isn't just coincidence that he broke out with Peyton.

 
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Depends Howe you define talent, butCobb was a 2nd round pick, as was Nelson, Wallace a third, Marshall went in the fourth although perhaps not just due to talent, vjax a second, Torrey Smith a second, Colston was a 7th, victor cruz wasn't drafted...

To me, Colston is a prime example but the rest wouldn't be as good if not for a good qb.
I didn't mean to imply that draft position is the only measure of talent. I think we disagree about the talent level of the players on your list. I think most of them would be just fine outside of their current situations. I think they are, for the most part, a very talented group.

 
For the folks saying talent over situation, what qualifies as talent? Would you take talent over a good football players in a good situation just because that player had better measurables than another? I think there is a place for that and have done so myself, but at the same time it is hard to measure things like heart, work ethic, durability, endurance, vision, understanding of coaching concepts, blocking ability, how crisply they run their assignments. We could go on all day listing these qualities that all go into what makes a player a good football player. It is not all about size/speed.

I think coaches are looking for players who can win. Players have different strengths/weakness. It is up to the coaches and front offices to find players who can win in the system they run and also to adapt their systems to what their best players do best. Put them in situations to be a success.

So to say talent always wins over situation seems like incomplete analysis to me. What talent are you referring to when you say this? Because if the player is that talented they should be able to work their way onto the field. If they do not then maybe those players talents may not be enough to overcome their weaknesses, will take time to develop that talent so it can translate into them being good football players.
The original post posits a simple binary response: A or B. We all know life is a shade of grey. The great points you bring up is coaches are going to play the players that give them the best chance at winning. There are attributes that players have that are not quantifiable. We can say Player X is 220 lbs, runs a 4.40, has a great BMI, produced in college, blah, blah, blah. But if the player does not have some of those non-tangibles, he may not get on the field which means no opportunity to prove ability. The more snaps a player plays, the more opportunity to prove value (which can be measured in snaps, targets, rushing attempts... something quantifiable).

An example from last year was Sanu. I had him in a few dynasty leagues as a late 2nd or early 3rd rookie pick, so i'm vested. I watched to see if he would get any playing time and was disappointed he got virtually zero the first few weeks. Didn't drop him. He then threw a touchdown. There is some trust in the coaching staff to call that play for a rookie WR. He slowly got more playing time and had a nice little run making the most of his opportunities (4 TDs in 3 games), then he got hurt. I'm guessing he got the opportunity because of the scheme CIN ran and what he showed coaches in practice. It wasn't his 40 at the combine. I think he is a nice depth piece in FF (and complement to AJ Green) who could be a low end WR2 if everything breaks right and continues to improve and stays on the field for 50-60 snaps a game. His talent and the system limit his upside. The former will not change. Maybe we underestimated his talent (royal we which is the NFL Scouting Depts and all us FF'ers), or he has some of those intangibles that coaches love that will keep him on the field. The situation could change, but right now CIN is not going to throw it 550 times... and even if they do, at least 150 goes to Green, and that leaves 400 for Sanu, Gresh, Eifert, Bernard, etc.

 
For the folks saying talent over situation, what qualifies as talent? Would you take talent over a good football players in a good situation just because that player had better measurables than another? I think there is a place for that and have done so myself, but at the same time it is hard to measure things like heart, work ethic, durability, endurance, vision, understanding of coaching concepts, blocking ability, how crisply they run their assignments. We could go on all day listing these qualities that all go into what makes a player a good football player. It is not all about size/speed.

I think coaches are looking for players who can win. Players have different strengths/weakness. It is up to the coaches and front offices to find players who can win in the system they run and also to adapt their systems to what their best players do best. Put them in situations to be a success.

So to say talent always wins over situation seems like incomplete analysis to me. What talent are you referring to when you say this? Because if the player is that talented they should be able to work their way onto the field. If they do not then maybe those players talents may not be enough to overcome their weaknesses, will take time to develop that talent so it can translate into them being good football players.
The original post posits a simple binary response: A or B. We all know life is a shade of grey. The great points you bring up is coaches are going to play the players that give them the best chance at winning. There are attributes that players have that are not quantifiable. We can say Player X is 220 lbs, runs a 4.40, has a great BMI, produced in college, blah, blah, blah. But if the player does not have some of those non-tangibles, he may not get on the field which means no opportunity to prove ability. The more snaps a player plays, the more opportunity to prove value (which can be measured in snaps, targets, rushing attempts... something quantifiable).

An example from last year was Sanu. I had him in a few dynasty leagues as a late 2nd or early 3rd rookie pick, so i'm vested. I watched to see if he would get any playing time and was disappointed he got virtually zero the first few weeks. Didn't drop him. He then threw a touchdown. There is some trust in the coaching staff to call that play for a rookie WR. He slowly got more playing time and had a nice little run making the most of his opportunities (4 TDs in 3 games), then he got hurt. I'm guessing he got the opportunity because of the scheme CIN ran and what he showed coaches in practice. It wasn't his 40 at the combine. I think he is a nice depth piece in FF (and complement to AJ Green) who could be a low end WR2 if everything breaks right and continues to improve and stays on the field for 50-60 snaps a game. His talent and the system limit his upside. The former will not change. Maybe we underestimated his talent (royal we which is the NFL Scouting Depts and all us FF'ers), or he has some of those intangibles that coaches love that will keep him on the field. The situation could change, but right now CIN is not going to throw it 550 times... and even if they do, at least 150 goes to Green, and that leaves 400 for Sanu, Gresh, Eifert, Bernard, etc.
There are so many talented players. A guy like Sanu in the right situation could be a feature WR I think. But as you point out, there is a lot of competition for targets in his situation, a good defense and a team that will likely run the ball a lot. Honestly this happens all the time. Players who never get enough snaps who are still talented enough to put up numbers that would rival many of the current starters in the league if they only got similar opportunity.

So this is kind of the point about the creme rises to the top. Only the very best players can hold off the players just behind them on the depth chart. A lot of the time the back up is very very close to the same level of talent as the starter. Maybe that is too exaggerated. But I think many of the back up players in the NFL are much closer to the talent level of the starters than people seem to think. Of course there are some very special players as well. Those usually stand out right away. If the player is really that good the coach is going to find a way for them to play.

 
Concept Coop said:
FUBAR said:
Depends Howe you define talent, but

Cobb was a 2nd round pick, as was Nelson, Wallace a third, Marshall went in the fourth although perhaps not just due to talent, vjax a second, Torrey Smith a second, Colston was a 7th, victor cruz wasn't drafted...

To me, Colston is a prime example but the rest wouldn't be as good if not for a good qb.
I didn't mean to imply that draft position is the only measure of talent. I think we disagree about the talent level of the players on your list. I think most of them would be just fine outside of their current situations. I think they are, for the most part, a very talented group.
They are talented, but as others pointed out, so are most players on NFL rosters.

 
I know it's a cop out, but to me it has to be a mix of both. Also, it is a lot about roster size and other owner's drafting styles in dynasty leagues.

IMO, you always have to have 2 lists to compare: pre-NFL draft ranking based on talent alone, and then your ranking after the draft. Personally, I tend to avoid players I don't love, but landed in a great spot and let others draft them. My 1st round rookie picks are spent on players that don't move much from both lists. Then later in the drafts I grab a few guys that I had ranked a lot higher pre-draft that might be buried on the depth charts a bit. I play in a couple dynasty leagues that either have big rosters, or use a few slots as a "practice squad" for waiting on players. So guys like Patterson and Hopkins I grab in the 1st - if that doesn't gel I usually trade out to next year's draft. In the 3rd/4th + I take cheaper guys that I liked talent wise like a T.King who might take a bit to move up the charts. However, if your rosters aren't that deep, then you are probably leaning more towards situation. Like everything else, balance on your roster is key, but I tend to go with talent over situation with my picks.

 
Talent first, but ignoring situation has gotten me burned in the past. Every situation is different than the next, so I've been trying to weight talent vs. situation about 2:1 and adjust case to case as necessary.

i.e. Nuk's talent and situation are both fantastic, bump him up.

Patterson has talent, but he's raw...and his QB is awful. He's going to play, but I have doubts he'll produce. Consistently anyway. Bump him down.

Hunter has talent, but I have questions about his want to, work ethic, and health. Those are usually the issues that cause top players to bust. His short term situation looks prime for opportunity, but I think Tennessee is a sinking ship that will be cleaning house at season's end. Bump him down.

I love Tavon Austin. He's going to get an opportunity, but I am not thrilled about his situation. I'm valuing talent more here because I think he's a special player. Bump him up.

Just trying to give examples to indicate that the way a situation is evaluated should be different for each one. Not a polar opposite, but variably differetn? Absolutely.

 
You say a rookie dynasty receiver but it sounds like you want results now. If you are looking out a year or two I would pick Marquess Wilson. This kid is going to be a good one and is only 20 years old at this time. You can get him late and stash him. In my opinion he has first round and future #1 receiver talent.

 
WR is almost always more talent driven than situation. Teams can carry 2/3 fantasy relevant receiving options and QB play is more changing for the bottom teams. If a receiver is good, he will get targets. Because 2-5 take the field at any given time and QBs can't give the ball to the same guy 12 times a game (except Marshall :P )

RB on the other hand is situation driven. Being talented behind a talented RB is chasing fools gold IMO. How long have people been going for Stewart? Pierce is a good stash only if Rice goes down. Tate could be a RB1 on the Texans if they didn't have Foster.

 
For the folks saying talent over situation, what qualifies as talent?
I take the guy I think is, or is going to be, the better football player. There are some exceptions, or players I rank very closely together, in which situation plays a big part. I am much more willing to invest in situation when it comes to runningbacks, for example. But, in general, I think talent wins out. You're not going to get Dez, Calvin, Julio, AJG, AJ, DT, Fitz, etc., drafting based on situation. All of those guys were drafted into poor situations, or to a team with a top 10 WR already on the team.
All of the WR you mention were 1st round picks and generally the top rated WR coming into the league. It just does not seem like one is saying much to say these talents rose to the top when honestly no WR had a chance to keep them from earning playing time. How are uber top tier WR as draft prospect rising to the top? They were already there.

I don't think their situations were bad. I suppose the Lions are a bad team but that tends to be good for WR. Did anyone think Calvin Johnson was going to have a hard time getting playing time? About the only worry there was that they did draft some other WR that high who totally busted.

Were people really concerned about Dez not being able to beat out Miles Austin? If you thought that you must not thought much of Dez's talent, which I think has always been considered off the charts. Top 10 WR talent that only fell to pick 24 because of character concerns.

A talent rising to the top would need to have someone very good ahead of them. That matters at RB such as Alexander trying to beat out Waters. At WR teams frequently play 3-4. If they drafted the WR in the 1st round they can likely find a role for them without having to displace a quality starter. They can use both.

The talent rising only makes sense to me for players who may have been drafted later than they should have (a lot). The WR you mentioned were already at the top before they played a down in the NFL and did not need to beat out anyone. They just needed to avoid busting.

 

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