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Tefertiller's "drafting rookies is a losing proposition"


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Without getting too much into subscriber content, I just read Tefertiller's "drafting rookies" article and felt that the rookies needed a champion to defend them a little bit.

The quote that caught my attention was the following: "So many rookies are drafted with high expectations. The position with highest relative rookie ADP is at running back. Over these eight seasons of the study, twenty-five rookie ball carriers were drafted as fantasy starters. Their collective ADP was RB28, but they finished with a net ranking of RB37."

The problem I have with that quote is that it gives no context whatsoever. How does that compare to 2nd year players? 3rd year players? 4th year players? There are two big reasons to believe that the phenomenon you found had nothing to do with rookies being a "losing proposition" and everything to do with how you framed your study. For starters, you only selected the most highly drafted rookies. The higher a player is drafted, the more likely he is to underperform his draft slot through no fault of his own. For instance, I could do a study to see how many #1 overall draft picks outperformed their draft position, and I'd guarantee you that it'd tell you that no #1 has ever in the history of football outperformed his draft pick. The number of #2 guys who outperform their draft pick is going to be astronomically small, and so on down the line. Any time you deliberately take a sample from the top of any population, that population is almost certainly going to wind up underperforming projections. Just look at Adrian Peterson and MJD last year. They were drafted 1st and 2nd. They finished 2nd and 3rd. Both of them technically "underperformed" their draft slot... but I bet most owners would take "underperformance" like that 8 days a week.

Second off, in this instance you shouldn't be using mean finishes, because the population is going to exhibit a strong skew. If a player is taken as the 11th WR, then the most he could outperform his draft position is by 10 slots. He could, however, underperform his draft position by 90+ slots. If you had two rookies taken 11th and 12th, and one of them finished as WR1 and another finished as WR100, using the mean would tell us that the rookies were taken 11.5th on average, and they finished 50.5th on average, so drafting rookie WRs was a losing proposition. That analysis does not accurately describe the reality of the situation.

To illustrate what I mean, I took the names of every 3rd, 4th, or 5th year RB drafted 36th or higher at his position last year. These guys are all in the prime of their career, and they're all known quantities. All told, there were 15 such RBs last year. They were drafted, on average, as RB17. They finished, on average, as RB24. Therefore, drafting 3rd-5th year RBs is a losing proposition, too.

According to the data from your study, 13 of the 25 rookies taken in the top 36 wound up outperforming their draft position (52% success). For comparison, just 4 of the 15 3rd-5th year RBs taken in the top 36 last year wound up outperforming their draft position (27% success). By that comparison, drafting RBs PERIOD is a losing proposition... but drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. Or- to paraphrase Doug Drinin's favorite paraphrasing of Winston Churchill- drafting rookies is the worst way to find value, except for all the other ways.

One last stat before I go. From 2004 to 2008 (5 years), 13 RBs were drafted outside of the top 25 who then wound up finishing inside the top 12. Six of them (almost half) were rookies. Once the top 25 options are off the board, rookies often represent the best possible chance of landing a surprise RB1.

Not trying to pick on you, because I think you do phenomenal work, I just had to post to say that I disagreed with the conclusions of this particular article and to explain why. In my opinion, drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. I do agree about rookie QBs and TEs, though- they're rubbish and are best avoided.

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Being selective with your rookies and choosing your spots is often the best way to win your draft.

Often no one wants to take a shot b/c they're unproven but that's why the end up dropping a bit and turning into value. A team with Harvin, Maclin, Nicks as a #3 WR would have done some damage last year. Beanie chipped in and Knowshon barely lived upto his ADP, but in the end he was OK. The year before if you had a rookie RB on your squad, odds were you were money at that position. I generally agree with not taking rookie QBs or TEs, but sometimes there's value to be found in the TEs. Jermaine Gresham is going behind scrubs like Shockey and Kevin Boss, i'd gladly take that bet.

This seems like a case of faulty overanalysis and not being able to see the trees from the forest.

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Depending where you draft rookie RBs and TEs determine if they're a good value or not. I think NOT drafting Bradford, Gresham, or Jimmy Graham in the 2nd round is a bad move. I'm thinking dynasty here, not redraft.

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According to the data from your study, 13 of the 25 rookies taken in the top 36 wound up outperforming their draft position (52% success). For comparison, just 4 of the 15 3rd-5th year RBs taken in the top 36 last year wound up outperforming their draft position (27% success). By that comparison, drafting RBs PERIOD is a losing proposition... but drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. Or- to paraphrase Doug Drinin's favorite paraphrasing of Winston Churchill- drafting rookies is the worst way to find value, except for all the other ways.One last stat before I go. From 2004 to 2008 (5 years), 13 RBs were drafted outside of the top 25 who then wound up finishing inside the top 12. Six of them (almost half) were rookies. Once the top 25 options are off the board, rookies often represent the best possible chance of landing a surprise RB1.Not trying to pick on you, because I think you do phenomenal work, I just had to post to say that I disagreed with the conclusions of this particular article and to explain why. In my opinion, drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. I do agree about rookie QBs and TEs, though- they're rubbish and are best avoided.

Jeff does great work and I enjoy reading it, but I do agree with SSOG. Selecting the right handful of rookie RBs and WRs is a winning proposition as long as you have a good perspective on how many generally perform as fantasy starters each year. I have a NY Times Fifth Down Blog piece coming out in two weeks that will allude to what SSOG has said here. You don't want to be that over-enthusiastic rookie drafter, but picking your spots and understanding which backs/receivers fit the profile for success the most can really help your team.
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I took these rookie articles as it applies to redraft leagues.

My guess is that they weren't intended to apply to dynasty leagues.

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I took Edge his rookie season in the 2nd round. :confused:

I also took Kurt Warner in the last round of the draft. :thumbup:

I easily won my league that year.

I was flipping the channels one night in the preseason, saw football and stayed tuned. Rams were playing and Warner was QB, he was hitting his receivers right on the numbers but they were dropping ball after ball, the Rams were bad the previous season and I knew I could get him in the last round, this was before message boards were popular and Warner was off the radar. My best pick ever.

Two rookies. It can happen.

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I took Edge his rookie season in the 2nd round. :confused: I also took Kurt Warner in the last round of the draft. :thumbup: I easily won my league that year.I was flipping the channels one night in the preseason, saw football and stayed tuned. Rams were playing and Warner was QB, he was hitting his receivers right on the numbers but they were dropping ball after ball, the Rams were bad the previous season and I knew I could get him in the last round, this was before message boards were popular and Warner was off the radar. My best pick ever.Two rookies. It can happen.

Can I have your address? I want to send you a medal.
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I don't know...of course some people have hit on rookies in certain spots. Some people hit on all kinds of players in certain spots. I would only take a rookie if it were a rb and even at that it would have to be a #3 rb, they are too much of a crapshoot because you have no idea about the #1 component of NFL success; mental toughness.

For all the geniuses who picked up Addai or AP, there are equal amounts of fools who picked McFadden with a 2nd rounder. The thing with rookies is that you usually have to wait 4 - 6 weeks to start seeing good production, very few come out right away and are studs. For the life of me, I can't understand why people are taking Matthews with a 1st or early 2nd. First off, no one has seen him play, secondly everyone keeps saying that he is in a lone man backfield situation even though Sproiles has been playing under the franchise tag the last two years. How that doesn't qualify as rbbc is beyond my comprehension I guess.

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I tend to avoid rookies on re-drafts.

I play with lots of owners who LOVE college footbal and sugger from ageism.

So the value that tends to fall to me are older players that have been written off too soon, as others always assume the rook is more talented and will steal the position.

Sure, there have been exceptions. I took ADP every chance I could his rookie year. I recall having both Terry Glenn and MeShawn as rookies.

But with rookies the situation dictates so, so much that one hass to really look at that.

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I took these rookie articles as it applies to redraft leagues.My guess is that they weren't intended to apply to dynasty leagues.

I'm pretty sure everyone is talking redraft here.
I don't think so.
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First off, no one has seen him play, secondly everyone keeps saying that he is in a lone man backfield situation even though Sproiles has been playing under the franchise tag the last two years. How that doesn't qualify as rbbc is beyond my comprehension I guess.

Sproles has been playing under the franchise tag primarily because the Bolts have spent two years with big question marks at the RB position right when he became a FA combined with his special teams play. Going into last year they didn't want to rely on picking up a RB in the draft as LTs backup and lose Sproles to FA- hitting both their backup RB and special teams play. They also didn't want to give Sproles the contract length he wanted. Tagging him cost a significant amount for 1 year but put them at no risk if the RB they did find worked out and they didn't need Sproles while still retaining his rights if they did. Year two was more of the same- not knowing how the draft would go while letting LT go meant they needed to keep Sproles around. His 1st year of production under any contract with them would likely be his most valuable year so why not tag him- make sure he is there and then figure out how and who to get for their RB position.
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If you picked the first rookie 5 RBs and WRs according to their NFL draft position here's how you woulda done in the last 3 years:

2009

Knowshon - not a bust, but not a great pick either

Beanie - had his moments

Donald Brown - had his moments

LeSean - also had his moments

Shonn Greene - 2 great games, meh the rest

Overall, given their ADPs, these guys didn't outperform their spots but they didn't hurt most owners either, Shonn Greene was a very late pick in most leagues

DHB - outright bust but most didn't touch him because of Jamarcus anyways

Crab - You had to wait for him but when he played he was pretty good

Maclin - Played well

Harvin - Very good value

Nicks - Pretty good too

2008

McFadden - Bust

Stewart - 1000 and 10

Felix - Bust but most knew he wouldn't impact for a year or two

Mendy - bust in 2008

Chris Johnson - Monster

Forte - we're going 6 deep here but he was on everyone's radar as a starter and won many leagues for peops, same thing with Kev Smiff,

Donnie Avery - had his moments in 2008 including some big games

Devin Thomas - bust

Jordy - bust

Hardy - bust

Royal - great value pick

2007

Adrian Peterson - stud

Lynch - very nice rook year

Kenny Irons -bust

Chris Henry- bust

Brian leonard-bust

Calvin Johnson - didn't do much

Tedd Ginn - bust

Dwayne Bowe - 1000 yards very solid

Meachem - bust

Craig Davis - bust

I count 14 busts and 16 solid picks. These are mostly 1st and 2nd rounders, why even bother with late round rookies in analysis, they aren't supposed to be good anyways.

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Without getting too much into subscriber content, I just read Tefertiller's "drafting rookies" article and felt that the rookies needed a champion to defend them a little bit. The quote that caught my attention was the following: "So many rookies are drafted with high expectations. The position with highest relative rookie ADP is at running back. Over these eight seasons of the study, twenty-five rookie ball carriers were drafted as fantasy starters. Their collective ADP was RB28, but they finished with a net ranking of RB37."The problem I have with that quote is that it gives no context whatsoever. How does that compare to 2nd year players? 3rd year players? 4th year players? There are two big reasons to believe that the phenomenon you found had nothing to do with rookies being a "losing proposition" and everything to do with how you framed your study. For starters, you only selected the most highly drafted rookies. The higher a player is drafted, the more likely he is to underperform his draft slot through no fault of his own. For instance, I could do a study to see how many #1 overall draft picks outperformed their draft position, and I'd guarantee you that it'd tell you that no #1 has ever in the history of football outperformed his draft pick. The number of #2 guys who outperform their draft pick is going to be astronomically small, and so on down the line. Any time you deliberately take a sample from the top of any population, that population is almost certainly going to wind up underperforming projections. Just look at Adrian Peterson and MJD last year. They were drafted 1st and 2nd. They finished 2nd and 3rd. Both of them technically "underperformed" their draft slot... but I bet most owners would take "underperformance" like that 8 days a week.Second off, in this instance you shouldn't be using mean finishes, because the population is going to exhibit a strong skew. If a player is taken as the 11th WR, then the most he could outperform his draft position is by 10 slots. He could, however, underperform his draft position by 90+ slots. If you had two rookies taken 11th and 12th, and one of them finished as WR1 and another finished as WR100, using the mean would tell us that the rookies were taken 11.5th on average, and they finished 50.5th on average, so drafting rookie WRs was a losing proposition. That analysis does not accurately describe the reality of the situation.To illustrate what I mean, I took the names of every 3rd, 4th, or 5th year RB drafted 36th or higher at his position last year. These guys are all in the prime of their career, and they're all known quantities. All told, there were 15 such RBs last year. They were drafted, on average, as RB17. They finished, on average, as RB24. Therefore, drafting 3rd-5th year RBs is a losing proposition, too.According to the data from your study, 13 of the 25 rookies taken in the top 36 wound up outperforming their draft position (52% success). For comparison, just 4 of the 15 3rd-5th year RBs taken in the top 36 last year wound up outperforming their draft position (27% success). By that comparison, drafting RBs PERIOD is a losing proposition... but drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. Or- to paraphrase Doug Drinin's favorite paraphrasing of Winston Churchill- drafting rookies is the worst way to find value, except for all the other ways.One last stat before I go. From 2004 to 2008 (5 years), 13 RBs were drafted outside of the top 25 who then wound up finishing inside the top 12. Six of them (almost half) were rookies. Once the top 25 options are off the board, rookies often represent the best possible chance of landing a surprise RB1.Not trying to pick on you, because I think you do phenomenal work, I just had to post to say that I disagreed with the conclusions of this particular article and to explain why. In my opinion, drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. I do agree about rookie QBs and TEs, though- they're rubbish and are best avoided.

It is all good. The debate is healthy for all. The few things I would like to add for perspective are:a. These were written for redraft just so no one is confusedb. The stats speaks for themselves in terms of how many highly drafted rookies fail to hit their ADP. I know that is simplistic, but the percentages are not that strong. c. To address the point you and Matt about the "right" rookies, there is commentary at the end of each article with the rookies I expect to best their ADP. So, in a broad sense, I agree that some rookies will outperform their draft status. But, as a rule, the vast majority of rookies never come close to their ADP ... which is the point of the articles. d. Drafting rookies does not pay off very often. Sure Peterson was a hit, but many selected McFadden high because of ADP's great season. The best RB and WR seasons came from those WAY down the ADP list. For the benefit of all, since many are saying you must draft the "right" rookies, I think it would be good to hear who everyone thinks are the "right" rookies this year.
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I don't know...of course some people have hit on rookies in certain spots. Some people hit on all kinds of players in certain spots. I would only take a rookie if it were a rb and even at that it would have to be a #3 rb, they are too much of a crapshoot because you have no idea about the #1 component of NFL success; mental toughness.

For all the geniuses who picked up Addai or AP, there are equal amounts of fools who picked McFadden with a 2nd rounder. The thing with rookies is that you usually have to wait 4 - 6 weeks to start seeing good production, very few come out right away and are studs. For the life of me, I can't understand why people are taking Matthews with a 1st or early 2nd. First off, no one has seen him play, secondly everyone keeps saying that he is in a lone man backfield situation even though Sproiles has been playing under the franchise tag the last two years. How that doesn't qualify as rbbc is beyond my comprehension I guess.

Things like this happen because the vast majority of leagues dramatically overvalue the RB position. I always found it odd that the most fungible position in the NFL (RB) is the most irreplaceable position in fantasy football.
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Without getting too much into subscriber content, I just read Tefertiller's "drafting rookies" article and felt that the rookies needed a champion to defend them a little bit. The quote that caught my attention was the following: "So many rookies are drafted with high expectations. The position with highest relative rookie ADP is at running back. Over these eight seasons of the study, twenty-five rookie ball carriers were drafted as fantasy starters. Their collective ADP was RB28, but they finished with a net ranking of RB37."The problem I have with that quote is that it gives no context whatsoever. How does that compare to 2nd year players? 3rd year players? 4th year players? There are two big reasons to believe that the phenomenon you found had nothing to do with rookies being a "losing proposition" and everything to do with how you framed your study. For starters, you only selected the most highly drafted rookies. The higher a player is drafted, the more likely he is to underperform his draft slot through no fault of his own. For instance, I could do a study to see how many #1 overall draft picks outperformed their draft position, and I'd guarantee you that it'd tell you that no #1 has ever in the history of football outperformed his draft pick. The number of #2 guys who outperform their draft pick is going to be astronomically small, and so on down the line. Any time you deliberately take a sample from the top of any population, that population is almost certainly going to wind up underperforming projections. Just look at Adrian Peterson and MJD last year. They were drafted 1st and 2nd. They finished 2nd and 3rd. Both of them technically "underperformed" their draft slot... but I bet most owners would take "underperformance" like that 8 days a week.Second off, in this instance you shouldn't be using mean finishes, because the population is going to exhibit a strong skew. If a player is taken as the 11th WR, then the most he could outperform his draft position is by 10 slots. He could, however, underperform his draft position by 90+ slots. If you had two rookies taken 11th and 12th, and one of them finished as WR1 and another finished as WR100, using the mean would tell us that the rookies were taken 11.5th on average, and they finished 50.5th on average, so drafting rookie WRs was a losing proposition. That analysis does not accurately describe the reality of the situation.To illustrate what I mean, I took the names of every 3rd, 4th, or 5th year RB drafted 36th or higher at his position last year. These guys are all in the prime of their career, and they're all known quantities. All told, there were 15 such RBs last year. They were drafted, on average, as RB17. They finished, on average, as RB24. Therefore, drafting 3rd-5th year RBs is a losing proposition, too.According to the data from your study, 13 of the 25 rookies taken in the top 36 wound up outperforming their draft position (52% success). For comparison, just 4 of the 15 3rd-5th year RBs taken in the top 36 last year wound up outperforming their draft position (27% success). By that comparison, drafting RBs PERIOD is a losing proposition... but drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. Or- to paraphrase Doug Drinin's favorite paraphrasing of Winston Churchill- drafting rookies is the worst way to find value, except for all the other ways.One last stat before I go. From 2004 to 2008 (5 years), 13 RBs were drafted outside of the top 25 who then wound up finishing inside the top 12. Six of them (almost half) were rookies. Once the top 25 options are off the board, rookies often represent the best possible chance of landing a surprise RB1.Not trying to pick on you, because I think you do phenomenal work, I just had to post to say that I disagreed with the conclusions of this particular article and to explain why. In my opinion, drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. I do agree about rookie QBs and TEs, though- they're rubbish and are best avoided.

It is all good. The debate is healthy for all. The few things I would like to add for perspective are:a. These were written for redraft just so no one is confusedb. The stats speaks for themselves in terms of how many highly drafted rookies fail to hit their ADP. I know that is simplistic, but the percentages are not that strong. c. To address the point you and Matt about the "right" rookies, there is commentary at the end of each article with the rookies I expect to best their ADP. So, in a broad sense, I agree that some rookies will outperform their draft status. But, as a rule, the vast majority of rookies never come close to their ADP ... which is the point of the articles. d. Drafting rookies does not pay off very often. Sure Peterson was a hit, but many selected McFadden high because of ADP's great season. The best RB and WR seasons came from those WAY down the ADP list. For the benefit of all, since many are saying you must draft the "right" rookies, I think it would be good to hear who everyone thinks are the "right" rookies this year.
QB: NoneRB: None of the big 3 (Spiller, Matthews, Best) simply due to where they are going.WR: Benn, Mike WIlliams, Eric DeckerTE: maybe Gresham, Moeaki.
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For the benefit of all, since many are saying you must draft the "right" rookies, I think it would be good to hear who everyone thinks are the "right" rookies this year.

Jahvid Best as a RB2 and Dez Bryant as a WR3.
I'd add Mike Williams to this list. Undoubtedly another couple rooks will have an impact, but I feel great about these 3.
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I have actually found that rookies can be great values in redraft leagues because a lot of owners won't take a risk on a player who "isn't proven."

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I took Edge his rookie season in the 2nd round. :scared:

I also took Kurt Warner in the last round of the draft. :lmao:

I easily won my league that year.

I was flipping the channels one night in the preseason, saw football and stayed tuned. Rams were playing and Warner was QB, he was hitting his receivers right on the numbers but they were dropping ball after ball, the Rams were bad the previous season and I knew I could get him in the last round, this was before message boards were popular and Warner was off the radar. My best pick ever.

Two rookies. It can happen.

Can I have your address? I want to send you a medal.

Congradulations. You wanna cookie?

Nah, don't need a medal or a cookie, I took $$$ already. I guess you two didn't get my point so I will spell it out for you. Make your own decisions and think it out, read between the hype and your own observations, it will make victory that much sweeter. Many people won with Kurt Warner that year, off the waiver wire.

:lmao:

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I have actually found that rookies can be great values in redraft leagues because a lot of owners won't take a risk on a player who "isn't proven."

I agree, especially as late season injury replacements, by late season they are not rookies anymore. Some late round rookies are great sleepers.
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I took Edge his rookie season in the 2nd round. :doh: I also took Kurt Warner in the last round of the draft. :thumbup: I easily won my league that year.I was flipping the channels one night in the preseason, saw football and stayed tuned. Rams were playing and Warner was QB, he was hitting his receivers right on the numbers but they were dropping ball after ball, the Rams were bad the previous season and I knew I could get him in the last round, this was before message boards were popular and Warner was off the radar. My best pick ever.Two rookies. It can happen.

Can I have your address? I want to send you a medal.
I know you probably didn't mean anything - but don't post this kind of stuff here. TIA.Good discussion SSOG. And good article Jeff. Discussing things here like this is exactly what I want us to do. And FWIW, I agree with the general idea - I do see rookies consistently over valued based purely on the hype. For instance, I love a 2nd WR that was overhyped last year and now can be had for a much more reasonable draft spot AND he has a year of experience under his belt.J
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And to be clear - we're talking about performing up to their draft position. He's not saying they won't be good or even very good. He's saying that in general, they're often over valued.

And I think that's roughly a result of just hype. The rookies are the guys everyone talks about. And they haven't yet shown that they can't perform. So human nature takes over and you often see an overly optimistic valuation.

J

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Excellent post, SSOG. Your analysis of underperformance relative to ADP is right on. For instance, the average end-of-season ranking of the first 36 RBs drafted is always going to be worse than their average ADP, as long as some RB from outside the top 36 in ADP finishes in the top 36, since the average ADP is the average of 1-36 (18.5) and the end-of-season ranks will include some higher numbers than 36.

Another way to do the analysis is to compare each rookie RB to the RB taken immediately before him and the one immediately after him (according to ADP), looking at their average end-of-season rank, their average fantasy points scored, or just what percent of the time the rookie outperforms each of the other two. Based on the numbers that SSOG gives, I'd bet that the rookies do about as well as the other RBs with a similar ADP, or even slightly better.

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When we consider the risk of drafting a rookie, at any position, not only is there risk that the player fails to meet/exceed the ADP .... There is the issue of hoe badly the rookies missed their respective ADPs. To me, this is the bigger issue. The downside risk is huge for the rookies versus players whom we know more about their talent and how used. Once again, I appreciate the discussion.

Without getting too much into subscriber content, I just read Tefertiller's "drafting rookies" article and felt that the rookies needed a champion to defend them a little bit. The quote that caught my attention was the following: "So many rookies are drafted with high expectations. The position with highest relative rookie ADP is at running back. Over these eight seasons of the study, twenty-five rookie ball carriers were drafted as fantasy starters. Their collective ADP was RB28, but they finished with a net ranking of RB37."The problem I have with that quote is that it gives no context whatsoever. How does that compare to 2nd year players? 3rd year players? 4th year players? There are two big reasons to believe that the phenomenon you found had nothing to do with rookies being a "losing proposition" and everything to do with how you framed your study. For starters, you only selected the most highly drafted rookies. The higher a player is drafted, the more likely he is to underperform his draft slot through no fault of his own. For instance, I could do a study to see how many #1 overall draft picks outperformed their draft position, and I'd guarantee you that it'd tell you that no #1 has ever in the history of football outperformed his draft pick. The number of #2 guys who outperform their draft pick is going to be astronomically small, and so on down the line. Any time you deliberately take a sample from the top of any population, that population is almost certainly going to wind up underperforming projections. Just look at Adrian Peterson and MJD last year. They were drafted 1st and 2nd. They finished 2nd and 3rd. Both of them technically "underperformed" their draft slot... but I bet most owners would take "underperformance" like that 8 days a week.Second off, in this instance you shouldn't be using mean finishes, because the population is going to exhibit a strong skew. If a player is taken as the 11th WR, then the most he could outperform his draft position is by 10 slots. He could, however, underperform his draft position by 90+ slots. If you had two rookies taken 11th and 12th, and one of them finished as WR1 and another finished as WR100, using the mean would tell us that the rookies were taken 11.5th on average, and they finished 50.5th on average, so drafting rookie WRs was a losing proposition. That analysis does not accurately describe the reality of the situation.To illustrate what I mean, I took the names of every 3rd, 4th, or 5th year RB drafted 36th or higher at his position last year. These guys are all in the prime of their career, and they're all known quantities. All told, there were 15 such RBs last year. They were drafted, on average, as RB17. They finished, on average, as RB24. Therefore, drafting 3rd-5th year RBs is a losing proposition, too.According to the data from your study, 13 of the 25 rookies taken in the top 36 wound up outperforming their draft position (52% success). For comparison, just 4 of the 15 3rd-5th year RBs taken in the top 36 last year wound up outperforming their draft position (27% success). By that comparison, drafting RBs PERIOD is a losing proposition... but drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. Or- to paraphrase Doug Drinin's favorite paraphrasing of Winston Churchill- drafting rookies is the worst way to find value, except for all the other ways.One last stat before I go. From 2004 to 2008 (5 years), 13 RBs were drafted outside of the top 25 who then wound up finishing inside the top 12. Six of them (almost half) were rookies. Once the top 25 options are off the board, rookies often represent the best possible chance of landing a surprise RB1.Not trying to pick on you, because I think you do phenomenal work, I just had to post to say that I disagreed with the conclusions of this particular article and to explain why. In my opinion, drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. I do agree about rookie QBs and TEs, though- they're rubbish and are best avoided.

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When we consider the risk of drafting a rookie, at any position, not only is there risk that the player fails to meet/exceed the ADP .... There is the issue of hoe badly the rookies missed their respective ADPs. To me, this is the bigger issue. The downside risk is huge for the rookies versus players whom we know more about their talent and how used. Once again, I appreciate the discussion.

I don't think we've seen evidence that rookies are more likely to miss their ADPs badly than other players. We might have thought we knew the downside for Steve Slaton, Matt Forte, Brandon Jacobs, or Brian Westbrook, but it doesn't look like they performed any better than the rookies who were taken in similar rounds.
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b. The stats speaks for themselves in terms of how many highly drafted rookies fail to hit their ADP. I know that is simplistic, but the percentages are not that strong.

The stats do speak for themselves. 12 of the 25 rookies who were drafted as RB3s or better during the course of your study failed to hit their ADP. 11 of the 15 3rd-5th year players who were drafted as RB3s or better during the course of my study failed to hit their ADP. That's a 52% success rate for the rookies compared to a 27% success rate for the known quantities. Or, to put it another way, the rookies going in the top 36 were TWICE AS LIKELY to live up to their ADP as the proven veterans going in the top 36.

When we consider the risk of drafting a rookie, at any position, not only is there risk that the player fails to meet/exceed the ADP .... There is the issue of hoe badly the rookies missed their respective ADPs. To me, this is the bigger issue. The downside risk is huge for the rookies versus players whom we know more about their talent and how used. Once again, I appreciate the discussion.

The downside isn't nearly as relevant, in my opinion. Anything lower than an RB36 finish is all essentially the same- useless. What's the difference between RB44 and RB78? If you have to start either one, you're screwed anyway.

Also, the downside is already factored into the cost with rookies. In the 8 years you looked at, only ONE rookie was taken higher than 20th at his position (Reggie Bush). Those rookies were almost all guys who were being drafted as RB3s. If your RB3 busts, it's not the end of the world. When I'm drafting an RB3, my ideal candidate is going to be a guy with a higher-than-average chance of netting me RB1 production or, failing that, a higher-than-average chance of living up to the draft pick. And rookies win on both counts. They're twice as likely as the 3rd to 5th year players to live up to their ADP, and THREE TIMES AS LIKELY to finish the season as fantasy RB1s.

I'm not saying that rookies are awesome and people should be drafting them as their RB1s and RB2s all the time. I'm saying that rookies are underrated and you don't have to draft them as your RB1s or RB2s. Under current market conditions, I think that rookie RBs are some of the most underrated assets in the entire draft. If a proven vet is going in the RB24-RB36 range, it's because he's got a ton of warts and people know better than to invest heavily. If a rookie is going in that range, it means that he's actually got a lot going for him, but people are wary of investing in unknown quantities. Personally, I'd much rather have the guy who I don't know yet if he's good or bad than the guy who I already know is bad, which is why rookies in the RB24-36 range are such smart investments.

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b. The stats speaks for themselves in terms of how many highly drafted rookies fail to hit their ADP. I know that is simplistic, but the percentages are not that strong.

The stats do speak for themselves. 12 of the 25 rookies who were drafted as RB3s or better during the course of your study failed to hit their ADP. 11 of the 15 3rd-5th year players who were drafted as RB3s or better during the course of my study failed to hit their ADP. That\'s a 52% success rate for the rookies compared to a 27% success rate for the known quantities. Or, to put it another way, the rookies going in the top 36 were TWICE AS LIKELY to live up to their ADP as the proven veterans going in the top 36.

+1. I feel like Jeff's rebuttal to the OP just re-stated the same assumptions that were pretty effectively challenged by SSOG. Saying that rookies fail to live up to their ADP doesn't mean anything in a vacuum- what matters is how they compare to other asset classes (i.e. veteran players) that could be chosen instead.

If "performance relative to ADP" is the chosen method to determine whether a type of asset (rookie players) are worth drafting, the same analysis needs to be applied to the other options (veteran players).

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Without getting too much into subscriber content, I just read Tefertiller's "drafting rookies" article and felt that the rookies needed a champion to defend them a little bit. The quote that caught my attention was the following: "So many rookies are drafted with high expectations. The position with highest relative rookie ADP is at running back. Over these eight seasons of the study, twenty-five rookie ball carriers were drafted as fantasy starters. Their collective ADP was RB28, but they finished with a net ranking of RB37."The problem I have with that quote is that it gives no context whatsoever. How does that compare to 2nd year players? 3rd year players? 4th year players? There are two big reasons to believe that the phenomenon you found had nothing to do with rookies being a "losing proposition" and everything to do with how you framed your study. For starters, you only selected the most highly drafted rookies. The higher a player is drafted, the more likely he is to underperform his draft slot through no fault of his own. For instance, I could do a study to see how many #1 overall draft picks outperformed their draft position, and I'd guarantee you that it'd tell you that no #1 has ever in the history of football outperformed his draft pick. The number of #2 guys who outperform their draft pick is going to be astronomically small, and so on down the line. Any time you deliberately take a sample from the top of any population, that population is almost certainly going to wind up underperforming projections. Just look at Adrian Peterson and MJD last year. They were drafted 1st and 2nd. They finished 2nd and 3rd. Both of them technically "underperformed" their draft slot... but I bet most owners would take "underperformance" like that 8 days a week.Second off, in this instance you shouldn't be using mean finishes, because the population is going to exhibit a strong skew. If a player is taken as the 11th WR, then the most he could outperform his draft position is by 10 slots. He could, however, underperform his draft position by 90+ slots. If you had two rookies taken 11th and 12th, and one of them finished as WR1 and another finished as WR100, using the mean would tell us that the rookies were taken 11.5th on average, and they finished 50.5th on average, so drafting rookie WRs was a losing proposition. That analysis does not accurately describe the reality of the situation.To illustrate what I mean, I took the names of every 3rd, 4th, or 5th year RB drafted 36th or higher at his position last year. These guys are all in the prime of their career, and they're all known quantities. All told, there were 15 such RBs last year. They were drafted, on average, as RB17. They finished, on average, as RB24. Therefore, drafting 3rd-5th year RBs is a losing proposition, too.According to the data from your study, 13 of the 25 rookies taken in the top 36 wound up outperforming their draft position (52% success). For comparison, just 4 of the 15 3rd-5th year RBs taken in the top 36 last year wound up outperforming their draft position (27% success). By that comparison, drafting RBs PERIOD is a losing proposition... but drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. Or- to paraphrase Doug Drinin's favorite paraphrasing of Winston Churchill- drafting rookies is the worst way to find value, except for all the other ways.One last stat before I go. From 2004 to 2008 (5 years), 13 RBs were drafted outside of the top 25 who then wound up finishing inside the top 12. Six of them (almost half) were rookies. Once the top 25 options are off the board, rookies often represent the best possible chance of landing a surprise RB1.Not trying to pick on you, because I think you do phenomenal work, I just had to post to say that I disagreed with the conclusions of this particular article and to explain why. In my opinion, drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. I do agree about rookie QBs and TEs, though- they're rubbish and are best avoided.

:goodposting:Outstanding rebuttal.
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Isn't the major problem simply that these guys are being drafted too early? I mean by the time drafts occur, the guys nor their teams have played any meaningful minutes. Isn't nearly every non-elite player going to have a great chance of being inaccurately drafted in terms of value? How often does the xth ADP player finish xth when all is said and done? I don't think you can really say anything about the perceived value of rookies without knowing how well value is perceived in the first place.

The statistics offered are interesting but they exist with no real context to understand their meaning.

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Without getting too much into subscriber content, I just read Tefertiller's "drafting rookies" article and felt that the rookies needed a champion to defend them a little bit. The quote that caught my attention was the following: "So many rookies are drafted with high expectations. The position with highest relative rookie ADP is at running back. Over these eight seasons of the study, twenty-five rookie ball carriers were drafted as fantasy starters. Their collective ADP was RB28, but they finished with a net ranking of RB37."The problem I have with that quote is that it gives no context whatsoever. How does that compare to 2nd year players? 3rd year players? 4th year players? There are two big reasons to believe that the phenomenon you found had nothing to do with rookies being a "losing proposition" and everything to do with how you framed your study. For starters, you only selected the most highly drafted rookies. The higher a player is drafted, the more likely he is to underperform his draft slot through no fault of his own. For instance, I could do a study to see how many #1 overall draft picks outperformed their draft position, and I'd guarantee you that it'd tell you that no #1 has ever in the history of football outperformed his draft pick. The number of #2 guys who outperform their draft pick is going to be astronomically small, and so on down the line. Any time you deliberately take a sample from the top of any population, that population is almost certainly going to wind up underperforming projections. Just look at Adrian Peterson and MJD last year. They were drafted 1st and 2nd. They finished 2nd and 3rd. Both of them technically "underperformed" their draft slot... but I bet most owners would take "underperformance" like that 8 days a week.Second off, in this instance you shouldn't be using mean finishes, because the population is going to exhibit a strong skew. If a player is taken as the 11th WR, then the most he could outperform his draft position is by 10 slots. He could, however, underperform his draft position by 90+ slots. If you had two rookies taken 11th and 12th, and one of them finished as WR1 and another finished as WR100, using the mean would tell us that the rookies were taken 11.5th on average, and they finished 50.5th on average, so drafting rookie WRs was a losing proposition. That analysis does not accurately describe the reality of the situation.To illustrate what I mean, I took the names of every 3rd, 4th, or 5th year RB drafted 36th or higher at his position last year. These guys are all in the prime of their career, and they're all known quantities. All told, there were 15 such RBs last year. They were drafted, on average, as RB17. They finished, on average, as RB24. Therefore, drafting 3rd-5th year RBs is a losing proposition, too.According to the data from your study, 13 of the 25 rookies taken in the top 36 wound up outperforming their draft position (52% success). For comparison, just 4 of the 15 3rd-5th year RBs taken in the top 36 last year wound up outperforming their draft position (27% success). By that comparison, drafting RBs PERIOD is a losing proposition... but drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. Or- to paraphrase Doug Drinin's favorite paraphrasing of Winston Churchill- drafting rookies is the worst way to find value, except for all the other ways.One last stat before I go. From 2004 to 2008 (5 years), 13 RBs were drafted outside of the top 25 who then wound up finishing inside the top 12. Six of them (almost half) were rookies. Once the top 25 options are off the board, rookies often represent the best possible chance of landing a surprise RB1.Not trying to pick on you, because I think you do phenomenal work, I just had to post to say that I disagreed with the conclusions of this particular article and to explain why. In my opinion, drafting rookie RBs is a WINNING proposition. I do agree about rookie QBs and TEs, though- they're rubbish and are best avoided.

:excited: Outstanding rebuttal.
?!?!?! Look at the numbers. Drafting a rookie rb is NOT a winning proposition. In the last eight years, there have been a handful of drafted guys (we are talking redraft here, not dynasty or keeper) who have been big hits, many who have been 'meh', and many who have flat out failed. The thing none of you are considering here is the basic economic concept of opportunity cost. When you spend a 6th round pick or less on a rookie, you are foregoing the opportunity to draft a proven player at another position. So essentially, you are making a blind bet and passing up a 2nd tier qb or wr, thus forcing you to make more risky choices down the pike.I am going to laugh heartly at the moron who takes Matthews with the 12th pick in my draft, when if they wanted to really go withsafe points, they could have snagged Manning and then got a good rb or wr later in the next round...
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With few exceptions (Randy Moss, etc.), drafting rookie WRs and QBs is a losing proposition. As a general rule, you can't expect immediate impact.

My willingness/reluctance to draft rookie RBs is a function of draft position. With a late 1st round pick, I'm much more likely to draft a stud WR, or even QB. In this scenario, rookie backs become part of the equation as position scarcity drives strategy. He may or may not perform to his draft position but I need to fill out a roster. My success rate is around 50%, but - at a position where injury can decimate your draft - I don't mind the gamble.

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?!?!?! Look at the numbers. Drafting a rookie rb is NOT a winning proposition. In the last eight years, there have been a handful of drafted guys (we are talking redraft here, not dynasty or keeper) who have been big hits, many who have been 'meh', and many who have flat out failed. The thing none of you are considering here is the basic economic concept of opportunity cost. When you spend a 6th round pick or less on a rookie, you are foregoing the opportunity to draft a proven player at another position. So essentially, you are making a blind bet and passing up a 2nd tier qb or wr, thus forcing you to make more risky choices down the pike.I am going to laugh heartly at the moron who takes Matthews with the 12th pick in my draft, when if they wanted to really go withsafe points, they could have snagged Manning and then got a good rb or wr later in the next round...

I think you're the one not looking at the numbers. Read SSOG's post, where he compares the success of rookies vs. their ADP with the success of non-rookies vs. their ADP. Rookies do better. So your opportunity cost is the other way around; when you take a "proven" RB over a rookie, you've given up the opportunity to take a more productive rookie. Matthews is being considered against backs like D.Williams, S.Greene, Ryan Grant, and Jamaal Charles. The historical data suggests that it's a good bet that he will outscore at least two of those guys.
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b. The stats speaks for themselves in terms of how many highly drafted rookies fail to hit their ADP. I know that is simplistic, but the percentages are not that strong.

The stats do speak for themselves. 12 of the 25 rookies who were drafted as RB3s or better during the course of your study failed to hit their ADP. 11 of the 15 3rd-5th year players who were drafted as RB3s or better during the course of my study failed to hit their ADP. That\'s a 52% success rate for the rookies compared to a 27% success rate for the known quantities. Or, to put it another way, the rookies going in the top 36 were TWICE AS LIKELY to live up to their ADP as the proven veterans going in the top 36.

+1. I feel like Jeff's rebuttal to the OP just re-stated the same assumptions that were pretty effectively challenged by SSOG. Saying that rookies fail to live up to their ADP doesn't mean anything in a vacuum- what matters is how they compare to other asset classes (i.e. veteran players) that could be chosen instead.

If "performance relative to ADP" is the chosen method to determine whether a type of asset (rookie players) are worth drafting, the same analysis needs to be applied to the other options (veteran players).

I agree wholeheartedly. Jeff doesn't appear to understand SSOG's rebuttal.

The best way might be to compare the performance of rookie RBs taken in the top 36 ONLY to the the other RBs taken in the top 36. Performance ranked 1-36 only (No RB 90, etc.).

This would exclude all of those RBs taken outside of the top 36 that cause all RBs taken inside the top 36, regardless of season, to underperform their ADP on average.

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This is a truly awesome post, SSOG. It is so rare to see a well-written and well-supported article on fantasy football strategy (as opposed to merely speculating re: good player values) that takes on the conventional wisdom. I would love to see something similar to this taking on the standard "football guru" advice to wait until the 9th-10th round to draft your starting QB.

Thanks for taking the time to put this rebuttal together.

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Come October, when Matthews is sucking it up, this will be a great thread to bump.

I think, and I may be incorrect, that the 'SSOG theory' is : given the entire RB class under RB#36, all rookies (not just Matthews) will have a higher percentage of meeting or exceeding their pre-season ADP than that of their older counterparts.

So if a majority of the Rookie RBs suck it up, say less than 27% in comparison to the 3rd through 5th year RBs % posted earlier, than bump away as we carry on through the season. However, I would also like to see someone bump this in December/January regardless. October may be too early to gauge.

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Matthews is being considered against backs like D.Williams, S.Greene, Ryan Grant, and Jamaal Charles. The historical data suggests that it's a good bet that he will outscore at least two of those guys.

I think that's a bit too far in the other direction. There's really no historical data to suggest anything regarding Ryan Matthews, because he's currently going in the top 20. The only rookie who has been drafted in the top 20 in the past 8 years was Reggie Bush, who had an ADP of RB15 and finished the season as RB17 (call it a wash).

Part of what has made rookies such a good value recently is that they've been so CHEAP. Typically, you can get the best rookie in the class as your RB3. That's a winning proposition. There's rarely RBs with first round talent still available after 24 backs are off the board unless they're rookies. Taking the best rookie in the class as your RB1, however, is a much riskier bet.

Come October, when Matthews is sucking it up, this will be a great thread to bump.

Why? Mathews name has come up 3 times in this thread. Twice it was someone calling him overvalued. The third time was when you brought it up yourself. This thread is not at all about Ryan Mathews, not in the slightest bit. If anything, Ryan Mathews is sort of the antithesis of what this thread is about (the fact that talented rookies often go as RB3s and then perform as RB2s or RB1s).

Besides, the majority of the football community is way too outcome-centric and not enough process-centric. Imagine you were going to roll a 6-sided die and I had to bet on whether the number would be a 6, or something other than a 6. Obviously, I would bet that the number would be something other than a 6- that's the only smart bet. If you roll the die and it comes up 6, that doesn't change the fact that "not 6" was the smart bet. In other words, just because the OUTCOME was wrong doesn't mean the PROCESS was faulty. That's the case here, too. Even if I was saying that Mathews was underrated and great value (and once again, nobody in this thread has said that), then that analysis can be correct even if Mathews winds up "sucking it up" come October. Sometimes good processes still lead to bad outcomes. Sometimes bad processes still lead to good outcomes. One rookie sucking does not invalidate the theory that rookie RBs are generally smart bets.

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With few exceptions (Randy Moss, etc.), drafting rookie WRs and QBs is a losing proposition. As a general rule, you can't expect immediate impact.

I've gotten huge contributions from guys like Eddie Royal, Chris Johnson, Joseph Addai, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Michael Clayton in redraft leagues during their rookie seasons. They were all round 10+ picks with the exception of Johnson, who I got in the 7th round of two different leagues. Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson carried me to a very high finish in one of the FBG leagues a few years back even though several people thought I was committing team suicide by relying on two totally unproven rookies.

My attitude is that flashy young players are overrated in dynasty leagues, but underrated in redraft leagues because people are gunshy about relying on someone who hasn't "proven" himself, no matter how talented he appears to be in comparison to the alternatives available at his position.

I would agree that spending 1st-2nd round picks on rookies is probably a losing strategy most of the time in redraft leagues, but there comes a point in the mid-late rounds where rookies become the most talented players on the board. We know that most rookies won't make a major impact, but the same is true for most of the veteran scrubs going in the same range of the draft.

If I'm sitting there on the clock in the 14th round and I need a WR, I'd be inclined to take Golden Tate ahead of Devery Henderson solely because Tate might give me a huge breakout season whereas I pretty much know that the 800-900 yards I can expect from Henderson won't make a significant difference for my team.

I think it's dangerous to make generalizations like "don't draft rookies" or "don't draft anyone over 30" or "don't draft anyone who just changed teams" because it doesn't treat each individual player like a unique event in history. Trends are useful to consider, but the key is not to make all of your draft decision based on broad generalizations, but rather to find specific players who look like good investments, regardless of which umbrella they fall under. Basically, you can use high picks on rookies as long as you pick the right rookies. The same is true for every other group of players.

Most rookies do not produce. Adrian Peterson was not an average rookie. Most veterans who change teams do not produce. Randy Moss was not an average veteran. Most people over 35 don't produce. Derrick Mason is not an average player over 35. Don't get hung up on rules or trends if you have a strong reason to believe that a particular player is likely to violate them.

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If I'm sitting there on the clock in the 14th round and I need a WR, I'd be inclined to take Golden Tate ahead of Devery Henderson solely because Tate might give me a huge breakout season whereas I pretty much know that the 800-900 yards I can expect from Henderson won't make a significant difference for my team.

I think it's dangerous to make generalizations like "don't draft rookies" or "don't draft anyone over 30" or "don't draft anyone who just changed teams" because it doesn't treat each individual player like a unique event in history. Trends are useful to consider, but the key is not to make all of your draft decision based on broad generalizations, but rather to find specific players who look like good investments, regardless of which umbrella they fall under. Basically, you can use high picks on rookies as long as you pick the right rookies. The same is true for every other group of players.

Most rookies do not produce. Adrian Peterson was not an average rookie. Most veterans who change teams do not produce. Randy Moss was not an average veteran. Most people over 35 don't produce. Derrick Mason is not an average player over 35. Don't get hung up on rules or trends if you have a strong reason to believe that a particular player is likely to violate them.

:rolleyes:

These are all things the so-called "experts" fall prey to in their group-think.

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The single silliest thing about the hate on rookies not meeting their ADP is that no one arguing that ever mentions however non rookies fail to do it.

Of the 2nd year guys taken in the first three rounds the last decade or so, how many have failed to live up to their ADP? I would guess it would be a shockingly high number.

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I skimmed through this thread fairly quickly, it is a very interesting topic and a good debate. Thanks to Tefertiller and SSOG for this discussion.

I guess the I learned from this discussion that:

1) Rookies are riskier typicaly than their advertised ADP, unless you are some kind of oracle that knows the right rookie to choose.

2) Rookies should fall into the early middle rounds to capture their intrisic value for the risk that is invested. Sounds prudent.

3) You are allowed to ignore (2) if (1) applies.

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I took Edge his rookie season in the 2nd round. :shrug: I also took Kurt Warner in the last round of the draft. :confused: I easily won my league that year.I was flipping the channels one night in the preseason, saw football and stayed tuned. Rams were playing and Warner was QB, he was hitting his receivers right on the numbers but they were dropping ball after ball, the Rams were bad the previous season and I knew I could get him in the last round, this was before message boards were popular and Warner was off the radar. My best pick ever.Two rookies. It can happen.

I remember that was my first year playing FF and I took Ricky Williams in the 2nd round and Warner in the last round and still won my league. God bless 1999 Kurt Warner. I think you could have paired him with any rookie and still easily won your league.
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I skimmed through this thread fairly quickly, it is a very interesting topic and a good debate. Thanks to Tefertiller and SSOG for this discussion.

I guess the I learned from this discussion that:

1) Rookies are riskier typicaly than their advertised ADP, unless you are some kind of oracle that knows the right rookie to choose.

2) Rookies should fall into the early middle rounds to capture their intrisic value for the risk that is invested. Sounds prudent.

3) You are allowed to ignore (2) if (1) applies.

;)

There are much fewer of these in reality than what's claimed.

Even people who are actually earning a paycheck for this don't feel the need to crow about their 'successes' because deep down they know that choosing the 'right rookie' is still a crapshoot.

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I skimmed through this thread fairly quickly, it is a very interesting topic and a good debate. Thanks to Tefertiller and SSOG for this discussion.

I guess the I learned from this discussion that:

1) Rookies are riskier typicaly than their advertised ADP, unless you are some kind of oracle that knows the right rookie to choose.

2) Rookies should fall into the early middle rounds to capture their intrisic value for the risk that is invested. Sounds prudent.

3) You are allowed to ignore (2) if (1) applies.

;)

There are much fewer of these in reality than what's claimed.

Even people who are actually earning a paycheck for this don't feel the need to crow about their 'successes' because deep down they know that choosing the 'right rookie' is still a crapshoot.

I agree with Raiderfan's post here, but as with much of this thread, it isn't a complete story. What isn't said is that a similar approach applies to non-rookies. That is, you have to be "an oracle" to pick the right veterans as well. Just look at the info presented by SSOG in the thread.
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I skimmed through this thread fairly quickly, it is a very interesting topic and a good debate. Thanks to Tefertiller and SSOG for this discussion.

I guess the I learned from this discussion that:

1) Rookies are riskier typicaly than their advertised ADP, unless you are some kind of oracle that knows the right rookie to choose.

2) Rookies should fall into the early middle rounds to capture their intrisic value for the risk that is invested. Sounds prudent.

3) You are allowed to ignore (2) if (1) applies.

1) is incorrect. Rookies appear to be less risky than their advertised ADP, relative to non-rookies. Choosing the right rookie isn't any more difficult than choosing the right veteran.
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