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ZWK's Dynasty Rankings (WR updated Oct 2020)


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I've been looking over historical TE VBD from the past 30 years. Three patterns jumped out: 1. How top-heavy the position is. A few guys account for a large fraction of all fantasy value. Last ye

Post-draft WR rankings. Assuming PPR, start 3 WR, about 250 position players rostered. Age as of 9/1/18. Prev from 3/24/18. Tr    Rk    Player    Team    Age    Prev 1    1    Odell Beckham Jr.

WR rankings after 4.1 weeks. PPR, start 3 WR, about 300 position players rostered. Age as of 10/8/20. Prev from my unpublished draft rankings 9/9/20 (which weren't fully up-to-date); my last posted ra

Josh Gordan - Moving him in your rankings, I would place him right behind AR15. (Buy, buy, buy)

Fixed.

:shock:

I'm not saying I agree with NFL-ons.

I'm just tired of people referring to him as "ARob". It's a lazy, terrible nickname,

AR15 is much more original, and Robinson himself prefers it.

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Josh Gordan - Moving him in your rankings, I would place him right behind AR15. (Buy, buy, buy)

Fixed.

:shock:

Antonio Brown is one of my personal favorites. I am ashamed to admit it, but I am kind of looking forward to seeing what MartyB can do as Ben's go to guy. MartyB is currently seen as a dyno wr2 by most of the ff community, off the field wise, what's the difference between him and Gordan right now?

On the field, the only difference between him, DT, and AJ is that he is 3 years younger.

What is a dyno wr3 or greater (for some) going for these days, a third round rookie pick? Give me Gordan for that price 7 days a week. Those are the move that can make a dynasty team with very little potential backlash.

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It seems worth saying more about the young WRs. Focusing on what they've shown in the NFL so far (not on my overall ranking of them), the quickest way to summarize my thoughts on all these WRs is to break them down into 6 categories. Within each category, I'll list them in order from the one whose NFL career so far has shown the most promise to the one who has shown the least.

Group 1. The WRs who have taken on a WR1 role and played like a legit, elite WR1: Odell Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins. Adam has already made the case for Watkins being in this group; to add to it, Watkins was actually WR12 this year in ppg (for the 13 games that he played), despite playing for the offense that was 31st in pass attempts, and he looked great doing it.

Group 2. The WRs who have played something like a standard WR1 role on their team and put up pretty good raw totals, but have had some struggles/inconsistency/questionable efficiency: Amari Cooper, Kelvin Benjamin, Mike Evans, Jordan Matthews. I expect to get some pushback on Cooper in this category, but he had a very up-and-down season, dropped a lot of passes, and ended up with worse fantasy totals than Crabtree.

Group 3. WRs who have had some success but not in a standard WR1 role: Martavis Bryant, Brandin Cooks, Allen Hurns, Jarvis Landry, Donte Moncrief, John Brown, Stefon Diggs, Willie Snead, Tyler Lockett. These guys were asked to do less than the guys in the first two groups, but generally did well at what they did. Some of them might develop into standard WR1s, but a lot of them are likely to be more situation-dependent. (It was hard to put this group in order, because there are really 2 dimensions: size of their role and success at their role.)


Group 4. WRs who have had limited playing time, and maybe flashed a little, but haven't done enough on the field for me to move them very far in either direction from where I had them before the season: DeVante Parker, Devin Funchess, Dorial Green-Beckham, Ty Montgomery, Chris Conley, Jaelen Strong, Phillip Dorsett. Montgomery has moved up based on the fact that he earned playing time, moreso than for what he's done with it.

Group 5. WRs who have had some playing time and struggled with it, moving down in the rankings because they haven't looked good on the field: Davante Adams, Josh Huff, Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor.

Group 6. WRs who have barely played, or haven't played at all: Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, Sammie Coates, Devin Smith, Paul Richardson, Cody Latimer. This is a bigger negative after 2 years than after 1, and missing time because of injury is generally less bad than being unable to beat out some no-name guy to win your team's WR4 role.

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Josh Gordan - Moving him in your rankings, I would place him right behind AR15. (Buy, buy, buy)

Fixed.

:shock:

I'm not saying I agree with NFL-ons.

I'm just tired of people referring to him as "ARob". It's a lazy, terrible nickname,

AR15 is much more original, and Robinson himself prefers it.

It's because people know what ARob means. It's hard to keep up with all of the random nicknames people call players. I say either call them by their actual name, or use something that's obvious enough everyone will know what it is.

I had never heard AR15 prior to this post, and he was my #1 receiver coming out of the draft last year.

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E

Josh Gordan - Moving him in your rankings, I would place him right behind AR15. (Buy, buy, buy)

Fixed.

:shock:

I'm not saying I agree with NFL-ons.

I'm just tired of people referring to him as "ARob". It's a lazy, terrible nickname,

AR15 is much more original, and Robinson himself prefers it.

It's because people know what ARob means. It's hard to keep up with all of the random nicknames people call players. I say either call them by their actual name, or use something that's obvious enough everyone will know what it is.

I had never heard AR15 prior to this post, and he was my #1 receiver coming out of the draft last year.

Whatever you do, dont say JMatt. It apparently throws some folks into a rage because they for some reason get confused about who on earth it could be.

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Mr. Harstad, if u are still a fbg staff member, it would be greatly appreciated if you would update your dyno rankings on the website.

I've been doing value charts in lieu of rankings this year. Basically, they're much more fine-grained rankings that adjust for scoring system, (currently only Standard or PPR, but the infrastructure is in place on the back end to handle others), as well as competitive window; they also list exact value differences between players instead of just being an ordinal list, (making them useful as a trade aid). My last one of the season was in week 16, and is available here. I'll do another set in the coming weeks, though I'm a bit burned out after the long season, so I think I'm going to wait until right after the Super Bowl so they won't change again afterwards.

(If you want to see past weeks, just change the week number in the URL. I did them weekly from week 2 to week 16.)

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Group 5. WRs who have had some playing time and struggled with it, moving down in the rankings because they haven't looked good on the field: Davante Adams, Josh Huff, Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor.

For what it's worth, Mike Clay seems to think Agholor has played pretty well, and blames much of his lack of production on a relatively tough schedule of opposing DBs.

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Group 5. WRs who have had some playing time and struggled with it, moving down in the rankings because they haven't looked good on the field: Davante Adams, Josh Huff, Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor.

For what it's worth, Mike Clay seems to think Agholor has played pretty well, and blames much of his lack of production on a relatively tough schedule of opposing DBs.

Interesting. Agholor's DVOA is bad (-21%), his yards per offensive snap is bad (303 yards on 670 snaps, including DPI), his drop rate is bad on a small sample size (3 drops on 26 rec+drops), and my sense is that most people who have watched him play have negative impressions of him.

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Here are some RB rankings. 0.5 ppr, start 2, about 250 position players rostered. Age as of 9/1/16. Prev from Sep 23 2015.

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev
1 1 LeVeon Bell PIT 24.5 (1)

1 2 Todd Gurley STL 22.1 (2)
3 3 David Johnson ARI 24.7 (25)
3 4 Devonta Freeman ATL 24.5 (29)

3 5 Jeremy Hill CIN 23.9 (4)
4 6 Jamaal Charles KC 29.7 (5)
4 7 LeSean McCoy BUF 28.1 (10)
4 8 Doug Martin TB 27.6 (22)
4 9 Mark Ingram NO 26.7 (17)
4 10 Lamar Miller MIA 25.4 (7)
4 11 Eddie Lacy GB 26.3 (3)
5 12 Melvin Gordon SD 23.4 (6)
5 13 Adrian Peterson MIN 31.4 (15)
5 14 Ameer Abdullah DET 23.2 (9)
5 15 Carlos Hyde SF 25.0 (8)
5 16 T.J. Yeldon JAX 22.9 (16)
5 17 Thomas Rawls SEA 23.1 unr
5 18 Giovani Bernard CIN 24.8 (12)
5 19 Latavius Murray OAK 25.5 (19)
5 20 Dion Lewis NE 25.9 (27)
6 21 Matt Jones WAS 23.5 (26)
6 22 Karlos Williams BUF 23.3 (44)
6 23 Jeremy Langford CHI 24.7 (56)
6 24 Matt Forte CHI 30.7 (11)
6 25 Jonathan Stewart CAR 29.4 (35)
6 26 Arian Foster HOU 30.0 (18)
6 27 Justin Forsett BAL 30.9 (21)
6 28 C.J. Anderson DEN 25.6 (30)
6 29 Marshawn Lynch SEA 30.4 (14)
6 30 Duke Johnson CLE 22.9 (28)
6 31 Ryan Mathews PHI 28.9 (57)
6 32 Andre Ellington ARI 27.6 (24)
6 33 Danny Woodhead SD 31.7 (47)
6 34 DeMarco Murray PHI 28.5 (13)
7 35 Christine Michael SEA 25.8 (31)
7 36 Chris Ivory NYJ 28.4 (33)
7 37 Ronnie Hillman DEN 25.0 (45)
7 38 Isaiah Crowell CLE 23.6 (37)
7 39 Jerick McKinnon MIN 24.3 (34)

7 40 Bilal Powell NYJ 27.8 unr
7 41 Charles Sims TB 26.0 (48)
7 42 Tevin Coleman ATL 23.4 (32)
7 43 Frank Gore IND 33.3 (39)
7 44 Rashad Jennings NYG 31.4 (41)
7 45 James White NE 24.6 unr
7 46 Khiry Robinson NO 26.7 (43)
7 47 LeGarrette Blount NE 29.7 (46)
7 48 DeAngelo Williams PIT 33.4 (62)
8 49 Jay Ajayi MIA 23.2 (51)
8 50 Alfred Morris WAS 27.7 (23)
8 51 Darren McFadden DAL 29.0 (61)
8 52 Charcandrick West KC 25.3 (69)
8 53 C.J. Spiller NO 29.1 (20)
8 54 Shane Vereen NYG 27.5 (38)
8 55 Denard Robinson JAX 25.9 (54)
8 56 Chris Johnson ARI 30.9 (66)
8 57 Alfred Blue HOU 25.3 (68)
8 58 Spencer Ware KC 24.8 unr
9 59 David Cobb TEN 23.2 (52)
9 60 Lorenzo Taliaferro BAL 24.7 (49)
9 61 Bishop Sankey TEN 24.0 (36)
9 62 Javorius Allen BAL 25.0 unr
9 63 Benny Cunningham STL 26.2 (70)
9 64 James Starks GB 30.5 unr
9 65 Darren Sproles PHI 33.2 unr
9 66 Cameron Artis-Payne CAR 26.2 (65)
9 67 Stevan Ridley NYJ 27.6 (58)
9 68 Travaris Cadet NO 27.6 unr
10 69 Terrance West TEN 25.6 (59)
10 70 Joique Bell DET 30.1 (50)
10 71 Ahmad Bradshaw IND 30.5 (53)
10 72 Reggie Bush SF 31.5 unr
10 73 KaDeem Carey CHI 23.8 unr
10 74 Joseph Randle FA 24.7 (40)
10 75 Tre Mason STL 23.1 (42)
10 76 Dan Herron IND 27.4 unr
10 77 Lance Dunbar DAL 26.6 unr
10 78 Josh Robinson IND 24.0 unr
10 79 Zac Stacy NYJ 25.4 unr
10 80 Mike Davis SF 23.5 unr
10 81 Zach Zenner DET 25.0 (67)
10 82 Knile Davis KC 24.9 (55)
10 83 Roy Helu OAK 27.7 (60)

There is no tier 2. Gurley and Bell are like Gronk & Graham were a couple years ago in terms of dynasty value (though they don't give you the same kind of weekly advantage over whoever else winds up being a top 5 RB). Deciding between them is a tough call - Bell has a better offense & a bigger passing game role, but is also a couple years older. Similar injury histories.

The rest of the RB field is kind of weird. Highly touted young RBs who didn't do much. Not-so-touted young guys who looked really good (though often on a small sample size, or in a favorable situation). Youngish to mid-career guys who struggled after looking really good a year ago. Mid-to-late-career guys who looked rejuvenated. Old guys who kept playing well. Old guys who got injured (which includes many of the same old guys).

I thought that David Johnson looked better than Freeman, though they both benefited from good situations and are by no means a lock to continue being fantasy RB1s. They are both heavily involved in the passing game, which works in their favor. I thought that Lacy looked bad in ways that Hill did not, though both had a down year, so Lacy has fallen farther in the rankings.

McCoy seems to have bounced back after a down year in Philly. And he's only half a year older than Doug Martin. On the other hand, he didn't even look like the best back in Buffalo.

Foster, Lynch, and Forte all might be heading to a new team next year, which is not a good sign for them. Rawls looked amazing filling in for Lynch, Langford looked pretty good, and Blue was meh (which was better than his 2014).

As a bonus, here are my top 61 WRs. I have updated these a bit since the first pass which I posted on Monday (shown as Prev). Most of the changes involve moving young guys up in the rankings. A lot of this was in the top 12 (Beckham is now on his own tier). Agholor also moved up (he was too low for a first rounder going into his second season), as did guys like DGB and Jaelen Strong. Torrey Smith also gets a boost from the Chip Kelly signing.

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev
1 1 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 23.8 (1)
2 2 Julio Jones ATL 27.6 (2)
2 3 Antonio Brown PIT 28.1 (3)
2 4 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 24.2 (5)
3 5 Sammy Watkins BUF 23.2 (6)
3 6 A.J. Green CIN 28.1 (4)
3 7 Allen Robinson JAX 23.0 (7)
3 8 Alshon Jeffery CHI 26.5 (10)
3 9 Amari Cooper OAK 22.2 (11)
3 10 Demaryius Thomas DEN 28.7 (8)
3 11 Dez Bryant DAL 27.8 (9)
4 12 Randall Cobb GB 26.0 (12)
4 13 T.Y. Hilton IND 26.8 (13)
4 14 Mike Evans TB 23.0 (14)
4 15 Brandin Cooks NO 22.9 (15)
5 16 Keenan Allen SD 24.3 (16)
5 17 Devante Parker MIA 23.6 (17)
5 18 Kevin White CHI 24.2 (18)
5 19 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 25.6 (19)
5 20 Martavis Bryant PIT 24.7 (20)
6 21 Jarvis Landry MIA 23.8 (21)
6 22 Julian Edelman NE 30.3 (22)
6 23 Jeremy Maclin KC 28.3 (23)
6 24 Brandon Marshall NYJ 32.4 (24)
6 25 Jordy Nelson GB 31.3 (25)
6 26 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 33.0 (26)
6 27 Calvin Johnson DET 30.9 (27)
6 28 Donte Moncrief IND 23.1 (29)
6 29 Josh Gordon CLE 25.4 (30)
6 30 Jordan Matthews PHI 24.1 (33)
7 31 Golden Tate DET 28.1 (28)
7 32 Doug Baldwin SEA 28.9 (31)
7 33 Allen Hurns JAX 24.8 (34)
7 34 Eric Decker NYJ 29.5 (32)
7 35 John Brown ARI 26.4 (35)
7 36 DeSean Jackson WAS 29.7 (36)
7 37 Tyler Lockett SEA 23.9 (37)
7 38 Phillip Dorsett IND 23.7 (38)
7 39 Davante Adams GB 23.7 (39)
7 40 Devin Funchess CAR 22.3 (40)
7 41 Dorial Green-Beckham TEN 23.4 (46)
7 42 Breshad Perriman BAL 23.0 (41)
7 43 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 29.4 (42)
7 44 Michael Floyd ARI 26.8 (43)
7 45 Nelson Agholor PHI 23.3 (52)
8 46 Michael Crabtree OAK 29.0 (44)
8 47 Tavon Austin STL 25.5 (45)
8 48 Stefon Diggs MIN 22.8 (47)
8 49 Willie Snead NO 23.9 (48)
8 50 Percy Harvin BUF 28.3 (49)
8 51 Kendall Wright TEN 26.8 (50)
8 52 Travis Benjamin CLE 26.7 (51)
8 53 Torrey Smith SF 27.6 (64)

8 54 Devin Smith NYJ 24.5 (53)
9 55 Pierre Garcon WAS 30.1 (54)
9 56 Ted Ginn CAR 31.4 (55)
9 57 Ty Montgomery GB 23.6 (56)
9 58 Sammie Coates PIT 23.4 (57)
9 59 Jaelen Strong HOU 22.6 (72)
9 60 Jermaine Kearse SEA 26.6 (58)
9 61 Kenny Britt STL 27.9 (59)

Edited by ZWK
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Thanks for the lists Z a few questions.

What is the difference in player value between tiers? How is a tier defined? Is it a large difference between tiers or a small difference?

Why is Jeremy Hill is tier 3?

In regards to Josh Gordon I see at least 10 WR on your list I would prefer to have before him. what kind of numbers are you expecting from Gordon if all goes well? What did you think of how Gordon performed in 2014? He did not perform nearly as well as he did in 2013 which has me questioning how fluky 2013 might have been. 681 passing attempts with no running game to speak of for the Browns that year.

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Thanks for the lists Z a few questions.

What is the difference in player value between tiers? How is a tier defined? Is it a large difference between tiers or a small difference?

Why is Jeremy Hill is tier 3?

In regards to Josh Gordon I see at least 10 WR on your list I would prefer to have before him. what kind of numbers are you expecting from Gordon if all goes well? What did you think of how Gordon performed in 2014? He did not perform nearly as well as he did in 2013 which has me questioning how fluky 2013 might have been. 681 passing attempts with no running game to speak of for the Browns that year.

Josh Gordon's 2013 was one of the best WR seasons of all time, by some metrics. Cleveland did have 681 passing attempts that year, which makes Gordon's 1646 receiving yards somewhat less impressive, but it his production becomes much more impressive when you realize that Gordon only played 14 games and Cleveland's Campbell/Weeden/Hoyer QB combo averaged only 5.2 yards per attempt when not throwing to Gordon (vs. 10.3 when throwing to Gordon). His 2014 wasn't nearly as good, but it was also only 5 games on a terrible offense (including one game with the offense led by an unprepared Manziel). Gordon is one of the guys whose upside is the #1 fantasy WR.

I think that Jeremy Hill's 2014 was more impressive than Freeman or David Johnson's 2015, as an NFL runner. His 2015 was averageish rather than terrible - his YPC was low but his success rate was good, his DVOA was average, and his team showed that they continue to trust him (especially at the goal line).

In general, a tier break indicates a significant gap in value. On average, the dropoff between tiers is similar in size to the dropoff between the first guy in a tier and the last guy in that same tier (although it doesn't always work out that neatly). Just ranking players (1. Bell, 2. Gurley, 3. Johnson, ...) can be misleading - the purpose of including tiers is to make my rankings more meaningful/informative about the players' relative values. The thing that Adam is now doing (where he gives each player's time-discounted Expected Value over Baseline) is even better at that, but my current approach isn't precise enough to give that sort of number so I'm making do with tier breaks.

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3 5 Jeremy Hill CIN 23.9 (4)

5 12 Melvin Gordon SD 23.4 (6)
5 17 Thomas Rawls SEA 23.1 unr
5 18 Giovani Bernard CIN 24.8 (12)
6 26 Arian Foster HOU 30.0 (18)
6 29 Marshawn Lynch SEA 30.4 (14)

8 58 Spencer Ware KC 24.8 unr

The wide separation between Hill and Bernard seems too large, with less than one year in age separating them.

Gordon seems too high. I know there is a tendency to want to discount his season as being representative because he was a rookie and the Chargers had a lot of injuries. But:

  1. He had a large sample size of touches and was unimpressive, to put it kindly.
  2. The same HC remains in San Diego, although Whisenhunt returning as OC could help. Still, McCoy strongly believes in RBBC, and Woodhead and Oliver will both be back, and both will get a share.
  3. Yes, there were a lot of OL injuries. But the OL has been a weakness in San Diego for years. Why would anyone believe it will be better next season? Barksdale, the only OL to remain healthy all season, is a free agent. Fluker and Dunlap have had concussion problems. Franklin was the heralded free agent signing and was awful. Their answer at center might still be Watt, who has only a few games at the position in his life.

Rawls is too low. He was incredibly good before his injury, and he should be the feature RB for one of the few teams that (a) does not play RBBC, at least not to the same extent as most of the league, and (b) runs the ball a lot. And he is 23 years old. IMO Rawls should be viewed as a top 10 dynasty RB right now, and it's an easy call.

Foster and Lynch both seem too high. Both will likely be released, and both have a lot of mileage. The cliff comes quickly for aging RBs who once got volume touches.

Surprised to see Ware in your 8th tier and ranked #58. Is this just based on perceived lack of opportunity going forward, or do you not believe in his talent? He looked great this year with the opportunity he was given.

1 1 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 23.8 (1)

2 4 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 24.2 (5)
3 7 Allen Robinson JAX 23.0 (7)
4 14 Mike Evans TB 23.0 (14)
6 25 Jordy Nelson GB 31.3 (25)
7 35 John Brown ARI 26.4 (35)
7 37 Tyler Lockett SEA 23.9 (37)

OK, moving Hopkins ahead of Green and into the tier with Jones and Brown was an improvement. However, I don't see the rationale in separating Beckham into his own tier. I could see Beckham and Hopkins in a higher tier than Jones and Brown due to age, though Jones and Brown have been putting up elite production and could continue to do so for a few more years, so I wouldn't argue with them all being in tier 1. What is the rationale for Beckham deserving his own tier?

Still think it is a mistake to rank Green over Robinson, who is 5 years younger.

Evans seems low. IMO he should be in tier 3.

Nelson seems low. For example, why lower than Marshall, who is a year older? I know Marshall had a great season, but Jordy had a better season just last year. He will still have Rodgers. Is this based on concern over his injury?

John Brown seems low in both tier and ranking. Is this due to concern over long term QB, playing with 2 other strong WRs, or something else?

Lockett is similar to Brown. I expect he will be Seattle's #1 WR within 2 seasons. Are you concerned about lack of volume? It can't be about his talent, right? He compares favorably to Hilton talent-wise, so it must be about opportunity. But Seattle passing attempts have gone up in every year Wilson has played, and that should continue... not to the level of the Colts, but that doesn't justify the huge gap between Hilton and Lockett.

Edited by Just Win Baby
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1 1 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 23.8 (1)

2 4 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 24.2 (5)

3 7 Allen Robinson JAX 23.0 (7)

4 14 Mike Evans TB 23.0 (14)

6 25 Jordy Nelson GB 31.3 (25)

7 35 John Brown ARI 26.4 (35)

7 37 Tyler Lockett SEA 23.9 (37)

OK, moving Hopkins ahead of Green and into the tier with Jones and Brown was an improvement. However, I don't see the rationale in separating Beckham into his own tier. I could see Beckham and Hopkins in a higher tier than Jones and Brown due to age, though Jones and Brown have been putting up elite production and could continue to do so for a few more years, so I wouldn't argue with them all being in tier 1. What is the rationale for Beckham deserving his own tier?

Still think it is a mistake to rank Green over Robinson, who is 5 years younger.

Evans seems low. IMO he should be in tier 3.

Nelson seems low. For example, why lower than Marshall, who is a year older? I know Marshall had a great season, but Jordy had a better season just last year. He will still have Rodgers. Is this based on concern over his injury?

John Brown seems low in both tier and ranking. Is this due to concern over long term QB, playing with 2 other strong WRs, or something else?

Lockett is similar to Brown. I expect he will be Seattle's #1 WR within 2 seasons. Are you concerned about lack of volume? It can't be about his talent, right? He compares favorably to Hilton talent-wise, so it must be about opportunity. But Seattle passing attempts have gone up in every year Wilson has played, and that should continue... not to the level of the Colts, but that doesn't justify the huge gap between Hilton and Lockett.

Beckham is a tier ahead of Hopkins because I'm more convinced of his talent. Beckham has two seasons which were better than Hopkins's best season. Beckham is a tier ahead of Jones & Brown because he's 4 years younger than them.

Evans has been shaky, including one of the worst 150-yard receiving games that I can recall. If I was a Bucs fan I'd be nervous about whether he can put it together as the team's WR1. And if he can't, then his fantasy future probably isn't that bright either.

Jordy is coming back from a torn ACL, which carries some risk. He also will have aged 2 years since the last time he played well, which increase the chances that he will have hit the wall. Those factors matter more than being 1 year younger than Marshall.

I'm generally hesitant in predicting WRs to take another step up from what they've done so far. So Hilton gets a signifcant edge over John Brown & Lockett because they've never done anything like his 2014. Hilton also gets a significant boost from having Luck as his QB, which is better than having Wilson (who gets more of his production on the ground) or Palmer (who is 36). Both of these factors are especially important given that these WRs aren't prototypical WR1s, so there's a greater risk of being stuck in a role that doesn't have tons of fantasy value even if they are talented at what they do.

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3 5 Jeremy Hill CIN 23.9 (4)

5 12 Melvin Gordon SD 23.4 (6)

5 17 Thomas Rawls SEA 23.1 unr

5 18 Giovani Bernard CIN 24.8 (12)

6 26 Arian Foster HOU 30.0 (18)

6 29 Marshawn Lynch SEA 30.4 (14)

8 58 Spencer Ware KC 24.8 unr

The wide separation between Hill and Bernard seems too large, with less than one year in age separating them.

Gordon seems too high. I know there is a tendency to want to discount his season as being representative because he was a rookie and the Chargers had a lot of injuries. But:

  1. He had a large sample size of touches and was unimpressive, to put it kindly.
  2. The same HC remains in San Diego, although Whisenhunt returning as OC could help. Still, McCoy strongly believes in RBBC, and Woodhead and Oliver will both be back, and both will get a share.
  3. Yes, there were a lot of OL injuries. But the OL has been a weakness in San Diego for years. Why would anyone believe it will be better next season? Barksdale, the only OL to remain healthy all season, is a free agent. Fluker and Dunlap have had concussion problems. Franklin was the heralded free agent signing and was awful. Their answer at center might still be Watt, who has only a few games at the position in his life.

Rawls is too low. He was incredibly good before his injury, and he should be the feature RB for one of the few teams that (a) does not play RBBC, at least not to the same extent as most of the league, and (b) runs the ball a lot. And he is 23 years old. IMO Rawls should be viewed as a top 10 dynasty RB right now, and it's an easy call.

Foster and Lynch both seem too high. Both will likely be released, and both have a lot of mileage. The cliff comes quickly for aging RBs who once got volume touches.

Surprised to see Ware in your 8th tier and ranked #58. Is this just based on perceived lack of opportunity going forward, or do you not believe in his talent? He looked great this year with the opportunity he was given.

I agree that Rawls has looked really good, and seems to be the favorite for Seattle's feature back next year. But we've seen other not-highly-drafted rookies come in and look really good on a limited number of carries - Chris Ivory, Bernard Pierce, Andre Ellington, Ben Tate. I am fairly optimistic about Rawls, but RB17 feels like an appropriately optimistic ranking to me.

Melvin Gordon: I have him rated pretty similarly to Rawls right now (there are a few other players who are also rated similarly, which is how there are 4 RBs in between them). He definitely looked bad as a rookie, but I thought that Le'Veon Bell looked pretty bad as a rookie too. This seems like about the right distance to drop a first round RB after a bad rookie year.

Gio vs. Hill: the gap in value there is similar to what it was before the season, and mostly related to the difference in workload.

Foster & Lynch: I agree that they may be done, but they also have a decent shot at putting up another RB1 season next year (somewhere). That part of tier 6 (behind guys like K Williams & Langford, ahead of guys like Ellington & R Mathews) seems like the right balance.

Spencer Ware: I haven't been following him that closely. Is there much reason to think that he's actually good, rather than just being next-man-up who will disappear right back down the depth chart?

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Do you think that we have seen the best from Austin? He did turn in a top 30 season and looks better, but very inconsistent in terms of FF points

Tavon Austin has been amazing as a runner but pretty bad as a receiver (basically the opposite of Danny Woodhead). Football Outsiders wrote a bit about this, or you can just note that 8.3 yards per carry is good and 5.6 yards per target is bad (those are his career averages; this year he was at 8.3 YPC and 5.4 YPT). That is not a great recipe for winning a bigger role on offense. He also seems likely to see some regression to the mean in his per-touch production - 9 offensive TDs will probably be his career high, unless he does win a bigger role.

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3 5 Jeremy Hill CIN 23.9 (4)

5 12 Melvin Gordon SD 23.4 (6)

5 17 Thomas Rawls SEA 23.1 unr

5 18 Giovani Bernard CIN 24.8 (12)

6 26 Arian Foster HOU 30.0 (18)

6 29 Marshawn Lynch SEA 30.4 (14)

8 58 Spencer Ware KC 24.8 unr

The wide separation between Hill and Bernard seems too large, with less than one year in age separating them.

Gordon seems too high. I know there is a tendency to want to discount his season as being representative because he was a rookie and the Chargers had a lot of injuries. But:

  1. He had a large sample size of touches and was unimpressive, to put it kindly.
  2. The same HC remains in San Diego, although Whisenhunt returning as OC could help. Still, McCoy strongly believes in RBBC, and Woodhead and Oliver will both be back, and both will get a share.
  3. Yes, there were a lot of OL injuries. But the OL has been a weakness in San Diego for years. Why would anyone believe it will be better next season? Barksdale, the only OL to remain healthy all season, is a free agent. Fluker and Dunlap have had concussion problems. Franklin was the heralded free agent signing and was awful. Their answer at center might still be Watt, who has only a few games at the position in his life.

Rawls is too low. He was incredibly good before his injury, and he should be the feature RB for one of the few teams that (a) does not play RBBC, at least not to the same extent as most of the league, and (b) runs the ball a lot. And he is 23 years old. IMO Rawls should be viewed as a top 10 dynasty RB right now, and it's an easy call.

Foster and Lynch both seem too high. Both will likely be released, and both have a lot of mileage. The cliff comes quickly for aging RBs who once got volume touches.

Surprised to see Ware in your 8th tier and ranked #58. Is this just based on perceived lack of opportunity going forward, or do you not believe in his talent? He looked great this year with the opportunity he was given.

I agree that Rawls has looked really good, and seems to be the favorite for Seattle's feature back next year. But we've seen other not-highly-drafted rookies come in and look really good on a limited number of carries - Chris Ivory, Bernard Pierce, Andre Ellington, Ben Tate. I am fairly optimistic about Rawls, but RB17 feels like an appropriately optimistic ranking to me.

Melvin Gordon: I have him rated pretty similarly to Rawls right now (there are a few other players who are also rated similarly, which is how there are 4 RBs in between them). He definitely looked bad as a rookie, but I thought that Le'Veon Bell looked pretty bad as a rookie too. This seems like about the right distance to drop a first round RB after a bad rookie year.

Gio vs. Hill: the gap in value there is similar to what it was before the season, and mostly related to the difference in workload.

Foster & Lynch: I agree that they may be done, but they also have a decent shot at putting up another RB1 season next year (somewhere). That part of tier 6 (behind guys like K Williams & Langford, ahead of guys like Ellington & R Mathews) seems like the right balance.

Spencer Ware: I haven't been following him that closely. Is there much reason to think that he's actually good, rather than just being next-man-up who will disappear right back down the depth chart?

Regarding Hill, no concern about Hue Jackson's departure?

Regarding Bernard, what do your rankings assume about his future beyond 2016? He will be a UFA after the 2016 season and will have just turned 25 years old. IMO there is an excellent chance that he will command more money on the open market than the Bengals will be willing to pay.

Regarding Rawls, you provide examples of guys who flashed and didn't carry that success forward, but aren't there also examples of guys who flashed and did carry it forward? I just don't see how he can not be a top 10 dynasty RB right now, today.

Regarding Gordon, you cited Bell in your response, but I really don't see the comparison. Yes, Bell's ypc was poor as a rookie, same as Gordon. But Bell also caught 45 passes and averaged 8.9 ypr, so he showed right out of the gate that he could be productive in the passing game. And, of course, he had 8 TDs, whereas Gordon had 0 TDs on 217 touches. Gordon was much worse than Bell as a rookie.

Let me put it this way. How many examples can you come up with of a highly drafted RB having a season as bad as Gordon's on 200+ touches and rebounding to put up multiple RB1 seasons? Not saying there aren't any, but I can't think of any.

As for Lynch and Foster, I think there is essentially no chance either ever puts up a RB1 season again. In order for either to do so, he would have to sign somewhere and get 300+ touches. I just can't see any team signing them and giving them that kind of workload. If you disagree, can you name some teams that you think would do that?

In general, I will agree to disagree with you on these guys. Just a general observation, it feels like you are hedging on some of these (e.g., Rawls and Gordon) rather than taking a stand in your rankings on how you expect them to end up. Maybe that is your goal and that's okay, just an observation.

Edited by Just Win Baby
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1 1 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 23.8 (1)

2 4 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 24.2 (5)

3 7 Allen Robinson JAX 23.0 (7)

4 14 Mike Evans TB 23.0 (14)

6 25 Jordy Nelson GB 31.3 (25)

7 35 John Brown ARI 26.4 (35)

7 37 Tyler Lockett SEA 23.9 (37)

OK, moving Hopkins ahead of Green and into the tier with Jones and Brown was an improvement. However, I don't see the rationale in separating Beckham into his own tier. I could see Beckham and Hopkins in a higher tier than Jones and Brown due to age, though Jones and Brown have been putting up elite production and could continue to do so for a few more years, so I wouldn't argue with them all being in tier 1. What is the rationale for Beckham deserving his own tier?

Still think it is a mistake to rank Green over Robinson, who is 5 years younger.

Evans seems low. IMO he should be in tier 3.

Nelson seems low. For example, why lower than Marshall, who is a year older? I know Marshall had a great season, but Jordy had a better season just last year. He will still have Rodgers. Is this based on concern over his injury?

John Brown seems low in both tier and ranking. Is this due to concern over long term QB, playing with 2 other strong WRs, or something else?

Lockett is similar to Brown. I expect he will be Seattle's #1 WR within 2 seasons. Are you concerned about lack of volume? It can't be about his talent, right? He compares favorably to Hilton talent-wise, so it must be about opportunity. But Seattle passing attempts have gone up in every year Wilson has played, and that should continue... not to the level of the Colts, but that doesn't justify the huge gap between Hilton and Lockett.

Beckham is a tier ahead of Hopkins because I'm more convinced of his talent. Beckham has two seasons which were better than Hopkins's best season. Beckham is a tier ahead of Jones & Brown because he's 4 years younger than them.

Evans has been shaky, including one of the worst 150-yard receiving games that I can recall. If I was a Bucs fan I'd be nervous about whether he can put it together as the team's WR1. And if he can't, then his fantasy future probably isn't that bright either.

Jordy is coming back from a torn ACL, which carries some risk. He also will have aged 2 years since the last time he played well, which increase the chances that he will have hit the wall. Those factors matter more than being 1 year younger than Marshall.

I'm generally hesitant in predicting WRs to take another step up from what they've done so far. So Hilton gets a signifcant edge over John Brown & Lockett because they've never done anything like his 2014. Hilton also gets a significant boost from having Luck as his QB, which is better than having Wilson (who gets more of his production on the ground) or Palmer (who is 36). Both of these factors are especially important given that these WRs aren't prototypical WR1s, so there's a greater risk of being stuck in a role that doesn't have tons of fantasy value even if they are talented at what they do.

Why do you say Beckham's seasons were better than Hopkins' 2015 season? I don't see that. In your 0.5 ppr scoring, Hopkins outscored Beckham this season. Hopkins also did that with a worse QB situation that seems likely to improve.

Evans is 22 and set to be the #1 WR for years with a good young QB. I expect he will improve his catch rate and consistency. His yardage potential is already strong, and he already has a season with 12 TDs. This season's 3 TDs seems rather flukish.

Jordy will not have aged 2 years since the last time he played well. He missed one season, not two. I understand there is some injury risk, but he was WR #2 the last season he played. Feels like you are overemphasizing the risk here.

I understand your points about Brown and Lockett, and agree Hilton should be higher for the reasons you stated. I just don't think he should be 3 tiers and 24 ranking spots higher. Particularly not for Lockett, who is not yet 24 (and, depending upon league scoring, could get extra points from returns).

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More on Rawls. Rawls had 147/830/4 rushing (5.6 ypc) and 9/76/1 receiving on 11 targets (8.4 ypr) this season. He played in 13 games but only had more than 6 carries in 6 games. In those 6 games, he had 779 YFS and 5 TDs. He had more than 100 rushing yards in 4 of those games, with one going over 200.

Why rank Abdullah higher? Rawls had more rushing yards, more YFS, more TDs, higher YPC, higher YPR, higher catch rate, and fewer fumbles.

Why rank Yeldon higher? Rawls had more rushing yards, higher YPC, higher YPR, higher catch rate, and the same number of TDs on fewer touches (156 for Rawls, 218 for Yeldon).

Why rank Hyde higher? He has never had a season that comes close to Rawls' 2015 season, and he is two years older.

I've already made it clear why I wouldn't rank Gordon higher.

I personally wouldn't rank Peterson higher due to his limited remaining shelf life. I personally wouldn't rank McCoy higher, particularly given he is 6 years older. Same for Charles. I understand the rankings of Martin and Miller, yet we don't know where either will play next season. I can see arguments for these guys, I just don't agree with all of them.

There are enough issues with these guys to get Rawls into the top 10.

I would rank David Johnson higher, too, but is there really a difference of 14 spots and 2 tiers between them? Did Johnson do that much more than Rawls this season? I don't think so. Johnson's ranking is fine, but this shows that Rawls should be higher in the ranking.

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We get it, JWB.

Rawls is on your fantasy team.

Please go and make your own rankings instead of trying to force ZWK to change his.

I have two dynasty teams. I own Rawls in one of those leagues, and I would really like to have him in the other, for the reasons I have stated. I'm not trying to justify having him on one dynasty team, I'm explaining why I am excited to have him and wish I had him on my other team.

I'm not trying to force ZWK to do anything. I think he does a great job with these rankings, and I appreciate that he shares them. He posted them for discussion, and I'm discussing them. If you don't care to participate, don't.

Edited by Just Win Baby
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3 5 Jeremy Hill CIN 23.9 (4)

5 12 Melvin Gordon SD 23.4 (6)

5 17 Thomas Rawls SEA 23.1 unr

5 18 Giovani Bernard CIN 24.8 (12)

6 26 Arian Foster HOU 30.0 (18)

6 29 Marshawn Lynch SEA 30.4 (14)

8 58 Spencer Ware KC 24.8 unr

The wide separation between Hill and Bernard seems too large, with less than one year in age separating them.

Gordon seems too high. I know there is a tendency to want to discount his season as being representative because he was a rookie and the Chargers had a lot of injuries. But:

  1. He had a large sample size of touches and was unimpressive, to put it kindly.
  2. The same HC remains in San Diego, although Whisenhunt returning as OC could help. Still, McCoy strongly believes in RBBC, and Woodhead and Oliver will both be back, and both will get a share.
  3. Yes, there were a lot of OL injuries. But the OL has been a weakness in San Diego for years. Why would anyone believe it will be better next season? Barksdale, the only OL to remain healthy all season, is a free agent. Fluker and Dunlap have had concussion problems. Franklin was the heralded free agent signing and was awful. Their answer at center might still be Watt, who has only a few games at the position in his life.

Rawls is too low. He was incredibly good before his injury, and he should be the feature RB for one of the few teams that (a) does not play RBBC, at least not to the same extent as most of the league, and (b) runs the ball a lot. And he is 23 years old. IMO Rawls should be viewed as a top 10 dynasty RB right now, and it's an easy call.

Foster and Lynch both seem too high. Both will likely be released, and both have a lot of mileage. The cliff comes quickly for aging RBs who once got volume touches.

Surprised to see Ware in your 8th tier and ranked #58. Is this just based on perceived lack of opportunity going forward, or do you not believe in his talent? He looked great this year with the opportunity he was given.

I agree that Rawls has looked really good, and seems to be the favorite for Seattle's feature back next year. But we've seen other not-highly-drafted rookies come in and look really good on a limited number of carries - Chris Ivory, Bernard Pierce, Andre Ellington, Ben Tate. I am fairly optimistic about Rawls, but RB17 feels like an appropriately optimistic ranking to me.

Melvin Gordon: I have him rated pretty similarly to Rawls right now (there are a few other players who are also rated similarly, which is how there are 4 RBs in between them). He definitely looked bad as a rookie, but I thought that Le'Veon Bell looked pretty bad as a rookie too. This seems like about the right distance to drop a first round RB after a bad rookie year.

Gio vs. Hill: the gap in value there is similar to what it was before the season, and mostly related to the difference in workload.

Foster & Lynch: I agree that they may be done, but they also have a decent shot at putting up another RB1 season next year (somewhere). That part of tier 6 (behind guys like K Williams & Langford, ahead of guys like Ellington & R Mathews) seems like the right balance.

Spencer Ware: I haven't been following him that closely. Is there much reason to think that he's actually good, rather than just being next-man-up who will disappear right back down the depth chart?

Regarding Gordon, you cited Bell in your response, but I really don't see the comparison. Yes, Bell's ypc was poor as a rookie, but it was 3.5... compare that to Gordon's 2.5. Bell also caught 45 passes and averaged 8.9 ypr, so he showed right out of the gate that he could be productive in the passing game. And, of course, he had 8 TDs, whereas Gordon had 0 TDs on 217 touches. Gordon was much, much worse than Bell as a rookie.

Um, Gordon's ypc was NOT 2.5. It was 3.5.

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We get it, JWB.

Rawls is on your fantasy team.

Please go and make your own rankings instead of trying to force ZWK to change his.

I have two dynasty teams. I own Rawls in one of those leagues, and I would really like to have him in the other, for the reasons I have stated. I'm not trying to justify having him on one dynasty team, I'm explaining why I am excited to have him and wish I had him on my other team.

I'm not trying to force ZWK to do anything. I think he does a great job with these rankings, and I appreciate that he shares them. He posted them for discussion, and I'm discussing them. If you don't care to participate, don't.

Are you ever going to be able to agree to disagree, or are you going to continue to argue why your rankings(that don't exist) are better in perpetuity?

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We get it, JWB.

Rawls is on your fantasy team.

Please go and make your own rankings instead of trying to force ZWK to change his.

I have two dynasty teams. I own Rawls in one of those leagues, and I would really like to have him in the other, for the reasons I have stated. I'm not trying to justify having him on one dynasty team, I'm explaining why I am excited to have him and wish I had him on my other team.

I'm not trying to force ZWK to do anything. I think he does a great job with these rankings, and I appreciate that he shares them. He posted them for discussion, and I'm discussing them. If you don't care to participate, don't.

Are you ever going to be able to agree to disagree, or are you going to continue to argue why your rankings(that don't exist) are better in perpetuity?

What is wrong with asking specific questions about why certain players are ranked above others and stating my opinions on why they shouldn't be? I was hoping ZWK would get into more detail on his thinking in answering those questions. And thought others might participate in the discussion.

That said, I will definitely agree to disagree if no one wants to discuss further.

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Nothing wrong with wanting to discuss, but you often seem to go on and on and on and on and on.... with your opinions until all joy is sucked out of the thread.

We all have our opinions. Please don't "beat us to death" with yours.

Edited by spider321
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Nothing wrong with wanting to discuss, but you often seem to go on and on and on and on and on.... with your opinions until all joy is sucked out of the thread.

We all have our opinions. Please don't "beat us to death" with yours.

I mentioned Rawls among several others in two posts and made one post exclusively about Rawls before you addressed me in this thread. :shrug:

Not planning to beat anyone to death with my opinions in this thread or any other, whether about Rawls or any other player. Moving on.

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Let me put it this way. How many examples can you come up with of a highly drafted RB having a season as bad as Gordon's on 200+ touches and rebounding to put up multiple RB1 seasons? Not saying there aren't any, but I can't think of any.

The three clearest cases I can think of offhand would be:

Walter Payton (Drafted 4th overall, 196 rushes at 3.5 ypc, 33 receptions at 6.5 ypr, 7 touchdowns, 9 fumbles, 6 AV)

Ricky Williams (Drafted 5th overall, 253 rushes at 3.5 ypc, 28 receptions at 6.1 ypr, 2 touchdowns, 6 fumbles, 5 AV)

Travis Henry (Drafted 58th overall, 213 rushes at 3.4 ypc, 22 receptions at 8.1 ypr, 4 touchdowns, 5 fumbles, 4 AV)

Probably several others you could argue one way or the other, (Errict Rhett? LaDainian Tomlinson? Joe Cribbs? Karim Abdul-Jabbar?), some might-have-beens, (Jahvid Best?), and a couple who didn't meet your minimum-volume threshold, (Thomas Jones, Mark Ingram). I just wanted to limit myself to the three clearest, most unambiguous names I could think of.

In all cases, the biggest mitigating factor seems to have been draft position. Which is fortunate for Melvin Gordon.

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Thanks for the lists Z a few questions.

What is the difference in player value between tiers? How is a tier defined? Is it a large difference between tiers or a small difference?

Why is Jeremy Hill is tier 3?

In regards to Josh Gordon I see at least 10 WR on your list I would prefer to have before him. what kind of numbers are you expecting from Gordon if all goes well? What did you think of how Gordon performed in 2014? He did not perform nearly as well as he did in 2013 which has me questioning how fluky 2013 might have been. 681 passing attempts with no running game to speak of for the Browns that year.

Josh Gordon's 2013 was one of the best WR seasons of all time, by some metrics. Cleveland did have 681 passing attempts that year, which makes Gordon's 1646 receiving yards somewhat less impressive, but it his production becomes much more impressive when you realize that Gordon only played 14 games and Cleveland's Campbell/Weeden/Hoyer QB combo averaged only 5.2 yards per attempt when not throwing to Gordon (vs. 10.3 when throwing to Gordon). His 2014 wasn't nearly as good, but it was also only 5 games on a terrible offense (including one game with the offense led by an unprepared Manziel). Gordon is one of the guys whose upside is the #1 fantasy WR.

I think that Jeremy Hill's 2014 was more impressive than Freeman or David Johnson's 2015, as an NFL runner. His 2015 was averageish rather than terrible - his YPC was low but his success rate was good, his DVOA was average, and his team showed that they continue to trust him (especially at the goal line).

In general, a tier break indicates a significant gap in value. On average, the dropoff between tiers is similar in size to the dropoff between the first guy in a tier and the last guy in that same tier (although it doesn't always work out that neatly). Just ranking players (1. Bell, 2. Gurley, 3. Johnson, ...) can be misleading - the purpose of including tiers is to make my rankings more meaningful/informative about the players' relative values. The thing that Adam is now doing (where he gives each player's time-discounted Expected Value over Baseline) is even better at that, but my current approach isn't precise enough to give that sort of number so I'm making do with tier breaks.

Ok how many points on average is the difference between each tier? 20 points?

I think we have discussed this before. Sorry for not remembering the criteria for your tiers. It seems to me a tier should be some sort of incremental advantage. For example 2 points/game would be a 32 point difference over 16 games. Maybe the difference is smaller or greater than that in the way you tier. It would be helpful to know what that difference is when looking at the tiers.

The way I have been tiering for rookie players is a lot looser than this. I have been focused on if I think the rookie players have the potential to become top 12 at their position (tier 1) or if they will be be 13-24 at their position (tier 2) or if they will have the upside to be 25-36 at their position which would be tier 3. Anything after tier 3 would be considered marginal value or watch list. Obviously only 12 players can accomplish these goals in any given year and I tend to have more players ranked in each tier than will actually accomplish it, because I am focused on upside or best case scenarios for that player and how likely I think it is that they can consistently perform at that level.

For already established players I would use a similar method of tiering but it could be a bit more detailed using tiers of 2 points/game as a way to break up the veteran player tiers.

In regards to Gordon yes I realize his numbers were fantastic in 2013 over 14 games. This was also a Norv Turner coached offense that did not have a featured RB on the roster ( I think they planned to use Dion Lewis but he was injured).

If you look at Turners history (as Chase has before) you find that receivers under him tend to have higher than average ypc due in part to the downfield nature of his offense and also the players who thrive in it. When the Browns switched to Kyle Shanahan this changed the focus of the passing game as well.

In five games played in 2014 Gordon did not perform near the numbers that he had in 2013 and the only real change was the Browns no longer had Norv Turner. The other things such as working with rookie QB and poor surrounding cast (although decent offensive line) were not really different than 2013 yet Gordon had a very average 12.6 point ypc which is a far cry from the 16+ ypc he had on higher volume in 12 and 13.

In 2014 the Browns played Hoyer in 14 of their games. DeAndre Hopkins seemed to do well with Hoyer as QB this season.

Gordon had issues before coming to the NFL that is why he was a supplemental pick. Those off the field issues have continued since then resulting in two more suspensions. I don't see any consideration for this risk in your ranking. Not saying there should be as your rankings seem based on some quantifiable data rather than something more subjective, such as what the risk of another suspension might be.

I also like that you have focused on which data is the most useful and predictive for players as part of the way you form your rankings. At the same time the confidence level of that predictive ability is limited. Are any of these predictive values over 50% likelyhood?

What I have observed about your data is that it seems to value statistics such as yards per reception very highly in your rookie rankings. There are several other related statistics to this that you use as well. I wonder if stats derived from ypc may be given too much weight in your rankings? I do think it is based on your evaluation of which stats are the most predictive and relevant to player success and that you have put some thought into properly weighting each factor based on each factors predictive value, all of this is an excellent way to approach rankings I think. However your model does seem to put more value on things such as ypc and related stats than perhaps they should?

Recently I noticed for your rookie RB rankings that you put a cap on total yards for RB. This removes some of the outlier stats while still giving full credit for a big play. The example I am thinking of is when I asked you about Booker and I learned that he did not have as many explosive runs (20 yards or more) as many of the other RB in your rookie rankings. Do you do something similar for how you are ranking WR?

In 2013 Gordon has a 95 yard TD for example as part of what is helping his high ypc numbers. The likelyhood of such an event being repeated is pretty small. It is great to know he can do this, just the odds of a similar down and distance situation leading to another long play is something that might not happen again in his career. If you had a cap on this similar to what I have seen you describe in other situations, it would correct Gordons 2013 numbers somewhat I would think.

The question to me is if 2013 or 2014 is more anomalous? At first glance I would say 2014 because it was a smaller sample size than 2013 was, but how good 2013 was seems to be anomalous as well simply because not many WR have performed at that level sustainably.

Edited by Biabreakable
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In general, I will agree to disagree with you on these guys. Just a general observation, it feels like you are hedging on some of these (e.g., Rawls and Gordon) rather than taking a stand in your rankings on how you expect them to end up. Maybe that is your goal and that's okay, just an observation.

Hedging between different possibilities is how predictions are supposed to work. (Philip Tetlock has a good book on this.) In the idealized form of dynasty rankings, for each player I would have a probability distribution for his remaining career value (which is something similar to remaining career VBD, though career VBD only an approximation of what we actually care about). Then I would calculate his expected value (which is his average remaining career value, weighted by probability), and I'd rank players by expected value.

If Player A has a 40% chance of being worth 250 points for the rest of his career and a 60% chance of being worth 0 points then he is worth just as much as Player B who has a 100% chance of being worth 100 points. I'm not looking to take a stand on whether Player A will be that 250-point guy or the 0-point guy because I genuinely don't know what is going to happen. All I can do is guess what might happen, use all the information I can get my hands on to estimate how likely each of those possibilities are, and then give each of the possibilities the appropriate amount of weight when I make my overall rating. In this made-up example of Player A, that would be 40% of the weight on the possibility that he's a stud, and 60% of the weight on the possibility that he's a bust.

I don't know of anyone who has a track record that would lead me to believe that it is possible to be anywhere close to certain about the future of players like Rawls, Gordon, Abdullah, etc., and to consistently be correct.

My actual process is messier and more subjective than this - it is not precise enough to use actual numbers. But the math of probability distributions and expected values shows the idealized model that I aim to approximate.

More on Rawls. Rawls had 147/830/4 rushing (5.6 ypc) and 9/76/1 receiving on 11 targets (8.4 ypr) this season. He played in 13 games but only had more than 6 carries in 6 games. In those 6 games, he had 779 YFS and 5 TDs. He had more than 100 rushing yards in 4 of those games, with one going over 200.

Why rank Abdullah higher? Rawls had more rushing yards, more YFS, more TDs, higher YPC, higher YPR, higher catch rate, and fewer fumbles.

Why rank Yeldon higher? Rawls had more rushing yards, higher YPC, higher YPR, higher catch rate, and the same number of TDs on fewer touches (156 for Rawls, 218 for Yeldon).

Why rank Hyde higher? He has never had a season that comes close to Rawls' 2015 season, and he is two years older.

I've already made it clear why I wouldn't rank Gordon higher.

When I get new information about a player, that doesn't completely wipe out the old information. I shift my opinion to take both the new information and the old information into account, unless there is some reason to think that the old information is no longer relevant.

Draft position (and all the factors that go into draft position - size, speed, college production, etc.) is still relevant for young RBs with a small body of work in the NFL. Abdullah, Yeldon, and Hyde haven't put up great numbers, but they are second round picks who their teams seem to like. They haven't looked as good as Rawls did this year, but they haven't looked bad. They are all still rated relatively close to where I had them at the start of the season.

Rawls was really impressive when he was on the field, but this list of good rookie seasons by RBs who weren't drafted in the first 2 rounds doesn't leave me overflowing with confidence. (Compare with this list of rookies who were taken in the first 2 rounds and had similarly good seasons - draft position still matters.)

Thanks for the lists Z a few questions.

What is the difference in player value between tiers? How is a tier defined? Is it a large difference between tiers or a small difference?

Why is Jeremy Hill is tier 3?

In regards to Josh Gordon I see at least 10 WR on your list I would prefer to have before him. what kind of numbers are you expecting from Gordon if all goes well? What did you think of how Gordon performed in 2014? He did not perform nearly as well as he did in 2013 which has me questioning how fluky 2013 might have been. 681 passing attempts with no running game to speak of for the Browns that year.

Josh Gordon's 2013 was one of the best WR seasons of all time, by some metrics. Cleveland did have 681 passing attempts that year, which makes Gordon's 1646 receiving yards somewhat less impressive, but it his production becomes much more impressive when you realize that Gordon only played 14 games and Cleveland's Campbell/Weeden/Hoyer QB combo averaged only 5.2 yards per attempt when not throwing to Gordon (vs. 10.3 when throwing to Gordon). His 2014 wasn't nearly as good, but it was also only 5 games on a terrible offense (including one game with the offense led by an unprepared Manziel). Gordon is one of the guys whose upside is the #1 fantasy WR.

I think that Jeremy Hill's 2014 was more impressive than Freeman or David Johnson's 2015, as an NFL runner. His 2015 was averageish rather than terrible - his YPC was low but his success rate was good, his DVOA was average, and his team showed that they continue to trust him (especially at the goal line).

In general, a tier break indicates a significant gap in value. On average, the dropoff between tiers is similar in size to the dropoff between the first guy in a tier and the last guy in that same tier (although it doesn't always work out that neatly). Just ranking players (1. Bell, 2. Gurley, 3. Johnson, ...) can be misleading - the purpose of including tiers is to make my rankings more meaningful/informative about the players' relative values. The thing that Adam is now doing (where he gives each player's time-discounted Expected Value over Baseline) is even better at that, but my current approach isn't precise enough to give that sort of number so I'm making do with tier breaks.

Ok how many points on average is the difference between each tier? 20 points?

I think we have discussed this before. Sorry for not remembering the criteria for your tiers. It seems to me a tier should be some sort of incremental advantage. For example 2 points/game would be a 32 point difference over 16 games. Maybe the difference is smaller or greater than that in the way you tier. It would be helpful to know what that difference is when looking at the tiers.

The way I have been tiering for rookie players is a lot looser than this. I have been focused on if I think the rookie players have the potential to become top 12 at their position (tier 1) or if they will be be 13-24 at their position (tier 2) or if they will have the upside to be 25-36 at their position which would be tier 3. Anything after tier 3 would be considered marginal value or watch list. Obviously only 12 players can accomplish these goals in any given year and I tend to have more players ranked in each tier than will actually accomplish it, because I am focused on upside or best case scenarios for that player and how likely I think it is that they can consistently perform at that level.

For already established players I would use a similar method of tiering but it could be a bit more detailed using tiers of 2 points/game as a way to break up the veteran player tiers.

In regards to Gordon yes I realize his numbers were fantastic in 2013 over 14 games. This was also a Norv Turner coached offense that did not have a featured RB on the roster ( I think they planned to use Dion Lewis but he was injured).

If you look at Turners history (as Chase has before) you find that receivers under him tend to have higher than average ypc due in part to the downfield nature of his offense and also the players who thrive in it. When the Browns switched to Kyle Shanahan this changed the focus of the passing game as well.

In five games played in 2014 Gordon did not perform near the numbers that he had in 2013 and the only real change was the Browns no longer had Norv Turner. The other things such as working with rookie QB and poor surrounding cast (although decent offensive line) were not really different than 2013 yet Gordon had a very average 12.6 point ypc which is a far cry from the 16+ ypc he had on higher volume in 12 and 13.

In 2014 the Browns played Hoyer in 14 of their games. DeAndre Hopkins seemed to do well with Hoyer as QB this season.

Gordon had issues before coming to the NFL that is why he was a supplemental pick. Those off the field issues have continued since then resulting in two more suspensions. I don't see any consideration for this risk in your ranking. Not saying there should be as your rankings seem based on some quantifiable data rather than something more subjective, such as what the risk of another suspension might be.

I also like that you have focused on which data is the most useful and predictive for players as part of the way you form your rankings. At the same time the confidence level of that predictive ability is limited. Are any of these predictive values over 50% likelyhood?

What I have observed about your data is that it seems to value statistics such as yards per reception very highly in your rookie rankings. There are several other related statistics to this that you use as well. I wonder if stats derived from ypc may be given too much weight in your rankings? I do think it is based on your evaluation of which stats are the most predictive and relevant to player success and that you have put some thought into properly weighting each factor based on each factors predictive value, all of this is an excellent way to approach rankings I think. However your model does seem to put more value on things such as ypc and related stats than perhaps they should?

Recently I noticed for your rookie RB rankings that you put a cap on total yards for RB. This removes some of the outlier stats while still giving full credit for a big play. The example I am thinking of is when I asked you about Booker and I learned that he did not have as many explosive runs (20 yards or more) as many of the other RB in your rookie rankings. Do you do something similar for how you are ranking WR?

In 2013 Gordon has a 95 yard TD for example as part of what is helping his high ypc numbers. The likelyhood of such an event being repeated is pretty small. It is great to know he can do this, just the odds of a similar down and distance situation leading to another long play is something that might not happen again in his career. If you had a cap on this similar to what I have seen you describe in other situations, it would correct Gordons 2013 numbers somewhat I would think.

The question to me is if 2013 or 2014 is more anomalous? At first glance I would say 2014 because it was a smaller sample size than 2013 was, but how good 2013 was seems to be anomalous as well simply because not many WR have performed at that level sustainably.

My process for ranking incoming rookies is pretty different from my process for doing these dynasty rankings.

The rookie rankings that I've been posting in my Prospect Analysis thread are based entirely on formulas which take various stats and size/athleticism info as their inputs (or almost entirely; in previous years I have also given a little bit of weight to my subjective opinion, especially for RBs). My dynasty rankings are based entirely on my subjective opinions (although I do look at various stats to help form my opinions).

With the rookie rankings I attempt to give my independent impression, ignoring what everyone else is saying about the player (or occasionally using other people's opinions to look more closely at things for myself). With the dynasty rankings, I am trying to give my all-things-considered judgment which takes into account other people's opinions (e.g., the fact that there is a lot of buzz about a player) to figure out which player I would actually prefer to have on my dynasty roster.

On Tiering: our previous conversation is here. I don't have a rigorous definition of tiers in terms of number of points or whatever.

On Josh Gordon: His 2013 was a very good season however you look at it. #1 for the year in VBD. Best season since 1999 in the metric that I linked to. 9th in DYAR (which does discount long plays) for the season (and 5 of the guys ahead of him had Manning, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, or Rivers at QB). Worthy of a spot in the Pro Bowl and a first team All-Pro according to the voters. Enough to make him a consensus top 10 dynasty WR despite his off-the-field issues (except maybe in Adam's rankings - I'm not sure if Gordon ever cracked the top 10 there), and top 5 for many people. (I had him as high as 10th, and he probably would've gotten up to 5th or 6th if not for his off-the-field issues.)

On the field since then, he has played 5 games which were so-so. That on-the-field performance is not bad enough to bring him down anywhere close to his current spot in my rankings, where he is on the same tier as a bunch of guys in their 30s. Randall Cobb's 2015 was as bad as Josh Gordon's 2014, except Cobb kept it up for 16 games vs. Gordon's 5, and Cobb had Aaron Rodgers as his QB. And I still have Cobb ranked 12th. He is where he is in the rankings because of the whole suspension thing (repeated violations over several years, only playing 5 games over the past 2 seasons, etc.).

Edited by ZWK
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If Player A has a 40% chance of being worth 250 points for the rest of his career and a 60% chance of being worth 0 points then he is worth just as much as Player B who has a 100% chance of being worth 100 points.

In an imaginary league where you literally only start one player every week, I would rather have five guys with a 40% chance of 250 vbd than five guys with a 100% chance of 100 vbd.

If you could start five guys, i would still probably rather have the five 40% guys.

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Good post, ZWK.

On the first point, I understand the philosophy, I just don't agree with it. My favorite example on this is to go back to when it was not known if Favre was going to play QB for MIN. Rankings that had him hedged had him around 20th, give or take. But it was general consensus that if he didn't play, he would obviously be much lower and if he did play, he would likely be ranked in the top 5-10. IMO ranking him at QB20 was not meaningful. It didn't represent his true value or really help anyone with drafts or trades. People drafted or traded him based on their feeling about what his outcome would be, i.e., their belief that he would play or wouldn't play. I have always felt it is more valuable to actually project what you expect rather than a probability distribution. I understand that makes it harder to be accurate across the board, since you will likely be right some of the time and wrong some of the time. But such rankings actually provide actionable projections, which I find more valuable than trying to be more accurate in the long run, especially when accurate in this context likely means getting 60% or less of your projections right.

Note: I'm not saying anyone is wrong to follow a process like yours. In fact, I know I am in the minority on this.

On the second point, I figured pedigree was the likely reason to rank some of the guys I named above Rawls.

Thanks.

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If Player A has a 40% chance of being worth 250 points for the rest of his career and a 60% chance of being worth 0 points then he is worth just as much as Player B who has a 100% chance of being worth 100 points.

In an imaginary league where you literally only start one player every week, I would rather have five guys with a 40% chance of 250 vbd than five guys with a 100% chance of 100 vbd.

If you could start five guys, i would still probably rather have the five 40% guys.

:goodposting:

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Good post, ZWK.

On the first point, I understand the philosophy, I just don't agree with it. My favorite example on this is to go back to when it was not known if Favre was going to play QB for MIN. Rankings that had him hedged had him around 20th, give or take. But it was general consensus that if he didn't play, he would obviously be much lower and if he did play, he would likely be ranked in the top 5-10. IMO ranking him at QB20 was not meaningful. It didn't represent his true value or really help anyone with drafts or trades. People drafted or traded him based on their feeling about what his outcome would be, i.e., their belief that he would play or wouldn't play. I have always felt it is more valuable to actually project what you expect rather than a probability distribution. I understand that makes it harder to be accurate across the board, since you will likely be right some of the time and wrong some of the time. But such rankings actually provide actionable projections, which I find more valuable than trying to be more accurate in the long run, especially when accurate in this context likely means getting 60% or less of your projections right.

Note: I'm not saying anyone is wrong to follow a process like yours. In fact, I know I am in the minority on this.

On the second point, I figured pedigree was the likely reason to rank some of the guys I named above Rawls.

Thank you

I find it rather difficult to not hedge on alot of these guys. When I'm working on my rankings I go in with the intention of not hedging since I haven't ever shared my personal rankings with any else. I want to come out with a product that I feel comfortable with and I find that as I start dropping some of the older guys down that brings up some younger guys that I don't necessarily love and I end up saying man that guy is to high and adjusting.

A guy like Rawls who I have at 11 right now has looked really good but was a later draft pick and doesn;t have a long track record so I will move him around over and over again. I will do the same thing with Charles, McCoy, Ap types. I still believe in their production but since I don't have a crystal ball I will end up hedging them in the long run because I keep dropping them until I finally say I can't have them that low. The only way to keep from doing this is to not look at anyone else's ranking and quit reading anyone else's point of view.

Most people would prob look at mine and say this is complete crap but thats why I do it. I would rather trust my own judment than the group think. Thats the only way to separate whether it be good or bad. But like I said even trying to be objective I find everyday that mine get adjusted because of what I see others think.

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Another point about high risk, high reward players. Josh Gordonski is a fictitious, high risk, high reward receiver who could score 0 (60%) or 250 (40%) Vbd the rest of his career. These three teams own him and can keep him or trade him for a player with a 100% chance of 100 vbd. None of these teams own their own 2017 pick. Which teams should do it?

Team 1 has decent starters but no depth and no significant trade capital. Gordonski is one of their projected starters. The next guy on their team is an exactly baseline, 0 vbd scrub. His projected team vbd would be above the league average if he had the 100 vbd player and Gordonski would make him a favorite.

Team 2 is a little below average across the board but he has depth. He already has a 100 vbd player on his bench. He is projected to score below the league average but Gordonski would put him above average.

Team 3 is above average. He has good players at a lot of positions but no depth. He is counting on Gordonski as a starting player and has a 0 vbd scrub on his bench.

Team 4 is loaded. Not only are they above average, they have multiple 100 vbd players on their bench. Gordonski is a projected starter if he does well.

I think the answer is pretty clear for everybody but team 1. Team 1 has to decide if they want to swing for the fences or go conservative. If they owned their own first round pick I'd swing for the fences, but since they don't I would probably play it safe and hope to make the playoffs. Teams 2 and 4 should keep Gordonski. Team 3 shouldn't - the sure thing is more valuable to their team.

But if all those things factor in to a good decision - career vbd, certainty of production, whether you project to be above average, your own team's depth, and if you own your own first round pick - then remaining career vbd is too blunt an instrument to make good decisions.

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Nothing wrong with wanting to discuss, but you often seem to go on and on and on and on and on.... with your opinions until all joy is sucked out of the thread.

We all have our opinions. Please don't "beat us to death" with yours.

FWIW, it's actually posts like those you posted today that suck the fun out of hugely informative threads for me. If you are trying to decree that only those who have their own rankings can do anything but nod their heads, that doesn't sound like fun to me and I suspect it would strangle the sharing of information/opinion. I thought JWB raised some good points, and I like seeing how and why the general population agrees/disagrees with any rankings, to help form my own valuations and understand how others may value my players/targets. Got to think the OP is interested in candid dialogue. I'd hope for a lot of contrarian opinion sharing if I went through the effort of putting these rankings together and posted to a discussion thread. Not saying this to be negative, but you might look inside and ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, being a Hyde/Gordon owner might have motivated this opinion killing exchange.

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Nothing wrong with wanting to discuss, but you often seem to go on and on and on and on and on.... with your opinions until all joy is sucked out of the thread.

We all have our opinions. Please don't "beat us to death" with yours.

FWIW, it's actually posts like those you posted today that suck the fun out of hugely informative threads for me. If you are trying to decree that only those who have their own rankings can do anything but nod their heads, that doesn't sound like fun to me and I suspect it would strangle the sharing of information/opinion. I thought JWB raised some good points, and I like seeing how and why the general population agrees/disagrees with any rankings, to help form my own valuations and understand how others may value my players/targets. Got to think the OP is interested in candid dialogue. I'd hope for a lot of contrarian opinion sharing if I went through the effort of putting these rankings together and posted to a discussion thread. Not saying this to be negative, but you might look inside and ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, being a Hyde/Gordon owner might have motivated this opinion killing exchange.
I understand why you would think that, BigJim, but this is far from the only thread where JWB refuses to just accept that others have a different opinion and pov.

I guess it was not as obvious in this thread as it is in some others. Either way, I made my point, and he made his.

Enough time and thread space has been used on this already.

...and I think Chip Kelly ruins any value that Carlos Hyde would have had. Lol

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Z thanks for bringing up the last time I asked you the same or similar question. I had forgotten that your dynasty rankings are separate from the rookie rankings.

I guess the next question to follow up with is what are the subjective criteria that are considered to form these rankings?

You say there is a significant difference between players in a tier and players in other tiers, how significant? Could you define the difference of value for Jeremy Hill as a tier 3 RB compared to a tier 5 RB for example? Is tier 3 worth twice as much as tier 5? Less than that or more than that? Does this vary from tier to tier?

I am mostly just trying to get at what the value difference is between tiers and how you determined that. What do these tiers mean for people who may want to use your rankings but do not understand the context and meaning behind it?

I know I like to base tiers off of projections, the process of making projections seems to lead me towards more questions than answers however and full projections never get done completely. I am always missing bits of information here and there especially regarding players from teams that I do not follow as closely as others.

When it comes down to it there is a series of gun to the head decisions to be made that ultimately decides this for me. Mock drafting and the rookie polls have helped me form my own rankings when needed through this elimination process.

With the focus on continual improvement of processes I am always looking for ideas about what are good processes compared to others. I am looking for things that are reusable in many situations and scenarios and applicable to any team or player. Part of this goal to improve process.

Some more detail about how the tiers are formed and what they mean would further my understanding of your rankings.

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...and I think Chip Kelly ruins any value that Carlos Hyde would have had. Lol

Actual or perceived? I think some sheeple are already becoming irrationally exuberant regarding the 2016 SF offense.

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In general, I find that people who have a strong opinion on a player and make a couple posts challenging my views on that player add a lot of value to this thread and to my process. Those sorts of posts often get me to think more carefully about that player, consider information that I hadn't been thinking of, notice flaws in how I was thinking about that player, or develop clearer lines of reasoning for why I've evaluated that player the way I did. Half the reason for this thread is to get pushback and analysis from other people so that I can improve my game.

If people keep making post after post about the same player, then diminishing returns typically set in pretty quickly and the eighth post about the player usually doesn't add much new value. When it feels like I don't really have anything new to say that I usually just won't bother responding.

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I would rank David Johnson higher, too, but is there really a difference of 14 spots and 2 tiers between them? Did Johnson do that much more than Rawls this season? I don't think so. Johnson's ranking is fine, but this shows that Rawls should be higher in the ranking.

You say there is a significant difference between players in a tier and players in other tiers, how significant? Could you define the difference of value for Jeremy Hill as a tier 3 RB compared to a tier 5 RB for example? Is tier 3 worth twice as much as tier 5? Less than that or more than that? Does this vary from tier to tier?

I am mostly just trying to get at what the value difference is between tiers and how you determined that. What do these tiers mean for people who may want to use your rankings but do not understand the context and meaning behind it?

I know I like to base tiers off of projections, the process of making projections seems to lead me towards more questions than answers however and full projections never get done completely. I am always missing bits of information here and there especially regarding players from teams that I do not follow as closely as others.

Right now, I think that RB2 (Gurley) is worth more than twice as much as RB3 (David Johnson). RB3 (David Johnson) is worth less than twice as much as RB17 (Rawls). If I owned David Johnson & Devonta Freeman (RB4), I would be willing to package them both to trade for Gurley (or Bell), and I would also be willing to trade either of them for Rawls + Bernard (RB18).

I don't have general rules for how big the value difference is between tiers, but those are a couple examples that show some of the relative values. (They also show at least partial agreement with JWB.)

Ideally, I would have projections for every player and you could just glance at the projections and see which trades I would make and which ones I wouldn't. And when I make rankings, I am basically asking myself the question "how much expected career VBD does this player have left?" But I am not answering that question, because answering that question with a number is difficult and time-consuming. Instead, I am answering easier questions like "Well, I think that this player has more expected career VBD than that player, so I'll rank him ahead of that player" or "Well, I think that this player has more expected career VBD than that player, and it's not a close call, so I'll stick a tier break in between them."

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Another point about high risk, high reward players. Josh Gordonski is a fictitious, high risk, high reward receiver who could score 0 (60%) or 250 (40%) Vbd the rest of his career. These three teams own him and can keep him or trade him for a player with a 100% chance of 100 vbd. None of these teams own their own 2017 pick. Which teams should do it?

Team 1 has decent starters but no depth and no significant trade capital. Gordonski is one of their projected starters. The next guy on their team is an exactly baseline, 0 vbd scrub. His projected team vbd would be above the league average if he had the 100 vbd player and Gordonski would make him a favorite.

Team 2 is a little below average across the board but he has depth. He already has a 100 vbd player on his bench. He is projected to score below the league average but Gordonski would put him above average.

Team 3 is above average. He has good players at a lot of positions but no depth. He is counting on Gordonski as a starting player and has a 0 vbd scrub on his bench.

Team 4 is loaded. Not only are they above average, they have multiple 100 vbd players on their bench. Gordonski is a projected starter if he does well.

I think the answer is pretty clear for everybody but team 1. Team 1 has to decide if they want to swing for the fences or go conservative. If they owned their own first round pick I'd swing for the fences, but since they don't I would probably play it safe and hope to make the playoffs. Teams 2 and 4 should keep Gordonski. Team 3 shouldn't - the sure thing is more valuable to their team.

But if all those things factor in to a good decision - career vbd, certainty of production, whether you project to be above average, your own team's depth, and if you own your own first round pick - then remaining career vbd is too blunt an instrument to make good decisions.

To be clear, (and I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here), ZWK was talking about "value", which he identified as a concept distinct from, (but related to), VBD. I believe ZWK conceptualizes "value" like I conceptualize "value"- as some magical construct that perfectly encapsulates a player's contributions to your championship odds. In the past, I've called it "VAL" to make clear that I was talking about a specific concept rather than value in the abstract.

In order to measure things like efficiency and preference, economists were faced with a conundrum- they had to measure human satisfaction. What provided a greater degree of satisfaction / happiness / (whatever the economists were attempting to measure and model), a beautifully cooked steak, or front-row tickets to a concert? Obviously these are two completely different things, and the value they provide is virtually impossible to directly compare.

To get around that, economists invented something called a "Util", which is a unit measure of "utility", which is the amount of satisfaction / happiness / (whatever the economists were attempting to measure and model) that something supplies. To me, maybe a steak is worth two Utils, while the concert is worth one Util. To ZWK, maybe he's a vegetarian and that steak is worth negative Utils, while he's a big music fan and that concert is worth 400 Utils. Everything is all very fuzzy and hand-wavy.

In theory, if a player has 200 value, (or, as I'd say, if a player is worth 200 VAL), then he will help your championship odds exactly the same whether that 200 VAL represents a 40% shot at 500 VAL or a 100% shot at 200 VAL. The probability cloud is already baked into the concept of VAL, which I invented as a magical catch-all that perfectly encapsulates everything that could possibly impact championship odds.

How does one calculate VAL in the real world? One doesn't. It's an abstract concept used solely to discuss high-level conceptual approaches.

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Ideally, I would have projections for every player and you could just glance at the projections and see which trades I would make and which ones I wouldn't. And when I make rankings, I am basically asking myself the question "how much expected career VBD does this player have left?" But I am not answering that question, because answering that question with a number is difficult and time-consuming. Instead, I am answering easier questions like "Well, I think that this player has more expected career VBD than that player, so I'll rank him ahead of that player" or "Well, I think that this player has more expected career VBD than that player, and it's not a close call, so I'll stick a tier break in between them."

Perhaps this will be ironic coming from the guy who this season worked on a big project to leverage projections to create a dynasty-viable VBD-equivalent that was both specific and detailed enough to precisely estimate gaps between players, but I've long believed that projections are inferior to heuristics in dynasty. In fact, the whole project basically hinged on the ability to create heuristics that waddled like projections and quacked like projections, but weren't actually projections. They were all just rough estimations and historical approximations and vaguely scientific hand-waves, general rules of thumb stretched beyond the limits proscribed by the concept of significant figures.

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Another point about high risk, high reward players. Josh Gordonski is a fictitious, high risk, high reward receiver who could score 0 (60%) or 250 (40%) Vbd the rest of his career. These three teams own him and can keep him or trade him for a player with a 100% chance of 100 vbd. None of these teams own their own 2017 pick. Which teams should do it?

Team 1 has decent starters but no depth and no significant trade capital. Gordonski is one of their projected starters. The next guy on their team is an exactly baseline, 0 vbd scrub. His projected team vbd would be above the league average if he had the 100 vbd player and Gordonski would make him a favorite.

Team 2 is a little below average across the board but he has depth. He already has a 100 vbd player on his bench. He is projected to score below the league average but Gordonski would put him above average.

Team 3 is above average. He has good players at a lot of positions but no depth. He is counting on Gordonski as a starting player and has a 0 vbd scrub on his bench.

Team 4 is loaded. Not only are they above average, they have multiple 100 vbd players on their bench. Gordonski is a projected starter if he does well.

I think the answer is pretty clear for everybody but team 1. Team 1 has to decide if they want to swing for the fences or go conservative. If they owned their own first round pick I'd swing for the fences, but since they don't I would probably play it safe and hope to make the playoffs. Teams 2 and 4 should keep Gordonski. Team 3 shouldn't - the sure thing is more valuable to their team.

But if all those things factor in to a good decision - career vbd, certainty of production, whether you project to be above average, your own team's depth, and if you own your own first round pick - then remaining career vbd is too blunt an instrument to make good decisions.

To be clear, (and I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here), ZWK was talking about "value", which he identified as a concept distinct from, (but related to), VBD. I believe ZWK conceptualizes "value" like I conceptualize "value"- as some magical construct that perfectly encapsulates a player's contributions to your championship odds. In the past, I've called it "VAL" to make clear that I was talking about a specific concept rather than value in the abstract.

In order to measure things like efficiency and preference, economists were faced with a conundrum- they had to measure human satisfaction. What provided a greater degree of satisfaction / happiness / (whatever the economists were attempting to measure and model), a beautifully cooked steak, or front-row tickets to a concert? Obviously these are two completely different things, and the value they provide is virtually impossible to directly compare.

To get around that, economists invented something called a "Util", which is a unit measure of "utility", which is the amount of satisfaction / happiness / (whatever the economists were attempting to measure and model) that something supplies. To me, maybe a steak is worth two Utils, while the concert is worth one Util. To ZWK, maybe he's a vegetarian and that steak is worth negative Utils, while he's a big music fan and that concert is worth 400 Utils. Everything is all very fuzzy and hand-wavy.

In theory, if a player has 200 value, (or, as I'd say, if a player is worth 200 VAL), then he will help your championship odds exactly the same whether that 200 VAL represents a 40% shot at 500 VAL or a 100% shot at 200 VAL. The probability cloud is already baked into the concept of VAL, which I invented as a magical catch-all that perfectly encapsulates everything that could possibly impact championship odds.

How does one calculate VAL in the real world? One doesn't. It's an abstract concept used solely to discuss high-level conceptual approaches.

I agree with all of this (except for the part about my preferences for steak and concerts). I meant "value" as the abstract ideal. Remaining career VBD is one approximation of it. Time-discounted millichampionships is another approximation of it, which has the virtue of being a closer to the thing we actually care about but the downside of not existing as a thing that people have attempted to estimate.

Also, whether we're talking about VBD or VAL, 100 vs. 40% chance of 250 isn't enough information to decide which player is a better fit for a contender's roster. If the 100 is 50 per year for 2 years and the 250 is 50 per year for 5 years, then the contender should take the definite 100 because he wants production now and it's not worth risking that for a chance at more production in years 3-5. If the 250 is 125 per year for 2 years and the contender has a strong, deep roster then the contender should gamble on the 40% chance of 250 because the 100 player wouldn't be much of an upgrade over what he already has.

For rankings I ignore all that stuff. When it comes time to actually make a trade, then I have to pay attention to what makes sense for my team (although even then I tend to put less weight on team-specific stuff than most people do).

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Quarterbacks. Assuming 12 QB starters and about 250 position players rostered. Age as of 9/1/16. Prev from 8/26/15.

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev
1 1 Andrew Luck IND 27.0 (1)
1 2 Aaron Rodgers GB 32.8 (2)
1 3 Russell Wilson SEA 27.8 (3)
1 4 Cam Newton CAR 27.3 (4)
3 5 Marcus Mariota TEN 22.8 (5)
3 6 Jameis Winston TB 22.7 (7)
3 7 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 34.5 (8)
4 8 Matt Ryan ATL 31.3 (6)
4 9 Derek Carr OAK 25.4 (24)
4 10 Tyrod Taylor BUF 27.1 (26)

4 11 Tom Brady NE 39.1 (9)

4 12 Blake Bortles JAX 24.7 (22)
4 13 Carson Palmer ARI 36.7 (28)

4 14 Andy Dalton CIN 28.8 (27)
5 15 Teddy Bridgewater MIN 23.8 (19)

5 16 Drew Brees NO 37.6 (11)

5 17 Colin Kaepernick SF 28.8 (10)

5 18 Ryan Tannehill MIA 28.1 (13)
5 19 Philip Rivers SD 34.7 (17)
5 20 Matthew Stafford DET 28.6 (12)
5 21 Kirk Cousins WAS 28.0 (37)
5 22 Eli Manning NYG 35.7 (21)
5 23 Tony Romo DAL 36.4 (14)
6 24 Robert Griffin III WAS 26.5 (16)
6 25 Johnny Manziel CLE 23.7 (20)

6 26 Alex Smith KC 34.4 (38)
6 27 Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 33.8 (42)
6 28 Jay Cutler CHI 33.3 (29)
7 29 Joe Flacco BAL 31.6 (25)
7 30 Sam Bradford PHI 28.8 (18)
7 31 Peyton Manning DEN 40.4 (15)
7 32 Jimmy Garoppolo NE 24.8 (30)
8 33 Brock Osweiler DEN 25.8 (33)
8 34 Blaine Gabbert SF 26.9 unr
8 35 Geno Smith NYJ 25.9 (31)
8 36 A.J. McCarron CIN 26.0 unr
8 37 Landry Jones PIT 27.4 unr
8 38 Brian Hoyer HOU 30.9 (35)
8 39 Nick Foles STL 27.6 (23)
8 40 Bryce Petty NYJ 25.3 (39)

Big year for young quarterbacks, with Bortles & Carr jumping up the rankings after unimpressive rookie years. Bortles had a much better fantasy season than NFL season while Carr was the reverse. I expect that being a good NFL QB is more predictive of fantasy value going forward.

Mariota & Winston also moved up a bit in terms of expected future value (Winston more than Mariota), but they barely moved in the rankings because I already had them at the top of the pack.

With big years from Newton & Wilson, there is actually more separation than before between the top 4 and the pack. The top 4 have also been collapsed down into a single tier. I can see a case for any of the 4 at #1, and would be content to take the cheapest of the 4 rather than going after my guy.

Palmer and Dalton are also big risers, with Palmer having an MVP-caliber season and Dalton having a borderline Pro Bowl season. I no longer feel safe categorizing Dalton as "fantasy QB2 unless something fluky happens."

Tyrod Taylor rose farther and higher than either of them because he runs. He also had a top 10 season in fpts per game, DVOA, QBR, PFF grade, and Air Yards per Attempt.

Bridgewater's rank is a bit higher than it was a year ago, but he has gone slightly down in value in my eyes - it's just that other people have leapfrogged him in moving down the rankings. Tannehill failed to take another step forward (which is what he needed to do) and instead took a slight step backwards (though not as big a step back as many seem to think). Kaepernick plummeted much further but landed on rubber with Chip Kelly showing up. I continue to be optimistic about Kelly's effect on fantasy value, especially when it comes to upside (which is important in this part of the rankings). And especially for running quarterbacks.

RG3 and Manziel are hanging out on a tier with vets who are probably high-end QB2s. I'd rather have a lottery ticket than a good fantasy backup.

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