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ZWK's Dynasty Rankings (WR updated Oct 2020)


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

Wide receivers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running backs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments on a few of these:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steven Jackson

Willis McGahee

Frank Gore

Adrian Peterson

Michael Turner

Cedric Benson

Maurice Jones-Drew

Chris Johnson

Marshawn Lynch

Matt Forte

Ray Rice

Ronnie Brown

Brandon Jacobs

Arian Foster

Rashard Mendenhall

LeSean McCoy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • 2 months later...

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

Wide receivers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running backs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments on a few of these:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is a third thing that someone could do:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a great post. You have described in a very clear way what I have been thinking about buy/sell opportunities for a long time, but I do not think I have been able to articulately explain as clearly or as briefly. :)

In regards to this part:

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

I agree with this strongly which is why if you invest in a WR as a rookie you need to be disciplined about the decision. These players careers tend to be longer than other skill positions. Some are even late bloomers. If you are an owner who is expecting instant impact from a rookie WR you are setting yourself up to overpay.

What you can try to do is just observe the young WR prospects that you did not draft early on in their careers. Many very good WR will not break out as quickly as owners who drafted them as rookies might like. So this gives you an opportunity when the owner of the young WR loses some of their love for the shiny new toy. If you can buy WRs going into their second years such as Travon Austin right now at a discount, that becomes better value than you would have had to invest in them as rookies.

In Austins case I did not expect Bradford to get injured. But it did seem that a lot of people expected him to do more than he did as a rookie. I thought he would be more involved in the run game. Perhaps that is a role that may increase with him in seasons ahead.

If I had him I wouldn't be giving up on him this quickly. At the same time I think some owners might have had higher expectations of him with high investment as a rookie, but might be looking at his upside more realistically now. So he could potentially be a good buy target.

Back to the overall point. I think it helps to try to project out players for the next 2-3 seasons because that can help you identify before hand where some of these dips might present you opportunities. I do not think you can bake that into the ranking well. It is more about the perceived value aspect than the expected value.

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  • 3 months later...

With the draft in the books, it's time for some updated dynasty rankings.

As before, these are for a 12 team league, non-PPR, start 1QB/2RB/3WR/1TE, about 250 position players rostered.

I'll jump right in with running backs. My most recent RB rankings in this thread are from November, but "Prev" shows my ranking from immediately before the draft (which I did not have online). Age is as of 9/1/14. The tiers mean a lot - don't look only at the rankings.

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev
1 1 LeSean McCoy PHI 26.1 (1)
2 2 Jamaal Charles KC 27.7 (2)
2 3 Eddie Lacy GB 24.3 (5)
3 4 Doug Martin TB 25.6 (3)
3 5 Giovani Bernard CIN 22.8 (4)
3 6 Le'Veon Bell PIT 22.6 (6)
3 7 DeMarco Murray DAL 26.5 (7)
3 8 C.J. Spiller BUF 27.1 (8)
3 9 Adrian Peterson MIN 29.4 (9)
3 10 Montee Ball DEN 23.8 (10)
3 11 Matt Forte CHI 28.7 (11)
4 12 Marshawn Lynch SEA 28.4 (12)
4 13 Alfred Morris WAS 25.7 (13)
4 14 Christine Michael SEA 23.8 (14)
5 15 Carlos Hyde SF 23.0 (15)
5 16 Ryan Mathews SD 26.9 (18)
5 17 Trent Richardson IND 24.2 (19)
5 18 Bishop Sankey TEN 22.0 (26)
5 19 Shane Vereen NE 25.5 (21)
5 20 Ben Tate CLE 26.0 (25)

5 21 David Wilson NYG 23.2 (20)
5 22 Arian Foster HOU 28.0 (24)
5 23 Ray Rice BAL 27.6 (17)
6 24 Andre Ellington ARI 25.6 (28)
6 25 Zac Stacy STL 23.4 (16)
6 26 Tre Mason STL 21.1 (23)
6 27 Reggie Bush DET 29.5 (29)
6 28 Toby Gerhart JAX 27.4 (33)
6 29 Stevan Ridley NE 25.6 (30)
6 30 Jeremy Hill CIN 21.9 (27)
6 31 Knowshon Moreno MIA 27.1 (31)
6 32 Chris Johnson NYJ 28.9 (32)
7 33 Rashad Jennings NYG 29.5 (34)
7 34 Jerick McKinnon MIN 22.3 (50)
7 35 Devonta Freeman ATL 22.5 (53)
7 36 Bernard Pierce BAL 24.7 (37)
7 37 Mark Ingram NO 24.7 (46)

7 38 Marcus Lattimore SF 22.9 (35)

7 39 Charles Sims TB 24.0 (36)
7 40 Chris Ivory NYJ 26.4 (38)
7 41 Darren McFadden OAK 27.0 (39)
7 42 Jonathan Stewart CAR 27.4 (40)
7 43 Frank Gore SF 31.3 (41)
7 44 Pierre Thomas NO 29.7 (43)

7 45 Steven Jackson ATL 31.1 (44)
7 46 Lamar Miller MIA 23.4 (42)

7 47 Darren Sproles PHI 31.2 (47)
7 48 Joique Bell DET 28.1 (48)
7 49 Andre Williams NYG 22.0 (49)
7 50 Terrance West CLE 23.6 (56)
7 51 Danny Woodhead SD 29.7 (45)
7 52 Maurice Jones-Drew OAK 29.4 (51)
7 53 Denard Robinson JAX 24.0 (52)
7 54 DeAngelo Williams CAR 31.4 (54)
7 55 Dri Archer PIT 23.1 (70)
8 56 Knile Davis KC 22.9 (61)
8 57 Lache Seastrunk WAS 23.1 (22)
8 58 C.J. Anderson DEN 23.6 (58)
8 59 Khiry Robinson NO 24.7 (59)
8 60 Ahmad Bradshaw IND 28.5 (62)
8 61 Johnathan Franklin GB 24.9 (67)
8 62 Lance Dunbar DAL 24.6 (68)
8 63 Fred Jackson BUF 33.5 (71)
8 64 Isaiah Crowell CLE 21.7 (55)
8 65 Bryce Brown BUF 23.3 (65)
8 66 Donald Brown SD 27.4 (74)
8 67 Shonn Greene TEN 29.0 (60)

8 68 Kendall Hunter SF 25.0 (66)
9 69 Roy Helu WAS 25.7 (57)
9 70 LaGarrette Blount PIT 27.7 (69)
9 71 Andre Brown HOU 27.7 (70)
9 72 Vick Ballard IND 24.1 (72)
9 73 Latavius Murray OAK 23.5 (73)
9 74 De'Anthony Thomas KC 21.7 (75)
9 75 Ka'Deem Carey CHI 21.9 (79)
9 76 James White NE 22.6 (84)
9 77 James Starks GB 28.5 (76)
9 78 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL 24.6 (80)
9 79 Robert Turbin SEA 24.7 (81)
10 80 Travaris Cadet NO 25.6 (88)
10 81 Lorenzo Taliaferro BAL unr
10 82 Storm Johnson JAX (89)
10 83 Chris Polk PHI 24.7 (105)
10 84 Stephen Houston NE 22.9 (63)
10 85 Henry Josey PHI 23.0 (64)
10 86 Mikel Leshoure DET 24.4 (94)
10 87 Jonathan Dwyer ARI 25.1 (96)
10 88 Stepfan Taylor ARI 23.2 unr
10 89 Alfred Blue HOU 23.4 unr
10 90 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN 29.2 (82)
10 91 George Atkinson III OAK 21.8 (87)
10 92 Bilal Powell NYJ 25.8 (95)
10 93 Brandon Bolden NE 24.6 (102)
10 94 Dion Lewis CLE 23.9 (83)
10 95 David Fluellen PHI 22.6 (86)
10 96 Robert Godhigh ATL 23.2 (85)
10 97 Benny Cunningham STL 24.2 (106)
10 98 Tyler Gaffney CAR 23.4 (90)
10 99 Daniel Thomas MIA 26.8 (91)
10 100 Ronnie Hillman DEN 23.0 (92)
10 101 Daryl Richardson STL 24.4 (93)
10 102 Dennis Johnson HOU 24.5 (97)
10 103 Mike Goodson NYJ 27.3 (98)
10 104 Cierre Wood BAL 23.5 (99)
10 105 Bobby Rainey TB 26.9 (78)
10 106 Mike James TB 23.4 (100)
10 107 LaMichael James SF 24.9 (101)
10 108 Isaiah Pead STL 24.7 (103)
10 109 Marion Grice SD 22.4 unr
10 110 Edwin Baker CLE 23.3 (77)
10 111 Joseph Randle DAL 22.7 (107)

10 112 Jordan Todman JAX 24.5 unr

10 113 Michael Ford CHI 24.3 unr

Some commentary on the tiering:

Tier 3 (RB4-11) are all kinda iffy. In a startup I'd be inclined to wait and grab whichever of these guys is going last (often Murray), rather than spending a 2nd round pick on any of them. Though the last 3 in the tier (Peterson, Ball, Forte) I'd only want if I was in win-now mode - the vast majority of their expected value comes in the next 2-3 seasons (for Ball because of his lack of special skill & his dependence on the Manning offense).

One way to approach the RB field this year is to try to collect several guys in tier 7 or better, without paying too much for the package. There are a bunch of guys who could make decent short-term stopgaps, or who are pretty good prospects if you're looking ahead a year or two.

The tier 10 guys mostly aren't worth owning in a league this size; try to find a better use for that roster spot. Rookie longshots are relatively highly ranked within this tier because of the urgency consideration (they have a chance to shoot a few dozen spots up the rankings if they impress right out of the gate).

On rookies:

See my pre-draft thoughts, and my elusiveness rankings (second & third year players are there too). Hyde was alone in my top tier immediately before the draft, and his situation & draft position are only slightly worse than Sankey's, so he remains my top rookie RB.

My thoughts on a few players:

7 DeMarco Murray: He's someone to target - a 26-year-old Pro Bowl caliber (top 10 fantasy) RB who a lot of people are afraid of. He has significant injury risk, but at least he doesn't have much "actually not very good" risk (which Martin, Bell, and Ball have) or committee risk (which Bernard & Spiller have).

13 Alfred Morris: Shanahan's offense was perfect for him. High risk & less upside potential going forward based on the system change and his lack of production in the passing game.

21 David Wilson: I liked him a lot coming into the league, and in many respects he has been less of a bust than Trent Richardson (not traded away by his team, ypc over 4, did not get clearly outplayed by mediocre teammates). His problems seem fixable, and he grades out so far more as an "incomplete" than as an on-the-field disaster.

48 Joique Bell: As impressive as he was last year, he's held back by the fact that it's rare for an offense to be able to support multiple fantasy-relevant backs. He is 28 years old, and Detroit has been adding weapons who are likely to take targets away from the RBs in the passing game.

53 Denard Robinson: He lit it up as a running QB in college, and at the combine, and the Jags liked him enough to draft him as a project within a few picks of where the Niners took Lattimore. Now he's bulked up and he'll get a full offseason at RB - I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do.

60 Ahmad Bradshaw: Never bet against a Colt coming off a neck injury. He is just 28 this year, and topped 4.5 ypc and 75 yfs/g each of the past two seasons, so reports of his demise seem premature. And it's a good thing that the injury that kept him out last year is completely different from his previous injuries.

72 Latavius Murray: Seems to be wildly overrated in a lot of places (e.g., 42 here). I liked him as a prospect last year relative to his 6th round draft spot, but he has shot up the rankings since then while doing nothing besides being on the same team as McFadden and Jones-Drew.

112 Jordan Todman: He boasts a career 3.3 ypc and is in a three-man competition for the coveted Jaguars backup RB spot.

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Tier 3 (RB4-11) are all kinda iffy. In a startup I'd be inclined to wait and grab whichever of these guys is going last (often Murray), rather than spending a 2nd round pick on any of them. Though the last 3 in the tier (Peterson, Ball, Forte) I'd only want if I was in win-now mode - the vast majority of their expected value comes in the next 2-3 seasons (for Ball because of his lack of special skill & his dependence on the Manning offense).

This was my first thought reading through the rankings (well, first thought after "nice work"). If you bump Martin into T2 (I would) you're left with a bunch of really marginal guys -- at least relative to the price. RB is just so weak as a position right now. Should be lots of opportunity for decent/good young RBs over the next couple years.

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Tier 3 (RB4-11) are all kinda iffy. In a startup I'd be inclined to wait and grab whichever of these guys is going last (often Murray), rather than spending a 2nd round pick on any of them. Though the last 3 in the tier (Peterson, Ball, Forte) I'd only want if I was in win-now mode - the vast majority of their expected value comes in the next 2-3 seasons (for Ball because of his lack of special skill & his dependence on the Manning offense).

This was my first thought reading through the rankings (well, first thought after "nice work"). If you bump Martin into T2 (I would) you're left with a bunch of really marginal guys -- at least relative to the price. RB is just so weak as a position right now. Should be lots of opportunity for decent/good young RBs over the next couple years.

I say this a lot, but I really don't think it can be said enough. There are really about 6 top-10-caliber backs in the league right now. A guy like Le'Veon Bell is going to be cracking a lot of top-5s this year because... well, who else are you going to put there? He's young, he's a workhorse, and he might be pretty decent.

Some have responded to this shortage by using the scarcity as a reason to explode the value of even marginal prospects (see the Bishop Sankey 1.01 rookie pick thread), but I think a better approach is just punting at the position until reinforcements arrive. Given the weakness of the field, it's relatively easy to get acceptable production at a steep discount while building around true foundational talents at other positions.

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Some have responded to this shortage by using the scarcity as a reason to explode the value of even marginal prospects (see the Bishop Sankey 1.01 rookie pick thread), but I think a better approach is just punting at the position until reinforcements arrive. Given the weakness of the field, it's relatively easy to get acceptable production at a steep discount while building around true foundational talents at other positions.

This top-end RB drought is something I tried to plan for a couple years ago by continuing to buy Charles, Lynch and R Bush where I could get them at market value in hopes of coming out the other side in 2015 without punting at the position entirely. Blinds pigs and acorns!

Given the current scarcity at RB and the relative ease of finding WR3 types, I think the best strategy is to hang onto productive vets and let others fight over the marginal talents in the top-15, but stack your roster with cheap options and hope one or two of them hit.

Specifically I'm trying to throw enough of the smelly stuff at the wall in the form of guys like Michael, Anderson, Ballard, Leshoure, L James and some rookies that something sticks to help ride things out. RB prospects and lotto tix probably outnumber WR prospects something like 4:1 on my cumulative rosters right now.

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With the draft in the books, it's time for some updated dynasty rankings.

As before, these are for a 12 team league, non-PPR, start 1QB/2RB/3WR/1TE, about 250 position players rostered.

I'll jump right in with running backs. My most recent RB rankings in this thread are from November, but "Prev" shows my ranking from immediately before the draft (which I did not have online). Age is as of 9/1/14. The tiers mean a lot - don't look only at the rankings.

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev

1 1 LeSean McCoy PHI 26.1 (1)

2 2 Jamaal Charles KC 27.7 (2)

2 3 Eddie Lacy GB 24.3 (5)

3 4 Doug Martin TB 25.6 (3)

3 5 Giovani Bernard CIN 22.8 (4)

3 6 Le'Veon Bell PIT 22.6 (6)

3 7 DeMarco Murray DAL 26.5 (7)

3 8 C.J. Spiller BUF 27.1 (8)

3 9 Adrian Peterson MIN 29.4 (9)

3 10 Montee Ball DEN 23.8 (10)

3 11 Matt Forte CHI 28.7 (11)

4 12 Marshawn Lynch SEA 28.4 (12)

4 13 Alfred Morris WAS 25.7 (13)

4 14 Christine Michael SEA 23.8 (14)

5 15 Carlos Hyde SF 23.0 (15)

5 16 Ryan Mathews SD 26.9 (18)

5 17 Trent Richardson IND 24.2 (19)

5 18 Bishop Sankey TEN 22.0 (26)

5 19 Shane Vereen NE 25.5 (21)

5 20 Ben Tate CLE 26.0 (25)

5 21 David Wilson NYG 23.2 (20)

5 22 Arian Foster HOU 28.0 (24)

5 23 Ray Rice BAL 27.6 (17)

6 24 Andre Ellington ARI 25.6 (28)

6 25 Zac Stacy STL 23.4 (16)

6 26 Tre Mason STL 21.1 (23)

6 27 Reggie Bush DET 29.5 (29)

6 28 Toby Gerhart JAX 27.4 (33)

I think Gerhart might be a little underrated here. He's poised to have 1-2 really good FF seasons as a starter. I like him as a cheap alternative to the name brand "win now" options like Peterson, Forte, Rice, Lynch, and Foster. There are a few guys on the above list who might never get a shot to be a three down starter.

I won't say Gerhart has more value than Peterson/Forte/Lynch/Rice/Foster, but at the same time it wouldn't be at all surprising if he scored more FF points than some of those guys from here until the finish line of their careers.

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Some have responded to this shortage by using the scarcity as a reason to explode the value of even marginal prospects (see the Bishop Sankey 1.01 rookie pick thread), but I think a better approach is just punting at the position until reinforcements arrive. Given the weakness of the field, it's relatively easy to get acceptable production at a steep discount while building around true foundational talents at other positions.

This top-end RB drought is something I tried to plan for a couple years ago by continuing to buy Charles, Lynch and R Bush where I could get them at market value in hopes of coming out the other side in 2015 without punting at the position entirely. Blinds pigs and acorns!

Given the current scarcity at RB and the relative ease of finding WR3 types, I think the best strategy is to hang onto productive vets and let others fight over the marginal talents in the top-15, but stack your roster with cheap options and hope one or two of them hit.

Specifically I'm trying to throw enough of the smelly stuff at the wall in the form of guys like Michael, Anderson, Ballard, Leshoure, L James and some rookies that something sticks to help ride things out. RB prospects and lotto tix probably outnumber WR prospects something like 4:1 on my cumulative rosters right now.

Right. Start with a guy like Reggie Bush who scores like a strong RB1 in PPR but is priced like a cheap RB2 (the DLF guys have him at 24th, FBGs has him at 21st even with me weighting his average). He's old and will be falling off of a cliff before too long, but whatever, in this market you can't ignore great production on the cheap. Grab an unsexy starter or two like Chris Ivory, Rashad Jennings, Ray Rice, or Toby Gerhart. Then just grab as many cheap lottery tickets as you can, with the operative adjective here being "cheap". In the staff dynasty league, I'm rolling with Montee Ball, Ben Tate, Stevan Ridley, Donald Brown, Mark Ingram, Donald Brown, C.J. Anderson, and Jordan Todman. I think that's pretty much the ideal RB corps in this environment- it's not worth burning resources buying upgrades at their currently inflated prices (although, as I mentioned, I'll be inquiring about Reggie Bush's availability this offseason if he's really being valued in the RB20-24 range in PPR). Again, the key here is "cheap". Don't spend premium resources acquiring non-premium talents. Eventually, the RB pool will rebound and you'll be left holding on to a dramatically devalued asset that you dramatically overpaid for.

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Some have responded to this shortage by using the scarcity as a reason to explode the value of even marginal prospects (see the Bishop Sankey 1.01 rookie pick thread), but I think a better approach is just punting at the position until reinforcements arrive. Given the weakness of the field, it's relatively easy to get acceptable production at a steep discount while building around true foundational talents at other positions.

This top-end RB drought is something I tried to plan for a couple years ago by continuing to buy Charles, Lynch and R Bush where I could get them at market value in hopes of coming out the other side in 2015 without punting at the position entirely. Blinds pigs and acorns!

Given the current scarcity at RB and the relative ease of finding WR3 types, I think the best strategy is to hang onto productive vets and let others fight over the marginal talents in the top-15, but stack your roster with cheap options and hope one or two of them hit.

Specifically I'm trying to throw enough of the smelly stuff at the wall in the form of guys like Michael, Anderson, Ballard, Leshoure, L James and some rookies that something sticks to help ride things out. RB prospects and lotto tix probably outnumber WR prospects something like 4:1 on my cumulative rosters right now.

Right. Start with a guy like Reggie Bush who scores like a strong RB1 in PPR but is priced like a cheap RB2 (the DLF guys have him at 24th, FBGs has him at 21st even with me weighting his average). He's old and will be falling off of a cliff before too long, but whatever, in this market you can't ignore great production on the cheap. Grab an unsexy starter or two like Chris Ivory, Rashad Jennings, Ray Rice, or Toby Gerhart. Then just grab as many cheap lottery tickets as you can, with the operative adjective here being "cheap". In the staff dynasty league, I'm rolling with Montee Ball, Ben Tate, Stevan Ridley, Donald Brown, Mark Ingram, Donald Brown, C.J. Anderson, and Jordan Todman. I think that's pretty much the ideal RB corps in this environment- it's not worth burning resources buying upgrades at their currently inflated prices (although, as I mentioned, I'll be inquiring about Reggie Bush's availability this offseason if he's really being valued in the RB20-24 range in PPR). Again, the key here is "cheap". Don't spend premium resources acquiring non-premium talents. Eventually, the RB pool will rebound and you'll be left holding on to a dramatically devalued asset that you dramatically overpaid for.

I basically agree with this strategy.

A general piece of advice for dynasty: if you have a hole in your starting lineup that you're desperate to fill, and you're going to have to overpay to fill it, then it's generally better to fill it with a cheap stopgap rather than paying a premium price for a better option.

If you pay $150 for a $100 asset (e.g., because you have to have a RB and they're all overpriced), then you're giving away $50 in value to fill that need. If you pay $15 for a $10 asset, then you're only giving away $5 in value. In some sense, the $10 player and the $100 player are equally overpriced, but you're weakening your team by a lot more if you overpay for the $100 guy.

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I love these threads and hats off to the OP.

I am going to disagree in one area, however. I think if you have a hole to fill and you know you will have to overpay for it, you do it with a young stud and pay it and don't think twice.

Example: if you overpaid for shady or Charles last year, you probably did ok and now, you have an even more scarce resource and advantage. RBs are hard to make that example, so I'll tailor it a bit. If I could buy Julio right now I would have to overpay. But the residual resources I save over the next 8 years as a result of the benefit of having a foundation player I don't worry about for a decade evens it out. Instead, I'll just put future resources into these other players as trends change.

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I love these threads and hats off to the OP.

I am going to disagree in one area, however. I think if you have a hole to fill and you know you will have to overpay for it, you do it with a young stud and pay it and don't think twice.

Example: if you overpaid for shady or Charles last year, you probably did ok and now, you have an even more scarce resource and advantage. RBs are hard to make that example, so I'll tailor it a bit. If I could buy Julio right now I would have to overpay. But the residual resources I save over the next 8 years as a result of the benefit of having a foundation player I don't worry about for a decade evens it out. Instead, I'll just put future resources into these other players as trends change.

I think of a "buying a stud" trade as a different category from "filling a hole" trade.

If I look at my team and I see that Nate Burleson is currently a likely starter on my roster, I don't think "oh no, better go buy Julio Jones." Instead, I take that as a cue to go look for WRs who are underrated/underpriced (maybe Greg Jennings? Steve Smith?). Buying a stud is more likely to create holes in my starting lineup than to fill them.

If I'm going to go after someone like Julio, that'll be because I really believe in him, think that he's worth a ton, have the ammo to make an offer, see an opening where his owner might be willing to trade, etc. I'm not too worried about where he'll fit into my starting lineup because he's Julio Jones - of course he'll fit into my lineup (unless it's a weird case where I already have a bunch of studs at WR & garbage elsewhere).

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I love these threads and hats off to the OP.

I am going to disagree in one area, however. I think if you have a hole to fill and you know you will have to overpay for it, you do it with a young stud and pay it and don't think twice.

Example: if you overpaid for shady or Charles last year, you probably did ok and now, you have an even more scarce resource and advantage. RBs are hard to make that example, so I'll tailor it a bit. If I could buy Julio right now I would have to overpay. But the residual resources I save over the next 8 years as a result of the benefit of having a foundation player I don't worry about for a decade evens it out. Instead, I'll just put future resources into these other players as trends change.

I think of a "buying a stud" trade as a different category from "filling a hole" trade.

If I look at my team and I see that Nate Burleson is currently a likely starter on my roster, I don't think "oh no, better go buy Julio Jones." Instead, I take that as a cue to go look for WRs who are underrated/underpriced (maybe Greg Jennings? Steve Smith?). Buying a stud is more likely to create holes in my starting lineup than to fill them.

If I'm going to go after someone like Julio, that'll be because I really believe in him, think that he's worth a ton, have the ammo to make an offer, see an opening where his owner might be willing to trade, etc. I'm not too worried about where he'll fit into my starting lineup because he's Julio Jones - of course he'll fit into my lineup (unless it's a weird case where I already have a bunch of studs at WR & garbage elsewhere).

Yeah, you don't get Julio Jones to fill a hole in your roster. Most of the time, getting a guy like Julio Jones will create a lot more holes than it fills, just because it costs so much. Which isn't to say that it's not sometimes worth going out and acquiring a Julio Jones anyway, but it's usually a different deal with a different mindset than just "I'm weak at WR, how am I going to fill out my roster?"

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Appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this together.

Seems you, like many, have Spiller as a top ten back still. I just don't see it.

In 2012 he was a top 10 fantasy back, and a top 3 NFL back. In 2013 he was playing hurt. I don't like putting a 27-year-old with such a limited/spotty track record in the top 10, but the guys behind him are even older or even unprovener.

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Appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this together.

Seems you, like many, have Spiller as a top ten back still. I just don't see it.

In 2012 he was a top 10 fantasy back, and a top 3 NFL back. In 2013 he was playing hurt. I don't like putting a 27-year-old with such a limited/spotty track record in the top 10, but the guys behind him are even older or even unprovener.

Except for AlfMo and Mathews.

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I say this a lot, but I really don't think it can be said enough. There are really about 6 top-10-caliber backs in the league right now. A guy like Le'Veon Bell is going to be cracking a lot of top-5s this year because... well, who else are you going to put there? He's young, he's a workhorse, and he might be pretty decent.

Some have responded to this shortage by using the scarcity as a reason to explode the value of even marginal prospects (see the Bishop Sankey 1.01 rookie pick thread), but I think a better approach is just punting at the position until reinforcements arrive. Given the weakness of the field, it's relatively easy to get acceptable production at a steep discount while building around true foundational talents at other positions.

This last sentence implies that scoring at the RB position is down, which I don't think is really the case, especially at the top.

I think what's going on here is that people are getting to the point where they've been burned enough times that they've finally gotten a little scared of these young half-proven guys. I remember the startup draft from my main dynasty league 8 or 9 years ago where Willis McGahee was the slam dunk #2 overall pick coming off his only year as a starter with a modest YPC. Kevin Jones was right behind him, with Julius Jones not long after that.

I made the case for years that 2nd year RBs were by far the riskiest proposition in fantasy. While people went on and on about how risky it was to spend a 3rd-4th round start-up pick on a rookie who "had never stepped onto an NFL field" they were more than happy to spend top 3 overall picks on guys who had just as bad a hit rate as the rookies at 10 times the cost. I think it's finally clicking.

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I love these threads and hats off to the OP.

I am going to disagree in one area, however. I think if you have a hole to fill and you know you will have to overpay for it, you do it with a young stud and pay it and don't think twice.

Example: if you overpaid for shady or Charles last year, you probably did ok and now, you have an even more scarce resource and advantage. RBs are hard to make that example, so I'll tailor it a bit. If I could buy Julio right now I would have to overpay. But the residual resources I save over the next 8 years as a result of the benefit of having a foundation player I don't worry about for a decade evens it out. Instead, I'll just put future resources into these other players as trends change.

I think of a "buying a stud" trade as a different category from "filling a hole" trade.

If I look at my team and I see that Nate Burleson is currently a likely starter on my roster, I don't think "oh no, better go buy Julio Jones." Instead, I take that as a cue to go look for WRs who are underrated/underpriced (maybe Greg Jennings? Steve Smith?). Buying a stud is more likely to create holes in my starting lineup than to fill them.

If I'm going to go after someone like Julio, that'll be because I really believe in him, think that he's worth a ton, have the ammo to make an offer, see an opening where his owner might be willing to trade, etc. I'm not too worried about where he'll fit into my starting lineup because he's Julio Jones - of course he'll fit into my lineup (unless it's a weird case where I already have a bunch of studs at WR & garbage elsewhere).

Yeah, you don't get Julio Jones to fill a hole in your roster. Most of the time, getting a guy like Julio Jones will create a lot more holes than it fills, just because it costs so much. Which isn't to say that it's not sometimes worth going out and acquiring a Julio Jones anyway, but it's usually a different deal with a different mindset than just "I'm weak at WR, how am I going to fill out my roster?"

I think I just saw how differently I must approach Fantasy football.

Any time I have a hole to fill, regardless of what it is, I am ALWAYS looking for the best player that can be had and I normally approach it by offering draft picks and players only where I have the depth, to avoid that "create a hole here to fix one there". I am not much for robbing Peter to pay Paul. Granted, the opportunities to do this are far and few between. I think, in the last 5 years, I may have made 3 trades total. But I have no reservations to turning over my entire draft or some Eli Manning or something in order to secure a 23-26 stud that is going to preserve me from even thinking about that position for 7-8 years. Of course, I'd better be right about it or I'm sunk.

But I see the difference in how you guys think of it vs. how I took it. I just rarely, rarely ever see a "hole" and think "wonder if I can get ahmad Bradshaw to limp through the rest of the year. To me, it just makes me feel like I'm going to be doing the same thing two or three times in the next year or so to get this position filled so I'd rather write one big check rather than three smaller ones that net the same (I'll wait till the high point of value on draft picks and offer them up to get the player IF the team looks like a lot of picks could help them turn their team around instead of giving a future 3rd or 4th for Bradshaw in November, then jockeying around with 4-5 players during the offseason, and then end up packaging a 1st, some player, and maybe another pick or something in order to move up to get a rb).

I guess whatever works, works. But that seems to work with me.

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I love these threads and hats off to the OP.

I am going to disagree in one area, however. I think if you have a hole to fill and you know you will have to overpay for it, you do it with a young stud and pay it and don't think twice.

Example: if you overpaid for shady or Charles last year, you probably did ok and now, you have an even more scarce resource and advantage. RBs are hard to make that example, so I'll tailor it a bit. If I could buy Julio right now I would have to overpay. But the residual resources I save over the next 8 years as a result of the benefit of having a foundation player I don't worry about for a decade evens it out. Instead, I'll just put future resources into these other players as trends change.

I think of a "buying a stud" trade as a different category from "filling a hole" trade.

If I look at my team and I see that Nate Burleson is currently a likely starter on my roster, I don't think "oh no, better go buy Julio Jones." Instead, I take that as a cue to go look for WRs who are underrated/underpriced (maybe Greg Jennings? Steve Smith?). Buying a stud is more likely to create holes in my starting lineup than to fill them.

If I'm going to go after someone like Julio, that'll be because I really believe in him, think that he's worth a ton, have the ammo to make an offer, see an opening where his owner might be willing to trade, etc. I'm not too worried about where he'll fit into my starting lineup because he's Julio Jones - of course he'll fit into my lineup (unless it's a weird case where I already have a bunch of studs at WR & garbage elsewhere).

Yeah, you don't get Julio Jones to fill a hole in your roster. Most of the time, getting a guy like Julio Jones will create a lot more holes than it fills, just because it costs so much. Which isn't to say that it's not sometimes worth going out and acquiring a Julio Jones anyway, but it's usually a different deal with a different mindset than just "I'm weak at WR, how am I going to fill out my roster?"

I think I just saw how differently I must approach Fantasy football.

Any time I have a hole to fill, regardless of what it is, I am ALWAYS looking for the best player that can be had and I normally approach it by offering draft picks and players only where I have the depth, to avoid that "create a hole here to fix one there". I am not much for robbing Peter to pay Paul. Granted, the opportunities to do this are far and few between. I think, in the last 5 years, I may have made 3 trades total. But I have no reservations to turning over my entire draft or some Eli Manning or something in order to secure a 23-26 stud that is going to preserve me from even thinking about that position for 7-8 years. Of course, I'd better be right about it or I'm sunk.

But I see the difference in how you guys think of it vs. how I took it. I just rarely, rarely ever see a "hole" and think "wonder if I can get ahmad Bradshaw to limp through the rest of the year. To me, it just makes me feel like I'm going to be doing the same thing two or three times in the next year or so to get this position filled so I'd rather write one big check rather than three smaller ones that net the same (I'll wait till the high point of value on draft picks and offer them up to get the player IF the team looks like a lot of picks could help them turn their team around instead of giving a future 3rd or 4th for Bradshaw in November, then jockeying around with 4-5 players during the offseason, and then end up packaging a 1st, some player, and maybe another pick or something in order to move up to get a rb).

I guess whatever works, works. But that seems to work with me.

Good in theory, but unless you have a very odd roster balance I don't see how you "fill a hole" with a guy like Julio Jones without creating more holes than you started with. Then you're left filling those new holes with more studs, creating even more holes, and so on. A guy like Julio is going to require two high end starters to even get trade talks going.

ETA: Can you show us your current roster (maybe taking a guy out to create a hole) and see what you could trade for Julio that wouldn't create any new holes?

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I think I just saw how differently I must approach Fantasy football.

Any time I have a hole to fill, regardless of what it is, I am ALWAYS looking for the best player that can be had and I normally approach it by offering draft picks and players only where I have the depth, to avoid that "create a hole here to fix one there". I am not much for robbing Peter to pay Paul. Granted, the opportunities to do this are far and few between. I think, in the last 5 years, I may have made 3 trades total. But I have no reservations to turning over my entire draft or some Eli Manning or something in order to secure a 23-26 stud that is going to preserve me from even thinking about that position for 7-8 years. Of course, I'd better be right about it or I'm sunk.

But I see the difference in how you guys think of it vs. how I took it. I just rarely, rarely ever see a "hole" and think "wonder if I can get ahmad Bradshaw to limp through the rest of the year. To me, it just makes me feel like I'm going to be doing the same thing two or three times in the next year or so to get this position filled so I'd rather write one big check rather than three smaller ones that net the same (I'll wait till the high point of value on draft picks and offer them up to get the player IF the team looks like a lot of picks could help them turn their team around instead of giving a future 3rd or 4th for Bradshaw in November, then jockeying around with 4-5 players during the offseason, and then end up packaging a 1st, some player, and maybe another pick or something in order to move up to get a rb).

I guess whatever works, works. But that seems to work with me.

Good in theory, but unless you have a very odd roster balance I don't see how you "fill a hole" with a guy like Julio Jones without creating more holes than you started with. Then you're left filling those new holes with more studs, creating even more holes, and so on. A guy like Julio is going to require two high end starters to even get trade talks going.

ETA: Can you show us your current roster (maybe taking a guy out to create a hole) and see what you could trade for Julio that wouldn't create any new holes?

I'm not in the habit of putting words in people's mouths, but to be honest, most dynasty owners I know have a philosophy similar to that. They trade for studs if they can and, if that leaves holes, they just move up a rookie or second-year guy from their bench into that slot in the lineup, then grab another rookie or deep flier to fill that bench slot.

Most of the time, you'll get some production out of that first- or second-year guy; sometimes that guy is Lacy or Patterson and you get respectable starter production out of him ... all at no incremental cost (other than the draft pick you spent to get him on your roster in the first place, of course).

It's because so many people don't want to spend incremental resources acquiring stopgap starters that those stopgap starters are usually cheap to begin with. The key is recognizing that some stopgap starters have a current price way over to the left side of their future value bell curve, at the same time as there are a bunch of younger guys being priced way over on the right side of their bell curve. It's paying far-right-side-of-the-curve prices because you don't want to fill that hole in your roster with a "stopgap" that invariably lands owners in trouble a couple of years down the road.

Using arbitrary values here, if the future value curve for Zac Stacy is in a range of $10-90 and that of, oh, Jonathan Stewart (hi, EBF! :bye:) is $10-35, sure, I and everyone else would rather have Stacy on an absolute basis. But right now - on that same arbitrary value scale - Stacy might cost $60 or $70 to Stewart's $15. If I have a hole at RB2 I'm scrambling to fill, Stewart is much better relative value and I'm taking him 10 times out of 10 in that situation, whereas a lot of owners will mortgage themselves for Stacy because "Stewart's just a 1-2 year stopgap" and "Stacy's up-and-coming PLUS HE'S YOUNG AND YOUTH ROX0RS!!!1!"

Ask all those guys who paid $70 this time last year for T-Rich how they feel about that decision now.

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Appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this together.

Seems you, like many, have Spiller as a top ten back still. I just don't see it.

In 2012 he was a top 10 fantasy back, and a top 3 NFL back. In 2013 he was playing hurt. I don't like putting a 27-year-old with such a limited/spotty track record in the top 10, but the guys behind him are even older or even unprovener.

I'm still high on his talent, but I believe is a FA after this year and the market for FA RBs is very poor. The coach seemed very frustrated with how he was choosing his holes during the regular season. There is some good analysis linked in one of the Spiller threads that really soured my outlook on him.

It was encouraging how his performance improved when he finally got healthy.

Will be parsing coach speak closely this offseason since I own him in one of my keeper leagues.

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I love these threads and hats off to the OP.

I am going to disagree in one area, however. I think if you have a hole to fill and you know you will have to overpay for it, you do it with a young stud and pay it and don't think twice.

Example: if you overpaid for shady or Charles last year, you probably did ok and now, you have an even more scarce resource and advantage. RBs are hard to make that example, so I'll tailor it a bit. If I could buy Julio right now I would have to overpay. But the residual resources I save over the next 8 years as a result of the benefit of having a foundation player I don't worry about for a decade evens it out. Instead, I'll just put future resources into these other players as trends change.

I think of a "buying a stud" trade as a different category from "filling a hole" trade.

If I look at my team and I see that Nate Burleson is currently a likely starter on my roster, I don't think "oh no, better go buy Julio Jones." Instead, I take that as a cue to go look for WRs who are underrated/underpriced (maybe Greg Jennings? Steve Smith?). Buying a stud is more likely to create holes in my starting lineup than to fill them.

If I'm going to go after someone like Julio, that'll be because I really believe in him, think that he's worth a ton, have the ammo to make an offer, see an opening where his owner might be willing to trade, etc. I'm not too worried about where he'll fit into my starting lineup because he's Julio Jones - of course he'll fit into my lineup (unless it's a weird case where I already have a bunch of studs at WR & garbage elsewhere).

Yeah, you don't get Julio Jones to fill a hole in your roster. Most of the time, getting a guy like Julio Jones will create a lot more holes than it fills, just because it costs so much. Which isn't to say that it's not sometimes worth going out and acquiring a Julio Jones anyway, but it's usually a different deal with a different mindset than just "I'm weak at WR, how am I going to fill out my roster?"

I think I just saw how differently I must approach Fantasy football.

Any time I have a hole to fill, regardless of what it is, I am ALWAYS looking for the best player that can be had and I normally approach it by offering draft picks and players only where I have the depth, to avoid that "create a hole here to fix one there". I am not much for robbing Peter to pay Paul. Granted, the opportunities to do this are far and few between. I think, in the last 5 years, I may have made 3 trades total. But I have no reservations to turning over my entire draft or some Eli Manning or something in order to secure a 23-26 stud that is going to preserve me from even thinking about that position for 7-8 years. Of course, I'd better be right about it or I'm sunk.

But I see the difference in how you guys think of it vs. how I took it. I just rarely, rarely ever see a "hole" and think "wonder if I can get ahmad Bradshaw to limp through the rest of the year. To me, it just makes me feel like I'm going to be doing the same thing two or three times in the next year or so to get this position filled so I'd rather write one big check rather than three smaller ones that net the same (I'll wait till the high point of value on draft picks and offer them up to get the player IF the team looks like a lot of picks could help them turn their team around instead of giving a future 3rd or 4th for Bradshaw in November, then jockeying around with 4-5 players during the offseason, and then end up packaging a 1st, some player, and maybe another pick or something in order to move up to get a rb).

I guess whatever works, works. But that seems to work with me.

Good in theory, but unless you have a very odd roster balance I don't see how you "fill a hole" with a guy like Julio Jones without creating more holes than you started with. Then you're left filling those new holes with more studs, creating even more holes, and so on. A guy like Julio is going to require two high end starters to even get trade talks going.

ETA: Can you show us your current roster (maybe taking a guy out to create a hole) and see what you could trade for Julio that wouldn't create any new holes?

Mainly, in my experience with my teams, these kinds of trades (like I said, a small handful in a number of years), are usually ones where I send draft picks and maybe just one player in the trade and isn't one where I would send multiples because, you guys are right, kind of defeats the purpose. So, If I have Cam Newton and Tony Romo, maybe I am sending Romo along with a boatload of picks or something. Never a situation where I get Julio but it cost me Zac Stacy AND Jordy Nelson or something.

I know, it's situational and not all deals are THAT big. I was just saying, in general, I tend to fill "holes" with long-term, best I can get scenarios.

I DO have a couple of rosters I could send links to but it's such a situational thing, it wouldn't apply across the board to everyone. THe links I would send would be poor examples anyway because one team is very typical and would be exactly as you guys describe "where do I not open up another hole to make this happen?". The other is a very, very stacked team and people would just say "Well, yeah, you can do that BUTwho has a team like that, normally?" And that's the point. Not saying this is a best way to do it. Just saying it worked for me in this situation. That's how the team got good. Heavy payment to secure great players and then not having to constantly fill holes had a snowball effect. Instead of using picks/players several times, I bought once (and had great luck that those players were great and stayed great, of course) and then as the next years roll around, I am sitting on a surplus of picks, or have the luxury to use picks to develop players.

I will be the first to admit that it's been a lot of good fortune because my way of doing things can kill a team in a New York minute if it doesn't pan out. If I traded Eddie Lacy and all my draft picks last year for Gordon and Blackmon at the beginning of the year when both were suspended, I would have went from feeling anxious, to the smartest man in the world, to the sickest individual in the world today. Its a lot of luck.

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Appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this together.

Seems you, like many, have Spiller as a top ten back still. I just don't see it.

In 2012 he was a top 10 fantasy back, and a top 3 NFL back. In 2013 he was playing hurt. I don't like putting a 27-year-old with such a limited/spotty track record in the top 10, but the guys behind him are even older or even unprovener.

I'm still high on his talent, but I believe is a FA after this year and the market for FA RBs is very poor. The coach seemed very frustrated with how he was choosing his holes during the regular season. There is some good analysis linked in one of the Spiller threads that really soured my outlook on him.

It was encouraging how his performance improved when he finally got healthy.

Will be parsing coach speak closely this offseason since I own him in one of my keeper leagues.

The crappy FA RB market sucks for the FA RBs, but doesn't really have much effect on us for FF purposes. Spiller will land somewhere, and I'd personally say it's at least 50/50 that anywhere else will be a net improvement over Buffalo. The Bills haven't exactly been the poster franchise for "well run" or "explosive offense" during Spiller's career. Imagine what he could do with 200 carries and 50 catches in a really good offense -- and the really good teams are likely more in play given the RB market now, because not even the crappy teams are willing to throw money at the position and overpay.

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I think I just saw how differently I must approach Fantasy football.

Any time I have a hole to fill, regardless of what it is, I am ALWAYS looking for the best player that can be had and I normally approach it by offering draft picks and players only where I have the depth, to avoid that "create a hole here to fix one there". I am not much for robbing Peter to pay Paul. Granted, the opportunities to do this are far and few between. I think, in the last 5 years, I may have made 3 trades total. But I have no reservations to turning over my entire draft or some Eli Manning or something in order to secure a 23-26 stud that is going to preserve me from even thinking about that position for 7-8 years. Of course, I'd better be right about it or I'm sunk.

But I see the difference in how you guys think of it vs. how I took it. I just rarely, rarely ever see a "hole" and think "wonder if I can get ahmad Bradshaw to limp through the rest of the year. To me, it just makes me feel like I'm going to be doing the same thing two or three times in the next year or so to get this position filled so I'd rather write one big check rather than three smaller ones that net the same (I'll wait till the high point of value on draft picks and offer them up to get the player IF the team looks like a lot of picks could help them turn their team around instead of giving a future 3rd or 4th for Bradshaw in November, then jockeying around with 4-5 players during the offseason, and then end up packaging a 1st, some player, and maybe another pick or something in order to move up to get a rb).

I guess whatever works, works. But that seems to work with me.

Good in theory, but unless you have a very odd roster balance I don't see how you "fill a hole" with a guy like Julio Jones without creating more holes than you started with. Then you're left filling those new holes with more studs, creating even more holes, and so on. A guy like Julio is going to require two high end starters to even get trade talks going.

ETA: Can you show us your current roster (maybe taking a guy out to create a hole) and see what you could trade for Julio that wouldn't create any new holes?

I'm not in the habit of putting words in people's mouths, but to be honest, most dynasty owners I know have a philosophy similar to that. They trade for studs if they can and, if that leaves holes, they just move up a rookie or second-year guy from their bench into that slot in the lineup, then grab another rookie or deep flier to fill that bench slot.

Most of the time, you'll get some production out of that first- or second-year guy; sometimes that guy is Lacy or Patterson and you get respectable starter production out of him ... all at no incremental cost (other than the draft pick you spent to get him on your roster in the first place, of course).

It's because so many people don't want to spend incremental resources acquiring stopgap starters that those stopgap starters are usually cheap to begin with. The key is recognizing that some stopgap starters have a current price way over to the left side of their future value bell curve, at the same time as there are a bunch of younger guys being priced way over on the right side of their bell curve. It's paying far-right-side-of-the-curve prices because you don't want to fill that hole in your roster with a "stopgap" that invariably lands owners in trouble a couple of years down the road.

Using arbitrary values here, if the future value curve for Zac Stacy is in a range of $10-90 and that of, oh, Jonathan Stewart (hi, EBF! :bye:) is $10-35, sure, I and everyone else would rather have Stacy on an absolute basis. But right now - on that same arbitrary value scale - Stacy might cost $60 or $70 to Stewart's $15. If I have a hole at RB2 I'm scrambling to fill, Stewart is much better relative value and I'm taking him 10 times out of 10 in that situation, whereas a lot of owners will mortgage themselves for Stacy because "Stewart's just a 1-2 year stopgap" and "Stacy's up-and-coming PLUS HE'S YOUNG AND YOUTH ROX0RS!!!1!"

Ask all those guys who paid $70 this time last year for T-Rich how they feel about that decision now.

Wonderfully said. One of the core principles FBGs was founded on over a decade ago was "everyone has value". At the time, it was actually a revolutionary idea. The prevailing mindset was "this guy is terrible, I don't want him", and Joe and David came in with a new mindset of "this guy is terrible, but I still want him if the price is cheap enough". Value isn't about how good a player is, it's about the delta between a player's production and his cost. Even bad players can be good values if the cost is low enough.

It's easy to say that you should just sell the farm for a long-term solution, but it's possible to overpay for even the best players. Jerry Rice is probably the best players in fantasy football history, but if you traded 20 years of first round picks for him as a rookie, you still made your team a lot worse. You fixed your WR1 position for an unprecedented amount of time, but simultaneously removed any ability to improve the rest of your team. Likewise, guys like Julio and Dez and Graham and Green and Calvin might be the most valuable assets in fantasy football, but that doesn't mean that any price is a fair price for them. At some price, they'll be a value. At some higher price, they'll be a detriment.

Guys like Reggie Bush, on the other hand, are unabashedly a stopgap... but they're a much cheaper stopgap. Since the price is so much lower, it's a lot easier for Bush to represent good value than it would be for LeSean McCoy. If McCoy has 6 years left, and Bush has 2 years left, and you can get Bush for less than a third of the cost of McCoy, then Bush was the better value. If you have to keep writing those smaller checks, that's still fine- you can get three Reggie Bushes for less than the cost of one LeSean McCoy and you'll still get the same production either way.

Because young stud RBs are so rare, the few that exist are currently trading at dramatically inflated prices. Just because they're the best available doesn't mean they're worth these higher prices. When the tides are high like that, I find the best practice is to invest in something cheap to keep me afloat as I wait for the storm to pass.

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TIGHT ENDS

Last offseason I thought that there was no tier 2 at TE - just Gronk & Graham leading the way, then a huge gulf, then a barren wasteland, then the rest of the pack. My recommendation was to not spend too much on your favorite TE if you missed out on the top 2, instead going for quantity & value. I think I was right about the structure of the TE position (although I did not do so well with my calls on particular players) - just look at how few of the TEs currently ranked 3-10 were in last year's top 10.

With TEs increasingly involved in the passing game, a new generation of fantasy stars at TE should be on their way. A year ago it was extremely difficult to guess which players they would be, but we have gotten a lot of clues over the past season. A tier 2 has emerged which is still well behind Graham and Gronk, but which is at least worth getting excited about. There are also a bunch of exciting (though riskier) prospects on tier 3. Tier 4 has several less exciting veterans who are likely to at least leave you in a solid position for the short term.

My last posted TE rankings are from August 2013, but "Prev" shows my (unpublished) predraft ranking.

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev
1 1 Jimmy Graham NO 27.8 (1)
1 2 Rob Gronkowski NE 25.3 (2)
2 3 Julius Thomas DEN 26.2 (3)
2 4 Jordan Cameron CLE 26.1 (4)
2 5 Eric Ebron DET 21.4 (7)
3 6 Tyler Eifert CIN 24.0 (5)
3 7 Jordan Reed WAS 24.2 (8)
3 8 Zach Ertz PHI 23.8 (9)
3 9 Ladarius Green SD 24.3 (10)
4 10 Vernon Davis SF 30.6 (6)
4 11 Jason Witten DAL 32.3 (11)
4 12 Greg Olsen CAR 29.5 (12)
4 13 Dennis Pitta BAL 29.2 (13)
4 14 Martellus Bennett CHI 27.5 (15)
4 15 Charles Clay MIA 25.6 (19)
5 16 Jace Amaro NYJ 22.2 (18)
5 17 Kyle Rudolph MIN 24.8 (14)
5 18 Dwayne Allen IND 24.5 (17)
5 19 Austin Seferian-Jenkins TB 21.9 (16)
5 20 Coby Fleener IND 25.9 (20)
6 21 Travis Kelce KC 24.9 (21)
6 22 Luke Willson SEA 24.6 (35)
6 23 C.J. Fiedorowicz HOU 22.9 (25)
6 24 Heath Miller PIT 31.9 (26)
6 25 Richard Rodgers GB 22.6 (46)
6 26 Antonio Gates SD 34.2 (24)
6 27 Jared Cook STL 27.4 (23)
6 28 Colt Lyerla UDFA 21.8 (22)
6 29 Adrien Robinson NYG 26.0 (60)
6 30 Robert Housler ARI 26.5 (28)
6 31 Dustin Keller FA 29.9 (29)
6 32 Jermichael Finley FA 27.4 (32)
6 33 Brandon Bostick GB 25.3 (60)
7 34 A.C. Leonard MIN (34)
7 35 Mychal Rivera OAK 24.0 (35)
7 36 Garrett Graham HOU 28.1 (31)
7 37 Levine Toilolo ATL 23.1 unr
7 38 Troy Niklas ARI 22.0 (33)

7 39 Gavin Escobar DAL 23.6 (49)
7 40 Ryan Griffin HOU 24.7 (30)
7 41 Andrew Quarless GB 25.9 unr
7 42 Joe Don Duncan NE (35)
7 43 Vance McDonald SF 24.2 (48)
7 44 David Ausberry OAK 27.0 (36)
7 45 Delanie Walker TEN 30.1 (37)
7 46 Owen Daniels BAL 31.8 (39)
7 47 Jermaine Gresham CIN 26.2 (40)
7 48 Brent Celek PHI 29.6 (42)
7 49 Lance Kendricks STL 26.6 (45)


Tier 1: Graham had the best season of his career, Gronk got injured again, and Brady showed signs of decline (while Brees did not). So we have a new #1, though Gronk is close behind and still far ahead of #3.

Tier 2: Thomas & Cameron took a clear step ahead of the pack last year, but they both come with a big chunk of risk. Julius Thomas had a huge year, but much of the credit for his season goes to his (then) 37-year-old quarterback. Jordan Cameron had a huge half-season, and then a rather meh second half (though perhaps his quarterbacks deserve the credit for that decline?). Eric Ebron jumps immediately to this tier after being drafted as a receiving TE in the top 10, to a pass-heavy offense and a TE-friendly coach.

Tier 3: These four guys are tightly bunched together. Eifert holds steady as a recently drafted first rounder, Reed showed Hernandez-like potential as a move TE (but has a flag for concussions), Ertz looked good as a rookie and is poised to take advantage of Chip Kelly's offense, and Ladarius Green flashed a ton of upside with ridiculous per-snap numbers. But these guys don't have the pedigree of Ebron or the performance of Thomas & Cameron.

Tier 4: This tier mostly has relatively safe veterans with at least mid-range TE1 upside, along with a couple younger guys who aren't quite as promising as the tier 3 group. Vernon Davis is down here because San Francisco now has wide receivers; Olsen & Pitta are up here because Carolina & Baltimore mostly still do not. Clay is the youngest of the bunch but also the riskiest - he might be a one year wonder, and could have a declining role if Miami ever adds good WRs that they can use (rather than a deep threat who is going to waste and a bunch of Brian Hartline clones).

Tier 5: Kyle Rudolph vs. Jace Amaro is an interesting question. They have a lot of similarities - the biggest difference is that Rudolph has already had 3 pretty okay seasons in the NFL, which (if you're aiming for upside) seems like a reason to take Amaro.

Tier 6: Willson is a high-upside sleeper - he has Graham/Cameron athleticism and Seattle showed some interest in getting him the ball last year. Fiedorowicz has a fairly solid (but not especially wonderful) profile in terms of size, athleticism, college production, opportunity, and draft slot. Heath Miller is another year removed from his ACL injury and is in pretty good shape to contend for a top 12 finish (remember his 2012); he's slightly ahead of Gates because he doesn't have a Ladarius Green coming after him. There is a pretty good chance that some fantasy TE starter will emerge in Green Bay over the next couple years - could be Rodgers, Finley, Bostick, or someone else. The cutoff for who is rosterable might be near the bottom of this tier, for a league where TEs aren't that valuable.

Tier 7: I haven't put a ton of thought into the ordering within this tier. A lot depends on your roster needs. If you're desperate to fill out your lineup this year then you'd want to cross your fingers and grab someone like Rivera, Toilolo, or Walker. If you're looking to stash a prospect then perhaps Leonard, Escobar, or Ausberry (Escobar is a better prospect than the others, but we'll probably learn less about him between now and week 1 so he's less favorable for roster churn).

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QUARTERBACKS

Quarterback is the most stable position. Since there has been relatively little change over time, the "Prev" rank I give is for last offseason, posted here in August 2013.

Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev

1 1 Aaron Rodgers GB 31.7 (1)
2 2 Cam Newton CAR 25.3 (4)
2 3 Robert Griffin III WAS 24.5 (2)
2 4 Andrew Luck IND 25.0 (3)
3 5 Drew Brees NO 35.6 (5)
3 6 Russell Wilson SEA 25.8 (7)
3 7 Colin Kaepernick SF 26.8 (8)
3 8 Matthew Stafford DET 26.6 (9)
3 9 Nick Foles PHI 25.6 (33)
4 10 Matt Ryan ATL 29.3 (6)
4 11 Peyton Manning DEN 38.4 (10)
4 12 Tom Brady NE 37.1 (11)
4 13 Tony Romo DAL 34.4 (12)
4 14 Philip Rivers SD 32.7 (22)
5 15 Ryan Tannehill MIA 26.1 (13)
5 16 Johnny Manziel CLE 21.8 unr
5 17 Blake Bortles JAX 22.7 unr
5 18 Teddy Bridgewater MIN 21.8 unr
5 19 Andy Dalton CIN 26.8 (16)
6 20 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 33.5 (19)
6 21 Jay Cutler CHI 31.3 (24)
6 22 EJ Manuel BUF 24.5 (15)
6 23 Sam Bradford STL 26.8 (17)
7 24 Derek Carr OAK 23.4 unr
7 25 Geno Smith NYJ 23.9 (23)
7 26 Eli Manning NYG 33.7 (18)
7 27 Michael Vick PHI 34.2 (20)
7 28 Joe Flacco BAL 29.6 (21)
7 29 Carson Palmer ARI 34.7 (28)
7 30 Josh McCown TB 35.2 unr
7 31 Alex Smith KC 32.4 (31)
8 32 Mike Glennon TB 24.7 unr
8 33 Ryan Fitzpatrick HOU 31.8 unr
8 34 Jake Locker TEN 26.2 (29)
8 35 Matt Schaub OAK 33.2 (27)
8 36 Jimmy Garoppolo NE 22.8 unr
9 37 Ryan Mallett NE 26.2 (26)
9 38 Brock Osweiler DEN 23.8 (36)
9 39 Zach Mettenberger TEN 23.1 unr
9 40 A.J. McCarron CIN 24.0 unr
9 41 Brian Hoyer CLE 28.9 unr
9 42 Terrelle Pryor OAK 25.2 unr
9 43 Tom Savage HOU 24.4 unr
9 44 Matt Barkley PHI 24.0 (35)
9 45 Logan Thomas ARI 23.2 unr
9 46 Case Keenum HOU 26.6 unr
9 47 Kirk Cousins WAS 26.1 (37)
9 48 Aaron Murray KC 23.8 unr
9 49 David Fales CHI 23.9 unr
9 50 Landry Jones PIT 25.4 unr
9 51 Chad Henne JAX 29.2 (39)

Tier 2 is tightly packed. Griffin took a step back in year 2 but at least has an excuse, Luck failed to take a step forward towards Aaron Rodgers levels, and so Newton (who offers the most value with his legs) sneaks into the #2 spot.

Stafford rises to tier 3 thanks to another strong/pass-happy season (despite increased stability at RB) and Detroit's decision to add more receiving weapons.

Foles is sort of between tiers here. He's similar to Stafford as a QB whose fantasy value comes from his situation more than his talent. I'm not thrilled about him, but I do like Chip Kelly.

Rivers and Romo become almost indistinguishable fantasy assets with Rivers's return to form.

Manziel's rushing value gives him upside over Bortles & Bridgewater. In 2 QB leagues I'd be tempted to go with the safer option of Bortles. New top QBs usually emerge within their first couple years, so it's worth getting them to see what they can do. For Manuel & Smith a bad first year isn't definitive, but it's enough to move a QB back behind the new crop of similar incoming rookies.

Tier 9 guys should probably be on the waiver wire in this sized league, and I'd rather not own the tier 8 guys either.

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I'd take Luck over Cam and RG3 handily in real life. In FF it's a closer call because he doesn't run as much, but I think he's a much better QB and more likely to have sustained success. We've already seen the downside to RG3 and while I expect a renaissance in year three with healthier legs and new weapons, he may not be a guy who can survive playing the style of football that made him so good in his rookie year.

I think upside becomes a big factor outside the top 12-15 in non 2QB or superflex leagues. I'd take the mystery of Garoppolo or Mallett ahead of a proven mediocrity like Smith, McCown, Fitzpatrick, Locker, or Palmer. They're unlikely to be better, but at least they have a chance to become great players whereas you know what you're getting with the guys who have been around for years. In a shallow league where you're only starting 1 QB, the low probability of getting an elite player is worth more to me than the high probability of getting a mid-level backup type.

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I think upside becomes a big factor outside the top 12-15 in non 2QB or superflex leagues. I'd take the mystery of Garoppolo or Mallett ahead of a proven mediocrity like Smith, McCown, Fitzpatrick, Locker, or Palmer. They're unlikely to be better, but at least they have a chance to become great players whereas you know what you're getting with the guys who have been around for years. In a shallow league where you're only starting 1 QB, the low probability of getting an elite player is worth more to me than the high probability of getting a mid-level backup type.

I'd rather use that roster spot to churn WRs, instead of waiting for years on a low expected value player like Garoppolo or Mallett (although I may be underrating Mallett a little, not giving him enough credit for the possibility that he'll get traded and have a chance to show something this year).

Guys like A Smith or McCown are worth rostering if you need a backup. If they have little chance of cracking your lineup this year (or if you're confident that equivalent players will be on the waiver wire midseason if you need someone) then there are better uses for that roster spot.

Roughly speaking, there are two types of players worth owning: 1) players with a decent chance to start at least one game for me this year, and 2) players with a decent chance to have a 40 VBD season at some point. (And with type 2 players, the longer that I'll need to wait on a player, the higher the standard he needs to meet in terms of probability & upside.) Mid-level backups are appropriate players to have on some rosters (as type 1). I don't think that Mallett & Garoppolo make the cut as type 2.

(Things are different in leagues with very deep rosters, or where QBs have tons of fantasy value. This is all assuming a league with about 250 position players rostered, start 1 QB, standard scoring.)

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A. Smith was QB14 in PPG last season has another year in his offense and no foreseeable threats to his PT. He is more than roster worthy. He is star able in most weeks.

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I'm a bit curious why Sam Bradford reaches your 6th tier while Jake Locker falls to the 8th. I think they're pretty similar players- last-chance vets getting one more shot. They also both put up very comparable rate stats last year. I'd rather bet on Locker's legs and the Hunter/Wright tandem than Bradford and Austin&Co.

A. Smith was QB14 in PPG last season has another year in his offense and no foreseeable threats to his PT. He is more than roster worthy. He is star able in most weeks.

Alex Smith was a high-end QB2 last year on the back of career-best rushing production and a berserko game from Jamaal Charles. Perhaps I'm overly cautious, but I don't like the idea of betting on a 30 year old QB who just more than doubled his career-best rushing production to somehow manage to keep that up going forward.

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I'm a bit curious why Sam Bradford reaches your 6th tier while Jake Locker falls to the 8th. I think they're pretty similar players- last-chance vets getting one more shot. They also both put up very comparable rate stats last year. I'd rather bet on Locker's legs and the Hunter/Wright tandem than Bradford and Austin&Co.

I hadn't realized that Locker's numbers last year were that respectable - he should probably be in tier 7.

I still like Bradford more. Bradford ranked 14th out of 45 QBs in passing DVOA last year, 11 points ahead of Locker (who ranked 22nd). Fitzpatrick's 2013 and Bradford's 2012 were also slightly ahead of Locker's 2013 in DVOA. Bradford was more highly touted (and more highly drafted) coming into the league, and he has been stuck with a pretty awful receiving corps for most of his career. I don't have as much trust in Locker and I don't think his team does either - note that the Rams are keeping Bradford this year despite his non-guaranteed $14M salary, while the Titans just turned down Locker's $14M option for 2015.

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A. Smith was QB14 in PPG last season has another year in his offense and no foreseeable threats to his PT. He is more than roster worthy. He is star able in most weeks.

Alex Smith was a high-end QB2 last year on the back of career-best rushing production and a berserko game from Jamaal Charles. Perhaps I'm overly cautious, but I don't like the idea of betting on a 30 year old QB who just more than doubled his career-best rushing production to somehow manage to keep that up going forward.

So it would change things had Smith had his best game, the game vs. Indy in the playoffs, in the regular season instead of the post season? Taking away a players best game or using it against them as some verification is a weak argument.

Why would a 30 yr old QB not be able to keep up his rushing production? He's still playing in the same offense, 30 isn't old for a QB at all and it's not like he had Cam numbers. He ran for 431/1 in 15 games. Hardly earth shattering. Smith has always been an athletic WB capable of running for decent yardage. Seems like Reid is finally getting more out of him is all. Why would that change?

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A. Smith was QB14 in PPG last season has another year in his offense and no foreseeable threats to his PT. He is more than roster worthy. He is star able in most weeks.

Alex Smith was a high-end QB2 last year on the back of career-best rushing production and a berserko game from Jamaal Charles. Perhaps I'm overly cautious, but I don't like the idea of betting on a 30 year old QB who just more than doubled his career-best rushing production to somehow manage to keep that up going forward.

So it would change things had Smith had his best game, the game vs. Indy in the playoffs, in the regular season instead of the post season? Taking away a players best game or using it against them as some verification is a weak argument.

Why would a 30 yr old QB not be able to keep up his rushing production? He's still playing in the same offense, 30 isn't old for a QB at all and it's not like he had Cam numbers. He ran for 431/1 in 15 games. Hardly earth shattering. Smith has always been an athletic WB capable of running for decent yardage. Seems like Reid is finally getting more out of him is all. Why would that change?

It might not. As I said, perhaps I'm being overly cautious. Still, he's been in the league for 8 years, and one of those seasons has me humming "one of these things is not like the other..."

You're right on that it's unfair that Smith's best game came in the playoffs and therefore doesn't show up in his season stats. From a predictive standpoint, I don't see any reason why that game would hold less predictive power than any other game he played last year.

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WIDE RECEIVERS


The last position of this rank-a-thon. Note that tiers mean a lot here. Prev shows my (unpublished) ranking from shortly before the draft; my last posted rankings were in November.


Tr Rk Player Team Age Prev





1 1 Calvin Johnson DET 28.9 (1)

2 2 A.J. Green CIN 26.1 (2)

3 3 Demaryius Thomas DEN 26.7 (3)

3 4 Dez Bryant DAL 25.8 (4)

4 5 Julio Jones ATL 25.6 (5)

4 6 Alshon Jeffery CHI 24.5 (7)

5 7 Randall Cobb GB 24.1 (8)

5 8 Percy Harvin SEA 26.3 (9)

5 9 Brandon Marshall CHI 30.4 (10)

6 10 Jordy Nelson GB 29.3 (11)

6 11 Victor Cruz NYG 27.8 (12)

6 12 Sammy Watkins BUF 21.2 (13)

6 13 Antonio Brown PIT 26.1 (14)

6 14 Mike Evans TB 21.0 (17)

7 15 Michael Crabtree SF 27.0 (16)

7 16 Cordarrelle Patterson MIN 23.5 (18)

7 17 Keenan Allen SD 22.4 (19)

7 18 Michael Floyd ARI 24.8 (20)

7 19 Pierre Garcon WAS 28.1 (15)

7 20 Brandin Cooks NO 20.9 (25)

8 21 Josh Gordon CLE 23.4 (6)

8 22 Tavon Austin STL 23.5 (22)

8 23 T.Y. Hilton IND 24.8 (21)

8 24 DeSean Jackson WAS 27.7 (24)

8 25 Davante Adams GB 21.7 (39)

8 26 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 31.0 (23)

8 27 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 21.8 (31)

8 28 Vincent Jackson TB 31.6 (27)

8 29 Torrey Smith BAL 25.6 (28)

8 30 Andre Johnson HOU 33.1 (29)

8 31 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 22.3 (30)

8 32 Justin Hunter TEN 23.3 (35)

8 33 Jordan Matthews PHI 22.1 (38)

8 34 Jeremy Maclin PHI 26.3 (34)

9 35 Eric Decker NYJ 27.5 (26)

9 36 Marqise Lee JAX 22.8 (32)

9 37 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 23.6 (50)

9 38 Allen Robinson JAX 21.0 (33)

9 39 Cody Latimer DEN 21.9 (42)

9 40 Mike Wallace MIA 28.1 (48)

9 41 Roddy White ATL 32.8 (45)

9 42 Justin Blackmon JAX 24.6 (36)

9 43 Donte Moncrief IND 21.1 (37)

9 44 Kendall Wright TEN 24.8 (51)

9 45 Cecil Shorts JAX 26.7 (41)

9 46 Wes Welker DEN 33.3 (40)

9 47 Golden Tate DET 26.1 (44)

9 48 Hakeem Nicks IND 26.6 (43)

9 49 Marques Colston NO 31.2 (46)

9 50 Dwayne Bowe KC 29.9 (49)

10 51 Julian Edelman NE 28.3 (47)

10 52 Terrance Williams DAL 25.0 (55)

10 53 Danny Amendola NE 28.8 (56)

10 54 Steve Johnson SF 28.1 (54)

10 55 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 27.4 (52)

10 56 Aaron Dobson NE 23.2 (57)

10 57 Kenny Britt STL 25.9 (58)

10 58 Mike Williams BUF 27.3 (59)

10 59 Markus Wheaton PIT 23.6 (62)

10 60 Robert Woods BUF 22.4 (64)

10 61 Paul Richardson SEA 22.4 (67)

10 62 Josh Huff PHI 22.9 (98)

10 63 Greg Jennings MIN 30.9 (63)

11 64 Stedman Bailey STL 23.8 (66)

11 65 Kenny Stills NO 22.4 (65)

11 66 Andre Holmes OAK 26.2 (77)

11 67 Jarrett Boykin GB 24.8 (61)

11 68 Riley Cooper PHI 27.0 (60)

11 69 Rueben Randle NYG 23.3 (53)

11 70 Martavis Bryant PIT 22.7 (68)

11 71 Marvin Jones CIN 24.5 (69)

11 72 John Brown ARI 24.4 unr

11 73 Sidney Rice SEA 28.0 (71)

11 74 Santonio Holmes FA 30.5 (73)

11 75 Marquise Goodwin BUF 23.8 (72)

11 76 Miles Austin CLE 30.2 (74)

11 77 Reggie Wayne IND 35.8 (75)

12 78 Danario Alexander FA 26.0 (76)

12 79 Jared Abbrederis GB 23.7 (82)

12 80 Steve Smith BAL 35.4 (80)

12 81 Doug Baldwin SEA 26.9 (100)

12 82 Anquan Boldin SF 33.9 (88)

12 83 Jerricho Cotchery CAR 32.2 (104)

12 84 Nate Burleson CLE 33.1 (128)

12 85 Marlon Brown BAL 23.4 (92)

12 86 Rod Streater OAK 26.6 (87)

12 87 Malcom Floyd SD 33.0 (118)

12 88 Brian Hartline MIA 27.8 (86)

12 89 Quinton Patton SF 24.1 (78)

12 90 Bruce Ellington SF 23.0 (79)

12 91 Jeff Janis GB 23.2 (81)

12 92 Charles Johnson CLE 25.5 (101)

12 93 Da'Rick Rogers IND 23.2 (85)

12 94 Tavarres King CAR 24.2 (95)

12 95 Marvin McNutt CAR 25.2 unr

12 96 Nate Washington TEN 31.0 (109)

13 97 Denarius Moore OAK 25.7 (91)

13 98 Lance Moore PIT 31.0 (116)

13 99 James Jones OAK 30.4 (89)

13 100 A.J. Jenkins KC 24.9 (99)

13 101 Andrew Hawkins CLE 28.5 unr

13 102 Jarvis Landry MIA 21.8 (97)

13 103 Kenbrell Thompkins NE 26.1 (90)

13 104 Stephen Hill NYJ 23.4 (93)

13 105 Chris Givens STL 24.7 (96)

13 106 Jermaine Kearse SEA 24.6 (102)

13 107 Robert Herron TB (83)

13 108 Devin Street DAL 23.4 (84)

13 109 Andre Roberts WAS 26.6 (102)

13 110 Brandon LaFell NE 27.8 (103)

13 111 Tevin Reese SD unr

13 112 Vincent Brown SD 25.6 (94)

13 113 Kevin Norwood SEA 24.8 unr

13 114 Josh Boyce NE 24.6 (105)

13 115 Rishard Matthews MIA 24.9 (107)

13 116 TJ Jones DET 22.1 (112)

13 117 Brian Quick STL 25.2 (108)

13 118 Marquess Wilson CHI 22.0 (110)

13 119 Jeremy Gallon NE unr

13 120 Eddie Royal SD 28.3 (131)

13 121 Ryan Grant WAS 23.7 unr

13 122 Michael Campanaro BAL 23.6 (113)

13 123 Joseph Morgan NO 26.5 (114)

13 124 Jeremy Kerley NYJ 25.8 (115)

13 125 Harry Douglas ATL 30.0 (117)

13 126 Ryan Broyles DET 26.4 (119)





The WR position is ridiculously deep right now. I could describe tiers 10 and up as "guys I like", and that's 63 receivers. (In more technical terms, they're 63 guys who all have a reasonable shot at putting up a fantasy WR2 season at some point, with the possibility of a longer run of WR2 seasons balancing out a lower probability for some guys.)



At #63 I have Greg Jennings, who looks underrated to me at that spot - he has a great shot to bounce back from his Ponder-afflicted down year (in which he still managed to finish as WR40 in ppg, min 8 games) - but I'm having trouble moving any of the guys ahead of him down. #62, Josh Huff, is going into a great situation in Chip Kelly's offense and seems to be ridiculously underrated in rookie drafts - I don't understand how there is so much Jordan Matthews love (drafted 42, DLF rookie WR6) and so little Josh Huff love (drafted 86, DLF rookie WR21). I started a thread on NFL 2nd rounder Paul Richardson, Are we missing the boat on Paul Richardson?, and still didn't manage to rank him higher than 61.


So that's the exciting cutoff at the bottom of tier 10, after WR63. Now let's turn our attention to the top and work down from there.


I continue to have Calvin Johnson on his own tier at #1. He averaged nearly 3 ppg more than AJ Green, which continues a trend. Green is 2.8 years younger, but given WR aging patterns (and the fact that Johnson is more superhuman than Green), that probably only translates into an expectation of about 1 extra remaining season of fantasy value for Green. I'll stick with Megatron, and it isn't a close call.


Julio's recurring foot troubles keep him a tier back from Demaryius & Dez, who are themselves a tier back from Green based on a talent gap.


It seems kind of silly to have so many tiers that WR10 is on tier 6, but there really is a relatively steep and steady dropoff among the top 10 WRs which would not be conveyed with more standard sized tiers. Cobb's production exceeds his talent and he has the risk of leaving town & losing Rodgers, Harvin has injury & workload risk, Marshall is getting old, and Nelson has Cobb's risks plus Marshall's. Cruz is younger and in a more stable situation, but he has lower upside and a somewhat iffy QB situation.


The rest of the tier 6-7 guys all give me at least some reason to pause. Antonio Brown and Pierre Garcon thrived last year in situations where they stood out from a weak receiving corps, but I suspect that they're due for a drop in volume and total production. Brown remains higher because he appears likely to retain his role for another season. DeSean Jackson could easily turn out to be the better Washington WR.


Michael Floyd's rise in the rankings over the past year seems rather odd. He had a pretty nice season, but not one that was all that special by the numbers (WR24 in ppg) or in how most people seemed to evaluate it. How does that take him from dynasty WR41 (where the FBG average had him a year ago) to dynasty WR16 (where FBG has him now) or 12 (where DLF has him)? In my book he's gone from underrated (with people underweighting his draft pedigree and potential) to a bit overrated (with people assuming another step up which may never come).


Similarly, Cordarelle Patterson flashed last year but a lot of people have him being ranked as if he'd already arrived. The skills he showed in college (in terms of elusiveness / run after catch) carried over to the NFL, but it's still an open question whether he'll develop the rest of the package of WR skills (route running, etc.) to be an elite NFL WR.


Tiers 8 & 9 include a ton of young WRs with potential. I put a lot of weight on draft position, as well as a significant amount of weight on being a Packer, Saint, Eagle, or Colt (four likely high-powered passing offenses with openings in the receiving corps now or in the near future). It feels kind of crazy to have Davante Adams (pick 53) ahead of Odell Beckham (pick 12), but look at what Cobb & Nelson have done (and Jennings before them). Cooks slips into tier 7 - I was excited about him pre-draft and then he went in the 1st to an offense where he could be huge. I posted some other things about this year's rookie WR class here.


There are a bunch of good, reasonably priced veteran options at WR for win-now fantasy teams. For potentially elite production: VJax, Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Welker. Colston a bit behind them. Bowe, Stevie Johnson, Mike Williams, Jennings as a potential fantasy WR2/3. Potential WR3 stopgaps like Riley Cooper, M Austin, Wayne, S Smith, Boldin, Cotchery, Malcom Floyd. Plus guys with some injury or character risk like Amendola (potential WR2), Sidney Rice, Holmes, Burleson.


Tier 13 guys are receivers who I am not that interested in owning in this sort of league, and I haven't put that much thought into their ordering. Mostly they're hanging back there to remind me of their existence, so I'll be ready to act if something comes up.

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Michael Floyd's rise in the rankings over the past year seems rather odd. He had a pretty nice season, but not one that was all that special by the numbers (WR24 in ppg) or in how most people seemed to evaluate it. How does that take him from dynasty WR41 (where the FBG average had him a year ago) to dynasty WR16 (where FBG has him now) or 12 (where DLF has him)? In my book he's gone from underrated (with people underweighting his draft pedigree and potential) to a bit overrated (with people assuming another step up which may never come).
Similarly, Cordarelle Patterson flashed last year but a lot of people have him being ranked as if he'd already arrived. The skills he showed in college (in terms of elusiveness / run after catch) carried over to the NFL, but it's still an open question whether he'll develop the rest of the package of WR skills (route running, etc.) to be an elite NFL WR.

Couldn't agree more on these. I think the 2013 preseason FBG rankings of Floyd were a bit embarrassing. Dude was a top 15 pick with prototypical height/weight/speed/explosiveness. He had 500+ yards as a rookie with one of the worst QB situations in NFL history. Not sure why he was ever at WR41.

I also agree completely that the pendulum might have swung back too far in the other direction. He's shown that he can be a solid #2 opposite a solid #1. Whether or not that will translate to him becoming a #1 guy either before or after Fitz leaves remains a big ???.

No margin for error with Patterson at his current market price. I'd rather have Justin Hunter for a fraction of the price. I went back last night and watched some Hunter college highlights on a lark. Very impressive. I know all about his rail thin frame and how it doesn't fit with the league's current elite, but I feel like he's a big talent with every bit the breakout potential of Patterson. I'd take him over Hopkins, Adams, Torrey, Hilton, Tavon, and maybe a few others.

I'm not going to get into a big debate about it, but I wonder why it's taken for granted that AJ Green is more talented than guys like Dez and Demaryius. He had fewer yards than DT on a much bigger number of targets. I know Dalton vs. Peyton accounts for a lot of that and I actually don't think we've seen AJ's ceiling yet, but the idea that he's a tier apart from guys like Dez and Demaryius has always seemed really suspect to me and I've never heard anyone make a good case for it. It usually comes down to, "Well he just is." He isn't as physically talented, he doesn't get the YAC they do, and he averages far fewer yards per target.

Agree with your instinct on Jennings being too low. I like him as a one or two year WR2 rental. In my view that puts him on par or greater than guys like Roddy, Colston, Bowe, G Tate, Sanders (:X), and Amendola.

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I agree that Patterson is probably a bit overrated in dynasty leagues right now. He's typically going around WR12 or so and that seems a bit high for a guy who really "hasn't arrived" as a true WR yet. What does that say about ranking rookies like Evans and Watkins ahead of him though? That seems more of a reach than the Patterson rankings I've seen. If not arriving as a WR is holding back Patterson, it should also be holding back those 2 and moreso. We've at least seen Patterson dominate on Sundays and his talent is on par with them.

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The WR position is ridiculously deep right now. I could describe tiers 10 and up as "guys I like", and that's 63 receivers. (In more technical terms, they're 63 guys who all have a reasonable shot at putting up a fantasy WR2 season at some point, with the possibility of a longer run of WR2 seasons balancing out a lower probability for some guys.)

Excellent work ZWK.

I have a question about your RB tiers in relation to your statement about the WR.

How many RB do you consider capable of being RB 2-3? Would that include all of the RB into tier 6 (32 players)?

I am just trying to figure out if you think the scarcity of viable RB compared to the viable WR (perhaps a 2-1 difference in viable WR compared to RB) would cause you to value those players more, even though the VBD expectation is not the same?

I do not get that sense from your comments. Instead advocating tier 7 RB as targets in a start up draft (a strategy I agree with to some degree btw).

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Another great set of rankings. Thanks for posting these.

I'm a bit surprised at the turn this thread has take on Floyd/Patterson. Floyd's "not stellar" WR24 finish last year was mentioned. Doesn't it make sense that a 24 year old WR with a high draft pedigree that has just entered the dawn of his career would be ranked, not insubstantially, higher than his previous year finish? Isn't that part of the reason why Le'Veon Bell is ranked as RB6 despite his RB14 finish? Or why Giovanni Bernard is RB5 despite his RB16 finish, Tyler Eifert is TE6 despite his TE29 finish, Andrew Luck is QB4 despite his QB7 finish, DeAndre Hopkins is WR31 despite his WR51 finish, and so on..

Floyd's 2nd year numbers were extremely similar to those of Dez Bryant and Randall Cobb, two guys who were ranked WR6 and WR9 coming off of those finishes. Yet Floyd, who was drafted earlier than both of them (albeit for reasons beyond talent when being compared to Dez) and put up similar 2nd year numbers with far worse QB play is overrated at WR16? Does not compute.

As far as Patterson goes, I can see his rankings varying a lot from person to person as he's a major boom or bust player and different owners weigh risk vs. potential differently. I would not say people are ranking him as if he's "already arrived" though. If they were he would be WR1 or WR2 right now because, right or wrong, that's where people see his potential if he "arrives". It also seems contradictory to mention WR12 being too high for a guy who has not yet arrived while replacing him in the rankings at WR12 with a guy who literally hasn't arrived in the NFL yet (a rookie). Not that I have a problem with Watkins there, just some nit picking :P

With Patterson I don't think we've reached a situation like we did with some people ranking Gio in the top 2 or 3 where, even if he lives up to his massive potential, you've basically only broken even on the cost to acquire him. If Patterson is bought at WR12 prices and performs like AJ Green going forward, even if it doesn't start this year, that's still a ton of value gained.

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At #63 I have Greg Jennings, who looks underrated to me at that spot - he has a great shot to bounce back from his Ponder-afflicted down year (in which he still managed to finish as WR40 in ppg, min 8 games) - but I'm having trouble moving any of the guys ahead of him down. #62, Josh Huff, is going into a great situation in Chip Kelly's offense and seems to be ridiculously underrated in rookie drafts - I don't understand how there is so much Jordan Matthews love (drafted 42, DLF rookie WR6) and so little Josh Huff love (drafted 86, DLF rookie WR21).

It's because the analytics guys have loved Matthews since well before the NFL draft. Looking strictly at his college statistics, he was far and away the best receiver prospect in this draft class. He owns pretty much every major receiving record in SEC history.

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I agree that Patterson is probably a bit overrated in dynasty leagues right now. He's typically going around WR12 or so and that seems a bit high for a guy who really "hasn't arrived" as a true WR yet. What does that say about ranking rookies like Evans and Watkins ahead of him though? That seems more of a reach than the Patterson rankings I've seen. If not arriving as a WR is holding back Patterson, it should also be holding back those 2 and moreso. We've at least seen Patterson dominate on Sundays and his talent is on par with them.

Patterson didn't show enough last season for the book on him right now to be any different than the book on him coming out, imo. At the same time, Watkins and Evans are both better prospects than Patterson was coming out. From that standpoint, it would be weird to see Patterson leapfrog those two guys despite an overall ho-hum rookie season.

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Patterson scored a combined 9 TD last season. 4 receiving, 3 rushing and 2 off of kick returns. He scored at least one TD every week from week 12 to week 16 after not being used much on offense earlier on in the season. Finished second in the league in combined yards. He might be over valued but I don't think his performance was ho-hum.

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Another great set of rankings. Thanks for posting these.

I'm a bit surprised at the turn this thread has take on Floyd/Patterson. Floyd's "not stellar" WR24 finish last year was mentioned. Doesn't it make sense that a 24 year old WR with a high draft pedigree that has just entered the dawn of his career would be ranked, not insubstantially, higher than his previous year finish? Isn't that part of the reason why Le'Veon Bell is ranked as RB6 despite his RB14 finish? Or why Giovanni Bernard is RB5 despite his RB16 finish, Tyler Eifert is TE6 despite his TE29 finish, Andrew Luck is QB4 despite his QB7 finish, DeAndre Hopkins is WR31 despite his WR51 finish, and so on..

Floyd's 2nd year numbers were extremely similar to those of Dez Bryant and Randall Cobb, two guys who were ranked WR6 and WR9 coming off of those finishes. Yet Floyd, who was drafted earlier than both of them (albeit for reasons beyond talent when being compared to Dez) and put up similar 2nd year numbers with far worse QB play is overrated at WR16? Does not compute.

As far as Patterson goes, I can see his rankings varying a lot from person to person as he's a major boom or bust player and different owners weigh risk vs. potential differently. I would not say people are ranking him as if he's "already arrived" though. If they were he would be WR1 or WR2 right now because, right or wrong, that's where people see his potential if he "arrives". It also seems contradictory to mention WR12 being too high for a guy who has not yet arrived while replacing him in the rankings at WR12 with a guy who literally hasn't arrived in the NFL yet (a rookie). Not that I have a problem with Watkins there, just some nit picking :P

With Patterson I don't think we've reached a situation like we did with some people ranking Gio in the top 2 or 3 where, even if he lives up to his massive potential, you've basically only broken even on the cost to acquire him. If Patterson is bought at WR12 prices and performs like AJ Green going forward, even if it doesn't start this year, that's still a ton of value gained.

I agree with most of what you posted. Regarding the bolded, I think Patterson has reached that level (well, almost). While a WR11-12 to a WR1 may seem like a lot of room for upside as compared to RB3 to RB1, because there are more WRs taken in the first few rounds than RBs, the upside remaining is closer to RB3 to RB1 than it is to RB12 to RB1 imo.

In the DFWC (6 PPR startups just recently finished), Patterson went as the WR11 (on average) at 2.08, 2.06, 2.06, 2.04, 2.10, 2.09. Gio went 1.11, 2.01, 1.10, 2.01, 2.01, 2.04. There is less upside left for Gio (from 2.01 to 1.01), but not a whole lot less than Patterson (from 2.06 to 1.01).

Both are valued appropriately at those ranges imo.

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