My brother Mike and I love to debate player value. And even though it’s early June, we’re already combing through ADP data looking for bargains. Because even though Mike was given RotoViz approved 6’2” height, while I was only given charm, wit, good looks, and humility, we were both clearly blessed1 with whatever gene it is that causes a year-round obsession with fantasy football. This year we’ve decided to turn our debate into a series for RotoViz. One of us will lay out the case for a re-draft WR that looks like a great bargain based on their early re-draft ADP, and then you’ll hear from the other Kerrane bro, who’ll tell you why you may be better off looking elsewhere.
Ok let’s get this kicked off. Mike will lay out the case for Greg Jennings, with my rebuttal to follow. Oh, and Mike, get ready for me to carry this series like I carried you out of Kildare’s on your 21st birthday, after you got kicked out for calling the DJ “Vagina Johnson.”
The case for Greg Jennings (Mike)
Full disclosure: I am a rabid Minnesota Vikings fan.2 In fact, I was all set to write about Cordarrelle Patterson, who I feel is slightly undervalued at WR22, until I saw Jennings’ ADP: WR58. Jennings finished 2013 as PPR WR34, meaning last year he outperformed this ranking by 24 spots despite enduring a season with Bill Musgrave and the…thing…that some people refer to as a quarterback, known as Christian Ponder. Musgrave has been replaced by the relentlessly competent3Norv Turner, and mercifully, Ponder does not project as the team’s opening day starter.
One of the two contenders for that distinction is Matt Cassel, who meshed well with Jennings last year; the only receiver with whom Cassel posted higher AYA numbers was Jarius Wright, and Cassel only targeted him 19 times. Jennings, on the other hand, was Cassel’s most targeted receiver in 2013.
Fun exercise: Try to find the player who is alone in an area so wide open and desolate that it looks like he was exiled there.4
Look, I get that no one is psyched to take a receiver entering his age 31 season, but having old receivers in the mix isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And there’s just way too much value here compared to some of the players being drafted ahead of him. For example, why is he being selected 20 spots lower overall than his former teammate/understudy James Jones? Jones didn’t outscore Jennings last year and you know he’s in Oakland now right? They literally refer to that place as “The Black Hole.” Give me the superior receiver in a Norv Turner offense, thank you very much
Ah, Norv. Sweet, sweet Norv. His arrival is being used to argue in favor of Patterson and Kyle Rudolph, why not Jennings? Given Jennings’ experience and skillset, he’s the safest bet to acclimate to the new offense quickly and be productive early. I’m sure Pat will bemoan his lack of upside, but really how much upside are you really looking for from WR58?
Jennings’ ADP indicates that by the time he’s going off the board, most teams will have already taken their fifth receiver. If he’s YOUR fifth receiver, you should feel really, really good about that. He may even put your whole team on his back.
The Case Against Greg Jennings (Pat)
This is a tough one because I don’t mind Jennings at his current ADP. He finished ten spots ahead of Patterson in PPR but is being drafted ~100 picks later. If you’re looking for a way to short the Cordarrelle Patterson hype that’s surely coming this summer, drafting Greg Jennings is a decent way to go. That said, I do think there are some red flags for Jennings, so here’s why you might be happy if you avoid him this year:
The most obvious case I can see for Jennings having a great 2014 season is that he’s the next iteration of the Veteran WR revived by a Rookie QB—first Steve Smith, then Reggie Wayne, now Greg Jennings. Problem is, neither of those guys had a 1st round WR in his 2nd year on the field with him. Even more problematic is that Patterson is built for short, quick passes that while potentially inefficient, are also a low risk way to ease a QB into the offense. Already we’ve heard that Norv Turner is installing plays specifically for Patterson. This type of news is likely to overinflate Patterson’s value, but even if Patterson doesn’t turn into a star this year, his playing style is likely to siphon off targets from Jennings.
So if Jennings won’t see the increase in target volume that both Smith and Wayne saw in 2011 and 2012 respectively, what can we expect from him? Well, the Sim Score App likes him for a high of 14.6 PPR points, which is less than Brian Hartline, the poster boy for high floor low ceiling late round picks. You can take them both in the 13th round, which isn’t bad value, but your still passing on high upside guys like Justin Hunter there. Personally I’d prefer my 13th round WR to be boom or bust—you’re not winning your league by drafting the Brian Hartlines of the world.