This article is continuing a two-part monthly series called Dynasty Stock Market that discusses which players I am buying or selling on my Dynasty rosters. The January installments can he found here (buys) and here (sells).
RE-SIGNING SEASON: BUY REALITY, SELL HOPE
Prior to free agency, there are a lot players whose value reflects the best possible scenario playing out. While something may seem likely, paying for it before it actually happens will eventually catch up to even the shrewdest prognosticator. The real issue is that if you’re right, the value doesn’t change, you’ve already paid for the desired outcome; whereas if you’re wrong, the player’s value can take a devastating hit. Some examples of this last season are Andre Ellington (the Cardinals both drafted and signed other running backs), Davante Adams (Randall Cobb did not move in free agency, as was expected), and Cody Latimer (Demaryius Thomas signed an extension, and Gary Kubiak ended up playing Andre Caldwell, Jordan Norwood, and Bennie Fowler on more snaps than Latimer).
Instead of paying for hope, I firmly believe in identifying and buying players who I think are being priced well below their best possible scenarios, and much closer to their worst possible scenarios.
MARVIN JONES IS THE UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT PRIZE
Last Summer, I wrote about why Marvin Jones had rare, intriguing NFL production. In the conclusion, I speculated that it was reasonable to expect Jones to get roughly 20 percent of team targets, and that he would produce with them at a similar efficiency to his career averages. Well, he ended up with 20.8 percent of team targets, and while catch rate and yards per target stayed nearly the same, Jones’ gaudy TD rate unfortunately plummeted.
|Statistic||2015 Season||Career Prior|
|Yards per Target||7.92||8.12|
Still, his 173.9 PPR points far exceeded his career 16 game pace of 148.9, and absolutely obliterated the expectation of his WR72 redraft ADP. Holding it against him that he had three teammates with double digit touchdowns seems counterproductive, and I firmly believe 2015 was a wild success for Jones, who is still only 25 years old, only had 112 career targets entering the season (he had 103 in 2015), and hadn’t played a snap all of 2014. While ADP has risen from 154th overall1 to 114th overall 2 that still seems like it isn’t pricing in any kind of best case scenario.
Other than Jones and Alshon Jeffery, who is expected to be franchise-tagged, the only unrestricted free agent wide receivers this season under the age of 333 that finished inside the top 50 PPR WRs are Travis Benjamin and Rueben Randle. If I was looking to acquire a wide receiver in free agency, I think I know which one I would be pursuing:
|Player||Career Catch Rate||Career Yards per Target||Career TD Rate||Career 16 game pace PPR points||Career Adjusted Yards per Attempt||Birthdate|
|Marvin Jones||62.0%||8.01||6.94%||158.8||7.96||March, 1990|
|Rueben Randle||57.5%||8.09||6.12%||155.1||6.94||May, 1991|
|Travis Benjamin||49.3%||7.62||4.53%||106.9||6.49||December, 1989|
What’s truly bizarre is the Dynasty ADPs for these three WRs appear to be backwards, with Benjamin having gone from 283rd overall to 96th overall, and Randle from 145th to 162nd. I had to cross reference our data with Dynasty League Football’s January ADP just to make sure ours wasn’t being corrupted by small sample size, and they show a very similar ranking: Benjamin 87th overall, Jones 111th overall, and Randle 152nd overall.
I actually don’t hate buying Randle at that price, and there are already more than enough articles on RotoViz (like this one and this one and this one) to explain why; however, the fact that he has never been able to produce more despite always being opposite Victor Cruz or Odell Beckham, and having almost every single career target from Eli Manning (322 out of 327), really worries me. It also doesn’t help that the offensive coach who drafted Randle is no longer there (Tom Coughlin) and the current offensive coach (Ben McAdoo) was not there when he was drafted. This is in contrast to Jones situation, as Cincinnati’s head coach and offensive coordinator have both been on the staff since 2003.
Whether Jones stays in stripes (Sanu is also an unrestricted free agent, which should free up even more targets), follows his former offensive coordinator to Cleveland, goes back home to San Francisco, or lands in one of the WR needy spots like Detroit, Dallas, Carolina, or Baltimore, I don’t see how his value diminishes much outside of injury, and I can imagine several scenarios where it just explodes.
KENDALL WRIGHT – “I’M MICHAEL FLOYD?”
Equally intriguing is the WR going off the board one spot earlier, the Titans Kendall Wright.
Wright is one of four prizes in the 2017 unrestricted free agent WR class, alongside mammoths DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, and Michael Floyd4. Hopkins and Allen are still very young, each currently just 23 years old, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who even kind of pays attention to the NFL that doesn’t think the Texans and Chargers should back up the Brinks’ truck for their studs. They are also both, rightfully and deservedly so, some of the most expensive assets in Dynasty. Hopkins and Allen are also both still on dirt cheap rookie deals (signed post-new collective bargaining agreement) as well, unlike Floyd and Wright (player-favorable contracts from old CBA), which in my opinion means they will be extended sooner rather than later. As opposed to the higher paid players, who can more afford to let their deals expire, and then test free agency.
Making Floyd’s status even more enigmatic is the rumor that the Cardinals were trying to trade him prior to this season, juxtaposed with head coach Bruce Arians’ postseason praise, and the fact that Larry Fitzgerald‘s contract is also up in 2017. It’s possible that Floyd is the main target in one of, if not the, best offense in football for the prime of his career, and his price reflects it, jumping from 71st overall to 46th overall. Wright’s ADP, however, has stayed unchanged (104th overall).
But what do Wright and Floyd have to do with each other other than their contracts expiring at the same time and playing the same position?
Well, roughly everything.5
For starters, they were born 15 days apart, and began their NFL careers on the same day (Week 1, 2012), after being drafted seven picks apart in the 2012 draft.6 They also are currently contracted to make $7.32M and $7.30M this year, with contracts that expire on the same day. They also have an almost identical number of career targets, games played, and fantasy points scored:
|Player||Career Targets||Career Games||Career PPR FPS/Target||Career PPR FPS/Game|
They are also two of only 21 wide receivers in the last 17 years to ever produce as much as they have, on as few targets, at as young of an age:
While some of these names will and should be forgotten in the annals of the sport’s history, there are some damn sexy beasts on that list, too (and if you change it to 27 years old instead of 26, Terrell Owens and Jordy Nelson appear, in a group that is only 18 names). While they don’t look anything alike as measurable prospects, their career arcs are remarkably similar. Sure, Wright’s best case scenario isn’t as good as Floyd’s. But again, his price reflects that, and Wright’s completely ignores that he should be the number one target in a offense that will play from behind frequently, with a stud quarterback, and a potential stud wide receiver opposite of him, something he has never had to work with before.
Floyd has 255 of 387 career targets from Carson Palmer (65.9 percent) and has played 61 of 63 career games across from Larry Fitzgerald (not the worst mentor to go with your elite offensive coach and upper echelon quarterback). Comparatively, Wright’s most familiar quarterback is the ghost of Jake Locker, with a depressingly low 131 of 396 targets (33.1 percent), and he has played opposite… we won’t even go there7.
One counter argument to their similarity is that Floyd’s career adjusted yards per attempt dwarfs Wright’s 8.03 to 6.62, but unsurprisingly, if you remove all Palmer and Locker targets, the numbers come much closer together, with Floyd’s dropping to 7.17, and Wright’s actually going slightly up to 6.68. Even with poor QB play, if you gave Wright a reasonable 25 percent of Tennessee’s team targets last season, at his career pace of fantasy points per target, he would’ve scored 218 FPS and have been WR21 last season. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Rich Hribar thinks Wright is the only player you can really take advantage of in PPR leagues, albeit that was a long time ago on a much different team.
No, they aren’t similar measurably, and no, they don’t play similar games, nor do they have similar strengths and weaknesses. However, when you’re talking about a five round discount, with such similar career arcs, it’s hard not to imagine Wright isn’t severely undervalued as an asset for what he has done thus far considering the situation he has been in. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I think Wright and Marcus Mariota, freed from the tragedy that is Ken Whisenhunt, are about to cook up a feast, on fantasy teams that should probably be named “Speed Kills”.
As the offseason rolls on, be sure to check the Dynasty ADP App, including the Trade Calculator tab, in order to help gauge the current market value of players. If you are in a Dynasty league on MyFantasyLeague.com, please make sure the word DYNASTY in in your league name so that it is counted in our data. Be sure to keep up with our super scout Jon Moore (@TheCFX), The Oracle (@MattFTheOracle), and the rest of the RotoViz prospect and scouting team to learn about all the rookies before your leaguemates. If you are participating in a Startup draft for a new Dynasty League, this primer by high stakes Dynasty player Jacob Rickrode (@ClutchFantasy) is fantastic. If you have specific Dynasty trades, or questions about strategy/player values, always feel free to reach out to your favorite Rotoviz writer at any time, either through the site, or on Twitter. If you are looking for contract information, we use and recommend Rotoworld.com and overthecap.com.
- May 5 – September 1, 2015. (back)
- December 1, 2015 – January 13, 2016. (back)
- The only players this disqualified are Anquan Boldin and James Jones, in case you thought it was being purposefully misleading. (back)
- Based on current contracts, which could change at any time, and there are maneuvers like options and franchise tags that teams can use to keep these players from becoming UFAs (back)
- If you are having deja vu, you have reached what we call peak RotoViz, because you are remembering this article Justin Winn wrote last year that made this comparison. (back)
- Floyd 13th overall, Wright 20th. (back)
- If you were wondering, Justin Hunter‘s contract is also up in 2017, and Harry Douglas playing out his contract through 2018 has an abysmally low chance of happening (back)