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High-Stakes Dynasty Startup Picks to Exploit and Avoid

On the heels of Cort Smith’s posts identifying the overvalued picks and standout sleepers according to Fanball (formerly MFL10s) ADP, we’re using the Dynasty ADP app to find similar trends in FFPC start-up leagues. Because, as Cort points out in his pieces, don’t love the player, love his price.

This has been noted before, but because FFPC dynasty rosters allow a maximum of 18 total spots for the quarterback, running back, receiver and tight end positions, there’s not much room for deadweight. That factor, combined with entry fees that can run up to $2,500, means owners are typically focused more on the short term than in other dynasty leagues. As you’ll see, this often means an aging, historically productive vet could have more value than an unproven rookie or early-career player based mainly on the strength of his potential near-term production.

All FFPC positional ADP rankings were taken from the Dynasty App, set to pull from FFPC data starting April 28, or just after the NFL Draft.


Positional ADP: WR31

RV Positional Rank: WR51

Difference: -20


Positional ADP: WR19

RV Positional Rank: WR14

Difference: +5

Here’s a prime example of the preceding paragraph about vets versus youth. Edelman finished as the WR21 in FFPC scoring last season despite missing the first four games due to suspension. But he also just turned 33 on Wednesday and his value seems strongly linked to QB Tom Brady, who will be 42 in August. If you believe that Edelman can defy Father Time the way Brady has, then perhaps he returns value on his cost. Indeed, Rob Gronkowski’s recent retirement likely bodes well for Edelman. But Edelman’s dynasty value is almost entirely year to year. If he fails to stay healthy, gets suspended again or is unproductive, his value would plummet.

Contrast that with Harry, whom all six RotoViz writers ranked as the top 2019 rookie and one of only two WRs selected in the first round. Whereas FFPC drafters believe there is a difference of only 12 WRs from Harry to Edelman, RotoViz rankers see a difference of 37. On an established dynasty team that’s already a contender, Edelman is a fine asset to help win a fantasy title. But his ADP in FFPC startups is the mid-seventh round, which means the team you’re drafting better be pretty damn good to spend that high a pick on a guy who could fall off the age cliff at any moment, particularly when there are much younger players with comparable upside available at the same price. Just look at Jordy Nelson, who is only a year older than Edelman and was also tied to one of the best QBs to ever play but experienced a massive drop-off in ability and retired from football before his 34th birthday.

Put another way: Which of these players with similar ADP would you trade straight up for Edelman?



Positional ADP: RB27

RV Positional Rank: RB39

Difference: -12


Positional ADP: RB37

RV Positional Rank: RB52

Difference: -15


Positional ADP: RB47

RV Positional Rank: RB38

Difference: +9

Here’s another example of FFPC drafters hoping to squeeze all remaining value out of an aging vet. Like Edelman, Ingram missed the first four games of last season due to suspension, finishing as the RB32 as the backup to Alvin Kamara. Now he’s, presumably, the lead back in Baltimore, which had the most rushing attempts in the league last season. The bet seems to be that the Ravens will continue that course, making the lead back in that offense a potentially valuable commodity.

However, as Kyle Dvorchak points out in an analysis of carries available on teams that lost players due to free agency, retirement, trades or suspensions, Baltimore is one of the least efficient fantasy landing spots on a per-carry basis. Coincidentally, the most valuable fantasy backfield, in terms of consistency in fantasy scoring, is New Orleans, which Ingram just left. Ingram has never played outside of New Orleans, and he turns 30 in December, so he’s nearing midnight on the Doomsday Clock of NFL RB Production. Moreover, the Ravens spent a fourth-round pick on Hill, whom Cort Smith named as a post-draft rookie RB target. While FFPC drafters have Ingram as RB27 and Hill as RB47, RotoViz rankers have split the difference, slotting the duo next to each other with Hill at RB38 and Ingram at RB39. That makes Ingram a reach in startups, while Hill seems to be a value.

Ingram’s replacement, Murray, turns 30 a month after Ingram, so his clock is ticking too. But Murray steps into a situation that has been fantasy gold for RBs, and his price is cheaper than Ingram’s. Again, as an aging vet, his value among FFPC drafters gets bumped quite a bit when compared with how RotoViz rankers see him, but with a ninth-round ADP outside of the first 100 picks, missing on Murray wouldn’t hurt as much, and, additionally, you might feel even better about the pick if you also drafted Kamara.


Positional ADP: WR16

RV Positional Rank: WR25

Difference: -9


Positional ADP: WR27

RV Positional Rank: WR15

Difference: +12

Aging but historically productive vet? Check. Young upstart who plays the same position on the same team? Check. This time, however, we have an early-career player in Boyd who already has a breakout year on his resume: a finish as the WR18 in FFPC scoring in 2018. Even if you think Boyd’s ceiling is last season’s numbers, it doesn’t really justify why he’s going as the WR27, particularly since he doesn’t turn 25 until November and is a little more than six years younger than Green. Ben Battle had Boyd as his top offseason buy-low player, and the Bengals didn’t draft any wide receivers in April. Meanwhile, Green has played 10 or fewer games in two of the past three seasons, and his production has also tailed off.

Yet Green’s and Boyd’s values are flip-flopped by FFPC drafters and RotoViz rankers. As Blair Andrews points out, aging vets are much more likely to suffer decline with no bounce-back than their younger counterparts. This makes it pretty easy to recommend passing on Green and drafting Boyd later.

Image Credit: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire Pictured: A.J. Green

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