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What If We’re Right? Part 1: Strong Sells at WR

This article is part of a series on dynasty WRs looking at the RotoViz redraft rankings and asking “what if we’re right?”1 After all, our rankings are trying to determine the most likely outcome for the upcoming season. So what if we look at each WR in the top 40 of our redraft ranks, and ask: what happens to this WR’s dynasty value if they finish at exactly this spot in 2019? How would the dynasty market react to them hitting these expectations? In other words, where is their 2020 dynasty ADP likely to be compared to where it is now?2

Predicting a player’s future value based on their 2019 finish is obviously a subjective exercise to a large degree. But the history of the dynasty market is instructive here. There are clear trends we can identify in when and players increase or decrease in value.

Therefore, this exercise can help clarify what we’re actually hoping for when we roster a WR. Does your WR need to drastically exceed expectations in order to increase in value? Or can they maintain or even increase in value by simply meeting 2019 expectations?

Part 1: Strong Sells at WR

PlayerRV Redraft WRFFPC Dynasty WRDynasty Premium
Antonio Brown811-3
AJ Green1517-2
Jarvis Landry2226-4
Allen Robinson29281
Corey Davis332310

*Dynasty Premium = Redraft ranking minus Dynasty ADP

Antonio Brown

  • Brown was WR5 in 2018 at age 30.
  • A WR8 finish in 2019 will represent a red flag that either his age or new offense is hurt his production.
    • This is unlikely to support his current ADP.
      • When Calvin Johnson fell from WR 5 to WR 12 at 29, his ADP dropped from 1st to 9th among WRs.
      • When Demaryius Thomas  dipped from WR4 to WR9 with a diminished Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler in 2015, his ADP dropped from 5th to 16th among WRs.
    • Brown has the unfortunate prospect of playing 2019 at an older age than Johnson, and he also faces the risk that he’ll be discounted due to factors outside his control — like with Thomas in 2015.
  • Brown could easily fall to the mid-WR2 range in ADP by 2020, which would cost him roughly 30% of his current trade value.

A.J. Green

  • Despite his name cachet, Green has never had a season with 20-plus PPR points per game. Instead, his value has been driven by consistency. From 2012-2016 Green had 18.3 points per game in a 70 game sample — appearing in 88% of games across those 5 seasons.
  • However, finishing as WR15 in 2019 will make one of the following true:
    • 2019 will be the third year in a row where Green finished under 17 PPG.
    • 2019 will be the third year of the last four where Green had an injury shortened season.
  • In either case, Green’s 2020 ADP will reflect a growing concern that his days as a difference maker are over. Entering his age-32 season, that crisis of faith will create a heavy age discount in his projected production.
  • Green is also a free agent in 2020, which is a significant risk factor when coupled with a mediocre 2019.
  • As 2019’s WR15, Green will be lucky to stay in the top 30 of dynasty WRs, and he has elevated downside risk if he changes teams.

Jarvis Landry

  • A 2019 WR22 finish will likely mean that Landry was the clear second fiddle to OBJ.
  • Landry turns 28 in 2020 and will have shown a clear drop off in production since joining Cleveland in 2018.
  • He will also be entering the portion of his contract where the Browns can save 10MM-plus per year by cutting him. That is unlikely after his WR22 2019, but would be a known risk for 2020 and beyond.
  • Landry’s ADP also shows that owners have valued him below what his production would suggest:
    • Landry was 15th in WR ADP in 2016, coming off a WR11 finish.
    • Landry was 21st in WR ADP in 2017, coming off a WR13 finish.
    • Landry was 17th in WR ADP in 2018, coming off a WR4 finish.
    • In 2019, Landry is 26th in WR ADP, coming off a WR19 finish.
  • With a WR22 finish in 2019, and plenty of other target options in Cleveland in 2020, Landry’s ADP will likely fall into the WR40 range.
    • This range includes other guys who see targets, but whom no one is excited about, like Alshon Jeffery and Sterling Shepard.
    • If Antonio Callaway and David Njoku continue to develop, it’s possible Landry slides further down, into the Marvin Jones zone.
      • The Marvin Jones zone is around WR50.
      • More importantly, it’s the line where you’d rather not even own the guy, but are too embarrassed to drop him.

Allen Robinson

  • With a WR29 finish Robinson becomes a potential cut candidate for the Bears, who can save 13 million in 2020 by forgoing the final year of Robinson’s deal.
  • Even if Robinson plays out his deal in Chicago, he’ll enter his age-27 season five years removed from his only top-24 season.
  • Reasons for optimism will have faded as Robinson will have recorded two straight seasons outside the top 30 with the same coach and QB.
  • A WR addition in free agency or the draft could also further depress his ADP.
  • Robinson risks falling into the same range as Landry. But with a lower projected finish he carries more risk of falling into the Marvin Jones zone.
  • Robinson also carries more risk that the Bears cut him even if he hits expectations. This could result in a total ADP collapse.

Corey Davis

  • With a 2019 finish of WR33, Davis would enter 2020 as a 25-year old who is two years removed from his only top-30 finish.
    • WR27 in 2018 with just 11.5 points per game.
  • With A.J. Brown likely to at least put together some exciting highlights, Davis’ status as the clear cut market share leader in Tennessee could be in doubt entering 2020.
  • Davis is currently being selected in dynasty with a heavy premium added to his projected production. With another season of mediocre production and a high pedigreed threat for targets, this ADP premium on his projected production will likely collapse.
  • After a WR33 finish in 2019, Davis will likely fall to the 35-40 WR ADP range as some owners begin to write him off as a bust.

Conclusion / Caveat

All of these players could easily finish well above the ranges I’ve outlined. But to do so they’ll likely need to beat their current projections for 2019. If you own one of the players above and agree with their RotoViz redraft ranking, you’re likely taking on more risk than is necessary to achieve a successful season.

Next up, Part 2: High Risk Holds at WR

 

Here’s the full list of redraft rankings vs. dynasty ADP:

PlayerRV Redraft WRFFPC Dynasty WRDynasty Premium
DeAndre Hopkins110
Michael Thomas25-3
Odell Beckham321
Davante Adams431
JuJu Smith-Schuster541
Julio Jones67-1
Mike Evans761
Antonio Brown811-3
Stefon Diggs910-1
Amari Cooper1082
Keenan Allen1192
Adam Thielen12120
TY Hilton1315-2
Brandin Cooks14131
AJ Green1517-2
Kenny Golladay16142
Robert Woods1722-5
DJ Moore18162
Cooper Kupp19190
Julian Edelman2030-10
Tyler Lockett2129-8
Jarvis Landry2226-4
Tyler Boyd2327-4
Sammy Watkins24240
Calvin Ridley25214
Chris Godwin26188
Will Fuller2739-12
Mike Williams28253
Allen Robinson29281
Robby Anderson3040-10
Alshon Jeffery3138-7
Christian Kirk3234-2
Corey Davis332310
Courtland Sutton34331
N'Keal Harry352015
Sterling Shepard3643-7
Larry Fitzgerald3760-23
Curtis Samuel3854-16
Keke Coutee3946-7
Dante Pettis40373

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

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  1. I’m using the royal we here since I don’t actually contribute to our rankings. Many thanks to our redraft rankers: Blair Andrews, Curtis Patrick, Dave Caban, Hasan Rahim, Monty Phan and Shawn Siegele.  (back)
  2. For ADP, I am using WR positional ADP from FFPC startup drafts. These leagues are shallow and have a slight preference for older WRs than MFL leagues, but that preference is fairly muted and we can be sure that the data is built from high quality drafts.  (back)

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