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What If We’re Right? Part 3: Safe Holds 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 3: Safe Holds at WR

PlayerRV Redraft WRFFPC Dynasty WRDynasty Premium
DeAndre Hopkins110
Davante Adams431
Keenan Allen1192
Brandin Cooks14131
N'Keal Harry352015

*Dynasty Premium = Redraft ranking minus Dynasty ADP

DeAndre Hopkins

  • With a WR1 finish in 2019, Hopkins will have finished as the top fantasy WR in back-to-back seasons.
    • Hopkins is likely to retain his status as the top drafted WR in fantasy.
  • Entering his age 28 season in 2020, Hopkins is also young enough to see his value recover from a 2019 injury or down season.
    • Though because he’s a top-five startup pick, any move down in ADP is likely to significantly hurt his trade value in the short term.
  • If the Texans’ offense take a step forward and Hopkins moves into the 23-plus point per game range that we saw from Antonio Brown and Julio Jones at their peak, Hopkins could enter the conversation as the most valuable player in dynasty.
  • You have to pay top dollar to get Hopkins, but he’s a safe investment.

Davante Adams

  • With a WR4 finish in 2019, Adams will finished as WR4 in back-to-back years.
  •  Adams will be 27 for 2020 and is signed through 2021, so age and free agency aren’t a concern.
    • However, there’s some potential for another Packers WR to breakout in 2019 or for GB to add WR competition in 2020. Either scenario could have owners worried about Adams’ having less a dominant market share in 2020.
  • Adams also risks being viewed as a bit of an underperformer with a WR4 finish given the level of QB play and market share he enjoys.
    • However if he exceeds expectations with a WR2 finish or better, he would likely enter the conversation as the dynasty WR1.
  • Overall Adams will likely maintain his mid 1st round startup ADP in 2020.

Keenan Allen

  • As 2018’s WR12, Keenan Allen’s 2019 finish as WR11 should be right in line with his owner’s expectations.
    • This is despite the fact that he is going as dynasty WR9.
    • However, Allen’s fantasy value has been built more on his consistency rather than upside, so this finish is unlikely to be seen as a disappointing outcome.
  • 2020 will be his age 28 season, so a productive 2019 is unlikely to result in a big age related discount.
  • Allen is being drafted as a low-end WR1 and he’ll be drafted as a low-end dynasty WR1 once again in 2020 with this finish.

Brandin Cooks

  • Cooks’ WR14 finish in 2019 will be the fourth year in a row he has finished between WR11 and WR15.
  • Cooks will turn 27 early in the 2020 season so his age will not be working against him.
    • Cooks is also signed through 2023. He cannot be cut in 2020, and owners will not be concerned about him being cut in 2021.
  • However, in both of his Rams seasons, Cooks he will have failed to finish as a true WR1, and optimism that he can become a true difference maker will fade.
  • Cooks is likely to stay right around 13 in 2020 WR ADP, retaining a slight premium on his projected 2020 production due to age and the perception of safety.

N’Keal Harry

  • A WR35 finish in 2019 would put Harry on a similar path to D.J. Moore, currently WR16 in ADP.
  • However, whereas Moore’s 2018 ADP was WR34, Harry is being drafted as WR20.
    • This dynasty premium–15 spots ahead of projected production– is the highest of any WR projected to finish top 40.
    • So owners are preeeetty confident that Harry will deliver immediate production.
      • Yet Harry is not projected to make a major fantasy impact in Year 1.
        • Therefore, while Moore’s WR36 finish generated excitement, Harry’s WR35 finish may be seen as a disappointment.
    • Then again, some of the same bullishness propping up Harry now will likely carry on after a solid rookie season. Even with a “disappointing” WR35 finish 2019, his ADP is a safe bet to maintain.
      • It could even increase to the mid-teens if hype for a second-year breakout builds.
        • This is under the strict assumption that Brady remains healthy, productive and in the league. Any issues with Brady would be a major confounding factor.
  • Even at his elevated price, Harry makes a solid risk adjusted breakout bet.

Previous Installments:

Next up, Part 4: Red Flag Buys 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: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sports. Pictured: DeAndre Hopkins.

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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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