22 Responses to “Proper Valuation of Rookie Draft Picks”

  1. Frank The Tank says:

    Great article Ghost. Hopefully now owners will realize that the 1st round pic isn’t as valuable as they hoped. This isn’t REAL football.

    • TheFFGhost says:

      Thanks Frank! I’ve routinely dumped my rookie picks for established players and never look back. It’s worked out great for me more often than not.

  2. MoraccoMole says:

    Good job on the article, Ghost. I look forward to more of your writings.

  3. Chris Russell says:

    Agreed. Outside of the top 3 picks you should be maximizing your value. Love the new car analogy.

    Wonder how many people loved their Ryan Williams and LeShoure picks until they got t-boned driving them off the lot. Ouch.

    Injury can happen to a veteran also but injuries tend to devalue an uproven rookie the most. Vets are expected to pick up where they left off.

    • meens says:

      or the cam newton owners that laugh at the fact that teams are starting Ben Roethlisberger, while they are looking at a decade of stud QB production because they were smart enough to trade Michael Turner or Steven Jackson for 1.08. 2 sides to this situation. Ill personally take the rookie pick for the late career vet more than not.

      • TheFFGhost says:

        Cam is far and away the anomaly as opposed to the rule. If I were to trim the outliers in last years draft out of the equation then the average player production dips even further! This means Cam alone made the rookie class look even better than the below average numbers they put up. Essentially it’s like trying to find a sleeper, it’s tough and doable, but mainly based on luck.

  4. Cyrus says:

    Flipside is, how many Moreno or beanie or crabtree owners loved their shiny ride?

    How many mccoy or Harvin and Nicks owners loved their ride?

    It has been a bad cycle for top picks, with Mathews, aj green and julio Jones being the only exceptions in my mind since the wonder draft of 2008. However, late firsts are riskier but can land similar playmakers, such as the ones I mentioned in mccoy, Nicks and Harvin.

  5. chumway6 says:

    I recently looked back at the 2008/2009/2010 top ranked rookies (1st rd picks in 12 team draft) to get an idea of $value for rookie contracts in a salary league. Its quite boom/bust. Going off of the DLF rankings for running backs, 5 of the top 8 RB and 9 of the top 22 were drafted in the first round of those three drafts alone; or, about 3 starting RB every year and 1.5 studs every year. Small sample size, yes, but to a lot of people holding that lottery ticket adds value to the pick.

    WR and QB were more of a crapshoot (4 startables in a 2WR league and 3 startables in a 1QB league, respectively).

    Basically, 47% of RB drafted in the 1st ended up as startable, with a 26% chance that they are a top 8 RB today (2-4 yrs down the road). By these numbers, you could say that if you picked 4 RB in the 1st RD in the years 2008-2010, odds are you ended up with one stud RB and one startable RB, to go along with a Donald Brown and a Jonathon Dwyer. If you went QB/WR, it was much much worse.

    So I agree with the conclusion on the value of the picks. Since I had these numbers handy, I thought I would share.

    • Frank The Tank says:

      Thank you for this info, it just made up my mind on what to do with my 1.2….Martin it is.

    • TheFFGhost says:

      Thanks Chumway6, that’s very informative! Wish I had that info prior to publish, it would have made for some nice points.

    • Cyrus Miller says:

      My only question is how many of the stud RB’s are from 2008?

      That was a crazy draft, with McFadden, Mendenhall, Stewart, Forte, Chris Johnson and Ray Rice all going in the top 7 picks. (Poor Kevin Smith owners).

      Take those big successes out, and we are looking at McCoy and Mathews as being the only good RB’s in the past several years.

      • chumway6 says:

        That is a valid point, Cyrus. Three of the “studs” came from the top 12 drafted in 2008 (DMC, Forte, CJ1K) with Mendy and JStew also being “startable.” Interestingly enough, Ray Rice (#1 DLF rank) was drafted in 2008 but did not count toward this list because he was he was a second round pick in the rankings I went off of. Further proof that 2008 was an outlier, statistically speaking.

        However, I was looking more at a 3 year aggregate 1st round. Still a small sample size, and perhaps a better look would be going over a 5 yr period (typical usable shelf life of RB) but I did not find reliable rankings/ADP for 2006 or earlier and I think it’s too early to fully value the 2011 picks. But, looking at 2007 shows AP and Lynch in the 1st Rd to go along with Megatron and Bowe for WR (apologies to whoever took the only 1st rd QB, Jam-Jam Russell). So you could say 2008 was a rich draft (it was), say that 2010 was a poor draft (it was), but over time things tend to average out and we had 1.5 stud RB drafted over a 4 yr period.

        I think the point that agrees with FFGhost is that there was about a 50% success rate that your RB drafted in the 1st would even be startable (think Bradshaw/JStew/Mendy/Wells), so you could make a case that it would take 2 mid-to-late 1sts to match the value of Stewart, yet people routinely turn down trades like JStew for the 1.06. Age of course is a factor.

        • Cyrus Miller says:

          I found this last comment interesting, because I was just given an offer of Doug Martin for two 2013 first round picks (mid to late, most likely) and a trade up from 3rd to 2nd in 2013.

          Since I originally traded the 1.02 for Stewart and Dalton, I kind of view it as giving up two late firsts for Stewart :p

        • sixshooter says:

          Sorry but no way I give up a mid-first for Stewart especially now that they have an even more crowded backfield than before! Sure you can package some first rounders and go after a Ray Rice who may have 3 or 4 years left of solid top 5 play or he may go belly up like many have done in the past by either running out of gas or getting injured.

          That is the problem with trading high pick(s) for a running back, they just don’t have that long of careers which is the same reason that NFL teams have tamed down a bit with going overboard on RB’s early in their draft.

          The other side of this is that the rest of your team likely suffers just as much because your talent in other areas is likely to be lacking since you sold out for a stud RB.

          I would much rather hit on that 50% in the rookie draft and hope I have a stud RB for 6 years instead of trading away the future for a guy who just reached his prime and is now starting to head downhill!

          There are times it makes sense to sell out for a stud RB but I am going to say that more often than not, the team getting rid of the RB is coming out ahead. I have seen proof of this over the last few years with owners that have sold out for players like AP, MJD, Rice, Gore, Grant, etc, etc, etc.

          It’s not so much that the RB’s didn’t produce as it is that the rest of the team was lacking talent and depth. The team that won our Dynasty League last year has traded the likes of Ryan Grant in his prime and AP last year which then allowed him to make a move for Vick to backup Rodgers since the year before Rodgers did not play during the last week of fantasy playoffs and it got him the title! And Jonathan Stewart has been on his team since he drafted him to go with the Ryan Matthews and DeMarco Murrays that he also drafted.

          I don’t think there is a better example to prove the point of RB’s and how they should be managed in Dynasty Fantasy Football than the example of observing how last years’ champ got to the point to where they are now!

          And they just won it a couple years back as well. It’s all about selling out at the right time to teams desperate for help especially at RB!

  6. Meens says:

    Well, he was drafted by the NFL at 1st overall, so if anyone should’ve been expected to make this class look good, it should’ve been him. This “weak” rookie class produce some nice players. Julio Jones, AJ Green, Denarius Moore, Gregg Little, Torrey Smith, Titus Young, Ridley, Jake locker, Andy Dalton, Roy Helu all showed some nice production and upside. While its way too early to close the book on Ingram, Randall Cobb,Shane Vereen, Delone Carter, Kaepernick, Daniel Thomas, Kyle Rudolph,Hunter,Kendricks, Leshoure and Williams. Now obviously alot of these guys wont hit, but if you ask me this looks like the makings of a stud rookie class who is about to experience its 1st real offseason in the NFL.

    It depends on the quality of the veteran, Do you want to trade Roddy White for 1 average rookie pick? No, me neither.

    But if your not willing to give up Turner, Gore, Stephen Jackson, Steve Smith, Wayne, Peyton…for an unknown rookie 1st even if those guys are not every week starters for your team, then im pretty sure your Rebuild stages will be coming along much more frequently and last much longer than mine will.

    Enjoy your 2011 Rookie Class Fantasy Owners, and the after that Enjoy your 2012 class too. When you hit you are getting 3-15 years of starter caliber production, if you whiff you get zero, if you keep Gore and company, maybe youll get 1. Thats a gamble Im always willing to take.

    The NFL is always changing, your roster should too.

    • Meens says:

      Just realized, I forgot Demarco Murray

    • chumway6 says:

      Not to play both sides here, but I do see value in the “lottery pick”. You have a chance at a stud player, though the odds are low, and when you can get them for cheap and have them for their entire career, that has to carry some value.

  7. Irres says:

    Interesting article but not sure how much it helps:

    Taking avgs from a draft class almost implies you are trading established players for random picks by round. And if you’re doing this, then you are not winning much.
    Most smart owners trade established players for specific picks with a “targeted player” in mind. And going back to the car analogy, “how much residual value does my ride have vs the potential value and shelf life of the one I am looking at in it’s proposed conditions (such as weather)?”
    This is the best way to trade for draft picks.
    And on that note if there is no player you specifically want always opt to see if you can get something extra for that pick to trade down and grab a diamond in the rough (Especially if it is a deep draft class like this year is for WR).

    Trading in or out of a draft should always include these factors:

    -Depth of Draft class.
    -Shelf life of player I am trading vs Player I am getting
    -Positional value (RB’s don’t last as long as WR’s so should I trade my AJ Green pick for Steven Jackson?)(again I think taking avg’s obscures this)
    -PICKED player’s scenario.
    -Make up of your actual Roster (Will adding a RB solve my WR problem today? 1 year, 2years, or 3 years out? Will adding a WR fix this today? 1 year, 2years, or 3years out??)

    One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is drafting the shiniest hyped player available without any regard for whether that player and the others on the existing roster will ever be in their prime production years together IF they DO pan out.

    Now there are never guarantees in FFL, so trading out for established players will not hurt you too much. But you will also have a hard time getting players like AJ Green, or Julio Jones, or any other elite level Talent.

    So while the avg’s approach is interesting, I don’t believe the right move is “always trade out”, much like everything else in FFL, “it depends” :).

    • TheFFGhost says:

      I can see your point, my approach came more from the “future” draft picks as opposed to those you’re immediately dealing with but that’s not to say i’m opposed to even trading out of the currently draft either. Hell, I did it last night when i sent my first (1.09) and got up Forte in a sweet deal (me: 1.09, Saine and Torrey Smith – other guy: 3.05, Forte and Boldin). However, this is designed more for draft picks beyond this year when you have no idea of where you’ll pick for who is even declaring.

      That being said the current crop of rookies have just as much bust potential as any other year. We are looking at this class favorably because we haven’t seen any of them in the NFL yet, we are simply projecting what we think they’ll do. Plenty of them will do absolutely nothing, others will surprise us and be amazing. It’s nearly impossible to tell. Sure we can “guesstimate” on certain guys but even that isn’t a sure thing. I’ll gladly take the proven player provided the deal is decent.

  8. Irres says:

    Interesting article but not sure how much it helps:

    Taking avgs from a draft class almost implies you are trading established players for random picks by round. And if you’re doing this, then you are not winning much.
    Most smart owners trade established players for specific picks with a “targeted player” in mind. And going back to the car analogy, “how much residual value does my ride have vs the potential value and shelf life of the one I am looking at in it’s proposed conditions (such as weather)?”
    This is the best way to trade for draft picks.
    And on that note if there is no player you specifically want always opt to see if you can get something extra for that pick to trade down and grab a diamond in the rough (Especially if it is a deep draft class like this year is for WR).

    Trading in or out of a draft should always include these factors:

    -Depth of Draft class.
    -Shelf life of player I am trading vs Player I am getting
    -Positional value (RB’s don’t last as long as WR’s so should I trade my AJ Green pick for Steven Jackson?)(again I think taking avg’s without regard for position obscures this)
    -PICKED player’s scenario.
    -Make up of your actual Roster (Will adding a RB solve my WR problem today? 1 year, 2years, or 3 years out? Will adding a WR fix this today? 1 year, 2years, or 3years out??)

    One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is drafting the shiniest hyped player available without any regard for whether that player and the others on the existing roster will ever be in their prime production years together IF they DO pan out.

    Now there are never guarantees in FFL, so trading out for established players will not hurt you too much. But you will also have a hard time getting players like AJ Green, or Julio Jones, or any other elite level Talent.

    So while the avg’s approach is interesting, I don’t believe the right move is “always trade out”, much like everything else in FFL, “it depends” :).

  9. Scott Peak says:

    As with everything, it is a balance. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this question. It is a matter of risk and value. Trading picks for established players cuts down on the risk of a bust. Nobody knows how a player will transition to the pros from college before a rookie draft is held. Injuries can happen to anyone, so that is less of an issue, IMO. I still believe in the draft, but wouldn’t hesitate to trade picks for good value. Last year, I took over an orphaned team, traded older players, picked up high draft picks, then picked Greg Little at 1.05, Cam Newton at 1.12, Demarco Murray at 2.08 and Stevan Ridley at 4.08. Luck factors in to a degree, but I think great values can be found with a lot of research and objectivity. I heard a ton of negativity about Cam, Murray and Ridley, but I felt it was a bit overdone, and took all three players where I perceived them to have great value. This year, I had picks 1.02, 1.11 and Eric Decker, and I traded those three for Calvin Johnson, as the opportunity presented itself. So, I guess it depends on the situation. I like the idea of acquiring an established stud, but I wouldn’t unload valuable picks unless I got back something of reasonable value.

  10. sixshooter says:

    Totally agree with Scott moreso than the article. I also took over a team a couple years ago that had been mis-managed and trade raped severely! Kurt Warner was my best player and he just retired. Ricky Williams was my next best player who was nearing the end of productivity. Shonn Greene was my brightest young player on the team by far!

    My team needed a complete overhaul so I first looked to the waiver wire and picked up guys like Peyton Hillis and Mike Tolbert.

    I then looked to trade my aging veterans like Carson Palmer, Ricky Williams, Ocho Cinco, Derrick Mason, etc mostly for draft picks however I took the team over just before the rookie draft and did not have a pick until #15 which I used on Tim Tebow.

    Then, after some of my guys actually started producing, I looked at trade possibilities and unloaded guys like Tolbert for a second round pick to the Matthews owner after Matthew was hurt and Tolbert started to take over. I also packaged guys like Palmer, Hillis, Matt Cassel, Delone Carter who I drafted last year and picked up guys like Jay Cutler, Mercedes Lewis, Fred Jackson, Jahvid Best, Colt McCoy, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Stephan Ridley, DeMaryius Thomas, etc. Draft picks on both sides were also involved with these trades so for every Colt McCoy that was acquired there was also a Fred Jackson and seldom did a player I traded surprise anyone with a stellar performance.

    So after all that and then some, I went back to the waiver this past year and still found guys like Eric Decker and Vincent Brown who I have high hopes for and am also hoping that draft choices such as Greg Little and Mikel LeShoure also work out. Not all that disappointed yet in LeShoure as I generally do not count on a rookie for the first year at least. Sometimes they take right off but it is typically very foolish to expect a rookie to be an immediate starter on your team unless the rookie is the first or second player taken or you are lacking some serious depth or probably both since the two go hand in hand.

    So this year, I had the 2nd and 11th pick in rd 1 which I traded the 11th for the 5th and 7th in rd 2 and still was staring at the same players and took Alshon Jeffery and picking up Luck at #2 since I needed another QB. I then traded my 7th and Mercedes Lewis for some additional picks over the next two years and still have the 12th pick in rd 2 and the 2nd pick in rd 3. One of those picks is a 2nd rd pick who the other team acquired from a team that is probably going to finish near the bottom giving me an early 2nd rd pick so no, I have no problem trading for future draft picks. You just have to think ahead just as much as you are thinking for today!

    As you can see, it takes a mix of draft picks, free agents and trades to assemble a great Dynasty team but I honestly believe that this article does not give draft picks the value they deserve. The first, and most frequent, advice I was given when I took over my first Dynasty team was to not trade away all my draft picks because the teams that have done well in that league were built through the draft and I see that today!

    On the other hand though, now that my team has reached the point it has, I am now able to trade a few more draft picks for either future draft picks or players or both since I do not have the same roster space to stash away 5 or 6 rookies along with 2 or 3 waiver wire hopefuls.

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