Here at DLF throughout the off-season, we host monthly mock drafts in order to determine the most up to date dynasty average draft position possible. These mock drafts begin in January and wrap up immediately before the NFL season kicks off. With our off-season ADP complete, I wanted to take a look back at how things have changed for some key dynasty players.
I broke the off-season into a few different periods. I’ll begin with the entire off-season, from January through September.
Note: Rookies were not included in our mocks until February. Any rookies included in this section include data from February through September.
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There are few surprises from this group, but this can serve as a good reminder of how we as a dynasty community valued these players just a few months ago. Half of this group are young wide receivers who were being valued as top 100 dynasty assets as the 2014 NFL season was concluding. As dynasty owners, we go through cycles in which some types of players are not properly valued. Early in the off-season, we typically “over-correct” our in-season, “win now” mindset and focus too much on youth. Justin Hunter, Cordarelle Patterson, Paul Richardson and Marqise Lee were and are still relatively unproven, but the allure of building a dynasty team around a collection of young wideouts was too tempting.
Most of these players are rookies, which is surprising considering the rookie fever that overtakes many dynasty players each off-season. Of course, none of these rookies were highly sought after assets early in the off-season, but this tells me maybe we need to dig even deeper to uncover these potential breakout players early on following the Super Bowl.
The next time period I wanted to hone in on is a very important time for dynasty players – post-NFL Draft. With free agency in the books and NFL teams now welcome brand new rookies to the league. Those players are often highly valued from day one and that can have a huge impact on many players already holding down jobs in the league. Let’s see how things have changed since the NFL Draft wrapped up.
A few of the same names show up here again, meaning Blackmon, Hunter and Montee Ball carried similar value from January through May before their value really plummeted. Rookie Jay Ajayi and Jets’ tight end Jace Amaro have seen their value tumble due to injury.
This is where some things really get interesting and we can notice important trends. Our top riser over this period, Brandon Coleman, benefitted from the Saints parting ways with both Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills. While Ball and Blackmon were falling, someone had to take their place and as a result, Ronnie Hillman and Allen Hurns move up the ranks. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson wasn’t much of a difference maker a year ago in San Francisco, but as he moved downstate to San Diego, his opportunity and value grew. The suspension of Martavis Bryant and the injury suffered by Jordy Nelson aided the value of Markus Wheaton, Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis. This shows how crucial it is to pay close attention to the events of the off-season and to act quickly when news hits.
Finally, we know the season is close when training camp begins. This last comparison spans from early August through mid-September.
Injuries play a huge role in player value leading up to the season. Dynasty players might be willing to overlook an injury, even a serious type, earlier in the off-season, but as the regular season nears and it’s time to set lineups, we want players who can help us now. This offers an excellent buy low opportunity for the right players. Among the players listed here, I’d be inquiring about the price of Ajayi, Amaro and Jordy Nelson.
We again see a few repeat names, including Coleman, Hillman, Montgomery and Janis, meaning all of these are still gaining value, as of the beginning of the 2015 season. Some rookies who were once lightly regarded also continue to gain value, namely Zach Zenner, Josh Robinson and Tyler Lockett. The trio all played well in the pre-season and gained value quickly. What’s most important to notice here is the huge value swings over just a few weeks’ time. While trades, free agency and the draft can change the value of players across the league, nothing really impacts a player’s value like on-field action.
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