The Island of Forgotten IR

Eric Burtzlaff

jordy nelson

It’s Championship push time. Unfortunately, it’s also that time of the dynasty season when you know if you are very clearly not going to win your league. Your failure may be the result of some unfortunate injuries, or perhaps you thought CJ Anderson was the answer for your first round startup pick. Regardless of how you got here, you are here. You aren’t winning this year and it’s time to start preparing for the future.

There are plenty of ways to prepare, but this article is going to focus exclusively on buying from people’s injured reserves. I have generally found that an owner’s IR is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and therefore has a reasonable discount over what you will pay early next year. Tyler Eifert is an excellent example from last year’s class. He was on the island of forgotten tight ends, but as soon as the off-season started so did the hype train. Adrian Peterson also fits this mold as well. His ADP shot up in the off-season after it was apparent that he would be activated.

I have chosen six names of high profile players that are sitting on someone’s IR right now. Let me preface this by saying your ideal target will be a contender who is seeing visions of the Championship belt. Targeting IR players on a rebuilding team is not going to pan out well unless you can argue they don’t have many years left.

Note: All ADP data was taken from August 2015 on DLF and doesn’t necessary represent their exact ADP when their injury occurred in the season.

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Jordy Nelson, WR GB (Age: 30, ADP prior to injury: 22)

What Happened: Tore his ACL in the second preseason game.

Future Implications: He will be coming into the league next year as a 31 year-old wide receiver in a once prolific offense. He will have three years left on his deal with Green Bay, and should easily come back the starter with no one showing any interest in taking the gig from him. The injury itself isn’t concerning. Players have been able to come back from ACL injuries without issue in the last few years. Jordy should be as good as new (just a little older).

Current Trade Value: Any first will get a deal done, but I’d try to buy him for even less.

Buy or Sell: Buy. He’s going to have several more years of value in the league. Think Brandon Marshall. The dynasty community buried Marshall in the off-season for age and situation. He thrived through it. As soon as the season ends, I see Nelson’s value climbing into the late second/early third of startup drafts. If I own him, I’m holding until training camp when his value should jump up again. Selling is a mistake right now for any player on IR who doesn’t have serious health implications from his injury.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR CAR (Age: 24, ADP prior to injury: 36)

What Happened: Tore his ACL in the preseason.

Future Implications: He will be 25 years old in 2016. This preseason, experts were advising that it was time to move on, and that he was a mildly talented receiver who benefited from the opportunity of a lifetime. While I never really bought into that story line, opportunity played a large part of his rookie success. However, if you are paying attention this year, opportunity hasn’t knocked for any Panthers receiver and it looks like Benjamin’s number one job will be waiting for him when he gets back next year. This injury also happened early enough that he will be back to full speed well before the 2016 preseason.

Current Trade Value: His value is a late first to me, but he can be purchased for cheaper if the owner bought into the counter-hype in the preseason and/or is a “what have you done for me lately” type of dynasty owner.

Buy or Sell: I’m a buyer of Benjamin on both rebuilding and competing teams assuming I can get him for the right price. If I could buy him for a second round pick or equivalent, I’d do that in a heartbeat. If I own him, I’m holding until the hype train starts up again. If I believed that he is only a product of opportunity, I’d sell for a mid-first value.

Keenan Allen, WR SD (Age: 23, ADP prior to injury: 34)

What Happened: Lacerated his kidney in week eight.

Future Implications: This isn’t your typical football injury. No turf toe or ACL here. This injury is organ damage and can be life threatening. I won’t pretend to be a doctor or have any real knowledge about organ injuries, but I will say I’ve read he needs rest and should be able to fully recover with time off and avoiding surgery. Allen showed amazing flashes this year and looked like he could fight to belong in the top tier of dynasty wide receivers, however this injury happened before that could be solidified. The future is still very bright, and this injury kept the ‘buy window’ from slamming shut.

Current Trade Value: His value is a high first round pick and change (depending on the pick). With recency bias in full effect, I expect some owners to be selling cheaper than that. I also expect the ‘serious’ feel of the injury to weigh on owners as well. I’d be more than happy to take him off someone’s hands for a valuation around the 1.01. He should be back to full speed by the 2016 season and likely a round two startup pick.

Buy or Sell: Buy. You will be gambling a bit on the injury, but Allen is special. Start feeling out what value your owner wants for him. If there’s a discount at all from his value, jump on it. As with the previous two players, I’m waiting to sell until his value rebounds. The general reason I’m writing this article is because it’s a great time to buy these players cheaply, meaning selling right now is a bad idea.

Le’Veon Bell, RB PIT (Age: 23, ADP prior to injury: 4)

What Happened: Tore his MCL in week eight.

Future Implications: He has proven he can shoulder the number one overall running back title. I don’t think any owner of Bell is going to be dumping him off for assets as they likely still value him as a top ten overall player even coming off the injury. His MCL recovery time is estimated at six-nine months, which puts him back on the field for training camp. There shouldn’t be any permanent impact on his career from the injury minus being labeled ‘injury-prone’ by some writers.

Current Trade Value: He was a rare player that I’d call ‘unbuyable’ prior to the injury. You would have to give up a fortune to obtain him if the owner was even entertaining offers. I still believe you will have to pay up, but I think this injury took him out of the ‘he’s not for sale’ category. Bell is worth roughly three first round picks. Scared owners might be willing to move him for less, though.

Buy or Sell: Buying if you can is a great move. Most of his owners will have been competing prior to the injury, and might let that blind their love for Le’Veon. Sneak in a few offers and see if you can pry him from their hands for two firsts.

Arian Foster, RB HOU (Age: 29, ADP prior to injury: 56)

What happened: Tore his Achilles in week seven.

Future Implications: He was one of the few reliable running backs this year in a dynasty landscape full of high-priced duds. Unfortunately, Achilles injuries are notoriously difficult for players to recover from and are ‘burst’ sappers. Michael Crabtree took two years to get back to form after his. For this reason, I really don’t like the idea of buying a 30 year old player that likely won’t be the same for several years (if ever again).

Current Trade Value: It’s low. A late second is where I have him.

Buy or Sell: I am not buying at a second round price. I would buy for less, but only because I plan to sell him for a second to a running back starved team in the off-season. I am selling if I own Foster. I’d unload him now for any second and be fine with an early third, too. I’m not convinced he is ever the same player again. Get out while you still can.

Jamaal Charles, RB KC (Age: 28, ADP prior to injury: 22)

What Happened: Tore his ACL in week five.

Future Implications: Charles has been one of the more reliable dynasty assets in the league. He will be 29 next season, and is going to start aging himself into the 50-60 range of startup drafts. His days of being a third round startup pick are over, but he has great value moving forward for the next two years. He is signed with Kansas City through 2017.

Current Trade Value: You should be able to purchase him from an owner for a late first value after watching Charcandrick West tear it up in Charles’ role. I’m trying to buy a little cheaper than that.

Buy or Sell: I am buying on teams I feel can compete in the next two years. He is one of the best and most consistent running backs when healthy, due to his pass catching ability and ‘bell cow-ness’ (that’s right, I said bell cow-ness). If I own him on a team that has gone full rebuild, I am selling for a pick in the first round and moving onto younger pastures.

The majority of dynasty trading is about timing and patience. Trading for draft picks should be done mid-season, trading for veterans around draft time, and taking advantage of the stock market on players you don’t believe in during training camps. The types of trades I discuss in this article are one of my favorite reasons that I prefer dynasty over redraft. Even when your stars are lost for the season, you still have options. Good luck in the trade market!