The Player or the Pick?

Ryan McDowell

In this week’s edition of The Player or the Pick, I polled my Twitter followers about a trio of players who have landed on the injured reserve list. Obviously, players who are set to miss a large portion of a season see a dip in value, but just how cheap are some of the injured stars going for these days? I tried to find out.

[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]

The Minnesota Vikings are off to an unbelievable start to their season, entering their bye week as the league’s final undefeated team. They are doing that despite the loss of key players like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, lineman Matt Kalil and of course, running back Adrian Peterson. When Peterson went down in the season’s second game, he had been struggling after rushing for just 31 yards in the season opener.

We all saw the scene of Peterson struggling to get to the locker room and presumed the worst. After several conflicting reports in the following days, there was a great deal of confusion about just what to expect from him going forward. There were even reports that Peterson may return for a Vikings playoff run late this season, while others pegged a six-month recovery period for the star runner. The latter seems to be more likely as Peterson was later placed on the injured reserve list.

As fantasy players began to accept the new reality of losing one of their star players, dynasty player could only question what to do with him now. Our own Eric Dickens even ran a Twitter poll in which a majority responded they would either drop Peterson outright or sell him for a third round rookie pick. With that in mind, I set Peterson’s current dynasty value at an early third round pick to see if the past three weeks have changed anything for dynasty players.

That was clearly the case as a large majority are willing to use a potentially early third round rookie pick in 2017’s deep rookie draft to take a shot on Peterson. At this point, I would disagree with the mainstream for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve already mentioned that deep rookie class. While much of the talk centers around Nick Chubb, Mike Williams and the other top prospects, what truly separates this upcoming class for others is the depth. Also, I think it is very necessary to question Peterson’s future as a fantasy asset in general. His age, this injury and his potential departure from Minnesota. Each of these alone could be viewed as a major deterrent to his future dynasty value, but the combination of all three at once pushes him well down my personal rankings.

Here’s the next poll featuring another injured running back.

After conducting three weeks worth of Player or Pick polls, I feel like I final nailed one as Lions running back Ameer Abdullah and the mid-round 2017 second round pick finished in nearly a dead heat.

Like Peterson, Abdullah made it through two weeks before succumbing to a foot injury. Unlike Peterson though, the initial injury was not a sure season-ender. Abdullah missed the Lions week three game and met with doctors for a second opinion before finding out his season was in fact, over. Abdullah began the season well, totaling 120 yards and a touchdown in week one, which was good enough for an RB8 rank that week.

The Lions are really missing Abdullah, despite the solid play of pass-catching back Theo Riddick. They simply have no one who can run the ball up the middle, after losing rookie Dwayne Washington to an injury. The hope is he can return soon. I have a hard time envisioning the Lions going into the 2017 season relying on the duo of Abdullah and Riddick to carry their backfield. This is a prime spot where one of the top rookie running backs could land, wiping out the value of one or both of the current backs.

Since I’ve never been a huge fan of Abdullah, I will be looking to sell the few shares I do own in dynasty considering the possibility of the team adding some competition at the position, along with Abdullah’s two season-ending injuries in as many years.

The final poll takes a look at the biggest star of the season to suffer a serious injury, Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen.

There has already been a huge amount of coverage of the Keenan Allen knee injury, suffered in week one before some dynasty players had even checked their fantasy scores for the first time this season. After suffering a broken collarbone late in his rookie season and then fluke kidney injury that sent him to the sidelines last year, expectations for Allen were sky high entering 2016. After all, he had been playing at a very high level and was on pace for over 1,400 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. That production gave dynasty owners hope and even after the injury, he still gained value throughout the off-season, routinely landing in the late first round or early second round of dynasty startup drafts. Considering his relative young age and what we saw in that abbreviated season, that valuation was the right move.

Of course, that really stings now following Allen’s third consecutive trip to the injured reserve list. Much like tight end Rob Gronkowski before him, Allen is earning an undeserved injury prone label despite the fact that his recent injuries have been unrelated.

Of the polls I included this week, this one was by far the most surprising, with the large majority choosing the early first round rookie pick. Considering our recently completed October dynasty ADP, which was based on mock drafts held after Allen’s injury of course, still placed him in the top two rounds with an ADP of 23, nearly identical to that of Kelvin Benjamin and TY Hilton, for reference, I expected this poll to be very close.

At this point, I am not comfortable at all in projecting who the top three picks in next spring’s rookie drafts might be. While Leonard Fournette and Nick Chubb have been among the favorites, both have been slowed by injuries. Florida State’s Dalvin Cook has been inconsistent as well. Are dynasty owners going to take multiple rookies in the top two rounds, as these polls suggest? I can’t wait to watch how the next few months unfold when it comes to this rookie class of 2017, but for now, I’m off to send some trade offers for Keenan Allen.


ryan mcdowell
Latest posts by Ryan McDowell (see all)