The Difference Between Dynasty and Seasonal Ranks, Part Four: Wide Receivers

Peter Howard

Welcome to part four of our four-part series looking for values in the difference between seasonal and dynasty values.

To do this, I’ve been breaking down each position by DLF’s August ADP and FantasyPros seasonal rankings. I examine each player currently being drafted in dynasty by sorting through FantasyPros ranks tiers.

Our goal is to learn more about how we value players in the long and short-term, while also hunting and highlighting short-term buys and sells.

Depending on the make-up of your team, and style of play, a “buy” and “sell” may be the polar opposite of someone else. So just know I’m using a standard definition for both terms.

Short-Term Sell = Players who are ranked higher in dynasty than in FantasyPros ranks

Short-term Buy = Players ranked high in FantasyPros ranks but lower in dynasty

You, no doubt, can figure the rest out from there.

Be sure to check out part one, two, and three in this series where I broke down running backs, tight ends, and quarterbacks.

Today, we’re looking at wide receivers.

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Overall Ranks

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This is the second-highest correlation from dynasty to seasonal leagues. There is a fairly steady value equation between the long and short-term perspectives at the wide receiver position. We may not rank them in the same order but there is a steady difference as to how they are valued

Roughly, those above the trend line are ranked lower in positional ADP in seasonal leagues and higher in dynasty. This would make them “long-term buys”. Those below are ranked higher in seasonal leagues than in dynasty, so they are “short-term buys”. This doesn’t always highlight players you want, and sometimes there are oddities, as we have seen.

The two players that really stick out in the broad view above are Deon Cain and Equanimeous St. Brown. Neither are being ranked in seasonal leagues and yet dynasty players clearly have some interest in them in the longer term. Both are ranked inside the top 100 at wide receiver.

The highest value player, and yet clearly valued more in dynasty, is D.J. Moore. The lowest is Josh Reynolds.

So let’s look closer.

Tier Grouping One (Tiers 1-3)

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Short-Term Buy: Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald and Demaryius Thomas

Short-Term Sell: Jarvis Landry, Amari Cooper, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Mike Evans

In the top three tiers of FantasyPros ranks, things are weird. I can understand and agree with all the short-term buys. They make sense. If you are making a push, go get older players with a proven track record of being in the top tier at the position.

In fact, I’d do that anyway.

But the “sells” are weird. I recommend targeting all these short-term sells for trades based on where they dynasty ADP. If it is reflected in your league that Tyreek Hill is considered the 16th and Amari Cooper is considered the 17th best wide receiver for 2018, go get them.

Players who have had their situation changed recently, or had a recent drop in production, have made us less certain about the immediate future. But, as the dynasty ADP shows, we are very convinced of their career. All of them have already displayed top level talents and/or production in the NFL. I also expect them to produce in 2018.

Tier Grouping Two (Tiers 4-6)

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Short-Term Buy: Marvin Jones, Michael Crabtree, Emmanuel Sanders, Pierre Garcon, Randall Cobb

Short-Term Sell: Will Fuller, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Sterling Shepard, Kenny Stills

Seasonal players are starting to fade the those who have risen in ADP because of their “potential”. They have also faded those reaching the outer limits of the breakout window. Dynasty players are still hanging on. Parker would be in a very small group of first round players if he were to break out after his third season. He will be in season four in 2018.

At the same time, players like Stills and Fuller, who have not finished inside the top in PPR, are being bumped up in dynasty. When thinking short-term, we are more likely to value past production in this tier, whereas in dynasty a “sleeper” outside the top 30 has more allure.

We see this same trend in the short-term sells. In seasonal leagues, we want Marvin Jones because he was a top 12 wide receiver last year. He’s still taken outside the top 20, but that production is still interesting. In the long term – dynasty ADP – we have faded him further.

Tier Grouping Three (Tiers 7-9)

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Short-Term Buy: Josh Doctson, Cameron Meredith, Rishard Matthews, Tyler Lockett, Mohamed Sanu, DeSean Jackson

Short-Term Sell: John Ross, Geronimo Allison, Corey Coleman

The further down the tier groupings we go, the more we disagree – depending on the perspective of the league.

Who has the most value outside WR50 in seasonal leagues? In dynasty, rookie players unlikely to do much in their first year get our vote. They have more long-term value, obviously. But in dynasty, we also seem to have maintained our patience better with sophomore players. John Ross and Corey Coleman, for example, are higher in dynasty.

I try to leave the definitions to speak for themselves. But I have to chime in here. Coleman is more now or never. Much like Parker, he will have to hit a very small outlier group to breakout after this year. He enters his third year in 2018, making it more make or break from a historical perspective than may be thought.

Ross, on the other hand, is in the most common breakout year for wide receivers. So while I have concerns about him myself, I think it’s been a smart move to stay higher on him.

Tier Grouping Four (Tiers 10-12)

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Short-Term Buy: Willie Snead, Terrelle Pryor

Short-Term Sell: Every rookie (not named D.J. Moore or Calvin Ridley), Cordarrelle Patterson, Jakeem Grant, Josh Reynolds, Deon Cain, Equanimeous St. Brown

Why are dynasty players higher on Patterson? I don’t know. I guess with longer memories, it’s harder to admit when someone didn’t work out? Maybe we take the slightest hint that a previous “sleeper” will hit and run with it? I know I do that. Either way, he and other previous year sleepers all become sells in the short term and buys in the long term based on our definitions. Also, all rookie wide receivers are short-term sells.

Eric Decker has, unfortunately, retired. But the other two names that crop up as short-term buys are Snead and Pryor. Both hit one-time significance but have faded since then. Right now, there hope that might return to relevancy. This makes them short-term buys.

In the End: ADP to Performance in 2017

One more thing before we close this up. I broke down 2017 seasonal ADP using FantasyFootballCalculator and compared it to players’ end of year ranks from FFstatistics. I have separated out the different positions so it’s easier to read.

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In 2017, we were slightly better at drafting wide receivers, in that their end-of-year PPR rank was more closely associated with their positional ADP. Running backs were next. We got quarterback and tight end very wrong overall. However, when we zoom in we see that we got the “top” players at the tight end “more right” (by far) than any other position, and quarterback comes in a distant second.

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What can we take away from this? A lot of things, I suppose. But off the top of my head, it strikes me that we have the strongest opinions about who is “better” at wide receiver and running back. And we get them “more wrong” than anything in a given season.

It’s also probably worth noting that in “the year of running back”, it was that position where more players drafted outside the top 12 finished inside of it.

I think that’s about it… yeah. I hope you found someone to target no matter where your team is at.

Good luck this year, take it easy, and enjoy your draft. Remember, we’ll mostly be wrong, but as long as we have some fun doing it, it’ll all be okay in the end.


peter howard
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