Some would argue that dynasty player value changes every day, so it is no surprise to see sometimes drastic changes from one year to the next. This player change is evident when viewing historical dynasty ADP. Just take a look at the top 12 players making up the first round from each of the past five years.
Note: This data comes from the average of all dynasty mocks hosted by Dynasty League Football in each calendar year.
Players in bold are repeats of the prior year. Players in italics are repeats of two years prior.
A Look Back
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Let’s take a quick look at the year to year change since I began collecting this data for DLF over five years ago.
2013: We set the baseline in the first year and you might be surprised at some of the names that made the list, including Jimmy Graham and more running backs than wide receivers.
2014: 66% repeat
Of the 12 players from the prior year, eight were able to maintain their first-round status, including five receivers, two backs, and Graham. Of the four new players entering the top 12, three were running backs and one a receiver. Each of the three runners, Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell, and Giovani Bernard, were just wrapping up their rookie seasons.
2015: 50% repeat from prior year, 33% repeat from two years prior
Of the six holdovers from 2014, five were wide receivers. We also saw the impact of the 2014 wideout class with players like Odell Beckham and Mike Evans entering the first-round group. The foursome of Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Demaryius Thomas really changed the game as many teams were built around these cornerstone players.
2016: 58% repeat from prior year, 25% repeat from two years prior
We are now in the heart of the WR-dominant “era” with only two running backs selected in the first round, which is actually double the prior year. Another pair of 2014 wideouts make the list; Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins. Both would prove to be poor picks.
2017: 66% repeat from prior year, 42% repeat from two years prior
Yet another year dominated by wideouts, but we now know that was about to shift in a major way. The duo of Jones and Green, linked and compared throughout their careers, are the only players to hold down first-round dynasty ADPs in all five years of complete data.
Over the past five years, an average of seven players have maintained their first-round status, of course leaving five players to fall out of the top 12 cohort.
Polling the Audience
As I sat down to watch the season opener last week, I was probably as frustrated as you were to learn the Eagles/Falcons game was going to be delayed by lightning in the area. I passed the time by checking in on my Twitter followers’ thoughts about the current top 12 players and which could be most in danger of fading and falling from their current position.
Rain delay exercise…
Name one player who is most likely to fall out of R1 in 2019 startup drafts &
Name one player most likely to enter R1 of 2019 startup drafts. https://t.co/LFcWgTrO1o
— Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) September 7, 2018
Let’s begin with the current top 12 players and the results of the question.
1.01 – Todd Gurley, RB LAR 0 votes
This is no surprise as Gurley has overtaken the multi-year run of receivers sitting atop the monthly dynasty ADP data. He’s still young and is part of a young, yet proven offense.
1.02 – Odell Beckham, WR NYG 1 vote
It’s slightly surprising to see Beckham even receive one vote, but he is returning from a serious injury and is part of a suddenly crowded offense with questions at the quarterback position.
1.03 – David Johnson, RB ARZ 1 vote
Another player returning from a season-ending injury is Arizona’s superstar back Johnson, who drew a single vote. This is no surprise as he should be the focal point of the Cardinals offense this season and beyond.
1.04 – DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU 0 votes
The voters were very confident in Hopkins’ staying power with no votes going his way. Unlike Beckham and the three other wideouts among this group, Hopkins has the advantage of being paired with a young quarterback.
1.05 – Ezekiel Elliott, RB DAL 2 votes
Elliott endured some off the field issues and a suspension a year ago and maintained his first-round status, so it should not be a surprise to see him favored to continue to hold that top 12 value.
1.06 – Saquon Barkley, RB NYG 0 votes
The most unproven player in the group is also one of the four players that respondents have the utmost confidence in, receiving no mentions. Barkley got off to a solid start, but just as Beckham has to deal with multiple strong options in the Giants’ offense, the rookie does as well.
1.07 – Le’Veon Bell, RB PIT 18 votes
The runaway winner is the current holdout back Bell, which is no surprise. At his age and with uncertainty about where he will play in 2019, Bell would’ve likely been the leading vote-getter even if he was currently playing.
1.08 – Antonio Brown, WR PIT 7 votes
Another favorite to fall from round one is Bell’s teammate, reigning WR1 Brown. While he is creeping up to the age where dynasty owners begin worrying about a value loss, Brown has shown no signs of production and comparisons to Jerry Rice makes it feel like Brown has a handful of years left.
1.09 – Alvin Kamara, RB NO 5 votes
This was the biggest surprise to me as last year’s rookie surprise drew five votes suggesting he would fall out of the top 12. This must be related to concerns about Kamara’s ridiculous efficiency from a year ago and the likelihood that he is due for some regression.
1.10 – Michael Thomas, WR NO 0 votes
Despite being near the bottom of the first round, where he’s been essentially for a full year now, there is no doubting Thomas. The top wideout connected to veteran quarterback Drew Brees and one of the best offenses in the game makes it a safe bet that Thomas will retain or even increase his dynasty value.
1.11 – Keenan Allen, WR LAC 12 votes
I was surprised to see Allen come in as the second-leading vote-getter with 12 mentions, but there are some who are still worried about his injury history, while others simply view him as a non-elite fantasy option. Of course, barely cracking the top 12 in the first place could also play a role.
1.13 – Dalvin Cook, RB MIN 14 votes
The final member of the first round is also the second-leading vote-getter. While I understand the support of Cook in general, he does seem to be overvalued here considering his injury-shortened season a year ago and the production of some of the players outside of this group.
If one or even five of the players above fall out, someone has to take their place. Here is a look at the players who respondents viewed as next in line and most likely to crack the top 12 in the coming year.
11 votes – Christian McCaffrey, RB CAR
8 votes – Stefon Diggs, WR MIN
7 votes – Royce Freeman, RB DEN
6 votes – Kareem Hunt, RB KC
5 votes – Joe Mixon, RB CIN
3 votes – Melvin Gordon, RB LAC
Davante Adams, WR GB
Mike Evans, WR TB
2 votes – Tyreek Hill, WR KC
Leonard Fournette, RB JAX
1 vote – James Conner, RB PIT
Corey Davis, WR TEN
Kerryon Johnson, RB DET
Nick Chubb, RB CLE
Courtland Sutton, WR DEN
Sammy Watkins, WR KC