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Dynasty Fantasy Football: Veteran Players to Target Who Have Lost Value

Which players have been falling in the latest dynasty ADP data? Should they be?

TJ Hockenson

For those familiar with my work (and perhaps my general dynasty worldview), I typically tend to build my rosters (whether via the draft or subsequently via trade) with a focus on veteran players. This isn’t to say I’m averse to rookies and young players, or that I’m going to load up on 30-somethings and treat my roster like a redraft league. But rather, to me, there tends to be a sort of inherent bias amongst many dynasty owners that skews towards youth.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that! Build your rosters any way you’d like, as there are is no strict blueprint for dynasty success. However, if such a preference towards young players exists, it may present an exploitable opportunity.

Excluding perhaps devy leagues where a large number of rookies are already spoken for, there may be no better time to capitalize than following the NFL Draft, and maybe even during your own league’s draft. It’s at this time that ‘Rookie Fever’ hits many an owner like pollen during springtime in DC (trust me, it’s awful). With that in mind, let’s explore some veteran players who may represent uncharacteristic bargains.

The Science

This one is fairly straightforward, as I’m quantitating value via DLF’s Change in Player Value tool. And why attempt to explain it myself as the description is right there on the page? Per the explanatory text:

A five-point ADP drop means a heck of a lot more when it’s ADP 2 to 7 than when it’s ADP 72-77. This tab scales ADP and DLF Rank changes through the DLF Trade Value algorithm to better demonstrate changes in player value, and highlights the top five risers and fallers over the selected time period.

Values provided herein show differences via the Change in Player Value tool from April 2022 to May 2022, effectively bookending the NFL Draft. Players highlighted are those who have appeared to lose the most value between those dates.

The Disclaimer

Every league, and of course every owner, is different! Relative values highlighted by the Change in Player Value tool don’t necessarily mean a prospective trade partner will think similarly. This article is meant to provide more of a rough blueprint, highlighting potential opportunities.

Additionally, the term “veteran” is used broadly here to encompass all non-rookies.

Players Who Lost Value Due to Competition

These are players who saw a value drop because the results of the NFL Draft were directly and decidedly unkind to them.

Antonio Gibson, RB WAS (Value Change: -152)

Following the Commanders’ (this is still weird to type) third-round selection of Alabama running back Brian Robinson, Gibson fell over a round in the prime ADP range from 26.8 to 41.7, and currently stands as the dynasty RB17. It’s worth noting that while in what can perhaps be described as an unspectacular manner, Gibson finished the 2021 season as the overall PPR RB8.

Robinson is big and fairly fast, which stands as a great complement to Gibson who is also big and even faster. Robinson caught 35 passes in his final collegiate season, relative to Gibson who was… a college wide receiver. It’s fair to reason Robinson might be a more natural runner, but his overall college profile is lacking, with a 5.0 YPC average and a lack of breakout until his fifth year.

JD McKissic is still around, but he was around last year too. Behind him and Gibson was a rotating cast of characters including players such as Wendell Smallwood and Jonathan Williams, highlighting the need for a capable backup. Trading for Gibson given his value dip could yield a nice return if Robinson winds up as nothing more than a change of pace.

Elijah Moore, WR NYJ (Value Change: -97)

In just 11 contests in 2021, Moore was able to put forward a respectable 77-538-5 line, with an added 54 rushing yards with one score on the ground. This was despite the Jets only averaging 208 passing yards per game, and 6.6 YPA. Moore’s output was actually enough to lead the team in both yards and receiving touchdowns.

Yes, the Jets sunk significant draft capital into Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson, selecting him tenth overall. However apart from the perpetually frustrating Corey Davis, the team was relatively bereft of talent at the position. Moore will likely still slot in as the number two option in the passing game, and potentially even the 1a. You should buy the dip, if possible.

TJ Hockenson, TE DET (Value Change: -78)

Hockenson saw his ADP position fall a full round from 51.0 to 63.3, ostensibly because the team selected Alabama burner Jameson Williams with the 12th pick in the draft. Color me surprised by this one, as the rookie’s presence is not going to directly impact the veteran’s playing time. The working theory among the masses is likely that another mouth to feed will impact the big tight end’s target share, but I’d wager it will more likely serve as a drain on Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark.

Though it’s true Hockenson misses six contests last year, he still finished as the overall PPR TE15, and the TE7 by points per game. He’s still young (just 25 in July), and the team recently picked up his fifth-year option. At a perpetually barren position, Hockenson makes for a solid trade target.

Players Who Lost Value Seemingly Without Reason

These players lost value because… reasons. In all likelihood, the value drop occurred because rookies began to move about the ADP after finding homes, and other draft-day risers (rookies and veterans alike) may have surpassed them. This does not mean that they’re inherently any less valuable than they were in April.

Josh Allen, QB BUF (Value Change: -160)

Incredibly enough, Allen stands as the player who has lost the most relative value between April and May, falling from an ADP of 22.7 to 36.8. This seems fairly sensible, as during the draft the Bills <checks notes> added one of the better pass-catching running backs in college (67 collegiate receptions with a 10.9 YPR average). While two more rookies slotted in ahead of him, that doesn’t explain the totality of the drop, either.

The only thing I can guess is this particular set of mock drafters were lower on quarterbacks in a 1QB league than the mock drafters in April. If that’s the case, then this value drop may be something of fool’s gold. But as we’re talking about the 2021 QB1 (by nearly a full game), it’s worth exploring.

Keenan Allen, WR LAC (Value Change: -110)

Truthfully I’m miffed by this one. Allen was selected with an ADP of 42.5 in April, only to drop nearly a round and a half to an ADP of 57.3 in May. However, a closer look shows there were two rookies going ahead of him in April, a number that rose to six in May – but that doesn’t explain the full drop. And truthfully, I can’t either…

There are no new real threats on the Chargers’ depth chart, and quarterback Justin Herbert isn’t going anywhere. Allen just concluded the 2021 season as the PPR WR11, one again surpassing 1,000 receiving yards. If this drop has manifested in the Allen owner in your league, you could be getting a relative bargain.

James Conner, RB ARI (Value Change: -83)

For a player who averaged a mere 3.7 YPC in 2021, it’s fair to reason if Conner can duplicate his prior year’s success that was bolstered by a massive 18 total scores. But ultimately that’s not the argument here. What we’re here to question is whether anything occurred during the draft that would serve as a setback for Conner’s dynasty value, and I don’t view a selection of a sixth-round running back (Keontay Ingram) as enough of an impetus.

It’s true the Cardinals recently added former Chief Darrel Williams, but that was long after the May ADP was compiled. As such there doesn’t seem to be much of an organic reason for a drop-off of 1.5 rounds, from an ADP of 64.0 to 82.2. While I don’t necessarily love Conner’s dynasty profile (personal preference), it’s hard to argue a likely bell-cow ball carrier with dual-threat abilities (37 receptions on 39 targets last season) on an above-average offense who only just turned 27 years old, especially given the seemingly arbitrary decline in value.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27.

Dynasty Fantasy Football: Veteran Players to Target Who Have Lost Value
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