All posts by Jordan McNamara

Jordan McNamara is a contributing writer to UTHDynasty.com, FantasyPros.com, and FootballGuys.com. Pre-order his forthcoming book, The Analytics of Dynasty and get a free one-on-one phone to discuss dynasty strategy.

Rookie Wide Receiver ADP Movement

This article is written by Carlo Surace.  You can find him on Twitter @carlo_surace

At this time every year rookie hype is at its peak. Proven veterans seem to be kicked to the curb in pursuit of the new hotness. The question is, are these rookies “overpriced”? It is important to note that price/value, mean different things to different people. This article will refer to “market value” and will use ADP as a proxy for this. ADP is significantly correlated to what a player is perceived to be worth in a trade. Thus, no matter how you acquire these rookies, this article will examine the typical “capital gains” one may expect on their investment.

Some may rebut this analysis claiming, ‘market value is useless if the players never produce and help you win’. This is true, but often rookies are acquired in a rebuilding stage to insulate or grow total asset value and not for the purpose of immediately contributing. This is especially the case with WRs, which will be the focus of this analysis. To this end, it is important not to overpay for a rookie WR with a high chance of value decay which will limit the moves you can make later. Perhaps, rookies are a better “buy” following the rookie year once the shine has worn off.

ADP Movement by Pedigree

Below is a table displaying startup (Non-Superflex) ADP by NFL Draft Pedigree for players in their rookie year vs their second year. Nothing too noteworthy here; as expected draft pedigree is correlated to ADP. There is no discernible difference year over year barring round 5, however this is statistically insignificant. Therefore, there is no clear bet that one can make in terms of pedigree to insulate value. As for the percentage that maintained/improved their ADP, the number hovers around a 50/50 bet regardless of pedigree. The exception is round 4 exhibiting a 62% improvement, however this number is slightly overstated as WRs that fall outside the top 250 after year one were removed from the sample.

NFL Pedigree Rookie Year ADP 2nd year ADP Maintained or improved ADP
Round 1 72.399 70.4 44%
Round 2 125.607 119.25 46%
Round 3 177.766 163.664 55%
Round 4 203.455 191.523 62%
Round 5 220.015 184.199 50%

What if we just buy players that are cheap in terms of ADP relative to draft pedigree?

If this strategy were effective, we would expect that players with later ADPs yield an ADP improvement over their first year more often than players with an earlier ADP, at the same draft pedigree. This is somewhat intuitive, as expectations are lower for the players drafted later and thus have more room to exceed expectation and improve their perceived value. In this analysis, “Cheapness” will be measured by taking a player’s ADP and comparing it to the historical average ADP for players with the same pedigree.

If the hypothesis is true, one would expect that cheap players improve at a higher rate more often than expensive players. Below is a bar chart, each bar represents 10% of rookies in our sample. The furthest left Bar contains the 10% most “overvalued” rookies relative to pedigree. The second bar contains the 2nd most “overvalued” 10% and so on and so forth. The Y axis represents the percentage of rookies in each decile that exhibited an ADP improvement over that first year. We would expect a high rate of improvement to the right and a low rate of improvement to the left. We can clearly see there is no relation.

Decile chart

What does that mean?

Surprisingly, the conclusion is that the market is efficient to a certain extent. This means that the expectations that are built into a players ADP are correct ON AVERAGE. We can see this in the chart below, the player’s rookie ADP is a reflection of what the fantasy world expects from them and there is a correlation to actual points per game production.

PPG VS AOD

Obviously, we can see that there is a giant variation across the line of best fit, which means ADP only explains so much, but in general early ADP players score more than later ADP players.

 Conclusions – Where do we go from here?

Unfortunately, there is no naïve way of speculating on a rookie purely based off draft pedigree and ADP alone. Ideally, I was hoping to find that historically cheap first round WRs produce an “ADP return on investment”, or something of that nature, but that is not the case. There must be some wisdom in the masses; when the market puts a discount or premium on a player there is something to that. This is of course generally speaking, there is an equal chance of under performing or over performing across the early and late ADPs. We need to incorporate additional variables in order to make informed speculation. More to come on this.

Analytics of Dynasty Bundle Sale!

With rookie draft season in full effect, I’m offering a unique bundle sale of Analytics of Dynasty content: You get The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition and a month of Dynasty Patron content for $30.

The Dynasty Patrons get all the audio content, dynasty tiers, unique ADP data, and my rookie board.  Plus The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition  will give you all the strategy you need for rookie and startup drafts.

To take advantage, go to patreon.com/analyticsofdynasty and become a Dynasty Patron for $10.  I will then send you a promo code to get The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition for $20.

Storylines to Watch: Third Year Second Round Running Backs 

With the off season in full effect, I’m highlighting a list of eight story lines I am watching in the off season.  One each day that draw on threads from The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition.

Third Year Second Round Running Backs 

28% of running backs drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft who missed the first two years hit for a top 24 seasonal finish in their career.  The number only drops to 25% with a miss in Y3, but this places Derrius Guice (RB27 in February ADP) , Kerryon Johnson (RB23) and Ronald Jones (RB39) in worse prior history than the market appreciates.  Guice and Johnson have been hampered by injury history, with the best performance coming from Ronald Jones with an RB25 finish in 2019 and is also the cheapest.

Storylines to Watch: TE Value in 2020 Drafts

With the off season in full effect, I’m highlighting a list of eight story lines I am watching in the off season.  One each day that draw on threads from The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition.

Tight End May Have Value This Year

The tight end position was largely valueless in terms of depressed pedigree last year.  This year, O.J. Howard (TE14 in February ADP) and David Njoku (TE16) are at crossroads of their career.  Both seem like misfits on their team, but represent strong profiles as first round tight ends.  The differences in their resumes are notable.  First round tight ends with three years of experience and no top 12 finishes like Howard, hit 50% of the time for a top 12 seasonal finish.  On the other hand, first round tight ends with a top 12 seasonal finish like Njoku, hit 81% of the time for another top 12 seasonal finish.  Add in the Austin Hooper (TE6) and Hunter Henry (TE8) who are free agents with late risers in 2019 in the form of Mike Gisecki (TE13) and Tyler Higbee (TE12), and you have major tight end value fluctuation.

Storylines to Watch: Dak vs Lamar

With the off season in full effect, I’m highlighting a list of eight story lines I am watching in the off season.  One each day that draw on threads from The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition.

Value Spread Between Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson’s 2019 was a massive QB1 finish.  He is certainly inside the line of top 6 QB finishers who project to long-term success (see the Superflex chapter!), but he was supported by an unrealistic 8.9% touchdown rate and historic rushing output.  Prescott, on the other hand, who finished as QB2 had a more realistic 5% touchdown rate on the NFL’s top offense in total yardage.  Jackson is going at QB2 while Prescott is going at QB5 in February ADP and is a dark horse candidate for QB1 in 2020.

 

Storylines to Watch: Quarterback in Flux

With the off season in full effect, I’m highlighting a list of eight story lines I am watching in the off season.  One each day that draw on threads from The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition.

Quarterbacks in Flux

There is a potential for massive movement in the free-agent market at quarterback.  Dak Prescott and Jameis Winston are still firmly in their prime window coming off strong seasons.  Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater and Ryan Tannehill are all quarterbacks with varying degrees of starting success in the league while Tom Brady and Philip Rivers are veterans entering free agency.  Add in Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, Derek Carr, Joe Flacco, and Jacoby Brissett,  two potential cut candidates, and you have a third of the teams in the NFL potentially changing 2019 week 1 starters.  This is an offseason we do not have precedent for in terms of the quarterback free agent depth.  There is a big fall out and change likely to happen.

Storylines to Watch: Daniel Jones and Sam Darnold on the experience cliff

With the off season in full effect, I’m highlighting a list of eight story lines I am watching in the off season.  One each day that draw on threads from The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition.

Jones vs Darnold on the experience cliff

In the base rates chapter of the book, I dove into players who have yet to hit for a starter season.  Quarterbacks drafted in the top 10 of the NFL Draft who missed their first season hit 56% of the time.  That leaves a quarterback like Danel Jones with a good outlook.  Of those that missed in their first two years, their hit rate drops to 47%.  With an extra year of experience, the hit rate drops 9% but leaves him on a dangerous cliff.  Top 10 quarterbacks who miss three straight years only hit 11% of the time.  If Darnold misses this year, he is on a dangerous track, while Jones remains insulated for two more seasons.  In February ADP, Jones (13) and Darnold (15) were going very close in ADP, with Jones the more insulated player historically.

Storylines to Watch: Dak and Amari are Free Agents

With the off season in full effect, I’m highlighting a list of eight story lines I am watching in the off season.  One each day that draw on threads from The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition.

Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson are Free Agents

One of the more interesting free agency stories this season is the Dallas Cowboys.  Both Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper are looking to reset the market at their positions, with recent news reports indicating Prescott will be franchise tagged.  If Prescott is getting tagged, Cooper is in the driver’s seat.  He will either write his own check to stay in Dallas or get paid by someone else in free agency.  The player in the best position to capitalize?  Michael Gallup.  Third round wide receivers who hit for a top 24 seasonal finish like Gallup hit 50% of the time for another top 24 seasonal finish.  He is WR27 in January ADP.

News, QB ADP, Variance!

This episode has news on Diggs, Brady, Carr, Stafford, Rosen, Hunter Henry and Hooper, along with some QB ADP review, and a good article on volatility and variance!

You can find the article here: https://www.rotoviz.com/2020/02/should-we-care-about-volatility/

You can find The Analytics of Dynasty at analyticsofdynasty.com/shop

Check out patreon.com/analyticsofdynasty for more audio content, tiers, and the Group Me.  

Julio Jones is like my 1997 Grand Am

Discussion was had on Vernon Davis’s retirement, Greg Olsen’s free agency, Gil Brandt piece on fifth year option (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001091513/article/projecting-fifthyear-options-for-2017-nfl-drafts-firstround-picks), my first 2020 trade, and why Julio and my 1997 Grand Am are a lot alike.  

You can find The Analytics of Dynasty 2020 Edition at analyticsofdynasty.com/shop

You can also support the podcast by becoming a patron at patreon.com/analyticsofdynasty