All posts by Jordan McNamara

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

The Facts About Brandin Cooks are Contrarian and Why Narratives Suck

Some of the things that get accepted as true in fantasy football are mind-numbing. The fact that Brandin Cooks is a “boom bust WR” is one of them.

The Narrative

My inspiration for writing The Analytics of Dynasty was discovering through my research that some of the narratives in dynasty strategy are simply not true.  These are things that get said, repeated, regurgitated, become gospel and accepted as true. When these types of narratives are wrong, they become profitable areas for good dynasty owners to exploit.

The “boom bust” label on Brandin Cooks is a common narrative. The analysis of Cooks based on the narrative sounds something like “He is small, doesn’t see consistent targets, and is reliant on big plays.” As a result, the narrative says he is a highly variant from week to week. The narrative would say Cooks might have 5 or 6 big weeks, while the others are not useful and you cannot predict when they come.

I posted the poll below on my Twitter account, and it confirmed the narrative has seeped into the dynasty conscious as 62% of the respondents said they considered Brandin Cooks a “boom bust WR.”

The problem: it just simply isn’t true.

Brandin Cooks

Since 2015, Cooks has finished 13th, 11th, and 15th at the receiver position. Only 5 WRs have finished 15th or better in the past three seasons

  • Julio Jones
  • Antonio Brown
  • Jarvis Landry
  • Larry Fitzgerald
  • Doug Baldwin

The narrative would says, “Fine, he finishes that high, but his production is in only a few weeks, and he has a lot of bust weeks!”

During that time, Cooks has finished with 26 starter (top 24) weeks or 54% of the time. In other words, he booms more than busts.

Julio Jones and Antonio Brown, two receivers who finished no worse than 7th in any season in the past three years, finished with the high at the position with 33.

Narrative: “See, he finishes with 2.3 fewer starter weeks per season than the elite guys!”

Since 2015, Cooks ranks 8th among WRs in starter weeks, behind only Jones, Brown, Hopkins, Demaryius Thomas, Landry, Mike Evans, and  Fitzgerald.  Cooks only finished two starter weeks behind “Mr. High Floor” Larry Fitzgerald.

Interestingly, over the past two seasons, Cooks finished with 19 starter weeks, 1 more than Larry Fitzgerald (18).

Over the past three years, Cooks has outpaced other “high floor” players like A.J. Green (25), Doug Baldwin (23) and Golden Tate (19).  Cooks is one of just 10 WRs who has been more likely than not to finish with as a starter in a given week over the past three seasons.

Maybe we should start calling him “More Boom than Bust.” But with the easy bailout of a narrative, it seems unlikely to take hold.


There are inefficiencies and edges in the dynasty marketplace and perceived value is a powerful one. Specifically, Brandin Cooks is likely undervalued in your dynasty league because he is “boom bust.”

In my research for the book, I found a lot of these gospel ideas just are not supported by facts. I could keep exposing them here, but then I would give away your edge. If you want a true edge on your opponents, pre-order The Analytics of Dynasty. If you pre-order before September 1st, for only $25 you will get the book when it comes out in January and get a one-on-one strategy session where we can chat about more inefficiencies.

My Appearance on the UTH Weekly Show

I pinch hit for Katie and Tim on the UTH weekly show this week. Chad and I get geeky weekly on the premium side, but this is only my third weekly show appearance.

Thanks Chad for having me on. We talked about news, notes, potential league winners, and The Analytics of Dynasty! Pre-order now for $25 and get a one-on-one strategy session with an advanced view of the analytics!

My Appearance on Dynasty Happy Hour

Thanks to Tyler and Tim over at DHH for having me on their podcast. Check out the link below to hear the appearance.

We talk about the book and some of our most owned players, so check it out.


Pre-order The Analytics of Dynasty before September 1st and you’ll get a one-on-one strategy session to talk Dynasty and get an advance preview of the analytics.

Structural Drafting: Kalen Ballage is a Cheat Code

Rookie drafts are a key area to acquire RB depth in dynasty.  One of the findings as I go along writing The Analytics of Dynasty is finding clear target areas for players. For example, round 1 NFL QBs and day 2 NFL TEs in round 3 of rookie drafts are great ways to fill in players while fading the start one positions in startup drafts.

Another area is RB. RB should be clear targets in the first two rounds of rookie drafts outside a select few WRs.

This year, my rookie draft plan after the top 8 RBs (including RoJo), was Christian Kirk, Courtland Sutton, James Washington, and then Kalen Ballage. Ballage is a player to sit dead red on in the middle of the second round because of the athletic upside and receiving ability in a 228-pound frame.

In chatting with a book purchaser earlier this week, I noticed a historic trend. The historical hit rate of producing a starter  (top 24 finish) for RBs in the second round of rookie drafts is 35%.

Since 2013, there have been 10 RBs who weigh 215 pounds or more, drafted in rookie drafts between picks 13 and 24 in rookie drafts: Terrance West, Jeremy Hill, Zac Stacy, Christine Michael, Jay Ajayi, Jordan Howard, David Johnson, David Cobb, Andre Williams and D’Onta Foreman.

Of those 10, 6 produced top 24 seasons, West, Hill, Stacy, Ajayi, Howard and Johnson. Cobb and Williams were athletic duds, Foreman is only in his second year, while Christine Michael rose to a sixth-round startup pick in 2014, a clear value upgrade over his rookie valuation.

This 60% hit is significantly better than the market, and if you exclude poor athletes in Williams and Cobb, your 75% top 24 rate is double the market success rate.

The upside is good as 5 of the RBs produced top 12 seasons, while David Johnson was a league winner in 2016.

That is a good success rate at any point in the draft, but especially so in the second round of rookie drafts.

Much of the narrative around dynasty drafts is focused on debating which two players to pick at a given spot in the draft. This approach is like a general drawing a battle plan: the general can make the best tactical plan imaginable, but if he is fighting the battle in Russia in the winter, he is going to lose the war.

Instead of debating specific players, take a step back, identify a strong strategy, and ask yourself which players best reflect that strategy.

This year Kalen Ballage is a later second-round draft pick, who fits the criteria of this highly successful type of players. At nearly all points of rookie drafts RBs are better bets than WRs, and with the historic success rates in the range, Kalen Ballage reflects a strong strategic approach in the second round of rookie drafts.

Pre-order The Analtyics of Dynasty before September 1st and you will get a one-on-one strategy session including an advance preview of the strategy and tips from the book.

Hitting from Deep in Startup Drafts at RB

Since 2008, there have been 612 RBs with yearly startup ADPs between rounds 11 and 20. Only 1 has hit as a top 6 running back twice in the three years after he was selected in that range: Arian Foster in 2009.

Foster finished as RB1 in Y2 and RB3 in Y3 and then continued into Y4 as RB3 and Y6 as RB6 before fading off (Y5 was an injury-filled season).  His production of 4 top 6 finishes at the RB position would be high for an elite pick but is unmatched deep in startup drafts.

Below is a chart that you might find useful in startup drafts, and is a preview of The Analytics of Dynasty. The chart is organized by rounds from left to right, and show the rate of RBs producing top 6 finishes by year after their selection in that round of startup drafts. There is a steep drop off outside of round 3 in Y1, while there are opportunities to hit in the mid rounds, largely with younger players, beyond Y1. A common debate in the dynasty is the value of youth, but the value of longevity is notable in the mid rounds, where younger backs progress to match far earlier rounds in Y3.

As the research of The Analytics of Dynasty continues, this is a conclusion that finds continuous support. Pre-order The Analytics of Dynasty and you can chat with me about this and much more in a one-on-one strategy session before the start of the 2018 season.

Flashback: Rob Gronkowski’s Dominant 2011 Season

I’ll use this space to keep you updated on some of the fun of this journey. Looking through some data tonight, and Rob Gronkowski’s 2011 is worth a shoutout.

Rob Gronkowski scored 324.7 points in 2011, with 90 receptions, 1327 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was dominant throughout the season, fininshing as the top TE 6 weeks out of the year, and a top 3 TE scoring week 9 times.

By way of reference, since 2008, Jason Witten is the next highest top TE weeks with 5 in 2010.

In 2017, no TE had more than 1 top TE week, and the last time a TE had more than 2 top TE weeks, was Jordan Reed in 2015.

Jimmy Graham finished second in TE scoring in 2011, with 296 points. This finish ranks third since 2008, finishing only behind Gronkowski in 2011 and Graham’s 2013 (303.5 points). Gronkowski’s 2011 was more than 2 PPG better than Graham’s season.

While The Analytics of Dynasty is a primarily a dynasty book, there are other broader takeaways from the data. This is a good example, where paying up for a TE in DFS has been no guarantee the past two years.

What You Will Get From The Analytics of Dynasty

The Analytics of Dynasty is designed to make you a better dynasty player. The book is a deep dive into statistical, production, and market research in dynasty football from 2008 through 2017. The information in the book will allow you to make better strategic decisions in startup drafts, rookie drafts, and trades.

A lot of the advice on the open market is tactical advice.

“Should I trade player A and B for player C and D?”

“You should take player X at 1.03 in a rookie draft.”

“Player Z is a good value in round 6 of a startup.”

That type of advice is nice but does not move the needle much for your dynasty win rate.

The type of analysis in this book will.

The book will focus on some of the following topics:

  • How to exploit a player’s age.
  • How much does NFL draft position matter for rookies?
  • The type of production you should strive for with a pick in a draft.
  • How to value rookies versus veterans.
  • Startup draft strategies that beat ADP.
  • The single most important thing that can increase your likelihood of winning a championship.
  • How win-now startup draft strategies go wrong and how to fix them.
  • The Rule of 7

This is just a preview of some of the topics in The Analytics of Dynasty that will increase the likelihood of winning a dynasty league.

Welcome to The Analytics of Dynasty

  • Asking who to draft or acquire in a trade is the wrong question.

The right question is what players are the best reflection of a winning dynasty strategy. The Analytics of Dynasty is an e-book being released in January 2019. The e-book is a historical and data-driven dynasty strategy that will give you an edge over your competition in startup drafts, rookie drafts, and free agency.

A pre-order is $25 and comes with a one-on-one phone call strategy session. The pre-order offer ends on September 1st, but do not wait. Your one-on-one strategy session will give you a preview of the strategy and an edge on your opponents in the 2018 dynasty season.

 About The Author:

Jordan McNamara is a contributor and podcast co-host at, a feature writer at and contributor to with over 20 years of fantasy football experience. Follow him on twitter @mcnamaradynasty.