Dynasty Targets: Using Redraft ADP to Spot Value

July 19, 2021

Rule: If a player is going later in dynasty than he is in redraft in a given year, that player better be old as S***. 

If a player is:

  1. Under the following age at a given position: 
    1. QB = 35
    2. RB = 27
    3. WR = 29
    4. TE = 28

AND 

  1. Going 12 spots ( 1 full round in a 12-man) or more later in Dynasty vs. redraft,

You should be drafting or trading for this player at cost.

If you want to know how I came up with this theory and arrived at those specific age cut-offs, keep reading after the table. If you don’t care and just want to know who to draft in startups/target in trades, here ya go:

Added:

You should be able to play around with the other tabs to find more values that don’t quite fit the aging rules. For example, guys like Keenan Allen, Travis Kelce, and Mike Davis don’t meet the age criteria, but could be really solid buys for teams looking to compete this year.

Reasoning Behind the Theory

I came up with this rule with some inspiration from a few other members of the fantasy football content industry. @AdamHarstad on Twitter is a great dynasty follow and has tweeted out some interesting differences in redraft and dynasty ADP. Terry McLaurin was a big example of this last year that Adam pointed out and his ADP has jump multiple rounds since the 2020 offseason.

Along with @PatKerrrane and other folks associated with Establish the Run (Kerrane is now with NBC), I tend to think about player value with an “n+1” mindset. This is a nerdy way of saying that, as long as a player is relatively young, their value is determined by how good of a singular year they have. Another way of saying this is as follows: I value players in dynasty based on what I could theoretically get for them in the following off-season. What I can get for Julio Jones in 2022 even if he puts up a 1K + season is very different from what I can get if Devonta Smith goes for over 1K+ yards this year. At this point, you may be asking: How do we know what “ages” matter?

This is where the numbers will help us, but we need to take these on a case-by-case basis. This study and many others like it put the “cliff” for each position at specific ages. By “cliff,” I mean the year where the player drops off and never really recovers. Think Todd Gurley, who coincidentally has fallen off a cliff two years before our age model predicts. This brings me to my next point: not all players follow this trend. Some players are outliers in terms of durability and luck with health in their careers. The only alternative other than good health and luck is that the player is taking an undetectable steroid (Tom Brady is a Witch or is taking steroids from Mars that he got from Matt Damon and you cannot convince me otherwise). Please understand that the cliff for each position should be taken with a grain of salt. Following the aging model will increase the number of correct decisions we make in the long term, but sometimes we will be wrong and a player will “break” the age model in one direction or the other.

The cliff cutoffs I use are from study linked above:

QB = 35, QBs play longer than any other position and often hit their peak in their 30s, the market doesn’t value them properly after age 29 because 30 at every other position is “old.”

RB = 27, RBs are at their peak when they enter the league and often see a few years of dominance before fading away due to durability concerns and loss of volume at ager 25 or so. Most RBs are dust after age 27, but not all. Frank Gore Jr. might play in the league with his dad, for example.

WR = 29, WRs are some of the best values in dynasty because they offer an edge to running backs in Round 3 and up and hold their value for longer. Typically, you see them start to lose value after they turn 30.

TE = 28, TEs are a tough asset in dynasty because tight ends usually take a year or three to develop into an elite option. Usually, they hold this elite level of production for a year or two before dropping off due to the physical demands of the position being among some of the most brutal. There is a very short window for most tight ends. Travis Kelce and some of the more athletic tight ends coming into the league may shift this number toward that of wide receivers.

So, using this rule should help us spot value if we assume that redraft ADP is a solid indicator of 2021 upside. In most cases, the wisdom of the ADP crowd does a good job of ranking players because seasonal fantasy football is more popular than dynasty right now and the information that is informing the redraft ADP crowd is getting better and better. If people playing redraft think a young player is going to have a good year in 2021, the dynasty crowd should be valuing that player similarly.

How I Got My Numbers

ADP data for both redraft and dynasty is from fantasyfootballcalculator.com mocks drafts. It is incredibly difficult to get ADP data from paid dynasty leagues because dynasty is still relatively niche, but that would be preferable. The sample size for the mock drafts is big (2826 drafts in the past two weeks for the redraft data, 134 drafts in the past two weeks for the dynasty data) so, the data should be pretty good, but mock drafts can be a bit suspect. Fortunately, I compared the ADP to a dynasty startup draft I am currently in and Underdog best ball ADP, and nothing seemed to be off too much.

Redraft data is for PPR and is not specific to any league size or format outside of that. Because we are looking at positional comparisons, there is no need to look at this through 10 teams vs. 12 teams, flex vs. no flex, etc. However, I think Super-flex ADP data would change some things in the QB numbers. I need to find better dynasty ADP data for super-flex because fantasyfootballcalculator.com does not provide it for dynasty.

Final note, there are instances where the dynasty community is way higher on a player than the redraft community. In most cases, this can be reasonably explained by the fact that the dynasty community will place bets on a player that may take a year or two to develop. However, if the player is older and already proven, it is likely the player will be a solid value in redraft. Kenyan Drake is an example and I am not sure how I feel about it. DeVante Parker, Juju Smith – Schuster, Tee Higgins, Gerald Everett, and Michael Gallup are examples that make sense as values in re-draft given the context.

All right that’s all I have for you today you animals. Go out there and get some of these guys AT COST. Don’t overpay for them or our edge is lost. Good luck!