Dynasty vs Redraft: Wide Receivers

Mission Statement:

Dave Cherney and Dr. John Bush will research, analyze and report, through a series of articles, the relationships within and between Dynasty and Redraft leagues. We are committed to giving you sufficient leverage for success in either or both worlds.

Strength and Weakness:

Dave is a 9-year veteran in dynasty leagues while John is an expert in the redraft arena. Yet when each ventures into the others waters, they tend to sink for a reason we plan to excavate. A fusion of these two individuals’ talents and visions hope to open a pathway into development of a new interdisciplinary view of fantasy football from both perspectives.


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The Draft

Quarterbacks and Tight Ends

Running Backs

We have shown that dynasty and redraft players have positional biases. We have suggested that going between the two types of leagues can result in drafting incorrectly and missing the key elements for each type of league. The skill a player has in one world may not translate to success in the other.

RBs are highly prized by redraft players relative to dynasty players. Dynasty players are focused on young fresh RBs more than redraft players. The QB and TE positions are very different as compared to the RBs. Early drafted QB and TEs are prized by redrafters while in both positions the later drafted players are biased to dynasty players.

The Study

Phase 1D – Deep Draft Analysis of Wide Receivers

Given the initial predictions of the enhanced wide receivers value in PPR dynasty leagues, we would predict that the bias will be seen in the overall average of the wide receivers D-R number. The wide-receiver D-R average is -19 and that number supports the differential story of two worlds in the two league types.  The -19 implies a bias to the dynasty side for WRs. Remember that in RB the D-R average was +19 and biased to the redraft side.  

Figure 14 presents the first half of the wide receivers and we see the dynasty-valued players picking up half way down. Note that the only early wide receivers in the redraft bias column are the more senior wide receivers of Brandon Marshall and Julian Edelman.

Dynasty players value youth and downgrade older players while redraft players do not worry as much. Thus these two senior WR are not heavily desired  by dynasty  players.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Figure 14 WR D-R Numbers and Analysis Part 1


The second half of the wide receivers are stained bright red and those WR are more valued here by dynasty players as shown in Figure 15. The bias slaps us silly. I wish I had this data before I jumped into the dynasty world. Note the “Seasoned” wide receivers consisting of Steve Smith, Vincent Jackson, and Victor Cruz are more valued by redraft players while the rest are very much biased to the dynasty side.

In summary, only 5 of 70 WR ranked by our exclusive D-R numbers are highly prized in Redraft leagues. The remaining 65 WR are neutral to highly biased to the dynasty side. Amazing data where has that ever been documented?

Figure 15 WR D-R Numbers and Analysis Part 2


In Figure 16, we plotted the D-R numbers using area graphics; this landscape view brings home the tidal wave of dynasty player bias as we go down into the lower redraft ranked wide receivers. Incredible data! It brings clarity to me! When redraft players are winding down, dynasty players are just starting to dig deep and  grab the late round young fresher WR players. Note the green stars highlight the few WRs favored by redraft players over dynasty players.

Figure 16. WRs Viewed by Dynasty vs Redraft





Figure 17. Stability of the WR Position: Snap Count Data

Wide Receiver Snaps Chart

As with the RB data, we wished to assess the nature of the WR position in terms of positional stability over time. In looking at the RB positional snap count data, analysis revealed that RBs are very risky (see previous article). We proposed this is a significant reason why dynasty players do not favor the RBs especially older RBs.

The WR snap count data is presented in Figure 17, analysis of the data clearly shows that WRs were used at consistent levels over a 3 year time frame. 60% of the WRs from 2013 persisted into the 2015 top 10 groups. We conclude that WR are more stable in snap counts and this is one reason for dynasty bias to the WR position.

Historical WRs Preseason ADPs vs End of Season Results

We had previously hypothesized that the high risk of the RB position in general, had been the root cause of redraft bias of that position. We wished to explore the WR position and its stability by not only snap counts as seen in Figure 17 but in actual pre vs. post season production.

In Figure 18 A, Our analysis of the top 12 preseason (PS) ranked ADP WRs from 2012 to 2014, only 61% of these WR finished in the top 12 of the end of season (ES) PPR point scoring WRs. This 61% number was closer to the QBs number and higher than that of the RB position (50%) as discussed in our 3rd article.

Importantly, there is less year-to-year variation in the 2012 to 2014 ES-PPR WR data as demonstrated by the tight grouping of the three-year data. Therefore, the top PS-ADP WRs are who you think they are!  Only 20% of the top 12 PS-ADP WRs finished in the next flight of ES-PPR WR (13th to 24th finish) and the final 10% of the top PS-ADP WRs finished within the next 2 groups of ES-PPR WRs (24 to 48th).

Finally in Figure 18 B, we plotted the 2015 top PS-ADP WRs and only 41% finished in the top ES-PPR levels. This number is much lower than the 2012-2014 aggregate averages of 60%. Therefore, 2015 was a bad year for top 12 PS-ADP WRs, which seems to fly in the face of the conventional wisdom that WRs are safer than RBs in drafting. We cannot explain the 2015 data vs the previous 3 years of WR data.

As of today as previously reported on Dr. Bush’s blog posts the drafting of WRs early is at an all time high and WRs are being drafted at nearly 2X that of RBs with the first few rounds! Given the 2012-14 data that shift makes sense but the 2015 data should add caution to your drafting in either redraft or dynasty.

Figure 18


John’s Observation

The actual bias to the WRs as seen by the breakdown of the D-R numbers surprised me in the extent of level of WR bias exhibited by dynasty players. I was not aware of the hypersensitive nature of WRs in dynasty. I drafted incorrectly and was out of the game before even starting! I was a RB hoarder and I now know that was bringing a knife to the dynasty gun fight!

The snap count data was interesting and confirms the dynasty anti-bias especially in looking at the RB snap count. Why draft a potential RB who could by one and done and ignore a long-term WR investment! The pre-seasonal ADP data vs. the end of season points scored seem to support the dynasty WR bias as well. I have learned a great deal now and I will have a new approach to dynasty.

Dave’s Observation

You will note that snap count didn’t play nearly the role with WR as it did with RB’s. Again this is another appealing aspect for the dynasty owner as their player can produce while not having to be on the field as often thus lessening potential injury.

As opposed to running backs whose dynasty life expectancy is 3-5 years, that of the wide receiver is generally considerably higher. And once again, youth plays a major role in their respective ADP’s.

In redraft, looking at the 2015 point total ranking, I next note that the 2016 redraft ADP reflects nearly the same players, almost in the exact same order as the 2015 final standings. Obviously, owners are counting on getting similar productions barring injury or they don’t want to think outside the box in the first round.

Figure 18A backs this logic as years 2012 through 2014, 61% of the top-12 receivers hit their numbers. This percentage declines sharply thereafter. Figure 18B shows we nearly hit the 60% mark once again, but we had several outliers in Brandon Marshall, Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald. In 2016, you will see that both Marshall’s and Fitz ADP have greatly climbed, even that their ripe age. And if Smith wasn’t injured, I’d bet he’d be right up there as well.

Executive Summary of Phase 1A, B and C and D of the Draft

We began with a simple hypothesis to test:

Both Dyno and Redraft league drafts are similar.

Early on that hypothesis was rejected. The difference in those two league systems is seen within the RB vs. WR biases. (Redrafts love the RB while dynasty player covets those WRs).  The quarterbacks and tight ends are less affected but have issues to be aware of. Young quarterbacks and future tight ends will be valued much more by dynasty players. Use this data and be thoughtful to design your drafting plans by acknowledge the world you are drafting in. I will definitely be changing my game in I move back into dynasty drafting. Good Luck!

Solutions to the Dynasty vs. Redraft Switching

1) Separate by timing your drafting in the two worlds. Mixing will cause your dynasty opinions to bleed over into the redrafts. (Wide receivers too much and running backs not enough) or reversed.

2) Live in each world at a time. We recommend planning to be in one or the other worlds for blocks of time. Let “Mock Drafting” retrain you for each world. We believe that the psychology anchoring that will occur moving between worlds may degrade your drafting in either. We suspect if we examined the 2-Quarterback or Superflex formats, their worlds would host multiple differences as well.  

3) Record keeping. Find your weakness and record the timing of your draft as to your patterns. Questions to address could concern your skill at drafting all positions, rookies, late round grabs vs “early “sure” picks? Where are you the best/worst at?

4A) We would avoid live drafting when shifting. Slow drafts allow more time to be thoughtful. We might try plotting a fast pick. Let it rest and come back.

4B) Use this question as a tool. “This player failed as measured by the end of the season performance” Why? Can you imagine why this pick is a poor one. If you have a hard time then it could be a good pick. If many thoughts and scenarios occur then that implies a risky pick. As long as you record that in your draft diary. Pick X was a risky pick then grab them.

5) A Draft Plan could be generated from the points above. Test and Test. Let friends who are better in one world or the other double-check your work.

John’s Final Thoughts

Coming from a dynasty world into a redraft league.

I would plan Mock Drafts that HIGHLIGHT Early TE’s and RB’S.I would emphasis the last season’s PPR points scored. I would avoid  biasing your thinking and move away from the peak potential concept that a player may have in a few years to the now! IE.  Rookies or 2nd Year players. Redraft is about the now!

Coming from a Redraft into a dynasty league.

I would plan mocks that are longer in rounds (25 to 30) and highlight wide receivers early and often. Build you draft boards with the WR4 and 5s and I would denote rookies, 2nd and 3rd WRs. Pay attention. You could do a 3 year to rookie mock draft only and eliminate the older dogs. Practice with these fresh players. That should build your base. Longer round mock drafting will force a redraft person to see the depth of the depth charts. Good Dynasty player are already in the deep end of that pool. The redrafter will need to catch-up. Believe that last phrase!

Dave’s Final Thoughts

Upon reflecting the sum of this information and placing it up against some of my unsuccessful redrafts I have uncovered two major problems. The first, and most important, is taking too many risks. Whether I didn’t believe the player would hold his value from the previous years or taking a chance on players with an injury history.

The second is I’d go into these drafts with a dynasty mindset and focus too much on youth when it is clear that older players that have a history of producing with more than likely produce yet one more year.

I plan on changing that thinking and hope to be back in the Championship column once again.

FakePigskin would like to thank our special guest:

Dr. John Bush @prof_fantasy1
Associate Professor of Biology

John writes for his blog; Fantasy Sports Professors 
and has published a fantasy football textbookWinning Your Fantasy Football Draft: A Professor’s Textbook”  (Amazon ebook).


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