Dynasty Perspective: Comparing Draft Values of Rookie and Veteran WRs

By Matthew Walters

That stud receiver you just took in your rookie draft is a bust. The chance of that rookie receiver helping you win a fantasy championship within the next three years is abysmal.

This article looks at the likelihood of a wide receiver taken as a top 36 receiver in a startup draft, or a WR taken in the first two rounds of a rookie draft, helping you win a fantasy championship within the next three years. This article uses myfantasyleague.com WR ADP data and the fantasyfootballcalculator.com Dynasty rookie draft ADP from 2013 to 2019.  Startup draft data is broken into WR 1-12, WR 13-24, and WR 25-36, and what are the chances that any of these receivers finish as a top 24 receiver or are considered a bust by falling out of the top 36 receivers within the next three years. The dynasty rookie draft data is broken down by first and second-round receiver ADP and their likelihood of finishing as a top 24 receiver or outside the top 36 and thus being considered a bust in any of their first three years using half PPR scoring. 

It is common knowledge that a rookie receiver usually does not come into the league and contribute immediately. So it should not be a shock that only 18% of rookie first-round ADP receivers will finish as a top 24 receiver during their rookie season. These receivers also have a 67% chance of finishing outside of the top 36 during their rookie season. However, in year 2, they see an increase to a 35% chance to be a top 24 receiver. Yet, they still have a 57% chance of being outside the top 36. In year 3, they still have a 60% chance to be outside the top 36 receivers with only a 28% chance to finish top 24. For the most part, if a receiver was a bust early in their career, they will continue to be a bust going forward. This does not bode well for N’Keal Harry and Parris Campbell. It makes acquiring DK Metcalf and Deebo Samuel great options, and if possible, at a reasonable trade value, acquiring AJ Brown. 

There are plenty of great receivers taken in the second round of rookie drafts, though! Right? 

Unfortunately, not so much. These receivers have a 91% bust rate year one, an 82% bust rate in year 2, and a 74% bust rate in year 3. So while these receivers do improve out of the bust category year by year, they, unfortunately, do not usually make it into the top 24 receivers. They only have a 17% chance of being top 24 by year 3. This data makes it extremely nerve-racking to be all in on Marquise Brown, Preston Williams, and Diontae Johnson as all three of them have a second-round rookie draft ADP in 2019. Now, any of these receivers are still worth a shot as they showed great promise during their rookie seasons. However, dial back your expectations if you trade for them.

Young receivers are overrated. Trade for the established vets or a young receiver that has shown glimpses in the league. Julio Jones is going as a top 12 wide receiver according to myfantasyleague.com ADP. These receivers have a 71% chance of ending that first year after a startup as a top 24 receiver, and they only have a 15% chance not to be a top 36 receiver. A receiver that is 13-24 on ADP still has a 54% chance to be top 24 that first season and maintains a 31% chance to be top 24 in both years 2 and 3. The 25-36 ADP receivers are mostly on par statistically with the first-round rookie ADP receivers. This should not be shocking as that is where the rookie receivers seem to be going in startup drafts and is a reasonable ADP for a fantasy player to take a shot on a rookie receiver. 

Simply put, the odds are that rookie wide receiver just is not going to work out. Chris Godwin had a 3rd round rookie draft ADP in 2017 and now is being taken as a top 5 dynasty receiver. Nobody saw Godwin coming; otherwise, he would have been a first-round receiver. As a dynasty player, one should look for which young receivers that seem to be breaking out and trade for them. Look for those receivers that finished in the 24-36 range and trade for them if you can. It does not matter whether they had a first-round rookie ADP or not. If a fantasy player could have acquired Chris Godwin when he finished as the wide receiver 25 in his second year, that player would be quite happy with their acquisition. Receivers seem to be a crapshoot coming into the league. For every DJ Moore, there is a Laquon Treadwell. All a fantasy owner can do is look for that young receiver that seems to be breaking out and trying to acquire them before they are a full-fledged fantasy superstar. 

Matthew Walters – Dynasty/Injury Specialist
Ride or Dynasty
Twitter: @M_Walt_10