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Is it getting harder to define the studs?


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Five years ago it seemed easy to pick out the top 5-10 WR/RB/TE safely.  Brown, Bell, Johnson, Gurley, Bryant, Elliott, Evans, Green...

They had consistent production with high floors.  But it seems in the last 2-3 years that's changed.  Must starts might have a floor below 5 and WR4, WR5 players seem to be utilized more by teams.

Did some paradigm shift occur in coaching?  Did defenses just get better?  

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18 minutes ago, 1fastdoc said:

Five years ago it seemed easy to pick out the top 5-10 WR/RB/TE safely.  Brown, Bell, Johnson, Gurley, Bryant, Elliott, Evans, Green...

They had consistent production with high floors.  But it seems in the last 2-3 years that's changed.  Must starts might have a floor below 5 and WR4, WR5 players seem to be utilized more by teams.

Did some paradigm shift occur in coaching?  Did defenses just get better?  

for TEs, no. There's still 1-3 TE studs who are easy starts every week. Everybody else is pretty much a "please get a TD" gamble. Don't forget for like a decade it was like Tony Gonzalez and "everybody else" at TE. TEs in football are like catchers in baseball. 

I'd say WRs are still fairly trustworthy on the high end, outside of injuries. Generally there's still a top tier with some movement around the margins season-to-season you can generally be safe in. Hopkins always gonna Hopkins, same for Davante, Theilen, etc, etc. You just have to hope you don't get stuck with the Michael Thomas of the season. Also the middle class of WR2 has swelled significantly and more WRs have a chance to have huge game-changing weeks than used to. This is reflection of how much more pass-happy the league is than it used to be. 

I think the biggest difference is RBs. It use to be almost every team had a clearly defined RB1 who got a ton of carries and goal line attempts (fewer running QBs to take away those GL carries as well) and not a lot of receiving work. Each season had its top top studs like LT or Alexander or ADP but even the mid tier guys were gonna get like...20 carries in a game on average, just with crappier ypc and TD chances. 3 down backs were the norm. RBBC was fairly rare and was usually thought of as a team failure instead of an offensive choice.

We've now transitioned to where there's still that handful of studs at the top (CMc, Barkley, Kamara) but the middle class has gotten much smaller and more shaky. A true, productive 3-down back is a unicorn almost these days and  there's a LOT more RBBC and many coaches now like to have a 3rd-down-specific back and I think more and more are going with committees and hot-hand approaches game-to-game. Teams have decided that, for the most part, RBs are fungible. This means outside of the very top tier RBs are just so unpredictable now, from season-to-season but not it's starting to be from game-to-game which leaves a lot of of scrambling week in and week out to find two productive guys to fill those RB slots. I've been thinking about doing a league with 1 RB slot and turning the other RB slot into a FLEX. 

Also FF info is much more widespread and easily accessible. Fantasy football is big business and everybody with even a passing interest in their leagues is reading some sort of weekly column or 2 and maybe listening to a podcast or two. there's more competition for the next big thing which means you have to move on guys earlier and earlier to get them without paying a premium. Of course that means you're prognosticating further and further out and there's more room for error with predictions. It probably means a lot of the add/drop decisions you're making feel more unsure. 

Edited by yossarian
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20 minutes ago, 1fastdoc said:

Five years ago it seemed easy to pick out the top 5-10 WR/RB/TE safely.  Brown, Bell, Johnson, Gurley, Bryant, Elliott, Evans, Green...

They had consistent production with high floors.  But it seems in the last 2-3 years that's changed.  Must starts might have a floor below 5 and WR4, WR5 players seem to be utilized more by teams.

Did some paradigm shift occur in coaching?  Did defenses just get better?  

 

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This year is kind of an anomaly with sooo many injuries.  But in general teams have trended towards rotating players in and out more, more receivers on the field, plus with the rules to increase offense and QB play getting better, I think it's kind of made it easier for marginal offensive players to produce.  

We're basically playing roulette every week at this point.  If you don't have one of the few every down backs on a good team it's hard to count on production anywhere.

Edited by Illusion_J
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23 minutes ago, 1fastdoc said:

Did some paradigm shift occur in coaching?  Did defenses just get better?  

 

No.  Offense is still king in this league and it is more the case now than ever before.

 

Every year more and more talent enters the league so the offensive touches can be more spread out.  So teams don't have to rely on that one workhorse back.  Or that one possession WR.  Notice how very few teams go with a 1 work horse backfield.  Most teams have 2 some cases 3 capable backs that get carries every week.  It's just what the league has evolved into.

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Not to mention the zebras toss a flag if it is anything remotely resembling PI. A different analogy would be how baseball pretty much knew there was a problem with PED's but after the baseball strike in 94', the HR chase a few years later brought people's interest and attendance back. Offense is king indeed, a majority of people like to see scoring as opposed to defensive battles. 

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8 minutes ago, supac720 said:

Not to mention the zebras toss a flag if it is anything remotely resembling PI. A different analogy would be how baseball pretty much knew there was a problem with PED's but after the baseball strike in 94', the HR chase a few years later brought people's interest and attendance back. Offense is king indeed, a majority of people like to see scoring as opposed to defensive battles. 

 

This is a good point.  This totally ups scoring but it ends up hurting a lot of guys in yardage... I always wanted to do a league where they gave you half the points for PI yardage.

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Ok, so it's not just me then.  I didn't get into this game until around 6 years ago and only then did I really start learning about any players other than the home team.  

Reason I ask is I discovered that instead of going for the super stud RB and a mid range RB2 I would balance my team out with low RB1 or high RB2's.  I had a RB intense draft and then traded to acquire WR's with decent floors, typically avoiding the stud WR's who were boom/bust (Jones, Green).  The result was I always made the playoffs and had guys from mid range teams that still had to fight in weeks 14-16.  

In the last 2 years that strategy has completely gone to hell.  I have a team full of pseudo-studs and scored 108 points last week.  On a 22 man roster I don't have a single player I can truly trust to produce.  I need to find a new strategy that favors NFL changes.  FF moneyball.

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I think the level of playing field has evened out.  Athletics and early development has advanced to a point where almost everyone is elite.  Its more of who gets apportunity to show it now.

 

We used to have the select few ballers with god given skills.  But now anyone can get them.  Just think of the NBA Dream Team in the 90s, fully dominant.  Now the NBA and rest of the basketball world has more or less evened out.

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33 minutes ago, 1fastdoc said:

Ok, so it's not just me then.  I didn't get into this game until around 6 years ago and only then did I really start learning about any players other than the home team.  

Reason I ask is I discovered that instead of going for the super stud RB and a mid range RB2 I would balance my team out with low RB1 or high RB2's.  I had a RB intense draft and then traded to acquire WR's with decent floors, typically avoiding the stud WR's who were boom/bust (Jones, Green).  The result was I always made the playoffs and had guys from mid range teams that still had to fight in weeks 14-16.  

In the last 2 years that strategy has completely gone to hell.  I have a team full of pseudo-studs and scored 108 points last week.  On a 22 man roster I don't have a single player I can truly trust to produce.  I need to find a new strategy that favors NFL changes.  FF moneyball.


I play in a shallow league, but I regret not avoiding WR in the draft. It seems like there constantly are serviceable-to-good receivers churning on waivers - whereas outside of a week1/preseason add of James Robinson and the ascension of Deandre Swift, very few good RB's have surfaced from the depths. 

In my league, if you didn't draft a single WR, you still could have ended up with some combination of  Fulgham, Kirk, Robby, Shepard, Higgins, Claypool, Jefferson, J.Brown, Jeudy, Aiyuk, among others. Whereas the effective waiver RB's, outside of two aforementioned ones, have been: Mike Davis, Jerrick McKinnon, Giovani Bernard, and Justin Jackson (to an extent). Two of them being handcuffs for the rare workhorse 3-down back (CMC, Mixon). 

I think my strategy next year will be to go heavy on RB, but maybe try to snag one true WR1 beast, and if I don't draft a second WR until, say, round 9, so be it. Guys will emerge. 

Edited by ChicksDigTheOPS
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I think it's definitely more rotation, new and different offensive styles, covid, players getting injured more cuz dey soft, all of that. I tried to just take Mahomes and Kittle or Kelce in the first two rounds and then hope my other later picks work out so I at least have two positions settled. In one league I got Kamara, Mahomes, Kittle first 3 rounds which I think is a better strategy lately (despite the Kittle injury). I use to be hardcore all RB the first two or even three rounds, but things done changed

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40 minutes ago, ChicksDigTheOPS said:


I play in a shallow league, but I regret not avoiding WR in the draft. It seems like there constantly are serviceable-to-good receivers churning on waivers - whereas outside of a week1/preseason add of James Robinson and the ascension of Deandre Swift, very few good RB's have surfaced from the depths. 

In my league, if you didn't draft a single WR, you still could have ended up with some combination of  Fulgham, Kirk, Robby, Shepard, Higgins, Claypool, Jefferson, J.Brown, Jeudy, Aiyuk, among others. Whereas the effective waiver RB's, outside of two aforementioned ones, have been: Mike Davis, Jerrick McKinnon, Giovani Bernard, and Justin Jackson (to an extent). Two of them being handcuffs for the rare workhorse 3-down back (CMC, Mixon). 

I think my strategy next year will be to go heavy on RB, but maybe try to snag one true WR1 beast, and if I don't draft a second WR until, say, round 9, so be it. Guys will emerge. 


I think this will be my strategy also.  I know going rb heavy was popular this year but I'll probably put that strategy on steroids next year.  I play in an auction league which makes this strategy more accessible but the dearth of RBs contrasted with the plethora of WR2s and other useable options makes  me wonder why I even bother drafting more than the two WRs necessary to fill out my lineup

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Yes- wide receivers are being dispersed and there are not many bellcows left. Honestly, it's a completely unfair advantage to have a bellcow due to scarcity and due to snake drafts not adjusting for scarcity. Auction drafts are the way to go, but if the NFL keeps these non fantasy friendly schemes up, fantasy football needs to adapt and add more stats or eliminate some positions to adapt with the times.

Not a fan of TEs, K's, Def spots, and it looks like RB may be out of the window too in a few years. 

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9 minutes ago, PlayTheWaivers said:

Yes- wide receivers are being dispersed and there are not many bellcows left. Honestly, it's a completely unfair advantage to have a bellcow due to scarcity and due to snake drafts not adjusting for scarcity. Auction drafts are the way to go, but if the NFL keeps these non fantasy friendly schemes up, fantasy football needs to adapt and add more stats or eliminate some positions to adapt with the times.

Not a fan of TEs, K's, Def spots, and it looks like RB may be out of the window too in a few years. 

Just do QB’s and WR’s. 

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On 11/11/2020 at 3:18 PM, ChicksDigTheOPS said:


I play in a shallow league, but I regret not avoiding WR in the draft. It seems like there constantly are serviceable-to-good receivers churning on waivers - whereas outside of a week1/preseason add of James Robinson and the ascension of Deandre Swift, very few good RB's have surfaced from the depths. 

In my league, if you didn't draft a single WR, you still could have ended up with some combination of  Fulgham, Kirk, Robby, Shepard, Higgins, Claypool, Jefferson, J.Brown, Jeudy, Aiyuk, among others. Whereas the effective waiver RB's, outside of two aforementioned ones, have been: Mike Davis, Jerrick McKinnon, Giovani Bernard, and Justin Jackson (to an extent). Two of them being handcuffs for the rare workhorse 3-down back (CMC, Mixon). 

I think my strategy next year will be to go heavy on RB, but maybe try to snag one true WR1 beast, and if I don't draft a second WR until, say, round 9, so be it. Guys will emerge. 

This has been an uncommonly good and deep rookie WR class though. 

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I also play in a shallow league with 6 teams and my team is stacked with "studs".  The problem is that the studs are hard to predict on a weekly basis.  For example, last week, my team performed as follows in half PPR:

 

Starters:

P. Mahomes: 31.28

D. Hopkins: 8.00

M. Thomas: 7.10

J. Jefferson: 22.50

A. Kamara: 5.70

D. Cook: 8.20

D. Waller: 4.30

J. Tucker: 2.00

Pitt: 14.00

 

Meanwhile, on my bench:

A.J. Brown: 23.80

D. Montgomery: 22.80

A. Gibson: 34.10

A Robinson: 23.40

 

Last week was one of my worse losses of the season and, even with that team, I am sitting in 3rd place because teams with less "studly" players are out performing my studs on various weeks and at least one or two of my studs are putting up duds on a weekly basis.  

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45 minutes ago, PlayTheWaivers said:

Yes- wide receivers are being dispersed and there are not many bellcows left. Honestly, it's a completely unfair advantage to have a bellcow due to scarcity and due to snake drafts not adjusting for scarcity. Auction drafts are the way to go, but if the NFL keeps these non fantasy friendly schemes up, fantasy football needs to adapt and add more stats or eliminate some positions to adapt with the times.

Not a fan of TEs, K's, Def spots, and it looks like RB may be out of the window too in a few years. 

I'm thinking we might move away from the default of 2RB slots plus however many WRs and FLEXs to 1 RB slot + WRs and FLEXs at some point. There's just too many weeks with too many teams starting like...Frank Gore and hoping for 15 touches and 7 points (standard) .

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9 minutes ago, trilly said:

I know that's a 6 team league, but how the heck did you get Kamara, Cook, Thomas, and Hopkins considering they were all no worse than top 5 (preseason rankings) within their positions?!

 

Every team in our 6 team league is stacked lol!  Kamara, Cook, and Hopkins were a result of an auto draft we did through Yahoo because no one else in the league has played FFB before and we got a late start.  I got Thomas in a trade after he got inured.  Sometimes, I wish I didn't have this "problem" because I never know which stud is going to put up a dud or go off on any given week.

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I went extremely RB heavy in my draft and still ended up with hardly anyone useful because I didn't get any of the "studs." I drafted Jacobs, Mixon, Sanders, Singletary, Dobbins, and Swift (foolishly cut Swift in the first half of the season when I should have actually cut Dobbins). By the end of the season (our playoffs start week 13) Jacobs was the only one of my SIX RBs to return good value and even he has had PLENTY of down weeks that are more indicative of a RB2 than a true RB1.

Out of the 4 teams that made the playoffs, 3 of them have one of Henry, Cook, and Kamara, and the 4th team just has a really balanced mix of good RBs and WRs.

It definitely seems like not having one of the studs is a HUGE disadvantage. Not sure what the answer is but the drop-off after the first 3/4 RBs (CMC would be up there if healthy) is HUGE and definitely makes snake drafts feel outdated and unbalanced. Unfortunately my league is pretty closed minded and I don't think I could ever convince them to try auction style drafting.

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5 minutes ago, drisser said:

I went extremely RB heavy in my draft and still ended up with hardly anyone useful because I didn't get any of the "studs." I drafted Jacobs, Mixon, Sanders, Singletary, Dobbins, and Swift (foolishly cut Swift in the first half of the season when I should have actually cut Dobbins). By the end of the season (our playoffs start week 13) Jacobs was the only one of my SIX RBs to return good value and even he has had PLENTY of down weeks that are more indicative of a RB2 than a true RB1.

Out of the 4 teams that made the playoffs, 3 of them have one of Henry, Cook, and Kamara, and the 4th team just has a really balanced mix of good RBs and WRs.

It definitely seems like not having one of the studs is a HUGE disadvantage. Not sure what the answer is but the drop-off after the first 3/4 RBs (CMC would be up there if healthy) is HUGE and definitely makes snake drafts feel outdated and unbalanced. Unfortunately my league is pretty closed minded and I don't think I could ever convince them to try auction style drafting.

To be fair there was a period where everybody considered LaDanainian Tomlinson basically a cheat code and questioned whether the difference between him and everybody else was unfair. That's actually the first I remember hearing about auction drafts because at that point it was "1st pick" = LT = "guaranteed playoff spot at least". Of course that was us looking at the difference between a RB God and a bunch of RB 1s. This is us looking at the difference between a handful of RB 1s and all the rest of the RB 2-4s. 

Regardless snake drafts suck and I'm always trying to get whatever random redraft league or 2 I'm in to do an auction draft. 

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In a word, yes.

RB and QB is still pretty easy to identify studs, and TE has only one or 2 actual studs. 

WR is where it has become a very real crapshoot. 

Who are the War studs beyond Hill, Diggs, Keenan Allen, and Adams? Julio, when he's actually healthy, I guess. That's 5 guys.

Hopkins? MT? AJ Brown? Mike Evans? Godwin? Lockett or Metcalf? Robby Anderson? McLauren? Etc. Etc. 

All have stud talent, but none have had consistent stud production. 

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