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This blog was born out of a Dynasty Rankings thread originally begun in October, 2006 at the Footballguys.com message boards. The rankings in that thread and the ensuing wall-to-wall discussion of player values and dynasty league strategy took on a life of its own at over 275 pages and 700,000 page views. The result is what you see in the sidebar under "Updated Positional Rankings": a comprehensive ranking of dynasty league fantasy football players by position on a tiered, weighted scale. In the tradition of the original footballguys.com Dynasty Rankings thread, intelligent debate is welcome and encouraged.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Larry Fitzgerald: The Best Player in the NFL?

Would you consider drafting a wide receiver with the No. 1 overall pick in a start-up Dynasty draft? You should.

Larry Fitzgerald is entering his prime at age 26, and if last year's playoffs are any indication, he's now the most dominant player in the league. Considering his talent, work ethic, reliability, and the career path of dominant wide receivers, Fitz will be a threat for 100/1,500/12 every year for the next six-to-eight years. He certainly has Greg Jennings' attention:

"This guy, the reason he's so good is his work ethic. His work ethic is second to none. I don't really talk about guys like this. This guy has earned everything he has gotten and accomplished. I mean, this morning he texted me and said, 'I'm a grinder, I'm working harder than you.' I ran 21 10s. I mean, that's how competitive he is. Every day he's been texting me about what he's doing, if I'm doing something. I mean, I thought I worked hard.
"I went up there [to Minnesota] and I'm like, 'You really opened my eyes, really opened my eyes.' I worked hard but he really pushes himself to the limit, to the max. And it's like, you don't find guys that are that well on top but are still climbing to get higher and higher. I just can't say enough about this guy and I don't really put guys on that pedestal, but he is deserving of everything he gets."


EdMcGon said...

Come on Chris! While Fitz may arguably be the premier player in the NFL, in fantasy terms, he's still a wideout. Unless you're in some weird league that favors receiving production, wideouts will still take second place to top tier running backs.

Chris Wesseling said...

So you don't consider that formulaic thinking: "I have to have a RB."

In Dynasty leagues, WRs & QBs can easily have as much value as RBs because they're much more predictable on a year-to-year basis and have much longer shelf-lives.

EdMcGon said...

I'm not saying WR's and QB's don't have value in dynasty leagues. But the difference between a top tier RB and a second tier RB is normally greater than that between WR's and QB's. Granted, there are some years with exceptions (such as Tom Brady and Randy Moss from 2 years ago), but record breaking years like that are the exception, not the rule.

Kirby said...

I think in dynasties the play early on is to lock up young dynamic wrs and qbs early, and route out the rb options every year. It is relativly easy to find pierre thomas as opposed to dominate qb and wr talent. The dominant wr talent lasts forever If you started a dynasty league 8 years ago you would have been much better off with Peyton Manning then Marshall or Priest.

Omar Little said...

I agree with Ed McGon. It's much easier to pick up RBs in a dynasty league than top flight WRs, particularly where the fantasy draft each year is heavily focused on rookies. My squad features Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Anthony Gonzalez, Lee Evans, and Lance Moore. Since I don't have to worry about the WR position (and probably won't for several years), I can focus on the young RB class with the 7th overall pick where McCoy, Brown, or Greene will be available. Teams that are weak and/or old at WR will be forced to gamble early picks on unpredictable rookie WR's. High-pick rookie RBs have much better odds of success than rookie WRs. Moreover, you know much sooner whether you found a stud or dud with a RB than WR, so you don't have to eat up a roster spot for 3 years wondering if Kenny Britt will be the next TO or the next Mike Williams. Finally, WRs tend to have longer careers with longer peaks than RBs - for example, would you be better off with a top 3 WR for the next 6-8 years or a top 3 RB for the next 4-7? Obviously, your league's scoring and roster rules will make an impact on this.

Omar Little said...

Sorry, I meant to say that I agree with Kirby in my post above.

EdMcGon said...

I'm glad you brought up Marshall and Priest. During their peak years, you would have won more championships with them than you would have with the top QB or WR.

While I'll gladly grant that a top QB or WR will give you longer production, give me a top RB with a second tier QB and WR, and I'll win 9 years out of 10.

SSoG said...

If you believe ADP is a 24-year old Marshall Faulk, and Larry Fitzgerald is a 26-year old Marvin Harrison, then yeah, you go with the 24-year old Faulk. Not only did Faulk last 7 more years as a productive fantasy player (compared to 8 more for Harrison), but Faulk also whupped Harrison in total VBD compiled after that age (920 to just under 800). Of course, I'm a lot more confident in Larry Fitzgerald being the next Harrison than I am in ADP being the next Faulk. For one thing, Fitzgerald's got a much longer track record. For another, Fitzgerald has a much less daunting injury history. As for Peterson... he's never posted elite TD totals (12 and 10 in his two seasons). He's not playing in an elite offense (Faulk and Holmes both became uberstars in Dick Vermeil's offense, remember- no Vermeil, no Faulk/Holmes). Of course, far and away the biggest concern I have about him is his PATHETIC reception totals. Marshall Faulk never caught fewer than 44 balls in his entire career, even late when he was a situational player and Steven Jackson's caddy. Holmes never played more than 8 games in KC without posting at least 62 receptions. Tomlinson has never in his career caught fewer than 51 balls. Peterson? 19 and 21 receptions, despite probably the worst receiving corps in the entire league (taking into account WRs and TEs). Hell, even Shaun Alexander caught 40+ balls in each of his first three seasons as a starter. 20 balls a season is TERRIBLE, and it means two things, both of which are very bad. First of all, it means you can expect less year to year consistency from him (because RBs who catch a lot of balls are statistically more consistent from season to season than those that don't), and second of all, it means that his upside is dramatically limited (low receptions = about 400 fewer yards and 2-3 fewer TDs a year).

Meanwhile, comparing Fitzgerald to Harrison might actually be doing a disservice to Fitzgerald. After all, Harrison was always considered one of the best receivers, but he was NEVER considered arguably the best player regardless of position. The only other WRs I've seen to earn that distinction are Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. If you operate under the assumption that Adrian Peterson is more Shaun Alexander or Clinton Portis than Marshall Faulk or LaDanian Tomlinson, and you operate under the assumption that Larry Fitzgerald is Randy Moss or Jerry Rice than Marvin Harrison or Terrell Owens, then suddenly it becomes totally justifiable to have Fitzgerald ranked #1 overall.

Remember, not all #1 RBs in the league are created equal.

EdMcGon said...

I will grant your points about AP. Personally, I don't rate him in the same class as Faulk, Holmes, or LT. I expect you'll see one of the other top RB's break out of the pack this year or next and surpass AP.