Scared Money Don’t Make No Money – Fantasy Football Value

“I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.” — Warren Buffett

When looking for market strategy, Warren Buffett is top of the class. Starting to invest in childhood, he peaked as the world’s wealthiest individual in 2008. Attacking uncertainty and selling on confidence has long been a core tenant to retaining his value.

Stock market parallels litter the fantasy game. Fantasy Intervention’s website is filled with the buzzy “buy” and “sell” and our own Jakob Sanderson’s player comparisons to Bitcoin. Groupthink within the industry is pervasive and cutting against the grain can leave you exposed. Hit on those moves and you win.

Bills receiver Stefon Diggs and Raiders tight end Darren Waller were two of the top five names on most of ESPN’s championship rosters.  Both faced a discounted draft price – falling outside of the top 55 on Fantasy Pro’s 2020 ADP – not due to their talent, but the perceived situation. Diggs’ value was depressed due to quarterback Josh Allen’s sub-par ability to deliver accurate passes in 2019 translating to 2020. His WR23 rank was a clear overreaction; especially considering the Bills primary receiver John Brown finished as WR20 in 2019. Waller faced a perceived crowded target room with preseason buzz on Raiders receivers Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, and Hunter Renfrow.  How did that work out?

On the flip side, two of the biggest busts were running backs, the Chief’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Cardinals’ Kenyon Drake. Both were perceived as bellcow backs despite red flags.  Edwards-Helaire was drafted into a committee with Damien Williams coming off a dominant Super Bowl performance. Edwards-Helaire’s value spiked to a dizzying height when Williams opted out of the season, with some suggesting he should be the 1.01 fantasy pick. Drake was a trendy first-round pick who settled at ADP21 despite offseason comments on Kingsbury’s intent to use a committee.

When we develop our critical eye, we can begin to find our undervalued stocks. Two players that stand out in FantasyPro’s current dynasty rankings are 49ers running back Jeffrey Wilson Jr. and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

Wilson Jr. tied with Diggs on ESPN’s most rostered championship players. His consensus rank of 62 insinuates he’s widely unowned across platforms. 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan has given him a goalline role in past seasons. When fellow running back Raheem Mostert has missed time he’s been flat dominant. He averaged 18.36 points per game over seven games when exceeding 12 touches. Wilson faces uncertainty with free agency looming and Mostert’s presence, but Shanahan has deployed backfields that have produced two relevant backs. (see Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in Atlanta 2016, when both placed as top 19 points per reception running backs) Wilson is a stylistic fit, has the trust of the staff, and his low profile should allow for an inexpensive re-signing. After seeing those seven games, his upside is evident.

Aiyuk checks in at FantasyPros’ dynasty WR31. After missing Week 1, Aiyuk became a key to the 49ers’ offensive success. He averaged 16.94 points per game over his last 11 games which would place him at WR13 on the season. He is facing uncertainty due to tight end George Kittle and fellow receiver Deebo Samuel expected to eat into his targets. However, those two have distinct uses in the 49er’s offensive scheme allowing space for Aiyuk to flourish. In addition, there are rumors of quarterbacks Matthew Stafford or DeShaun Watson possibly getting traded to the 49ers. This becomes an immediate upgrade from current quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. 

It’s clear Aiyuk’s value is depressed. How often can you grab a former first-round wide receiver with this profile as your WR3 in dynasty?

The breadcrumbs are easy to trace with the benefit of hindsight.  It speaks to the value of identifying your source information and developing your own opinion.  Steve Jobs had a quote on opinions that hit me,

 “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”  

More often than not, the noise of the market should lead you to examine moving in the opposite direction.

As always, you can find me on Twitter @4WhomJBellTolls and other future content over @JoinOurCircle_.

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