Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side? How to Draft Players on the Move

Free agency is a busy time. Now that most of the dust has settled, how do you evaluate players who have shuffled around?

Around this time every year, you start to see fantasy free agency winners and losers. Risers and fallers. Buy and sell. All sorts of articles, columns, and blogs that talk about how value has risen and fallen for players in free agency. This is huge, RB’s signing to new teams or a WR being traded can really affect how they perform. Did a guy become a bell cow? Did a WR become his teams number 1 option? There’s going to be 100 articles discussing these things, but I would like to note something a little less obvious.

Of course these moves have a fantasy impact at the micro level, with each player’s stock rising and falling individually. But how about as a position group overall? How did players fair when moving to new teams? While it’s hard to predict the future, let’s take a look at the past.

2019 Free AgentADPFinishDifference2019 Free AgentADPFinishDifference
Lev Bell621-15Antonio Brown9144-135
Mark Ingram22616Golden Tate51474
Carlos Hyde532033John Brown541440
LeSean McCoy3640-4Odell Beckham Jr.634-28
Frank Gore654421Jamison Crowder563818
Tevin Coleman2632-6Cole Beasley942965
Latavius Murray34313Tyrell Williams504010
Average (Excluding Brown)18.2
2018 Free AgentADPFinishDifference2018 Free AgentADPFinishDifference
Dion Lewis2636-10Jarvis Landry1722-5
Carlos Hyde2544-19Allen Robinson2541-16
Isaiah Crowell38299Sammy Watkins3962-23
Doug Martin573522Michael Crabtree3060-30
Jerick Mckinnon19155-136Jordy Nelson4049-9
LeGarrette Blount54504John Brown493910
Adrian Peterson341618
Average (Excluding Mckinnon)4
RB Average5.5
WR Average3.0
Total Average4.3

Ok, so I know there’s a bunch of information above, but let’s break it down. Looking at the last 2 years in fantasy for RB and WR, you can see how each of the players who changed teams performed against their ADP. Positive numbers here mean value, while negative numbers mean they didn’t perform up to expectations. I’m excluding McKinnon and Antonio Brown from my results, as they skew the data since they both missed nearly a full season.

What you see from this data is that on average, RB’s and WR both perform slightly above their ADP after changing teams. RB’s performed on average 5.5 spots better than they were drafted. This is good news if you are looking at Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard, and Melvin Gordon. You can find some value in these guys, since the change in scenery lowers their ADP since you aren’t sure what you are going to get. Mark Ingram II and Carlos Hyde were great examples of this last season. The same is true for WR’s, although not as extreme. While Brown and OBJ were outliers this year, all WR’s on the list above outperformed their ADP. Most had great value including John brown and Cole Beasley. With some big name WR’s on the move this offseason in Deandre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs, you may be able to capitalize on fantasy owners scared of change. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @RealDealFantasy for more fantasy football news. We also have great video content on Youtube. For my personal content and bad sports takes, I’m @CodyReer24 on all platforms. Cheers

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