Fourth & 1 Debate: Losing Keeper Value

Oct 14, 2009

Time for another Fourth & 1 Roundtable Debate.   It’s my week to provide the topic.  Here goes.

This Week’s Topic
Aside from LT, which player or two has saw his keeper value take the most significant hit and why?

4th Down Marker
Ryan Lester of
The first person that comes to mind is Clinton Portis.  He will turn 29 when the 2010 season kicks off, which is getting into the scary territory for Running Backs.  Portis, perhaps even more so than other RBs because of the heavy workload he’s endured over his first eight seasons.  He’s battle numerous injuries over the past couple of seasons and the direction of the team is tenuous at best with Jim Zorn on the hot seat.

Joseph Addai is a couple of years younger than Portis, but, unlike CP, there is already an heir apparent on the roster.  Donald Brown is going to share the workload, much like Addai did in his rookie season with Dominic Rhodes, but next year, I imagine Brown will take over as the lead back.  Addai will still be a useful back, but he’s no longer a lock to be kept by fantasy owners.

4th Down Marker
Paul Greco of
When looking at keepers, it’s important to remember that you want players with a good foundation, these are players that are young, have proven to be of value over two seasons, and still have room to grow.

Two seasons ago, quarterback Tony Romo and David Garrard were up-and-coming stars.  Romo was coming off a 36 touchdown season and Garrard had a 6-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Fast forward to 2009, and I think neither of these quarterbacks is worth owning in a keeper league.  Both have shown flashes of brilliance, but both have been prone to too many bad games.

Romo so far this season has had two decent games, and three that could kill a fantasy team.  Without a “true” No. 1 wide receiver, Romo is forced to be the hero; a role I don’t believe he can excel at.

Garrard in 2009 has had three games already where he hasn’t thrown a touchdown.  That has to scare any fantasy owner.

Although Romo and Garrard where the darlings of 2007, and keeper league quarterbacks, now, I don’t think they deserve to be kept.  There is still plenty of time left in 2009 for these two to dial-it-up, but they better call 911 quick because these two need help right away.

4th Down Marker
Kurt Turner of
Trent Edwards and Terrell Owens were set to have a big season playing in a dynamic no-huddle offense. Now it looks as if Owens and Edwards are stuck in deep mud and it doesn’t get any better down the stretch because outside of weeks 10 and 11 they face some good defenses. I’d trade Owens while his stock isn’t quite yet worth ZERO. Trent Edwards hasn’t topped 200 yards passing in any of his last three games, throwing five picks and one touchdown during that time span. Edwards has been on his back 18 times so far and like I said before it’s only going to get harder. Lesson learned here, try to avoid players that are amidst a regime change.. unless of course it’s Peyton Manning.

4th Down Marker

Smitty of
Brian Westbrook’s value has taken a HUGE hit this season and many are starting to think that things won’t get any better in weeks 6-17. I have to admit that I’m torn on this topic. I think that it is important to note that it isn’t like that Eagles’ offense has given Westy the carries to prove himself this year, and there is still hope for Westy owners in redraft leagues… If things dont improve in the “carries per game” department for the starting rusher, Westy owners are surely in trouble moving forward. In a sense it doesn’t matter how he busts, whether it be by way of situation (carries), or by way of diminished talent (lack of production when given the touches)… A bust is a bust and if Westy does have an elite season left, this is it. His dynasty value is low. My advice is this… If you own him in redraft leagues, don’t sell cheap. Just make sure you have LeSean McCoy. If you don’t currently own the rookie, go get him now! His redraft value isn’t all that high right now, as the entire offense isn’t moving the football on the ground and Westy is healthy… Strike on all that and handcuff Westy to McCoy! Then ride this out… If Westy gets hurt, McCoy will shine. Selling low just isn’t an option given Westy’s current market value… In fact, buying low, and I mean “bargain” low, is advised, especially if you already own McCoy due to your crafty drafting.

4th Down Marker
Bryce McRae of
Players such as Clinton Portis (Washington Redskins), Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia Eagles) and Jamal Lewis (Cleveland Browns) already have low value in keeper leagues. The players below are a pair of backs that have seen their value drop this year.

The Oakland Raiders’ Darren McFadden (knee) just can’t stay healthy. He missed Week 5 and won’t be playing for at least another week. In 2008, he was slowed by shoulder and toe injuries. Even when on the field this year, he hasn’t impressed with just 3.1 yards per carry. No one will deny his physical talents, but at this point, he hasn’t show much in his 17 games. Oakland hasn’t done much to put an offense around him to relieve any pressure, either; as long as Al Davis (and quarterback JaMarcus Russell) is there, though, it isn’t likely that the Raiders will aid McFadden.

Marion Barber III, of the Dallas Cowboys, might be a bruising back, but he’s another runner that just can’t seem to stay healthy. This year, it’s his quadriceps muscle; last year it was a dislocated toe that slowed him down. He hasn’t shown he can handle a full workload. Injuries are only part of the equation. Behind him (or already equal with him), the Cowboys have Felix Jones, a first-round pick in 2008, who is arguably their biggest playmaker (9.4 yards per carry). Running back Tashard Choice, a back more in Barber’s vein, has looked impressive when called into action (5.1 yards per carry), too.

4th Down Marker

Eric Stashin of
For me, Steve Slaton’s value has to have taken a pretty big hit over the first five weeks of the season. Generally selected among the top 15 picks on draft day, he has topped 75 rushing yards just once and only found the end zone twice (both times in Week 4). Granted, his value is not going to disappear due to his ability to contribute in the passing game, he has not quite lived up to a potential first round talent. People were expecting the player who found the end zone 10 times in 2009. They were expecting the player who rushed for at least 90 yards in four of the final five games of the season.

I would never recommend giving up on Slaton. In fact, selling him now would be a mistake because you would not get a fair value on him. Keeper league owners have to hope that this is just a sophomore slump, but at this point he has to be knocked down a few pegs right now.

4th Down Marker
Jake of
As far as keeper league strategy, LaDainian Tomlinson is a great example of a player who is past his peak dynasty value, and is a good candidate to include in trade offers for prospects or draft picks. Of course, running backs like Tomlinson can lose value very quickly in a keeper league context as they approach and eclipse the age of thirty. Other running backs who fit this category are Brian WestbrookLarry Johnson,Jamal Lewis and perhaps Willis McGahee.  In terms of older wide receivers and tight ends, Randy Moss,Terrell Owens and Tony Gonzalez are also good examples of players who may currently retain decent trade value, but should be considered as keeper league trade bait.

There is probably another group of players, primarily running backs, who are still desirable from an age perspective, but are in situations where their future value may be adversely affected by team situations and/or continued mediocrity. For example, Darren McFadden and Reggie Bush are rapidly losing keeper league value because of poor performance relative to their originally expected career performance. Another group of younger running backs face situations where they are in danger of being usurped by higher upside players. For example, Joseph Addai’s value could plummet in the event that Donald Brown emerges as the Colts primary running back. Similarly Tim Hightower’s keeper league value could decrease significantly if Arizona decides to get an extended look at rookie Chris Wells at some point this season.

Thanks to everyone that participated.  Feel free to share the keepers you feel are losing value.

4th Down Marker
Jacob of
Darren McFadden’s keeper value has fallen off a cliff this season as a member of the Oakland Raiders. Once thought of as a challenger to Adrian Peterson’s crown as the best running back in the game, McFadden has seen his fantasy value plummet not because of a lack of talent or lack of opportunity, but because his team is simply terrible.

The Oakland Raiders are the worst offense in football. JaMarcus Russell is the worst starting quarterback in football, and it doesn’t seem like either is going to get better anytime soon. The Raiders will probably have to begin a whole new rebuilding process this offseason with a new coaching staff, and during that period of transition, there’s no telling how McFadden shakes out. He might end up lost in the shuffle and buried on a terrible franchise that squanders his value for his entire career.

And as if things couldn’t be worse, McFadden’s already injured this season after struggling with turf toe through his entire rookie year. Without the proper protection to support his run game, his career could be a short one if he can’t get out of Oakland.

4th Down Marker
Lee of
When the Eagles used a draft pick on LeSean McCoy people started to wonder if Brian Westbrook’s injuries and age were catching up to him. In newer Dynasty and Keeper leagues his stock dropped, it may have been easier to look the younger route. In established leagues, where Westbrook has been a huge part of some teams over recent years, it was time for owners to wonder if they should make some moves to move on. When they both get on the field in the same game it is Westbrook that comes out shining. Each game Westy does not get out there the more McCoy is going to be able to show the Eagles they will be okay and he will eventually surpass Westbrook’s production while his rises and Westy’s declines. Tip for the Westbrook owner, get some value while you can.

Speaking of getting value while you can. I thinking this may be the year that guys that took Darren McFaddenhigh in rookie drafts would see some production. Not so much. While the RBBC and the fact of being on the Raiders continue to drag him down it might be time to go ahead and try to get some value now instead of waiting on potential out of the guy, If he can pull off a big game might want to try and sell high and get yourself out of Oakland and the land of inconsistency.

. .

17 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Chad Henne « John's Blog
    October 14th, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    [...] Fourth & 1 Debate: Losing Keeper Value | [...]

  2. Eric Erstad
    October 14th, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    What about Brandon Jacobs? Bradshaw knocks his value way down, and Jacobs is 27, only a few years left assuming his frequent injuries don’t sit him down earlier.
    Or Willie Parker? Mendenhall usurped him in one game, and people forget Parker is 28, even though he’s only been a feature back for a few years. Not that he was a real high pick to begin with, but his value is almost nothing now.

  3. LestersLegends
    October 14th, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    AWESOME additions Eric.

  4. Fourth & 1 Debate: Declining Keeper Value
    October 14th, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    [...] To read all of the responses, click here. [...]

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    October 14th, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    [...] value. LT you say? Yeah, other than him.  Check out the names dropped with this weeks host at Lester’s Legends. Fantasy Football Tip of the Day | FBG Cheetsheet Rankings (1.000)20 Free Fantasy Football Quick [...]

  6. Jason Kind
    October 15th, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Hadn’t heard of FantasyPros911, but like their answers a lot. I think Romo and Garrad are a bunch of hacks and unless they can start to turn things around, they are off my list.

    Nice article

  7. LestersLegends
    October 15th, 2009 at 8:21 am #

    Jason, you’ll have to check them out. Good stuff over there. I think Romo has potential, especially if they bring in Shanahan or Gruden. Garrard isn’t a keeper in my opinion. Not this year, last year, or ever really.

  8. 9-on-9: Calvin Johnson not practicing, Decepticons in disarray | Sports News Images and Videos
    October 15th, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    [...] The gentlemen of the fantasy roundtable have gathered at Lester’s Legends to discuss players with declining keeper value. Darren McFadden(notes) has to be at the top of any such list, no? [] [...]

  9. 9-on-9: Calvin Johnson not practicing, Decepticons in disarray | Sports News Images and Videos
    October 15th, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    [...] The gentlemen of the fantasy roundtable have gathered at Lester’s Legends to discuss players with declining keeper value. Darren McFadden(notes) has to be at the top of any such list, no? [] [...]

  10. 9-on-9: Calvin Johnson not practicing, Decepticons in disarray
    October 15th, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    [...] The gentlemen of the fantasy roundtable have gathered at Lester’s Legends to discuss players with declining keeper value. Darren McFadden(notes) has to be at the top of any such list, no? [] [...]

  11. Fourth & 1 Debate: Buy Low On Brian Westbrook Before Week 6? « Fantasy Football Xtreme
    October 16th, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    [...] and we interlink the content within each of our Sites. This week the article can be found on The Weekly Article is called “Fourth & 1 Debate” and it will feature a different [...]

  12. Mom
    October 18th, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    The comments and research that provides has all of us asking “for more”!

    Ryan is an excellent writer and gets his followers pumped up while waiting. Great job, Ryan

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    October 18th, 2009 at 11:23 pm #

    [...] Tomlinson, have seen their value decline the most in 2009. Here was my answer (you’ll have to follow this link for the rest of the answers); stats are prior to Week [...]

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