Going Through the Pros vs. Joes Drafts to Figure Out Who the High Stakes Players Like


“Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.” – Warren Buffett

Buffett’s quote above is basically pointing out how odd it is that people who have made money in the stock market will often take advice from those who’ve made none in the stock market. There’s probably a similar dynamic at play in the fantasy football world where high stakes players often subscribe to a few premium websites in order to read advice from people who don’t play any high stakes leagues. It sounds odd on its face, but I don’t actually think it’s that odd. If you’re a high stakes player, your primary concern is to make sure that no potential value play gets overlooked and that means subscribing to websites that volunteer to do some of the research for you.

But I’m always cognizant of the idea that the high stakes players are willing to put their money at risk to test out their ideas, so myFFPC’s recent Pros vs. Joes (PVJ) drafts were really interesting to me. These drafts provide evidence as to who the high stakes players like that the experts might be overlooking. One thing that happens in the fantasy expert community is that it becomes an echo chamber at some point. We try to avoid that at RotoViz by publishing articles that other experts find to be laughable. Some of our articles may be laughable, but there’s a lot of value in leaving no stone unturned. That’s why I decided to go through the recent PVJ drafts to see who the high stakes players liked that we might be overlooking. It might also be worth noting that in the history of these PVJ leagues, an expert has never won the whole thing… so there’s that reason also.

First let’s look at the players that the high stakes players liked more than the experts. There were a total of

Player Overall ADP in PvJ Times Joes Drafted (6 Drafts Total)
Amendola, D.  WR (NWE) 44.8 6
Green-Ellis, B.  RB (CIN) 85.8 6
Johnson, C.  WR (DET) 6.0 5
Forte, M.  RB (CHI) 13.8 5
Green, A.  WR (CIN) 15.0 5
Jones, J.  WR (ATL) 20.0 5
Gronkowski, R.  TE (NWE) 26.2 5
Murray, D.  RB (DAL) 29.0 5
Wallace, M.  WR (MIA) 53.6 5
Lacy, E.  RB (GNB) 61.8 5
Cook, J.  TE (STL) 86.0 5
Maclin, J.  WR (PHI) 87.2 5
Ingram, M.  RB (NOR) 93.4 5
Tate, B.  RB (HOU) 94.2 5
Romo, T.  QB (DAL) 99.2 5
Blackmon, J.  WR (JAC) 106.4 5
Davis, F.  TE (WAS) 121.2 5
Jeffery, A.  WR (CHI) 122.8 5
Leshoure, M.  RB (DET) 132.4 5
Patterson, C.  WR (MIN) 161.4 5
Smith, A.  QB (KAN) 166.0 5
Reece, M.  RB (OAK) 167.6 5
Bell, J.  RB (DET) 175.6 5
Robinson, D.  RB (JAC) 184.2 5
Floyd, M.  WR (SDG) 192.4 5
Redman, I.  RB (PIT) 213.0 5
Murray, L.  RB (OAK) 216.8 5
Davis, K.  RB (KAN) 223.2 5
Powell, B.  RB (NYJ) 238.4 5
Moeaki, T.  TE (KAN) 249.5 5
Flynn, M.  QB (OAK) 252.6 5
Hixon, D.  WR (CAR) 270.5 5

Danny Amendola

One thing that the Joes showed over the course of the drafts was that they were generally risk seeking. Actually I think their picks often fit into either the risk seeking category or the impossible to ignore value category. Amendola is probably a risk seeking move. You know that Welker finished as a top 10 WR in PPR formats most of the time he was in NE. Amendola is taking over that role and the only question is injury. For the “go big or go home” high stakes players, Amendola made a lot of sense.

The Law Firm

BJGE is actually probably the opposite of a risk seeking pick and I actually have a tough time figuring out why the Joes liked him more than the Pros. I like BJGE, but mostly from a value standpoint and I don’t think that he’s the kind of high variance player that high stakes players often gravitate to. I’m at a little bit of a loss trying to figure this one out.

Calvin Johnson

This is just the Joes getting the guy that is the overwhelming favorite to be the top WR at the end of the year. I’m not surprised to see that the Joes liked Megatron a lot more than the Pros. To me this is more of a global strategy pick than anything else. I think the Joes are just a lot more likely to deviate from RB/RB.

Matt Forte

I’m not sure if it’s that the Pros just don’t find Forte to be a sexy pick, and they overlooked him for that reason, but we’ve written about the upside that Forte has in the Trestman offense.

Julio Jones/A.J. Green

This is interesting because I haven’t really been ending up with these guys on any of my teams, but I’m definitely open to the idea that they could be parts of winning teams. I think I’m more on board with Julio than AJ just because I think it’s possible that the Bengals offense might not be all AJ Green this year. The Bengals have been drafting young pass catchers for a reason and that reason is not so that they can continue to shoehorn targets to Green every game. But Julio is a little more attractive to me because I think his fantasy value is 100% tied to how often ATL decides to throw him the ball. When they throw him the ball he’s as efficient as almost any WR in the league, and he’s been surviving on a relatively small number of targets for a #1 WR. So there might be some usage safety there.

Rob Gronkowski

This is just a straight risk-seeking move to me. The Joes aren’t concerned with Gronk not playing as they are optimizing for winning the whole thing, rather than having the safest lineups.

DeMarco Murray

Maybe the Joes have noticed that Murray is one of the only RBs you can get in that part of the draft that is relatively young and also figures to be his team’s workhorse back. Also, as we’ve discussed, the Joes aren’t risk averse.

Mike Wallace

This one is tougher for me to understand. I suppose at Wallace’s ADP, he has some upside compared to his career peaks. But his career peaks also came when he was three years younger than he is now. And I get the potential for increased usage, but in a PPR format there might be players in that same range of the draft that have similar or better upside. I’m not doubting the Joes on this one, I’m just trying to figure out what they’re seeing that I’m missing.

Jared Cook

A part of me wonders if the Pros have sworn off Jared Cook after having been burned by him in the past. Shawn Siegele has written about the problems with Cook’s sleeper status, but I suspect that the Joes see Cook as a high variance option perfect for a best ball tournament style format.

Fred Davis

Davis could be a real value this year. It’s really tough to know until we see him on the field, but the Shanahan/Kubiak systems have always had a place for TE and I think it’s logical to assume that we see more pocket passing from RGIII this year. The Redskins also don’t really have another decent sized receiver after Pierre Garcon, so Davis’ talents are probably needed.

Joique Bell/Mikel Leshoure

The Joes being highest on both Bell and Leshoure probably says something about their relative willingness to buy into the idea that Reggie Bush is winning any fantasy championships in 2013.

Alex Smith

Smith is becoming an increasingly popular QB pick among the fantasy drafters that shoot for low cost with extreme upside. Even if you are skeptical about his ability, his combination of low cost and the Andy Reid system have to give you pause before you bet against him.

Latavius Murray/Knile Davis

Kind of interesting to see two high speed score backs show up in the Joes drafts.

Bilal Powell

I like this one a lot. Right now all Powell has to do to be a starting running back is to not get hurt himself while Chris Ivory maintains a high level of hurtness (hurtness isn’t actually a word).

My whole point in putting this list together was look for players that I might be overlooking given that I’m going to often have the same approach that a lot of other experts do. I’m definitely open to changing my internal valuation of Matt Forte, as well as guys like Fred Davis and Bilal Powell. Tomorrow I’ll take a look at players that the Pros liked a lot more than the Joes.

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By RotoViz Staff | @rotoviz | Archive

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