Age Curves and NFL Breakouts: How to Win in Dynasty – The Wrong Read, No. 34
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Welcome to the 34th installment of the “The Wrong Read.” This article series started as one that reflected on recent podcast episodes and extended the ideas discussed there to logical conclusions with broader applications. Since then it’s become a space for me to write about whatever I want, with irregular references to various podcast episodes. Nevertheless, I’ll link to the episode that started my train of thought if applicable. Last week I presented the results of some of my research on wide receiver age curves and how a WR’s age affects NFL production. Whereas the traditional age curves have inadvertently tricked many a dynasty owner into thinking that WRs (and all other offensive skill position players) tend to improve until reaching their peak production around the age of 27, my results show that WRs on average do not improve after the age of 22. In fact from age 23 on, WRs tend to see a decrease in fantasy scoring. In other words, most NFL WRs will never be better (from a fantasy perspective) than they are at age 23. These results are rather counterintuitive, particularly because many of the best players in the NFL — the most valuable dynasty assets, that is — are within the so-called peak production window. But my findings suggest you should be filling your team with younger assets and selling the players in the peak-production window. That is, you should be moving the best players off your team in favor of younger assets. The question therefore obviously arises: if you don’t have any of the best players on your team, how can you win?