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Davante Adams vs Tee Higgins – A Value Debate

@thedynastyrobot is here to breakdown the dynasty market for a closely priced rising star and veteran. Is there an edge to be had?

Based on my previous article on How to value players, I want to highlight some real-world takeaways. A market comparison between veteran Davante Adams and rising star Tee Higgins has the potential to highlight a valuation disconnect. Davante Adams is projected with a redraft value at $68/$37 (starter/reserve), while Tee Higgins is at $42/$29. Based on Davante Adams’ career span, his best seasons are likely behind him. At age 29, he may not have any more premier seasons left in him. For the sake of this discussion, we will say he has two. Higgins at 23 likely has eight more years of premier value given the same time frame we are giving Adams. At this point, we want to determine if the players are likely correctly priced by the market. This should be evaluated regardless of whether we are a contending or rebuilding team.

Below are the current data points for each player.

Pairing Players for Comparison

For this analysis, let’s assume that the projections match reality perfectly. I want to point out that Adams paired with a $0 value player and Higgins paired with a player valued at $26/8 would theoretically be equivalent in scoring based on how the system is calculated (using points above replacement). Let’s also assume there is no shortage of ability to trade for other players at their value. We want to determine if a player worth approximately 50% more redraft value than the other but has only 25% of the career span is truly worth his current dynasty price. I would argue that the answer is a resounding no. However, the dynasty community values them nearly identically, with Adams at $67/$59 and Higgins at $68/$59. 

Taking the redraft values and multiplying by their career spans, we come to a total value of $136/$74 in Adams vs. $336/$232 in Higgins. That is fine if we are a contending team and need to make a move. Assuming both players continue at their current pace of production, we are massively devaluing the future of our team.

Identifying the Pairings

In looking for an equivalent player to make up that $26/8 redraft value difference, we see Darnell Mooney is slotted in at that mark with a redraft value of $27/24 and has a dynasty value of $14/17. Similarly, we can couple Adams with Davante Parker, whose redraft and dynasty value is near $0 as a starter and has a similar career-span Adams. For the dynasty price of Mooney and Higgins at $84/$78, we can have the equivalent of Adams and Parker at $67/$59. However, we will still need to replace that pairing three more times to keep the same career span. This career-span adjusted price of $270/$238 over that same eight-year period. That is a massive loss in value of $186/160!

Conclusion

Given a choice, I would take Higgins every time. However, it should be noted that as competing teams are built, there may not be an option to have $0 value players in our starting lineup and still compete. Due to this fact, “stars” may warrant a value adjustment. However, I can’t foresee a “star” premium that could ever come close in this example. We can, therefore, arbitrage star veteran players with short career spans. We can drastically increase our value by trading these veterans for rising stars that have already proven their ability. That, along with the upside of the younger talent, makes these trades a seemingly better long-term bet. In this example, we have shown that both teams have the same ability to win now. The difference is that one team will have many more years to continue to win.

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