You’ve likely heard it said that ‘buying the dip’ is a cheat code to success in fantasy football. This adage simply means that you should be mindful of temporary lulls in a player’s value, particularly those for whom you anticipate a rebound.
In the information age, with data and news at our fingertips, player values can be incredibly volatile. Reaction to injury or off-the-field concerns can sink the desirability of a once promising dynasty piece. Savvy owners will leverage this panic into a favorable acquisition, with the expectation that the plummet is short lived.
Typically, the owners in your league will be familiar with the premier fantasy talents, and thus these players will be divided somewhat evenly. However, piecing together enough of these high-potential, bargain investments is a true difference maker. Lock in enough of these gems, and you could be staring at a championship come January.
In essence, that is the purpose of this series. I will provide you with an in-depth look at players who may have lost some of their shine in fantasy circles, but still have a lot to offer your lineup. Armed with this knowledge, you can go forth and snatch up these quiet values to set your team apart.
In this installment, we take a look at veteran wideout, Robert Woods. Known affectionately as “Bobby Trees”, Woods was originally drafted by Buffalo in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Despite impressive achievements with USC, he struggled throughout his Bills tenure, posting just 43 yards and 0.21 touchdowns per game during his time in The Nickel City.
Indeed, it was a free agent contract from the Los Angeles Rams that ultimately unlocked the late bloomer. In stark contrast to the struggles of his early career, Woods averaged 68 yards and 0.34 touchdowns per contest in the McVay offensive scheme. He even managed to land himself a Super Bowl ring during his triumphant return to Southern California.
Despite five years of remarkable stability and success with Los Angeles, Woods currently has some challenges to overcome. Firstly, the veteran pass catcher just turned 30 years old in April, an age which always causes some trepidation among dynasty enthusiasts. In addition, Woods was traded during the offseason from the Rams, who are known for their wide open offense, to the Titans, who feature a rush dominant approach. Lastly, and perhaps most notably in terms of red flags, is Woods’ health. He suffered a torn ACL during Rams practice between Weeks 9 and 10, and is reportedly still recovering.
The trio of concerns referenced above have conspired to absolutely sink the value on Robert Woods.
From the perspective of draft value, Woods held an ADP of 46.0 in 2020 and 38.4 in 2021, the 18th and 14th receiver off the board respectively. Whereas he currently holds an ADP of 101.0 and is being valued as the 40th most coveted wide receiver. In a conventional 12 team league, you can now get Woods nearly five full rounds later than where you’d need to take him just one year ago.
The trade market shows a similar, sharp decline. I referenced the DynastyGM tool to get a feel for recent deals. In one instance, Woods was dealt for a 2022 second round rookie pick. In another, he was traded straight up for Melvin Gordon. Finally, he was moved for a package of rookie picks consisting of a 2024 third and a 2025 second. These bargains jump right off of the screen.
Upside – Player
Death, taxes, and Robert Woods as a WR2. Few things are more consistent. In PPR formats, Woods has averaged 15.3 points per game over the past three seasons, good for an average rank of 17.3. And before you think that is impressive, consider that his output in any of those three seasons has never eclipsed 15.5 points per game nor has it fallen below 15.2 points per game.
Indeed, he’s been as solid as they come for your lineup. And don’t be fooled into thinking that those averages are at all insignificant. In 2021, prior to his injury, Woods’ per game average of 15.2 was greater than the marks put forth by D.K. Metcalf (14.4), Michael Pittman Jr. (14.0), or A.J. Brown (13.9). That’s some pretty lofty company.
When it comes to his recovery, all reports indicate a very promising prognosis. In fact, respected Titans insider, Jim Wyatt, recently told Mike Randle of 4for4 Fantasy that he anticipates that Woods will be ready to go by the kickoff of the 2022 regular season. It’s also been widely reported that any offseason restrictions have been precautionary and placed at the request of the team. Woods, by all accounts, has immersed himself in his new surroundings and is chomping at the bit for more activity.
Upside – Team
The Titans offense is, superficially, a scary one for dynasty owners when it comes to pass catchers. A run-first approach has been a hallmark of Mike Vrabel’s tenure as head coach. And the statistics bear this out, as, over the past three seasons, Tennessee has been among the NFL’s bottom five in terms of pass ratio.
However, a deeper dive into the numbers tells a more complete story. Firstly, the Titans have enjoyed success over that three year span. They’ve averaged 10.7 wins per season, and have secured back to back AFC South titles. In the modern NFL, one dimensional teams simply do not reach these levels of sustained accomplishment.
And, though they do not air it out nearly as often as the Rams, the Titans offense has sustained a top wide receiver in A.J. Brown over the last three seasons. In fact, over the past three years Brown has averaged 70 yards per game in this offense, eerily similar to Woods’ mark of 68 yards per game in L.A.
While Brown is an obvious standout talent, it is not unreasonable to suspect that Robert Woods could slide into the vacancy created in his wake.
Robert Woods is being severely devalued due to age, injury, and unfamiliar surroundings. However, over the past three seasons, he has been a remarkably consistent. Woods has been a reliable WR2 and has shown no indications of decline due to age. He is on pace to return by Week 1 and is slated to serve a role as the top veteran receiver for a Titans team that has enjoyed tremendous recent success.
Woods is being overlooked in favor of younger and more trendy alternatives. Don’t fall prey to the echo chamber. If you feel that your team is a contending one, take advantage of a tremendous discount on Woods. Though his pricing may be inconsistent, his performance is right as rain. Now is your chance to pay WR4 prices for a proven WR2. Go find that owner who can’t see the forest for Bobby Trees, and laugh all the way to the bank.
I thoroughly enjoyed bringing you this piece, and would love to continue the conversation on Robert Woods. Please feel free to comment below or contact me @Spydes78 on Twitter. And also, stay tuned to @DynastyNerds for a steady pipeline of content from our eminently qualified staff to carry you through your offseason. Enjoy the grind!