Market Order: The Dynasty Value of A.J. Green
In financial terms, a market order is a buy or sell order to be executed immediately at the current market price. Dynasty fantasy owners can take this idea and apply it to our buy or sell trade decisions of individual players.
Today we take a look at the market value of the Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver A.J. Green. Last week, Green suffered a training camp injury, spraining his ankle after coming down with a pass in team drills. On Tuesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Green will miss regular-season games due to ligament damage discovered during surgery.
In our first article of a new series, QB List staff writers Marc Salazar and Ryan Heath look at both sides of the coin on Green’s value to dynasty owners.
Dynasty Debate: A.J. Green
Marc: Before the news of A.J. Green’s injury, he was a player whose value was depressed heading into the 2019 season. Green is presently WR18 in FantasyPros Expert Consensus Dynasty Rankings and with the news that he’s expected to miss at least two regular-season games, it’s expected that drops into the 20s. At that price, I am targeting Green and attempting to acquire him at a steal.
Ryan: Ligament damage is no joke. Now both of Green’s feet have been battered with injuries, having battled a toe sprain for most of last season in his other foot. Neither of these developments bode well for the possibility of Green maintaining his explosiveness into his 30s.
Marc: Many owners will say Green is injury-prone but he did return to play a full 16 games in 2017 after a hamstring tear forced him to miss six games the previous season. What’s more is his injuries don’t concern me, they are low-risk injuries, the chance of a full recovery is high, and the field had more to do with the injury than age. An ankle cleanup will do more good than harm for him as he gets a year older.
Ryan: History hasn’t been kind to the aging X receiver that wins mostly with strength at the catch-point rather than with nuanced route-running and separation. Over the last two years, Green has ranked 69th and 89th in the league in target separation, according to playerprofiler.com. At 4.3 yards after the catch per reception in 2018 according to Next Gen Stats, he’s not making his living after the catch, either. Green has even failed to eclipse a 60% catch rate in either of his last two seasons.
Marc: When he’s in the lineup Green has shown no sign of slowing down. When healthy, in his eight seasons, Green has never finished outside the Top 24 WRs, including five Top-10 finishes. If you’re worried about age, Green was the WR8 through Week nine last season, including a dominating three-TD performance against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2.
Ryan: It’s clear that at this point in his career, Green requires heavy volume and red-zone usage to be productive. Having finished as the WR11 and WR16 in points per game in 2017 and 2018 respectively, he now lacks the upside that would be required to justify the immense risk in acquiring him for anything close to the value of a 2020 first-round rookie pick. If you can sell Green for anything close to that value, especially if your team isn’t competitive this year, do it now.
Marc: After nearly a decade together, he remains Andy Dalton’s favorite target. Before missing seven games last season, Green was on pace for 136 targets, which would have put him over the century mark for the eighth straight year. Targets are the most important stat to look for in fantasy production at wide receiver. Typically all you need is 120 targets to produce a Top-24 WR season. Green will step right in as the number one wideout as soon as he’s back from this injury.
Ryan: Even if it’s more likely than not that Green would reach 120 targets over a hypothetical 16-game season, WR2 numbers for a year or two as his ceiling just aren’t enough to make him worth a 2020 first. Adam Humphries was the WR24 in PPR last year, to give you an idea of how flat the scoring is at the position, in that range.
Marc: Now is the time to buy, dynasty owners have a two-year window of elite-level production with Green, production that can be had for a depressed cost right now. I’d be happy to give the Green owner my late first-round pick, give someone else the dice roll of a draft prospect, and enjoy the significant contribution he will give you toward a championship this season.
Ryan: Green’s target share declined from 29.2% in 2017 to 23.5% last year – not a particularly encouraging trend. The emergence of Tyler Boyd, who just signed a contract extension, undoubtedly played a large part in that. Andy Dalton hasn’t had a real second option near Boyd’s level since Marvin Jones. Of the three, Boyd may be the most natural fit for the risk-averse Dalton, who seemed to enjoy throwing to Boyd in the slot as his safety blanket last year. This trend seems likely to continue as Dalton grows to rely on Boyd even more during Green’s absence in the first month of the season.
Marc: Eight years together, one month isn’t going to make much of a difference. A.J. is like a warm blanket you grew up with, cozy and comfortable. The Bengals look like they can surprise as a breakout offense in the league this season, with plenty of weapons at all offensive positions, a new, innovative, head coach and play-caller. Without that X-receiver, that won’t happen. It’s important to remember he’s just 30 years old, at a position that doesn’t typically see decline until after 32. Dynasty owners should be thinking in two-year windows to stack championships, not acquiring draft picks to boost the ego.
Ryan: It’s not as if the Cincinnati offense appears primed for a major reversal of inefficiency, with most of the same pieces in place from last year, and a front office that has been ineffective at rebuilding the roster the last few seasons. Why trade a premium pick, in what looks to be a great draft class, for a couple of years of WR2 production at best? Green is a fading and perpetually banged-up asset of a veteran, that nobody will want to touch.
(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)