With the stock market going nuts recently, I thought it appropriate to harken back to my trading days. Some traders utilize tape reading and technical analysis to study price action and figure out the momentum of a stock. Buy high and sell higher is usually the mantra. Or sell low and buy lower. On the flip side, there are value investors who scour 10-Qs, listen to conference calls, and dive into all the fundamentals of a company. Price-to-earning ratios and book value are numbers often utilized. When a stock continues to go up or down, momentum traders are more apt to keep riding the train until it stops. Value investors, on the other hand, look for spots to buy/sell when pessimism or optimism are too high. Fantasy football participants are no different. There are those place emphasis on the most recent results, while others look for bargains or spots to fade when sentiment gets out of whack. Will A. J. Green keep getting hammered by momentum traders or will he be money for value investors?
Green is 32 years old, 6′ 4″, and 210 pounds. He was an All-American in high school and played his college ball at the University of Georgia. For those who place an emphasis on breakout age, Green was a dream, as he excelled early and often as a Bulldog. The Cincinnati Bengals selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and things were glorious from the get go: Five straight 1000 yard seasons with three double-digit receiving touchdown seasons. He only missed four total games over that span.
But then the injuries started to mount. In 2016, Green tore his hamstring and missed six games. In 2018, a groin injury and toe sprain forced him to missed seven games. Then last year, he suffered an ankle injury on the first day of training camp and did not play a game.
As a result, NFFC ADP has Green being selected as the 32nd wide receiver and 74th overall player from 8/1 to 9/6 drafts.
When healthy, Green is a fantasy monster. He’s finished in the top 10 among receivers four times in his career, with two of those top five campaigns. Health is the concern, though, and the likely cause of his valuation decline.
There is some reason for optimism on that front, though.
The offseason program was a rigorous one for Green. “He was on a mission.” I know, I know. Best shape of his life narrative, but it goes a little deeper than that. Green specifically addressed the issues that plagued him last year. He did the sprints, the lifting, and the resistance runs up a hill, but he added Reza Hesam, co-founder of Adapt Physical Therapy, to work on injury preventation and performance. “We did more stuff in testing those ankles, strenghten those ankles, strengthen these toes, learning how to land better.”
Can Green get injured again? Sure, it’s football, but he’s taken the steps to put himself in the best position.
As for age, it’s a concern for sure. Since 2002 (wasn’t able to get data for prior years), the average score to finish as the #12 fantasy wide receiver was 246.23 points. There have only been 27 players and 44 instances when a player 32 years or older has reached or exceeded that threshold. A daunting task but not insurmountable. What can skew things into Green’s favor is the situation he enters into for the 2020 season.
Joe Burrow is the new quarterback. He’s a rookie, so that’s worrisome, but he’s coming off one of the most prolific college seasons in history. He has the accuracy and arm strength, but the desire and intangibles may be what thrusts him into the upper echelon. From all accounts over the offseason, he’s been performing well and shown that the transition may not be so severe.
The Bengals attempted 38.5 passes per game last season, good for sixth in the NFL. And that’s with turtling down the stretch and going run heavy when Operation Tank for Joe commenced. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Bengals also utilized 11 personnel on 76% of their plays, the most in the NFL. The league average was 60%. The Bengals are going to throw, and throw alot.
The upside is immense with Green. He can be a top 5 receiver. Sports Injury Predictor has 93% chance of injury and 4.9 projected games missed, so there’s obvious downside. The draft cost bakes that in, though. A WR3 with WR1 upside.
Money is green and Green is money.