Dynasty SHoBL Suspect: Jordan Reed
March 31, 2014 | Nathan Miller
Allow me to introduce…The SHoBL. Essentially feeling left out for not having my own devilishly crafted and cleverly devised mathematical algorithm, I decided to create one. And by create, I mean abbreviate. Regardless, I am now the proud owner of my very own acronym. Yes, I realize Sell High or Buy Low is nothing new to the market. However, with sleight of hand and a bit of polish, The SHoBL is ready to shine.
Equal parts stat, fact, and trading trends; with a dollop of history and dash of intuition – the SHoBL Suspect series identifies players who I feel have valuations that are either exceeding their likely return, or are being overwhelming undervalued for their circumstances. It’s a Cliffs Notes player evaluation for those looking to turn a profit and minimize risk. Shall we?
Jordan Reed introduced himself to the market in a big way last season as a preferred target of Robert Griffin III. In limited action, Reed was more than adequate in spot duty on fantasy rosters. For managers that did their research prior to the draft, a 3rd-4th round rookie pick turned dividends that likely frustrated those that spent early picks on Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz. Sound judgment would lead those owners to pat themselves mightily on the back and focus on other roster positions moving forward. However, I believe now is the time to cash in on the excitement, and refocus your roster.
A converted quarterback in college, Reed spent time (after a redshirt freshman year) as a TE, QB, RB, and WR before sticking as a tight end in his second and third years of active duty. As a redshirt junior, Reed’s 45/559/3 season was enough to enamor NFL scouts with his potential as a Joker TE (a flex TE position).
The Redskins benefited from Reed’s presence on the field after Reed finished the season 2nd in receptions for the team. Much of that effort was done against the Chicago Bears in week 5 when Reed grabbed 9/134/1 for the game. He carried his momentum into the next week, and had one other notable game, but was only moderately productive as a rookie. Not terrible, but not exceptional either.
My first argument for moving on from Reed is largely rooted in recency bias. Owners were quick to notice the “coming out party,” but can be blinded by shiny mirrors or flashes of glory. He’s a rookie and Washington was finding his role, yes. But have we seen enough to put him among the elite? Let’s take a closer look at the variables.
Slightly larger than a WR and slightly smaller than a TE, Reed doesn’t fit one role perfectly. This makes him suited for the Joker role. However, even a Joker TE benefits from additional playing time if he can block. Reed continues to struggle with blocking, and lacks the size to compete with D-Linemen on the edge. Concerns coming out of college were that size and technique would continue to inhibit his ability as a blocker. Rating as 21st in pass blocking ( via ProFootballFocus.com), Reed has room for improvement. An ability to make strides as a blocker is not out of the question. With time, he can harness it and ride it into the sunset.
Washington is getting a makeover with Jay Gruden stepping in as head coach while former TE coach Sean McVay has been promoted to offensive coordinator. Sounds like a good thing; and it can be. Gruden has the ability and history to show that he makes his play makers a big part of the game. Gruden has also pulled Romeo’s from time-to-time and completely forgotten about his play makers.
One glimpse of the future we may be able to glean from last season is Gruden’s use of Gresham and Eifert. Gresham, a consistently underachieving TE from the start, played a co-role with Eifert. Gruden utilized both equally, maximizing both tight ends’ strengths to the team’s advantage. One can easily argue that Reed has little-to-no competition in Washington, but I feel his size and abilities will keep more traditional tight ends involved in the blocking game.
Frankly, we can toss both of those previous arguments out. Gruden may move to Reed exclusively due to a lack of competition and to maximize his stars, and Reed should improve at blocking. The real reason I am more than comfortable disregarding any other information is due to the nail-in-the-coffin: injury history.
When we talk injury prone, every manager likely has that facial grimace and fist-shake-at-the-heavens response to at least one player they have owned. Reed is unique, though. He’s just coming into his sophomore year, and as a mid-round pick his preseason injuries discounted his price, and therefore owners weren’t put out by the loss.
The typical Reed owner hasn’t followed Reed through the ranks and may not know what a ticking time bomb Reed may be. What started as an inkling of concern grew into a ball of doubt that is hard to ignore. Simply put, Reed staying healthy is about as likely as my basement guitar riffing to land me a video on MTV Buzz (that still exists, right?).
Let’s take a look at the pattern:
2010 Redshirt Freshman year: Preseason knee injury – affected role and contribution into season.
2011 RS Sophomore: Missed two game due to a “lingering” hamstring injury.
NFL: 2013 WAS Rookie:
April – Missed rookie minicamps due to a bone bruise in his knee and pulled quad.
May – Missed all of OTAs and Minicamps due to a “thigh” injury that was reportedly due to the bone bruise, causing his kneecap to go on a hiatus in Maui and result in a quad injury due to lack of support.
Said Reed, “I had a [thigh] contusion in college and that caused my quad to shutdown and stop working, which caused my kneecap to start moving around and banging into my bone and that caused a bone bruise. As long as I get that quad back firing right, my kneecap will stay in place and I’ll be normal again.”
Yes, let’s hope that kneecap sticks around another year or two.
June – “Thigh” injury relabeled to a “knee/quad” injury.
July – Mid-foot sprain that parked him until mid-August.
September – Suffered quad contusion in week 3, out for game 4.
October – Suffered a hip pointer in week 7, resumed play in week 8.
November – Suffered a concussion in week 11, OUT FOR THE SEASON.
Two obvious elements jump out from the above injuries. Firstly, the physical ailments are all attributed to recurring and lingering leg injuries, most stemming from a prior knee injury that has potentially caused further leg injuries from compensation. Leg issues can be career killers, and something to be mindful of.
Secondly, and more concerning, the season-ending concussion. It came later that this is Reed’s third concussion dating back to his college days. In an age where concussion reporting is becoming more standard than not (for the better), it is somewhat surprising that this wasn’t noted more in his dossier.
What is possibly the most concerning element to his concussion, is the length of time it took for recover. First reports of the concussion had the Redskins expecting him back the following week (not atypical in a 5 day window protocol). But then it was the next week, and the next, and so on. Reed continued to experience headaches when exerting himself, which delayed and restarted protocol and ended in Washington shutting him down for the season.
Finally, over 3 months after suffering the concussion, Reed is reportedly back to training with no symptoms. But in the end, that means about as much as a 15 day weather forecast. With more and more research linking concussions and an increased risk for further concussions (with each one multiplying that factor); all this sheds a shadow on Jordan Reed’s future. Dynasty managers that easily remember notables such as Jahvid Best and Austin Collie can certainly see the similarities when closely comparing Reed’s recovery time and symptoms to those two athletes. It’s not only the amount of concussions, but the length of recovery to take note of.
Using four VERY notable sources for current ADP data, I’ve found that Reed is being drafted in dynasty leagues as the 5th or 6th TE off the board. This is extremely valuable information when considering trade value. If you own Reed, you have more than likely been offered a trade for him. If not, it’s because everyone thinks there is no way you would consider trading him.
Reed is highly valued. Most managers want him, and many are willing to pay to have him. In a multiple part trade where you sell off a Reed you need, and gain some leverage in the process, TEs I would target as replacements due to reliability, lower consensus value by other managers, and future upside are Kyle Rudolph (TE10), Ladarius Green (TE11), Tyler Eifert (TE13), Delanie Walker (TE16), Coby Fleener (TE19), and Heath Miller (TE21). These are all tight ends that you can acquire in a swap trade and leverage Reed into including more in the name of draft picks or players of need. We’ll talk more in the coming weeks about him, but Eric Ebron of North Carolina is another notable replacement for a Reed owner acquiring picks.
The final story is this – Reed carries a significant amount of weight in dynasty leagues at the moment. Many managers are awestruck by his rookie season, and excited by the possibly revival of RG3 in a Gruden-led offense. Medical injuries and the brain can be both predictably negative and miraculously positive from athlete-to-athlete. There is no certain future for Reed and he may find success, but mitigating risk and cashing in dividends is all part of the game. Given the current trading trends and information at hand about Reed’s historical (and current) injuries, I’m assigning a SHoBL rating of a high “Sell Now” to Reed for his owners.