Welcome to the latest edition of the weekly mailbag.
Send me your questions using the DLF Mailbag Form and I’ll include the best in future articles. Remember the guidelines to have the best chance at seeing your question get posted:
1.) Dynasty questions only, no start/sit questions
2.) Help me help you by providing sufficient information about your league (e.g. line-up requirements/PPR or non-PPR/etc.), and include your first name and where you’re from.
Let’s get to it!
1.) If you were building your dynasty team around a TE, who would you choose between Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski? And why? – Brandon in Chicago
Brandon, I’ve come to count on you for a tough one every couple of weeks. And you didn’t let me down this time!
I’ll start by dodging the question and I’ll say that I wouldn’t want to build my team around either of these guys. In a start-up, you will need to burn an early second round pick to land either of them. And if you are trying to acquire them in a trade in an existing league you need to be ready to pay heavily.
I’m not saying that Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski weren’t difference makers in 2011, they absolutely were. Graham produced a 3 PPG advantage and Gronk a whopping 5.5 PPG edge over the TE#3 (Aaron Hernandez). Their ADPs are based on the assumption that this continues. If it does, paying that price is absolutely appropriate. However, if they fall back toward the pack, using an early second this way will be crippling for a team. People who are taking Graham or Gronk in start-ups are passing on the likes of Kenny Britt, Matt Forte, Greg Jennings and Darren McFadden to do so.
Back to Brandon’s question.
If I was willing to pay the price to get one of these guys, I’d take Gronkowski. Even if there is the likely regression in touchdown production, his other numbers still justify him as the TE#1. I would see the possibility (even a marginal one) of so many touchdowns as pure upside. Additionally, if I was paying the heavy price to get one of these guys, I’d want instant gratification. Right now, the Saints looks a tad worrisome to me and I’d throw my chips in with Tom Brady, who I believe has several years of elite production still in him.
2.) You’ve said that Jordy Nelson is overrated going in to 2012, why do you feel that way? – From the Forums
I have said that and I still believe it. Nelson is going as a high end WR2 in start-ups with an ADP of around WR#15. And that’s ahead of guys like Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, Dwayne Bowe and Miles Austin – all of whom I believe are better bets as a WR2. Nelson’s 2011 season was magical for his owners. He went from being an afterthought in fantasy, to a weekly must start. He had 1,263 yards last year, which was basically equal to his first three years combined! Add fifteen touchdowns to the stat line and all of a sudden you had the WR#4 in PPR scoring. I can see why he’s temping in a start-up.
Let’s look at the numbers.
As mentioned, Nelson finished as the WR#4 in PPR, however, out of the top-15 WRs he as second-to-last in receptions, dead last by a mile in targets and his touchdowns accounted for 32% of his total points. Having that much of his fantasy production coming from touchdowns is a red flag. The only other wire receiver close to this number was Megatron at 27%. The problem is that all those touchdowns were combined with so few targets.
If you are betting on Nelson, you need one of two things to happen:
A) He repeats his lofty TD production or
B) He gets a significant bump in targets
Option A is statistically very unlikely. Option B is where the Green Bay pass catching depth hurts Nelson. Even with Aaron Rodgers, there are only so many balls to go around. The Packers didn’t produce a single pass catcher in 2011 with 100 targets. The targets are spread very evenly between Jennings, Nelson and Jermichael Finley. Had Finley not been re-signed, that might have been reason for some optimism.
Final warning: Nelson got nine catches, 162 yards and three touchdowns on 15 targets in week 17 with Matt Flynn in that crazy game. If you pull these numbers out, he looks even worse. Simply put, Nelson is an extremely risky player.
3.) I have a bunch of picks in our 2013 rookie draft. What should I do with them? I know that the 2012 class is deep but do we have any idea what the draft next season will bring? – Brian in Luckville Indiana
Having played dynasty for years, I can tell you with near 100% certainty that in about a month you will start hearing how incredible the 2013 rookie class is going to be. I suppose that annual occurrence only helps someone like you who is holding a slew of picks.
As to the depth of the 2012 class, that statement is true. For my money, this is the best draft class for dynasty since 2009. And while I don’t know a ton about 2013, I’m willing to bet it won’t be as good as this group. I’m extremely bullish on this rookie class. Last year I paid an arm and a leg to move up to get AJ Green because I felt the quality of the mid-round was low. This year I lucked in to the 1.02 via an old trade and moved down because I feel the depth is there to make that the value play.
My favorite approach when I have a lot of picks in the next rookie class is to use them for in-season upgrades. I like to amass future picks and then trade them once I know my team is a legit playoff contender. For example, in my contract league I moved Arrelious Benn and a 2012 first rounder to add Bowe to my contending team last year. Bowe’s contract only had two years on it, so his owner who needs to rebuild, felt the pick and the prospect served him better. And I got the benefit of a nice injection of depth to my otherwise strong wide receiver group.
If you find yourself contending and others look to be knocked out, that’s the time to approach them with this type of deal. You get the benefit of hopefully pushing your team over the top and they get the long term benefit of adding a rookie pick in the upcoming draft.
Editor’s Note: Tim Stafford can be found @dynastytim on twitter and in the forums as tstafford.