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.
Thank you for sending so many great questions this week. I promise we will get to them all over time. In honor of the upcoming NFL Draft, I wanted to do an all-rookie pick edition of the mailbag. This is one of the most exciting periods of time on the dynasty calendar. I’m counting the hours until Thursday!
Let’s get to it!
1: I’m in a 12-team salary cap/contract league with a 20-player roster limit. We have a four round rookie draft and must cut down before it begins. So if I want to make all four selections, I need to cut to 16-players now. My team is pretty stacked. Any thoughts on this? – Matthew in Boca Raton
While many readers don’t play in a salary cap/contract league, I found this question interesting because it made me focus on the value of later rookie picks. In a salary cap league, you aren’t only using up a roster spot on the rookie, but also using your cap dollars. In a regular dynasty league, rostering that last rookie pick is just a decision between that player and whoever you think is your worst veteran. In this case the equation has the extra dimension of also reducing your budget to go after marquee free agents.
Oddly enough, I also play in a 12-team/20-player league, so I am acutely aware of the decisions you face. Without going in to your roster specifically, here are some general thoughts:
- Cut your DST and K. This buys you time. You will need to pick one of each up but this way you effectively add two roster spots to your team from now until week one. All of us should be doing this regardless of whether we play in an SC league or not. The lowliest free agent flyer should be rostered over every K in the league right now.
- Consider foregoing the third and fourth rounds of your rookie draft. Just because you have the picks, doesn’t mean you need to use them. It’s highly unlikely that 48 rookies should really be rostered out of a total of 240 rostered players. The math just doesn’t add up. Again this applies in all cases. Don’t let yourself get sucked in to the hype around the rookies. Odds are that guys you take in the third or fourth round won’t pan out.
- Package to trade up. In a shallow league like yours, roster spots are gold and you need to make every one count. You say your team is stacked, so you probably have a late first. If so, I’d consider trading all four of my picks for a bump in the first round. What’s the use of cutting decent veterans only to add rookie crap shoots? Give me the better rookie pick in the first round. The amount of the bump won’t appear to non-SC players as a “fair deal,” but that’s because the value of the later rookie picks is severely depressed in this format.
- Trade out of this year and in to next. Like cutting the DST and the K, this buys you time. Applies to regular leagues too. If you are faced with tough roster decisions, stall for time.
Good luck. And remember a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The draft analysts this weekend will make the tenth WR off the board sound like the next Jerry Rice. Not so fast my friend!
2: When’s the best time to trade for/shop rookie picks? And when would you put the 1.01 up for sale (before or after the NFL draft)? – Keith via Twitter
It’s a seller’s market right now. It would be almost impossible for me to imagine buying a rookie pick this week. In business, there is a notion of “seasonality.” Seasonality is a statistical trend that ties business events to predictable cycles related to the calendar. For example, retail sales peak around the holidays, used Ferraris sell for higher prices in the spring and summer, etc. Well, rookie picks have seasonality, too. They peak in value right now and the 2013 picks will even drop in value right after this rookie draft as well.
The values that are being had in trades discussed in the Forums are frankly ridiculous. Savvy players are offering (and getting) deals for veterans in return for mid to late first round picks. Mark Ingram was recently traded for the 1.07 rookie pick. How could he have dropped that far in value? Well he hasn’t. What’s going on is the value of the 1.07 is grossly inflated right now. If you’re in a shark league, you probably won’t see this happening. If you’re not, you should be tossing out offers.
As to the 1.01 specifically, I don’t think it matters if you trade it now or after the draft. I suppose there might be a marginal advantage to dealing it now because there are some owners who could overreact to Trent Richardson going to a less than optimal situation. I want to go on the record without any ambiguity – Richardson is the best running back prospect I’ve seen since Adrian Peterson and it doesn’t matter to me where he goes. There is frankly no player in this draft I am less concerned or interested in with his draft results. It will have zero impact on my rankings. I can’t say that about anyone else. After T-Rich, my board is still in flux.
Look, I don’t want to throw a wet blanket on an otherwise awesome week of rookie fun! But the truth is rookie selections outside of the top three or four picks are varying degrees of lottery tickets. As much as it might seem boring, the smart money is generally on trading that lottery ticket for a proven commodity.
3.) Special Question: There seems to be a disagreement between your rookie rankings and the good folks in the Forums. You have Andrew Luck as the 1.01 whereas the overwhelming consensus in the forums is Trent Richardson. Why do you advocate taking Luck over T.Rich? – Jason from Albany
Great question and it gives me a chance to pull in some other experts from DLF. First off about the rankings, they are the composite rankings of four members of the DLF team. I am not one of the rankers so they don’t reflect my board. I’d like to think of myself as one of the “good folks in the Forums” and I have Trent Richardson squarely as my 1.01 rookie. Given that, I reached out to the others to get their perspectives.
According to Ken Moody:
Long term value of Luck imho. Luck will still be a stud for 5-7 years after TRich has been broken down, beaten to a pulp, retired and doing play-by-play on Fox.
And Ken Kelly said;
I like both players quite a bit and reserve the right to adjust my rankings depending on where Richardson goes. However, I’m going to have a hard time doing that for two reasons:
1.) The shelf life of running backs is short and their utilization is decreasing
2.) Andrew Luck seems to be the best QB prospect to come out in quite some time
With Richardson, I personally don’t see the next Adrian Peterson or Marshall Faulk, especially if he ends up in Cleveland and has to play Pittsburgh and Baltimore each twice each season. I think he’s going to be a notch below the truly great ones, but that’s still not bad. Don’t get me wrong, having him on your team is going to be great!
If you take Luck, it seems you’re going to be set at arguably the most important position in fantasy for the next decade, maybe even longer. There’s something to be said for being able to plug in your quarterback every week and not have to worry about it – ask anyone who owns Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Tom Brady and they’ll tell you managing their team is a lot easier every week with a premier quarterback.
In the end, if Richardson’s career is a notch below the great backs we’ve seen (which I believe is likely based on the way the league is trending), it’s like comparing the career numbers of someone like Edgerrin James and Peyton Manning. If I was able to foresee the future with each of those players when they came out of college, I’d take the career of Manning in a heartbeat. While either could help win you a title (Luck and Richardson will likely do the same), I’ll take the longer window of premier production from the quarterback every time.
This is one of the reasons I love working for DLF. Even when we disagree, there’s something to learn from each other. Enjoy the draft and have a terrific week.
Editor’s Note: Tim Stafford can be found @dynastytim on twitter and in the forums as tstafford.