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The DLF Mailbag

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.

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. phorts

    April 24, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Thanks for responding to my question. I agree with your assessment as well and think that the only other time the pick(s) might be more valuable is the days and hours leading up to and during the actual league draft. Offers fly around the table, but usually guys are so set in the draft strategy that it takes a pretty significant offer to move them off.

    I for one took advantage of the the hype before the NFL draft (last week) as I was a little worried that the value of the 1.1 might drop in the eyes of my leaguemates if RIchardson where to go to so, STL. While my personal value wouldnt have changed a bit (in fact i like STL alot) I wouldnt have been able to get what i did in return.

    Jimmy Graham, Dem Thomas, Beanie Wells for 1.01/2.7

    In fact, it was the offering owner who said he was worried about the 1.1’s value going UP that provoked him to make the offer now. So, I would have taken that if he went to Denver!

    Thanks again for a great article, I hope my leaguemates dont read it cuz i just traded Beanie for the 1.6 and i’m hoping to get Luck there! (Yeah, so basically i just traded T Rich for Luck/Dem Thomas and J Graham…. WInnah!)

  2. JC

    April 24, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Once again you have exceed expectations Tim!

    Holding the 1.02 in a league where I am desperate for a QB (Ponder/Flynn)I am set on taking Luck at that spot. Another leaguemate (owns the 1.01) told me I am nuts.

    Disagree for the reasons you stated, but also the fact that stud QBs have changed the landscape of not only the NFL but also FF. The Brady’s/Manning’s/Brees’s/Stafford’s come around so seldom and can win you games all by themselves. This coupled with the RB shelf life further my belief that Luck is definitely the pick at 1.01 if you are a rebuild and don’t already have a stud QB.

    • BabBadLeroyBrown

      April 24, 2012 at 7:36 am

      Don’t forget the Cam’s if you’re including Stafford in that group. Each 1 stud year.

      • JC

        April 24, 2012 at 7:42 am

        Not completely sold on Cam, many are and I understand this. To each his own, but believe my point was made.

    • JC

      April 24, 2012 at 8:01 am

      oooppss… left off Rodgers…..

  3. Steve Moyer

    April 24, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Thinking about passing on Andrew Luck in your 2012 rookie draft? Well, here were the first five picks in our 1998 dynasty league draft:

    1.01 QB Ryan Leaf (“better physical potential”, the owner said)
    1.02 WR Randy Moss (OK, not a bad pick)
    1.03 RB Curtis Enis (um, yeah)
    1.04 RB Robert Holcombe (ditto)
    1.05 QB Peyton Manning (worked out pretty well, I’d say)

    ‘Nuff said.

    • RP

      April 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Moss (not a bad pick?) huge risk reward there.. so he smoked some pot….ur doctor or lawyer hasnt im sure.

      everything else is funny-

      …confident enis wasnt talked of like trich talent wise either

  4. Paymon Shokoohi

    April 24, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Great job as always, Tim. I’d like to chime in on question 3. I personally have Trent Richardson as the clear number 1 on my rankings. The ONLY way I would rank Luck over Trent is if you don’t have a franchise QB on your roster. A Trent Richardson doesn’t enter the draft every year. Again, we have to go all the way back to Adrian Peterson to name the last running back that was this talented….that was 5 years ago.

    • RP

      April 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

      just curious…who would you say blew you away RB wise before AP?

      Ricky Williams talent wise until he went in with weak supporting cast. LT in a horrible organization at the time. McFadden wasnt far off from the same hype either.

      They come a lot more often than monster elite qbs no?

      When they talk Luck comparisons they go allll the way back to 98′ and Manning and 83′ (I believe it was 83′)with Elway.

      • Paymon Shokoohi

        April 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm

        RP,
        That’s a good question. The last time I was blown away by a running back before Peterson was in 2001 when Ladainian Tomlinson was in the draft. I will admit I was also enamored with Reggie Bush too but not as much as LT.

        Regarding McFadden, I was never a big fan of his. I had R Mendenhall rated as his equal that year. I had them rated as good, not great backs.

        Regarding elite QBs, depends what you mean by elite. There’s elite and then there’s hall of fame elite. HOF QBs are few and far between but then so are HOF running backs.

      • Meens

        April 25, 2012 at 6:27 am

        RP,

        You nailed this one.
        Best Talent since AP gets thrown around like crazy because its convenient to hide behine. Listen I love trent and am not a hater.
        But to act like there wasnt crazy hype this time of year about Ricky Williams, McFadden, Reggie Bush is ridiculous.
        There legitimately hasnt been this much hype about luck since at least Manning, probably before that.

        Trent is probably going to be great, then he’ll be 30 or possibly be over worked and then blow out his knee when he’s entering his age 27 season like his main comparison.

        Then Luck might play another 10 years at an elite level after that.

        Take the Elite QB every time in dynasty
        Take the elite RB every time in redraft

        Winning 101

  5. Hawks Nest

    April 24, 2012 at 8:05 am

    This years rookie fantasy draft top 4 picks seem to hold more value than most. I am in a interesting situation where owners at 1.2 and 1.3 have Stafford & Rogers as their starting qbs. Both are weak teams that earned these draft positions. Trading the picks would be best option for both IMO. Seems they’re both holding which is great for me. At 1.1 I will take Richardson at 1.4 there is a good chance I will trade or get Andrew Luck.

  6. Cyrus Miller

    April 24, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I agree that Richardson is the 1.01.

    I keep seeing this argument regarding the longevity of QB’s that make them more valuable– but that is exactly what makes them less valuable in my eyes.

    We are seeing more and more good QB’s in the league, and the stud QB’s at the top have just added Stafford and Cam, and maybe Bradford, Luck and Griffin this year.

    Chances are, there are teams with more than one good QB in your league who are willing to trade them. The top QB’s are traded often in my leagues, and I traded for Brady, Brees, Stafford and Rivers in several of them, without giving up too much.

    On the other hand, stud RB’s have such a short shelf life that owners don’t want to trade them at their peak. You either have to get lucky and draft them or pay through the nose for them. McCoy was traded this year for MJD and Ingram.

    So yes, Luck is safer and a long term investment, but Richardson will have more value for the next 4-6 years. I side with 4-6 years, you can always trade Richardson for a QB AND other things in 3 years or so. That way you skip the Luck growing pains.

    • Mole

      April 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

      While it pained me to have to give AJ Green for 1.01, I agree that rbs like TRich do not come along every year. When ADP came into the league, I was offered that pick for Maroney and Roy Williams. I said no. I am not making that mistake again.

      I believe this was a lot cheaper price than if I wanted to trade for a stud rb later. While AJ Green is special, another similar wr will come along in a couple years. I dont see a ADP or TRich down the road.

    • Detroitcity

      April 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      I agree 100%. You find me someone that would’ve trade AP for Brees straight up 4 years ago or even before the 2011 season for that matter. Unless you already have a stud RB like Foster, Rice, Mccoy and are lacking at QB, you should not be selecting Luck over T. Rich IMO

      • Meens

        April 25, 2012 at 6:31 am

        I wouldn’t trade Rogers for anyone in the NFL if that means anything to you. I enjoy a free ticket to the playoffs every year. I’ll just build around him for 10 years.

  7. Cyrus Miller

    April 24, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I am not sold on trading, but someone is offering me something like the 1.06, 2.06 and a 1st next year for the 1.01.

    Take it or ask for something more?

    • Steve Moyer

      April 24, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Take Luck then bow down and thank the fantasy gods….

    • Cyrus Miller

      April 24, 2012 at 8:59 am

      New offer is 1.06, Ingram and Mason Foster for the 1.01.

      I am in love with Richardson but am not sure if he is worth passing on three good players.

  8. Robert Abele

    April 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

    “Chances are, there are teams with more than one good QB in your league who are willing to trade them. ”

    I have had this experience as well, especially true in 10 team leagues or leagues with multiple flex options, where there’s more depth at the QB position and not so much at RB.

    Trent for me @ 1.1

  9. tebow

    April 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    who are some of the rbs to look for in 2013? i dont follow college football,i just look at highlights after the season to see the skills on the players that will be drafted

    • DC

      April 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      I like Marcus Lattimore. Anyone else have any thoughts on his fantasy value for next year? Obviously this depends on a ton of factors like if he declares, stays healthy this year, where he gets drafted, etc. but assuming he stays healthy and enters the draft how would his value at this time next year compare to T-Rich right now?

  10. Steve Moyer

    April 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I’ve played this game for a long time and have had the best luck judging WR’s and TE’s. For some reason I can identify a guy who is going to be a great WR/TE in the NFL, and I’ve had good luck identifying the guys who won’t.

    For what it’s worth, I think Blackmon is just OK. I think he will be a solid pro but there is almost no chance he will be a Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, AJ Green, Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald type. I think he will be a poor man’s Anquan Boldin and is going to be overvalued and overdrafted in most dynasty drafts.

    I keep hearing that there is a Big 4 in this draft and that he is one of the four. I think it’s a Big 3 and would consider the other RB’s ahead of Blackmon. Just my 2 cents.

    • Ray

      April 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      So who do you consider the big 3 ? Luck, T. Rich and …..( RG3, Martin or someone else )?
      What’s your personal read on Cal WR Marvin Jones?

      • Steve Moyer

        April 25, 2012 at 6:15 am

        Yeah, RG3.

        I’m a Cal fan and was always intrigued by Marvin Jones, but his scant college production is not a good sign. Likely just a serviceable receiver, not an impact fantasy guy. A deep, deep sleeper but not draftable in dynasty leagues yet at this point, IMO.

  11. Chris

    April 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Look at it this way. Draft Luck and either he starts as your QB1 or sits on the bench.

    For TRich he can be used in one of 2-4 different places in your weekly lineup depending on requirements.

  12. Greg G.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Love the feedback on this thread

  13. Bob Ray

    April 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Montee Ball is probably the most obvious right now other than Lattimore. Other potential guys are:

    Henry Josey (Missouri)
    Ronnie Hillman (SDSU)
    Curtis McNeal (USCalifornia)
    Marcus Coker (Iowa)

    • Bob Ray

      April 25, 2012 at 3:41 am

      Um yeah, Hillman is in this year’s draft so cross him off.

  14. Robert Schramm

    April 25, 2012 at 6:33 am

    I have a bad team in a 7 year Dynasty format. We are about to start year 3. I have amassed 3 first round picks this year, hoping to turn things around for the back half of the 7 year stint. I am strong at QB with Brees and Dalton but very weak at RB/WR/TE.

    I currently have picks 1.2, 1.7, 1.10

    I expect that Richardson will be off the table after 1.1 so I am considering trading 1.2 and 4.2 for 1.5 and 1.6 This would give me 4 number one picks in the draft… Picks 1.5 1.6, 1.7 and 1.10. Should I do this since I am strong at QB and need so much help in the RB and WR game?

    Also, I have been offered J. Tamme and 1.11 for 1.7. I currently have Winslow and M.Lewis at TE. Should I consider this move down of 4 spots at the end of the first round to add Tamme or is this too much to pay considering how much help I need at RB and WR.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    FYI, PPR, 12 team league.

    Bob

    • Cyrus Miller

      April 25, 2012 at 8:42 am

      I would see what the owner at 1.01 wants, talk to him directly and make sure he is taking Richardson. If he needs QB and has strong RB, he might be amenable to trading down to 1.02. (Or he might throw a curveball and draft Luck).

      If he is definitely taking Richardson and you can’t trade with him, I would run to do the 1.2 for 1.5 and 1.6.

      I view RG3 and Luck as the only other players to consider at 1.02 and 1.03. Even if Martin or Miller or Wilson end up in a great place, I take talent over situation. I don’t think Blackmon is worth the 1.02 if you can get the 1.05 and 1.06 instead.

      So my advice is to trade down, get the 1.05, 1.06 to add to your 1.07 and 1.10. My guess is that the draft will go:
      Richardson
      Luck/RG3
      Luck/RG3 or best RB
      Best RB (or RG3)

      So at 1.05-1.07, you have your choice of Blackmon, Floyd, and the #3 and #4 RB. That definitely strengthens you team a lot. I would take BPA, so if you value Blackmon and Floyd over an RB, take them first. RB are harder to get and it might be tempting to stock up, but you want playmakers of any kind.

      Don’t trade down to 1.11, the talent level drops a lot. Tamme could be good in Denver, but there are no guarantees. You can get a TE for cheaper at a later date.

      • Robert Schramm

        April 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm

        Makes a lot of sense. Thanks,

        Question. if the guy with 1.5 and 1.6 won’t sell for 1.2 and 4.2 would it be worth it to offer him 1.2 and 3.2?

        • Joe Kool

          April 26, 2012 at 10:02 pm

          Good comments by Cyrus and I would still offer 1.2 and 3.2 for 1.5 and 1.6

  15. John

    April 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Need help with a deal, Would you trade 1.01, 1.07 and J Jones for foster, D thomas and 2.03.

    • Joe Kool

      April 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      I would not EVER.

      The best player in that deal might be Foster..but Julio Jones is a 1.01 value, and the 1.01 and a 1.07? And you have 2.03 and Daniel Freaking Thomas to show for it along with Foster?
      I dont think its even close.

      Ill take TRich, Julio, 1.07 all day thank you.

      • John

        April 27, 2012 at 8:26 am

        Sorry It is dem Thomas WR DEN. I think he has the potential to be top 5 with manning going forward. So foster over T rich, Jones over thomas but has talent. I move down 7 picks in draft.

        • Joe Kool

          April 27, 2012 at 8:43 am

          Id still keep the picks and Julio personally.

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