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.
3.) Your chance of getting your question answered is inversely proportional to the length of the question.
Let’s get to it!
1.) I’m in a 2QB keeper league that allows us to have three keepers and the price is the round before where they were drafted. My choices are Colin Kaepernick (14th round), CJ Spiller (7th round), Percy Harvin (8th round), Cordarrelle Patterson (15th round) and Andre Ellington (15th round). What three do you think I should go with? In addition to the quarterbacks, we start two running backs, three receivers and a FLEX. – Joe in NY
As avid readers of the Mailbag have surely noticed by now, I have more than a few basic tenets I tend to stick to depending on the situation. One such example is when it comes to shallow keeper leagues (10 to 12 teams with three to four keepers) I think it behooves owners to act with more of a re-draft mentality. In other words, your keepers should provide an ability to help you out on an immediate basis, with little to no regard to the cost.
There are, however, exceptions to nearly every rule. In this case, that allowance is manifested in the form of Minnesota’s soon-to-be sophomore receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Despite subpar quarterback play from a rotating cast of characters including Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman, Patterson excelled during the season’s closing stretch with 375 combined rushing/receiving yards over the last five games. He has the size, speed and agility of a featured pass catcher and when you combine that package with the fact he’ll only cost you a 15th round pick, he’s an easy choice for your first keeper.
The next selection is even easier – 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Based on his low cost I think it’s safe to assume you wisely snagged him late in your inaugural draft, and now boast the ability to receive QB1 play at a fractional price. Given his age, along with the low price, I could see “Kaep” forming the founding of your team for the next several years.
The final choice it trickier.
As much as I like Cardinals’ running back Andre Ellington, I don’t think he offers the type of immediate production you require. While I’m also a big fan of Seahawks’ receiver Percy Harvin, I think you could obtain players like Wes Welker, Roddy White, Mike Wallace or Hakeem Nicks around the eighth round, and each of those players has the potential to equal Harvin’s potential 2014 output. That leaves only one player, who happens to be a frequent visitor to this weekly space – Buffalo running back CJ Spiller.
I know many are down on the erstwhile feature back, but I’m still a big believer in his talent. Perhaps more importantly, once you get to the seventh round you’ll be looking at running backs with even bigger question marks such as Ben Tate, Chris Johnson and Lamar Miller. Even if Spiller doesn’t return to his elite 2012 level, RB2 output is a boon at that draft position – as such, he’d be my final keeper selection.
2.) In my 14-team half-PPR league I can only keep two of Calvin Johnson, Doug Martin and Josh Gordon. I know the easy answer is Megatron and Martin, but in this league I would be able to keep these players for the rest of their careers. Should I be considering Gordon over the other two with him being so young and already so good? We start two running backs, three receivers, a WR/RB FLEX and a WR/TE FLEX. – Anthony in Toronto
While this is definitely a good problem to have, I’d hesitate to classify it as an easy decision. Each of the trio of Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon and Doug Martin represent elite options at their respective positions, and any would be a valuable asset to your squad. With that said, I’m not sure I necessarily agree with your current plan.
Martin is a phenomenal running back, and I’m already on record as stating I believe he’ll return to the RB1 ranks under new coordinator Jeff Tedford. Moreover, you can start up to three ball carriers, so they’ll be hard to come by given the deeper nature of your league. With that said, the running back position carries significantly more turnover on a yearly basis – in fact, only three of the top ten PPR running backs from 2012 replicated that feat in 2013, versus seven of ten receivers. It’s more likely you’ll find your diamond in ball carrying rough later in the draft than you will with a pass catcher.
Continuing, Johnson and Gordon represent two of fantasy’s three most valuable commodities (along with Bengals’ receiver AJ Green). Given their respective ages (28 and 22), there’s no reason why they can’t continue their prolific ways for years to come (they finished as the WR1 and WR3 in terms of PPR points per game in 2013). As you can start up to five receivers, I’d hang onto this productive pair and use your early round selections to tend to your now barren stable of running backs.
3.) In my 12-team PPR/IDP Dynasty League we keep 10 offensive and eight defensive players each year. I have decided on my defensive players but can’t decide on who to keep on offense. My choices are between Matthew Stafford, Chris Johnson, Shane Vereen, Andre Brown, Christine Michael, Trent Richardson, David Wilson, Bobby Rainey, Demaryius Thomas, Vincent Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Victor Cruz, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyler Eifert and Rob Housler. – James in Ireland
If it seems like I’m repeating myself with my mannerisms, it’s because I am. Keeping up with my typical behavior, I’m like to attack these types of questions working backwards. In other words, are any of the 16 players you listed obvious drops?
At first glance, I think there are a few – David Wilson, Bobby Rainey and Rob Housler. Wilson struggled with inconsistency and injury in 2013, and it’s uncertain if he’ll every play again, let alone ascend to the heights which many dynasty owners expected. The same goes for Housler, who has continued to underwhelm and now finds himself third on the passing pecking order, at best. Finally, despite a nice end-of-season run, I fully expect Rainey to resume duties as Tampa Bay’s RB3. None of these players offer the type of upside for which you should be striving.
Next, I’d cross quarterback Matt Stafford off the list. Though he finished the season as the overall QB4, he showed some major deficiencies down the stretch, failing to accumulate more than 235 passing yards in any of the season’s final four games. With a reduction in volume rumored, Stafford needs to show greater efficiency – I’d just as soon take my chances in the dispersal draft.
Continuing, at the risk of aggravating his numerous fanboys, I’d cut bait with Seattle ball carrier Christine Michael. We all know Michael’s story – he’s seemingly talented and explosive, but hasn’t really ever proved it on a consistent basis in college or the NFL due to a combination of injury, attitude and lack of opportunity. Maybe he’ll be good one day, or maybe he won’t – given what your other players have already proven, why take that risk?
For your final cut, I’d suggest you rid yourself of free agent running back Andre Brown. While his numbers didn’t jump off the page (just 3.5 yards-per-carry), losing the certainty of his potential workload (19.9 touches per game in 2013) should he return to the Giants is a tough pill to swallow. With that said, I just can’t advise keeping an injury-prone, 27-year-old running back over your other alternatives.
Those options now include a robust stable of pass catchers, including Demaryius Thomas, Vincent Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Victor Cruz, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins and Tyler Eifert. I’d suggest you use one (or more) of these players to restock a relatively depleted ball carrying corps, which is currently comprised solely of Chris Johnson, Shane Vereen and Trent Richardson. Even with this positional disparity, I think this is the best possible collection of talent – you’ll be in good shape for 2014.
4.) In my 12-team, one-quarterback league I own both Robert Griffin III and Nick Foles. Should I try to trade RGIII, and if so what kind of value should I expect? – Ray in NJ
In fantasy football, often times perception becomes reality. For example, consider the tale of Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III – once considered one of the best young quarterbacks in the game, a disastrous season ultimately resulted in a benching, and a subsequent loss in dynasty value. To that last point, though he was considered a top-five signal caller only a year ago, Griffin has already fallen to the overall QB11 (according to the January ADP data).
It’s truthfully not too surprising. Following a torn ACL only 13 months ago, Griffin saw his numbers slip across the board. The following table illustrates that fact:
As can be seen above, RGIII’s efficiency suffered both running and throwing the ball when compared to his sublime rookie campaign. Though he was able to somewhat mitigate his poor passing by a 37.0% increase in volume, that only resulted in an additional 33 yards per game. Perhaps more importantly, Griffin’s abilities as a runner were clearly hindered by the injury – in terms of attempts, yards, touchdowns and efficiency he suffered a pronounced slump. For a dual-threat quarterback, he might as well have been playing from a wheelchair.
The question dynasty owners need to ask themselves is who is the real RGIII? Is he truly every bit as good as he looked in 2012, or was his passing exposed this past year due to his lack of involvement in the run game? Personally I’m more inclined to believe it’s the former, but understand that others might be more hesitant.
Therefore I wouldn’t advise you trade the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year just yet. To me, it’s a near certainty he’ll rebound under new head coach Jay Gruden, who was able to turn the pedestrian Andy Dalton into a fantasy dynamo last year. With a year to rehab his value, my guess is Griffin will recoup a substantial amount of his worth.
With that said, if you want to make a trade I’d consider moving Eagles’ signal caller Nick Foles. While I believe Foles is a legit QB1, it’s folly to believe he’s as good as his 2013 13.5:1 touchdown/interception ratio (along with passing and rushing PPA’s of 0.80 and 0.72 respectively) would insinuate. If you can capitalize on an efficiency that trumped even that of Peyton Manning in order to upgrade another position, that’s the move I’d choose to make.
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You can find his (typically strong and hopefully reasonable) opinions on Twitter at@EDH_27.