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.

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.



  1. StevieMo

    April 17, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I have Graham and Nelson. My receivers are Calvin Johnson (untouchable), Andre Johnson and Jordy Nelson and I’ve worked the trade front this offseason to no avail. According to the other owners, AJ is “old” at 31 and Nelson “had a career year”, so the offers don’t measure up.

    I don’t mind having that kind of depth at WR and just going with the hot hand next year. I did trade Jermichael Finley and 1.07 for 1.03, which puts me in position to get Trent Richardson in our league. My other potentially impact guys: Jimmy Graham, Jonathan Stewart, Mark Ingram, Mike Vick, Matt Flynn (a man can dream, right?). Wouldn’t mind an upgrade at QB. Any suggestions?

    • Scott

      April 17, 2012 at 7:50 am

      Nice roster. I doubt TR will be there at 1.03. I think most dynasty leagues will have TR go at 1.01. But, given your need for a QB, you are in position to grab Luck or RG3. I tend to prefer the safer play, which is Luck, but RG3 is a nice bet on fantasy production, too. Either way, those are your QBs, IMO.

      The other option would be trading for a young QB, but that will be too costly. I’m sure the owner of Cam Newton, for example, would want more than pick 1.03. So, it probably makes the most sense to pick Luck or RG3.

      • StevieMo

        April 17, 2012 at 8:29 am

        Thanks, Scott. The consensus view in our 12 team league is that Luck will go #1 (pretty much stone guaranteed) and that RG3 will go #2 (the guy with 1.02 is a huge Redskins fan), which would allow TRich to fall into my lap. However, I would he happy with either QB, so that’s why I traded for 1.03.

        I think QB’s are easier to draft and trade for in our league than Top 10 RB’s so I’d be happy with the TRich outcome, for sure, as I expect him to be a Top 10 back.

        • Krcil

          April 17, 2012 at 9:23 am

          That is huge value at 1.03… Brilliant trade to turn Finley into Richardson. Amazing.

  2. BeRanDone

    April 17, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Fantastic answers as always, keep up the good work Tim!

  3. Hawks Nest

    April 17, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Tim – currently I have picks 1.1 , 1.4 , 1.11 and 1.12 for this years rookie draft. Have 2 picks currently for 2013 draft.

    Considering how deep this years draft is would it be worth it to trade some combo of picks between 1.11 , 1.12 and 2013 1st picks in order to move back up between picks 1.5 and 1.8 in this years draft ?

    wouldn’t start pursuing a deal until after NFL Draft.

    • tim

      April 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      I’d rather take my chances with the 1.11/1.12 than trade up. Odds suggest that’s the right play. But if there is a player you must have, then go for it.

  4. Luke

    April 17, 2012 at 8:28 am

    If you play in a 2 TE league, would Graham and Gronk be worth it?

    • tim

      April 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      In a 12-team league where must start 2TE, their value takes a nice boost. So yes. Then I’d be inclined to take the gamble.

  5. John from Providence

    April 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Great article. 2012 will be my 21st year playing fantasy football but it will be my FIRST year playing dynasty. I am so glad I found this site for my research since there are far more subtle difference between yearly leagues and dynasty that I didn’t realize. You guys have been a ton of help so far.

    My question is regarding your Gronk vs Graham analysis. I am going to be in a 12-team start-up dynasty draft in a few weeks. I pick 10th and it is a PPR league. BUT, here is the catch: TE’s get 1.5 points per reception. For perspective, under this format last year, Gronk was the 4th highest scoring player (regardless of position) and Graham was 8th.

    With this format, am I crazy for even considering taking one of them with my first pick? How about my 2.3 pick? Based on your article above, I know how you would answer in a straight PPR league. But does the 1.5 per rec change your opinion at all? Just wondering (and trying to adapt to the dynasty format). Thanks for the advice.

    • tim

      April 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      This is a much debated topic. In my opinion, the 1.5 PPR for TE just raises the value of all TEs. Not just Graham and Gronk so I wouldn’t be likely to do things any differently.

    • Meens

      April 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      one guys advice if you want it: the single biggest way to take advantage of a start-up in dynasty is to forget everything you know about how positions are ranked in a redraft. Consider Running backs not the most valuable asset but rather the least. IMO you want to build your team in this prioritized order QB>>>>>>>>>>WR>>>>>>>>TE/RB. Some people just dont get this, but in 4 years when Arian Foster is in total decline Matt Stafford may be the current Aaron Rodgers and Aaorn Rodgers will be the current drew brees. The top tier QBs also offer the biggest positional PPG advantage also. Top notch WRs also stay good much longer than RBs. Theyre will always be an exception or 2 but this way of thinking works wonders for me in dynasty. Also, pound the proven youth in your startup. Take Julio Jones/AJ Green and Mike Wallace over Andre Johnson, Roddy White, and Wes Welker all day long. Take whatever RBs fall to you later, and then look to replace them with rookie picks over the years, the people who took Ray Rice and Foster will have to do it a year or 2 after you anyway

      • John from Providence

        April 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm

        Thanks for the tips. Your strategy seems to be the prevailing one I’ve come across researching dynasty stratagies the last couple of months. With the 1.10 and 2.3 picks, I’m definitely leaning QB/WR or WR/WR, depending on who’s there. But I have to admit, Gronk and Graham are tempting. I think they are going to be this decade’s Gates/Gonzalez (or Sharpe/Coates if you were playing in the 90’s).

        • Meens

          April 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm

          i would take gronk that high, not graham though. to me gronk is safer

          • Luke

            April 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm

            Huh, everything I’ve seen this offseason has pointed to Graham. He wasn’t as dependent on TDs, he lost Meachem, Saints D went down so Bress will have to throw more, etc. Meanwhile, Gronk got more mouths to feed in the passing game.

  6. Red

    April 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Interesting take on the TE 1.5 PPR league Tim. I have a league that gives 3 pts for all TDs, but 6 for TE tds. It also gives 1 pt for 15 yards receiving, but does 1 pt for every 10 TE rec yards. It is always going to raise all TEs values as you said, but at what point do you separate the two from the rest and say ‘I am willing to take them in round 1-2?”

  7. Krcil

    April 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    This might be standard in all rookie drafts, but wouldn’t you say that quantity is usually better than quality (higher pick) when it comes to picks past the first 4 or 5 in a draft.

    Hopefully that makes sense… Example:

    I would rather have picks #11 & #12 rather than just pick #5.

    Or is that just basics?

    • tebow

      April 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      i rather have pick 5 than 11,12 and 2.1 put together. pick 1.5 is a running back in my league that could start in the near future. at those late picks your going to get less sure talent or a player buried in the depth chart.

  8. Detroitcity

    April 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Tim- I agree 100% on your analysis of Jordy Nelson. With that said, over the next 4 – 5 years only, which WR would you rather have (non PPR)?

    >J. NelsonK. BrittV. Cruz<

    He will have Eli throwing to him for the next 4 -5 yrs, has a solid WR to draw targets away and has no real competetion for the #2 job (or 1b)… but can he really sustain the numbers he put up last yr, especially with Nicks around

    • Detroitcity

      April 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Sorry it collapse some of my comment

      *the choice is between Nelson, Britt, and Cruz

      • phorts

        April 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

        IMO – Britt > Cruz/Nelson.

        • tstafford

          April 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm

          Agreed. But I need to feed my high horse and put him to rest for the night.

  9. Kara

    April 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Wow. Jordy Nelson is a beast of a player, i cannot believe what you even said. He is in the right spot at the right time every single time. And he ALWAYS turns bad games around. He is one of the best players I have ever seen. Wait correction, he is THE best player I have ever seen. So get off you fricken high horse. He is actually UNDERRATED if you didn’t know!! Jesh, some people.

    • StevieMo

      April 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      I’m happy to ride with Nelson given that ARod is throwing to him. As Driver gets older, Nelson becomes an ever-growing factor. A solid 12 TD guy year in and year out.

    • Luke

      April 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Best player ever? I like him too but lets not get too crazy.

    • homerville

      April 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      I completely read this in a Wisconsin accent : )

  10. Mercenaries

    April 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I’m in a PPR dynasty league and currently have the 1.06 pick in the first round of our rookie draft, but no 2nd rd pick. Would I be crazy to trade Andre Johnson for Eric Decker and the 2.01? I’ve always liked AJ, but he’s becoming an injury concern lately. Decker could go off this season and I could pick up another young WR with the 2.01. So, crazy or brilliant?

    • Boomer

      April 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      Crazy and I don’t even like AJ that mucn.

    • StevieMo

      April 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Beyond crazy. Stop drinking and trading….

      • Hawks Nest 12th Man

        April 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm

        I think this would be a solid trade. I personally like Decker and believe he is a candidate to be a break out player this year.

        • Sensei_John_Kreese

          April 18, 2012 at 5:39 am

          Andre is a known commodity. You don’t have to hope he “breaks out”.

          Crazy. Disc 2 of The Wall, Arkham Asylum type crazy.

          • OAD

            April 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

            HEY! I have Decker in that league…Seems like a fair, straight-up trade to me 😉

        • Ches

          April 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm

          I’d make this trade any day. Decker will be Manning’s #1 WR. And you can make the most out of your pick or just trade it for something better…

          • StevieMo

            April 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm

            Too risky with Manning. One good shot and he could be done, and no viable backups exist. Plus he didn’t play at all in 2011.

            If you were guaranteed the old Manning for 3 years, maybe. But you’re not.

  11. Sensei_John_Kreese

    April 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Madden cover vote down to Megatron and Cam Newton

    Everyone please go vote for Calvin. Then pick up Titus Young.

    • Detroitcity

      April 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Easy dude…even Megatron can’t withstand the Madden curse. GO CAM!

      • Sensei_John_Kreese

        April 19, 2012 at 5:05 am

        As a Cam owner, i say Motor city all the way!!

  12. BabBadLeroyBrown

    April 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Currently in a 10-man non-ppr Dynasty League, format 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1TE, 1WR/TE. I roster Larry Fitz, Hakeem Nix, and AJ Green as my starting WRs with some youth as reserves. I also hold pick 1.05. I was offered 1.07 for Sid Rice. I still love his talent a ton and the upside given a full offseason and legit throwing QB in Matt Flynn. His constant injuries are a big time concern for me though as he is looking more and more like a wasted roster spot after the previous two years. Any thoughts on the offer?

    • Eric Dickens

      April 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      I think the 1.07 is fair value for SRice…that said, if I had him rostered I’d likely either hang onto him to see if he can stay healthy or make the deal once I was able to see who was available to draft.

      Rice is one of those guys that you almost don’t want to part with now, because you could watch him have a great year on someone else’s roster.

    • meens

      April 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      id take 1.07 over sidney rice. dude is real fragile. his only great year came during a top 3 favre year. i think its an easy offer to accept

      • Mercenaries

        April 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm

        I agree with Meens. That is a no-brainer. With the 1.07 you could draft a WR that is younger but probably just as talented and that isn’t damaged goods. Make the deal.

    • Detroitcity

      April 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      I agree. I would pull the trigger and run! It would not surprise me if Rice doesnt play more than 10 more games in his career

      • BabBadLeroyBrown

        April 19, 2012 at 5:53 am

        Thanks for all the advice. Especially with this deep draft class I’m going to have to make the move. Stephen Hill/Kendall Wright could fall into my lap at 7.

        • Detroitcity

          April 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm

          with 2 QB’s guaranteed to go in the top 5 this year, you might even get M. Floyd at 7

  13. JD

    April 19, 2012 at 6:54 am

    I am looking for advice for my upcoming draft. I have the 1.1, 1.5 and the 1.6 picks in a non ppr league. Currently my roster looks like this:

    QB’s- Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Jake Locker
    RB’s- MJD, Marshawn Lynch, Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, C.J. Spiller, Ben Tate
    WR’s- Kenny Britt, A.J. Green, Andre Johnson, Wes Welker, Dez Bryant, Michael Crabtree, Sidney Rice
    TE- Vernon Davis

    I am leaning towards drafting Luck and trading away Manning and Rivers. My questions is should I draft Luck and then try and trade up to 1.2 and draft TR or should I stay pat at 1.5 and 1.6 and grab a rb there? The other options would be to draft TR at 1.1 and maybe RG3 falls to me at 1.5 or I could trade 1.6 for a 1st next year. Thoughts?

    (Ben Tate and C.J. Spiller are on what we call a rookie bench for one more year. Jake Locker for two more. Once used they have to go up to my active roster)

  14. Robert

    April 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I have Brees and Dalton in a 12 team ppr dynasty and the 1.2, 1.7 and 1.10 picks. With my QB the strength of my team and needs at both RB and WR, how should I play this?

    If Richardson goes number 1, should I take Blackmon or trade down and try to get two picks in the lower half of round 1 or is Blackmon worth a 1.2 pick?

    Should I just take Luck or RG!!! and try to trade them later?

    Also, who should I be targeting with 1.7 and 1.10 with needs at both RB and WR?


    • Detroitcity

      April 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      If it were me I would draft Luck or RGIII (whoever you like more, for me its RGIII) at 1.2. I think these guys are going to have serious trade value.. or you could always keep them and trade away Dalton. This draft is very deep at quality skill position players but since you already have 2 later 1st rd picks, I wouldnt advise trading down… take the premium talent. Then at 1.7 take either D. Wilson/L.Miller/M.Floyd and 1.10 take S. Hill/K. Wright/C. Polk. Obviously its going to depend on landing spots but if the draft were today those are the guys I’d target at those spots

    • Robert

      April 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      FYI, there is a guy in the league with picks 1.5 and 1.6. If Richardson goes number 1 should I consider trading 1.2 for 1.5 and 1.6 if I can get it?

      • meens

        April 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm

        i think so. 1.5 and 1.6 are really strong this year. you can take whoever falls out of griffin, luck, blackmon, floyd, wright or if any RB lands in a cush spot you can take ur favorite non-trent RB and at worst floyd. you might even get lucky abd have one of griffin and luck fall to you if your league mates devalue QBs.

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