The DLF Mailbag

Tim Stafford


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 have the 1.05 and the 2.02 in a 12-team league.  I know Andrew Luck, RGIII, Trent Richardson and Doug Martin will be gone.  Who do you take at 1.05?Alan in New Jersey

It’s either Blackmon or Floyd.  Between the two, it’s owner’s preference.

The majority of dynasty players and sites have Justin Blackmon rated as the WR1 in this draft class.  If you had the opportunity to see any OSU games either in 2010 or 2011, you had to be impressed by him.  Teams knew what was coming – a healthy dose of Blackmon – but couldn’t stop him.  Brandon Weeden should give Blackmon a commission on his rookie signing bonus.  There is no doubt he is a polished receiver, solid route runner and reportedly an excellent locker room guy.  I think the ceiling is somewhat low, but the floor is quite high.  My bet is that Blackmon is a dependable WR2 for fantasy for years to come.

In my opinion, Floyd is the upside play.  If you are a gambler, you take him.  He has the prototypical size/speed combination to be successful in the NFL.  Unfortunately, he brings with him a fairly checkered past.  Remember at this time last year we all wondered if he might have to enter the NFL supplemental draft after being tossed off the team at Notre Dame.  Since being reinstated (and catching 100 balls in 2011), all reports are that he’s on the straight and narrow.  Plus, being under the watchful eye of Larry Fitzgerald can’t hurt.

The advantages of Blackmon are opportunity (he’s the clear cut WR1 in JAX), character and a high floor.  The advantages of Floyd are superior measurables and the influence of the hardest working man in football.

You make the call.

2.)  I’m in an 8-team league and in rebuilding mode (need both QB and RB help).  I have picks 1.01 and 1.03.  Which QB/RB tandem should I rebuild around? Christian near Juniata College

Well as tough as that is, it’s an enviable position to be in.  By the way you ask the question, your choices are either Andrew Luck/Doug Martin or Trent Richardson/RGIII.  Either way you are getting two stud rookies.

Since this is an 8-team league, I take the Trent Richardson/RGIII combo.  In a 12-team 2QB league, I go the other way and force the hand of the guy at 1.02 to pull the trigger on Richardson.  I’d figure I’d have a 25% chance or better that he actually takes RGIII.  However, an 8-team 2QB league is basically the same as a 16-team 1QB league, so the scarcity isn’t as severe.

Adding Richardson to your team is going to be a very nice thing indeed.  You are getting a day one fantasy starter which is largely unheard of in a rookie draft.  Barring injury, he is going to be a top-24 pick in redrafts this year.  He’s an elite talent and all indications are that he will have a long and productive NFL career.

RGIII isn’t Luck.  Still he’ll be a solid fantasy asset and I suspect he may eclipse Luck in scoring in 2012.  The fall off from Luck to RGIII is sizeable, but not close to the chasm between Richardson and Doug Martin.  Richardson would have been the RB1 (and consensus 1.01) regardless of his landing spot, Martin vaulted up draft boards because of his situation.  Consider that.

3.)  I’m pretty set at WR but a little weak at RB.  Is trading Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal for Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman a good move?  Eric in PA

Sure.  You get the Steeler backfield in return for two underperforming receivers.  Plus, you say it fits with your team needs. Go for it.

Since answering your question was relatively easy, I’ll take this opportunity to say that I’m confused by the new found love for Robert Meachem.  Here’s a guy who has been on a prolific passing offense for his entire career, but has never broken either the 50 catch or 750 yard barriers.  Let’s admit those are low bars.  His entire fantasy value has been predicated on his touchdown production – not my cup of tea.

Now he’s on Chargers and all of the sudden he’s a hot commodity.  If he has WR1 potential in him, why didn’t the Saints ever give him the chance to show that?  Say what you want about the New Orleans coaching staff, but I believe they can identify and exploit offensive talent.  No evidence they had much more than replacement level confidence in Meachem.

Opportunity is wonderful and maybe Meachem steps up sort of in the vein of Brandon Lloyd, but the prices are too high for my blood right now.

4.) What’s your general philosophy on trading picks prior to the draft in a start-up?  Do you try to acquire additional early round picks or sacrifice an early pick for more mid-rounders?  Jeff in the Garden State

This question depends a lot on with whom I’m drafting.  If I know I’m in a shark league, I always stay on the sidelines until the draft is underway.  If I’m drafting against guys I think are less experienced, I’m more aggressive in putting out offers.

My shark league approach is to use my early picks and then trade later picks for future rookie selections.  The sharks are generally too savvy to let you get any real value by trading down or using future firsts to pick up selections in the top-60.  However, inevitably there are players still on the board in the later rounds that people covet and you can put some money in your rookie draft bank during that part of the draft.  I’m open to trading any pick after about the thirteenth or fourteenth round for a future second unless a guy has dropped that I really want.

My guppy league approach is different.  Here I pepper the league with offers to trade out of the first round, especially if I am in the middle of the round.  I’m looking to increase the number of picks I have in the first five rounds of a 12-team league.  Every player in this range is a projected day one starter – I want as many of them as I can get.  I’m willing to deal future firsts, trade down and add in picks from the mid rounds, whatever.  I want as many guys in the top-60 as possible.

For a primer on start-up drafting check out this article from the Archive:  Start Up 101.

5.)  How does a 2QB league change player valuations and draft strategy?  Cody in FLA

Changes it a ton.  I’m currently drafting in a league that allows for a quarterback in the flex spot, so this question hit at the perfect time!

You have to get quarterbacks right away in this format.  If you’ve been playing fantasy for a long time (say more than ten years), this will make you queasy, but you have to do it.  In my start-up, 12 quarterbacks were gone in the first 36 picks, RGIII and Luck both went in the mid second round and Andy Dalton went off the board at 6.11!

If you play in a standard PPR (4-pts per passing TD and 1 PPR), here are the stats from 2011:

  • Of the top-10 scorers, 5 were QBs.
  • Of the top-30 scorers, 10 were QBs.
  • Mark Sanchez was a top-30 scorer.  Yep, that Mark Sanchez.

Additionally, the quarterbacks are super reliable.  They touch the ball every play and the NFL is protecting them maybe to a fault.  How often have you really started your stud running back or wide receiver every single fantasy game?  That’s a miracle.  Injuries befall running backs and wide receivers, but you can pretty much count on your quarterback.

Editor’s Note:  Tim Stafford can be found @dynastytim on twitter and in the forums as dlf_tims.