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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.

3.) Your chance of getting your question answered is inversely proportional to the length of the question.

Let’s get to it!

1.)  What’s the ceiling for Coby Fleener?  I just dealt Gronkowski for the 1.05 and the 1.10 leaving me with only Vernon Davis.  I’m thinking of using the late first on Fleener.  – Matt in Chattanooga

Since I know the comments will fly on this one, I’ll address the elephant in the room first.  I wouldn’t have advocated trading Rob Gronkowski for rookie picks.  I suppose I might trade him for the 1.01 in order to take Richardson, but even that is questionable.

When trading away a stud player (and Gronk counts as such), it’s highly advisable to demand a proven player back in the trade.  The sad truth is that dynasty rookie picks have a significant bust rate.  DLF Partner Jeff Haverlack’s analysis of rookie pick statistics is a must read.  There are basically three key takeaways from that article:

1.) Rookies bust at a very high rate

2.) The top-three picks are remarkably more valuable than the rest of the draft.  We all sort of know this intuitively, but the math is compelling and the falloff is steep

3.) The middle and the end of the first aren’t statistically much different.  Multiple late firsts are worth more than trading up for one selection in the 1.04 to 1.06 range because at least you have two shots at success that way.

While I’m skeptical that Gronkowski will repeat his 2011 numbers or his separation from the TE pack on a PPG basis, he’s not going to bust.  The odds are that one or both of your picks will.

As to Fleener, you will be fortunate to get him at 1.10.  His ADP is on the rise.  I’m buying in to Fleener and drafted him on my main team.  I see a player who has a decent chance to be a TE2 in 2012 and then a long term TE1.  I don’t think he’s going to break in to the elite group, but I project him as a solid fantasy contributor for years.  A poor man’s version of Jason Witten.

2.)  I’ve noticed a few articles recently which suggested owners plan on trading away aging players for youth and picks.  The examples I’ve seen are often Marques Colston and Miles Austin.  I dealt Austin for Denarius Moore and Roy Helu.  Was it too early to deal Austin?  Sean in Riverside, CA

Well, those weren’t my articles.  I am notoriously contrarian on the age issue in dynasty.  I preach three year planning horizons and therefore I am much more likely to roster aging veterans than the typical dynasty owner.  Often times, aging veterans provide a cheap way to get an immediate boost in team production.  Guys I like for value this year are Tom Brady, Reggie Wayne, Michael Turner and Steven Jackson.

Your trade was fine if you got players you like.  Both Denarius Moore and Roy Helu are guys I shy away from.  If I had to own an Oakland receiver, it would be Moore, but for his ADP, I’m looking elsewhere.  Helu is basically on my “do not own” list because I have no faith in Mike Shanahan when it comes to running backs.  The problem is that you will never know week-to-week what you’ve got.  Sometimes Helu will be the man, and then sometimes he’s going to seemingly vanish from the planet.  I can’t have than in my RB2.  Essentially these guys share the same problem – I don’t trust their situations at all.  They are both talented, but unfortunately their fantasy value is diminished.

3.)  Our rookie draft also includes unrestricted free agents.  I will have the ability to take one of Andrew Luck or RGIII, but Jake Locker is also available.  Is he of the same caliber as the rookies?  (Note: Ten team league, 1QB) Brad from Canada

Whether Locker has that caliber of talent or not, you almost certainly will not have to draft him as such.  It would be rather shocking to me to see Locker go ahead of RGIII in a mixed rookie/FA draft.  Given that you are in a ten team, 1QB league, I suspect you can wait for some time to pull the trigger on Locker.  I just drafted in a start-up with an experienced group of owners and Locker went off behind guys like Dalton, Freeman and Schaub.  I think that’s fairly consistent with the consensus point of view on his value.

He’s a high risk/high reward selection either in a start-up or in your mixed draft.   Perceptions of him have bounced all around –   in early projections, some had him as the NFL 1.01, then he struggled as a senior, then the Titans “over-drafted him” and then he basically watched Matt Hasselbeck for a year.

There are two things that are important regarding the Titans and their patience with him.  First, that means he will have to fight his way in to the starting lineup.  They won’t rush to replace Hasselbeck.  Second, when he does get the job, he will have a long leash.

At the right point in your draft, he becomes an interesting gamble.  It just shouldn’t have to be in the Luck/RGIII range.

4.) I was offered Andre Johnson, Malcom Floyd and the 30th rookie pick for Victor Cruz and Ryan Grant.  Should I take this trade?  Midway Monsters in Illinois

I would.

Ryan Grant has essentially zero fantasy value at this point.  It’s hard to have much value when you aren’t even on an NFL roster.  I’m actually surprised anyone would make a trade offer to you that includes him.

Malcom Floyd and the thirtieth pick are both nice flyers.  The departure of V.Jax leaves the Chargers receiver group depleted and open for someone to emerge.  I’m not a fan of Robert Meachem.  Maybe he suffered because he was in such a crowded situation in New Orleans, but I’m skeptical.  I think Floyd has as good a chance as any of them to emerge as a legit WR3 for fantasy.

This trade really comes down to Johnson vs. Cruz.  DLF has Johnson ranked above Cruz and I agree with that.  Honestly, I think we have Cruz ranked too highly.   I worry about guys who rely on big plays, circus catches, etc. for fantasy value.  I like players like Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin who appear more consistent to me.  I’d certainly be nervous if Cruz was my WR1.  Johnson is obviously aging, but that doesn’t bother me for the reasons I stated in an earlier answer.  The injuries have been piling up – that bugs me, but I’d run the risk.  If Johnson is close to himself he could make his way back in to the top-5 in WR scoring.

5.)  I have the 1.03 rookie pick.  My quarterbacks are Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler and Terrelle Pryor.  My receivers are Greg Jennings, Reggie Wayne, Robert Meachem and Mario Manningham.  We start 1 QB and 2WR.  Richardson and Luck will be gone.  Would you take RGIII or Blackmon?CJ in Nova Scotia

Since I have Michael Floyd ranked higher than Blackmon, I wouldn’t go with Blackmon.  Of course I’m in the minority on this one.  Rather than debate that, your question basically comes down to RG3III or the top-WR prospect.

The first thing I would do is see if I could move out of the pick.  The hope would be that someone in your league is enamored with Justin Blackmon.  I’ve been surprised by how little of that I’ve seen however.  I expected him to be highly sought after.  So far, it hasn’t worked out that way.  I’m guessing people are really down on him landing in Jacksonville and who can blame them.  But, it only takes one guy in your league.

If that fails, I’d probably take the receiver (Blackmon given your question).  I think your need at WR is more acute than your need at QB and I have Blackmon and RGIII close enough in my rankings to allow team need to dictate the pick.  My thinking would be that you have a better chance of Jay Cutler emerging as a replacement for Peyton Manning than Robert Meachem or Mario Manningham stepping up when Reggie Wayne falls off a cliff.  There’s really not a bad choice here, but I’d go with the receiver.

Bonus Question:  I like the top 400 dynasty list combining all positions.  Looking at your rookie rankings you have Andrew Luck #1 overall.  But you have him ranked behind rookies Richardson and Martin on the combined list. Are the rankings based on different league types?  Andy in Iowa

Since I’m not currently ranking players for DLF, I turned to those who did the work to get an answer for this one.

DLF Partner Ken Kelly said; “”I’m stunned that nobody has brought that up until now.  There are some slight differences in the rookie rankings compared to the top 400 based on a few different things and the most obvious question likely revolves around the choice between Luck and Richardson at the top.”

What I learned was the following:

First, no surprise – there is some debate internally at DLF about the ranking of Trent Richardson vs. Andrew Luck.  A different mix of people ranked the Top 400 than ranked the individual lists as well.  So, some of the variation is simply attributable to differing opinions.  Note: All of the rankings currently available on DLF assume a 1QB, PPR format with 4-pts per passing TD. 

Second and more interesting is that the rankers felt the rookies could (and likely should) be drafted slightly differently in a start-up than in a rookie draft in an existing league:

Again, Ken:  “Choosing Luck before Richardson in a brand new start up dynasty draft wouldn’t be advised based on the larger tier of quarterbacks and smaller pool of running backs, along with Richardson’s obvious ADP being higher. With a clean slate and no depth at any position, Richardson is going to go first in virtually every start up.  In a straight rookie draft, we still have Luck ranked higher based on his long term viability and short career span of running backs, but it’s awful close.

With the top 400 list, the assumption is made that it’s basically going to be used for start-up drafts. You have to use a different strategy here because Richardson will be long gone before Luck in most, if not all, of these drafts.  In a new draft, all the team needs are the same, so you have to conform a bit.

In a rookie draft, we have to assume all the teams are already equally balanced (even though that’s not really possible). As in any rookie draft, you’re going to go for team need first. Either Richardson or Luck are going to be great picks – if you have a greater need at quarterback, you go with Luck, if you have a greater need at running back, take Richardson.  If your needs are totally equal, I still like Luck a little better myself in a rookie draft.  In the end, the rookie drafts are about need, while the top 400 really screams start-up draft.  It would have been easy for us to just make them the same (and likely easier to explain), but we try to make every ranking list useful for the application it would be used for.” 

Remember, any rank list is just a guide – you need to adjust it to your league format, the drafting tendencies of your leaguemates and also your taste for players.

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

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Boomer
10 years ago

RE: 5. Have you considered moving Cutler or Palmer for a WR and outright taking RG3? Yes, you’re not going to get premium value but a WR 20-30 on the rankings list should be appropriate.

Ray White
10 years ago

i think you should be in on ranking players as it seems you get player ranking questions just about every week.

Admin
Reply to  Ray White
10 years ago

Don’t worry Ray, that’s already in the works. We’ll have additional rankings to what we currently have soon and Tim will very much be a part of that.

flipz
10 years ago

RE: 1
FLAME FLAME FLAME
/end

sean mcguigan
10 years ago

Regarding the Austin for Moore Helu trade some thoughts…overall pretty fair trade I personally have both Austin and Helu so near and dear to me…..I went out and traded for Austin…think he is sitting on a career year this year if Romo and he can stay healthy he is highly motivated in best shape of his life and in prime time age wise given that I probably wouldn’t trade him as he could put up something like 85/1250/12…..that’s top 10 type numbers so wouldn’t make sense….Moore as upside based on measureables but hate his situation….too many WR’s on a run first team with what I consider a fairly weak number 2 type QB in Palmer…what’s he gonna throw for 3,500 and 22-25…..spread to a bunch of different WR TE and RB’s…Moore is the one to own but ceiling is low end WR2 IMO floor much lower. Now Helu…..I hear everyone’s concern regarding Shanny and any Washington RB but Helu is clearly the most talented back there and has the break away speed shanny loves…other two backs are more power type back and hightower is pretty close to done coming off ACL at his age and style running…..IF and it’s a big if Helu comes out and performs like he did during stretch when he started and was healthy he will easily get the VAST lion share of carries and would be in line for 100 yrd days on a consistant basis…..he has the size to be that guy at almost 220 lbs….I think he take control of backfield for 15-20 touches. Remember when Shanny had a dominent back in Davis he road him…I am not saying Helu is Davis but he is CLEARLY a lot better then hightower and Roster…….Food for thoughts…..Risk there but putting Helu on a list to completely avoid is foolish IMO>

Reply to  sean mcguigan
10 years ago

I don’t understand why everyone is discounting Royster. When given the opportunity to start the final two games, all he did is run for 245 yards (6.3 ypc), and account for over 300 total yards. He’s not a flashy guy, but a patient runner with above-average vision who gets the yards that are there and always falls forward. Moreover, dating back to his PSU days, he’s an extremely durable player, while averaging around 200 carries per season during his three starting years.

He definitely doesn’t have the speed or big-play potential of Helu, but to state unequivocally that he’s a lesser talent is disingenuous. He averaged almost 2 ypc better than Helu last year, granted on only one-third of the workload.

And it’s this exact reason that when it comes time to draft in my new startup, I will NOT be drafting ANY Redskins RB unless they fall hard. Way too many question marks…

Zach
10 years ago

I don’t think you should avoid helicopter by any means. But I wouldn’t want to count on him as my rb2 because you really never know. Shanny rides the hot hand way more now then in the day of Davis.

sean mcguigan
10 years ago

CP we will see personally I don’t think Royster is close talent wise but that’s just me but you make a very valid and interesting point for all to consider….seems like if there can be a dominant RB that takes control of majority of carries they can be very sucessful in that run zone blocking scheme….probably would only take one to get something like 65% of touches to be a very high end nubmer 2 possibly even low end RB1….as I said BIG IF but that is a possiblity Shanny will go with best back available can Helu be consistant is the question I say yes he has the talent to be that guy(running style is perfect fit as well one cut back with size speed). Honestly I saw Royster a lot in College….plodder is what came across to me….I agree good patientance and vision but I don’t see his style as good a fit in the zone blocking scheme….RG3 should only help whoever is carrying ball next year as now they will have a real threat throwing downfield not like last year which was a joke……Call me crazy but Helu could be a steal with where he is going(I hope so at least as need him to perform as a RB2 at least)

Sensei John Kreese
Reply to  sean mcguigan
10 years ago

Helu also has terrific hands. This is important in any offense that utilizes a qb who improvises.

I have him penciled in as my flex starter at the moment, but I really like Greg Little a lot this year, so this may change.

Devildog165
10 years ago

Awesome. I always take crap for ranking Floyd higher than Blackmon, glad to see some one in your position do the same. Great answers.

Cyrus Miller
Reply to  Tim Stafford
10 years ago

I second this.

When Moreno and McCoy came out, I had a man crush on McCoy. I don’t know what it was, but predraft I was really high on him and thought he was just a natural RB.

Then Moreno went #12 and McCoy went in the second round. Moreno was the consensus #1, if I didn’t draft him Wells was the consensus #2. Sitting at 1.01, I took Moreno based on BPA.

What I should have done is had conviction and traded down to take McCoy. Or just taken him instead of Moreno, although trading down from the 1.01 gets you a lot of good value.

In the future, I will always act on the guys I really believe in.

SJ
Reply to  Cyrus Miller
10 years ago

Ive seen that happen all the time… when a owner chooses a guy based on group-think over their own impressions. But it happens

Its hard to avoid this but sometimes. Sometimes you dont get to see a bunch of take on a player. Sometimes all you got is the “experts” take (some experts are better than others of course), which usually leads to just following the common thought on players.

But, yes i agree. God forbid if you break the norm and go a different way than the rookie rankings and “overdraft” a guy. I’ve done that before by drafting Forte, then Maclin a few years back, and T.Young this past year where they shouldnt have went. I’m sure there’s a ton more examples of that each year.

I say, as long as your confident on a guy – just go for it.

SJ
Reply to  SJ
10 years ago

As far as this year’s draft goes: I feel that way a lot about Floyd, Fleener, M.Jones and AJ Jenkins. I could very confidently overdraft any of these guys and be happy about it.

Alan Bauerle
10 years ago

Cyrus I feel ya man. I have one w Stephen Hill. I think he’s gonna be great. Size speed hands. It may take awhile but I really believe he’s gonna be a problem for corners and safties. If Sanchez can stay healthy defences better watch out. I had the same feeling when Cruz busted the jets up in preseason. I was at that game. I also had that gut feeling about Nicks too when he came out.

StevieMo
10 years ago

“I traded Gronkowski for 1.05 and 1.10.”

How come our league doesn’t have any of these itchy trigger finger owners? Are you kidding me? Gronkowski, two years into the league and easily a top 2 TE, for two pigs in a poke?

I’m not sure what it is about this site but I would think its readers would be some of the savviest traders, not guys trying to do deals for the sake of doing deals.

Beyond that, my only advice is: “No trades after downing six beers.”

Beefcake
Reply to  StevieMo
10 years ago

I could NOT have said that any better

Drew Swanson
10 years ago

Fair trade?

Team A gives: Dez Bryant, Aaron Hernandez, 2012 1.11
Team B gives: Darren McFadden, 2012 1.03 & 2.03

Boomer
Reply to  Drew Swanson
10 years ago

Not seeing the rest of the teams it seems fair. Dez-DMC I feel (dynasty) is a small win for Dez. 1.3-Hernandez is a win for the draft pick.

dan
10 years ago

Trade advice

Would you trade T rich, Hillman and a 1st and 2nd round pick next year for Foster? My thinking is that T Rich will be the top rb in three years but i am looking to win now and foster is the top rb now to go along with PManning, C2kJ and witten who have only a few season left. The picks and hillman are question marks like any picks are. I feel it was a good deal for both are teams.

dan
Reply to  dan
10 years ago

Also the picks are for a rookie only draft and i hope they will be later round picks

Matt Peach
10 years ago

I’m the guy that traded Gronk for 5 and 10. Do we really think he will ever have 18 tds again? And for the record I’m guaranteed of Luck at 5 and either Wright or Floyd at 10. Flame away

Beefcake
Reply to  Matt Peach
10 years ago

Could’ve gotten a lot more….and I’d rather take Fleener than Wright / Floyd at 10

Matt Peach
Reply to  Beefcake
10 years ago

I also have 11 and 12. My league always reaches for RBs so there’s a good chance I’ll end up with Luck Blackmon/Floyd Wright and Fleener

turk
Reply to  Matt Peach
10 years ago

dont think he knew you were in a league full of complete morons, and yes that includes u since u traded Gronk for 1.05 and 1.10, quite possibly worst trade ive heard of to date

Buffalo Kid
10 years ago

I’m weak at WR (AJ Green and a bunch of 2nd tiers, Santonio, Sid Rice)My defense is great but aging. Do I give up Steve Jackson, Derrick Johnson, and Osi for Andre Johnson, Hillis, and Carson P?
Ive got Ray Rice, S.Greene, Beanie, D’Angelo, and Ridley.
I also have the 1.04. Should I just use that on Floyd? and forget Andre, Even if RG3 is there?

James Young
Reply to  Buffalo Kid
10 years ago

I would try a different trade to fix your WR2 problem. I’ve been down on A.Johnson since last off-season, and the injuries just make it worse. There’s gotta be some other guys ranked around him you could take off an owner.

Put some offers out there. Theres plenty of time to fix it, and a long way till the season, you can do it!

James Young
Reply to  Buffalo Kid
10 years ago

And yes I would say draft Floyd there. Im not sure about who your QB is but if its not a top10 guy, I would say its very close of him or RG3. A toss up in my book. Your choice.

Sensei John Kreese
Reply to  James Young
10 years ago

I respectfully disagree. Malcolm Floyd isn’t on the same planet as RG3, from a fantasy perspective.

Ryan Brown
Reply to  Sensei John Kreese
10 years ago

Malcolm… Michael same difference

Sensei_John_Kreese
Reply to  Ryan Brown
10 years ago

I don’t make mistakes, I make happy accidents–Bob Ross

Johnny Vegas
10 years ago

No way would I advise to trade that washed up A Johnson for Cruz..
AJ couldn’t stay healthy in his prime how’s he gonna be a top 5 WR this year when it’s more than doubtful he plays 16 games..
Than to have you believe Harvin and Maclin are safer picks than Cruz?
Terrible advice!! Keep Cruz and thank me in 3 years when AJ isn’t worth a 2nd RD pick and Cruz is still a top 15 WR if not top 10…

Johnny Vegas
10 years ago

If Luck is half as good as this site leads you to believe Fleener should be a elite TE at some point. Look at the bulk of elite TEs and they all share excellent QB play..
Granted you get a freak like Gonzo who can produce with avg QB play buts that’s rare. Fleener had his value go though the roof when the Colts drafted him..
I have Fleener ranked over every WR in this rookie draft..
If say a team like Jacksonville drafted him he would be lucky to crack my top 20..
Luck looks like a can’t miss thus Fleener should join the ranks of elite sooner than later.
Plus watch his tape, Luck looks for Fleener 40 yards down the field and locks on to him in the red zone… What more can you ask for?

James Young
Reply to  Johnny Vegas
10 years ago

I agree I think Fleener is being underrated at this point. Hes the perfect late 1st round draftee with his perfect surrounding of potential, opportunity and skills. Plus he even has his same QB, how lucky is that. He skips that whole QB-receiver ‘chemistry’ phase. All he has to do is learn the playbook like anyone else. One could argue he has a leg-up on any rookie out there.

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