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
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.