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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.)  I was offered a trade: Wes Welker for Peyton Manning. We have five keepers allowed and the only QBs I was planning on keeping were Cam Newton and Peyton. Should I make this trade and pick up a decent QB in the first round? Thanks for your help.Stephen in Shanghai, China

Note: Stephen mentions this is a 6-team, 2QB league.

Normally I don’t take keeper questions, but I was blown away that I got one from China so I’m making an exception.  Also, maybe it’s a China thing, but I didn’t even know six team leagues existed!

Without seeing all the rosters and who else is being kept, it’s hard to answer definitively, but I think I’d take that offer.  The 2QB thing makes it sound like Peyton’s value is highly elevated over a standard league, but it’s really not.  The 2QB aspect is balanced out by having 6-teams in this league so only 12 QBs are started weekly anyway.

I doubt Peyton is drafted in the first thirty selections in any re-draft format, but Welker might be.  If I’m right about that, the value is on the side of taking Welker.  Plus, both of these players are nearing the end of their careers so age isn’t much of a factor in this deal.

2.)  Salary cap, full IDP league with 40 man rosters.  I expect the top six rookies will go true to form and I have the 1.08, 1.12, 1.16 and a couple of later round picks.  Who would you target?  Also, I was offered my choice of either Demaryius Thomas or Torrey Smith in return for all my first rounders.  Seems like too much.  Jason in Saskatchewan

Continuing with the international flavor of the DLF mailbag we jet from China to Canada.

Answering your question in reverse order, I think Demaryius Thomas could be worth all three of those picks in a Salary Cap league.  If he’s on a cheap rookie contract that has a few years left, I’d be okay sending all three of those picks for him.  It feels like a steep price to pay, but is it?  If you can get a WR1 (or even a solid WR2) on a cheap contract, it becomes a true difference maker in a Salary Cap league.

For example, Thomas is on his rookie contract in my league which accounts for 4% of his owner’s cap. It has four years remaining.  The average salary of the top 24 WRs in the league is 12.5% of the cap.  So, if I traded three first round picks (which also eat in to my salary cap) for Thomas, I could easily acquire another player in the free agent auction with the spare money.  So what appears to be a three for one might not be that at all.  Plus, I have that cheap contract on DT locked in for years and years.

Let’s say you don’t do that.  At that point, you just take BPA at those selections.  I am the first to remind people that I don’t play IDP, so I don’t really know who will be the BPA at those positions.  But from an offensive perspective, my targets would be the usual suspects:  Coby Fleener, Ronnie Hillman, Kendall Wright, Stephen Hill, Alshon Jeffery, etc.  I’d also mention that since this is a 16-team league and your quarterbacks are Andy Dalton/Josh Freeman, I would seriously consider taking Ryan Tannehill with one of your firsts.  It just gives you another option as you play committee ball with these lesser quarterbacks.

3.)  I’ve looked at a lot of WR sleeper/third year lists and none of them has included David Nelson.  Am I the only person who thinks this guy is going to bust out this year?!  I think he surpasses Stevie Johnson in a year or two as the Bills WR1.  What do you think? – Mike in Milwaukee

I don’t know if you’re the only person who thinks David Nelson will bust out this year, but it’s a small club.  And I think even Nelson’s most ardent supporters are going to have a hard time convincing people that he’s going to overtake Stevie Johnson.

I’ll be totally honest; I don’t know where you’re coming from on this one.  Here are the reasons that I wouldn’t be optimistic about a Nelson breakout season:

  • He’s a slot receiver.  There are very few WRs who have meaningful fantasy value who line up in the slot for the most of their snaps.   The majority of his targets are on short routes – of his 94 targets, 56 were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.  Couple that with a relatively mediocre YAC of only 3.5 and it’s hard to project a breakout.  As a point of comparison, the most fantasy relevant slot receiver in the game (Wes Welker) has a YAC of 5.7.
  • To the best of my knowledge, Nelson isn’t competing for the WR2 job in 2012.  So it’s reasonable to expect he will continue to line up in the slot.
  • Buffalo is a rather balanced offense coming in at #15 in total passing and #13 in total rushing.  I don’t see that changing.  It makes it hard to imagine scenarios where Nelson could emerge as a top fantasy option.  There probably just won’t be sufficient targets for him.
  • I think C.J. Spiller will eat away at Nelson’s value.  Buffalo is going to have to find creative ways to use Spiller and short passing routes are an obvious option.
  • Buffalo is going to do everything they can to make Steve Johnson successful.  They invested a ton of money in him and have him locked up through 2016.  Clearly the organization sees him as a franchise caliber player.

I don’t intend to be saying that Nelson has zero fantasy value.  I’m arguing that projecting a breakout and his ultimately overtaking Stevie Johnson is rather aggressive.  To me, he’s a bye-week replacement and injury depth guy who will get some points each week but isn’t a fantasy difference maker.  But I’m open to the counter argument.  If there’s something I’m missing on Nelson, I want to know. Ironically, we have the Buffalo Bills team capsule releasing tomorrow in the premium content, so the Bills will be a source of conversation here soon.

4.) All players coming off contracts in my league are RFAs and to retain the player the owner can match the final bid in the auction.  My team is competitive, I have plenty of cap space, but I’m leery of matching a high bid on AP.  I also have Toby Gerhart as an RFA.  What would you do?  Rob in Minneapolis

Interesting rule that all the players coming off contracts are RFAs.  I suppose that allows teams to keep the band together longer than other salary cap leagues where only a limited number of RFA tags are allotted to each team.

Anyway, I get your concerns with Adrian Peterson, but I’d set them aside.  Peterson’s startup ADP is in the thirties as a low end RB1 option.  You mention that a lot of teams are flush with cash and you expect AP to get bid up.  Like any auction, just use your best judgment at the time.  If the price is too high for your blood, pass on exercising the rights.

Personally, I’d try relatively hard to retain him.  This is one of those situations where a bit of experience in salary cap leagues will help.  It isn’t as big a deal to pay a heavy price on a guy like AP who might be nearing the end of his career arc.  You can put him on a short contract, knowing those funds will free up in a future auction and can be used to acquire a replacement.  It isn’t like a regular league where you could be left totally high and dry.

I think AP has several more years of producing solid fantasy results.  He has been a picture of health up until the ACL and he feels like a player who will decline gracefully.  I don’t see him falling off the cliff like, say, Shaun Alexander.

Another option is to trade AP and Gerhart for a different player’s RFA rights that you prefer.  This happens fairly regularly in my league.  For example, I traded Dwayne Bowe with one year left for Tom Brady’s rights and immediately applied the franchise tag to him.  You could try something like that.

5.) After years of running a 16-team part redraft, part keeper league, I finally decided to take the plunge and start a pure dynasty league with our eight best owners.  I’m nervous about the startup auction because everyone knows my strategies and player preferences.  Am I doomed to outrageous price enforcement? Dan in Massachusetts

Funny question.  First off, if you are a Premium Member, I’d encourage you to read one of my recent submissions, Lessons Learned at 3am. In that article, I go in to detail about price enforcement gone awry.  And if you’re not a Premium Member, I’d encourage you to join!

Are you doomed?  Maybe.  I think it depends on the other owners in your league and their level of experience in auction leagues.  Some people are simply gun shy about price enforcement because they are nervous about the downside risks.  It takes a bit of a gambler to really do it effectively.  The worst thing to do in price enforcement is to do it half way.  You’re accomplishing nothing, while also not focusing on building your own team – that’s a lose/lose strategy.

Of course, you know your league mates’ player preferences, so you are in a position to fight fire with fire.  I think if I knew that people were going to price enforce on me, I might come out even more aggressively and set the tone.  As much as I can be, I want to be in control of the auction.  At a minimum, I want to use some tier two players (e.g. DMC at running back, Percy Harvin at wide receiver, Vernon Davis at tight end) to set the floor on what the elite guys will go for.   Nothing irritates me more in an auction than when a guy like DMC or Matt Forte goes for 60% of what Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy or Ray Rice go for.  Sure, they should come at a discount, but not that much of one.

Final note:  Welcome to the world of dynasty and year round fun!

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

19 Comments
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packer11491
10 years ago

Thanks for the help! I was thinking the same thing, I will take him up on that offer.

Yea 6 teams is pretty bizzare especially with all the possible starters, its a superstar league. Haha Its not a China thing, just over here interning for the summer.

BB Wayne
Reply to  packer11491
10 years ago

Have fun in Shanghai! I’m in Bejing and Shanghai tomorrow. Enjoy the Dragon Boat Festival this weekend.

Spread the FF word to our Chinese friends. 😉

packer11491
Reply to  BB Wayne
10 years ago

Nice, have fun! haha thank god for the dragon boat festival, I have no work on friday and get to sleep in till 9 to watch the Heat game. Will do!

Danton Goulet
10 years ago

Great article Tim!
Mike in Milwaukee, while I hope you are right about Nelson because he is an injury/bye week fill in guy for me, I am going to have to side with Tim on that one. He hasn’t shown me anything to predicate close to WR1 numbers. All I hope is that when I have to play him he catches a TD pass for me since he is such a tall WR.

Joe
Reply to  Danton Goulet
10 years ago

I have been targeting D. Jones thinking he would be the one to emerge as the #2 wr for the Bills. FWIW according to Roto now D. Hagan has taken over that role moving Jones to the slot. Then when will all the Easley talk start up again? They also drafted Graham in the 3rd. So right now drafting anyone other than S. Johnson, F. Jackson, or Spiller is just a crapshoot.

Tommy
Reply to  Danton Goulet
10 years ago

You hit the nail on the head. He’s a tall slot WR which makes him a decent redzone target. I own D. Nelson too as a backup in a PPR. While I don’t think he’ll breakout because he’s a slot receiver and not an outside guy and, as Tim noted, doesn’t have a lot of after the catch explosiveness.

That being said, in my league (which give 1 pt per 15 yds receiving for RB/WR and is a full PPR) Nelson was the 36th highest scoring WR and I think he can post similar numbers again this year.

I don’t think Jones or Hagan are a threat but Johnson will still be top dog and Spiller will get targets. If you’re only counting on him to do what he did last year I still think he’s being undervalued.

Jason Hewitt
10 years ago

Thanks for the comment Tim.

What do you think about the following options for my picks.
These are all offers that are available
A) I trade 1.8, 1.12 & David Harris for Percy Harvin(4 years of contract left)
B) I trade 1.12 for welker(1 year left)
C) I trade 1.8,1.12 & 1.16 for Demaryus Thomas(6 years left)

I could conceivably get Harvin & welker for all 3 picks plus Harris or Thomas for all 3 picks. If I were to get both Harvin & Welker, that would enable me to trade either Cruz or Nicks should I decide to go that route.

Cyrus Miller
Reply to  Jason Hewitt
10 years ago

I personally like Harvin better than DT, despite the contract issue. And if you could get Welker for just a pick, I would do that too (depending on his salary).

Welker is good but nearing the end. He is such an anomoly that we don’t know when that end is though.

I would go for A or B or both… but I think all three for DT is too much.

In my league, 1.08 would be David Wilson, Kuechly or Floyd. 1.12 would be Fleener, Miller or Wright. 1.16 would be Jeffrey or James.

While none of them are sure things, I feel like adding three means makes your team more competitive than shipping them all away for DT. The DT love is getting out of control, I think Decker could be the guy.

Cyrus Miller
Reply to  Cyrus Miller
10 years ago

Just saw Welker has 1 year left… nevermind. Use the pick on something else.

I say take A.

10 years ago

take trade C and run for the hills man

Reply to  bigD
10 years ago

harvin and welker will both battle contract negotiations the next couple of years that could get ugly. DT is a pure #1 with a hopefully ok manning? trading prospects and clearing cap$ and space is the way to go. use the $ to pick up a young upcoming sleeper on the rise. now you have 2 for the price of 3 prospects……just to repeat the words of wisdom in the article……that is great advice. this site does have it.

Bandicoot
10 years ago

Manning’s value is still elevated by having to start 2 QB’s whether its a 6 team league or not. Remember, the 6 team league also means there are only 12 starting RB’s and (presumably) 18 starting WR’s.

Because of the 2 QBs instead of 1, the replacement level starting QB is now the 12th guy instead of the 6th, while the WR is the 18th regardless.

The answer on whether Manning is more valuable than Welker depends on whether you think Manning will outscore the 12th best QB by more than Welker will outscore the 18th WR, and also your ability to find sleepers as each position. Since it is generally harder to find sleeper QBs, Id probably hold Manning and try to hit on a high upside sleeper WR later.

packer11491
Reply to  Bandicoot
10 years ago

Thanks for the ideas, i’ll keep it all in mind when making my decision.

Mike in Milwaukee
10 years ago

Tim, I agree with your points on Stevie Johnson and think he is a good fantasy play. Maybe I was a bit overzealous with the WR1 talk, but I truly do believe Nelson is going to take the next step this year. He has the size to be a legitimate red-zone threat and enough speed to evolve from a slot role into a great compliment to SJ on the other side. He started off last season quick and then faded down the stretch. I attribute some of that to him missing the critical off-season between a players 1st and 2nd year. Last year I picked up Victor Cruz before the season began on a similar hunch (although different circumstances). I’m not expecting Victor Cruz 2.0, but I am hopeful that he can provide me with some positive results that outperform his ADP, especially for a bottom of the roster dynasty player.

William Latin
Reply to  Mike in Milwaukee
10 years ago

I’m in the Nelson camp this year as well… temper expectations, but for his ADP/Auction price he could be a bargain… don’t have to spend much at all to get him… Ceiling just isn’t sky high… I’d say 900/7

Matty
10 years ago

RE: David Nelson

I actually am one of those in the small club that he will breakout this year (in PPR formats), and my reasons are as follows;

1)For PPR, I look for guys who get 100+ targets. For comparison, last year Jeremy Maclin had 97, while Nelson had 98. (63 & 61 catches respectively, in which Maclin had 100 more yards, but the same number of 5 TDs).

2)For PPR, the slot WR is the most valuable in my mind, bc they typically receive the highest amount of receptions. (Nelson is a natural fit for the slot with his great hands).

3)I always look for guys that create size mismatches (ie Gronk). In this respect, Nelson is a nightmare for smaller DB’s that cover the slot. The guy is 6′-5″, 220 lbs, and PLAYS IN THE SLOT! Not only does his size create mismatches, but his massive catch radius serves the “slot” function very well.

4)In weeks 1-3 (when he was playing the slot), he had 20 catches for 240 yds/1 TD. Weeks 4-8 Stevie Johnson gets hurt, and they move him outside where he struggles (slot is his natural position). After they moved him back in week 9-16, he had an average of 5 catches per week.

5)WRs typically breakout in their third year….Nelson is entering his 3rd year.

6)In 2011, he finished with 63 catches, for 700 yds, and 5 TDs. I think these numbers are more than attainable this year, and I could easily see a jump to 80 catches, 900 yds, 7 TDs (with more consistent QB play, and consistent positioning in the slot). In 2011, he was the #32 overall WR (in PPR)…this being only his 2nd year, I think the low 30’s are a great place to start as a floor for Nelson….so a top 20 finish wouldnt be unreasonable.

7) I think a top 20 finish would qualify as a “breakout”

Any objections to this? I am really high on Nelson as a dynasty prospect, and think he could be PPR gold.

Tommy
Reply to  Matty
10 years ago

Agree with your analysis. Anywhere in the 30s is probably the baseline but I don’t think it’s his floor and I think he has top 20 potential in a PPR. He’s 25 and ranked as the 72 Dynasty WR. That’s great value to me.

tebow
10 years ago

are people sleeping on lmj because he is buried on the sf depth chart? not this year but next year i can see him making a big impact i love his skills in the harbaugh system. hunter was from the old guard jimmy h likes his own guys this is a dynasty after all. people are going to laugh at me at the draft when i pick him 6th but i gotta go with the ole gut and i can wait to reap the rewards next season.

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