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’ve been offered Calvin Johnson for rookie picks 1.02 and 1.09. Should I take this? – Brooks in MN
It depends. If you believe in Karma, then no. If you believe in winning fantasy football championships, then yes. This trade is so unbalanced you may find yourself in fantasy football jail convicted of grand theft larceny.
I’m going to keep this short and to the point: everyone out there, please stop trading proven veteran players for draft picks. Just stop.
2.) I had an owner offer Steven Jackson, Isaiah Pead, Greg Little and AJ Jenkins for AJ Green. My plan this year was to rebuild. – Vince in FLA
This is a difficult question. It comes down to how patient you are. Let’s go on the premise that you are in a nearly full rebuild – not just retooling an otherwise solid core. This trade could accelerate the rebuild. On the other hand, you are giving up a player who appears to be an elite caliber receiver with a decade of fantasy production ahead of him.
Option A: Keep AJ Green. The disadvantage is obvious – you slowly rebuild and all you get to do is enjoy watching AJ Green be awesome while you lose game after game. The advantage is that you have a super stud who will anchor your team once you put pieces in place around him. This is the tortoise approach to the race.
Option B: Deal him for all these interesting pieces. This is the hare approach to the race. You’re getting an aging veteran at the end of his career, two decent rookie prospects and a receiver who under-performed to expectations in 2011.
My main problem with “Option B” is that this package just isn’t enticing enough. If you knew for certain that you could immediately move Steven Jackson for a future first that would help. However, I’m not sure he’ll get you that. Let’s assume you can’t. At that point, Jackson is a declining player who you are going to ride until he is done. The Frank Gore owners know what I mean. So, now we’re left with the three prospects. Simple odds would tell us that best case one is solid, one is mediocre and one will be worthless. Would you trade AJ Green for a decent WR2 and a flex player?
The only X-factor in all of this is what you personally believe about Green. If you think he’s truly elite, you easily pass on this deal. If you think he’s overhyped, you’re concerned about Dalton, whatever, you consider it more seriously. I’m a firm believer in Green and have him as my overall WR3 for dynasty start-ups, so that tells you what I would do.
3.) I’m considering giving Matt Forte for Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson. Forte is a free agent after this year, while the Giants have longer contracts. Is the drop from Forte to Bradshaw worth the future in Wilson, and if so, worth it enough for me to sweeten the deal with another player or rookie pick? – Matt in Amish Country
I have no issues with the deal as is, I certainly wouldn’t add to it, and I’d rather get the Forte side.
Forte is a vexing fantasy asset to own. He’s not an elite running back, but he’s more than high end RB2. Some people really like him, while others want no parts. For me, he’s a player you settle with when you take a stud receiver in round one of a start-up. The math on Forte isn’t half bad however – you’re nearly assured of 1,400 total yards and 50 receptions. And there’s solid upside on those numbers. Forte isn’t going to win your league for you, but he won’t leave you high and dry either.
You’re going to take a hit in production by starting Ahmad Bradshaw instead of Forte. I anticipate a 60/40 split between Bradshaw and David Wilson to develop fairly quickly. Mostly this will disappoint Bradshaw owners who are counting on him to be a high-end RB2 option. It will also make Wilson a reasonable bye-week/injury replacement player. By taking this side of the deal, you are banking on Wilson ultimately ending up as the lead back in an RBBC where he is getting the 60% side of the split. I think that’s a reasonable bet, which is hedged early on by getting Bradshaw in the deal.
4.) I play in a Contract/Salary Cap league. I’m looking for a few players who could end being the next Michael Turner. A current back-up RB or WR who will be entering Free Agency within the next two years with the possibility of becoming a starter for a new NFL team. I’d like to get them cheap now and give them a long term deal. The obvious choice that comes to mind is Ben Tate. – Rob in Minneapolis
These are always hard questions to answer because it’s difficult to know how deep to go. What can be had cheaply in your league could be very different from mine. The fact that you mention Ben Tate suggests that there are values to be had in yours that exceed the norms. And of course I could compile a near endless list. Here are some guys I’m keeping an eye on.
The Top Shelf:
- Jonathan Stewart – He’s going to be on the market (or franchised) next year. He’s the elite prospect to own right now. His talent level exceeds all other options.
- Ben Tate – You mention him and he’s certainly a nice option. I think he has benefited from the Houston one-cut, zone blocking scheme, but he’s flashed some skills.
- LeGarrette Blount – He’s an RFA after this season so he could get tendered. If he moves to a good situation, he might emerge as a 1,200 yard/6 touchdown type of guy. At the prices he’s going for now, he’s a nice buy low.
- James Jones – Fantasy owners were disappointed last year when he re-signed with the Packers. He’s a free agent again in 2014. Maybe he goes somewhere that he can be a featured receiver.
- Javon Ringer – Hasn’t gotten much of a chance in Tennessee, but when he has I like what I see. I’ve said before that he might be able to beat out CJ2K in an open competition.
Remember that one of the best ways to capitalize on value created by NFL free agency is via the quarterback position. Smart owners snapped up Matt Flynn after the bye weeks last year and flipped him for something of value. I’d be holding Brian Hoyer where I could.
5.) I have a good team (Romo, Roethlisberger, Orton, McCoy, Mathews, Turner, Mendenhall, Leshoure, Jennings, Nicks, Marshall, Crabtree, Cobb, Witten), but I am concerned that my quarterbacks are going to keep me from winning championships. Should I blow the team up? Or how much am I going to have to give up getting a top three QB? – Charles in St. Louis
Well, I don’t know if you need to blow it up, but you’re probably right that quarterback is going to hold you back.
I’m fairly convinced at this point that without an elite QB, teams go in to the season at a significant disadvantage. The PPG advantage provided by Brady/Brees/Rodgers is meaningful. And I think it is a decent gamble that they repeat their spread against the field.
Remember, when you are paying for elite players, you are paying for how much better they are than a replacement level player. For the baseball fans in the audience, it’s like WAR. In a six point per TD league, the number one QB (A-Rod) averaged 15.8 PPG more than the number thirteen QB (Big Ben). Wow! The spread from Brady to Big Ben was 10.1 PPG – still huge.
It’s worth exploring acquiring Brady or Brees on any contending team. I’d be willing to deal a QB/prospect/future pick. Maybe you offer up Romo/Cobb/2013 first for example. I think it’s worth it.
6.) How do I trade a mediocre player? I currently have three TEs on my squad in Gronk, Graham and Dustin Keller. I see Keller as too valuable to simply cut.
At the end of the day, anything you want to sell – your house, your car, Dustin Keller – is worth what somebody will pay for it. If there are no takers in your league, then people are saying that the benefit of owning him over you owning him or competing on the waiver wire to get him are nearly zero. That may change over time, but that’s what it is right now.
I tend to agree with you league mates. Keller is a low end TE1 on a mediocre passing team that appears headed for turmoil. I do not trust any Jets right now. Guys like Owen Daniels, Jermaine Gresham and Greg Olsen are all fine by me. So why pay a dime for Keller? Net/net: he’s going to be hard to sell. Either hold him or cut him. I’d cut him if there was a reason to, I wouldn’t hesitate if a player was on the wire who interested me.
Editor’s Note: Tim Stafford can be found @dynastytim on twitter and in the forums as dlf_tims.