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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’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.

Premium:

  • 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.

The Well:

  • 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.

22 Comments
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Brian
10 years ago

As far as question 5 goes. I am a huge fan of Cobb. Romo is a pretty decent fantasy QB. I would only make an offer of Romo/Cobb/1st round pick for Rodgers. Brady is going to start is decline very soon and the Saints are in turmoil. So I would kick myself if I gave up a nice prospect and a 1st round pick to only end up with similar production as Romo if Brady or Brees has a down year. The RB core is fairly weak after Matthews and trading Cobb would leave you pretty thin at WR. (assuming you start 3) That is probably a good enough team to make the playoffs. I would just ride the season out and see what happens in the playoffs. There might be some deals you can find as you get closer to the season or after the season starts. Matthews goes down and I don’t think it matters who the QB is.

10 years ago

Top notch as always, Tim. I wanted to chime in on question 6. This is a common issue with a player that generally belongs on a roster but has no trade value. No market for the player. What makes this kind of player hard to cut is you know he belongs on a roster so you hesitate to cut him. What I do, as many others do as well, is make sure I have understanding of my roster and the value of each player. If I have a roster of 20, and Keller is valued at 20, I simply wait until I find someone that I feel is a better number 20 than Keller. That makes it a more black and white decision rather than worrying about dropping a player of some value. By dropping him you improved your roster therefore who cares if someone else picked him up. Your team got better and that’s all that matters.

Reply to  Paymon Shokoohi
10 years ago

I think you guys give entirely “too good” advise to owners. LOL! I know Vince in florida the owner who is considering trading A. J. Green for Steven Jackson, Isaiah Pead, Greg Little and Jenkins. Vince is in my division and I agree he has rebuilding team, and I would love to see A.J. green out of my division and vince’s team to struggle in mediocrity for the next few years. This is where you guys coming in. When you see “Vince from Florida” sending you a email deliberately give him bad advice. Our league is cut throat and we look to gain an edge at any point. I have been a loyal follower of this website for 2 seasons now and I’m very upset that the proverbial cat is out of the bag now in our league. Please do a brother solid, and forget about your journalistic itegrity when it comes to Vince from Florida, Thanks.

Reply to  Brian
10 years ago

I’m the Brian who wrote the second response to your article.

Eric
Reply to  Brian
10 years ago

Vince from Florida…. why why why…shheeessssh…too funny B!

smcguiga
10 years ago

I have to agree with Brian here Romo could be a top 5 QB this year I would only do it for Rodgers…..Brady is 35 the decline will start shortly brees not far behind…..Romo will not kill you unless he get’s hurt.

justin sword
10 years ago

Big believer in the cutler to marshall connection, what would you say his value is ? Would you give up a Kenny britt or Jeremy maclin in a trade or should I just stick with the young guys ? May envolve a few other peices like draft picks or a idp

packer11491
Reply to  justin sword
10 years ago

whose, Cutler or Marshall?

StevieMo
10 years ago

To the idiot who wants to trade Calvin Johnson for 2 rookie picks:

Sorry about that brain injury. Just quit. Stop playing the game. Get out of the business. Stop making us laugh hysterically. Remove yourself from the premises. Exit stage right. Go into the Peace Corps. Take up knitting and/or embroidery. Get medication for your ADD.

P.S. Please join our league.

Sensei John Kreese
Reply to  StevieMo
10 years ago

Steve, I think Tim just chose that question as an example of what NOT to do. No need for name calling. 🙂

Although, I must admit that your comment made me a laugh, just a little…

Ken Widerka
Reply to  Sensei John Kreese
10 years ago

I would also like his name and email address so I can invite him to join all of my leagues. 🙂

meens
Reply to  Ken Widerka
10 years ago

hahaha. u guys are so cool.

alexdangrol
10 years ago

I have a question I feel you can help with. I’m in a 2 QB keeper league and you can keep up to 3 guys and forfeit a pick 2 rounds ahead of where the player was selected the year before. I’m keeping A.Foster and RunDMC. My question is do I keep Big Ben losing my 5th, P.Harvin losing my 7th or S.Smith losing my 13th?

Cyrus Miller
Reply to  alexdangrol
10 years ago

Harvin, in my mind.

Smith might also have great value, but I would keep Harvin this year and then consider keeping him next year for a 5th. I took him before then in my startup dynasty.

SJ
10 years ago

I like the article, however:

L.Blount is a RFA next year, but you cant really be serious of his prospects as a good buy low, can you? Even if he does move to a new team, hes still L.Blount. He cant block/catch, so hes limited to a 2 down role as mostly a plodder that does little else. Hes just a name to me at this point. I think his value is where it should be. All those owners who bought on Greene and Jacobs years back when they were at Blounts age know what I mean.

Also, Ringer only averaged 3.1 ypc last year. Thats a tough sell in my book. He was never considered an exceptional talent coming out of college and he didnt do much when given a significant opportunity last year. That just doenst leave much to covet.

I agree with everything else in that response to article, including the backing of QB FA pickups over every other position, as they tend to lead to good value.

Other than Stewart, there may not be another M.Turner FA situation for a while, and even Stewart doesnt really fit that mold as hes used as a starter in many fantasy leagues. R.Bush and Sproles both hit last year. Maybe R.Bush can pull it off again as hes a 2012 FA. But again, hes a starter, so he doesnt really fit the value mold. Same goes for Spiller. Most of the good backup backs are locked up. I know a lot of people believed M.Bush had a shot this year but nothing materialized.

Of some of the legitimate possible candidates I would like to nominate F.Jones, B.Powell & J.McKnight, K.Moreno.

I know not many people want to get behind B.Powell or McKnight, but theyre both as cheap as you can get. And while they’re not necessarily FA’s, one of them could be a starter next year for the NYJ. So thats something.

Also F.Jones is a FA after this season and many folks had him reportedly on the trading block this offseason in DAL before the draft. While that turned out to just be smokescreen, hell still be a FA next offseason and some team could grab him on the cheap and ask him to be a starter. He is only 25 yrs old.

Nobody wants Moreno after last season, but some NFL team could grab him. I believe his contract is up after this season as well. He bares monitoring. Many less talentd backs coming out of college got starting jobs, and he does have some decent skills left. He was a decent RB2 down the stretch a couple of years ago, before all the drama with McDaniels firing, him hitting the doghouse with the new regime and the ACL tear. All Im saying is some team will give him a chance. And, unless you fell Moreno’s career is already over, he could be a cheap committee back at least.

**Bonus**
And if your really dangerous, Id recommend K.Smith with the Lions and P.Hillis with the Chiefs. Both are only on a 1 year deal there and always seems to produce when healthy, which is rare. Both could get more work on another team next year.

T.Gearhart and C.Ivory are also two guys to monitor. I would include them in this years bunch, but I believe both have 2 years left on their respective contracts. However that could be incorrect.

Brian
Reply to  SJ
10 years ago

Micheal Turner sat behind a true workhorse RB. I would say the closest you can get to a situation like that is Ben Tate. It is so hard to predict how that will turn out. I held Turner for a few years and I currently own Ben Tate so I hope that works out similarly. However, before that the running back that I can think most resembles this situation was LaMont Jordan. Similar workload before going to a new team as the full time starter. That didn’t really work out all that well.

SJ
Reply to  Brian
10 years ago

I agree on Tate also. But I believe hes under contract for two more years as well. Gonna really have to be patient with him. He’s also a flex right now so not sure how cheap one could get him, but definitly worth it.

stolenmeat
10 years ago

I picked up Flynn off the waiver wire last year and flipped him for Ryan Williams (and a higher 1st round pick) who I think can be had cheaply and could have some real value. Does anyone really trust Beanie’s knees to hold up?

Mercenaries
Reply to  stolenmeat
10 years ago

I picked up Flynn off the wire last year and traded him and Shonn Greene for Cutler.

packer11491
Reply to  Mercenaries
10 years ago

I like that trade.

alden bietz
Reply to  Mercenaries
10 years ago

Nice trade, Im not a big fan of Flynn or Green. NFL teams wernt gushing over Flynn, he didnt get paid like Kolb or Cassell.

Jason Hewitt
10 years ago

I acquired Flynn just before the superbowl as he was a FA with the intention of franchising him, but then flipped him for the 2012 1.8 & a 2013 1st round pick. The 1.8 & 1.16 later became P.Harvin

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