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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.) Should I trade Victor Cruz for CJ Spiller?  I also have Dez, Colston and Austin. Craig in Raleigh

Probably not, but it’s close.  I suspect this question gets a lot of responses in the comment section so you’ll get even more advice.

While I love CJ Spiller, Victor Cruz has vaulted up the board this year.  He has to be in the discussion with second tier elites like Julio Jones, his teammate Hakeem Nicks and Percy Harvin.  While I think I could make a compelling case for any one of them, Cruz might be the easiest one.  Quickly:

  • He’s not the health risk that Nicks is and he seems to have no issues producing when Nicks is out
  • He’s the top option for Eli Manning – he leads the NFL in targets
  • He scores TDs, but isn’t TD dependent – he has solid yards and catches in most/all games
  • There is no sign that 2011 was a fluke.  Frankly, he looks better this year than last

Spiller is a nice player, but is capped by Fred Jackson.  The most you can reasonably hope for is a consistent diet of 16-18 touches per game – that translates in to solid production and great numbers when he happens to find the end zone.  There isn’t anything wrong with that, but it isn’t quite the same as having a stud receiver like Cruz.  Spiller is a RB2.

I understand that running backs are tough to come by these days, but I cling to elite receivers like gold because they are cornerstones of an enduring dynasty team.  If Cruz stays with Eli, he’s going to anchor your squad for five or more years.  Let’s all hope for a nice long contract extension for Cruz.

2.) I have a rebuilding team in a league with only 20 roster spots.  I already have a lot of rookies – Luck, Wright, Fleener, Gordon and Hillman.  Pead and Quick are both on the wire.  Are they worth owning?  – JJ in Manitoba

Interesting question.

My main league is a 20-roster spot/12-team league as well.  For those who don’t play in any short roster dynasty leagues, they are quite different.  Both Isaiah Pead and Brian Quick being on the waiver wire isn’t all that astonishing.  The short rosters cause one to have to be a bit more demanding of immediate production.  You can’t take up too many roster spots with purely developmental or speculative players.

JJ, I don’t know if you should pick them up or not because I don’t know who you’d cut.  If you have any easy cuts – a second kicker, a second DST, an aging player who isn’t a stud, etc. then obviously pick one or both of them up.

If you don’t, I’d probably leave them out there.  I like all of the rookies you list more than either Quick or Pead.  Quick is a player I talked about last week – he’s not someone I had highly rated and he’s definitely tough to own in this format.  Pead has been disappointing, of course, and my guess is that’s why he’s on your waiver wire.  I’m sure someone drafted him and cut him after his tough start and the emergence of Daryl Richardson.  I hate to leave potential running back talent on the wire, but you only have so many roster spots.  If you have to pick one of them, I’d rather own Pead.

3.) I’ll ask you again, what do you do now with Chris Johnson?  He looks like he might be back to his old form. – Jason in SFO

First off, thanks again Jason.  I feel like we’re old friends.  Apparently no matter what I say, you aren’t going to trade CJ2K anyway!

For the benefit of the other owners out there…I will admit CJ2K’s box scores look much, much better than earlier in the year.  But having watched the games, the box score belies the actual play.  In his career game against Buffalo, he still exhibited all the same tendencies that dragged him down against better rush defenses.  He’s hesitant to hit the hole and he’s constantly dancing around in the backfield.  Let’s remember that Buffalo is possibly the worst rushing defense in the entire NFL.

CJ2K is likely to have another strong outing this week against the Colts.  Like the Bills, they’ve struggled to stop even average NFL running backs – Shonn Greene owners know what I’m talking about.  On the other hand, the Titans lost left tackle Michael Roos to an appendectomy, which is a rather big blow to an already questionable line.

I’m still selling CJ2K at the right price.  I’m asking a bit more now that his stock is on the rise, but I’d rather he was somebody else’s headache.

4.) My team is out of it for 2012.  I’ve been offered a surefire top-2 rookie pick for Dez.  Worth it?  Patrick via Twitter 

No way.  But I’m glad you asked this question because I’m sure there are other frustrated dynasty owners out there.  It’s that time of the year.  Teams probably know at this point if they are truly in contention or not.

Dez Bryant may not be the uber-elite stud that owners had hoped for when they drafted him early in 2010 rookie drafts, but he’s a solid dynasty asset.  I also believe that Dez is a superior physical talent to any of the receivers coming out in this draft.  Plus, Dallas isn’t a bad situation.  Net/net: It’s hard to see how you could win out trading Dez for a top rookie pick.  He’s as good as or better than anything you might get.

And “might get” is the key phrase.

Pivoting from Dez to the rookie draft in general, this would be a terrible dynasty gamble to make.  First of all, you say it’s a surefire top-2:  maybe so and maybe not – we still have half the season to go.  A lot can change.  Injuries, players who emerge, blind luck, etc.  Second, even if it is the 1.01 rookie pick, it’s a crap shoot.  At best, the 1.01 is a tad better than a 50/50 proposition.  Recent 1.01 picks in many leagues:  Knowshon Moreno, Ryan Mathews, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson.  Mixed results for sure.

I understand the allure of hitting the jackpot with a guy like AJ Green (who some probably took over Ingram), but the odds are very much against you.  For every AJ Green, there are probably a dozen Michael Floyds and Justin Blackmons.  If you have a player who is a solid every week starter (such as Dez) and who is young (such as Dez), in almost all cases you want to keep him rather than take a rookie pick in return.

5.) Who will be the beneficiary of the injury to Nate Burleson?  More for Megatron maybe? Bruce in Kentucky

I don’t think Burleson’s injury will have much impact on Megatron.  Megatron gets his targets and catches, he just needs to score some touchdowns and he will.  Nothing to worry about with the stud.

I think the short term beneficiary of this situation is Titus Young.  I probably wouldn’t want to start him this week because I’d like to see a game before I trusted him.  But there are a ton of solid players on bye so maybe he’s worth a WR3 start.

The x-factor in all of this is Ryan Broyles.  He’s gotten limited playing time and even more limited targets, so it’s hard to get a read on him.  The obvious question is whether or not he’s close to 100% after the ACL surgery.  Broyles is a reliable pass catcher and could serve as a perfect complement to the homerun hitter (Megatron).  Long term I think it’s Broyles who is the value play because I don’t trust Titus Young to behave himself.   And in my opinion, that’s the message the Lions were sending when they took Broyles with a second round pick.

 

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

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Cyrus Miller
9 years ago

1) A lot of my friends thought that Cruz was a fluke due to some long receptions. I wish I had bought him in more leagues, I loved his talent and thought he would be what everyone thought Nicks was becoming. I definitely wouldn’t trade him for Spiller, I would only trade him for a top 5 RB.

While top 5 RB are nice to have and can carry your dynasty squad, Cruz will have a much longer impact and will be consistently good for longer.

3) I traded for CJK (dropped the 2 and the clunky ? there) while he was undervalued a couple weeks ago. Didn’t give up much, to be honest. I have been thrilled with his production and actually started him this week.

While I do not think he is back (or will ever be back) to being a stud, he is back to making the most of good situations. Meaning, he can still shred a lousy run defense for 195 yards and 2 TD’s. The reason I mention this is because he still has matchups against the Jaguars twice, the Colts twice and some other really crappy defenses against the run. The only concern I have is that against teams like Denver and Green Bay, who are bad against the run, the Titans will get down by too much and have to stop running the ball.

I am basically giving up on trading him this year because nobody will give value and his matchups look so nice. We will see what he does– I am definitely benching him against any good defense, but there aren’t many of those left.

4) I am a Dez owner. I like him, but I gave up a 3rd and Decker to get him and I expected more. He still has a chance to blow up and be a stud, but I just haven’t seen signs that he will ever be consistently good. Streaky and good, yes, but consistently good? I am not sure. I would personally take the trade offer and draft one of Lattimore, Hunter or Allen.

While you pointed out the many RB’s who failed as high picks, I think top WR’s are kind of a safer pick. The problem is not many WRs are consensus “Top WR’s.” Off the top of my head, the only guys that I consider definitely top 3 worthy were AJ Green, Julio Jones, Dez and maybe Crabtree. Nicks and Harvin were top WR’s in the great RB class of 2008, but they didn’t go top 3 in my leagues.

If Allen or Hunter end up being worth the top 3 selection, I think I prefer them to Dez. We will see, they might end up in a Blackmon situation and lose a lot of value, but there are two of them (plus Lattimore) that could be had for the “likely top 2” pick.

I’d be gambling and take it, if they would add a little more to the trade. I would consider taking it even if they didn’t depending on the rules in your dynasty league– in mine, you keep rookies for cheap for 4 years, then they have to be extended for a lot. Dez isn’t worth 10% of my cap yet, so I would trade for a rookie and get a few more cheap years out of him.

Pancakes
9 years ago

I traded Cruz for Spiller in the off-season straightup. I have Nicks, Julio, Wallace, Torry Smith and Garcon at WR so I felt like I could do it, meanwhile only Rice and Bush at RB.

I don’t think i’ll regret it when Freddie Jackson goes down again

DyShawn
Reply to  Pancakes
9 years ago

Exactly, this is “dynasty” were talking about. Cruz and Spiller are both great, but imagine how good Spiller will be when he’s the main RB, FJ is 32 years old and Buffalo already seems to be giving the young Spiller the most touches. It’s all gut calls usually, but I could see Spiller being a top 3 fantasy back soon, maybe the best for a few years, the cat is explosive! Plus WR studs are easier to find than RB studs IMO

JJ
9 years ago

I made a trade earlier in the year and got CJ for Brandon Lloyd, a couple of weeks later I feel like I won that trade. However, I now have an offer of Broyles and a 1st for Johnson…I am rebuilding so I am very tempted but as I mentioned in my question in the Mailbag, I already have a bunch of rookies so if CJ could keep this up this season and next (which seems very improbable) it maaaay be better to keep him…any opinions?

Jason Sandhage
9 years ago

In question 4, it would be nice to have an answer that projects who one could obtain with the first or second pick of next years draft. If they’re anything like Richardson, Luck or Griffin, I would certainly do it. I might even do it if I got a guy like Martin. Dez is trouble and, even though he has the talent around him that keeps defenses honest, he simply hasn’t and may not ever produce up to his projections.

Alan Bauerle
9 years ago

Cj2k is doing better because other teams now have to focus on Kenny Britt and an emerging Kendall Wright. No more 8 men in the box. Hassleback is filling in nicely for Locker as well. So early on u had Locker not producing well, no K Britt, and CJ2K failling runnin the ball. Hold onto him Do Not trade him he’s way too talented.

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