The DLF Mailbag

Tim Stafford


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 DeMarco Murray and Phillip Tanner for Randall Cobb and Mikel Leshoure in my 32-teamer.  I’m pretty strong at receiver with Megatron, Julio Jones and Antonio Brown.  Good deal? Brandon in Malaysia

That’s a very solid receiver group for a 32-team league.  Congrats on that.

Presuming you will be starting DeMarco Murray every week, I’d do this deal.  He’s a substantial upgrade on Mikel Leshoure.  The Detroit backfield hasn’t produced consistently useful fantasy numbers.  Leshoure’s probably the running back to own from Detroit but that isn’t 100% certain.

Murray seems to be an injury risk but you are getting the correct handcuff in Phillip Tanner.  Murray owners should be pleased by what’s transpired while he’s been out.  Neither Felix Jones nor Tanner threatened his job in any way.  I fully expect him to be back in the bell cow role as soon as he’s healthy.  He’s one of the few running backs who gets nearly all the work.  That’s great for fantasy.

Losing Randall Cobb will hurt, but you have to give value to get value.  He is an extremely gifted athlete on a good team with a great quarterback – that’s a recipe for success.  I expect Greg Jennings’ days in Green Bay are numbered and that means more touches for Cobb next year.  I could see a Percy Harvin type breakout for him next season.

Ultimately, I’d do this deal because you have the receiver depth to afford it.  It has to make you a solid contender for the remainder of 2012.

2.) I have what appears to almost certainly be the 1.01 rookie pick in the upcoming draft.  I need a RB and Lattimore was the plan.  Should I trade the pick for a lower 2013 plus a 2014 first, go best player available or trade for a veteran?  If I go for a veteran RB, who can I reasonably expect to get for the 1.01?  – Chris in Charleston

Eric Dickens (@dlfootball) and I discussed this topic on the podcast that publishes today.  Give it a listen.

Marcus Lattimore is a loss for rookie drafts.  My thoughts are with him and his family.  Barring his going to a terrible situation, he would have almost certainly been the consensus 1.01 rookie pick for dynasty.  While he’s no Trent Richardson, he would have been a nice addition to any team.  The value of your 1.01 has taken a sizeable hit.

I don’t much like the idea of moving the pick right now if you can avoid it.  The only reason to do so is if you are a serious contender and want a veteran player.  Generally speaking, rookie pick values peak at the time of the draft, not during the playing season.  There’s definitely no reason to try to do a deal right now for other 2013 picks and/or 2014 picks.  You’re in the driver’s seat by having the 1.01.  Those deals will be there later anyway.  Don’t give up your leverage.

If you decide to go after an existing player, you’ll likely get a better one next year, but that doesn’t help you win now (obviously).  The level of player you are going to be able to get is a function of your league format, how others value the rookie picks in general and the rosters.

Speaking only for myself, if I was approached with what is surely the 1.01 the types of running backs I’d offer would be Ben Tate, Alfred Morris, Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles.  You wouldn’t get guys like CJ Spiller, Jonathan Stewart or even David Wilson from me, but that’s only a reflection of my own personal value on the 1.01 in 2013.  There haven’t been many trades yet so the market is difficult to judge.

3.) I’m usually a patient person and tend not to overreact during a season, but I think Calvin Johnson has got on my last nerve.  Is it finally time to do the unthinkable and bench him indefinitely?  The Madden Curse is real. – Jordan in Vancouver

I suppose under some rather unusual (and fortunate) circumstances, you could have a team that is strong enough to warrant considering this.  Since I don’t know your roste,r I really can’t say what you should do.  Generally speaking, I think this will anger the fantasy gods much like the Madden Curse is angering you.

Setting mysticism aside, Calvin Johnson’s struggles almost entirely come down to touchdown production.  He’s past his bye, but is still the WR8 in yardage and the WR7 in targets.  The old fantasy adage that touchdowns are hard to predict is arguably more real than the Madden Curse.  Johnson admitted this week that his injury has been hampering his play, so that’s something to monitor.  My bet is the touchdowns start to show up and Calvin returns to the good graces of fantasy owners.  I wouldn’t bench him.

4.) My team is a complete mess and I’m in fire-sale mode. Should I trade Eli Manning for a 1st round pick that will likely be the 1.03 or higher?  Brandon in Chicago

Not unless you think you can ultimately flip it for something better than Eli Manning.  That comes down to your knowledge of your league and how other owners value rookie picks.

My opinion only – this draft class is rather weak.  There are no elite quarterbacks (like Andrew Luck or RGIII), no elite receivers (like Julio Jones or AJ Green), and the running back talent, while still in flux, is looking mediocre.  It’s extremely hard to predict rookie drafts right now because the running backs always emerge late – think Doug Martin.

Right now, the cream of the crop appears to be one of Justin Hunter, Robert Woods or Keenan Allen.  We need to see if they all come out (we don’t know that), how they play the rest of the season, then carefully watch the pre-draft process including the Combine.  From what I’ve seen so far, the comparable 2012 rookie is Kendall Wright.  So, what I’m saying in that is that the top player I’ve identified in the 2013 draft is on par with a player who was probably drafted in the second half of the first round in most 2012 rookie drafts.

Obviously a ton can change between now and the draft, but it’s fair to say that at this time last year we knew that we had two super stud prospects in Luck and Richardson.  Dynasty owners who had been paying attention knew of those guys for several years.  I don’t see anything close to that in 2013.

While I’m not on an island saying this is a weak class, I think I may be one of the stronger naysayers, so take that for what it’s worth.  I’m not giving away my picks for cents on the dollar but I’m also not hesitating to use them in packages to get veteran upgrades.

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