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’m in a 2QB keeper league that allows us to have three keepers and the price is the round before where they were drafted. My choices are Colin Kaepernick (14th round), CJ Spiller (7th round), Percy Harvin (8th round), Cordarrelle Patterson (15th round) and Andre Ellington (15th round). What three do you think I should go with?  In addition to the quarterbacks, we start two running backs, three receivers and a FLEX.Joe in NY

As avid readers of the Mailbag have surely noticed by now, I have more than a few basic tenets I tend to stick to depending on the situation.  One such example is when it comes to shallow keeper leagues (10 to 12 teams with three to four keepers) I think it behooves owners to act with more of a re-draft mentality.  In other words, your keepers should provide an ability to help you out on an immediate basis, with little to no regard to the cost.

There are, however, exceptions to nearly every rule.  In this case, that allowance is manifested in the form of Minnesota’s soon-to-be sophomore receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.  Despite subpar quarterback play from a rotating cast of characters including Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman, Patterson excelled during the season’s closing stretch with 375 combined rushing/receiving yards over the last five games.  He has the size, speed and agility of a featured pass catcher and when you combine that package with the fact he’ll only cost you a 15th round pick, he’s an easy choice for your first keeper.

The next selection is even easier – 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  Based on his low cost I think it’s safe to assume you wisely snagged him late in your inaugural draft, and now boast the ability to receive QB1 play at a fractional price.  Given his age, along with the low price, I could see “Kaep” forming the founding of your team for the next several years.

The final choice it trickier.

As much as I like Cardinals’ running back Andre Ellington, I don’t think he offers the type of immediate production you require.  While I’m also a big fan of Seahawks’ receiver Percy Harvin, I think you could obtain players like Wes Welker, Roddy White, Mike Wallace or Hakeem Nicks around the eighth round, and each of those players has the potential to equal Harvin’s potential 2014 output.  That leaves only one player, who happens to be a frequent visitor to this weekly space – Buffalo running back CJ Spiller.

I know many are down on the erstwhile feature back, but I’m still a big believer in his talent.  Perhaps more importantly, once you get to the seventh round you’ll be looking at running backs with even bigger question marks such as Ben Tate, Chris Johnson and Lamar Miller.  Even if Spiller doesn’t return to his elite 2012 level, RB2 output is a boon at that draft position – as such, he’d be my final keeper selection.

2.)  In my 14-team half-PPR league I can only keep two of Calvin Johnson, Doug Martin and Josh Gordon. I know the easy answer is Megatron and Martin, but in this league I would be able to keep these players for the rest of their careers. Should I be considering Gordon over the other two with him being so young and already so good?  We start two running backs, three receivers, a WR/RB FLEX and a WR/TE FLEX.Anthony in Toronto

While this is definitely a good problem to have, I’d hesitate to classify it as an easy decision.  Each of the trio of Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon and Doug Martin represent elite options at their respective positions, and any would be a valuable asset to your squad.  With that said, I’m not sure I necessarily agree with your current plan.

Martin is a phenomenal running back, and I’m already on record as stating I believe he’ll return to the RB1 ranks under new coordinator Jeff Tedford.  Moreover, you can start up to three ball carriers, so they’ll be hard to come by given the deeper nature of your league.  With that said, the running back position carries significantly more turnover on a yearly basis – in fact, only three of the top ten PPR running backs from 2012 replicated that feat in 2013, versus seven of ten receivers.  It’s more likely you’ll find your diamond in ball carrying rough later in the draft than you will with a pass catcher.

Continuing, Johnson and Gordon represent two of fantasy’s three most valuable commodities (along with Bengals’ receiver AJ Green).  Given their respective ages (28 and 22), there’s no reason why they can’t continue their prolific ways for years to come (they finished as the WR1 and WR3 in terms of PPR points per game in 2013).  As you can start up to five receivers, I’d hang onto this productive pair and use your early round selections to tend to your now barren stable of running backs.

3.) In my 12-team PPR/IDP Dynasty League we keep 10 offensive and eight defensive players each year. I have decided on my defensive players but can’t decide on who to keep on offense.  My choices are between Matthew Stafford, Chris Johnson, Shane Vereen, Andre Brown, Christine Michael, Trent Richardson, David Wilson, Bobby Rainey, Demaryius Thomas, Vincent Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Victor Cruz, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyler Eifert and Rob Housler.James in Ireland

If it seems like I’m repeating myself with my mannerisms, it’s because I am.  Keeping up with my typical behavior, I’m like to attack these types of questions working backwards.  In other words, are any of the 16 players you listed obvious drops?

At first glance, I think there are a few – David Wilson, Bobby Rainey and Rob Housler.  Wilson struggled with inconsistency and injury in 2013, and it’s uncertain if he’ll every play again, let alone ascend to the heights which many dynasty owners expected.  The same goes for Housler, who has continued to underwhelm and now finds himself third on the passing pecking order, at best.  Finally, despite a nice end-of-season run, I fully expect Rainey to resume duties as Tampa Bay’s RB3.  None of these players offer the type of upside for which you should be striving.

Next, I’d cross quarterback Matt Stafford off the list.  Though he finished the season as the overall QB4, he showed some major deficiencies down the stretch, failing to accumulate more than 235 passing yards in any of the season’s final four games.  With a reduction in volume rumored, Stafford needs to show greater efficiency – I’d just as soon take my chances in the dispersal draft.

Continuing, at the risk of aggravating his numerous fanboys, I’d cut bait with Seattle ball carrier Christine Michael.  We all know Michael’s story – he’s seemingly talented and explosive, but hasn’t really ever proved it on a consistent basis in college or the NFL due to a combination of injury, attitude and lack of opportunity.  Maybe he’ll be good one day, or maybe he won’t – given what your other players have already proven, why take that risk?

For your final cut, I’d suggest you rid yourself of free agent running back Andre Brown.  While his numbers didn’t jump off the page (just 3.5 yards-per-carry), losing the certainty of his potential workload (19.9 touches per game in 2013) should he return to the Giants is a tough pill to swallow.  With that said, I just can’t advise keeping an injury-prone, 27-year-old running back over your other alternatives.

Those options now include a robust stable of pass catchers, including Demaryius Thomas, Vincent Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Victor Cruz, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins and Tyler Eifert.  I’d suggest you use one (or more) of these players to restock a relatively depleted ball carrying corps, which is currently comprised solely of Chris Johnson, Shane Vereen and Trent Richardson.  Even with this positional disparity, I think this is the best possible collection of talent – you’ll be in good shape for 2014.

4.) In my 12-team, one-quarterback league I own both Robert Griffin III and Nick Foles. Should I try to trade RGIII, and if so what kind of value should I expect?Ray in NJ

In fantasy football, often times perception becomes reality.  For example, consider the tale of Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III – once considered one of the best young quarterbacks in the game, a disastrous season ultimately resulted in a benching, and a subsequent loss in dynasty value.  To that last point, though he was considered a top-five signal caller only a year ago, Griffin has already fallen to the overall QB11 (according to the January ADP data).

It’s truthfully not too surprising.  Following a torn ACL only 13 months ago, Griffin saw his numbers slip across the board.  The following table illustrates that fact:


As can be seen above, RGIII’s efficiency suffered both running and throwing the ball when compared to his sublime rookie campaign.  Though he was able to somewhat mitigate his poor passing by a 37.0% increase in volume, that only resulted in an additional 33 yards per game.  Perhaps more importantly, Griffin’s abilities as a runner were clearly hindered by the injury – in terms of attempts, yards, touchdowns and efficiency he suffered a pronounced slump.  For a dual-threat quarterback, he might as well have been playing from a wheelchair.

The question dynasty owners need to ask themselves is who is the real RGIII?  Is he truly every bit as good as he looked in 2012, or was his passing exposed this past year due to his lack of involvement in the run game?  Personally I’m more inclined to believe it’s the former, but understand that others might be more hesitant.

Therefore I wouldn’t advise you trade the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year just yet.  To me, it’s a near certainty he’ll rebound under new head coach Jay Gruden, who was able to turn the pedestrian Andy Dalton into a fantasy dynamo last year.  With a year to rehab his value, my guess is Griffin will recoup a substantial amount of his worth.

With that said, if you want to make a trade I’d consider moving Eagles’ signal caller Nick Foles.  While I believe Foles is a legit QB1, it’s folly to believe he’s as good as his 2013 13.5:1 touchdown/interception ratio (along with passing and rushing PPA’s of 0.80 and 0.72 respectively) would insinuate.  If you can capitalize on an efficiency that trumped even that of Peyton Manning in order to upgrade another position, that’s the move I’d choose to make.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27

Eric Hardter

Eric Hardter

Senior Writer at Dynasty League Football
Eric is a Boston College chemistry grad school survivor with a minor in dynasty football, as well as the DLF Mailman and Podcast analyst.He prefers to utilize both statistics and sarcasm whenever possible, believes in process over results and thinks "Hot Takes" are the scourge of the fantasy landscape.

You can find his (typically strong and hopefully reasonable) opinions on Twitter at@EDH_27.
Eric Hardter

Latest posts by Eric Hardter (see all)



  1. ChiefsHonk

    February 17, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Friggen David Wilson, that guy better do something this year

    • Eric Hardter

      February 17, 2014 at 7:04 am

      Indeed, haha. Many were burned by this guy…

    • phantasy5

      February 17, 2014 at 11:43 am

      OMG….I so hope he bounces back or I’m screwed! I traded Julio for Wilson & Antonio last season after Julio’s injury in order to stay in the hunt! If Wilson doesn’t come back & come back strong that will haunt me for years!

  2. Kevin

    February 17, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I just had the same situation as Ray in my 16-team league. RG3 got no bites around the league, so I ended up flipping Foles and Bradshaw for Lamar Miller and a 2014 2nd rounder.

    • Eric Hardter

      February 17, 2014 at 7:05 am

      Truthfully I don’t love the deal – in a 16-teamer I’d expect mid-to-high end QB1 like Foles would’ve fetched more than Miller and the pick.

  3. Jeff

    February 17, 2014 at 6:40 am

    There’s way too much uncertainty surrounding Patterson’s usage. He’ll be inconsistent, at best, until he learns to play WR.

    Give me the proven production of those other guys v.s. who knows what with CP, even if it is just as the cost of a 15th rounder.

    Terrible advice.

    • Eric Hardter

      February 17, 2014 at 7:07 am

      I’m sorry you disagree, but many view CP as a 2014 breakout and future perennial WR1. If that indeed winds up being the case, “Joe in NY” will have the luxury of keeping the guy for his entire career, virtually free of cost.

      As an aside, there’s no reason for the “terrible” comment. Rational minds may differ, but we can certainly stay civil.

      • Jeff

        February 17, 2014 at 7:31 am

        Not sure why we suddenly think CP is a WR1. What did he show us last year that we didn’t know about him coming into the NFL?

        • Eric Hardter

          February 17, 2014 at 7:42 am

          I don’t think anyone views him as a WR1 right now, but many think he will turn turn his otherworldly physical traits into that type of production in due time. I think too many are writing the guy off as “too raw” to ever succeed – he’s only had one year in the league, give him a chance.

          More importantly, consider the other options. Percy Harvin would be my next pick, but him becoming a WR1 in Seattle’s run-first offense is certainly no sure thing either. Maybe they cater the offense to him, but maybe they don’t – all I know is Seattle hasn’t had a true WR1 since Carroll took over.

          I’d have no problem selecting Harvin as the last keeper, but I don’t think it’s some sort of slam dunk. Given the cost and the room for growth, I still think CP edges him out here.

        • alden

          February 17, 2014 at 8:56 am

          Patterson is just getting started, and nine touchdowns with the little he did last year shows his potential can be off the charts. Using him as a flex play down the stretch last year really helped win me a championship last year.

          • cityslickers94

            February 17, 2014 at 9:20 am

            and dont forget about the Norv effect. Norv is top 10 all time off coordinator and prob top 5 for fantasy. CP is the choice! Man, i wish i had him but the owner in my league will not trade him.

          • Tonz o Nutz

            February 17, 2014 at 4:07 pm

            Ditto to everything Alden has written. CP helped me take down a 16 team league as my primary flex option. His return skills are electric. IMO he is a larger, yonger, more physical Percy Harvin.

        • phantasy5

          February 17, 2014 at 11:51 am

          I think I agree with the majority here. First, CP has the physical tools that we all look for in a WR1 (size, speed etc.) The other stuff can be fixed like route running, blocking etc. This kid will be something special, write it down! I also tried to get him and nobody is budging off him, that should tell you something right there?

      • sixshooter

        February 17, 2014 at 7:47 am

        Although I agree with your decision Eric, I don’t agree with your criticism of another person simply giving their opinion. You just basically did the same thing not only with Kevin and his trade but with Jeff and his opinion.

        If you are the only one who can sling mud then I guess we have no need to post an opinion!

        I mean really….what is the difference between “I don’t love the deal” and “terrible decision” anyway??? They both are stating the exact same thing based on one’s opinion.

        Again, I agree with both of your answers to the questions but don’t agree with you trying to put words in other’s mouths. If I think it’s “terrible advice” I will also say what I feel just as you did in the previous question when you basically said it was a terrible decision but in a more sarcastic way.

        If you think it was not a wise decision or a good deal or good advice…..then say so! We are civil and should not feel any kind of way about speaking our mind. I think you took that comment a little too personal. It was just an opinion!

        • Eric Hardter

          February 17, 2014 at 7:54 am

          I think there is a difference in the civility of “terrible advice” and “truthfully I don’t love the deal,” but I agree – it’s not worth perpetuating.

          • sixshooter

            February 23, 2014 at 8:28 am

            I hear ya but felt a need to leave my opinion since I have “way too often” posted a comment that is taken much worse by some than it’s intention which I am guessing was the case here. Nothing more…..nothing less!

    • Cy23

      February 17, 2014 at 10:18 am

      I disagree entirely.

      In my league, which includes return yardage, Patterson was #13 from Weeks 8-17. To compare, Keenan Allen was #16. If you go from Weeks 12-17, Patterson was #7, compared to Allen’s #16 and above even Alshon Jeffrey’s #8.

      While weeks 12-17 may be too small of a sample size, I think weeks 8-17 of his rookie year show a WR who can easily become a WR1.

      If you aren’t in a return yardage league, I can see why you might be more suspect. However, the intangibles are all there, he just needs a QB to throw him the ball.

  4. Mike D.

    February 17, 2014 at 6:55 am

    I also have both RG and Foles and I’m keeping both. It will likely be at the expense of Gore, but I’m comfortable with that.

    • Eric Hardter

      February 17, 2014 at 7:08 am

      Not a bad move in my opinion. The SF backfield (with Lattimore) is a quagmire I’m avoiding where I can. It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t produce a top-20 PPR RB next year.

  5. Jesse

    February 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I’m in a 16 team 8 keeper standard league. So far I am keeping Rivers, Zac Stacy, Ryan Matthews, Trent Richardson, Desean Jackson, Josh Gordon, and Jordan Cameron. I have Maquies Goodwin, Levine Toilolo, Mikel Leshoure, and Mike Gillislee to choose from as my 8th keeper. Any thoughts?

    • Jesse

      February 17, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      I forgot to add 1- QB / 2-RB / 2 WR / 1-TE / 1-RB/WR.

      • Jesse

        February 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm

        I also have Jerrel Jerrnigan.

        • Ross

          February 17, 2014 at 8:57 pm

          keep Jerrnigan or Goodwin

  6. jason

    February 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Trade question in a ppr, idp league…

    Trade Nicks, Ihenacho for Blackmon, Wheaton, and DJ Sweanger, with Blackmon’s future up in the air…


    • KCGuzz

      February 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Yes, WAY yes! Blackmon’s upside is just so very high. And I love the fact that you’re getting Wheaton. Lastly, never been a big fan of Nicks, and I think for good reason. Wheaton will start a very steady rise this year, and likely to be one of those guys that emerges in the infamous WR YR3, or 2015. I think his high end is high/mid WR2, and at least a WR3 as a floor. He’s very talented. Because of his injury and rookie status last year, he is already falling through the cracks in some circles as a guy that “didn’t make it”. Too many dynasty owners do not employ enough patience with their young talent. Agan- YES!

  7. Ray

    February 17, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I don’t think i want to trade foles, and i think i could hold on to both him and griffin and if they both prove themselves maybe i could get a lot more than i could now.

  8. Jay

    February 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Trade advice should I trade Calvin for Keenan Allen rg3 and montee ball

    • BC

      February 17, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Really tough to say in a vacuum. Scoring, league size and team composition I think would play a major role. Calvin is obviously a monster, but I like the Allen, RG3 and Ball side the trade personally. Mostly because I’m a believer in Allen. I think your trading a WR1 for a WR1 plus some. Keep in mind though that it is quite possible we see another seven seasons from Calvin. I don’t think your getting the best player in this trade.

      I think a key question is do you think the real RG3 is of the 2012 or 2013 variety? If, of the 2013, then you probably don’t do this trade.

  9. OleCows

    February 20, 2014 at 5:15 am

    PPR. Start 1RB/1WR/2flex. 18 players. 12 teams.

    I have been offered Zac Stacy for Cecil Shorts+my 1.02 rookie pick.

    Need RB more than WR.

    Tempted to take the offer, but have the following worries:
    – Sophomore slump – Cunningham/Pead/D-Rich -a healthy Bradford -STL throwing more?
    – The guy who offers won last year after pulling off 4-5 trades like this!

    Thoughts anyone?

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