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The DLF Mailbag

Tate

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 wondering your thoughts on a deal I was considering where I give up Jeremy Maclin, Darren McFadden and pick 1.12 for Ben Tate. I really want another young starting back like Tate, especially behind that Cleveland O-Line.Matt in CA

Popularly viewed as the top running back on the free agent market, former Texan Ben Tate ultimately wound up settling for a two-year, incentive-laden deal with the Cleveland Browns.  Given his propensity for getting injured, it’s truthfully no surprise that up to $1.5 million of Tate’s salary comes in the form of per-game bonuses, with only a miniscule $2.5 million in guaranteed money.  With eight games missed over the past three years, not including a leg injury that wiped out his entire rookie season, this fear of missed time is obviously warranted.

The operative point of this contractual analysis is that Cleveland is certainly wary of Tate’s ability to remain on the field, and you should be, too.  It’s tough to argue that Tate’s situation is undoubtedly better than it was last year, and with a career yards-per-carry average of 4.7 he’s proven to be a dynamic ball carrier when healthy.  However, given the risk you’d be assuming, I’d think twice before viewing Tate as your long-term answer at the RB2 position.

With that said, it’s not as if your potential trade involves giving up any foundation players.  In my opinion, the window to sell Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin has never been more wide open, as he’ll be expected to shoulder more of the load in Philly’s explosive offense following the release of DeSean Jackson.  These expectations easily trump a career’s worth of work that has yet to yield a 1,000-yard season.  In fact, barring a 2010 campaign where Maclin scored at an aberrational pace (14.3% of his receptions were touchdowns versus a 8.6% rate for the rest of his career), he’s never broken the 200-point barrier in PPR leagues – is that suddenly going to change?

Raiders running back Darren McFadden is even more of an enigma, as he has followed a true breakout 2010 season with three injury-marred, inefficient campaigns.  Now fighting Maurice Jones-Drew for snaps on a poor Oakland offense, it looks like we’ll be waiting another year for Run-DMC to bounce back.  Add in the lottery ticket that is your late first round selection and it’s possible the unpredictability of your side of the deal somehow trumps his!

Therefore I like the trade for you.  You’re not only getting the best player involved in Tate, but you’re doing so by virtue of cashing in on three questionable entities in Maclin, McFadden and the pick.  If Tate manages to stay healthy for the majority of the season, your starting lineup will be decisively stronger than before.

2.) In my 12-team PPR league I am looking to upgrade my receiver position by offering T.Y. Hilton, a running back (either Montee Ball, Joique Bell, Stevan Ridley or Ben Tate), and a draft pick (either 1.05 or 2.05). What would be a fair return for such a trade offer?  Could such a trade net a top 5-10 receiver?Chris in MA

One of the predominant paradigm shifts in dynasty football is the current movement towards building around young, elite receivers.  With the dwindling volume of true workhorse running backs, along with the disparity in longevity between the two positions, it’s not wholly unsurprising.  As a byproduct of this, it’s not uncommon for the first round of a dynasty startup to be comprised primarily of pass catchers.

Because of this, acquiring one of fantasy’s top receivers can be akin to squeezing water from a stone.  As I mentioned in last week’s Mailbag, if you’re unwilling to match a stud for a stud, you better make sure your pocket coins add up to more than a dollar.  So let me put on my smock and play “Dynasty Cashier” for a moment to see if your strongest offer can accomplish just that:

TY Hilton, WR IND – Generally ranked on the low end of the WR2 spectrum, Hilton will likely enter 2014 as quarterback Andrew Luck’s favorite target.  However, his weekly inconsistencies and lack of size likely mean a jump to the next tier will prove challenging.  I’d valuate him at 30 cents.

Montee Ball, RB DEN – One of the off-season’s true risers, Ball seemingly lacks resistance for RB1 services in Denver’s high-powered offense.  With that said, questions remain as to how he’ll perform once Peyton Manning hangs ‘em up.  As such, I believe he’s worth 35 cents.

Rookie Pick 1.05 – Truly worth whatever someone will pay for it, a mid-first round pick should reach its peak value when you’re on the clock.  As it’s not likely to yield a player such as Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans, I believe it’s worth 25 cents.

All told, in my estimation you have 90 cents worth of value relative to the dollar that one of the “Big Six” receivers is worth – I believe you can safely remove them from trade consideration.  However, the next tier of Alshon Jeffery, Keenan Allen and Randall Cobb could be attainable.  I’d focus my efforts there and hope your prospective trade partner has been hunting for some spare change.

3.) I have asked this on the forums and the answers seem to be split down the middle. In a 10-team PPR league, would you trade Rob Gronkowski and pick 2.05 for TY Hilton and pick 1.01?  My other receivers are Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery, Kendall Wright, Percy Harvin, Justin Blackmon, and DeAndre Hopkins.  My other tight ends are Jordan Cameron, Dennis Pitta and Ladarius Green. We can start 2-3 receivers and 1-2 tight ends.Alex in WA

Previously regarded as the number-one tight end asset in the game, a perpetually hobbled Rob Gronkowski has fallen well behind Jimmy Graham as the perceived top positional mismatch.  According to the March ADP data, Graham checks in over a full round ahead of Gronk, belying the fact that on a per-game basis the New England behemoth has been the superior option over the course of their respective careers.  Unfortunately for Gronkowski, a myriad of injuries has caused his relative fall from grace, culminating in a season-ending ACL tear suffered in a week 15 clash with the Cleveland Browns.

Prior to that game, however, the young tight end was reminding us all of how good he truly was.  Despite not functioning as a full-time player, Gronkowski’s per-game averages in 2013 stood at a robust 6.2 receptions for 93.3 yards and 0.7 touchdowns, good for a line of 19.5 PPR points per game.  Given the leaps and bounds we’ve seen in ACL recoveries, this remains the upside that Gronkowski possesses.

Considering the above, as well as the combination of your roster and lineup requirements, I’d choose to stand pat.  You have the game’s biggest difference maker at tight end, so any other player not named Graham represents a massive downgrade.  Neither Hilton nor Watkins appear likely to crack your starting lineup, so by virtue of accepting this trade you’d essentially be giving up points on a weekly basis.  I’d much rather attempt to sell Jordan Cameron or Ladarius Green if you’re interested in accruing another pick, as trading from your depth represents the much safer option in terms of roster balance.

4.) My 12-man, non-PPR keeper league has a $200 FA auction budget and keeper prices deduct from the available funds. Keeper salaries escalate $5 per season, and teams can select up to four keepers. My keeper candidates are Russell Wilson ($18 for 2014 season), Philip Rivers ($6), DeSean Jackson ($16), Jarrett Boykin ($7), Zac Stacy ($6), Doug Martin ($23), and Rashad Jennings ($7). I initially thought I’d keep Wilson, Jackson, Stacy and Martin, but with Jackson in DC I’m not sure if he’ll produce to that price point. I’m also unsure of Martin’s ability to bounce back in TB, and whether it’d be more cost effective to keep Rivers over Wilson. What would you do? Josh in NY

Given the available players, as well as their respective price points, I think we can immediately rule out both Rashad Jennings and Jarrett Boykin, rendering this as a simple case of five guys for four spots.  As there’s really no reason to keep two quarterbacks, this further devolves into a Russell Wilson versus Philip Rivers debate.  Before I get into that, however, allow me to briefly touch upon your other questions.

First and foremost, I have zero concern with regards to Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin.  His rehab is essentially through and head coach Lovie Smith has all but anointed him the bell-cow starter.  Given coordinator Jeff Tedford’s track record of success as it pertains to ball carriers, I’d have no qualms using 11.5% of your budge for a top-tier back.  Rounding out your starting running backs with the $6 bargain that is Zac Stacy, and you’re in great shape at arguably the most important position in a non-PPR setting.

As for DeSean Jackson, though he left the stat-friendly Philadelphia offense for NFC East rival Washington, there remain reasons for optimism.  Combining Jay Gruden’s pass-happy preference with a likely improving Robert Griffin III, Jackson could very well replicate his sublime 2013 efficiency while likely increasing upon the lowly 126 targets he received.  His big play tendencies also better align with your non-PPR setting, and I think he remains a solid deal at only 8% of your budget.

As for your quarterback situation, I’ve long espoused the virtues of San Diego’s Philip Rivers.  To keep it short and sweet, he’s a 31-year old signal caller who has been unfairly tarnished for one bad season in 2012.  At a mere $6, I’d much rather have him than Seattle’s Russell Wilson, even despite their difference in age – this will free up an additional 6% of your budget to be spent elsewhere, giving you additional ammunition for the metaphorical war your auction will undoubtedly turn out to be.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27

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Eric Hardter
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ManuManu
7 years ago

I would take Maclin, Run DMC and the first-round pick for Tate in a heartbeat. I think the blogger is looking at this backward and giving Tate too much of the benefit of the doubt. To me, he got a questionable entity for three upside pieces.

And sure, Tate is the most valuable piece in this trade right now, but he hasn’t proven to be any more healthy than McFadden. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of the season Tate is the least valuable piece in this deal. One more injury riddled season and he is worthless.

Adam Franssen
Reply to  ManuManu
7 years ago

I tend to agree with Manu. What’s nice is that this is the type of trade that happens – one where both parties feel like they won big.

Eric Hardter
Reply to  ManuManu
7 years ago

Your scenario is certainly plausible, and it’s clearly a matter of personal preference. For me, I’m just not a huge fan of Maclin or DMC. WRT Maclin, I don’t think I’ve really ever seen a guy get such a free pass in the fantasy community, despite posting disappointing numbers relative to his draft status. Oakland is a situation I’m avoiding altogether, and though perhaps the 1.11 will yield a future stud, those are 50/50 odds at best. Gun to my head, if I had to guess which of the players in that deal will have the best fantasy season I’d go with Tate.

ManuManu
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

With this deal, I don’t think it’s just about who got the best player. If I had to rank the parts in this deal, I guess I’d go Tate>Maclin>1.10>Run DMC. So while Tate might be the best piece to the deal, particularly for this year, I don’t see how Tate is actually worth all three of those pieces combined.

I’m not a DMC supporter, far from it. I’d have a hard time giving up a second-round rookie pick for him, but I believe he is more talented than Tate, another injury prone player.

Maclin is similar to Tate in that it’s put up or shut up time. He’s the clear-cut No. 1 WR in Philly now, and I expect him to have a very nice season, flirting with solid WR2 production.

As for the 1.10, in this draft I think it’s a pretty darned good WR prospect or even a running back just as talented as Tate, to be honest.

So to me, it’s not about who got the best piece for 2014, it’s about the risk-reward of the deal, and there’s no way I’d give up three upside players for Tate, a guy who had to settle for far less money than Donald Brown and Toby Gerhart on the open market, who hasn’t proven he can stay healthy, who isn’t in an elite offense and if all things break perfectly for him he’s a solid RB2. Just looks like way too much to pay for a guy like that.

Eric Hardter
Reply to  ManuManu
7 years ago

I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective. When I see Maclin, DMC and the pick I see a pair of constantly dinged-up bench-caliber players (Maclin has secretly only completed one fully healthy season) and a lottery ticket. With Tate, I see a guy who’s ready to be inserted into my starting lineup – as a rule of thumb, as long as it’s within reason I’ll ALWAYS trade depth in order to improve my starters.

Clearly we disagree with the value of the respective pieces in the deal, and that’s fine. If we all thought the same thing dynasty would be extremely boring! Regardless, it makes for good conversation, and I always appreciate another owner’s rational insight.

MarkinMI
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

I agree with Manu here as well. I’d be willing to bet that at least one of those pieces (DMC, Maclin, 1.11) will end up having equal or greater long term value than Tate. Every piece in this deal has a degree of risk to it but the side with 3 chances at value carries less risk than the side with 1 imo. Honestly either player with the first round should have probably been enough

BigD
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

I agree with eric to a point. the old saying “one in the hand is better then 2 in the bush”, so to speak?….but….I would have no problem pulling the trigger if it was a little more safer trade with a more proven rb over tate. tate has proved nothing…when healthy dmc has enough talent to be a top 10 rb if, and I mean if he stays on the field. that’s a chance i’m willing to keep all day long. we have an idea that tate maybe the starter, but with mjds age and injury history, he maybe a compliment back and be on the field with dmc at the same time. I could see both moving around from the rb to slot position on various sets at the same time. it would be maddening for a defense to focus on stopping just one of them???? maclin is in just too much of a high power offense to give up on him till I see how he produces. as tempting as it would be to pull the trigg, id have to keep dmc and see………..?

sixshooter67
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

I would take this deal in my league simply because Tate would likely be a spot start at the minimum and I don’t believe Maclin and DMC would ever see a spot in my starting lineup unless I had some major injuries. Maclin would have a chance but not much of one with DeMaryius Thomas, Alshon Jefferey and Antonio Brown as my big 3 at WR!

Not sure I would do the deal though until after the draft to see if Cleveland drafts an RB.

I have always avoided Raiders altogether as I can’t stand the NFL team and hate them in fantasy land worse……LOL!

7 years ago

Thanks for the response on my question, Eric! I forgot about the change in coordinators in DC, that’s definitely a factor.

Eric Hardter
Reply to  Josh in NY
7 years ago

Anytime Josh!

sixshooter
7 years ago

No way I make that trade for Tate…..especially before the draft! Not a chance! I am not, and have never been, a fan of DMC but Tate comes with just as much injury risk and a lot more to prove! I will take two injury risks versus one to go along with a chance at another then going with a guy like Tate who may be competing with one of those “lottery tickets” for a starting job!!!

sean mcguigan
Reply to  sixshooter
7 years ago

I agree with this… Way to much fot tate i think the pick itself just about right value wise

Eric Hardter
Reply to  sean mcguigan
7 years ago

Thanks guys. It appears I’m in the minority on this one, so perhaps I’m just high on Tate. FWIW, according to the ADP data he’s being drafted 2+ rounds ahead of Maclin/DMC & even more ahead of the 12th best rookie. The ADP data isn’t always accurate and doesn’t represent trade scenarios perfectly, but it’s a good data point to have.

Tater House Rules
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

I’m with you Eric. Tate was promised a lead back role, and that’s what he’ll get while DMC gets to split carries. The injury proneness cancels eachother out. Maclin is a nice scale tipper, but you know the Eagles will draft a WR early. And like you said 1.12 is a coin toss.

Tate will roll this year behind that line. What will really put him over the top is a quality QB to pair with him.

sixshooter67
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

Actually Eric, at first glance I didn’t like it but when I looked at it from my teams perspective, I think I would actually consider it depending on what happens during the draft so you are not way out in left field. It just depends on situation as my team truly proves in my opinion! I would gain a roster spot or two for a prospect and better my team at RB without losing much at all!

sixshooter67
Reply to  sixshooter67
7 years ago

I posted above on how this deal would potentially make my team better in case you are curious why I think the deal could better my team.

B
Reply to  sixshooter
7 years ago

I agree, I probably won’t like the trade after the draft either but I would at least wait to see the RB situation in Cleveland. Another thing not mentioned is that Maclin will be playing with Foles in a very productive offense, much better position than previous years. Coming back from a knee injury is always a concern but I don’t like selling him low at this point. Philly will most likely be drafting a WR so value could change a little but not nearly as much as RB. Too much to give up IMO.

Bobby Richardson
7 years ago

I’m in a 14 team non PPR Dynasty league..I’ve been offered D.Bress, Gronk, and A Branch (DL-JAX) for Big Ben, J Graham, and JJ Watt..is this a smart move on my part? I know I’m weak at RB but having Bress isnt a bad move also with Kaep as a backup..

my roster is

QB – Kaep/Big Ben/ EJ Manuel
RB – D.Murray/CJ2k/Gore/D Wilson/J Randle
WR – AJ Green/D Thomas/T Austin/ D Moore
TE – J Graham/Z Ertz
DL – JJ Watt/Dunlap/Mario Williams/McCoy
LB – Laurinatis/Wagner/Mayo/Arthur Brown
DB – Burnett/ Cyprien/Vaccaro/Sherman/Trufant/J McCourty

Eric Hardter
Reply to  Bobby Richardson
7 years ago

I’d rather just stand pat. QB is a little more valuable in a 14-teamer, but I believe Kaep will bounce back by virtue of having Crabtree present. Graham is a slight upgrade on Gronk, but losing Watt is a deal breaker for me.

Bobby Richardson
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

Thanks Eric Hardter….

Alex
7 years ago

Thanks Eric for the response to my question as well. I had been on the fence leaning yes than no. Hearing both sides has been good seeing the pros and cons of the deal from other people. Great insight. I was leaning more to hold in the end after input I had received and with your response it confirmed my gut feeling. Thanks again!

Eric Hardter
Reply to  Alex
7 years ago

Anytime Alex, glad to hear it!

nicholas nappo
7 years ago

My 1.02 and Trich for:
His 1.08, 2.08 and CJ Spiller?
Thoughts??

Eric Hardter
Reply to  nicholas nappo
7 years ago

If you need RB help I have no problem with this.

nicholas nappo
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

These are my RBs
Rice, Ray
Pierce, Bernard
Richardson, Trent
Ballard, Vick
Ivory, Chris
Mathews, Ryan
Miller, Lamar
Todman, Jordan
Anderson, C.J.
Asiata, Matt
Brown, Bryce

And WRs:
Allen, Keenan
Hopkins, DeAndre
Jernigan, Jerrel
Jones, Marvin
Nicks, Hakeem
Shorts, Cecil
Smith, Torrey
Streater, Rod

I would like Evans at 2 but don’t know would I would target at 8
Any help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks

Eric Hardter
Reply to  nicholas nappo
7 years ago

I’d do the deal – there will still be quality pass-catching talent there at 1.08.

nicholas nappo
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

Should I take B.Marsh instead of Spiller??

Hauner
7 years ago

Need your thoughts:

Give up:
Ben Tate
Andrew Luck
Riley Cooper
2014 Pick 2.05

Receive:
Keenan Allen
Phillip Rivers
Christine Michael
2014 Pick 2.10

I have also have Rodgers at QB & good depth at RB (Forte, Matthews) and currently have Cobb, DJax, Crabtree, & K. Wright at WR. Start 1-3 RB & 3-5 WR. 12 Team PPR.

Thoughts?

Eric Hardter
Reply to  Hauner
7 years ago

Easy accept!

hauner
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

Thanks Eric.

Different league…. 10 team 2-QB Standard

Give up:
2014 Pick 1.3
2014 Pick 1.7
2015 1st Rounder
Trent Richardson
Rueben Randle

Receive:
2014 Pick 1.10
Dree Brees
Julio Jones

I believe this is a no-brainer, but am I going to get arrested for theft??

The other team is in re-build mode and I am stacked. Won league last 4 years.

Current Roster:
QB: Newton, Rivers, Cousins
RB:McCoy, Forte, Spiller, Richardson, C. Michael, Vereen
WR: D. Thomas, A. Brown, Allen, Patterson, Cooper, Randle, D. Rogers, Bowe
TE: Gronkowski, V. Davis, Bostick
K: Prater, Henry
DEF: Denver, Pitt, Philly

Can you say 5-peat?

Eric Hardter
Reply to  hauner
7 years ago

Easy accept. Brees and Julio alone are worth well more than the package – the fact you get the pick back as well is icing on the cake.

Will
7 years ago

Hey Eric,

12 team .5 PPR league with TE at 1 PPR
Start 2 RBs, 2 WRs, no flex
Other owner is seriously considering

Offering Jordy Nelson
Victor Cruz
Shane Vereen
Rashad Jennings
David Wilson
2014 1.11
2015 1(?)

Asking Demaryius Thomas
Randall Cobb
A.P.
Zach Ertz
2014 4.12

Eric Hardter
Reply to  Will
7 years ago

Love it. You’re getting the two best pieces in the deal (DT & Cobb) as well as Peterson, who should flourish in Turner’s offense, and Ertz.

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