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
- 2021 NFL Draft Aftermath: Winners and Losers from the NFC North - May 27, 2021
- 2021 NFL Draft Aftermath: Winners and Losers from the NFC South - May 22, 2021
- 2021 NFL Draft Aftermath: Winners and Losers from the NFC East - May 18, 2021