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The DLF Mailbag

Bernard

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 am in a 12-team league where quarterbacks are favored and people tend to start three (two required and one superflex position).  This spring will be our first rookie draft.  I have the 1.03, 1.12, 2.01, and 2.03 rookie picks and have a need at every position.  Should I consider a quarterback at 1.03 or wait until later?Adam in MN

When it comes to rookie drafts, many dynasty owners tend to adopt a strategy predicated around securing the top talent, regardless of position.  The operative theory is that better players will ultimately be worth more and shrewd drafting should potentially afford an enviable collection of assets.  Subsequent navigation through the trade market can then eventually mitigate the necessity of filling out any roster holes that may remain.

With that said, given the extreme scope of your league specifications, I don’t see any way you can ignore positional requirements.  Two-quarterback leagues already place an emphasis on obtaining as many high-quality signal callers as possible, so the fact you can start a third turns these relative positional valuations upside down.  Simply put, there are multiple reasons dictating that if you have a chance to obtain a starter under center, you have to take it.

Firstly, given the size of your league it’s already pre-determined by simple mathematics that only two-thirds of the teams will have the luxury of being able to start three quarterbacks.  When the bye weeks begin, this number will drop off even further.  Given a signal caller’s weekly usage, starting three each week should provide a higher “floor” for your team relative to others lacking such an ability.

Another downstream effect of this positional bias will manifest itself in the trade market.  In a classic case of supply and demand, teams lacking stability at the position will be significantly more willing to pay an amount above market value.  If the quarterback you select at pick 1.03 opens the season as a starter, his worth will skyrocket.

Finally, the simple fact remains that if you don’t select one of Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel or Derek Carr with your first pick, you will not have a chance when your next selection (1.12) rolls around.  However, this means that players who wouldn’t otherwise fall (i.e. Allen Robinson, Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham, Jr. etc) could very well be there.  This provides you with the potentiality of obtaining a tier-one signal caller as well as an elite skill position player.  Though thinking outside the box can have its virtues, for the reasons above I it makes sense to swim with the tide here.

2.) Two Mailbags ago you answered my question about trading Jamaal Charles and others for Gio Bernard. Against your advice I ended up doing the trade of Charles, Knile Davis and Mike Wallace for Bernard, Justin Blackmon, Brian Hartline and the fourth pick in our devy draft. I am now trying to flip Bernard and Kiko Alonso for LeSean McCoy and Bobby Wagner. I know IDP is hard to judge since the scoring varies so much, so we will just say it’s a slight downgrade at linebacker for me. Is this really a no-brainer, even with the reports that Bernard is now the starter and should get 300 touches?JBFootball in TX

The reason I love writing the Mailbag is because of questions like this.  When I answer a question I give you my promise that I’ll sift through the data, consider the big picture and possible outcomes and provide the best advice I can.  However, every owner should always trust his or her gut – I’m merely providing one data point in a set of many, and don’t intend to be viewed as the judge, jury and fantasy trade executioner.

Preamble aside, let’s look at the trade at hand.  While I like Jamaal Charles more, I am a fan of Bengals running back Gio Bernard as well.  Though his rookie season may have been overshadowed by those of fellow freshmen Eddie Lacy and Le’Veon Bell, Bernard did in fact show a propensity to do more with less.

However, extrapolating statistics obtained with a relatively small workload can be dangerous.  It’s true that Bernard handled the rock 226 times as a rookie, and 300 total touches might not seem like a huge bump – in reality, it’s a 32.7% increase in volume, with an average of an additional 4.6 weekly touches.  While Bernard has proven the ability to shoulder the load in college, translating those ACC numbers to the professional game is fuzzy math at its finest, and we’ve only seen him exceed 20 touches in an NFL format twice.

So, for the second time in as many questions, I’m going to advise you away from the Bernard side of the deal.  He has an unquestionably bright future, but the opportunity to acquire a stud like Eagles ball carrier LeSean McCoy is too good to pass up.  I’d make the deal.

3.) I’m in a 12-team PPR league with three rookie draft picks per year. My team is fairly strong at running back and very strong at receiver. This week I was offered a trade of Joique Bell for T.Y. Hilton. I hate to give Hilton up but I really like the idea of having the PPR-happy Bell. I figure 2015 and 2016 will be rebuilding years anyway, so should I jump on this trade or go with what I have?Bill in MO

I’m a big Joique Bell fan.  I remember when he parlayed a part-time role behind the seemingly long-forgotten Mike Leshoure (134 touches) in 2012 into a finish as the PPR RB23.  While the rest of the fantasy world was celebrating the 2013 signing of Reggie Bush, I was privately musing what could have been for the ostensibly bypassed Bell.

Fast-forward a year and once again Bell has exceeded expectations yet again, concluding the season as the PPR RB14.  This time, however, Detroit took notice, rewarding the erstwhile backup with a contract containing  $4.3 million guaranteed.  Not only does that ensure Bell’s place in the backfield timeshare hierarchy, it actually surpassed the value of guaranteed money Bush received only a year prior.

Ironically though, therein could lie the potential pitfall.  Bell is now being bandied about as the early-down workhorse, with Bush functioning as more of a complementary receiving back.  In this scenario the increased volume is a boon for Bell, but he truly made his hay by way the 52.5 receptions he’s averaged over the past two seasons.  Ceding that work to Bush could potentially offset the increased touches.

Given that, along with your designs of rebuilding, I’d rather just stand pat.  In just his sophomore season, Colts receiver TY Hilton turned in a 1,000-yard campaign en route to finishing the season as the PPR WR19.  His ascension appears to be mirroring that of Bell, but given his age (24 versus 27 for Bell) and the longevity of pass catchers, I don’t think this trade makes sense for you.

4.) What are the pros and cons of receivers Rueben Randle and DeAndre Hopkins?  I have an offer of giving Randle, 2014 pick 3.03 and 2015 2nd/4th rounders for Hopkins. I have plenty of draft picks so trading some isn’t a problem.Rich in OH

When I consider the 2013 season of Giants receiver Rueben Randle, the “chicken or the egg” idiom immediately comes to mind.  With 41 receptions for 611 yards and six touchdowns, Randle undoubtedly disappointed owners counting on a breakout sophomore campaign.  With that said, was that solely due to Randle’s skills and opportunity, or more a byproduct of a dysfunctional New York offense?

For my money, I’m going to hedge my bets and say “both.”  Sure, quarterback Eli Manning had a horrific season, with 27 interception to just 18 touchdowns – however, his completions, yards and completion percentage didn’t represent a huge departure from 2012.  This is certainly relevant, as during that season a rookie Randle achieved significantly higher values in terms of yards per target (9.3 versus 7.6) and points per target (2.09 versus 1.73).  Perhaps this was due to sample size, but it could be a harbinger of broken dreams.

Conversely, 2013 freshman DeAndre Hopkins has nearly equaled Randle’s career totals in terms of receptions and receiving yards in just one short year.  He also did this despite catching passes from the “dynamic duo” of Matt Schaub and Case Keenum.  Yes, Houston will be breaking in a new coach and quarterback and, no, superstar Andre Johnson isn’t going away, but Hopkins’ value is clearly on the upswing.

As such this is a no-brainer to me.  Not only do you have the extra picks to throw around, they’re all of the “lottery ticket” variety (second round or later).  I’m not saying Randle can’t bounce back, especially given his depth chart ascension, but right now it’s tough to argue against the young Texan.

And now for a quick lightning round…

5.)  What will give me more value:  Knowshon Moreno (I have Marshawn Lynch and Ben Tate) or a mid-first round rookie pick?Ray in NJ

I’m a huge Knowshon Moreno advocate.  Outside of being re-signed by Denver, I view Miami as potentially his best chance at fantasy success.  The Dolphins offense appears to be on the upswing, both with the addition of offensive line help (Brandon Albert) and the coaching upheaval.  I can easily see Moreno sequestering 60% of the backfield work, along with third-down duties, leading to a finish as a PPR RB2.  But if that’s the upside, I’ll take the pick.

6.)  I’m looking for value in a Jamaal Charles trade. I am interested in Montee Ball to secure the Broncos running back position and enhance youth on my team.  I know that I can win now with my current players, but Charles will never be at a higher value in my opinion.Bill in CA

In my opinion, you said it all with the following phrase:  “ I know I can win now with my current players.”  Yes, we all want to compete every year with a seemingly indefatigable corps of young studs, but in most shark leagues that’s just not possible.  Montee Ball’s situation looks good on paper, but so did David Wilson’s and Lamar Miller’s last year.  For my money Charles is the top dynasty running back in the game – enjoy the prosperity while you can, along with the fruits of his metaphorical labor.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27

Eric Hardter
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JBFootball
7 years ago

Thanks for answering the follow up question, I’m sure you have a lot of questions to go over every week so I appreciate you answering mine.

I’ve actually had quite a few questions answered and while I don’t always go with the advise, it’s a great way to get an extra set of eyes on something and maybe get an interpretation that is different from your own. I went against your advise last time but I agree with you on this one. With my love of the Eagles, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing something fan-based which I am guilty of doing from time to time.

JBFootball
Reply to  JBFootball
7 years ago

I just read that the Eagles tried to trade for CJ Spiller this offseason before picking up Sproles. Is this any indication that they plan on going to a committee approach and taking away McCoy’s receiving duties? Sounds like a ridiculous thought but what does it mean when they are going after these RB’s the way that they have?

Eric Hardter
Reply to  JBFootball
7 years ago

I think it’s just a case of a creative offensive mind trying to get as much skill on the field as possible. I’m not going to worry about McCoy’s receptions dropping until it actually happens.

Slick
Reply to  Eric Hardter
7 years ago

Hi Eric,

I see April ADP is out. How long before we get the articles that go with that…trends…value..over and under..etc..

Yes, we have come to expect it.

Thx

Eric Hardter
Reply to  Slick
7 years ago

Hey Slick-

Ryan McDowell general details such things in his Stock Market articles. Is there anything additional you wanted evaluated?

Slick
Reply to  Slick
7 years ago

nope. that will do.
looking forward to it.
i assume this week or next???

Eric Hardter
Reply to  Slick
7 years ago

I’m honestly not sure – we have a lot of big things on the horizon though!

Bill from Cali
7 years ago

Thanks so much Eric for your response to the Jamaal Charles trade value question. Of course you are right to suggest that I go ahead with my current team to win now. But just hypothetically speaking, what kind of draft picks/players do you think JC is worth? Anybody?

Eric Hardter
Reply to  Bill from Cali
7 years ago

As a pretty firm rule I won’t ever trade studs solely for draft picks – you need to get at least SOME proven talent in return. If you were looking to get younger I’d need something like Eddie Lacy + and early 1st in order to move JC. Given his usage, passing game chops & ability to score, he’s one of the top mismatches in the game.

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