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. We are entering the second season of a 16-team PPR league. I got bumped in the semis last year, and after picking up LeSean McCoy in a big trade I’m feeling solid. I have been talking to another owner about the following offer even before the McCoy deal and wanted to see if you think I should still be pushing for it. I would be giving up Ryan Matthews, Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and Michael Crabtree for Doug Martin, Bryce Brown and Roddy White. He has no starting running back other then Martin and no first round pick. I also have no picks at all this year but have Le’Veon Bell in addition to McCoy, as well as Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Cecil Shorts to pair with White. We start two running backs, two receivers and a FLEX. – Jesse in CA
To me, there are two very important numbers when considering this trade: 382.1 and 146.9 – these represent the respective point totals of Jamaal Charles and Trent Richardson, who finished as the PPR RB1 and RB32 following the conclusion of the 2013 season. So despite this inequity, given your league’s requirements, both of these players could be considered starting caliber.
With the addition of a FLEX position, in theory there could have been 48 ball carriers residing in starting lineups in any given week. Moving down the list once again sees Daniel Thomas as the PPR RB48, a player who finished the season with a mere 97.9 fantasy points. Once again, as far-fetched as it may seem, there’s a more than negligible likelihood that Thomas saw metaphorical playing time last season.
The wide receiver position is much more closely packed, with a relatively meager 174.8 points separating the PPR WR1 (Demaryius Thomas) and the PPR WR48 (DeAndre Hopkins). Therefore the long and short of it is in a deeper league setting with multiple starting running back slots, ball carriers become significantly more valuable. As such, I love the trade for you.
You’re getting the best player in the deal (Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin), who only a short year ago was the PPR RB2. Bryce Brown is simply bench depth, but Falcons receiver Roddy White is primed for a bounce-back season. If he even approaches the way he concluded the last five weeks of the 2013 season (average line of 8.6/100.4/0.4) he could very well outscore the best piece in your side of the deal, 49ers pass catcher Michael Crabtree.
Losing the trio of Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and Ryan Mathews does little to faze me – none of them would be starting for you in your new lineup anyhow. With a weekly starting roster containing White (or DeSean Jackson), Martin, Alshon Jeffery, Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy, you could very well be starting a combination of five RB1/WR1 level players. With that lineup, I could see you making it a lot further than the semis in 2014.
2. In my 10-team non-PPR league, I need to cut three players by August. The players I would consider dropping are Ryan Mallett, Edwin Baker, Mike James, Andre Brown, Brandon Bolden and Kendall Wright. I have Matt Ryan at quarterback and am extremely strong at receiver. My weakest position is running back. – Dennis in FL
First things first, one of these things is not like the others. Titans receiver Kendall Wright improved across the board in 2013, positing a 1,000-yard season as a sophomore. No, he doesn’t score much and yes he’s better in a PPR setting, but his upside and productivity dwarves that of any other player you’ve listed. In the words of Kenny Rogers, “you got to know when to hold ‘em.”
The two easiest cuts for me are Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett and Browns backup running back Edwin Baker. Perhaps one day Mallett will emerge as a legitimate fantasy option, but it’s not as if teams have been beating down the door to acquire him via trade – in a ten-man league he’s hardly roster-worthy. Similarly, Baker had a decent end-of-year run with Cleveland, but is now stuck behind Ben Tate in the pecking order and could be fighting with Dion Lewis, Chris Ogbonnaya and perhaps even a rookie. His upside is miniscule.
Conversely, I like the skills that Tampa backup Mike James flashed in his brief run before breaking his leg. I know it seems contradictory that I’d advocate James over Baker, given their similar likelihoods of 2014 viability – however, I believe that of the two, James could eventually thrive in a new locale. I’d also want to hang onto Andre Brown, as I remain a non-believer of the Arian Foster revival tour.
This leaves Brandon Bolden as your last cut – I believe he’s a skilled player, but is no higher than third on the New England running back depth chart. Even if he were to see time, history has shown it would likely be more in a complementary role than that of a true bell-cow. Though the whims of Bill Belichick remain fickle, I think you could do better at the end of your bench.
3. Going into a rookie draft of my superflex/2TE league, should I grab the best player available (value) or do I take what is the best available for my team (position)? I am loaded at receiver, and with this draft pool being deep there I’m wondering what I should do. Do I trade picks now, do I grab the players that would help my team out like running back or tight end, or do I just take a receiver and look to trade him later? – Brock in IL
When it comes to rookie drafts, my general rule of thumb is to select talent over need. In my opinion, reaching for players based on position in a pool of relatively inferior talent (rookie drafts versus startup drafts) is a good way to miss out on the best players available. With that said, when it comes to a “niche” league such as your own, this could dramatically turn the tides.
Given the superflex/2TE nature of your league, a greater emphasis will be inherently placed upon both the quarterback and tight end positions. As such, the need at each will always be relatively greater than at other positions, likely leading to a paradigm shift in your rookie drafts. In these cases drafting solely for talent can hinder your team-building efforts, as even a potentially elite receiver such as Sammy Watkins likely won’t reach the value level of a top signal caller or tight end.
Ultimately though, if you don’t like the talent available to you at your pick then trading might be the best option. With that said, unless you receive a great offer now I’d hold out until you’re on the clock – your selection will never be more valuable than when the other owners are fighting over whichever rookies remain. This is the best way to maximize the worth of your pick, and is favorable to drafting a player you don’t need, and one who might not ever become as valuable as you’d like.
4. My 12-team PPR league has a three-round rookie draft. My team is very strong at receiver with Brandon Marshall, Antonio Brown, TY Hilton, Michael Floyd, Markus Wheaton, Robert Woods and Rod Streater. I have been offered Terrance Williams, Jared Cook and a 2015 first round draft pick for Jordan Cameron. My other tight ends are Jordan Reed and Adrien Robinson. I am tempted because I have no 2015 1st round pick (traded it for Marshall) and I do like both players. My concern is that I’d be giving up a possibly elite TE. What is your take on this? – Bill in Blue Springs
Overall, I like the deal for you, both in a vacuum as well as for your roster needs. Whereas you see a surplus of receiving talent, I see a pair of sure things (Brandon Marshall and Antonio Brown) and a lot of potential. Sure, players like Michael Floyd and TY Hilton are likely to continue to improve, but as of yet they represent talented WR2’s with upside. Even young players like Markus Wheaton, Robert Woods and Rod Streater remain rolls of the figurative dice (although in fairness I’m higher on Streater than most).
Adding Terrance Williams definitively muddies the waters of potential, but he was quietly the third best rookie receiver in 2013. With Miles Austin unlikely to return, and the pass-happy Scott Linehan running the offensive show, he could wind up as one of 2014’s biggest risers. Perhaps more importantly, his addition provides you with the ability to trade a more highly regarded receiver (perhaps Hilton) for help elsewhere.
To that last point, given the presence of Jordan Reed on your roster, I’m not convinced you actually need the help at tight end to mitigate the loss of Jordan Cameron. Before a concussion during a matchup with the division rival Eagles derailed his season, Reed was sporting an average line of 5.5/60.9/0.4, good for 14 PPR points per game. This is only 0.2 points per game behind Cameron’s average, and Reed was just a rookie still learning due to a collegiate position change – if his health checks out, I believe he’s a top-five dynasty tight end.
Adding in the 2015 first round pick seals the deal. Not only are you not really hurting your starting lineup, your stable of trade-able assets will increase exponentially. That’s the definition of a win-win scenario, and one that should ensure you continue to win where it counts.
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