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 was offered a trade in a PPR dynasty league where I would receive Keenan Allen and Vincent Jackson for Da’Rick Rogers, Hakeem Nicks and picks 1.03 and 1.06 in our rookie draft. What are your thoughts? – Joe in CA
As DLF’s own Jacob Feldman has pointed out in our recent Post-Draft Rookie Mock, there appears to be a distinct second tier of freshmen consisting of Brandin Cooks, Carlos Hyde, Jordan Mathews, Bishop Sankey, Odell Beckham Jr. and Eric Ebron. Obviously the way these players are ordered within the grouping is subjective, but the takeaway is that two of them will be available at picks 1.03 and 1.06. Given that these picks represent the key pieces with which you would be parting, you need to decide how to valuate them relative to the veterans you’d be receiving.
For my money, Chargers’ receiver Keenan Allen is worth well more than any rookie pick. As I’ve previously chronicled my affinity for the young pass catcher in great detail I won’t do so again, but suffice it to say I view him as just a hair below the “Big Six.” He’s an emerging star and should be treated as the headliner of the deal.
Continuing, you’d also be receiving Tampa receiver Vincent Jackson. Having turned 31 in January, V-Jax showed no signs of slowing down last year en route to posting 78 receptions for 1,228 yards and seven touchdowns, despite catching passes from the uninspiring combination of Josh Freeman and Mike Glennon. With Josh McCown’s arrival stabilizing the quarterback position and rookie Mike Evans affording a second credible threat on the outside, Jackson’s 2014 targets should be of the significantly more efficient variety. Furthermore, given his massive stature I see no reason why he can’t function as a WR2 for the next four years.
Given the totality of the above I’d gladly accept this deal. Losing the picks hurts (I’d include Hakeem Nicks and Da’Rick Rogers, but they’re more name than game at this point), but you’re gaining two high-end, established players. I recognize there are many schools of thoughts as it relates to rookies, but I’ll take the proven talent nearly every time.
2. I have pick 1.03 in the rookie draft of my 10-team 2QB/PPR league and was offered Shane Vereen and picks 1.10, 2.06, and 2.08 for it (plus Matt Schaub). I am a legit title contender but am stacked at running back, and have little depth at receiver behind Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson. I also have Peyton Manning and a few older quarterbacks. Do I trade the pick or keep it? – Joe in NY
In a 10-team, 2QB league it’s certainly not unreasonable to expect at least one quarterback to be a top-three selection. Sure, Sammy Watkins and the afore-mentioned Mike Evans remain all the rookie rage, but it’s not difficult to envision Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater sneaking into that top tier. When 20 signal callers will be starting on a weekly basis, the number crunch essentially dictates the value under center will spike.
[inlinead]?With that said, it’s not as if you’ve been offered a poor return for the rights to draft the third most valuable rookie. You’ll still be picking in the first round, albeit at the end, and will also be gaining a pair of mid-to-late second rounders for your trouble. Given the depth of the 2014 class, I have no doubt these selections can yield quality contributors.
Ultimately though I think this one comes down to how you feel about New England running back Shane Vereen. There’s little question he possesses a Darren Sproles-ian skill set, one that meshes perfectly with the PPR setting of your league – unfortunately, his abilities have been matches, perhaps even bettered, by his inability to stay on the field. Coupling that with the fickle nature of head coach Bill Belichick and there are just no guarantees for the young ball carrier.
Even given these question marks I’d make the deal. Vereen is worth an early-to-mid first round pick in his own right, so you’re basically receiving four excellent picks for one (once again, note I’m refusing to recognize roster deadweight – in this case Matt Schaub – as part of the deal). You might be well off at running back now, but ball carriers remain as fantasy’s most unpredictable position – I’d pull the trigger.
3. In my 10-team PPR league I need to choose keepers soon and am in a bit of a pickle. In my league, you must choose two or three players to keep. If you choose two (which is the minimum), you surrender your first two draft picks. If you choose three players (the maximum), you surrender your first three draft picks. In general, about half of the teams keep two and the other half keep three. My choices are Arian Foster, Jordy Nelson, Percy Harvin, Wes Welker, Jimmy Graham, and TY Hilton. – Ethan in MD
When it comes to decision making for these types of situations, I prefer utilizing the philosophy taught to me by my high school basketball coach, summarized by the acronym KISS – keep it simple, stupid. While this was mostly a reference to my lack of prowess on the hardwood, I believe it works here as well – make the simplest decision first. In this case, you’re obviously going to be keeping New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham.
For your second selection I like Packers’ receiver Jordy Nelson. Despite only having superstar signal caller Aaron Rodgers available for half the season he still finished the season as the PPR WR13. With Rodgers back and healthy I expect Nelson to improve upon that status, easily justifying parting with your second round selection.
As to the question of whether or not you should keep a third player, I think you just need to ask yourself a simple question – would you draft any of the remaining players in the third round of a re-draft league? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, shallow keeper leagues can essentially be viewed on a yearly basis with little regard to a long-term forecast. If you believe a player can help you immediately, that’s really all that matters.
In your case, the only player I would place a third-round grade on is Seattle receiver Percy Harvin. However, that’s based more on his talent alone than it is on his track record with the Seahawks, especially given that injuries completely wiped out his 2013 season. Therefore, I think I’d just bank the pick and see who’s available – in a ten-man league there should be plenty of options, and I don’t see anyone on your roster worth locking into.
4. In my 12-team PPR league I’ve been offered picks 1.05 and 3.05 for Chris Johnson and either Wes Welker or Marques Colston. This would leave me with Adrian Peterson, Le’Veon Bell, Johnathan Franklin and CJ Anderson at running back and also Antonio Brown, Kenny Stills, Stedman Bailey, Mike Willams, Emmanuel Sanders and Kenbrell Tompkins at receiver. Would you do this? – Sean in ME
As everyone knows by know, former Titan Chris Johnson was recently signed by the Jets to ostensibly form a one-two punch with presumed starter Chris Ivory. Though unlike Ivory, Johnson has been the standard of healthy throughout his career – however his 2013 numbers saw the aging ball carrier dip below 4.0 yards-per-carry, and my advanced metrics weren’t any kinder to him. Even if/when Ivory goes down, I don’t believe CJ?K is a lead-pipe lock for starter-level viability.
As such I think this trade is ultimately going to boil down to how you view your duo of aging pass catchers, Denver’s Wes Welker and New Orleans’ Marques Colston. I’ve been bullish on both for several years, but the warning signs are difficult to ignore. Welker is likely to be moving on from the cozy confines of a Peyton Manning-led offense, and Colston has emerging threat Kenny Stills and rookie Brandin Cooks to contend with. Both will undoubtedly continue to function as fantasy starters for 2014, but the future is murky.
So given the rest of your roster I think I’d take the deal. I don’t believe your team has the looks of an immediate contender, so I have absolutely not problem shipping off your elder statesmen in return for an injection of talented youth. You already have several promising young assets and I’d just as soon prefer to build around them.
5. With Josh Gordon’s looming suspension would it be a good idea to try and trade for him? I’ve looked into it and the owner is currently asking for two first round picks. I currently have the third and fifth overall picks which I feel is giving too much for a suspended player seeing as I can easily see myself ending up with Mike Evans and Brandin Cooks. My question is what do you think is fair value for Gordon right now assuming he gets a year-long ban, and what else should I offer instead if two first round picks. – Mike in NY
Unsurprisingly, I could’ve turned this into an all-Josh Gordon Mailbag had I wanted. Given the rumors of his looming drug-related suspension, owners are looking to either abandon ship or pounce depending on their dynasty worldviews. In a vacuum it makes sense to consider the options, as Gordon is one of the NFL’s most talented receivers.
However, I believe I can summarize my opinions on Gordon in one brief, two-word thought – just wait! We don’t know for sure that Gordon will be suspended, and if he is we don’t know for how long. Given the range of potential likelihoods, I don’t believe it makes sense to speculate.
If you’re a Gordon owner, just hold tight unless you’re offered 90 cents on the dollar. As a prospective buyer, I’d hesitate to make a big deal, as there’s a real chance he could end up as the next Justin Blackmon. Dynasty football remains an exercise in patience – let’s see the facts play out before we rush to judgment.
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