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. This offseason I decided to move two starters in my 12-team PPR league, cutting bait on Trent Richardson (and trying to recoup some of the cost spent on trading up to draft him), and selling high on DeSean Jackson (I have Pierre Garçon). I turned those two into three of the top 16 picks in my rookie draft and netted Brandin Cooks, Davante Adams and Terrance West. While it may cost me some 2014 points, those guys were expendable. How do you think that deal looks long term? – Tim in FL
It’s always a little bit tougher to gauge trades involving rookies at this juncture of the off-season. For starters, training camps are only just now opening, and as such we haven’t seen these first-year players even put their pads on. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there’s always an inflation involved in buying these professional neophytes right now, as the dreaded outbreak of Rookie Fever has yet to run its course.
With that said, I still like how you made out in the deal. You acquired the services of three promising, albeit unproven prospects, while giving up players whose stocks are clearly on the downturn. Let’s start with the players with whom you parted.
The saga of Trent Richardson is seemingly already in its twilight, despite the fact he’s only entering his third season in the league. Left for dead at the conclusion of the 2013 season, T-Rich nevertheless has the inside track on the starting running back job in Indy. However, should he fail to improve upon his pathetic numbers last season, he could go down as one of the all-time biggest NFL draft busts.
Former Eagle DeSean Jackson has also lost a decent chunk of value, although in his case it has nothing to do with performance. Indeed, after compiling a WR1-caliber season on just a paltry 126 targets, D-Jax is instead being punished due to a change in locale following his signing with the division-rival Redskins. I’m a bit more bullish on Jackson’s future outlook, as I anticipate a return to form for 2012 Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III – with that said, there remains potential for a drop-off after leaving Chip Kelly’s offensive laboratory on grass.
With regards to who you picked up, New Orleans receiver Brandin Cooks is clearly the headliner. While I have some reservations due to some of the numbers I unearthed in the 2013 DLF Pass Catchers Portfolio, watching Cooks’ film shows that he simply plays at a different speed than his competition. Even with the Saints’ spread-the-wealth offense, it’s not hard to see Cooks becoming a key cog in the machine.
The futures of Packers receiver Davante Adams and Browns running back Terrance West are far murkier. Both are currently blocked off by veteran talent, and it’s conceivable they might not offer significant output anytime soon. With that said, sticking with the “talent over situation” mantra, the cream will eventually rise – if/when that happens, I believe you’ll look back on this deal quite fondly.
2. I feel like I’m a little thin at running back, and after some trades I now have Gio Bernard, Joique Bell, Lamar Miller and Jordan Todman. I’m aiming for Carlos Hyde at pick 1.05, but he might not be there. If he’s not I might take Eric Ebron at that spot. A buddy in my league really wants Ebron and told me if I do take him he’d trade me Andre Ellington for him. Would that trade make sense for me? Is that good value for Ebron? I already have Jordan Cameron and Dennis Pitta at tight end. – Matt in WV
Don’t get me wrong, I can definitively hear Admiral Ackbar yelling “It’s a trap!” every time a question about Arizona running back Andre Ellington comes in. Regardless of that, the Bat-Signal is alight and I can’t avoid it. So yes, let’s talk about one of my favorite football players one more time…
The off-season has been kind to Ellington. Nominal starter Rashard Mendenhall retired, and the only “talent” brought in at running back was former Steeler Jonathan Dwyer. Perhaps more importantly, the offensive line was upgraded in a big way due to the signing of tackle Jared Veldheer and the return to health of guard (and 2013 first round pick) Jonathan Cooper. As a cherry on top, blocking tight end Troy Nicklas was added in the third round – the aggregate of the above should serve to jump-start one of the worst blocking units in the league last year.
Indeed, short of drafting his cousin Bruce, the Cardinals and head coach Bruce Arians have done right by Ellington every step of the way thus far. Finally recognizing the dynamic talent he has (Ellington’s 5.5 yards-per-carry easily led all running backs with at least 100 carries), Arians has vowed to make Ellington the focal point of the run-game. While this is speculation at its finest, even a bump to 240-260 total touches could lead to a finish as a PPR RB1.
[inlinead]?Considering the shaky nature of the running back position, I’d absolutely swap out Detroit tight end Eric Ebron for Ellington if it comes down to it. Ebron has obvious potential, but there remain no guarantees he’ll ever surpass the other two tight ends on your roster. Having written the book on Ellington before, I’ll admit I’m biased – but should this trade come to fruition, don’t walk – run to accept!
3. In my 10-team PPR league I have a chance to get LeSean McCoy for rookie pick 1.06. But given his salary, I could only keep him for three years. Is three years of (hopefully) top-five production enough of a return, or should I take a gamble on a rookie? – Lee in SD
This question reminds me of the recurrent Dave Chappelle skit “when keeping it real goes wrong.” In it the perceived protagonist would face a fork in the road where he had to either swallow his pride, or “keep it real” through some type of unnecessary reaction. As you can imagine, the results of “keeping it real” always left much to be desired.
I think your prospective trade partner is trying a little too hard to “keep it real,” and is getting far too cute. Sure, contract leagues always bring with them an added set of circumstances, but giving up arguably the top dynasty running back for a mid-first round pick is crazy to me. That he offered it to you, and not vice versa, is the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Continuing, it’s not often we can project three years of greatness out of any running back. With that said, Eagles ball carrier LeSean McCoy appears to be that rare breed who is young enough, talented enough and has enough tread left on his tired that we can confidently view him as a surefire stud, but now and in the future. If all you’re giving up to achieve this type of greatness is the equivalent of a player like 49ers running back Carlos Hyde, this will be the easiest decision you make all year.
4. My league is a 12-team non-PPR league where we start one quarterback, one running back, one receiver, one tight end and a FLEX. How much do you think is a fair price for Andrew Luck in such a league, considering we have $250 in total to spend? – Benj in the UK
When it comes to quarterback valuations in smaller leagues my stance is essentially an open book. However, given both the format and the lack of depth in your league’s starting lineups, an argument can be made for being a bit less thrifty here. With that said, I’m not sure Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is the guy I’d target.
Given the lack of depth (only 60 players will be starting on a weekly basis) I think it behooves you to go after legitimate game-changers. Yes, I know that’s obvious, but I’d take it to a relative extreme here – if you don’t spend upwards of $175 – $225 filling out your starting lineup, I think you’ve done yourself a disservice. Given your format anyone can fill out a lineup littered with tier-two/three players, but in my opinion that’s a quick recipe for finishing as a perpetual also-ran.
Given the non-PPR format I’d first target an elite running back. If spending $100 on a player like McCoy or Jamaal Charles is what has to be done, so be it – that’s a weekly advantage you can bank on. With that in place, I’d then turn to your signal callers. However, as mentioned I think you should aim higher than young Mr. Luck.
Though he has a great future, players such as Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning are virtual locks to outscore him by a fairly substantial margin. Luck’s longevity will certainly be greater, but given the format you should be seeking top-three upside at the position. Luck might achieve that eventually, but for now I believe his output will be more modest.
With that said, if you really desire Luck, I wouldn’t offer up anything more than $35 – $40. That might not be enough to get it done, but truth be told you can get similar production for cheaper. In a league where you truly need to go big or go home, the cozy confines of your dwelling would appeal to me a lot more than overspending on the face of the Colts franchise.
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