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The DLF Mailbag

DJAX

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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Eric Hardter
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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Bobo

    July 21, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I can’t believe question #3 even was printed in this article, were there no serious questions this week?

    • Eric Hardter

      July 21, 2014 at 9:23 am

      While it might seem straightforward to you and I, there will always be some who have their reservations about certain trades. Throwing in the “contract” portion of the league, and perhaps Lee was feeling a bit antsy. Often times trade scenarios are far from black and white.

      To the latter part of your comment, I’m always looking for more questions! Please see the link here, and feel free to submit your query:

      http://dynastyleaguefootball.com/contactus/dlf-mailbag/

    • Marvin

      July 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Seems pretty easy at first glance, but I’ve been in a position where I traded for a stud only to wish I had that cheap draft pick a couple years later.

      • Chris

        July 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm

        A couple of years later? That is a pretty crazy criterion for a trade involving a crapshoot in the middle of the first round for a stud player. I regret lots of trades, but I certainly wouldn’t one like this.

        • Robert

          July 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm

          I agree with you. When I first starting reading this question, I assumed the punch line was going to be that McCoy only had 1 year left on his contract and cost 50% of the team’s salary. When I read that McCoy “only” had 3 years left on the contract, I was like WTF!

  2. Clark

    July 21, 2014 at 10:33 am

    14 team non PPR league…. Dynasty League…. Here is where I am, looking to move Eli Manning (Foles, Wilson so I feel good this year) and my best offer so far is Emmanuel Sanders and a LATE 3rd round pick…. go or no?

    • Eric Hardter

      July 21, 2014 at 10:46 am

      I would absolutely make that trade – I think Eli will bounce back, but Sanders could very easily be a WR3/FLEX type this year and beyond.

  3. Slick

    July 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    had to pass on some ff props for Eric Hardter. today’s mailbag reminded me the value of DLF membership.
    your article on Engine that Could back in December sealed the deal for me and i promptly struck a deal for him. 7 months later and his value has only increased and numerous owners have tried to pry him away from me, to no avail. needless to say, i am anticipating a great year from him. thanks again Eric and a reminder of what DLF is all about!

    • Eric Hardter

      July 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks Slick, that’s about the highest compliment a fantasy writer can receive! Dynasty football is about conviction, and Ellington is a guy I truly believe in. Sure, we’ll all be bound to get some wrong, but I’ll trust in a “process over results” methodology every time. There’s no room for wishy-washy opinions in this game! I’m glad you enjoyed the Ellington piece, and I clearly believe the trade you made will turn out great.

  4. Jesse

    July 23, 2014 at 12:25 am

    I got three things:

    1. This might be a collection of the stupidest questions I have ever read in my whole life.

    2. I will never for the life of me understand why everyone is so down on Trent Richardson. His first year all I heard was how he was the second coming of Jim Brown. He then turns around and gets traded to another team in the middle of the year and all of a sudden he has forgot how to run? You know who the last big name starting RB that got traded in the middle of the year was …. Lynch. Guess how good he was his first year in Seattle ….. terrible. I have seen this guys ADP free fall and seen him get traded for all kinds of bad trades. People do yourself a favor GO GET THIS GUY FOR CHEAP and please don’t just trade him for nothing. Never trade a guy when his value is at its lowest and never buy a guy when his value is at its highest.

    3. All this brings me to my biggest question. Why has everyone started a dumpster fire on Josh Gordon? Let me give you some stuff coming out of Cleveland. It is pretty common knowledge out of there in their media that Gordon never failed a drug test and espn has it wrong. The reason he hasn’t been cut by Cleveland and the reason he hasn’t just taken the suspension is because he missed his flight on the way to take the drug test so he never took it. When he finally showed up his agent convinced his to give a hair sample instead. When the sample was tested it came back negative which is a more accurate test. The reason he is looking at some kind of suspension is under the collective bargaining agreement there are no guidelines for hair testing so technically by missing the test it is considered a failed test. I’m not making this up it doesn’t take a lot of research to figure that out. That being said all these websites are telling folks to sell him at dumpster fire prices. I highly suggest going to get this guy at bargain prices. People forget this guy actually had a better year than Mega Tron with Brian Hoyer and a collection or other trash. Think about it, why would the Browns let him come to OTAs and Mini Camp if they thought there was no shot of him coming back?

    • sixshooter

      July 23, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Sounds like someone in denial to me……I am sure he wasn’t under the influence when he was driving and am confident he wasn’t driving a car with drugs in it either and…..I am sure he missed his flight because he was sober! The dude has issues and can’t figure it out! If he isn’t suspended for a year (at least), I will be surprised! But if you wan’t to take the risk then go for it. If I owned him….I would keep him but if I didn’t…..I wouldn’t think twice about trading for him! Sorry but I don’t blame those for trying to get what they can while they can for the guy!

      As far as TRich……yes, the guy “could run” but didn’t do so well in Indy last year so of course he isn’t going to get his fair market value until he proves himself again so yes, I agree, take a flier on the guy but it must be at a calculated risk because I have witnessed young backs have a good year only to be followed by a very average career so I cannot fault those for breathing twice before going after a guy like TRich.

      Not sure why you have to criticize others for stupid questions because if they were truly stupid…..I am pretty sure they wouldn’t be posted here!!!!

      • Jesse

        July 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm

        Denial? No I know what I got with Gordon. I also know if I was another owner at the price he is going at I think I would definitely take the risk. Why would he not just take the year suspension now if everyone really thought that was coming. His hearing isn’t until August 1. That would mean if he was really suspended for a year it would be August 1 2015 before he could re apply to the league. That would put him and the Browns in a bad spot because that means he would miss OTAs and Mini Camp after being out a year. Use your head how does that make any since unless they already know that he is going to get some kind of reduction in a suspension. I’m not saying the headache is worth top dollar because its not but he is worth the drop bottom price he is going for right now. Its all about buy low sell high in the fantasy world.

        Now let me ask you this who do you like more Lacy or Richardson? Most of you would jump up and say Lacy all day any day due to his team. Your judging that on what you saw last year when he jumped to a team he had no chemistry with. Now lets go back to the Alabama days. Richardson straight snatched Lacy’s job at Bama and looked like a 10 times better running back. Did he just forget how to be a better RB? No he was stuck on a crappy Cleveland team. Now he is in a situation where he has had a year to learn under a offense comparable to Green Bay. Given the way it looked at Bama when both were there it would stand to reason that Richardson will at least have as good of year as Lacy yet the price tag for Lacy is through the roof in the 5-8 best RB but Richardson is in the 15-25 range. Who do you think you get more value out of?

        As far as the questions you can say what you want but they leave a lot to be desired.

        Question #1: I traded 2 starters for three guys that are rookies that I have no idea if they are going to pan out (yes that was an awful trade)

        Question # 2: Should I trade Ebron for a known starting RB that is young. (Yes always trade unproven rookies for RBs because RBs are so hard to find.

        Question # 3: Should I trade some pick for Shady? (I’m at a loss for words)

        • Tim

          July 25, 2014 at 6:01 am

          Jesse-
          If you are such a gifted fantasy guru with knowledge over all, why don’t you start your own website. I’m sure your wealth of fantasy knowhow will net you a following millions of people deep. Then you could be a D-bag on your own website instead of here on DLF.

          • Jesse

            July 25, 2014 at 6:37 am

            You know … I’ve actually thought about doing that. Thank you so much for the advice Tim.

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