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 seven-keeper PPR league of 14 teams with IDP. My running back keepers are Frank Gore and Darren Sproles, and my receiver keepers are Julian Edelman and Pierre Garcon. I have the second pick in our upcoming draft and am wondering if I’m better off picking Carlos Hyde (who may take over for Gore), or a playmaker like Sammy Watkins? We start 1-2 running backs and 2-3 receivers. – Rick in IL
[inlinead]A 14-team, seven-keeper league essentially represents fairly close to the median between fully dynasty leagues and re-draft formats. Indeed, with a total 98 players rostered on a year-to-year basis, the resultant dispersal draft pool is relatively diluted. As such it’s no surprise the top rookies move to the forefront of each team’s yearly roster overhaul.
Given that I agree with your general sentiment that it behooves you to select a rookie with your second overall pick. I also agree that it makes sense to consider your current roster as constructed before making your selection. However, I’d choose to look at it in a different way, looking beyond “handcuffing” your current running back, Frank Gore.
Putting it nicely, teams with early picks generally “earn them.” To that point, a core of Gore, Darren Sproles, Julian Edelman and Pierre Garcon isn’t the strongest grouping in a 14-team setting. In addition to lacking a true stud, you’re also aging at running back and will likely field one of the weaker FLEX positions in the league.
So in response to your question, I would simply select the best player available regardless of position or team need. To me, that would be one of the elite rookie receivers, be it Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins or Tampa’s Mike Evans. Sure, you run the risk of missing out on San Francisco ball carrier and potential heir to the throne Carlos Hyde, but in my opinion he’s not nearly the caliber of the pass catchers mentioned above.
Continuing, I’d give strong consideration to attempting to move Gore and Sproles for either prospects or picks. If an aging player isn’t likely to help you win this year, all he’s doing is taking up roster space and depreciating in value. Alternatively you could wait until mid-season and hope these veterans gain in value, but ultimately I think you should be focusing on a more youth-centric philosophical shift.
2. After winning the title last year in my 14-team non-PPR league, I want to make a run at it again. Should I keep Steven Jackson as my final keeper (out of 12) or Lamar Miller? This is probably it for S-Jax, while there’s still hope Miller turns into something. We can start 2-4 running backs. – Brett in TN
Ultimately this boils down to your conviction to the cause. If you truly want to make another run towards the championship, it’s tough to argue against the de facto RB1 of an explosive offense, Atlanta’s Steven Jackson. No, he didn’t light the fantasy world on fire simply by leaving St. Louis as expected, but what was widely panned as a “lost” season still resulted in a finish as the non-PPR RB22 on a per-game basis.
As you have the ability to start up to four ball carriers, this could and should easily yield starter-caliber viability. Given the upgrades along the offensive line, as well as the returns to health of star receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White, it’s fair to assume S-Jax will have more room to run in 2014. If healthy, I view it as a virtual lock that he’ll best his 2013 finish as the overall non-PPR RB32.
I like Miami’s Lamar Miller, but he’ll presumably remain mired in a competition with free agent signee Knowshon Moreno, whenever the latter returns to health. With that said, Miller did little to justify the hype last year, and it’s entirely possible the Dolphins’ running back of the future isn’t currently on the roster. Miller’s theoretical potential just isn’t enough to sway me here – if you’re truly “in it to win it,” Jackson should be the choice.
3. I’m in a 12-person PPR salary league with a $350 salary cap. I’m being offered LeSean McCoy ($84 with two years remaining) and cash ($40) for Doug Martin ($60 – one year), Andre Ellington ($1 – three years) and Randall Cobb ($21 – four years). If I do the trade I would have Jamaal Charles and McCoy for one year, as Charles is on his last year, with Gio Bernard as a backup (three years – $27). I’m also pretty set at receiver. The salary is about a wash, but I am just curious since it’s a lot to give up for mainly a shot at 2014 and not for the future. – Michael in FL
There are a lot of moving parts in this deal, as it relates to both time and money. As such I think it behooves us to go through them in an itemized fashion. Let’s start with what you’d be receiving in Philly ball carrier LeSean McCoy.
McCoy is undoubtedly a top-two asset at the running back position, along with the Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles. Moreover, at “only” $42 a year (12% of your budget) he’s a relative bargain. The ability to roster him for two more years of what is ostensibly his prime for that reasonable price makes him an incredibly desirable trade target.
Conversely, Doug Martin’s current contract ($60 per year, 17.1% of your budget) is significantly more onerous. While I’m not buying the horror stories of a huge decrease to his workload, it’s impossible to consider him as more cost-effective than McCoy. Considering you only have him for one more year, now could be the time to ship him off.
The other pieces with whom you’d be parting would bother me significantly more. I don’t need to expound any further about my man-crush on Arizona running back Andre Ellington, only to say that owning him over the next three years for a single dollar arguably makes this arguably the best contract in the league. Randall Cobb, despite his as-of-yet inability to stay healthy for an entire season, is similarly valuated as a relative bargain.
While losing those two players, especially given their bargain-basement contracts, would hurt, I think I’d still make the trade. McCoy is the real deal, and his contract remains relatively affordable all things considered. Perhaps more importantly I believe he carries with him significantly less “bust potential” than your trio of players – pairing him with Charles will provide you with a weekly advantage, as well as hopefully a title.
4. Our league (12-team non-PPR with six points per passing touchdowns) allows a team to keep three players each year. I fielded a strong team last year, and had Matt Forte, Demaryius Thomas, Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and Keenan Allen. Another team had Jamaal Charles, but not much else. I traded Forte, Stafford, and Allen for Charles, and now the league is concerned about balance and ethics. I think that there should be no ethical issue, as both owners are trying to improve their teams. Would allowing the trading of draft picks better balance trades like this in the future? – Jesse in NY
I’ll start by addressing the trade in question. Given the specifics of your league as it relates to the quarterback position, it’s my belief that signal callers who can pass for more touchdowns become significantly more valuable. In addition to leading the league in volume, Detroit’s Matt Stafford has also averaged 30 passing touchdowns per season over the last three years, more than likely culminating in an average finish in the QB3-5 range.
Continuing, despite his age Chicago ball carrier Matt Forte is a locked and loaded RB1, and Chargers receiver Keenan Allen is popularly viewed as one of dynasty’s fastest risers. On the aggregate it’s easy to see all three of these players serving as starters for your trade partner, easily mitigating the loss of Charles. Sure, losing the player who is arguably the premier asset in a non-PPR format hurts, but I think you’ve overpaid enough to make it worth his while.
And that, to me, should be more than enough. Sure, you could pass league legislature to allow draft picks to be traded (this should always be allowed, in my opinion), but I don’t think that’s the issue here. Quite simply, I think it boils down to one thing and one thing alone – jealousy.
Many owners absolutely loathe it when their competition gets better. Given your already-excellent core, the addition of Charles does just that for you, easily making you into a championship favorite. However, I don’t believe there’s anything unethical about what you or your trade partner did.
The bottom line is both teams got better. You each had the foresight to realize that, in a dynasty or keeper setting, there is no off-season – remaining proactive paid off in a mutually beneficial way for the both of you. Instead of getting up in arms about league balance and fairness, your league-mates should have been scouring the trade market as well – the early bird gets the metaphorical worm, and it’s time for them to wake up and get active themselves.
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