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The DLF Mailbag

RG3

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. Beyond Cam Newton, I have a murky quarterback situation in my 2QB league. I’m just curious how you gauge the value of Robert Griffin III and Zach Mettenberger moving forward?Blake in TX

Unfortunately, it’s tough to view either in much of a favorable light right now. Be it due to on-field play, coaching changes or uncertainty surrounding the upcoming NFL Draft, there are question marks abound with both. Let’s start with the once and (perhaps?) future answer in our nation’s capital.

Entering his fourth year in the league, Washington signal caller Robert Griffin III is nowhere close to fulfilling the destiny bestowed upon him after his fine rookie campaign. His coach doesn’t like him, his work habit have been called into question, he’s been benched for subpar talents in Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy, and the team’s myopic ownership is seemingly the only thing keeping him on the team – to that last point, recent rumors have suggested Jay Gruden’s desire to wash his hands of the enigmatic signal caller have been consistently quashed by the powers that be. Griffin clearly isn’t a fit with the Redskins, and I wouldn’t want to count on him for this year – I’d much rather see him in an offense tailored to his strengths, and that’s not happening in 2015. He’s worth a speculative add for his second contract, but I wouldn’t offer anything more than an early second-round pick (even given the 2QB format).

[inlinead]Ironically, the fact he’s shown a lot less could propel sophomore Zach Mettenberger to a loftier current value. Despite his statuesque presence in the pocket, the 2014 rookie showed reasonably well despite a lack of options in the passing game – his completion percentage was mediocre, but he averaged nearly 8.0 YPA and had a plus TD/INT ratio. The biggest detriment to any type of immediate evaluation is whether or not the Titans will select rookie Marcus Mariota with the second pick in the upcoming draft, a prospect that remains surrounded in intrigue according to the most recent reports. Much like with Griffin, I wouldn’t be comfortable with Mettenberger as my QB2 right now, but should the Titans go in a different direction come May that will quickly change.

  1. Can someone please talk me into Melvin Gordon, or at least tell me what they see in him to get me excited about him again? I decided I would watch all of Gordon’s game tape cut-ups and was underwhelmed. I saw a running back that got caught behind the line of scrimmage often, didn’t seem to run with much power, who didn’t make many defenders miss in the open field, and whose best runs seem to come when he was nearly untouched. Am I crazy? Or why am I getting cold feet with Gordon now?Kyle in SD

I’m a fan of former Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, and still view him as my second favorite prospect at the position behind only Todd Gurley. With that said, it appears the criticism has been ramped up considerably lately, partly due to what many consider an underwhelming NFL Combine. It’s my opinion that’s a bit of a shortsighted belief though, as the following graph (c/o Mock Draftable) illuminates:

Though his 40-yard dash was slower than expected, it was nevertheless an above average value. Gordon was also in the top percentiles for other explosive metrics such as broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and 50-yard shuttle, while also putting forward average values for the three-cone drill and vertical jump with above-average measurables. Quite simply, I don’t think the Combine provide any reason to downgrade the young ball carrier, other than other players (at other positions, mostly) did better.

Continuing, though Gordon played behind a top offensive line in college, he was also saddled with one of the worst passing games in the nation. The Badgers were 118th in the country in pass yards per game, while also sporting a negative TD/INT ratio and an aggregate 6.47 YPA. So while there were times Gordon didn’t look the best, it’s imperative to remember defenses were keyed in on him nearly every play, as he himself had more carries (343) than the quarterbacks had total pass attempts (322).

But ultimately that’s just my opinion, and you’re looking for multiple viewpoints. Fortunately we have you covered here at DLF, and have a few more arguments (presented without commentary) for you to consider:

Film spotlight (c/o Russell Clay)

Rookie mock draft evaluation (c/o Scott Fish)

Running back instincts (c/o Nick Whalen)

Ask a scout (c/o Nick Whalen)

Top 30 rookies (c/o Jeff Haverlack)

  1. I am struggling to compare dynasty values between offensive and defensive players. In my non-PPR league I have had another owner offer a deal based around Calvin Johnson for Luke Kuechly. Can you help?Adam in England

While I’m by no means an IDP expert, I’ve familiar enough to say that outside of JJ Watt, and barring a very unique scoring system, I would never trade an offensive stud for a top linebacker. The simple fact is it’s far easier to find replaceable talent on defense (Chris Borland, Justin Durant, Brandon Marshall and Sio Moore were all LB1’s in terms of per-game averages) than it is on offense. More importantly, Calvin Johnson is a buy right now, and not a sell – he averaged nearly 100 yards per game in the contests in which he was fully healthy, and despite the seemingly ever-growing youth movement, 29 is not old for the best receiver of this generation. Unless your trade partner is willing to add a lot more on top, I’d hold tight on offense and seek 80% of Luke Kuechly’s production for 20% of the price.

  1. I’m coming off back-to-back championships in my 12-team, 1QB league and am looking to extend my winning, but with only Matt Ryan and Derek Carr currently on my roster, I’m feeling a tad quarterback needy. Do you feel it’s worth targeting Andrew Luck? I have a great starting receiving corps with Demaryius Thomas, Alshon Jeffery, Odell Beckham, Emmanuel Sanders, Jordan Matthews, Allen Robinson and Charles Johnson that I could use to trade. The current offer on the table is Beckham, Ryan, and 2.12 for Luck. Would you pull that trigger? Adam’s Atoms in the DMV

Andrew Luck is far and away the top quarterback option in a dynasty setting, but at the end of the day he still remains as one man in fantasy’s most redundant position. Continuing, in a 12-team league with only one starting signal caller, you really don’t need to be placing a priority on the position, and truth be told Matt Ryan should be a great alternative for you, especially given the arrival of coordinator Kyle Shanahan. I’d be perfectly fine riding him into battle on a weekly basis.

Truth be told I wouldn’t trade Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. straight up for Luck in this type of setting, let alone with you adding Ryan and a pick on top. Sure, you have the receiver depth, but that doesn’t mean you have to overpay – with where you’re sitting now you can effectively trot out four top-ten options every week, meaning that not only do you have an advantage, but you’ve also cornered the market and made your competitors worse. In other words, there’s no reason to “trade just to trade.”

I’d be fine going for Luck, but wouldn’t do anything more than Ryan plus a guy like Jordan Matthews, or Ryan plus Charles Johnson and the late second round pick. Again, you’re already in prime position given your depth at receiver and a sterling option like Ryan, so there’s no reason to overplay your hand. If your trade partner will lower his demands it would be more palatable, but as it stands right now the proposed deal would likely be highly “un-Luck-y” for your team’s future.

  1. What’s going on with Ray Rice? I traded for him thinking that Baltimore would back him the way they did with Ray Lewis, only to be left holding the bag? Any chance he signs with someone legitimate?RamRusher in NV

Unfortunately for those still holding out hope, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The market is currently saturated with ball carriers, and players with significantly less baggage such as Stevan Ridley, Knowshon Moreno and Pierre Thomas are still looking for homes. Adding in the multitude of talented running backs entering the league via the 2015 NFL Draft, combined with the inherent devaluation of the position and it’s not a good time to be a guy who put out bad tape in 2013, and subsequently became the poster child for the NFL’s new policy on domestic abuse. As unthinkable as it was even at this point last year, Rice is cut bait in shallower leagues.

  1. I have Le’Veon Bell, who might miss the first two to four weeks of the season because of an impending suspension. Joique Bell is my other starter who I can live with, but which of my other backs can somewhat fill the void during his time off. I have Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Devonta Freeman – should I make a trade?Jim in ME

Though the dynamic amongst Philadelphia’s ball carrying corps remains to be seen (with $21 million guaranteed given to DeMarco Murray and only $5 million guarantee for Ryan Mathews, I’d say these monetary actions speak louder than words), I don’t view either Mathews or Darren Sproles as anything more than FLEX options whose weekly workload will be challenging to predict. As for Falcons sophomore Devonta Freeman, as of the time of this writing he remains first in line for the starting job, but I have a suspicion Atlanta will seek their running back of the future through the draft. In other words, it appears more likely than not you’re going to have a hole in your lineup for those first few weeks of the season.

With that said, that doesn’t mean you need to make a trade. You might be able to draft a serviceable running back, or even pick up this year’s Justin Forsett through waivers. As dynasty football remains first and foremost a long-term game, it would be shortsighted to swing a trade solely for the sake of a couple wins in one given season.

Of course, if you could make a marginal deal to couple Freeman with a pick or another small piece to nab a guy like Doug Martin or Alfred Morris, that would serve both the purposes of covering your early-season bases while also upgrading your RB2/3 position. With a longer timeframe in mind this type of move becomes more palatable, and would be something I’d look into even without Le’Veon Bell’s impending legal situation.

  1. I was a previous contender that appears to be unfortunately rebuilding (last year was brutal). I was wondering what kind of moves make sense. I have picks 1.06 and 1.09, and 2.01, but also some aging players like Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore. I feel like I’ve slid very quickly into the dreaded ambiguous zone where I’m half-contending, half-rebuilding and ultimately losing. I was thinking of trying to make a grab at some 2014 rookies, possibly offering something like Megatron and Kelvin Benjamin for Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins, or trying to trade up with my picks. Any advice? Travis in WA

The league’s “mushy middle” is a place best avoided, and fortunately you have the wherewithal to know you have some moves to make if you’re to elude it. You’d be amazed at how easy it is for owners to only view their teams in rose-colored glasses, seeing only upside and ignoring any and all potential pitfalls – self-awareness is a trait many dynasty owners often lack. Moreover, given your current arsenal of 2015 draft picks, you’re one step closer to bolstering your roster with younger options, thereby helping you inch away from dynasty purgatory.

So it might seem a bit counter-intuitive when I advise you that your best move, at least for right now, is to stand pat. Inaction, especially while your league-mates are busy making moves, can often be the hardest thing to accomplish, but in your case I believe it’s the most prudent. Because the bottom line is the majority of your assets on both sides of the spectrum, be it vets or rookie picks, are nowhere near the peak of their current value.

With regards to the latter, there will never be a better time to shop your picks than when you’re on the clock. Though pick 1.06 might be the start of the second tier of rookies, someone will undoubtedly fall in love with one of the remaining players on the board, and if you announce the pick is available I have no doubt you’ll start to hear some chatter. Selling the pick now will still get you a fair price, but you won’t be maximizing your theoretical value.

On the other side of the fence sit your veteran players. It’s well known that at this point in the off-season the vast majority of owners are attempting to get younger, as to this day there still remains no cure for the dreaded Rookie Fever. With relative value essentially a zero-sum game, if some players’ values go up due to a youth movement, it stands to reason it’s the veterans who will suffer.

Just wait until September when Megatron is racking up 100-yard games, Frank Gore is collecting 3-5 receptions per contest and getting goal-line duties again, Peyton Manning is doing Peyton Manning stuff and Adrian Peterson is actually playing somewhere! It’s at that point the owners in your league will remember it’s superstars, both young and old, that win championships. If you cash out then your windfall will be substantially larger.

Your end goal of collecting these now-sophomores doesn’t have to change, but you just need to take advantage of timing. If Sammy Watkins starts slowly on Buffalo’s run-first offense, buy him then. Same thing with guys like Allen Robinson, Davante Adams, Cody Latimer and the like. You can still achieve the roster you desire, and even though Tom Petty’s words of “the waiting is the hardest part” will ring true, you’ll be better off for it.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27

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Eric Hardter
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cactusdave
6 years ago

I think the best time of the year for shopping vets is in January, right at the close of the regular season when player performance from other teams is fresh in the minds of the owners who found themselves out of the playoffs in their respective leagues.

But owners with successful vets are mostly too reluctant to see the writing on the wall.

Despite the fact that 82.6 percent of top 36 running back fantasy seasons come at age 28 or younger, many owners stubbornly believe that their McCoy, or their Lynch or their Murray are all destined to be part of the other 17% – as well they might be.

But relying on that is still about as sensible a strategy as taking a hit card on nineteen in blackjack IMO.

Tony
6 years ago

Am I crazy to sell high on Carlos Hyde given that he is a time-share RB with Bush?

If I am not crazy, what could I net him for (players and/or rookie pick)?

Mike
Reply to  Tony
6 years ago

You are crazy.

Vince
Reply to  Tony
6 years ago

He’s not in a time share with Bush. No one is expecting Bush to run the ball much. More of a pass catcher.

Zach Bahner
Reply to  Tony
6 years ago

I wouldn’t say he’s in a timeshare, but you’re not crazy at all. Hyde did nothing last year to justify his current ADP. He’s going between rookie picks 1.02 and 1.03 and ahead of Marshawn Lynch, Allen Robinson, Matt Forte, Russell Wilson, Emmanuel Sanders, Travis Kelce, Lamar Miller, Cam Newton and a whole host of other players that are still young and/or have produced far beyond what Hyde has done. This reminds me of the Christine Michael hype from a few years ago. If you can find someone in your league that’s willing to give up the kind of value that Hyde somehow seems to have, then I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Kiko
6 years ago

Kyle, I feel they same way as you about Gordon. I pick 1.02 and need a rb. I almost feel obligated to take Gordon because of all the hype. I just do not see what makes him any more special than Ajayi or Duke Johnson. Gordon needs space created for him and goes down too easily on first contact. Tough to make a living in the nfl running between the tackles that way. Ajayi and Duke make people miss between the tackles. Combine measurables mean very little to the good nfl teams. It is the tape that tells them the truth. if Gurley doesn’t fall to me at1.02 I hope to trade back and get me of the other guys.

fantasyFreak
Reply to  Kiko
6 years ago

I’d take Gordon over Gurley any day. Gurley can break tackles, and does have good speed for his size, but he can’t make people miss like Gordon. He also can’t stay on a football field, or prove he can consistently carry the load. Gordon’s feet are exceptional. Gordon breaks plenty of tackles, can find tight creases, and makes players miss in small spaces. His change of direction/acelleration are phenomenal. I have watched his tape countless times, every game from this season, and it blows me away that people can’t see the talent. To each their own. I’ve already put money on him having a better pro career than Gurley. Gordon’s combine time has also been proven by video to be about 4.47, not 4.52. There are others, such as Cooper, who also had lower times. Anyway, time will tell.

cactusdave
6 years ago

You take Gordon because opportunity and workload trump every other factor by a lot when it comes to RB success in the NFL – including raw talent.

The only thing that you really need to know about Gordon is that he’s going to be taken in the first or second round of the NFL draft and whatever team takes him, they are guaranteed to make considerable use out of him because no team wastes a first or second round pick on an RB anymore unless they intend to use him extensively.

Reply to  cactusdave
6 years ago

Bishop Sanky?

cactusdave
Reply to  Matt
6 years ago

What about him?

He’s beginning his second year with the Titans and they haven’t made a single move with all the RB’s available during free agency to cause anyone to think that last year’s second round pick won’t be their RB1 on opening day.

Obviously if Gordon were to wind up on a terrible team the way Sankey did last year, the patience level on the part of his fantasy owner would need to extend beyond his rookie campaign.

Could Sankey still bust? Of course he could, but his 2014 performance is no indication of it, one way or the other.

He’s going to get his workload opportunity this year if for no other reason, because Whisenhunt doesn’t want to look like an idiot for drafting an RB with a second round pick without ever providing the kid with an opportunity to break out.

Reply to  cactusdave
6 years ago

I think you working off of a false premise that opportunity and workload trump every other factor by a lot when it comes to RB success in the NFL.. Talent at the end of the day is always going to be the determining factor. You can get all the chances you want but if you still can gain more than 4 yards per carry in the NFL then your days are numbered.
2014 Trent Richardson: Attempts: 159, Yards: 519, TD: 3
2014 Bishop Sanky: Attempts: 152, Yards: 569, TD: 2
Sanky can get all the chances he can handle this year, but if he can’t put together a really good season then he will be thrown to the curb meaning he was a terrible top 3 rookie pick in 2014. I’m not saying Sanky and Gordon are the same but I definitely have my reservations regarding him when I watch film.
My philosophy is watch tape, evaluate talent, and incorporate situation into the equation but do not determine you evaluation based solely off of that, but to each their own.

cactusdave
Reply to  Matt
6 years ago

That’s just no true.

Go look at the results from 2014. You look at the top15 RB’s and all but 2 or 3 of them had at least 250 attempts carrying the ball.

Go down the list.

You’re telling me guys like Justin Forsett, Alfred Morris, Arian Foster, CJ Anderson just to name a few, were all vastly more talented than the guys they beat out?

Case in point. Le’Veon Bell was a very inefficient runner in 2013, averaging only 3.5 yards per carry for the season. But he played 53.2 snaps per game which was good for fourth-best among all RBs. He got 75% share of the Steelers’ total rushing attempts, and 14% of the team’s total passing targets.

So despite being inefficient, Bell finished the season as a top-10 RB in terms of Fantasy Points a Game (FP/G).

RB’s don’t have to be the best. They don’t even have to do the best. They just have to get the most opportunities to score well in fantasy.

In 2013, 9 RBs finished with at least 300 carries, and ALL OF THEM were among the top twelve in overall fantasy points.

I’ll say it again. Opportunity and workload trumps everything else in fantasy – including talent when it comes to RB’s. Take Gordon!

6 years ago

The problem with your position is that you are equating opportunity and workload to draft position. Basically due to an early draft position you will surely have a large work load and opportunity. That is just not true. They will give you first crack to produce but if that doesn’t happen and someone else comes in a proves to be a better running back then your opportunity and workload will be gone. Case in point
-Monte Ball (2nd round) to CJ Anderson (un-drafted)
-Steve Slayton (3rd round to Arian Foster (un-drafted)
I agree with you that opportunity and workload (combined) with a very talented running back does give you a winning combination ala
LeVeon Bell but opportunity and workload alone just gives you a chance to prove your worth. If you don’t have the talent such as early round draft picks like:
T. Rich, B. Sanky, R. Williams, D. Wilson, etc then your hosed.
Gordon may get the opportunity but if this guy doesn’t think Gordon has the talent to produce at the next level it won’t matter what his situation was. Agree to disagree. I’m not touching Gordon, you can have him lol. Win/win for both of us

cactusdave
Reply to  Matt
6 years ago

They don’t have to be that talented. That’s the point. Nobody thought CJ Anderson or Arian Foster were all that special by watching their film.

40% of the RBs that finished amongst the top 35 last year were not highly coveted RBs coming into the league.

I don’t know how good Gordon is, but what he has going for him more than anything else is he’s going to get his opportunity where most of the other guys will be buried in the depth charts on teams using RBBC formulas and most of them will never see the light of day.

Not because they aren’t talented enough.

Kiko
Reply to  Matt
6 years ago

Love the debate guys. Excellent points on both sides. I think in the end the best talent rises to the top and ends up getting the opportunities.

Will
6 years ago

In regards to the last question I have to agree with you. In the sense that when you are in the murky waters you should ultimately commit to 1 way if its doing anything to win or biting the bullet and focusing on a rebuild.

For instance myself I owned Drew Brees and Ryan Tannehill and I owned a whole lot of nothing behind them my best WR being Jarvis Landry and Jermaine Kearse
(my old wrs… got old)

So I traded Brees for Jay Cutler, Mo Sanu, Bradley Roby and a 2nd rd pick

It was met with a lot of ridicule and questions but my justification is simple
I need a WR3 so Sanu is that, roby offers me youth at an important IDP position and Cutler becomes my backup

Brees was winning me more games than I should have, and honestly I’d rather finish 5-8 and get a potential top 5 pick than 7-6 every year with a lower half draft pick

Blake
6 years ago

Eric,

Thanks for the advice (and response to my question). Since I submitted this, I was able to upgrade that miserable QB situation though!

I traded:

Lamar Miller, Mettenberger, Eric Decker, and the 1.04 and 1.09

for

Teddy Bridgewater, Martavis Bryant, and the 1.05 and a 3rd

I already own the 1.08 as well, and now my stable of QBs consists of Cam, Teddy, RGIII, and JFF

Thoughts?’

Blake

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