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!
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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