The DLF Mailbag

Eric Hardter


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. In my 12-team, half-PPR league I have offered Matt Forte and rookie pick 2.02 for pick 1.01 to a team with a need at running back. I am worried I am offering a proven stud and a pick for the opportunity to draft Todd Gurley in hopes he hits later in the year, but will be without a solid, proven RB1 in the meantime. Or am I overthinking the trade and undervaluing Gurley?Brian in CA

In terms of value, yes, you’re probably overthinking it. According to the most recent ADP data, courtesy of jack-of-all-trades Ryan McDowell, Rams rookie rusher Todd Gurley is going as the dynasty RB4, a full round ahead of Bears veteran Matt Forte. Factoring in that the unique position in which Gurley enters the league – with injury-related concerns likely precluding any early-season impact – hasn’t affected his status as the most coveted rookie and it truly shows how well thought he is.

While Forte should definitively afford high-end production yet again, and there are never any guarantees with rookies, it would be challenging to posit these two players aren’t heading in opposite directions. Forte just lost the coach, Marc Trestman, who helped him set a league record in receptions, and is also in the final year of his contract with Chicago. Adding in his age and prior workload, and it’s easy to assert that no matter how well he plays, Forte has now become a depreciating asset in dynasty.

So if you can pull off the deal I’d go for it. Even if he does precious little early on, Gurley should maintain his value due to his draft status. Moreover, if you get buyer’s remorse you can more than likely flip him mid-season for a more helpful veteran – I like the move.

  1. I took an interesting strategy into year two of my dynasty. I flipped aging players and players who I expect to lose value in 2016 for younger players and picks. I did this because I drafted to win-now in our startup and as a result I got an older team. Hopefully now by 2017 I’ll have at least 10-15 valuable players and I’ll be in the hunt again. Can this strategy pay off? Do you have any tips aside from sell high, buy low? How does the 2016 draft class seem to be shaping up compared to 2014/2015?Jarid in PA

[inlinead]The strategy can certainly pay off, and should also provide you with a short period of insulation. To that latter point, our own Jeff Miller recently found that rookies – even those who don’t produce – generally hold value for approximately 18 months. So even if your youngsters don’t pay immediate dividends (we should all remember that the class of 2015 represents the exception, not the rule), your “sell high” window should remain through the early stages of 2016.

Extrapolating upon that last sentence, patience now becomes imperative. Rookies typically don’t perform as well as they did last year, and it’s my belief those who are expecting similar results are setting themselves up for failure. 2016 will likely bring more of the same, but I’ll defer to our Dynasty Scouts corps on that (you can find their devy rankings here).

Ultimately though, you took a risk, willingly moving from a league champion to a rebuild in just a few short months. In order to win with who you have now you’ll need to hit on the majority of your picks and play the waiver wire well. It will be a tough road, but one you should certainly be able to traverse over time.

  1. I’m considering taking Ameer Abdullah at pick 1.05 based on BPA and running back need, although most in my league think it’s wrong valuing “Gio Bernard type” backs so highly. Where would Gio go in this year’s class relative to Abdullah, and conversely, where would Abdullah have gone in 2013’s draft, when Gio was a top-three pick?John in TX

For those who forget, the running back class of 2013 has produced two definitive studs (Le’Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy), a few more guys who have flashed (CJ Anderson, Andre Ellington, Gio Bernard, Montee Ball and Latavius Murray), some upside lottery tickets (Christine Michael, Denard Robinson and Joseph Randle) and one bastion of inefficiency (Knile Davis). No, not all of them have presented the returns we believed we’d receive, but nevertheless many were highly thought of at the time – I have a hard time believe 2015 rookie runner Ameer Abdullah would’ve cracked the top-five. Conversely, now that Bernard has disappointed as a pure rusher (while functioning as an above-average receiver), we have a better idea of where his ceiling lies, likely as a high-end RB2. As such, I’d consider him a late first-rounder in this class, aligning roughly with Abdullah would be. So suffice it to say, I think 1.05 is a bit early, although not completely out of the realm of reasonability.

  1. In my 16-team PPR league I currently have two quarterbacks on one-year contracts (Eli, and Cutler) and hold the fourth pick in the rookie draft. Would it really be horrible to grab Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota and lock them up for 5 years even though they are ranked way below 1.04? Randy in MN

In a 16-team league it certainly wouldn’t be a horrible choice to select a signal caller that early, but I’d much rather look to trade out of the spot. You should have no problem flipping your pick in order to drop down to the range of 1.09-1.12, while picking up a slightly better quarterback along the way (i.e. Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger). Or you could just take the BPA at pick 1.04 and ride out the year with Eli Manning. But even in a larger setting such as yours, I don’t think I’d pass up talented players at other positions to shore up your quarterback corps.

  1. In my 12-team non-PPR league we start three receivers, two running backs and a FLEX. I have a contending team with a huge hole at running back, and Marshawn Lynch is on the trade block – what would you give up to get him? I have the 1.09 pick, Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, T.Y. Hilton, DeAndre Hopkins, John Brown, Donte Moncrief, Marquess Wilson, Zach Ertz, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Larry Donnell, Matt Stafford and Philip Rivers. Would I be better served to just build through the draft?Chris in IL

If you’re firmly in your window of contention I’d definitely look to acquire Marshawn Lynch. I highly doubt any of this year’s rookies will approach his 2015 production, and more importantly only having pick 1.09 means you’ll miss out on the cream of the crop (perhaps TJ Yeldon will be there as a best-case scenario). I wouldn’t hesitate to sell off of the remaining hype of Donte Moncrief and see if you can pair him with your pick to enter Beast Mode – sure it’ll make your team older, but the goal is to always win championships, and adding one of the best running backs in the game can only help.

  1. We have eight teams in our PPR/IDP dynasty league that holds a rookie draft only. It seems as if the only two guys who take the league seriously are the two commissioners (I’m one of them), and our two teams are head and shoulders above the rest. The problem I’m having is we’re getting a lot of turnover because guys are tired of losing and we’re having a hard time replacing owners. We don’t have a strict policy on trades going with the belief that if both owners feel the trade is fair then the trade should happen. It has resulted in some very lopsided trades. My questions are should we have a vote on trades, and are the commissioners supposed to set an example and not accept a trade we know is lopsided in hopes that other owners will do the same? We’re only a few years in and already we feel like the league is falling apart because of the complaints of a couple guys.Jordan in NY

There’s an old saying – “if you’re the smartest guy in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Now I’m sure you enjoy your league, and having one of the best teams is always a nice bonus, but the bottom line is it doesn’t appear you’re receiving much of a challenge from the other owners, largely due to the combination of the consistent turnover and general ineptitude of the newbies. This leads me to a second saying – “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Having your league-mates vote on trades restricts the inherent liberties each owner should have, and not accepting a trade you know benefits your team is an even more egregious offense. I think you either need to find better owners or a new league (we at DLF can help!), or perhaps consider enlarging your league with an expansion draft – this would divvy up the talent a bit more, and inject some new blood your league obviously needs.

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eric hardter