The DLF Mailbag (Bonus Edition)

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!

*Editor’s Note – For total team evaluations, please be sure to use the DLF Newsletter Team Advice Form!*

  1. In my 12-man non-PPR league we have a 20-man roster and keep 10 players, and all touchdowns are worth six points. It is basically a touchdown-only league with bonus points. All quarterbacks earn bonus points at 275 yards (and every 25 yards after that). All running backs, receivers and tight ends earn points at 75 yards (and every 25 yards after that). I need to cut three of the following 13 players worth looking at: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Forte, Lamer Miller, Latavius Murray, Andre Ellington, Carlos Hyde, Keenan Allen, Odell Beckham, Donte Moncrief, Pierre Garcon and Dwayne Allen. What are your thoughts?Paul in NY

I think the two obvious cuts are Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon (simply put, he just doesn’t score the ball) and Colts pass catcher Donte Moncrief (actions speak louder than words, and Indy picked up both Andre Johnson and Phillip Dorsett this off-season). I like Garcon and expect a bounce-back, but this format would be brutal for him. With Moncrief, there are no guarantees he even wins the WR3 job over Dorsett.

Colts tight end Dwayne Allen would be close to the chopping block in standard PPR scoring, but the fact is through three seasons he’s scored the ball at a transcendent rate (roughly one touchdown every 10 targets) – this format bumps him very near to the TE1 range. As such I think I’d use your last cut on Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. No, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger aren’t spring chickens, but each is generally good for a baseline of 25-30 touchdowns. Bridgewater has a bright future ahead of him, but I just can’t see carrying three quarterbacks here – the youngster has to get the axe.

  1. I acquired picks 2.02 and 2.03 in addition to owning my own picks 1.05 and 2.05 for this year’s rookie draft in my 10-team half-PPR league. I’m considering moving up to 1.04 to get who’s left of Kevin White and Melvin Gordon. Would you swap 1.05 & 2.03 for 1.04 and 2.08, or do you consider DeVante Parker in the same tier as White and Gordon?Marshall in CO

Though I know popular opinion may differ, I do have Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker in the same tier as Kevin White and Melvin Gordon, just a shade below the duo of Todd Gurley and Amari Cooper. No, the screw replacement in his foot hasn’t done him any favors in terms of value (though you’d think the masses would’ve learned about devaluing rookies because of a transient injury after the Odell Beckham fiasco last season), but he’ll still be only 22 years old when he takes the field in September – in other words, he has a lot of game ahead of him. With that said, if you have White or Gordon ranked higher, you should absolutely make the trade. The potential selections get nebulous in the early to mid second round, so dropping five spots there isn’t much of a consequence if it yields you the early first rounder you truly desire.

  1. I am coming up with a chart that tries to gauge a player’s trade value and wanted to include some type of category for big game possibilities! For example, Rob Gronkowski has the ability to have a 40-point game, whereas Greg Olsen probably doesn’t. What numeric value would you give this type of category and do you have any data that suggests what percentage of the time a fantasy team wins when one player has a huge day? Obviously I don’t want to include this data if a player having a huge day doesn’t increase winning percentage significantly!Ram Rusher in NV

While I don’t have the direct data you’re looking for, I’ll refer you to the quintet of articles from our own James Simpson entitled “Searching for Consistent Greatness.” James covered the quarterback, running back, receiver and tight end (parts one and two) position in order to find how consistent they were on a weekly basis, but he also derived each player’s likelihood of a “superstar week.” In other words, how likely was it that a player would deviate well above the norm, and provide you with the potential to win the week?

While I don’t want to spoil all of James’ work, I’ll posit that I wouldn’t make the likelihood of a player achieving a “superstar week” into a huge part of your formula. It’s certainly nice when it happens, but in my estimation it’s tough to predict. I’d venture an educated guess and suggest it should factor in as roughly 5-10% of your overall chart.

  1. My league is a salary cap league with restricted free agents.  The running backs and receivers I currently have under contract are LeSean McCoy, Davante Adams, AJ Green, Andre Johnson, Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief and Mike Wallace.  My restricted free agents that I have a chance to retain are Isaiah Crowell, Charles Johnson, Jordan Matthews and Allen Robinson.  I have the pick 1.04 in our rookie draft and feel like I am set at receiver.  Do you think it would be wise to see if I can trade up to #1 or #2 to draft Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley?  I was going to offer 1.04, 2.04 and possibly the rights to one of my restricted free agents.Brad in PA

[inlinead]While it might be tantamount to an overpay, I’d like such a deal for you. The fact is you’re not going to be able to sign all your players, so you might as well cash out while you have the opportunity. I’d look to pair Philly receiver Jordan Matthews (I like Allen Robinson just a hair more, and I doubt Charles Johnson will get it done) with pick 1.04 to see if that can get you where you need to be – this will ensure you can re-sign at least one of your coveted rookies, while also grabbing one of the draft’s top ball carriers.

  1. I have the first pick overall in a dynasty startup.  What strategy would you suggest for my first three picks considering after my first pick, there will be 22 players gone off the board.  This is also a tight end premium league.  Any other suggestions for this format?JD in Parts Unknown

Despite playing hobbled for the first quarter of the season, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski still scored 307.4 points last season in a tight end premium setting – that would’ve seen him rank as the WR5 and the RB4, which means that once you add the positional scarcity into the equation I think he has to be the first overall pick. From there, my guess is the draft will unfold as most drafts do, heavy at wide receiver with an emphasis on youth. Perhaps Jimmy Graham will go a few picks earlier than usual, but my guess is you’ll still have the same pick of running backs and receivers as you normally would. I think you should simply go best player(s) available here, and I wouldn’t worry about any particular strategy.

  1. Just traded away Aaron Rodgers and Jeremy Maclin and got back Stafford and Mike Evans in return.  Quarterbacks are a big deal in 16-team leagues, but Evans was just too good to pass up, and being a former Motown boy I like Stafford more than most and think he’s primed for a bounce-back.  Was it a fair trade and which side do you prefer?Johnny in TX

To be honest I don’t share your sentiments about Lions quarterback Matt Stafford, and firmly believe a key ingredient to his previous success was the simple fact he was throwing the ball 630+ times a year. Yes, he was spectacular in 2011, but since that point his passing yards have dipped in successive years, and he hasn’t topped 30 scores. Though I know I’m in the minority, I don’t view him as a lock for QB1 production, and as such only rank him as my dynasty QB9.

But even given that I think you won the trade, as Tampa sophomore Mike Evans represents a massive upgrade on Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin. Yes, Maclin was incredibly good last year, but I just don’t see him replicating that feat in the run-centric Kansas City offense. You can question whether it’s a “chicken or the egg” scenario, but the undeniable truth is quarterback Alex Smith has only surpassed 3,000 passing yards three times in nine season, while only ever throwing for 500+ attempts once. With regression almost a lock to hit, it’s evident Maclin and Evans are moving in different directions, which to me is more than enough to mitigate the drop-off from Aaron Rodgers to Stafford.

  1. We’re in the second year of our dynasty league and a rebuilding team offered me Jordy Nelson for the pick 1.08. Considering this will be our first rookie only draft, I think that many have “draft pick fever.” While I think this is probably a great trade for me (and I’m probably over-thinking the whole thing), I’m not as high on Jordy as most considering his age, and very crowded receiving corps. It seems all too possible that he could be replaced relatively soon  by either Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery or Jeff Janis and that offense wouldn’t miss a beat. Thoughts?TB in CA

Without sounding flippant, yes, you’re overthinking this one! Rookie pick 1.08 is certainly a coveted asset, but at that point in the draft we’re already well into the third tier of players. You could be looking at guys like Dorial Green-Beckham or Breshad Perriman, either of whom would be extremely successful if they have 75% of Jordy Nelson’s career. Rookie Fever is a very real thing, but the secret truth remains that getting production commensurate with your pick is typically little more than a 50/50 proposition – the 2014 class remains an outlier.

To your latter point, yes, “lesser” Green Bay receivers have put up numbers in the past, but Nelson has truly transcended the scope of the offense. In fact, let’s consider his AIR numbers (for a breakdown of my AIR metric, click here) starting at his 2011 breakout:

Year AIR
2011 1.36
2012 1.23
2013 1.23
2014 1.14


In other words, the Packers offense is great, but Nelson’s efficiency still transcended that of his peers. I don’t view any of Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery or Jeff Janis (apologies to the Janis Truthers) as anywhere near his skill level. My advice: take the deal and run!

  1. I’m in a 14-team PPR league that allows us to keep one player we drafted the year prior for a two-round penalty. Example: I drafted Allen Robinson in the 16th round in 2014 and can keep him for a 14th round pick this year. Furthermore, we can continue to keep that same player year after year with the same stipulation of using a draft pick 2 rounds earlier than the year prior. Who would make a better keeper both short and long term: Allen Robinson for a 14th rounder, Jeremy Hill for a 5th, Lamar Miller for a 6th, Travis Kelce for a 11th or Chris Ivory for a 10th?Gunlaker in MI

I’m going to have to stick with my guy A-Rob here. Jeremy Hill and Travis Kelce keep it close, as the former was already a force as a 2014 rookie and the latter came on strong as well, but their costs are more prohibitive than Robinson’s (even if only slightly in Kelce’s case). Continuing, Hill plays a position of lesser longevity, and despite entering the league only a year apart, Kelce is remarkably almost four years older than Robinson – when answering these types of questions, positional lifespans and age definitively function as tiebreakers.

Also, there’s a very strong likelihood that if you keep A-Rob you’ll be getting production above his price for the next six years, until his cost finally checks in at the second round…in 2021! He’s the top option on a passing game that lost Cecil Shorts’ 110 targets last season, and didn’t upgrade the position unless you tangentially count the signing of tight end Julius Thomas. The opportunity and skill are there for the young pass catcher, and he could function as an extremely cost-effective pillar of your passing catching corps for years to come.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27


eric hardter