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!

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

  1. With all the changes taking place in Cleveland (new head coach and possibly multiple quarterbacks), I was wondering if, outside of Josh Gordon, is there any Browns receiver worth considering?GBDiehard in WI

Truthfully, I don’t think there is. Andrew Hawkins and Brian Hartline are what they are, which is 30-year old (or just about, in Hartline’s case) receivers who have only had three seasons of fantasy relevance between them. Taylor Gabriel has put up the occasional start-able performance, but isn’t someone I wouldn’t want outside of a deep best ball league. And Terrelle Pryor, while athletic, has only ever drawn interest as a receiver from Cleveland, and couldn’t even crack the depth chart last year – perhaps a new staff could change that, but it remains ever likely that he’ll forever be more of a star amongst fantasy enthusiasts than he will be in real life.

The long and short of the above is that you’ll basically want to invest capital in whoever the Browns pick up through the draft, as there will more than likely exist a massive target vacuum. I’d also look to make a move on running back Duke Johnson, as a similarly skilled player in Gio Bernard accrued a weekly 4.3 targets despite a significantly more crowded pass catching corps. While that doesn’t specifically help you if you’re only looking for receiving help, the targets still have to go somewhere, right?

  1. In a 12-team, non-PPR 1QB league would you trade Sammie Coates for Robert Griffin III straight up, and also what rookie pick would you trade Coates for?Stefan in VA

In a league setting that mitigates both their positional values, this would almost seem like a “trade just to trade,” essentially swapping out a couple of $2 scratch tickets. I suppose new Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III is a temporary free agency winner, moving from a team where he had no chance at starting to one where the odds are more in his favor. Unfortunately, as alluded to in the question above, this is a team that lacks firepower (especially with the lack of news on Josh Gordon), meaning RGIII will likely need to prove he can still produce something with his legs to achieve fantasy success.

As for Steelers sophomore Sammie Coates, he’s walking into a reasonable situation due to the year-long suspension to presumed starter Martavis Bryant. In fact, it’s been stated numerous times by Pittsburgh officials that Coates was essentially drafted as a hedge on Bryant’s off-field issues, and if he can improve this season there’s a chance he could even leapfrog underwhelming incumbent WR2 Markus Wheaton behind all-world Antonio Brown. The signing of Ladarius Green should siphon a few looks away, but these will likely come from the recently retired Heath Miller, who saw the ball come his way at least 75 times a year in each of the last five seasons.

So as long as we’re playing towards upside, I’ll take Coates here. Quarterback is more replaceable, and the value (a potential mid-second round pick according to some trades I’ve seen on Twitter) would seem to favor the sophomore. Odds are neither becomes a bastion of fantasy greatness, but I’d still stick with what you have at the moment.

  1. I am intrigued by RGIII’s landing spot and have put a couple of trades out but I do not want to sell my proven commodities for a quarterback that may not even start in 2016.  Do you feel Carlos Hyde, Brandon Marshall and Nate Washington for RGIII and AJ Green is a fair offering in a 2QB, non-PPR league?  I’m not sure how much to give considering I already have two starting quarterbacks. Matteo in Canada

This is close, but might actually be a little light, due to the fact that acquiring RGIII is really just the collateral “damage” of what is truly much more of a venture to obtain Bengals star receiver AJ Green. And honestly, I have no issues with that type of approach, as RGIII owners might be more reticent to let him go for cheap due to his new locale and potential stewardship over the starting job for 2016. Getting him as a spare part of a larger deal could actually minimize his value relative to the rest of the trade.

So even though I’ve professed my love for aging veteran Brandon Marshall numerous times (I firmly believe he has a case for being the top combination of fantasy and real life receiver in 2015), and wouldn’t be shocked for him to be the most valuable asset of this entire trade in 2016, pairing him with a question mark in Carlos Hyde and also-ran in Nate Washington to get the best asset in the deal is fine by me. Adding RGIII to the equation might skew the balance just a hair, but as mentioned above your trade partner might be more willing to let him go given the bounty he’s acquiring. Regardless of what RGIII does this coming year, I like the deal for you if you can swing it.

  1. In a rookie/FA draft in a 12-team, non-PPR league, where would you expect Sammie Coates and Chris Hogan to be drafted? Also, how high would you reach for both of these players?TB in CA

As I mentioned about Coates earlier, I’ve seen him go for as high as a second-round pick in trades. As an owner, I just don’t see the impetus to give him away for anything less than that, given the current mercurial state of the Pittsburgh passing game. Unless the free agent pool is extremely deep, I’d say anywhere from around pick 18-22 seems reasonable.

As for new Patriots addition Chris Hogan, I’d drop him down a little further. My good buddy and podcast colleague Jarrett Behar spends around two-thirds of his free agency budget, which to me is about right in a shallow pool of free agents. Adding in the entire class of rookies, I’d say that probably slots in at roughly the early third round, which is where we’ve already approached true dart-throw territory. New England has certainly had success in acquiring receivers via free agency and trade, and with only Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski definitively ahead of him in the pecking order, Hogan is a worthwhile addition at that cost.

  1. In my dynasty league I am currently set at receiver with AJ Green, Allen Robinson, Stefon Diggs, Donte Moncrief and Kevin White.  I would like to add to my running back depth which right now is just LeSean McCoy and Tevin Coleman.  Two possible trades I am contemplating offering would be Kevin White and pick 1.07 for picks 1.01 and 2.01, so that I can grab Ezekiel Elliott. I might also try and offer Moncrief or Diggs along with pick 1.07 for Melvin Gordon. Which trade sounds better, if any?Brad in PA

The first trade definitely sounds better to me. According to the most recent ADP Data, courtesy of our dynasty do-it-all maven Ryan McDowell, incoming rookie Ezekiel Elliott is actually slotted in a few spots ahead of rising sophomore, albeit one without any actual NFL experience, Kevin White. So given that slight discrepancy in value, dropping a half a round seems reasonable in order to acquire the player you covet, and likely the best offensive skill position player in this year’s draft.

With regards to the other trade, I think it’s arguable that any one of Donte Moncrief, Stefon Diggs or pick 1.07 could net you Chargers running back Melvin Gordon straight up. You certainly shouldn’t need to add the pick to either one of those receivers. I’m all for acquiring Gordon at a reduced value right now (he was routinely going in the top 3-4 of rookie drafts last year), but this seems more like an overpay to fill a positional need.

  1. I have Jordy Nelson, Michael Crabtree and Golden Tate as my top three receivers, and also got 1.04 pick from a trade. Should I spend the pick on one of the rookie receivers this year when I have other needs on defense at linebacker and safety (we start two linebackers and 0-2 safeties)? I am thinking of taking linebacker Myles Jack with that pick. It is a five-round draft with 12 teams, and seven teams need defensive help since we are in our second year.Larry in AZ

Considering you only have to start two linebackers, and good help is easy to find at the position, I’d roll with a receiver. In all likelihood the top three picks will be, in some order, Elliott, Laquon Treadwell and Josh Doctson, meaning you’ll still be able to snag a guy like Corey Coleman, Michael Thomas or Leonte Carroo. As you’re lacking difference makers at receiver (I remain a big fan of Jordy Nelson, but it’s fair to posit his days as a high-end fantasy asset are dwindling), I think bolstering the position with some high-end talent makes sense.

  1. I just got offered Jamal Charles and CJ Anderson for Dez Bryant. I’m pretty stacked at receiver, but I’m hurting at running back. I think this is pretty solid to give me a shot in the now. What do you think?Cody in VA

While it’s likely you’d be receiving two starting running backs in return, I don’t love the deal. Even despite an injury-riddled down season in 2015, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is still only 27-years-old, and had been coming off three straight seasons as a top-7 PPR receiver in 2012 through 2014. Even with the youth-centric philosophy this time of the year brings, as well as the inherent “out of sight, out of mind” attitude that often permeates the fantasphere, I just can’t see the logic in viewing Bryant as anything other than the stud receiver he is.

So even though I’m a big fan of Chiefs runner Jamaal Charles, and think he stands as a logical bounce-back candidate, it’s more than likely your league-mates won’t value him the same way. Ditto CJ Anderson, who still isn’t guaranteed to function as the Broncos’ top dog in the backfield. If you’re trading Bryant, I think you should be aiming significantly higher, in the Le’Veon Bell class of ball carriers. Even with a surplus of pass catchers and a dearth of running backs, I just don’t think the value’s there.

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eric hardter