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. In my 10-team, non-PPR league I’ve got a stacked team that lost in the first round of the 2015 playoffs mostly due to running back injury (we start 2-3), losing Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, Charcandrick West and Chris Johnson. I also have Lamar Miller, Melvin Gordon, Theo Riddick and Derrick Henry. I’m now feeling like I should just stock up on running back no matter what. Am I over-reacting to one season (2016 will be our third in this league) or given the nature of my lineup, should I just keep filling up with more running backs?  Is draft or trading a better avenue for that do you think?Jacob in TX

I think it’s more overreacting than anything.  Yes, injuries suck, and as such they can suck the life out of your playoff aspirations if they occur at a bad time.  To be quite honest, there isn’t any good time to lose four start-able ball carriers in Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, Charcandrick West and Chris Johnson, and it’s easy to see how your season was prematurely truncated.  However, I still see plenty of reason for optimism.

For starters, Bell remains arguably the top running back asset in a dynasty setting (many would argue for Todd Gurley here, but I believe Bell has the more rounded game), and there’s hope he’ll be there for you in week one.  Even if he isn’t, such as during last season, what’s important is that you have some other guys who can step up in his stead.  Also, let’s not forget he had a freak injury last year, and there’s no reason to think he won’t return 100%.

Secondly, both Lamar Miller and Melvin Gordon should be in better situations come 2016.  The former was signed to the second-highest running back contract this off-season, to a team that knows how to get their lead back involved.  Gordon, though not overly good as a rookie, should return to a healthier offense that returns all their lineman healthy, and added speedster Travis Benjamin in free agency.  It’s easy to see the pair putting up elite and solid numbers, respectively.

Between Blount, Derrick Henry and Theo Riddick, I can see you cobbling out some metaphorical change of pace guys.  Blount always seems to do his best work in New England, where he was recently re-signed, and Riddick remains one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL.  Henry appears headed toward being a Day Two NFL draft pick, and it’s not hard to see him carving out at least a prominent role in a timeshare as a rookie.  All told, your cupboard is far from barren – injuries happen, but it shouldn’t do anything to dampen your long-term outlook.

  1. I’m in a 12-team, half-PPR with deep rosters where we keep our entire roster. My current receiving corps is ridiculous and my tight ends are set, but my running backs could be an issue, with only Jonathan Stewart, Cameron Artis-Payne, Melvin Gordon, Jeremy Hill, Chris Ivory, and Ryan Mathews. I know I need help there, but my league seemingly hates trading unless they are blown away by an offer. Any suggestions on guys I might try to go after, even knowing that it would take an overpay?David in CA

Considering your league’s predisposition against trading, you’ll more than likely be looking for players who, for one reason or another, are selling for under market value.  As such, I’d look towards the following types:

Undervalued Veterans – There always seems to be a smattering of dynasty folk who will move heaven and earth to rid themselves of aging players.  As such, I think you should look towards guys like Rashad Jennings, LeSean McCoy, Justin Forsett, Frank Gore and Matt Forte.  Jennings and Forsett shouldn’t cost much at all, and the remaining trio still appears locked into substantial workloads for 2016.

The Committee Backs – These are the guys who likely make their hay in the passing game, and are probably on the lesser part of a timeshare.  Nevertheless, they can still put up numbers.  I’d look for guys like Theo Riddick, Charles Sims, Alfred Morris, Ka’Deem Carey, and even Shaun Draughn.

Failure to Launch – These are rookies whose respective prices might have fallen because they simply didn’t establish themselves in Year One.  I’d look towards Ameer Abdullah, Duke Johnson and Tevin Coleman.  All three are likely cheaper than they were a year ago, but were highly drafted by their respective teams for a reason.

  1. For the last three years I’ve had a core consisting of Andrew Luck, Gio Bernard, Alshon Jeffery, DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins and Greg Olsen, but have exactly one playoff win in that span. Last year I was able to add Todd Gurley and Doug Martin, but still missed the playoffs with some gut-wrenching luck. With my bench rounded out by guys like DeVante Parker, Carlos Hyde, Matt Jones, and Martavis Bryant, I see myself as one of 2-3 stacked teams at the top of our league, teams I foresee winning the next 3-4 championships. With such little luck with this core, I’m starting to get itchy to try and make a major move. Can you talk me down from this ledge, or do you see a worthwhile move that won’t totally mortgage my future?Tanner in MA

You shouldn’t be on a ledge at all, you should be buying a stairway to fantasy heaven!

It sounds like luck (figuratively, and literally given your quarterback situation) hasn’t been on your side recently, but the fact is there’s no sort of predictive process here.  Andrew Luck missed time last season, but that’s never happened before.  Alshon Jeffery had some injury issues, but played in every game the two seasons prior.  Carlos Hyde hardly helped you out last season, but he should be back as the RB1 on what should be an improved offense.

In fact, let’s consider the flip side of the equation – you actually have quite a few guys on your team who rebounded well from their injury woes.  Allen Robinson played a full season last year, as did Doug Martin, despite being inactive for large stretches of 2014.  Both Todd Gurley and DeVante Parker bounced back from collegiate injuries to post numbers as rookies.  Martavis Bryant isn’t going to help you out, perhaps ever again, but you seem to be on the upswing moving forward.

Adding in your Clemson receiving duo and one of the best tight ends in the league in Greg Olsen, I wouldn’t give into off-season boredom.  You have elite players across every position, and depth to boot.  By leaving your team as it’s currently constructed, every step you take away from the metaphorical ledge is one towards a future league crown.

  1. I’d like to know where a newcomer to dynasty can find a solid league? Whether the buy in is $40 or $100, it’s hard to trust a name in a forum who says “I’m looking to create a startup with a $40 entry.” Is there a place I don’t know about where I can find 12-14 good people and ensure a payout? I joined an FFPC dynasty last month ($500 per season is their smallest buy in) only because I’ve been playing with them for years and I know I can trust getting paid, but I’d like to do more than one league.Ty in CA

Unfortunately, if you’re not starting up a league with owners you know, the burden of proof is going to be there until it’s not.  In other words, you won’t know if you’re getting paid until you get paid.  With that said, there are options out there:

I know you don’t want to sift through forums, but the Help Wanted Forum here at DLF undoubtedly contains the most hardcore dynasty guys and gals around.  Many have been around the forums forever, meaning you can come to expect a certain level of camaraderie.  They’ll be strangers, but really in name only – you simply don’t come to the greatest dynasty forum on the web looking to stiff fellow dynasty aficionados.

You could, and should, also join Twitter.  If you follow the right guys, you’ll find there are always new leagues starting.  In fact, our very own Ryan McDowell starts roughly 15-20 new leagues (note:  numbers may be slightly exaggerated) every year, and as one of the best commissioners in the business, you can certainly trust him.  The dynasty Twitter community may be relatively small, but you’ll certainly find it accommodating.

If you’re still concerned, however, look for a league with a mechanism for automated collection and payout.  LeagueSafe is one such option, and I’m sure there are many others.  This will ensure that no matter who you play against, the money will be there.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27

eric hardter