Welcome to DLF Mailbag, the article series that answers your questions in long-form. It can be difficult to give a detailed response to questions on Twitter, so this series is designed to do just that. Each week we’ll do a deep-dive on the questions that have been rolling around in your dynasty mind. If there is something you’d like discussed in this format, please send me a message on twitter @FF_TomB and include #DLFmailbag in your tweet. Let’s get into it!
What to do with the Washington backfield?
The running back situation in Washington continues to be one of the most difficult to decipher. Derrius Guice has been plagued with knee injuries throughout his young career and the level of risk increases the longer he is sidelined. Chris Thompson has also dealt with injuries. He will most likely depart in 2020 as an unrestricted free agent. Lastly, Adrian Peterson carried the majority of the workload the past two seasons (462 attempts, 1,940, 12 TDs), but he also finds himself as a free agent this off-season.
Guice is in pretty unique territory to start his career. Since 2010, he is one of 19 drafted players to play fewer than five career games in his first two seasons (one of only four such players drafted in the first four rounds). Only one player on the list went on to accrue more than 260 rushing yards in a season (Mike Gillislee did it three times, with his most being 577 yards in 2016).
If this was not bad enough, the new coaching and front office regime brings more uncertainty. Thompson will almost certainly depart in free agency. Peterson can be cut to save nearly $3M. And we do not know the commitment Ron Rivera or the staff have to Guice. Given his injuries and the potential turnover in their backfield, the team will be investing in depth at the position regardless.
Guice currently maintains top-24 positional value in January ADP. If Peterson leaves and they choose to invest in other positions, Guice has an opportunity to receive significant volume and increase in value over the coming season. In my opinion, there is too much risk and the bottom may fall out entirely if he sustains another injury or the team pivots to a new running back in free agency or the draft.
Players with similar ADP worth targeting include Evan Engram, Robert Woods, or Jarvis Landry. Be mindful that Guice is a polarizing figure, and most owners are either true believers or completely out on him. So do not be discouraged if an initial response is dismissed – chances are there is a Guice die hard in your league.
Which Wide Receivers would you want straight up for Adam Thielen, WR MIN?
Thielen is a challenging player to evaluate this off-season. At age 29, his value has declined and will continue to do so, based solely on his age. He also had a disappointing, injury-riddled 2019 campaign on a team with the third fewest pass attempts per game. While the offensive coordinator, Kevin Stefanski, has departed, there should be minimal change in the offensive scheme with Gary Kubiak calling plays in 2020.
Thielen’s current value places him as the 25th wide receiver off the board in January ADP. As shown above, he had a notable drop in value coming out of this past season. His current value places him in the range of receivers of Christian Kirk (WR24), Tyler Boyd (WR26), and Michael Gallup (WR26).
I highly doubt dynasty team owners would trade away these younger, promising players for Thielen straight up. His owners will have a better chance selling him for lower ranked receivers with upside to outproduce their ADP. Names that may fit this category are Woods (WR30) or Landry (WR31). Not many dynasty owners are excited for these players, who are both slightly younger than Thielen, but who produce consistently every year.
Another consideration is that it is sometimes best to not attempt trades within position, but rather target a running back or tight end. Mark Andrews and Engram are both lower in ADP, and while unlikely they might be sold straight up for Thielen depending on team needs.
Lastly, a note on strategy. This time of the off-season is the worst time of the year to attempt to sell aging veteran players. No one is excited about veterans in the early off-season and most owners are looking to acquire draft picks and rookies. It is typically best to wait until August-October to sell veterans since this is when teams are looking at their starting lineup and shopping to acquire reliable producers to win matchups.
This transitions nicely to our final mailbag question . . . .
How do you balance buying low on vets and holding picks for more value closer to draft?
This is a fantastic question and a difficult balance to strike. Unfortunately, it is also highly circumstantial. As a rule of thumb, it is typically best to hold off on selling picks until as close to the rookie draft as possible to maximize return. That being said, the time before the NFL combine and draft is where rookies are pure upside and have not been hampered by a disappointing 40 time or a less-than-ideal landing spot. Dynasty rosters that are primed for a championship run should be putting feelers out on veterans to explore if the owner is attempting a rebuild and may sell for less than market value (or if they just have serious rookie fever). In this case, it is worth moving the pick because the return provides some cushion for the inevitable pre-rookie draft value bump.
In less conventional leagues such as devy, I am willing to sell rookie picks much more freely. The idea of a “first round pick” has much greater perceived value than their actual worth in many situations. Use this to your advantage to acquire more reliable assets from your league mates.
Thank you for reading! You can follow me @FF_TomB. I am always happy to answer questions and chat all things fantasy.