Welcome back to the DLF Mailbag, the preeminent mailbag in all the dynasty fantasy football land. This year I’ll be answering questions from you via Twitter, Discord, or the old-fashioned way (via email). We’re creeping closer and closer to the NFL Draft, with the Scouting Combine and all the data points it provided us now in our rearview. The mock drafts we will see in the next couple of weeks hold more water than those before them.
The dynasty season is on fire, so keep your questions coming!
Heck it's Friday, I sure could use some questions for the next @DLFootball mailbag this week. What do you have for me #FantasyTwitter
— … I'm just killing time (@ShaneIsTheWorst) April 15, 2023
Rankings vs league size
8 team, 10 team, and 14 team SF leagues (start 10). How do your rookie draft values/rankings change related to Young Stroud ARich and Levis 👖 in the 1st round of rookie drafts compared to a 12 team league?
— Daniel McGunnigle (@McGunnigle) April 15, 2023
When leagues vary in size, even with sufficiently deep starting lineups, there are obvious effects on how players are ranked. For instance, while quarterback is king in superflex leagues, whether or not it’s an 8-team, 10-team, 12-team, or 14-team, they are more scarce as the league size increases, which in turn increases their value in those leagues. This is particularly acute for this quarterback class because we have what are considered the safe options in Bryce Young and CJ Stroud vs the risker/higher ceiling options in Anthony Richardson and Will Levis. (Though I for one think Young has a ton of upside, considering his scrambling ability and that Levis’ upside is tempered by his floor. For that matter Richardson’s upside is also tempered by his floor, but his ceiling is so high he’s a better risk than Levis.)
In an 8-team league, I would take the risk on Richardon’s upside and rank him as my QB1, of the class. The opportunity cost lost on spending a high pick on Richardson is far outweighed by his ceiling and his impact in an 8-team league. If he does bust, I should be able to acquire a starting quarterback easier than in larger leagues, as just 16 are needed for each team to start two in a superflex. While a 10-team league is similar, the availability of quarterbacks is a bit more limited and I would lean towards Young as my QB1. In any 12-team or larger league, CJ Stroud and his relative safety is my QB1, Young my QB2, Richardson QB3, and Levis my QB4. Stroud is the perfect mix of floor/ceiling, in 12 and 14-team leagues, where you still want to shoot for upside without the risk of a Richardson. All this comes with the caveat that the NFL Draft can have an impact on these rankings, as does the current roster construction of my team’s in rookie drafts. Context always matters.
Buy now, sell now
Who are you trading for now before they gain value (besides Olave) And who are you actively shopping before they lose value (besides pollard & Stevenson )? Thank you!
— WorldSerpent82 (@WorldSerpent82) April 15, 2023
Michael Pittman is a player I keep coming back to when trying to acquire a player who is undervalued by the market right now. Despite objectively poor quarterback play over the past two seasons, Pittman has still found his way to a WR22 finish (PPG) and a WR21 finish in 2022. Though he’s not efficient – ranking 40th in fantasy points per target in 2021 and 76th in 2022 – Pittman has been elite at attracting targets. His 25.6% target share last season was good enough for 17th and in 2021 he ranked 14th at the wide receiver position.
Improved quarterback play could move Pittman from a back-end WR2 to a high-end WR2, if not better. With the Colts almost certain to select a quarterback in the NFL Draft, I expect more people to come around to this narrative, increasing Pittman’s value. He is easy to acquire in superflex leagues. The DLF Dynasty Trade Finder provides multiple examples of Pittman being acquired for a late first-round rookie pick or in exchange for a middling package of players. If you want to acquire Pittman, use the trades below as a template to do so.
One player I’m looking to sell is TJ Hockenson. After a great run last year after joining the Minnesota Vikings, Hockenson is currently the TE4 in KeepTradeCut rankings, which I feel is pretty aggressive. The community sets the rankings for KTC, which means this is a sell-high window.
While Hockenson did increase his scoring by one point per game with Minnesota compared to his first eight games with Detroit last year, his peripherals were kind of meh. He accounted for fewer receiving yards per game, and touchdowns scored per game while with Minnesota. Hockenson did see a marked increase in target share, from 17.8% to 21.8%, which actually makes me more concerned than it does inspire confidence in his production going forward.
The Vikings receiving weapons, outside of Justin Jefferson, were extremely poor last year. Adam Thielen looked like a shell of himself, and the Vikings cut him at the season’s end. KJ Osborn had his best season with 90 targets, which is fine for an NFL team’s third wide receiver, but not so much for their WR2 as he was by default last year. If the Vikings add any receiving options to the offense and Hockenson sees even a minimal decrease in targets, his production will suffer. He is clearly a top 12 tight end, but I’m cashing out if anyone thinks he’s a top four tight end.
I could have been a contender
1QB PPR which is the better pick for a contender JSN or Gibbs
— Greg Kolb (@gregkolb88) April 17, 2023
In general, I don’t subscribe to drafting players based on specific needs if it means reaching for a player over another player I have ranked/rated higher. But… in this case, I have Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jahmyr Gibbs fairly even, so I would be fine drafting whichever player I think could help me immediately.
Looking back to last year and the year prior doesn’t give me much to work with. Just looking at high-end scoring, there have been four rookie running backs to score at least 13.6 PPG over the past two seasons, and there have been three rookie wide receivers over the same time frame. No, it’s not the most scientific of studies, and 13.6 is pretty arbitrary but I found it interesting. Without knowing where Gibbs is going to be the RB2 of this class and his landing spot, I would lean towards drafting Smith-Njigba, because I feel he has a skill set that lends itself to instant production, and he’s the better long-term asset.