Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Selling Low, ‘Robust RB’, and Elite QB Tiers

Shane Manila

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). Free agency is now far behind us. The 2023 NFL Draft has now come and gone. It’s the quiet season until training camps open, but that doesn’t mean the questions ever stop. With most of us with at least several rookie drafts under our collective belts, our rosters are starting to come into focus for 2023, but there’s no time to rest.

Bizzaro Shane

I am often asked if I am in fact “The Worst” then who would be the best Shane? There’s a strong list of Shanes in the fantasy community and one of the front-runners has to be DLF’s own Shane Hallam. If you’re looking for great devy or rookie analysis, Shane is one of the best in the business to turn to.

Sold too low?

First, you can find the Dynasty Fantasy Mailbag right here every Tuesday, and if you’re looking for the article archive you can see that here.

Now let’s look at this trade and see how Jake made out. Using the DLF Trade Analyzer it appears that Jake is a slight loser in this deal. The analyzer has the trade as fairly uneven, with Jake’s trade partner getting the better of him by about 20%, which is the equivalent of a 1.07, 1.08 in terms of rookie picks.

word image 1442723 1

word image 1442723 2

If Jake wanted this deal to be even, he could have asked for a player in the range of Jerry Jeudy, Treylon Burks, Chris Godwin, or Tony Pollard from the veteran player pool. I’m going to disagree with the calculator and call this deal even, at worst. The 1.03 and 1.04 are the same tier, but the 1.03 does give you control of who you draft between Bryce Young and CJ Stroud. Considering the fact the Seahawks just added another running back in the second round of the draft, I would be ecstatic if anyone was willing to give me a future first for Kenneth Walker, and Dotson and Conner are a wash. It’s hard to see a path for a better deal for Jake than the one he pulled off.

Is Robust RB the way to go?

My first inclination to this tweet was to agree and say that yes, going “bully” running back would be a great build for your dynasty roster in order to buck the trend of wide receiver-heavy rosters. I’m always for zagging against others’ zigs, but as I dig in a little further it’s hard to advocate for this approach, at least not in the early rounds of drafts.

Looking at the top 16 positional scoring of wide receivers and running backs vs 2022 ADP shows that early wide receiver is still the way to go. The average ADP of the top 16 scoring running backs last year was 5.4, for the top 16 wide receivers it was 4.1, a full round earlier. Of the top 16 scoring running backs last year you could have drafted 11 (69%) of them in the fourth round or later of startup drafts, for wide receivers that total was just seven (43%). This is just a one-year snapshot of production, but what it shows is that you can more easily find elite running back production later in drafts than you can in the case of wide receivers.

This is to say nothing of the trade value of the positions, where wide receiver remains king. That might be the area where we can build up our rosters through a “bully RB” approach. Understanding the inherent risk of building a roster around running backs, we can more easily trade for elite running backs than wide receivers.

Expanding tiers of elite quarterbacks

In the circles I run in, there is a consensus number of “elite” quarterbacks.

Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Trevor Lawrence, and Justin Fields are consistently considered elite, with Kyler Murray sneaking in on my list. These are the types of quarterbacks that I like to say can put up crooked-number weeks (30+ performances). They are all a tier above the next level of quarterbacks, Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins.

The 2023 class adds at least one quarterback to this tier in Anthony Richardson, who has the tool kit to produce at top-five levels. I’d also argue that Bryce Young and CJ Stroud also expanded this elite tier of quarterbacks, to 13. Next year’s class includes Caleb Williams, who is already regarded as a top-12 dynasty quarterback, as well as Drake Maye, who can enter that conversation with another strong season.

Using DLF quarterback dynasty rankings, we see that every quarterback I already consider elite is 27 years old or younger. After several years of hearing about how bad the quarterback play in the NFL has been, we are about to enter a boom period. Even if only a half of the 2023 and 2024 class hits at quarterback, we could be looking at a situation where QB1 through QB14 could be actually elite.

word image 1442723 3

There will continue to be a divide between the truly elite scorers in fantasy. For instance, only three quarterbacks averaged at least 24 points per game last year, but it’s feasible that the truly elite scoring tier will also expand. I’ve already started to adjust my approach in my startup drafts. I’ve been less hellbent on trading back into the first round to secure a Hurts/Herbert, Mahomes/Jackson type of quarterback room, and more willing to take the risk that Young, Stroud, or Richardson will be able to produce at elite levels.

shane manila
Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Selling Low, ‘Robust RB’, and Elite QB Tiers