Dynasty League Football


Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: The Time Value of Money

We open up the mailbag to answer your dynasty questions.

Jahan Dotson

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.

Jahan Dotson’s dynasty value

Before I dig into whether Jahan Dotson is undervalued in dynasty, let’s take a look at his current value.

He was the QB30 in April DLF mock drafts, the 76th player off the board. Other receivers going off the board around him include Jerry Jeudy, Brandon Aiyuk, Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston, and Marquise Brown. If you’re looking to acquire Dotson, you’ll need to give up running backs in the DLF rankers rank in the RB2 or RB3 range.

I prefer Derrick Henry and Rachaad White straight up to Dotson in the deals above and value him closer to Cam Akers. He’s a WR3 and I would rather take the expected production of Henry even if for just one season, and prefer White due to positional scarcity.

Dotson had a productive rookie season, averaging 10.9 PPG and finishing as the WR38. If this is where he’s valued, as a WR3 he’s preferably valued. I would warn against valuing him any higher than that though, as his scoring was dependent on an unsustainable touchdown-scoring season. Despite just 35 receptions for the season, Dotson had seven touchdowns. His target share was 15.9% as a rookie, which is good, but pales in comparison to what rookies who I consider elite (Drake London and Garrett Wilson) were able to secure. As the WR30, I think Dotson is actually valued correctly.

When should you hold the rookie draft?

I don’t know when the perfect time to hold drafts is but I will scream from the mountaintops about the worst time to hold them: pre-NFL Draft rookie drafts are the absolute worst. I don’t care if you think it gives you a leg up on your competition because you know more about rookies than everyone else in your league, they are just terrible. I grind at this game as much as anyone, including digging into devy players and rookie classes well before the draft, but feel no need to draft before the NFL.

We look at all the angles when it comes to these players: production profiles, athletic testing, level of competition, but for some reason, people want to draft before the most important piece of the puzzle – draft capital – is in place. I’ve had my successes in drafting players later than I would have if the rookie draft was after the NFL Draft, and I’ve also had my share of Hakeem Butlers and Malik Willis’s, and my stance really has nothing to do with those hits and misses.

Hold your rookie drafts after the NFL Draft. I actually like doing rookie drafts in a couple of parts, assuming it’s an existing league and not after a startup draft – holding two rounds of the draft in May, and another two rounds in August. This allows the later-round picks to accrue in value as the news blurbs and camp tweets inundated our timelines.

Leaving on a jet plane

Yes, there is. Talk to anyone that is a league commissioner and they’ll all tell you the same thing. Make sure you communicate that you’re leaving the league as quickly as possible, preferably once the season concludes. Definitely do not wait until rookie season is rolling around, which leaves your league scrambling to fill your spot before they can start their draft. I left several leagues last year as I focus more on my podcast and YouTube channel listener leagues, and let each commissioner know as soon as the playoffs concluded.

If you have traded future first-round rookie picks, you should make sure you’ve paid for whichever years you traded. That’s it. Communicate to the commissioner early that you are leaving the league and make sure you’re paid up.

Is that even a real year?

I get more questions about trading rookie picks two to three years out now than I have in the past. When looking at moving future firsts, it’s important that we take into account the concept of the “Time Value Of Money”. This is a concept that you learn on your first day of economics and in essence, the “Time Value of Money” states:

“A sum of money in the hand has greater value than the same sum to be paid in the future.”

Put even more plainly, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. But this is fantasy football and this concept doesn’t fit perfectly. If this was a deal that involved just draft picks, it would be an apple-to-apple comparison, but players’ values are as defined.

What we can do though is ballpark a player’s value, and if I told you that JK Dobbins is worth an early second-round rookie pick in start 1QB leagues, I think we would be in agreement. The 2026 first is probably worth about a 2023 second-rounder, while the 2026 second-rounder is worth a 2023 third or fourth-rounder. That would mean, just from a pick perspective, doing this deal is essentially two 2023 seconds and a 2023 third-round pick for a 2026 first. You can actually use a calculator to determine whether this is a good deal to make.

But as you might be aware, fantasy football is not really finance, and is more art than science when it comes to trading.

I would not make this deal.

Yes, 2026 is a long time away, giving you three more seasons to recoup that first-rounder, but I don’t want to be in the habit of selling what someday will be a valuable asset (2026 first), for what is at best a middling asset (Dobbins). While in a vacuum these deals might not matter, it’s too easy to keep making deals like this once you make the first one. You keep chasing the now, when the now is not even that great, and when the future is now you are left with no assets. Dobbins is not making a significant impact. He is not a hammer, and he’s not a good enough player to bend my rules for. If this same deal were on the table but the running back was Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, or even Derrick Henry I would be much more inclined to make the deal, but trading for middling assets is not something I’m looking to do.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: The Time Value of Money
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