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T.J. Hockenson

Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Do Tight Ends Even Matter?

We answer your dynasty questions in this week’s mailbag.

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 (if you haven’t joined our Discord, now is a great time to do so), 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.

Do tight ends even matter?

Let’s get one thing clear off the rip. If the tight-end premium isn’t 1.75 or above, it doesn’t matter. What I mean is a 1.5 premium will not make average tight ends elite fantasy assets, even if they see a slight scoring bump overall. For example, Dalton Schultz was the TE11 in PPG last season, with 9.5 PPG in 1.0 PPR leagues. If you add a half-point PPR, he would have scored an additional 28.5 points last year, bringing his scoring up to 12.03 PPG. The WR11 in PPG scoring, Keenan Allen, would have seen an increase of 44.5 points scored last season, moving from 16.4 to 20.8 PPG.

So to the original question, does paying up for a tight end (outside of Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews) in a non-premium league make sense? No, it does not. You could have swapped out T.J. Hockenson and Dallas Goedert for Evan Engram and David Njoku, not suffered much last year, and used the saved assets to acquire Hockenson or Goedert for another position. One outlier to this discussion is Kyle Pitts. Though he hasn’t yet hit his ceiling, I would have no issue with paying up for him based on what his ceiling could be. Instead of paying up for Hockenson coming off what is likely to be the best season of his career, I would instead trade him for Njoku +.

What’s Michael Pittman’s future hold?

I think part of what makes a good dynasty fantasy football analyst or player is being able to recognize when others do strong work and absorbing the information into your takes. J.J. Zachariason’s “The Late-Round Fantasy Football Podcast” gives some of the most actionable information of any fantasy football podcast. Recently he’s discussed both the impact of rookie quarterbacks on their supporting cast’s fantasy prospects and mobile quarterbacks’ impact on fantasy scoring. Both episodes are well worth a listen, but the crib notes version of those podcasts it’s not great. I’ve moved off of Pittman in two of the leagues I own him in, not strictly because of those podcasts, but those podcasts certainly confirmed my concerns. If you’re searching for a framework of a deal to move Pittman, you should turn to the DLF Dynasty Trade Finder for some assistance. Each of these trades below is a good return for moving off of Pittman.

New town, new results?

I have absolutely no hope that Adam Trautman or Marquez Callaway will approach fantasy relevancy at any point in their lives, including the 2023 season. I do like this question, though, because it highlights a common mistake we make in dynasty leagues. Following unsubstantiated narratives. Too often, we give players a pass because they were injured, in a bad system, in a bad offense, or tied to a bad offensive coordinator, instead of judging a player on their merits. I can almost forgive doing this in the case of rookie-year flops, even though that’s also wrong, but for players like Trautman or Callaway, you need to believe what they have shown you. Trautman has never finished as more than the TE31 in PPG; that’s what he is, a role player on an NFL team who is a roster clogger. Callaway’s career high is 8.9 PPG; that is who he is, a role player on an NFL team who is a roster clogger. I’ve used this quote from Maya Angelou many times in the past and will do so many times in the future. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Trade one.

Trading players off your roster is sometimes a delicate dance. What player can I trade for the most value compared to how much trading that player will damage my roster? It’s a beautiful conundrum.

In this specific case, we have Jonathan Taylor, Saquon Barkley, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Brian Robinson. Moving Robinson would be an easy answer, and he would be the easiest to move, but his return would be minimal in any self-respecting dynasty league. Obviously, you should do your due diligence and see if you can add a piece to him and maybe acquire a top-five dynasty wide receiver.

I can’t imagine many deals similar to the one above are being made, but it only takes one. Seriously, this trade above is just terrible. It’s a start-one quarterback league, starts nine, and we’re trading Chris Olave for that package. That is just awful.

In most leagues, though, it would take the JT, Barkley, and Stevenson (+) of the world in order to pull off a deal that gets you back a Chris Olave. If you own all three of these backs or three other highly ranked running backs, I want to move the one who gets me back the biggest return. Every league is its own economy, so I can’t say which of the three running backs would be most highly coveted, but I suspect it’s JT. He’s the youngest of the three, has less of an injury history than Barkley, and has a better pedigree than Stevenson. But taking a look at the DLF Trady Finder brings to light some interesting deals for Barkley, and the return on him is impressive. If I could get the type of value the owners below were able to get, I’d much rather move off of Barkley and hold onto the slightly younger Taylor.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Do Tight Ends Even Matter?
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Johnny Gilroy
3 months ago

Love the take on the NO/Den receivers. It’s similar to what I first thought when I read the question.

Tell Clay to go to you first more often on DTI5. I love Scott but sometimes it’s interesting to get your take because it’s more straight forward and in your face. I’m from NJ so I appreciate that sometimes.

John (Moseskoko)

3 months ago

Would you rather move JT, Ekeler, or Pollard?

Reply to  Shane Manila
3 months ago

Interesting, thanks for the reply Shane! So, you’re not too concerned with Pollard vs Ekeler value changes beyond this year I take it?

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