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.
Anything on your mind? Let me know what’s bouncing around your brain for this week’s @DLFootball mailbag.
— Shanesays (@ShaneIsTheWorst) June 17, 2023
One of those good problems to have.
Say you have the 1.01 and 1.04. Would you rather have Bijan/CJ Stroud or AR/Gibbs?
— Ryan Blas (@CoachBlasOL) June 17, 2023
This is a great question. It comes down to do you want the upside of Anthony Richardson or the relative “safety” of C.J. Stroud. And is the delta between those two players significantly more or less than the delta between the running backs in this deal? Because when looking at the running backs involved in this trade, it’s not particularly close; even if Jahmyr Gibbs is the RB2 of this class, Bijan Robinson is looked at as a generational prospect. For an unbiased review of the value of these players, I plugged each of those picks into the DLF Trade Analyzer, and it favors the Robinson/Stroud side by a significant margin.
The analyzer determines that for these sides to even out, the Richardson/Gibbs side would need to include some fairly valuable players or another first-round rookie pick.
When looking at the values assigned to each player, that also favors the Robinson/Stroud side when you look at Robinson vs. Richardson and Stroud vs. Gibbs, which is what you would be looking at in a real rookie draft.
If you’re shooting for the upside, I understand taking the Richardson side of this deal. If we assume that both Richardson and Robinson hit their ceiling in fantasy, which player would end up being more valuable to both your lineup or as a trade asset? Both players have the upside to be the most valuable player in fantasy at their respective positions. Still, all things being equal, an elite quarterback is more valuable than an elite running back.
From an ADP perspective, think about where the RB1 (Robinson) in DLF rankings and DLF’s most recent ADP goes off the board compared to the elite quarterbacks. The RB1 isn’t drafted until the QB8 (Justin Fields) is off the board. From that perspective, Richardson would be the play. But that doesn’t account for the risk involved with drafting a quarterback who started barely more than a season’s worth of games in college while completing passes at a 54.7% clip. I prefer the relative safety of Robinson/Stroud to the risk associated with Richardson/Gibbs.
Fields of upside.
Should we be trying to sell Fields high-ish, or should we *believe* in his rank.
— Ryan Mallady 🇺🇦 (@MalladyRyan) June 19, 2023
Justin Fields is currently ranked as the QB7 in DLF rankings and QB8 in KTC rankings. My gut tells me that’s too high, but it’s not blatantly so. Though ranked later by DLF, I prefer Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson to Fields, but that’s probably splitting hairs.
More important than what I believe is what the market thinks, and the market per KTC prefers Fields over both those players, as well as Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, and Anthony Richardson. The concern around Fields is obvious; he was atrocious as a passer last season. His 60% completion % ranked 30th in the NFL last year, 24th in completion % under pressure, and 22nd in deep ball completion %. Fields efficiency rankings are also abysmal, as a passer.
But that didn’t matter for fantasy last year as Fields finished as the QB5 in PPG and had ten games out of 15 played where he finished as the QB8 or higher for the week. Even if Fields doesn’t improve as a passer, which is unlikely considering normal development, and improvement in his available pass catchers, he would still be elite.
Should you trade Fields? That depends on the return. If you can package Fields and Tee Higgins to get Watson, the 1.04, and a valuable trade asset like George Pickens, I’m on board in a superflex league.
I am on board with trading Fields, but it’s only in specific situations. If someone wants to give you a top 15-18 WR on top of Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence, or Deshaun Watson, make that deal. If you can add a WR3 or a 2nd-round rookie, pick to tier up to Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, or Patrick Mahomes, make that deal. Outside of those instances, though, I see no reason to move off of Fields based on his current market and fantasy upside.
How are we handling Howell?
Let’s talk about Sam Howell. He has the inside track to get the starting job in Washington. Do we sell him now before folks see a bottom 3rd of the league QB taken in the 5th round, or will his legs make him worth more later in the year/next off season?
— Jeff Jacobs (@AlphaMaleJMJ) June 19, 2023
Moving from the elite tier of QBs, we now slide down to one of the QBs that occupies the lower regions. Sam Howell is currently the QB32 in both DLF rankings and DLF’s most recent ADP, which feels right. I’m a big fan of history, so using the draft finder tool on Stathead to find every quarterback drafted in the fifth round or later in the NFL draft since the sport’s inception. It’s not great, Bob. In seven seasons, including 2021, the best player drafted was Gardner Minshew III, with Mike White, who’s given you two top seven weeks in his four-year career, probably being the second-best fantasy asset. Trevor Siemian is also on this list, so maybe he’s the fantasy darling in this list, but either way, it’s a bad list.
I only generated this list to set our expectations at a reasonable level for Howell. In the best-case scenario, he could be a player that starts one season, maybe even two, and is slightly better than not bad, like Gardner Minshew during his time in Jacksonville.
If you can trade Howell for a viable fantasy asset, and you’ll likely need to include Howell in a package to do so, I would suggest doing so now. I would hold if trading him for a singular rookie pick unless it’s a 2nd (or somehow better).
My reasoning for this is simple. If you can only get a 3rd right now for Howell, what’s the furthest his value can fall from that? A 4th rounder? Nothing? Losing out on the ability to cash out on 4th round pick means nothing. But losing out on the ability to secure a 2nd round pick is a significant loss.
If looking at this through the prism of trades involving players, use the same thought process. If you can trade Howell for a player with a reasonable expectation of increasing in value or holding points scoring value today (James Conner-type player), then make the deal. If the best you can get is a wide receiver rookie flop like Skyy Moore, then hold and hope that Howell plays well enough to accrue more trade value.
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