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Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Rookie RBs and Ambiguous WR Rooms

We open up the dynasty mailbag to answer your questions.

Kendre Miller

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. While it may be the dog days of summer, and seemingly nothing is going on this is a great time to evaluate your rosters and see what changes or upgrades can be made.

What about those rookie running backs?

One important thing to note about player valuation is that it’s more important what the NFL and the fantasy market think of a player than how you value that player. I could have ranked Kendre Miller and Tyjae Spears as the rookie RB1 and RB2 (I did not) of the class but that would be immaterial to how the market ranks these players if I were to try to trade them based on my rankings.

DLF rankings have Miller as the RB35 overall and Spears as the RB43, while Keep Trade Cut rankings have them a bit higher with Miller as RB30 and Spears as RB41. To provide a visual representation of what other running backs are ranked around each player, look at this:

Each of these backs could be higher or lower based on personal opinion, but they generally seemed to be properly ranked. My only real argument would be Devon Achane being ranked below Miller when the path to fantasy relevancy seems clearer for Achane.

A more important data point regarding player valuation would be what the market dictates you can receive in trade for the player. Looking at trades involving Kendre Miller you find very few one-for-one swaps on the DLF Trade Finder.

Based on these trades, unless of course, you can use Miller in a package deal, he is a hold for me. I see no need to move him for another questionable running back in Cam Akers, and I wouldn’t move him for a pick package centered on one second-round pick. There is still room for his value to increase if Alvin Kamara is suspended for any meaningful amount of time in 2023, and Miller gets a significant snap share or even a start. Then I’d expect his value to increase in-season.

At that point, you can make your determination if his short-term production, and even what his 2024 production could be is more valuable than his trade value. I lean towards the belief that Miller is ‘just a guy’, and even if he is the nominal starter in 2024 for New Orleans, he is a replaceable talent and would move off him with any spike in value. Outside of a very good 2022 college season, Miller is a middling running back prospect.

I’m also not very bullish on Tyjae Spears, but I think trading him now would be a fine move. Again utilizing the DLF Trade Finder, Spears’ value is already pretty high on the open market and can be used in packages to secure players like Chris Godwin or Jordan Addison.

While it’s conceivable he could see an increase in value if Derrick Henry were to be injured, I don’t forecast a significant increase. Taking the value now, instead of risking the loss in value and not being able to trade for a player like Godwin or Addison is not a risk I’d like to assume.

Ambiguous wide receiver rooms

If you take a look at the depth charts provided by our friends at 4for4 for the Panthers and Texans, you can see a lack of standout options on either roster. But where there is doubt there is also room for someone to emerge as a WR1 for their respective teams.

The Carolina wide receiver room is an easy one to select the one player worth targeting: Jonathan Mingo. Terrace Marshall and Laviska Shenault have been nothing but disappointments. Shenault did average 11.2 PPG in his rookie season, but has seen a steady decline in the two following seasons and averaged just 5.6 PPG last year. Marshall’s face planted as a rookie and improved to being just bad in his sophomore season. There’s nothing to see here with either player.

Adam Thielen did produce 10.6 PPG last year, but needed 107 targets to get there and ranked 55th in fantasy points per target in 2022. Mingo has the draft capital (drafted 2.08) size and speed, and target availability to overlook his middling production profile, especially considering his current cost (WR42 startup ADP) or cheap acquisition cost via trades.

The Houston wide receiver room has a similar story, there’s the veteran (Robert Woods), who’s likely on his last legs. Nico Collins has been okay through his first two seasons. Collins did see a 19% target share in 2022, but considering his lack of competition for those targets (Chris Moore saw a 14% target share!) something closer to 25% should have been expected.

Courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

The only other receiver worth discussing on the roster is John Metchie. Taking into account his current draft capital (WR71 startup ADP), and the draft capital expended on him in 2022 (2.12), the risk vs. reward makes him the most appealing asset at wide receiver. His production as a college player wasn’t as great as you would hope, though he was able to draw targets (81st percentile in target share) despite playing with future first-rounders in DeVonta Smith and Jameson Williams. Given my choice of Houston receivers, I prefer Metchie to all others.

Future firsts worth

Before the season or early in the season, I like to value future firsts in two categories, based on if I’m trading them away or if I am instead acquiring them in a deal. If I’m trading away a pick I assume it to be an early first, and if I’m trading for a first I assume it to be late. Unless a team I’m acquiring the first from is absolutely stacked or completely bereft of any talent I don’t even want to guess where their first might land. No one can predict variance.

If I assume the pick I’m trading for is less valuable than it eventually turns out to be then it’s a nice win, but if it ends up ending up being a late pick as I expected, then I’ve lost nothing. The opposite holds, if the pick I trade away turns out to be late even better, though I’m less invested in a pick that I trade away.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Rookie RBs and Ambiguous WR Rooms
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Dan Harnack
1 month ago

Me gusta papi

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