Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: How Much Should You Factor in Off-Field Issues?

Eric Hardter

Welcome back to the DLF Mailbag, the preeminent mailbag in all the dynasty fantasy football land. As a reminder, there are multiple ways to pose your burning questions! I’ll be soliciting weekly feedback via X/Twitter (look for a new pinned tweet each Monday), and you can also reach out using our Discord channel, or the old-fashioned way (via our online webform).

Not much material yet again for this week’s cold open. As such, I’ll provide my brief thoughts on the big-time Stefon Diggs trade. In short? Hate it for everyone except CJ Stroud and the ancillary Bills pass catchers. Biggest value up is probably Dalton Kincaid who may just be the clear cut #1 option in the Buffalo passing game. I’m sure Josh Allen will still get by, but you can’t underrate losing your top guy – just look at what happened to Aaron Rodgers when Davante Adams was to the Raiders. Don’t like it for Diggs, Nico Collins or Tank Dell as they all now have increased target competition.

That said…

Houston is going to be a FUN team to watch!

Let’s get to it!

From Twitter…

Going for the Turkey

For those unclear, “turkey” is a bowling term which means a bowler has rolled three strikes in a row. It just sounds cooler than “three-peat,” and is also a delicious bird. I’m a dark meat kinda guy, but truthfully I’m not picky.


I think it’s very important to identify where you stand early in the off-season, as it will influence your future decision-making process. And where Jobie stands, in my opinion, is in an enviable position. Sure, it’s an older roster, but it’s also one that stands a good chance of claiming that turkey.

The other fact is, you’re just not going to get equivalent fantasy value in return for guys like Diggs, Travis Kelce, Raheem Mostert, and Keenan Allen. Looking at their “trade value twins” in DLF’s Trade Analyzer yields players like the below.

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Obviously there exist more trades than these theoretical one-for-ones, but the obvious fact is there are a lot more question marks on the righthand side of the ledger as compared to the left. In an ideal world, the younger players would realize their potential and provide fantasy points for years to come, but we just don’t know if that’s going to happen. And if it doesn’t, you’ll have to do further team-building through additional trades and the 2026 rookie draft (and beyond).

Contending is hard, and we shouldn’t take it for granted. Even if it doesn’t work out, Christian McCaffrey should retain value for a little longer, and Puka Nacua and DJ Moore are still younger studs. It would take an unpredictable conflagration to completely torch your ability to dig out of a theoretical hole – while it’s always nice to have an “emergency fund” of sorts, you can’t play the game based upon the most conservative outcomes possible. “Scared money don’t make money” as the phrase goes. So given your current window along with the fact your fantasy cupboard won’t be bare even if you miss the mark, I say “gobble gobble!”

Characterizing Character

This is a nuanced question that to me breaks down into two distinct parts:

  • Are you worried about a player’s fantasy viability due to the potential of them running afoul of the law, or of league protocol?
  • Does it bother you to roster players with questionable moral fiber?

I’ll start with the second bullet, as I think it might be the more important one. At the end of the day, playing in a fantasy football league is a hobby that you’re supposed to derive enjoyment from. I always say to my wife that a worst-case scenario means I spent money to stay engaged for a minimum of 14 regular season games. Of course, I want to win and it’s frustrating to not reach the mountaintop, but I find it imperative to stop and smell the roses every once in a while, which is to say I try to enjoy the ride and not just the destination.

I mention this because there exists a spectrum of the level of tolerability we as dynasty owners have for bad apples. For some, it’s less fun to roster those types of players. Others couldn’t care less as long as the fantasy returns are plentiful. Most likely, the majority of us fall somewhere in the middle. You need to determine your own preferences here, and ask yourself if it cheapens the fun you’re having to score points on the backs of low-character individuals.

To the first bullet, I’m of the belief that I don’t know nearly as much as the NFL decision-makers do. They’re interviewing the players before the NFL Draft, talking with folks who know the players well, and just doing a deeper dive than you or I could possibly do. So when it comes time for these players to be selected, it’s my interpretation that some of the risk has already been baked into the draft capital.

It’s not an exact science. Consider as a semi-recent example quarterback Johnny Manziel, known warts and all, going 22nd overall in the NFL Draft. Much as none of us are perfect, the NFL gets it wrong too.

Continuing, we don’t always have an estimation of predictability. Terrell Owens told us early and often that he was a diva, and as such it’s not surprising he wore out his welcome in multiple stops. But others like Ray Rice, Henry Ruggs, and now Rashee Rice were near impossible to see coming. Specifically to the latter Rice, I’m not going to minimize what he did, and he was extremely fortunate the results weren’t worse. But unless additional negative information comes to light, I wouldn’t be taking a heavy-handed approach. “He without sin should cast the first stone,” and I won’t pretend I haven’t fractured a law or two while driving in my younger days. And while I wasn’t ever quite that reckless, I eventually learned better and I hope Rice will too.

To that point, Rice’s (and others who have performed bad acts) character arc is not fully written. Players like Michael Vick and Ray Lewis bounced back from their lows and went on to make the most of their second chances. Others like Martavis Bryant and Josh Gordon unfortunately didn’t. I won’t pretend to know what’s going to happen with Rice, and I’m certainly filing the information away for any potential future actions – but much as most things are in fantasy football and life, we have to prognosticate in shades of gray.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27.

eric hardter