Welcome to the latest edition of the weekly mailbag.
Send me your questions using the DLF Mailbag Form and I’ll include the best in future articles. Remember the guidelines to have the best chance at seeing your question get posted:
1.) Dynasty questions only, no start/sit questions
2.) Help me help you by providing sufficient information about your league (e.g. line-up requirements/PPR or non-PPR/etc.), and include your first name and where you’re from.
3.) Your chance of getting your question answered is inversely proportional to the length of the question.
Let’s get to it!
*Editor’s Note – For total team evaluations, please be sure to use the DLF Newsletter Team Advice Form!*
- How do you view Charcandrick West’s value behind Jamaal Charles (assuming Charles is fully healthy next season)? In a league where we keep 16 players, I’ll probably need to drop one of the following: West, Tevin Coleman, Jay Ajayi, or Ronnie Hillman. Suggestion on who should be dropped? – Scott in CA
I’ve got nothing against Chiefs running back Charcandrick West. To a reasonable extent he did what was expected of him, which was step in for a top-three NFL running back and hold down the for in a respectable manner. His efficiency didn’t set the world on fire (just 3.8 YPC), but he functioned as a true three-down running back and offered a credible threat opposing defenses were forced to respect.
With that said, the Chiefs running back factory seems to be able to churn out fantasy studs (not named Knile Davis) at a breakneck pace, as most recently backup to the backup Spencer Ware has averaged 6.3 YPC across the past three games, with six receptions and a whopping four touchdowns to boot. The sample size remains definitively small, and this is Ware’s first sniff of fantasy stardom since his entry into the league in 2013, but you can’t deny the guy has played well. He, along with West, has proven there’s a spot in the league for him. [inlinead]?
But come ON! This is Jamaal Freakin’ Charles, a man who has never met a season where he couldn’t average 5.0 YPC! He’s a stud to the fullest degree of the word, and I have no reservations whatsoever that he’ll return next year, full strength, as good as ever. I currently have him ranked as my dynasty RB10, and given the impossibly bizarre landscape of the position (Shaun Draughn is a RB1 the rest of the year, folks), I don’t view that as a stretch in the slightest.
So truth be told, I wouldn’t have an issue if you had to cut West. He’s an exclusive rights free agent (aka: he’ll be a Chief next year), and I believe the other players you listed have a clearer path to playing time and fantasy goodness. In contrast with the age old advice, don’t go West, young man!
- I started up a dynasty league this year, full of newbies, me included. From what I’ve heard in the podcasts, it seems like streaming kickers and defense is the way to go, and not wasting a roster spot just to have a backup D or kicker. But when I look at the other players in my league it seems everyone has at least one backup and some have multiple. Even the savvy GMs that I respect and know their stuff do it. Is there something I’m missing? – Nathaniel in MN
You’re not missing anything. Unless your scoring system is such that it penalizes a defense (giving up too many points or yards) or kicker (missing field goals/extra points, or having a bonus for field goals attempted), you typically won’t find an aberrantly good option in the bunch. Yes, it’s nice to know players like Stephen Gostkowski will convert 90+% of his chances, or that the Seattle Seahawks will typically play stout defense. But for every “safe” play at these positions there are guys like Graham Gano who crawl out of the woodwork, and defensive units like the Eagles (!?!) who are somehow near the top of the pack. Simply put, the upside remains in the skill positions.
And when it comes to maximizing the talent on your roster, that’s ultimately where you want to look. Because every year there are guys that pop up out of nowhere, all throughout the season and off-season, who could potentially afford you a greater relative advantage should they pan out. For example, just look at previous unknowns like Draughn, West, Ware, Willie Snead, Gary Barnidge and the like. If you had the extra space, perhaps you could’ve been lucky (or wise) enough to nab one of those fine fellows. If you rostered multiple kickers or defenses though, that probably wouldn’t have been the case – to me, once byes are finished, I just don’t see the reason to hold more than one apiece of either.
- After losing Jimmy Graham I am left with Jordan Cameron. I am out of the playoffs so I am basically looking ahead to next year and beyond. How would you rank these tight ends going forward: Charles Clay, Coby Fleener (I suspect he or Dwayne Allen will leave Indy), Gavin Escobar and Jesse James (both behind aging vets)? – GBDiehard in WI
Honestly I’m not in love with any of the options you’ve listed above, as they essentially run the range of ancillary pieces to not yet proven entities. Of course, at the tight end position, the latter remains more of the rule than the exception, and it’s certainly no indictment of a player’s talent if he can’t create or sustain early success. As such, I have a certain hesitance even placing Pittsburgh’s Jesse James amongst the other three, as he’s a raw rookie who hasn’t seen the field apart from in relief of Behar-favorite Heath Miller, while the others have been in the league for several years. If you have the roster space for James I think he’s a worthwhile stash for forward-thinking owners, as Miller can’t play forever, but I don’t have my immediate hopes up.
As for the other three, I think I still have Bills tight end Charles Clay in the lead. If nothing else he’s shown intermittent signs of fantasy sustainability with two teams now, even if he hasn’t been able to act as a surefire weekly contributor. Given the dearth of upper-echelon talent at the position, I’m content rostering players who have at least shown that ceiling, while also grabbing a few guys like James above.
With Fleener, I don’t think he’s shown anything to lead us to believe he’ll be a future stud in 2016 and beyond, be it with the Colts or some other franchise. More often than not he’s ran as the third or fourth option at best in Indy, despite the injuries and relative ineptitude (I’m looking your way, Andre Johnson) of the team’s other players. I think I’d actually rather own Dwayne Allen, who at the very least is a well-rounded, three-down positional option.
With Gavin Escobar, we’ve seen some Ladarius Green-esque flashes, but not a whole lot else. When you play behind an iron man and future Hall of Famer like Jason Witten, it’s not wholly unsurprising that the guy couldn’t get on the field. With that said, he’s never approached the cost of his San Diego backup counterpart, and therefore makes for a relatively cheap stash. He has only one more year until his potential departure from Big D (or perhaps finally a shot at number one duties), which is little more than the blink of an eye in the dynasty universe.
So gun to my head, I’d have Clay out in front, followed by Escobar and then James close by. Fleener, in my estimation, isn’t even in the conversation. If you can find a way to roster two of the three I think you’d be maximizing your future potential, and perhaps even finding an upgrade to your underwhelming current starter.
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