Jan 28, 2011
Earlier this week, I asked our followers on Twitter to send over their keeper and dynasty league questions for a Q & A column, and here are my answers to the questions I got. I will do another Q & A in a couple of weeks.
Q: Is Jeremy Maclin worth the 1st pick in the 4th round in a PPR? I will have drafted a WR1 by then so he’d be my #2, and with guys like Mike Wallace, both Mike Williams, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Lloyd, Hakeem Nicks, etc. already being kept. Will have 3RB, 1WR, 1QB by this point and can’t see any better WR options being there and too early for a tight end.
A: If you already have five players kept and only 1 WR, then Maclin would be a fantastic option. Heck, you could argue that he’s a better option than DeSean Jackson, given how Maclin is more of a complete receiver. You get the feeling watching this offense that Jackson, while insanely explosive and dangerous, won’t likely get much better. While Maclin could easily improve and do even better things for fantasy.
Q: A few concerning keepers for 2011: Does James Starks or Ryan Grant have more value for the Green Bay Packers? How do you foresee this backfield playing out in 2011? Does Rashard Jennings or Maurice Jones-Drew have more value for the Jacksonville Jaguars? How do you foresee this backfield playing out in 2011? Will Malcolm Floyd ever be a Number 1 WR? For SD? Elsewhere?
-Hoodoo Voodoo Daddy
A: The Starks/Grant question is officially a tough one. The Packers didn’t exactly open up the vault to pay Grant a couple of years ago, so I don’t think his contract is a huge concern. While I think Grant is clearly more of a proven commodity and should be ranked higher (at least now I think that), I do think Starks is a bit more talented. He’s got a little more wiggle, is more explosive, and he looks like a better receiver. He’s just not even close to a proven commodity, and his upright running style could easily lead to more injuries. Maurice Jones-Drew will need four months to recover from his knee surgery, but when he’s back, he’s the guy, no question. Yes, Jennings will play a fair amount and will at times take away some TDs from MJD, but Jones-Drew is the guy. I do like Jennings, but he’s hardly special and doesn’t deserve to get substantial playing time over MJD. Your Malcom Floyd question is a very good one. I love his skill set, but he’s never even cracked 800 yards receiving, and I’m just not sure he’s physical and consistent enough to be truly featured in an offense. That said he could still be a great fit for a team like Baltimore, one looking for a legit deep threat. But I’d consider him only a #3 fantasy WR for the next 2-3 years unless his situation changes.
Q: Keep Philip Rivers in 3rd round for only next year. Or keep Jimmy Graham in 12th for three more years?
A: As you likely know, we loved Graham this past year and ranked him as our #1 keeper TE. However, veteran Jeremy Shockey is still under contract in 2011, and Graham may need another year to develop. He made some great plays last year, but they were more individual plays, so I’m not sure they were truly within the structure of their offense. In a constantly changing NFL, I’d be inclined to go for the title in 2011 with Rivers as the foundation of my team.
Q: I am in a league where you can keep only one player from the previous year and it requires you to give up a draft pick. What are your thoughts on Peyton Hillis for next year? Can I expect more of the same or was he a flash in the pan? It seems like the defenses were catching up to him by the time the fantasy playoffs rolled around.
A: While I’d be surprised if he had another season like the one he had in 2010, Hillis isn’t a flash in the pan. Early in the season, he was a guy who showed very little lateral ability and simply ran the ball North-South inside. But as the season progressed, he showed some movement ability, and he showcased nice versatility as a receiver. He did wear down, but that’s understandable, since he literally was their offense for most of the season. I do think youngster Montario Hardesty is more talented, but the fact is Hardesty can’t stay healthy, and Hillis was basically a tank in 2010. But to be safe, I’d consider Hillis a low-end #2 fantasy RB going forward, and ideally a high-end #3.
Q: I can only keep one of either Jamaal Charles or Ryan Matthews. I’m leaning towards Charles because of his dynamic skills and apparent better durability. Had picked up Matthews with the thought he would be my long term sustaining RB but after this year I am concerned about him being injury prone. Your thoughts?
A: As much as I like Mathews’ upside if everything goes right for him, there’s no way you can view him as a better keeper than Charles. My #1 rule when determining keepers is to keep anyone who exhibits special qualities, and Charles is clearly special. Even though both guys will split time at least in 2011, Charles has obviously shown he can do a lot with less than an ideal workload. The guy ran better than Chris Johnson last year.
Q: Don’t ask me how but I have Michael Vick, Andre Johnson, Michael Turner, and Jamaal Charles in a 12-team IDP league and finished second. We can declare 2 keepers for the next season… So not a true keeper league but basically every gm gets 2 franchise tags… Who do I keep?
A: For one, Turner needs to be eliminated from contention here. I’m sure he’ll have 1-2 more good years, but he’s clearly slowing down and his margin for error continues to be small. Keeping two of the other three is a tough call, obviously. If I knew I could get a solid option like a Josh Freeman at QB, I might actually be inclined to let Vick go. Keep in mind, he’s over 30 now and took a ton of shots in 2010. Durability is a legit concern, and he did regress a little bit as the season went along this past year. You also have to remember that one more slipup off the field, and he’s done. However, if I was going to be stuck with a shaky option at QB if I let Vick go, I’d probably keep him. I’d then likely let AJ go, since Charles has been so fantastic and is so young.
Q: We will carry over 2 players. I have Chris Johnson, Calvin Johnson, and Roddy White. Will be keeping CJ for sure, but who would be the better keeper between Calvin or R White?
A: That’s a tough call. I might roll with Calvin, simply because I like to play things aggressively and I cannot get past how dominant he can be and how special he is. But there’s little question Roddy is a safer option. The tie-breaker is the QB situation, and Roddy’s is better with Matt Ryan. We just can’t expect Matthew Stafford to stay on the field at this point.
Q: I am in a salary based auction keeper league. We can keep two players for a 20% cost increase in salary. We start with a $100 cap and subtract the 2 keeper’s salaries from that. We can only keep a player for three years max. I have the following players and salaries: Jermichael Finley $2, James Starks $1, Jonathan Stewart $1, LeGarrette Blount $1, CJ Spiller $1, Mike Williams-TB $1 and Sam Bradford $1. I can only keep 2, which of these would you recommend keeping to start next season?
A: It’s a little risky, but again, when I have keeper decisions I focus on talent and whether or not the players have special abilities because those attributes usually rise to the surface quickly unless injuries come up. I would also place an emphasis on a volume RB, since they are rare in today’s day and age. Blount may be a volume back, but Stewart is definitely more talented. I know his foot/toe issue isn’t going away, but I just can’t get past his incredible potential as the lead back for the Panthers this year, which he will likely be. Then to me it would come down to Finley vs. Williams. I love Williams, and Finley’s officially an injury risk, but Finley’s so scary-good, and potentially so much better than anyone else at the position other than Antonio Gates, that I would probably take a chance with him.
Q: I’m having a tough time picking the QB I want to keep for next season (and perhaps many seasons after that): Ben Roethlisberger, Sam Bradford. What do you guys think? Standard scoring but 6 points per TD pass.
A: Not an easy call, but Big Ben is clearly more of a proven commodity, and he continues to stir the Steelers’ offensive drink. Even in 2010, when it didn’t seem like he was going off, Roethlisberger averaged a healthy 21.5 fantasy points per game, good for 7th best in the league. I’d also be a little concerned with the dreaded Sophomore Slump for Bradford. For whatever reason, that seems to be a recurring situation for some young QBs. I do think Bradford is very good, but he’s not yet someone I’d keep over such a proven option like Roethlisberger – unless I was looking more for the long-term.
Q: I’m a long time subscriber and have a trade question for a dynasty league team. Fairly standard scoring and we keep 20 players under salary cap and contract at all times, with 9 starters (QB, 1-2 RB, 2-4 WR, 1-2 TE, 1 K, 1 D/ST). I am rock solid everywhere but RB, where I basically just have LeSean McCoy and Felix Jones. At WR I have among others Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Jeremy Maclin, and Deion Branch. I have been offered this trade: I give up: Maclin and 1st round rookie draft pick in 2012 in exchange for Ahmad Bradshaw and Pierre Garcon. Thoughts?
A: That’s a pretty good deal for you because both your RB and WR corps needs help. Bradshaw was fantastic this past year, and he proved he could handle a large workload and stay on the field, so while he might not last more than 2-3 more years given his lack of ideal size and physical running style, he’s looking good. Garcon had an uneven season, but he should be a fixture here, and Reggie Wayne is clearly slowing down.
Q: I am in a 16-team Dynasty League where we keep 12 in the off-season. I have Drew Brees and Matt Cassel at QB, but I feel weak at RB with Rashard Mendenhall, Felix Jones, and CJ Spiller. I have the last pick in this year’s draft because I won the league (thanks for the tip on TE Graham; he was huge to end the year). My question is: should I trade Cassel for Montario Hardesty? My thought is that I could replace Cassel with my #1 pick – my worry is that Hardesty will be a #2 due to Hillis. I would really appreciate your insight.
A: It’s early, but I don’t know how you can view Hardesty as anything but the backup, based on his injury issues and Hillis’ great 2010 season. I assume you’re in a 2-QB league. And if so, I think you need to get more for a guy like Cassel, who is a solid #2 QB in that type of league. I’d want to get a guy who had a little more value for 2011, like maybe a Mike Tolbert.