Monday, July 4, 2022

Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Managing DeAndre Hopkins’ suspension, trading 1.01, and contender targets

We’ve entered into what should be a relatively quiet time in Dynasty Fanasy Football. Assuming nobody gets hurt at OTAs, we’re dealing with a lot of coachspeak, still photos, and beat writer speculation. It’s possible it might even be better for analysis if we didn’t hear some of this stuff, like how much trouble Ja’Marr Chase was having catching the football during training camp last year. 

Different Dynasty managers handle this period in different ways. Some forget about their teams entirely. But you guys are not those types of Fantasy managers. I know that because you’re reading this article. And because I had no shortage of questions when I asked for them on Twitter. So let’s jump right in.

What to do with DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins’ six-game suspension was a big blow to his Dynasty value because of his age. He just turned 30 years old which means he’s almost exclusively a win-now player. Unfortunately, the market for win-now players who are going to miss the first month and a half is microscopic. For me, that makes Hopkins a hold in almost all situations.

If you’re in a rebuild, I would hold Hopkins until the week before he comes back and then look to deal before he hits the field. At his age, a major injury may signal the very end and ruin any chance you have of getting anything for him. I would make an exception if I could get a 2023 1st round pick for him.

If you’re a true contender, Hopkins is a stronghold and you just hope he pushes you over the top when he returns. The fact that his target share shrunk last year does concern me, so I’d expect him to be more of a No. 2 option than the No. 1 he’s been for most of his career. There’s also a risk Marquise Brown is the new No. 1 in Arizona based on his history with Kyler Murray. Still, this suspension has hurt Hopkins’ trade value so much that I think the only play is to hold and hope he can be 80% of his normal self in the second half. Anything more is just gravy on top.

Trading the 1.01

I do not like giving up the best player in a deal and I’m not sure how much a 2023 third-round pick makes a difference for me, but this is an interesting offer nonetheless. DeVonta Smith and Elijah Moore both rank just outside my top-20 Dynasty wide receivers with a combined value that does outrank Hall by about 20%. That being said, my rankings are based on 12-team leagues and depth is far less important in a 10-team league. Stars win 10-team leagues and I think it’s more likely Hall becomes a star than either receiver.

The ultimate determinant here for me would be lineup and scoring settings. In a full PPR league where you have to start two running backs, three receivers, and at least one additional flex I would lean towards accepting the deal. You’re a little long in the tooth at wide receiver and you already have three of my top-20 running backs on the roster. I would feel even better about accepting in a Best Ball league where I don’t have to decide when to start all those wide receivers.

In a non-PPR or half-PPR league, I’m saying no. I’m probably saying no if I’m only forced to start two wide receivers (or I if I have a chance to start all four of those running backs) as well.

Finishing off a rebuild

There are at least four different players I would like to move from this roster by the end of the upcoming season. Some of them are more urgent than others. But it’s June, so we don’t need to rush anything.

Adam Thielen terrifies me. He’ll be 32 years old by the time the season starts and he’s clearly fallen well behind Justin Jefferson in the pecking order. He’s been touchdown-or-bust for most of the past two seasons. A month without a score or a major injury and I’m not sure you can get anything for him. I would be trying to land a 2023 2nd for him now. I would also take a young receiver in the Rondale Moore range. If you can’t do that I’m holding until the start of the season and hoping for a hot start.

I’m less desperate on Allen Robinson, but it seems his perceived value is much higher as well. I’d be shopping him, but I probably wouldn’t accept less than a 2023 1st, and I don’t think you’re getting that yet. You might in September if he gets off to a hot start. Then again, you’ll be lucky to get more than a second if they re-sign Odell Beckham. I’d put Damien Harris in the same boat. He’s not near as old as Thielen or Robinson but he’s a running back on the Patriots and I have little certainty he’s a part of your team when it eventually becomes a winner. 

The one guy I’m holding (but maybe trading in season) is Courtland Sutton. I believe Sutton has a good chance to be Russell Wilson’s best receiver and perception right now seems to favor Jerry Jeudy. I wouldn’t trade Sutton for less than a 2023 1st-plus. 

Trade targets for contenders

I love it when I get to pull a 180 in these mailbags. Assuming you’re looking for the best values and not just the best players; Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette and James Conner are my favorite running backs to target for a win-now team. If you’re looking for even cheaper options to add as a flex I’d go with Ronald Jones and Devin Singletary. If Alvin Kamara is suspended, Mark Ingram might be a starter and he could be on your waiver wire. Sony Michel and Raheem Mostert are dirt-cheap options as well, but who knows what you’ll get out of them.

At wide receiver, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both really solid options who shouldn’t completely break the bank. Michael Thomas as well as long as he isn’t on the PUP list to start camp. DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson should be even cheaper and could absolutely push you over the top if everything goes correctly. The dirt-cheap options at receiver are Kenny Golladay and Julio Jones. They should be close to free.

Thoughts on the Round 2 rookie running backs

This draft class is all over the place, so much so that even guessing which running backs will go in Round 2 are pretty difficult. So I’m using Fantasy Pros consensus rankings as a guide. That means James Cook doesn’t count, because he’s ranked 12th. However, if he’s there in your draft he’s my clear top choice. 

The running backs who are ranked 13-24 are Rachaad White, Dameon Pierce, Isaiah Spiller, Brian Robinson, and Zamir White — in that order. Since you mentioned Tyler Allgeier we’ll include him as well (he’s 26th in consensus, I have him ahead of Robinson and White in Round 2).

Pre-draft Spiller was my favorite and I do think his landing spot provides some significant long-term upside, but as you allude to in the tweet, it may be hard to come by targets as long as Austin Ekeler is healthy. Pierce is my favorite now and I actually believe he has a chance to take the starting job in camp, or very shortly after. He’s also my favorite in redraft and the only one of these backs in my top 36 running backs for 2023.

Rachaad White probably has the most long-term upside, but I really don’t believe he’s going to displace Leonard Fournette, so like Spiller he’s probably waiting for an injury. And even if that injury happens I think he finds himself in a committee because I don’t think he’s getting trusted to protect Tom Brady on third downs. Allgeier has the best chance behind Pierce to start and contribute in 2022. I think it’s very possible he leads the Falcons in rush attempts but his ceiling is capped by Cordarrelle Patterson on both passing downs and in short-yardage situtations. 

I expect both Robinson and Zamir White need at least one year before they get a contributing role. I also don’t think they have as much longterm upside as Spiller or Rachaad White, so they’re last for me. I’d much rather trade my pick for a 2023 2nd than draft either.

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