Fantasy Football Mailbag: Tuesday 8/16/16
Fantasy football research never stops, and offseason news can really complicate things, especially when coaches talk up second- and third-string players. That's why we're starting up a fantasy football mailbag.
Have a question about a certain player, team, draft strategy, or anything football? Shoot us a question on Twitter or send an email to Jim.Sannes@FanDuel.com, and we can talk anything fantasy football related -- even daily fantasy football.
Now, let's answer some questions.
Email submission from Tyler Martin
Trying to decide who to keep (10-team, PPR dynasty). Should I keep Edelman for a 4th round pick or keep Delanie Walker for a 9th round pick? Thanks!
This one certainly got a bit more interesting today with the Tennessee Titans trading Dorial Green-Beckham to the Philadelphia Eagles, freeing up more targets for Delanie Walker. Even with that and the reduced cost, though, it'd be hard to give up Julian Edelman.
Normally when balancing which player is a better value, we'll turn to current-year re-draft ADP to see which player's keeper round is lower relative to their ADP. Doing this for 10-team, PPR leagues would show you that Walker is a better value, and that's before we see the full effects of the Green-Beckham trade. He'll likely creep a bit higher before the end of August, but it's still not enough to overcome the lack of touchdown potential.
As with every fantasy football asset, our first point of emphasis should be the player's ability to get into the end zone. More efficient offenses create more touchdown drives, thus incentivizing us to target players on efficient offenses.
The immediate rebuttal here would be that Walker's role as a tight end would help lower that gap, but that's absolutely not true. In only nine games last year, Edelman saw more red-zone targets (17) than Walker saw in 15 games (16). Walker's 241-pound frame makes him a great fantasy asset, but it's hard for him to utilize it if his team can't generate scoring opportunities.
Finally, we also must mention the Titans' insane desire to run an "exotic smashmouth" offense. Even if Walker sees an increase in his target share (and that's not a given with the additions of Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe), the Titans' desire to run the ball may negate any gains there. It's hard to get too excited about any aspect of the Titans' passing game if they insist on pounding with the ground game.
From a value perspective, Walker's the better pick here. Even with that in mind, though, Edelman's situation is so infinitely superior to that of Walker that it'd be hard to make the decision based solely on value.
@numberFire would u trade diggs and romo for tyrod and Snead? think this gives me more upside at qb and a high floor. Ppr lg want qb upgrade
— Thad Junco (@ThadJunco) August 16, 2016
Considering how close both quarterbacks and both receivers are in their current ADP's, this is an extremely interesting proposition. Despite the closeness, it'd be hard to pass on the possibility of acquiring Tyrod Taylor and Willie Snead.
As discussed last week when Taylor got his extension with the Buffalo Bills, he balled out his first season as a starter. It's not quite as silly as what Tony Romo did in his heyday with the Dallas Cowboys, but Taylor's efficiency was noteworthy. That's before we check out what he can do with his legs.
In 14 games last year, Taylor logged at least 40 rushing yards in nine separate affairs, the equivalent of an extra passing touchdown in most leagues. When you add that to his efficiency as a passer, it's fair to give him an edge on Romo and the Cowboys' snail-like offensive pace.
In weighing Snead versus Stefon Diggs, we can go back to our previous discussion on Edelman. We want to target players on efficient offenses who generate red-zone chances, and there aren't many quarterbacks better at creating those than Drew Brees.
Brees has recorded at least 200 drop backs 14 times in his NFL career, and he has finished in the top 10 in numberFire's Total Net Expected Points (NEP) 12 of those times. He has been a top-five passer eight of those seasons, including his fourth-place finish last year, despite perceived struggles and missing a game to injury. He's good, and all assets in his offenses have absurd potential.
This isn't a knock on Diggs, who performed well last year after emerging and should see an uptick this year as the Minnesota Vikings move into a dome, where scoring has traditionally been higher. However, the Vikings' desire to run the ball with Adrian Peterson limits Diggs' ceiling and swings things in favor of the Taylor and Snead side of this trade.
@numberFire do you like watkins more than D Thomas or K Benjamin this year?
— Crudmeister General (@Crudemeisters) August 16, 2016
This would be a good spot to turn to numberFire's customizable draft kit for a bit of assistance.
Let's make a few assumptions on rules here. To make things most widely applicable, we'll make it a 12-team league with 0.5 PPR scoring. Once we plug in those scoring rules, one dude comes out smelling like roses. That's Demaryius Thomas.
We can all agree that last year was a down season for Thomas, correct? Well, in that "down" year, he still managed to turn 177 targets into 105 receptions for 1,304 yards and 6 touchdowns. That was with Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler stinking the joint up at quarterback. The situation there doesn't appear any rosier this year, but it'd be hard for the quarterback play to get much worse.
There is a caveat here, though. Part of Sammy Watkins' projection is based on his foot injury, which still has his Week 1 status in limbo. He is now back to practicing with the team, meaning our confidence in him should be increasing if there are no setbacks. Assuming he is able to continuing progressing and clear the uncertainty around his injury, then he should leapfrog Thomas as the top choice entering the season given how disgusting he was down the stretch of 2015.
Want to have your questions answered in our mailbag? Submit your questions by tweeting @numberFire or sending an email to Jim.Sannes@FanDuel.com.