Fantasy Football Mailbag: Friday 7/29/16

Matt Jones struggled his rookie season in Washington. Is there reason to believe he could be better in 2016?

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.

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Now, let's answer some questions.

A lot of this would depend on the constraints of the keepers. If you can only keep these guys for 2016, then you're essentially splitting hairs between Jeremy Langford, Matt Jones, and DeVante Parker. If you can keep these guys indefinitely, it'd be hard to pass up Josh Gordon.

Let's just start under the assumption that you can only keep these players for one season. Gordon would likely be out the door with his four-game suspension limiting his utility there. Both Langford and Jones have fifth-round average draft positions (ADP), according to Fantasy Football Calculator, and Parker is going in the sixth round. That may even be a bit ambitious for Parker given his competition for targets, leaving us with Langford and Jones. Even though he was awful in his rookie season, Jones would likely hold the edge here.

Langford will have to battle rookie Jordan Howard for carries this season. Washington really doesn't have a complement for Jones, leaving him to snag a majority of the team's rushing work, likely including usage in the most valuable parts of the field. With the team adding Josh Doctson to a healthy trio of Kirk Cousins, DeSean Jackson, and Jordan Reed, Washington could sneakily have a decent offense this year, and Jones would be in line to benefit.

Things are a bit different if you can keep Gordon beyond this year. As numberFire's JJ Zachariason outlined this week, Gordon's 2013 was other-worldly in its Gucciness. It's hard to expect him to duplicate that this year, but his long-term ceiling is so far beyond that of the other players on this list. It may be worth it to roll the dice a bit and bump with Gordon on the chances he's able to return to form after his suspension is up.

Let's play out two separate scenarios here, again turning to ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator. In the first, we'll go with a top-tier quarterback in the fifth. In the other, we'll snag another player and get our quarterback later.

Both Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton are going in the fourth round right now, leaving Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson on the board in the fifth. For the purposes of conversation, we'll go with Luck, but you can swap Wilson in if you like.

Let's assume that if we don't take the quarterback early, we'll wait until the 10th round to get our guy. As such, we need to look at the skill-position players available in the 10th round to see what we'd get if we already had our quarterback in our back pocket. You can get Bilal Powell in the 10th, and in PPR leagues, Powell's a pretty fun asset with a set-in-stone role and upside. So, in scenario one, our players are Luck and Powell.

Now for the flipside. After Luck in the fifth round, you have guys like Jordan Matthews, Matt Jones, Jeremy Langford, and Larry Fitzgerald. At the end of the fifth is Eric Decker, and he's the guy I'd likely try to get there, so we'll make him our pick.

This leaves us to get our quarterback in the 10th. There, the top two quarterbacks left are Tony Romo and Kirk Cousins. Romo has Vegas on his side as a late-round flier, and Cousins has plenty of factors working in his favor to make him a fun fantasy asset. We'll go with Cousins here.

So, the question for you becomes would you rather have Luck and Powell or Decker and Cousins? For me, the combination of Decker and Cousins wins in a landslide. The drop-off from one of the league's best red-zone threats to a situational, pass-catching running back is much greater than it is from one quarterback to another. Even though your opportunity cost of drafting a quarterback in the fifth is much less than it is in the first, that cost is still there, and it's important to factor into your decision making.

Obviously, this isn't a scientific way of doing things, and Luck could end up torching all opponents this year. But given the perceived depth at quarterback heading into the season, you can wait until much beyond the fifth round to snag a quality quarterback with intriguing fantasy potential.

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