Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Melvin Gordon’s impact on Javonte Williams, ideal league settings, and more

The Wednesday before the NFL Draft might seem like an odd time for a Dynasty mailbag. After all, the landscape figures to shift dramatically in the next three days, especially if some of these veteran trades come to fruition. Thankfully, there were a lot of questions about things I don’t expect to change.

Things like the Dynasty value of Austin Ekeler and Lamar Jackson. Or how I prefer to set up new Dynasty leagues. We do that one at least three times a year, and sometimes my answer does change. 

Unsurprisingly there were also multiple questions about how to value Javonte Williams in Dynasty now that Melvin Gordon is back with the Broncos. Let’s start there. 

Javonte Williams’ Dynasty value after Melvin Gordon signing

I get the feeling this signing may make me the low guy on Williams in redraft and the high guy in Dynasty. Because I do think this takes Williams from borderline RB1 territory to mid-RB2 in redraft, but I’m not sure it’s going to move him more than one spot in my Dynasty running back rankings when they get updated next week.

In my most recent update I had Williams at RB3, behind only Jonathan Taylor and Najee Harris. But he was just barely ahead of D’Andre Swift, and the change in his 2022 projection will be enough to drop him at least that far. The next back in my rankings is Christian McCaffrey at No. 5, and that feels like one of the classic “if you’re a rebuilder” vs. “if you’re a contender” situations. 

In terms of ADP, I had Williams as the No. 5 pick last month, I would expect him to be closer to pick 12 in my post-draft update. That’s where I’ll put him, as for where his ADP ends up, I expect him to fall into Round 2, possibly even towards the end of the round.

There’s been plenty of debate on Twitter about whether or not Williams is a buy-low now. As always, that depends on the price. If his price falls outside of the top 12 in Dynasty, I’ll be a willing buyer.

Setting up a new league

My current favorite league setup is a Superflex league where you start two running backs, three receivers, a tight end, and two additional flexes. For scoring purposes I like half-PPR and half-point per first down along with six points per pass touchdown. I would give tight ends a quarter-point bonus for both catches and first downs. I also prefer Best Ball scoring with head-to-head matchups. 

My preferred playoff settings are: The 1 seed goes to the best record, 2 seed to the most points, 3 seed next best record, 4 seed most points, and so on. Assuming you have a 12-team league, I like six playoff spots. If you only have 10, then I’d only have four teams make the playoffs. In a 14-team league I usually have seven playoff spots with only the one seed getting a bye.

I prefer blind bid waivers on Thursday morning ($1,000 budget) followed by open free agency until a player’s game starts. I would not leave free agency ongoing between the end of the season and the NFL Draft. Have a six-round draft after the NFL Draft with both rookies and free agents available.

If you have 12 guys who are really into it: 

1. Salary Cap drafts instead of snake drafts

2. IDP with 1 DE, 1 DT, 2 LB, 1 CB, 1 S and two flexes. 

Austin Ekeler Dynasty value

I would smash accept this deal, even if I wasn’t a contender. But you are correct that Ekeler’s value is, like a dozen star running backs right now, in a precarious position. One major injury could easily knock him outside of my top-40 running backs. For that reason he’s way more valuable to a contender than he is to a rebuilding team. Anyone who is not seriously contending should be looking to deal Ekeler, but they should be looking for more than this deal.

Ekeler is the highest ranked of the running backs who are 27 or older. That’s because, while he does have an injury risk, he feels a lot safer than Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, or Alvin Kamara. There are certainly younger guys like J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers, or Antonio Gibson who a rebuilding team might prefer over Ekeler, but running back is the one position where the present year should count the most. That’s because almost all running backs have an uncertain future beyond three years from now. So I lean into the guys who could be league-winners this season a little more. That’s also why I always want to start my rebuilds with receivers and quarterbacks.

Best backup QBs in Superflex

Like every Dynasty question, this one is highly influenced by where you are. As a rebuilder, I just want young guys who could be. As a contender, I want someone who isn’t going to lose his job, which makes this maybe the most difficult question to answer the day before the draft. 

Right now, Jared Goff seems like a very safe bet. If the Lions take a QB early, then things will obviously change. But I would expect Goff to produce like a borderline QB2, and there’s no one on the roster who  can push him at all. There’s a whole class of QBs like him, including Jameis Winston, Mitchell Trubisky, Carson Wentz, maybe even Baker Mayfield if he gets dealt. A couple of these guys are going to get competition after the draft and that is going to make them less desirable.

In a nutshell, I’d look for the cheapest guy who you can’t imagine will lose his job this year. 

Trading Lamar Jackson

I want to start by saying this is not an endorsement to trade Lamar Jackson. I think you’re selling low, and I expect a major bounceback in 2022. That being said, his style of play and his lack of contract security does make him one of the most potentially volatile elite players at a position that is generally known for stability. I understand why you want to trade him and I think your approach of targeting a cheap QB and an upgrade somewhere else is a good one.

Ultimately, your other quarterbacks make some impact on this decision. If your other starter is solid and you have a third quarterback who has at least some job security, then I would look to see what I could get in addition to a Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or Jalen Hurts. They all have more risk than Jackson right now, but their ceilings might not be far off either. 

On the flip side, if the rest of your quarterback situation is unsettled, I would target someone like Kirk Cousins or Derek Carr. Among non top-12 quarterbacks who have the highest floor over the next three seasons, there’s a big enough difference between them and Jackson that you should be able to make a significant upgrade at a different position. 

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