Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition: Will Dalvin Cook be hit by a suspension? Is Alvin Kamara worth protecting? Scoring potential of CeeDee Lamb vs. Dawson Knox. And more.
Dalvin Cook ended last season with domestic violence charges hanging over his head. I'm somewhat surprised I've heard virtually nothing about this during the off-season. I'm wondering if you have knowledge about where this all stands? Do you see this affecting where he is selected in drafts, as well as effecting his performance on the field?
Joe Van Koevering (St Petersburg, FL)
This is a good observation. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been anything published on this issue since January. To recap: a former girlfriend in November filed a personal injury lawsuit against Cook, with photos showing her face cut and bloodied. Cook says that he instead was the victim, filing a defamation countersuit in December. The two sides agree that the woman (who’s also a sergeant in the Army) came to Cook’s residence in November of 2020 and had mace at some point during the incident; that could make it easier for Cook’s attorneys to put together a credible self-defense argument.
On this one, I don’t think the NFL will take action until the case is resolved. Both parties need to have their say in court, but that won’t happen until after the 2022 season is over. The Dakota County (Minnesota) Court calendar indicates the case will be heard in Spring of 2023. They’ve blocked off two weeks for a jury trial starting in late April. Only if there’s some kind of settlement this year, I think, would the NFL potentially take action during the upcoming season. When I head into drafts this summer, I’m not discounting Cook at all (I’m not particularly high on him, but for reasons unrelated to the possibility of a suspension). Cook (pictured) participated at the team’s minicamp earlier this month.
In a 2-player keeper league with standard scoring. Rumors are that Alvin Kamara will get a 6-game suspension though nothing will be finalized before my keeper deadline. Is keeping Kamara worth the risk? Or do I save one of my other options such as Diontae Johnson or Darnell Mooney?
JASON BUTTERFIELD (Schofield, WI)
To me, Kamara still ballparks as a top-20 running back. When he returns, he might be a top-10 back for the final two thirds of the season. So while I’m not excited about him, my leaning would be to keep him around. The Bears look like they could be pretty terrible, so I don’t think Mooney is a serious consideration. With Johnson, the question is whether the Steelers are better, worse or about the same at quarterback as they replace Ben Roethlisberger with some combination of Mitchell Trubisky, Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph. If Pittsburgh looks somewhat serviceable offensively, then perhaps Johnson over Kamara.
My question concerns Dawson Knox versus CeeDee Lamb in a non-PPR, TD-heavy league (where TEs and WRs are bunched together as a single position). Am I crazy for considering Knox as my last keeper, releasing Lamb? Last season, it was frustrating to see the Cowboys spread the ball around so much, keep Lamb on the field as mostly a decoy, and hardly throw to him inside the red zone. I know Buffalo brought in O.J. Howard, Dallas let Cooper go, and Gallup is still rehabbing, but the Cowboys offensive staff is still basically the same. They also brought in James Washington from the Steelers, so I can't be too optimistic that Lamb will improve his pedestrian scoring numbers (6 TDs in 16 starts). Meanwhile, Buffalo's offensive staff is mostly the same and Knox is obviously one of Allen's favorite targets down at the goal line.
Drew Paterson (Ferndale, WA)
On my board, I’ve got them both slotted for about 8 TDs. If you’re factoring in catches or yards at all, I would keep Lamb. While Knox caught 11 touchdowns in 17 games last year, he caught only 56 passes for 685 yards (that’s including the playoff games). Lamb caught 24 more passes for 438 more yards in his 17 games, and I think he’s going to be used more extensively, with both Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson gone. Lamb hasn’t been used much around the goal line. He caught only 2 passes inside the 10 last year. The Cowboys had five other players who caught 3-7 passes in that part of the field. With the same quarterback, coaches and offense in place, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect Lamb to become a heavily featured and effective pass catcher in that area. But he’s scored 7 and 6 TDs in his first two seasons, and a slight uptick seems reasonable. To me, O.J. Howard isn’t a factor in this decision. He hasn’t been a player of any significance the last two years, and I’m not sure he’s fully recovered from the Achilles injury he suffered in 2020. I saw a camp report a few weeks back that said he looked like just a guy at their spring minicamp. I don’t think it’s a given that he’s even on the roster.
I am in a 12-team keeper league. We can keep 3-6, with a cap of $220. Half PPR. I made the playoffs last year, want to run it back with six players. The rest of the league will be breaking up their rosters of high-priced disappointments or expiring contacts. I want to keep Ekeler, Jacobs, Javonte Williams, Lamb, Higgins and one of Hurts or Gabe Davis. It will eat all but $27-28 on my cap but I can't justify cutting any of these guys and bringing a "knife to a gunfight" as I project most teams having a ton of cap space with lots of available "stars" coming with questions and baggage. Hurts and Davis are both cheap ($6 and $7 respectively) yet I can only keep one, unless you think Jacobs at $39 is replaceable. Your thoughts on this complicated question? Been buying FFI since 1988!
JOSEPH HART (Alamosa, CO)
I appreciate you sticking with us for all these years. Thank you. For your roster, I would think the move would be to let Jacobs go. That would allow you to keep both Hurts and Davis, while also freeing up an extra $33 to work with during the auction. That’s 15 percent of your cap, which should allow you to land some other viable contributors. Jacobs is a good running back, but he’s had some injury issues. And with a new coaching staff, the Raiders might look to make more use of their other running backs than in previous seasons.
With dynasty formats seemingly gaining steam, have you thought about putting out top 300 player rankings? As you know, drafting the best available player is extremely important in dynasty. You can access top 300 for other formats in the tailor-made rankings, just curious why you don't have a dynasty option?
Andy Whaley (Papillion, NE)
When I post revised dynasty lists on the website, I usually go with 80 for running backs and wide receivers, and 40 or 50 for quarterbacks and tight ends. Toss in kickers and defenses, and I think that gets us over 300. A couple of times in the past, I have gone up to 100 on running backs and wide receivers, and readers have made snarky comments. Something along the lines of “when I see the name Olamide Zaccheaus, I know it’s time to stop reading”. But if you ever want to start to debating the merits of the 95th-best wide receiver, I’m game. For a dynasty league, I would think those late-round choices would be impacted by what’s already on your roster. If you were already carrying James Conner, for example, the likes of Eno Benjamin, Darrel Williams and Keontay Ingram would become more valuable to you than the other franchises.
Did Scott Pianowski draft two teams in the magazine's auction?
Ernest Freund (Annandale, VA)
That’s an error. Apologies. Jerry Donabedian of Rotowire selected the team on page 46. Scott Pianowski of Yahoo Sports picked the team on page 47.
Enjoying my magazine – every summer since 1997! Remember when the majority of leagues shifted to PPR, maybe 10 years ago? Your rankings and analysis by position now consider that to be the norm. I see you've still got the quarterbacks norm at 4 pts per TD pass and 6 per TD run. In my experience, that also seems obsolete, most leagues I join now are 6 and 6. Wondering if you see a similar shift happening?
Gregory Wells (Lake Forest Park, WA)
I haven’t seen a shift to 6 points for TD passes. If you sign up for a league at NFL.com, ESPN, Yahoo, RealTime Sports, FFPC, DraftKings or FanDuel, the default setting is 4 points for a TD pass. (I’m not saying 4 points for TD passes is better, but I think it’s by far the most popular.) Regardless, we’re projecting stats for each player, so those numbers can be reconfigured for all scoring systems. If you log into the website, you can see how we rank the players using 6 points for TD passes. (Go to “YOUR STUFF” and click on the most recent link for rankings; there are two titled for 6 points for TD passes and three others in the NFC and CBS Sportsline families, which use 6 points.)