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Fantasy Football Index publisher Ian Allan answers your questions about fantasy football. Click here to submit a question.


Mailbag for June 21, 2023

Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition. Weighing Jeudy v. Ridley v. Pickens in a dynasty league. Setup rules for a keeper format. And is it better to select streaky or consistent players?

Question 1

Dynasty TD format. I have George Pickens and unsure if I should keep him with the conservative offense. My draft options include: Ridley, Jeudy, Cooks, Dotson or Toney or any rookie. Leaning Jeudy but interested in your ranking order.

Howie Fishman (Hermosa Beach, CA)

All of the players you mention have redeeming qualities, including Pickens. He came up some jaw-dropping catches in his first season. The one-handed catch at Cleveland, I think, was the best catch I saw from anyone all year. But with the Steelers having other viable pass catchers and a limited offense, I don’t think he’s your guy. Pittsburgh finished last season with 12 touchdown passes, 3 fewer than any other team.

I would be looking at Ridley and Jeudy. Ridley didn’t play at all last year (with the gambling suspension) and stepped away from the game for the final two thirds of the previous season (addressing his own mental health). But I have seen a couple of reports that suggest Ridley is in a good place right now, and that the Jaguars have liked what they’ve seen. He’s in a contract year, and he’s working Trevor Lawrence, who seems to be emerging as a franchise quarterback.

I think Jeudy will be Denver’s leading pass catcher, and Sean Payton has constructed offenses with good wide receivers in the past. But I want to see what it looks like. Payton’s two most prolific wide receivers in New Orleans (Michael Thomas, Marques Colston) were different styles of receivers – bigger guys. But Jeudy should be just fine (I’ve got him slightly higher than Ridley right now).

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Question 2

I’m in a 12-team league where you can keep up to 3 players at one round earlier where they were drafted. This is the first year we are keeping players and are still working through how draft order will be determined. Randomly assigning draft placement seems like the most fair, but have you found another method preferable in a similar format?

Kyle Kintner (Carlsbad, CA)

Especially if we’re handing out players for multiple seasons, I prefer an auction. Let’s give everyone a fair chance at Justin Jefferson, Patrick Mahomes, Bijan Robinson and the like. That would make the keeper process more difficult, but it could be figured out. I suppose player salaries would need to increase by 10 or 12 spots (depending on the size of your league). If Keenan Allen, for example, went for $8 this year as the 38th-highest paid player, then he would need to move up in 2024 to whatever was paid for the 26th player (in the 2023 auction). Complicated, I concede, but I like giving everyone more control over the key guys they’ll be picking (rather than having draft position play a huge role).

Multiple readers have told me they like a combination draft-auction. A “drauction”, they call them. In that kind of format, you give each team a $100 payroll to spend on five players. After each team has acquired five players, you revert to a traditional draft (with the team with the most money after the auction picking first in every round).

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Question 3

Should league roster settings change how you value variance when evaluating players? In a traditional lineup (QB, 2RB, 2WR, TE, K, Def) would a high variance player be more or less valuable? For example, if one of your WRs has a big week and then a bad week, is it more likely that the win you got from the big week is also going to be paid back with the loss the dud got you the next? Like Will Fuller catching 7 passes for 217 and 3 TDs one week and 3 catches for 23 yards the next. It seems in smaller starting lineups, a dud from a more important position like QB will hurt you even more than it would say in a SuperFlex where you start 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, TE, 3 Flex positions. Sure, a big week could help in that format but a dud could be covered by the rest of the team and you're ok. With that in mind, should QB be valued more in shorter starting lineup leagues? Should high variance players be less valuable in those formats as well at the RB/WR positions where you want consistency?

Ben MacLeod (Concord, NH)

With streaky players, I think mostly of receivers who run mostly deep routes. If they catch a long touchdown, they’re an asset. If the deep balls aren’t happening, they’re hurting rather than helping. Such players become more valuable in best-ball leagues (where they’re backups rather than starters in the weeks they’re unproductive). And that style of receiver is more palatable in a TD-only format, where the nature of the scoring system makes everyone a hit-or-miss player. In PPR leagues, I tend to prefer players who catch more passes. Not just WR, but TE and RB as well. They have a higher floor. Particularly with running backs; if the running game isn’t clicking, it makes them more likely in those games to catch a few dumpoff balls.

In Superflex leagues, I tend to play it safer. In that style of format, my preference is to select three quarterbacks I think have a good chance of starting the bulk of the games. When you’ve got 12 teams and everyone wants to have three quarterbacks, there simply aren’t enough to go around (and there will be limiting patching opportunities available on the waiver wire). In that style of format, my tendency is to want to knock the drive on the center of the fairway (think Cousins, Carr, Goff), rather than taking big gambles on streaky, high-variance guys.

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