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


Mailbag for August 16, 2023

Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition: Rookies who could make a difference. Josh Jacobs' ongoing contract standoff. Auction strategies. High-scoring wide receivers. Overturning trades. And more.

Question 1

Regarding rookies this year, which rookie will score the most fantasy points in an PPR after Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs?

Bryan Dupee (Cheshire, MA)

What about Anthony Richardson? He was awfully impressive in his preseason debut. He’ll rank among the rushing leaders at quarterback, and I’m not sure he’ll be a complete disaster as a passer. I served up a beautiful bomb that should have been a 34-yard touchdown in his first game. Reminds me of a young Cam Newton. Some chance, I think, that Richardson puts up top-10 quarterbacking numbers from the jump.

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Question 2

As we continue to see Josh Jacobs not report to his team, should we see his counterpart (Zamir White) rise in rankings? Or have you already accounted for this situation in your rankings? I've been grabbing White with later-round picks and thought I would see what you think.

Andy Whaley (Papillion, NE)

I think White might be the favorite to start for Las Vegas in Week 1. The situation between Jacobs and the team might be toxic, with him being miffed that they wouldn’t give him the fifth-round option a year ago, and now have locked him down with the franchise tag while declining to offer him a long-term deal. Possible, I think, that he’s disgruntled enough that he skips a game or two. And possible that the Raiders at some point rescind the tag. If it goes down that way, I would think the Raiders would bring in another viable back rather than counting on just White, with Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette the leading candidates. Most likely, though, Jacobs won’t want to miss those $560,000 game checks, showing up the week of the opener.

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Question 3

Any advice on nomination strategies for auction drafts?

Kyle Kintner (Carlsbad, CA)

I typically like to work backwards, starting with kickers and defenses. At those positions, most of the players go for the minimum, so it makes sense to hop in and grab one you like. It allows you to get a top-4 player at the position for only $1, while if you wait until the late rounds, you may be paying the same $1 for a player who isn’t even in the top 10. My other tendency in early rounds is to nominate players that I am confident will go for a lot more than I want to pay.

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Question 4

What 3 WRs will score most TDs?

Robert McKinlay (Belews Creek, NC)

Put me down for Chase, Jefferson and Garrett Wilson. I’m putting Wilson in there as my ascending choice; he’s really talented, and now he’s working with a quarterback who tended to lock in on a favorite red zone target with his previous employer. Others on my short list: Hill, Diggs, Lamb, Adams.

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Question 5

What do you think of the league voting on trades instead of commissioner in a 10-team standard home league?

Dean Stewart (Seagoville, TX)

Sounds fine to me. But owners should be in agreement on what would justify overturning a trade. To me, there needs to be more than a belief that the trade is one-sided. There would need to be demonstration that one team is intentionally making a poor trade. Or the trade would need to getting into the “we’ve got to take the keys away from this guy” territory, where the owner simply doesn’t have the mental faculties to operate a team.

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Question 6

Non-ppr league. We get to keep 3 from Patrick Mahomes, Jonathan Taylor, Isiah Pacheco, Kenneth Walker III, DK Metcalf, Christian Watson. My thoughts are Mahomes, Taylor (who I hope comes off the PUP List) and Watson. What are your thoughts?

Brady Wilke (Columbia, SC)

Agreed on the first two. With the third keeper spot, you can make a case for any of the four. The masses would tell you to take Metcalf. The ADP numbers indicate he’s currently going 10 receivers before Watson – 30 picks earlier. I think the differences between those two are more subtle. Watson represents a larger piece of Green Bay’s offense, and I think the Packers are going to be better than what most are expecting. I’ve got Watson higher than Metcalf on my board.

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Question 7

I'm in an 8-team. We use a snake draft and I have the first choice of draft position. Where would you choose to draft? Would you draft No. 1 and take McCaffrey? Or would you choose somewhere else to get a better second-round pick? I'm leaning toward the No. 1 pick, but wanted to get your opinion.

Tom Hoffman (Blaine, MN)

One school of thought is to look at that first tier of players. If there are three guys you like (McCaffrey, Jefferson, Chase, perhaps) then you could take No. 3, where you might still get the guy you would have selected while simultaneously moving up in the second round. You can view what players you think will be available late in the second round, deciding whether there’s any advantage to picking 14th and 19th, rather than 16th and 17th. Whenever I run the numbers on this kind of thing, they always show that the early picks tend to better. I plugged in PPR numbers for this one, and they put them in 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 order, with the first three picks 25-plus points better than the last two after six rounds. I think this is because the first round is more valuable than the second round, while the third is more valuable than the fourth, and so on – the owners winning the odd rounds are always ahead. One other factor here, speaking from a guy who just drafted 12th in a league. There is value in having picks spread out. If you’re picking at the end of the round, there is a long string of selections where you’re idle, with no ability to hop in and grab a player who perhaps goes 12 spots lower than he should. If your picks are spread out, it gives you more ability to grab falling players.

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Question 8

I have one of those "good" problems in that I have 5 RBs I want to keep but can only roster 4. Who would be your odd man out between Josh Jacobs, Breece Hall, Travis Etienne, Rhamondre Stevenson and Kenneth Walker?

Michael Livengood (Ward, AR)

That’s a tough one. You can make a case of sorts for tossing any of them, but you can also argue that any of the five is one of your top couple. With the Jets having signed Dalvin Cook, there’s a decent chance Hall isn’t even the top back on his own team this year, but he might be the best of the five heading into 2024.

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Question 9

In a 10-team league, should I keep Davante Adams (third round) or either Kenneth Walker or James Cook in the last round?

Brian Moss (Reno, NV)

I would keep Walker, and Cook would be my second choice. Adams is the best player of the three, of course, but he’s not generating enough value – the third round is too close to where he would be drafted. (There was also a second question, but there were too many players and variables involved to fit into a Mailbag answer.)

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Question 10

Please provide a projected ranking of first down stops by NFL defenses in 2023.

Ray Schmitt (Normal, IL)

We projected yards allowed by defenses. Those are available in the Excel stat download each week. They would correlate with first downs (the fewer yards a defense allowed, the fewer first downs it would allow). But I don’t know that first downs would correlate strongly with sacks and turnovers. Below see the 32 defenses from last year, ordered by first downs (with the Commanders, 49ers and Jets allowing the fewest first downs. For the six defenses that finished the season with the best stats (using standard scoring), I’ve got them in bold. For the six defenses that finished with the worst numbers, I have them tagged with black dots.

San Francisco2911020443
NY Jets310412451
• Cincinnati3131113301
New England3141119548
Tampa Bay3141010451
LA Chargers3181014401
• New Orleans31977481
Green Bay321717343
• Denver324815360
LA Rams331616381
Kansas City337911552
• Atlanta351710214
• Las Vegas36076273
• Chicago361914200
NY Giants370136412

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