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

Mailbag

Mailbag for August 31, 2023

Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition: A sleeper tight end who could win leagues. Streaming defense options for Week 1. Being held hostage for Zach Charbonnet. And more.

Question 1

Okay it's time to lay out why you are so high on Ferguson at TE 10? This is huge for those of us who wait to very late (after round 10) to pick a TE in a PPR league. Also now that Jeudy is out for several weeks what does that do for Dulcich?

TIM ZEUCH (Mason, OH)

I understand that nobody has much interest in Ferguson. I see on the most-recent ADP numbers that he’s going 25th among tight ends in ESPN leagues. So I suppose you can mull whether to allow 20 tight ends to be picked before selecting him. I can’t answer that for you.

I’m just slotting him where I think he should go. He’s their tight end, I think Dak Prescott will look for him regularly, and I think he’s going to be just fine. Think about how often Prescott looked for Dalton Schultz, especially around the goal line. I don’t see why Ferguson can’t do pretty much everything Schultz ever did in that offense. Including preseason games, the Cowboys so far (in both 2022 and this year) have thrown 32 passes to Ferguson, and he’s caught 29 of them. Looks like the key player at tight end to me. If he’s as good as I think he’s going to be, it makes a lot of sense to grab him late, allowing more resources to be pumped into the other positions.

I am not, on the other hand, a Dulcich fan. He’s got some pass-catching ability, but I’m not confident right now that’s even going to be the most productive tight end on his own team (I saw Adam Trautman on the field with the first unit in the most notable preseason game, with Dulcich hardly playing).

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Question 2

I need a defense to stream in week 1 - drafted PIT but don't like the matchup. SEA, WAS, MIN and JAX seem to be my best available options based on matchups. What's your early recommendation from those four?

Bill Rehor (Culver City, CA)

Those look like four good matchups to me. I’d probably be inclined to try the Commanders, with Arizona possibly starting Clayton Tune. The Falcons should also probably be added to this list, with them playing more aggressively defensive this year (they’re at home against a Carolina team that had problems protecting Bryce Young in the preseason). And let’s toss New Orleans on the pile, given the OL issues the Titans seem to have.

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Question 3

I have Jefferson in a keeper league. The guy who is drafting first, offered Garrett Wilson and picks 1 and 20 for Jefferson and picks 10 and 11. I would be able to draft Bijan at 1. Would you pull the trigger?

Barry St Peter (Westfield, MA)

Interesting offer, with Wilson looking like a possible breakout receiver. If you were a big Bijan Robinson fan, it would be worth thinking about. After watching Arthur Smith underuse Kyle Pitts the last two years, however, I am not a big Robinson fan. I would sit tight with Jefferson and those 10-11 picks (which are actually the 40th and 41st picks, if I’m reading the question right).

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Question 4

When comparing players in terms of delta points relative to the bottom of their position, should I compare a player's projected points to the last active roster player or the last bench player that will be selected? For example, in a 10-team league, should I compare a particular QB to the QB10, or the QB15 (assuming only half the teams pick up a back-up QB)?

Aaron Vander Vorst (West Fargo, ND)

I use the Goldilocks approach – what feels right. Typically, I go down the list at each position until I find a player that I would not be willing to pay more than $1 for, or a player that I believe I will be able to get for $1. As a general rule (if you’re drafting) assume the bottom third of the players or so will go for the $1 minimum – assume that we don’t care so much about those guys. Find a player at each position who’s on that line between the first two thirds and that last third, and that’s probably about right.

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Question 5

My keeper league picks the last three years have been Clyde Edwards-Despair, Javonte Williams and Kyle Pitts (over Chase). Bad. This year, I’m picking third, wondering whether to make a move for Bijan Robinson. I have offered pick 1.03 plus ANY player (except Mahomes) on my current roster. Too rich? Players include Stevenson, Javonte, Waddle, Metcalf.

John Macho (Elko New Mrkt, MN)

I am not a big Robinson fan. I watched a few of his college games and wasn’t as impressed as I was expecting. He averaged under 3 yards per attempt against Alabama. There are a few runs in that game where he’s in one-on-one situations with defenders where I was expecting more. There’s a goal-line situation in the (I think) Iowa State game where he’s one-and-one against a defender trying to get to pylon and comes up short. He’s a good pass catcher; that’s why he was picked in the top 10. But he doesn’t seem to be cat’s meow special as a runner. Breece Hall and Robinson put up similar rushing numbers at the college level. They’re about the same size, but Hall put up better athletic numbers at the combine – jumped 3 inches higher, 2 inches longer and ran 7 hundredths faster. I would not be willing to give up a Waddle, Metcalf or Stevenson to move up 2 spots.

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Question 6

I drafted Kenneth Walker in the 3rd round of my 12 team league and was hoping to grab Charbonnet later when he went in the 7th. I'd like to trade for him, but I'm not sure if I should wait or what I'd give up at this point. My other RBs are Ekeler, Akers and McKinnon. My WRs are Kupp, Dotson, Pittman, Addison, Cooks and Nico Collins. He would want Jahan Dotson to do the trade now. Am I fretting over nothing here with a Walker handcuff? What's the best strategy here in your opinion?

Brian Boyd (Maple Grove, MN)

You have to stay true to your board. Charbonnet isn’t as good as Dotson. It’s not even close. So you move on. I’m not sure what the bottom of your roster looks like, but I would be considering Joshua Kelley if he’s available. With you also have Austin Ekeler, Kelley is about as valuable to your franchise as Charbonnet.

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Question 7

Big fan of your product and happy to see more dynasty stuff. Last year you were really high on TE Likely and I've held onto him in several of my leagues hoping someday Andrews would "retire". (no one hopes for an injury) Anyway, should I keep the faith or move on?

Renee Harrison (Las Vegas, NV)

Likely has some ability. I think he’ll make a mark in this league at some point. But there are a lot of good players at the position. If I were walking into a dynasty draft today, I think there would need to be about 30 tight ends picked before I started thinking about Likely as a stash-away prospect.

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Question 8

Which of QB Watson or RB Stevenson, both 10th-rounders, do you recommend as a keeper?

Steven Schipper (Brampton, ON)

I’d go with Stevenson. Running backs are harder to find than quarterbacks. (I’ve currently got Watson among my top 10 at quarterback, but I don’t see him as necessarily much of an upgrade over the guys just outside the top 10).

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Question 9

Who is the suggested backup to Isiah Pacheco: McKinnon or CEH?

MICHAEL HAMER (Springfield, PA)

Edwards-Helaire (or “Edwards-Despair”, as John Macho called him in another letter) is the backup to both Pacheco and McKinnon, I think. If McKinnon gets hurts, I expect they’ll be CEH in that third-down role – he would become a change-of-pace for them. If Pacheco were to get hurt, I expect they’ll leave McKinnon in the role he’s filling right now – maybe he plays just a little more, but he’d continue to be more of a passing-downs back. If there’s a Pacheco injury, I would think they’d make Edwards-Helaire their starter.

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Question 10

This isn't so much a question as a thank you. Long-time subscriber; I had my auction last night. Turned my $200 into a team worth about $272 according to my custom auction values. You talked all summer about Pacheco as a key guy and eventually you persuaded me too. Our league - a 10-team Superflex spends a ridiculous percentage on the top 15-20 QBs, top 10 RBs and WRs and top 3 TEs. So you can get great value, but if you don't pay sticker price somewhere, it is hard to compete. Using your RB rankings, though, I found 4 key RBs: Mixon, Walker, Pacheco and Montgomery that FI was higher on than the ADP. That enabled me to pay up for Lamar and Herbert at QB and Lamb as a WR1 and still build a solid RB core - those guys were all top 16 in the rankings and cost me $36 total, less than half their value. Feel really good about the roster top to bottom, and as usual.

L.B. Graham (Chesterfield, MO)

Looks like a real nice tough. Hard to believe you got both Herbert and Jackson in a Superflex league. I think you’ll be just fine at running back, putting your team in the running. Good luck.

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Question 11

I’m having trouble understanding why JJ seems to be consensus WR 1 this year over JaMarr Chase. In my league, just giving him his floor for the games missed has him finishing even with Jefferson, and if you just figure in one outstanding game, he blows Jefferson away. He has a better QB, and now that Addison is there, it may have more of an effect than Higgins has on Chase (assuming Addison is better than Higgins). Am I missing something, or is this really more of a tossup?

Robert Cummings (Los Angeles, CA)

I think it’s fair to discuss. Chase has been a much better scorer – 22 TDs in 28 games, versus 19 touchdowns in 34 games for Jefferson. Jefferson has the more favorable schedule, being placed in a soft division in the lesser conference.

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Question 12

I am wondering why I hear about Kareem Hunt making multiple tryouts, but never seem to hear about Fournette trying out for teams. Is Hunt considered better? cheaper? less demanding about playing time? or is there another factor, like Fournette's health? Thank you.

Martin Bornstein (Rocklin, CA)

I think Hunt’s agent is making more of an effort to strum up interest, getting the word out to agents about Hunt being close to signing (even if that’s maybe not the case). I haven’t heard anything about Fournette, on the other hand, since he worked out for the Patriots in July. Trouble at this point is that now there are a bunch of players who just got cut loose on Tuesday, and they’ve been camps, practicing with teams. The Vikings just picked up Myles Gaskin, for example. LaMical Perine looked good to me in the preseason, averaging 6 yards per carry. Against Cleveland, he had a 30-yard run and a 20-yard touchdown catch. I would think there might be some teams that would like Perine more than Hunt and Fournette.

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Question 13

The Index seems to be particularly low on Cooper Kupp as he's about WR15 in your rankings. Seems to me he should be more like WR5 with guys like Hill, Diggs, or Lamb, despite being on an inferior squad. When Kupp is on the field, the Rams love to throw to him and he's very tough to cover. Provided Stafford is healthy, Kupp should be primed to approach his numbers from the 2021 season, when he was all everything. Are you worried about Kupp perhaps being injury prone, Stafford having a bad season, or the Rams simply not being competitive in the NFC West?

Drew Paterson (Ferndale, WA)

This is reasonable. Kupp can be compared to the receivers you mention. I just have some nervousness about everything turning south for him. He’s got to stay healthy; he’s a 30-year-old who suffered a hamstring injury a month ago. And I’m not sure how long Stafford can stay healthy, being an immobile 35-year-old operating behind a lesser offensive line. And it’s a bad team – maybe the 2nd-worst team in the league (ahead of the Cardinals).

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Question 14

Purchased my first issue in high school when Le’Veon was on the cover and haven’t looked back ever since. I have the fourth pick in a 12-man ppr league with 2 flex spots on the roster, the deepest league I’ve been in. What are some strategies or other helpful knowledge that I should keep in mind on draft day? I’ve been torn between Kupp & Hill.

Kenneth Slota (Perrysburg, OH)

That’s a tough spot to draft from. Jefferson, Chase and McCaffrey will be gone, leaving you picking from guys who are a level down. I’d be mulling between Hill, Ekeler and Kelce. With Kupp, I’d be worried about the team simply not being good enough.

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