As I got ready to write this week's Dynasty mailbag I was struggling a little with how to open it. Two minutes spent on Twitter was all it took to find the answer. Nearly everyone in the Fantasy Football community had something to say about Diontae Johnson this week, so that seems like a good place to start.
If you missed the hype, I believe it largely comes from two places. He led the NFL in separation per target and Pro Football Focus gave him credit for forcing more missed tackles than anyone else in the league. While I agree that separation and missed tackles are a good thing, I do worry a little the hype is getting out of control. For one thing, JuJu Smith-Schuster is still on the Steelers.
Diontae Johnson is 7 months older than JuJu Smith-Schuster.— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) May 28, 2020
While I don't think anyone actually believes Johnson will be better than Smith-Schuster, everyone seems to be completely dismissing James Washington and Chase Claypool. Washington averaged more yards per game, reception and target than Johnson last year. Claypool is a much better athlete than Johnson. I'm not saying the second-year wide out can't be good in 2020, but the odds are stacked against him in Fantasy. We talked more in depth about Johnson on our most recent podcast. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for non-stop Fantasy Football content.
Now let's get to your questions.
are you devaluing 2021 draft picks given the chances that there is no ncaa season or it's super unusual, denying college players a yaer or normal develpment and evaluation? or is that overthinking things?— Elliot Smilowitz (@SmiloTweets) May 28, 2020
We've received this question in one form or another several times and I don't think anyone can honestly project the impact of a potential unusual NCAA season. But I can at least answer how I'm handling it.
There are some absolute studs in this class and I don't think this season, however in unfolds, should have much impact on their value. So as a rebuilding team I am not devaluing top picks at all.
At the same time, I don't expect this class to be as deep as 2020's and a weird college season could make things shallower. I wouldn't expect as many breakout seasons which could lead to fewer early declares which could lead to a diluted talent pool starting as early as the end of the first round. So as a contender, I am very willing to devalue them. As a contender, I'd happily trade a 2021 1st for 2020 2nd.
Again, this is all very uncertain and only how I'm dealing with it. I'd expect my answer will change many times as the year goes on.
Which WR2 has the clearest path to become a top 5 wr— Sketcher Doodle (@sketcherdoodle) May 29, 2020
According to Dynasty ADP at Fantasy Football Calculator, Calvin Ridley is being drafted in the fourth round as the 21st receiver off the board. That is highway robbery. His 15 PPR Fantasy points per game last year were nearly as good as Amari Cooper's and better than D.J. Chark, A.J. Brown or Courtland Sutton. Ridley was even better in the six games without Mohamed Sanu, averaging 17.8 PPR Fantasy points per game, which was better than Julio Jones. Jones is on the wrong side of 30 and Ridley is blossoming into a star. I wouldn't be that surprised if Ridley was the best Falcons' receiver this year.
What was your all-time favorite rookie draft pick to get to make?— Joe Redemann 🌹 (@TheIDPGuy) May 28, 2020
This one is so easy. I was a huge Patrick Mahomes fan before the NFL draft. Then I watched my hometown team trade up to draft him. Then I got to pick him on three Dynasty teams and I never have to give him up. Those are easily my favorite teams now.
Do you let need/team construction dictate 1st round rookie picks or do you take best player available? (Assuming you cant trade)— Zachary Blain (@Zachman285) May 28, 2020
As a rule, I try not to draft for need. But it's a sliding scale. If I have the 12th pick and I'm coming off a title? Maybe. If there's a generational talent available that I don't currently have room for? No way. In most other situations "need" is a good tiebreaker but not much more.
Keenan Allen missed 2016 with an ACL tear but hasn’t missed a game in three seasons. Why is he labeled injury prone by so many? 2015 was a kidney laceration, but that hardly seems repeatable or telling of future injuries.— Mark E (@FFMarkEss) May 28, 2020
First off, Keenan Allen is not injury prone. I think he's proven that by now. No one should be saying it. Second, we're pretty terrible at assigning injury risk. One example I'd give is that I've had to argue on our podcast that Derrick Henry is no more likely than Dalvin Cook to suffer an injury this season. Henry has missed two games in four seasons, Cook has never played a full season. But Henry had a lot of touches last year.
The solution? I try to ignore "injury prone" unless it's as a tie-breaker. There are a few exceptions like Will Fuller and A.J. Green, and I certainly worry more about recent injuries for older players. But for the most part you should try not to factor this into your decisions because we aren't very good at doing that accurately.
how to do a rebuild the right way— Rusty Kubis (@CorrodedWhenWet) May 28, 2020
Tear the whole thing down. Burn it to the ground. I generally try to diagnose a rebuild midseason because contenders can be more aggressive when they're staring at a trade deadline and a real shot at the title. If I was rebuilding during the upcoming season I would ask myself two questions about every player:
"Can this player help me win in 2022?"
"Is there any chance this player is worth more in 2022 than now?"
If the answer is no, I'm trying to trade them for picks or players from the prior draft class that haven't proven themselves yet.
That's the easy part. The hard part is the patience. If I diagnose this season that my team has no real chance I am planning for a terrible 2021. I am aggressive on the waiver wire but almost instantly trying to deal those adds for more future picks or prospects. My goal, if I start a rebuild this fall, is for my Dynasty to begin in 2022. And that's a pill many Dynasty owners just don't want to swallow.
When should you hold your rookie draft? I am pushing for June 1 at the latest but, my co-commish wants to push it to June 15th or even much later to give people “more time to research”— Benny Mac (@AngryMoose1) May 28, 2020
I love early drafts because I already did my research. Which is better?
I prefer to start my rookie drafts the week after the NFL Draft. I suppose it would be better to have more information, but that's kind of the fun of it. That being said, this is only my preference. I wouldn't have a problem with you waiting up until the final week before the season. As with all rules, I would suggest two to three dates be suggested and then a vote held.
I do prefer slow rookie drafts in May and those are harder to pull off in August because you don't want breaking news happening in the middle of a slow draft.
How many rookie RBs, if any, have a higher value than Leonard Fournette?— Mike Walker (@Mike_WalkerIC) May 28, 2020
Leonard Fournette is one of our most asked about players and I like the way Mike framed it. Fournette is a very tough player to project because this is probably his last year in Jacksonville and we don't know if he'll get another starting job or not. He does have pedigree and some success, but he also comes with plenty of question marks.
I strongly prefer Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jonathan Taylor to Fournette. They could be better this year and I feel confident they'll be better in 2021 and beyond. I'd definitely take JK Dobbins, D'Andre Swift and Cam Akers in a startup over Fournette, but Swift and Akers are close enough that I might prefer Fournette if I thought I was a real contender this year. Ke'Shawn Vaughn is the tipping point. I'd take Vaughn in a rebuild but greatly prefer Fournette for a contender. In a startup, it would hinge on who I'd drafted so far.