This is the first edition of the Dynasty mailbag in 2023. To be honest, it's one of my favorite pieces of content to write, because you guys pick the topics. I had more Twitter responses than I could fit in 10 mailbags, so I tried to answer some on Twitter and fit as many as I could below. 

There was quite a range of questions, including how I'd rank the consensus rookie 1.01 Bijan Robinson in a startup and why Jalen Hurts shouldn't be QB1 after leading his Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl. We'll start with Robinson and get to Hurts closer to the bottom of the bag. In between there's talk of selling Christian McCaffrey and how I like to set up a new Dynasty league. I answer that question once a year because I think it's important and because my answer doesn't necessarily stay the same year over year.

Ranking Bijan Robinson

Robinson just racked up 1,894 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns in his final season at Texas and he entered the year as the likely 1.01. Unless there's an injury or a shocking development on Draft Day, Robinson will be the consensus 1.01 in rookie drafts. I would expect him to be drafted no later than early Round 2 in the 2023 NFL Draft and it would not be a surprise to anyone if he sneaks into Round 1. He should probably be in a similar place in Dynasty start up drafts.

In a one-quarterback league, the only players I'm certain I'm taking over Robinson are Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase. It's possible I may have CeeDee Lamb, Jonathan Taylor, and Breece Hall higher as well, but not if Robinson's drafted in Round 1 in the NFL Draft. 

In Superflex leagues, you can add Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Hurts to the guys who would definitely be ahead of him. Meaning I would have Robinson no higher than sixth overall in that format. There are another four quarterbacks I would consider over Robinson, meaning I could see him falling as low as 13th overall. 

A year ago I had Breece Hall at RB2 in my first post-draft update. Robinson will almost certainly be first, second, or third.

Selling Christian McCaffrey

Nick obviously knows flattery will get your question answered here. 

McCaffrey is a running back who will turn 27 years old before he plays another meaningful down of football. So he is absolutely a sell before the season starts unless you truly believe you have one of the two or three best rosters. He could be one injury away from falling outside the top-30 Dynasty running backs, and the 49ers have no dead cap money invested should McCaffrey struggle to regain form after a potential injury. In other words, he may be RB1 in preseason redraft, but he's not safe for the long term at all.

Whether this is the right time to sell or not really depends on your league. I've found that it's hard to sell in the offseason because not as many teams are engaged, so I certainly wouldn't sell for any sort of discount before September. 

As for Sean's question, you're certainly not rebuilding, but I'm not sure you're competing either. I might wait until September or even October to make a decision. If the season starts off poorly, I would be looking to deal McCaffrey, Tony Pollard, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyler Lockett, and Russell Wilson and rebuild around your youth. 

If you really feel strongly you need to make a deal now, I would see if I could package Pollard to get a young stud wide receiver. I'd prefer Jahan Dotson, and you can likely get a bonus pick or player with him. Jameson Williams would be a reach, but I wouldn't hesitate. Dynasty Trade Calculator suggests Michael Pittman and Treylon Burks as good matches.

New Dynasty leagues

Love, love, love these questions. 

My preferred league is a Superflex league that is 0.5 PPR and 0.5 point per first down. I would start two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end, and an additional flex besides the Superflex. I would make it Best Ball scoring with head-to-head matchups, because I already have too many leagues and it rewards building deep rosters. I would not have a team defense or kicker, instead starting multiple IDP players. But if you don't want to get that deep in the woods you don't have to. Also, decimal scoring, that's a must. I also prefer FAB waivers with a $1000 budget (one run per week, first-come, first-serve after that). 

As for keeping people around, that's a growing issue in the industry. I think the best practice is to collect two years up front and then continue to collect another year every year. That way if someone leaves a team in total shambles, you can offer the new manager a free year and they can pay for Year 2. A few other things:

  • Spell everything out in your league constitution. Rules disputes are one of the worst ways to lose managers.
  • Don't change rules in the middle of the season, even if the majority of the league votes to do just that. That's another valid reason for someone to leave your league.
  • Encourage engagement any way you can. Friendly trash talk, made-up end of year awards, anything to keep people engaged. 

Hurts QB1?

First we need to talk about scoring system. Hurts was QB1 this year in leagues that reward four points per pass touchdown. And the argument for him in those leagues is stronger. My rankings are all based on leagues where pass touchdowns are worth six points, and Patrick Mahomes was more than a point per game better than Hurts this year, and came into the year as the best QB on a per-game basis over the past three seasons. And that didn't include his record-breaking 2018. Seeing as Mahomes is still just 27, the age difference doesn't matter enough to make up for the scoring.

But in four-point leagues, the math is different. My concern there switches to longevity. I'm not sure Hurts is any more of an injury risk than Josh Allen, but I'd certainly say he's riskier than Patrick Mahomes. In fact, I'm not sure a 24-year-old quarterback who runs as much as Hurts does has as much projectable longevity as a 28-year-old who doesn't.

Allen and Hurts will be the test cases to see if a quarterback who runs 100-plus times per game can do that successfully and injury-free into their 30s. Because if Allen or Hurts have to stay in the pocket more as they age, I really don't think they're all that close to Mahomes in terms of value. I'm not totally sure they should be ahead of Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert. Time will tell. 

I will say that Hurts was QB3 behind Allen for me as we entered the playoffs. But a part of the difference was that Allen had secured his longterm contract and Hurts hadn't. A Super Bowl win or a new contract likely pushes Hurts up to No. 2.

Buying veterans

This is a great question because we almost always talk about older players as sells in Dynasty. But they can be very good buys. For the most part, I'm only buying veterans if I'm trying to win a championship that year, so I'm generally trying to buy elite older players if I do. Travis Kelce would certainly fit the bill, and if you have a contender with one hole at tight end, he's the easy top choice here.

It's hard to expect bounce-back years from older players, so that makes finding "values" a tough ask. Still, Michael Thomas has played so little football over the past few years that his price has surely plummeted. If I could land him for a mid-second in a rookie draft, I'd be content to see what his offseason looks like. 

Finally, quarterback is the one position where you can acquire an older player and possibly still be using him five years later. And Dak Prescott will turn 30 before the 2023 season, so I believe he qualifies as old now. Prescott is perpetually undervalued and should be a top-10 QB for the next half a decade. Go get him on the cheap if you can, and the fact that Mike McCarthy is taking over play calling duties should only help lower the price. I wouldn't worry too much about McCarthy, if him calling plays doesn't work, he won't be around much longer anyway.