Fantasy Football Mailbag: Making trades fun in dynasty leagues, rookie drafts

More Fantasy Football: Hunter Henry's torn ACL a major jolt

We're finishing up the draft for our CBS Sports office dynasty league, and I tried to be proactive in making trades to improve my roster. That's the fun of formats like this is running a franchise and constantly tweaking your team.

It's a 14-team league with IDP options, and we have 28 players on our roster. I had the No. 14 pick since I won the league last year, but there was plenty of room for improvement heading into this season. With that in mind, I made four trades during the draft.

The first trade I made was to acquire Jerick McKinnon, who I consider a breakout candidate with his move to San Francisco. I was able to get McKinnon for Chris Carson and picks 2.14 and 3.14 in this year's draft. I also got pick 4.2 back in return, and I was pretty psyched about this deal given McKinnon's upside.

The picks I gave up turned into Denver rookie defensive lineman Bradley Chubb (2.14) and Falcons defensive lineman Takkarist McKinley (3.14). I turned pick 4.2 into Bengals rookie running back Mark Walton, who could replace Giovani Bernard in Cincinnati as early as 2019.

The second trade I made was with an owner who needed to unload some draft picks. I was able to acquire 2.11, 3.7, 3.11 and 4.11 for Devontae Booker, Ted Ginn, Dede Westbrook and a 2019 third-round pick. Ginn is valuable in this league because we award points for return yards, and I didn't want to part with Booker, who could be the starter in Denver this year with C.J. Anderson now gone. Booker will compete with rookie Royce Freeman for the starting job.

My picks became Colts rookie running back Jordan Wilkins (2.11), Ravens rookie tight end Hayden Hurst (3.7), Saints rookie defensive lineman Marcus Davenport (3.11) and Dolphins rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (4.11). Davenport and Fitzpatrick could be starting IDP options for me this year, and Wilkins will compete with Marlon Mack and fellow rookie Nyheim Hines for touches in Indianapolis' backfield, with Wilkins having a good chance to start.

Hurst will likely end up on my taxi squad as someone I don't need to play this season since I have Trey Burton and Jack Doyle, but I love Hurst's upside. After Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki, I consider Hurst the No. 2 rookie tight end this year.

The final trades I made were giving up Ravens running back Javorius Allen for a fifth-round pick in 2019, and Wayne Gallman for a sixth-round pick next year. I have no need for those running backs, and we'll see what I can do with the extra picks in the 2019 draft.

My 2018 draft ended up looking like this:

  • 1.14: Michael Gallup, WR, DAL
  • 2.11: Wilkins
  • 3.7: Hurst
  • 3.11: Davenport
  • 4.2: Walton
  • 4.11: Fitzpatrick
  • 4.14: Chester Rogers, WR, IND
  • 5.14: Boston Scott, RB, NO

Gallup could easily be the No. 1 receiver for the Cowboys, who moved on from Dez Bryant this offseason. Rogers could be the No. 2 receiver for the Colts opposite T.Y. Hilton, and hopefully Andrew Luck (shoulder) is healthy for the start of the season. And Scott could end up replacing Mark Ingram (suspension) for the first four games of the year.

Heath Cummings will wrap up the draft on CBS Sports soon, but I wanted to give you an inside look at my draft. My final team is now the following:

As for this week's mailbag, continue to submit your questions on Twitter @jameyeisenberg and on my Facebook page. All you have to do is use the hashtag #fantasymail, and I'll be answering your questions throughout the offseason

For this week, we're going to cover the following topics:

  • Is now the time to trade Le'Veon Bell?
  • What rookie receivers can you target in Rounds 2 and 3 in dynasty drafts?
  • What rookie tight ends are worth targeting?
  • Is Leonard Fournette a safe pick this season?
  • Can Julian Edelman rebound in 2018?
  • Who is the better keeper at quarterback out of Drew Brees or Kirk Cousins?

From Twitter ...

It's never a bad idea to explore trade options, and if you can get a haul in return for Bell then make a deal. But depending on how long you can keep him, I still expect Bell to be a beast in 2018, barring a lengthy holdout with his contract. If last year was an indication of what will happen with Bell, when he was playing under the franchise tag, he showed up for Week 1 and had his second consecutive season of at least 1,800 total yards and nine total touchdowns. If you decide to trade Bell, make sure you get at least two starters in return, and both guys should potentially be top 20 overall players coming into the year.

Based on our dynasty league, the rookies who were selected toward the end of Round 2 through the end Round 3 that could be available to you are guys like Antonio Callaway (Cleveland), D.J. Chark (Jacksonville), Tre'Quan Smith (New Orleans), Keke Coutee (Houston), DaeSean Hamilton (Denver), J'Mon Moore (Green Bay), Equanimeous St. Brown (Green Bay) and Deon Cain (Indianapolis). Based on this list, my favorite options are Callaway, Smith, Coutee, Hamilton and Moore. Callaway and Moore could make an impact this season if you're looking for immediate help, and Smith and Hamilton could be relevant Fantasy options in 2019.

Again, looking at our dynasty league, the guys you might consider could be Hurst, who went at No. 35 overall, and Carolina's Ian Thomas, who went at No. 50 overall. I like both, with Hurst more of an option for this year, and Thomas could eventually take over for Greg Olsen with the Panthers. Philadelphia's Dallas Goedert could be in this range, but I expect him to struggle for consistent production as long as Zach Ertz stays with the Eagles and is healthy. You can also look later in your draft for someone like Houston's Jordan Akins or the Jets' Chris Herndon. Another option is to try to package your two picks in Round 3 to move up into the early part of Round 2 and draft Gesicki. But also don't overlook Gathers as a nice sleeper now that Jason Witten is gone from Dallas.

Fournette did battle foot and ankle problems as a rookie in 2017, and he missed three games. But he is not part of a running back by committee with the Jaguars, who gave him at least 16 touches in 15 games, including the playoffs, and 13 games with 20-plus touches. He scored double digits in Fantasy points in a non-PPR league in 13 games, including the postseason, and the Jaguars upgraded their offensive line this year with the addition of free agent guard Andrew Norwell. And Fournette was better than expected as a receiver out of the backfield with 36 catches, which makes him an easy top-15 overall pick in all formats this year.

I do expect Edelman to bounce back, and 80-plus catches is well within reach. Over the past four seasons prior to 2017, he's played at least 14 games three times, and in those three seasons he's had at least 92 catches. He's averaged 6.5 catches a game over that span, which equates to 104 catches if he can maintain that pace. And with Brandin Cooks gone via trade to the Rams, Edelman should return as the primary receiver, along with tight end Rob Gronkowski, for Tom Brady. I'm drafting Edelman in Round 5 or 6 in all non-PPR leagues and Round 4 in PPR.

From Facebook ...

Cousins was the better Fantasy quarterback last season, but I don't care. I am drafting Brees ahead of Cousins this year. While I still expect Cousins to be a solid starting option, he's playing with the best defense and running game he's ever had going from Washington to Minnesota. His production could come down, even slightly, and I don't expect Brees to struggle as a Fantasy quarterback the way he did in 2017 with 4,334 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. I wouldn't bet against Brees putting up 4,500 passing yards and 30 touchdowns this season, even at age 39 and with the Saints running game and defense on the rise.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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