Fantasy Mailbag - Week 16
by Jeff Tefertiller
December 18th, 2012

This is your chance to get questions answered. It does not matter if you play in redraft or dynasty, IDP or offense-only, or any other type of league, this weekly article will address all. For this column, we are seeking strategy-oriented questions, including trades, waiver strategy, roster management, etc.. Those questions looking for guidance on lineup decisions are best seeking guidance from the weekly projections. Please include all of your pertinent league variables in your question and get those to me by the end of the Monday Night Football game. Let's get started.

Question 1

I have been hanging onto Cedric Benson in my dynasty league. What do you make of the Green Bay running back situation for 2013? Where will Benson play next year?

Benson ran very well early in the season. It was unfortunate for him to land on injured reserve as the former Bengal really helped the Packers offense have balance. Given the lack of success by the other Green Bay ball carriers, I expect the veteran tailback to be back next year, even though he only signed a one-year deal last offseason. Whether it is with Benson or another player, the Packers do need to upgrade the position. Just a prediction: if the offense struggles in the postseason, it will be due to a lack of running threat. When teams know you cannot run the ball successfully, the defense plays much differently. Benson made teams pay for playing nickel defense.

Question 2

Who are some of the wide receivers you think will take a step forward next season? I am looking for players to acquire the coming spring and summer who could really jump in value.

I really like Josh Gordon. Many forget he was drafted in the Supplemental Draft, meaning an abbreviated training camp and little offseason work with the Browns. Give him a full offseason and you might see Gordon as a Top 15 dynasty receiver. He is very talented. Two things to watch: When (not if) Cleveland changes coaches, will they alter the offensive schemes AND will the team keep Brandon Weeden at quarterback? Given Gordon's success in this offense with Weeden, change is the only risk with the rookie. But a decent upgrade at the position could do wonders for the young receiver.

Another rookie I like to improve greatly is Alshon Jeffrey of the Chicago Bears. He has been impressive when healthy. Jeffrey's size and play-making ability give the Chicago offense another threat outside of Brandon Marshall. The Bears have sorely missed a viable receiver lined up across from the superstar.

Joseph Morgan is a receiver to acquire this season. He has emerged to play the "Robert Meachem role" in the New Orleans offense. Morgan has the speed to vertically challenge the defense, opening up the the underneath routes for Marques Colston, Lance Moore, and Jimmy Graham. Also, given Colston and Moore's injury history, Morgan could play a large role if one of the two goes down with an injury.

Question 3

I have a second round rookie pick and am wanting to upgrade my wide receivers for 2013. Usually, I use my first round picks on youngsters while moving the second rounder to help my lineup. This year, it is my receivers who need the upgrade.

This is a solid method for using your rookie draft picks. Successful dynasty owners are able to play for the future while remaining competitive in the short term. Since you are acquiring youth and upside with the first round pick, I would look to trade for an aging veteran receiver who will be an every-week starter for at least a year or two. Once a receiver turns 32 years of age, dynasty owners treat him as a pariah, so I would look for an aging receiver to rent for a couple of year. I would start with Wes Welker and see what you would have to add to the pick for the soon-to-be-free agent. If he is too rich, I would then turn to Reggie Wayne. As Andrew Luck improves, Wayne could be viable for a couple more seasons. Lastly, Steve Smith has come on strong the past few weeks. He will finish as a fantasy starter in most fantasy leagues, even with the shortage of touchdown receptions. Given the inexpensive nature of the trade, I would gladly acquire Smith and hope that the touchdown number is an aberration.

Question 4

Which quarterbacks do you see changing teams in 2013?

There are several quarterbacks who are expected to change teams and several teams looking to upgrade or make a change at the position. Add in the incoming rookie class, and it will look like a kids' matching game. But, to answer your question, I do not see Michael Vick, Alex Smith, Kevin Kolb, and Matt Cassel all receiving the money owed. All four are under contract for decent starter money. Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez are also due gobs of money, but I expect each to stay put. I fully expect Buffalo to either draft a rookie in the first round or bring in Vick. The situations which are truly up in the air are Jacksonville (do they keep Gabbert/Henne or go in a new direction?), Minnesota (is Ponder playing well enough not to have competition in 2013?), and Cleveland (does a new coaching staff bring in a new player?).

Question 5

If you had the opportunity to re-draft your 2012 rookie draft, what would your first round look like?

  • 1.01 Trent Richardson Came in with the pedigree and has performed up to expectations.
  • 1.02 Doug Martin Even though he has slowed down of late, there is plenty reason to be excited.
  • 1.03 Robert Griffin III Has been the top fantasy quarterback for much of the season.
  • 1.04 Andrew Luck Behind Griffin barely in points/game average and will continue to develop.
  • 1.05 David Wilson Has flashed huge upside the past couple of weeks.
  • 1.06 Josh Gordon Gordon has emerged to become the primary receiver in Cleveland.
  • 1.07 Alfred Morris Late round draft pick excelling in Shanahan's system. We've seen this before.
  • 1.08 Alshon Jeffrey Shown the potential to be very good when healthy.
  • 1.09 Chris Givens Has shown the speed and play-making ability to be a star.
  • 1.10 Ryan Tannehill Could take a big step forward with an improved receiving corps.
  • 1.11 Justin Blackmon The quarterback change to Henne has helped, and he will improve.
  • 1.12 Russell Wilson Has really come on of late and could be thought of as a fantasy starter real soon.
  • Thanks for all of the questions. Remember that next week is the last one so make sure to get your question in early.

    Thanks for all of the questions. Please feel free to email me at tefertiller@footballguys.com with any questions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter, so feel free to ask me questions there. I look forward to hearing from you.

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