Fantasy Doctor: MJD at center of keeper-league quandary

Posted Oct. 24, 2012 @ 12:43 p.m.
Posted By The Fantasy Doctor

Every Wednesday, The Fantasy Doctor ponders fantasy football dilemmas and prescribes advice with an eye on helping you win. Email your fantasy questions to fantasydoctor@pfwmedia.com.

Hey Doc, I’m in a 16-team keeper league. Each player gets two keepers to carry over for next season. Each of the last three years my keepers have been Aaron Rodgers and Maurice Jones-Drew, and I’ve been very successful with them.

My question is: I can stick MJD in my injured-reserve slot and hang onto him for next season or I can trade him to a going-nowhere 0-7 team for their first-round pick next year. My other option may be to trade him for Doug Martin.

My other possible keepers are Stevan Ridley, Daryl Richardson, Danny Amendola — very vanilla, nothing exciting.

— Kerry

Your two most compelling options, in my view, are 1) to hold to Jones-Drew or 2) make a bid for the first-round pick.

Jones-Drew, who turns 28 next March, will be eligible for free agency after next season. Age and wear and tear are the primary concerns for him, as they are for any tailback, but he’s still a skilled, productive player. The foot injury he sustained on Sunday reportedly is not a season-ending injury, but you will want to keep an eye on this situation. 

The first-round pick proposition also interests me, but only if you were convinced you would get a blue-chip player with the pick. 

Whether you keep Jones-Drew or deal him, due diligence will be key. Of course, it's quite possible the injury could hurt his trade value. In that case, you might have no choice but to keep him once again. 

And that might not be a bad thing. 

So, I've got the option to trade Denarius Moore for Donald Brown. Is that a good trade in anticipation of Brown’s return?

— Chris

It depends upon your WR depth. Moore has been the Raiders’ most productive wideout this season. In a passing game that lacks a ton of punch, he has had a TD catch in three of the last four games.

Leading up to Week Six, Colts head coach Bruce Arians said that Brown would miss 2-3 weeks, and according to The Indianapolis Star, Brown could miss Sunday's game at Tennessee, which would mark the third game he has been out of the lineup.

Assuming he returns soon, Brown has some favorable matchups in the second half of the campaign, with Buffalo (Nov. 25) and Tennessee (Dec. 9) particularly promising. However, the Colts face the Texans in Weeks 15 and 17, with the timing of the first meeting especially problematic, what with the playoffs in full swing in many fantasy football leagues at that time.

I believe Moore is the bigger playmaker, but Brown is a starting running back, so he’s not lacking in value. Moore's the better player and I would need a compelling reason to trade him. 

Hello Fantasy Doctor,

I have a dilemma. For the past two weeks, I have lost my games by a total of three points! I lost them because I have had two players get injured and be unable to produce. If not for those injuries, I would be in first place.

Anyway, I was hoping to get your advice. Here are my current players:

QB: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning

RB: Michael Turner, Felix Jones, Trent Richardson, Rashard Mendenhall, C.J. Spiller,

WR: Dez Bryant (utter disappointment and considering dropping him!), Vincent Jackson, James Jones

TE: Rob Gronkowski, Dennis Pitta.

Defense: Seahawks, Giants

I am in a normal, standard NFL league; who should I start?

Also, Rashad Jennings and Josh Gordon are available. Should I go after them, and if so, who should I give up? Thanks, greatly appreciated from a first-timer.

— Roberto

Here’s how I stack your players in terms of season-long fantasy value (by position):

QB: Brady, Manning — Both are strong starters.

RB: Richardson, Spiller, Turner, Mendenhall, Jones — Turner and Mendenhall are fairly close in value, in my view.

WR: Jackson, Jones, Bryant — I prefer Jones for the time being, but if Greg Jennings were to round back into form, he would slide behind Bryant. I would not release Bryant, by the way. 

TE: Gronkowski, Pitta — A clear-cut call here. Gronkowski is a standout. 

D: Seahawks, Giants — Seattle’s a slam-dunk weekly start, in my view.

I’m not sure of your roster requirements, but I would definitely have no issues claiming Gordon and Jennings. The New York defense is the most expendable piece of your roster, and Pitta would be second on the list of droppable personnel. 

I've been hurting at QB all season. Who do you like this week: Cam Newton or Christian Ponder? (Or, do I go to the free-agent pool with Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill or Matt Hasselbeck?)

Also, PPR league, I can start three of these four: Larry Fitzgerald, Victor Cruz, Antonio Brown, Randall Cobb. Thoughts?

Thanks for the help!

— Ben

Though Ponder has a favorable matchup, I’d stick with Newton. He simply has too much upside relative to Ponder.

Of the free-agent quarterbacks, I like Weeden the most both as a short-term and season-long play.

At wideout, I’d stack your options thusly: Cruz, Fitzgerald, Cobb, Brown.

Hi Fantasy Doctor,

Please settle a bet. If you were playing in three fantasy leagues, would you try to pick/play the same players on all three teams? Or would you diversify and spread your roster slots around? I say spreading the roster slots around reduces the chance of an injury, a player having a cold streak, lineup changes, or just "bad days" from destroying a week. My buddy says that certain players are so consistent that they should be played whenever possible.

—Gordon

Roster building for owners in multiple leagues is a balancing act. Certainly there are players you will target in every league, but it's probably best to have a diversified fantasy football portfolio, so to speak. 

I treat lineups as their own entities. I wouldn't have any qualms starting the same player in every league. Some of the lineup risk that you refer to stems from factors that aren't easily anticipated, with injury the primary one. At the most basic level, owners need to start their best players and hope for the best. 

I'd agree that there are certain players, as your friend holds, that are too dependable to bench under most circumstances.