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JUST ASK JOE!

Need Someone to Weigh In on Your Next Fantasy Football Move? JUST ASK JOE!

*Note: If you have already read the introduction blurb (in a previous installment of JUST ASK JOE), please skip directly to the Q & A below.

How many times have you been pondering a move in one of your fantasy football leagues and just wanted to run it by someone? How many times have you asked some supposed fantasy football guru on Twitter or Facebook a simple question, only to have them provide a minimal response with no explanation?

In many cases, it seems that they are just trying to lure you into some paid scheme before they give you the time of day. Well, my first bit of advice for you is that there is no need to ever pay for someone’s fantasy football opinion.

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The Internet is loaded with free information, as well as knowledgeable and passionate people that are all too happy to share their two cents with you. And I am one of them!

While I do not profess to have all the answers, I do guarantee that any opinion I share with you will be honest, objective, well-researched, and based on more than two decades of fantasy football experience.

So, if you have any fantasy football questions, please feel free to JUST ASK JOE! That means hitting me up on Twitter and firing away. Of course, I would try to help you out with any aspect of fantasy football, but my real expertise lies in redraft and dynasty formats.

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In trying to build a championship team, every little bit helps!

I will be happy to try to answer as many questions as I can directly. And in this column, I will post and publish a few of the ones that I think would be of interest to a larger audience. Depending on the volume of questions I get, I will try to publish this column once or twice a month during the offseason and, hopefully, more frequently as the season approaches.

Below, I have shared a question from a fantasy football manager I crossed paths with on Sleeper. Note: To make questions easier to read, in some cases, I may make slight modifications to the structure and wording of the questions.

Fantasy Football Question and Answer (March 5, 2022)

League/Team Details: 12-team dynasty (in year 4) PPR SF. The team is in a complete rebuild and needs help everywhere. The major building blocks on this team are Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, Michael Carter, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Question: I suddenly found myself in a rebuild, so I sold off most of my productive veterans to rebuild my team. Presently, I have the 1.1 and 1.3 (and a few second-round picks) in our dynasty rookie draft this year. Additionally, I have five first-round picks and a few seconds in 2023. Any advice as I plan ahead would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: In the last segment of JUST ASK JOE, I received a question that was sort of like the prequel to yours. In that segment, I had advised a manager of a middling team to blow it all up and try to build with young players and draft picks. It looks like you have already done that and are now on to the next phase of the rebuild. That is, you need to plan out how you will use all the picks you have amassed. 

First, prior to the NFL draft, it seems a bit premature to get too attached to any given prospect. Undoubtedly, it would be wise to see what kind of situations players land in before we seriously consider their fantasy worth.

In addition, fantasy managers need to see the draft capital that NFL teams expend on a prospect. Unquestionably, the higher a prospect gets drafted, the more likely teams will plan for that player to have a major role in their offense in the coming years. 

Having said that, however, you asked the question. Hence, I am all too happy to speculate for you. In terms of fantasy football prospects, the 2022 draft class has good depth at WR but is weak at TE, a crapshoot at QB, and quite top-heavy at RB. In comparison, the 2023 draft class is supposed to be much stronger overall, especially regarding running backs.

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The 2022 QB draft class is considered to be among the weakest in recent memory.

While it is always nice to keep abreast of what the pundits are saying, I would take everything they say with a grain of salt. For instance, last year’s QB class was supposed to be quite strong, while this year’s class is supposed to be especially weak. 

I know it is early, but the top three picks in the NFL draft last year (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance), as well as in many dynasty football drafts, did not do much in their rookie seasons to breed confidence moving forward. Even assuming that they improve in year two, it remains to be seen what kind of fantasy producers they will eventually become.

Even if they take the all-important step of showing that they can indeed play in the NFL, it does not guarantee fantasy success. The history of the NFL is littered with good players (i.e., winners) that do not necessarily put up the numbers that fantasy managers covet. 

Wasn’t the QB class of 2017, which included Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, also supposed to be a weaker QB class? Didn’t Mitch Trubisky get drafted before both Mahomes and Watson that year? Similarly, didn’t Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold get drafted before Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson in 2018?

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Patrick Mahomes benefited from being drafted into the perfect situation.

Perhaps you are starting to catch my drift here. The moral to this story is that the NFL draft is a crapshoot, especially where QBs are concerned. Franchises spend millions of dollars each year scouting and evaluating prospects and still get it wrong a lot of the time. So, don’t feel too bad if you take some chances in your rookie drafts and miss on some guys. It is the nature of the game.

Of course, it is good to do your homework and make an educated guess, but do not be surprised by anything. Players bust every year. No one really knows for sure who will make it and who won’t. So, since your league is a SF league and you have two of the top picks, it makes sense to play the percentages. Thus, despite popular opinion to the contrary, I would strongly consider taking a QB with one or both of those picks. 

Assuming they get drafted in the first round and land in situations that will allow them to develop, there are only two QBs in this draft class that I would consider so high. Not coincidentally, they are the best two dual-threat QBs in this class: Malik Willis and Matt Corral. Without question, when evaluating QBs, rushing upside in fantasy football matters.

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Matt Corral and Malik Willis are the top two dual-threat QBs in the 2022 NFL draft.

The way your team is built and with the draft picks you have, it makes sense to tentatively plan to get your QBs early. Of course, go for a different position such as WR if there is someone you really like. But in the 2022 draft, WR is such a deep position, and you will likely be able to find talented players in the second round of your dynasty rookie draft. I do not feel that way about the QB depth in this class.

The same goes with RBs. If there is someone you love at a particular spot (i.e., where the value is too good to pass up), of course, go ahead and snap him up. But with all the 2023 first-round picks you have, you are in a great position to pick several RBs from what is supposed to be an especially great RB class. And the 2023 RBs would seem to better fit your championship window anyways.

That is, to build a championship team for years to come, you will need players to more or less hit their peaks around the same time. Thus, since QBs often need a few years to develop, it makes sense to get them early in the rebuild.

WRs and TEs also used to need time to develop, but recently we are seeing stud WRs such as Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase and all-world TE Kyle Pitts buck the trend and produce immediately.

Elite RBs (such as the Colts superstar Jonathan Taylor), however, have always tended to hit the ground running. Their most productive years are often produced during their rookie contracts.

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In his first two seasons in the NFL, Jonathan Taylor has rushed for 2980 yards and 29 TDs.

It is also important to bear in mind that RBs tend to have a short shelf life compared to WRs and QBs. Therefore, ideally, it seems wise to add your core RBs to a roster that is already developed (and ready to win) at other positions.

Therefore, bearing these things in mind, in your situation I would take Malik Willis with the 1.1. While it seems unlikely to happen, you have to be prepared in the event that someone snipes Matt Corral from you at 1.2. If that were to happen, then I would likely pivot to someone like WR Treylon Burks with the 1.3.

It is difficult to know how your draft will unfold, but chances are there will be great WR values in the second round this year. By nabbing two top QBs early, and several WRs (and possibly even a RB or two if the value is too good to pass up) in the subsequent rounds of your 2022 rookie draft, it sets up nicely for you moving forward. In 2023, you can load up on stud RBs with your early picks to fill out the rest of your roster.

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Dynasty fantasy football managers are salivating at the prospect of drafting RBs such as Bijan Robinson in 2023.

It will also make sense to consider one or two of the top QBs (and even sneak in a top TE if you can) next year depending on how draft positions shake out. With the remaining picks, there will always be plenty of WRs for you to take a chance on at various points of the draft.

As always, you will ultimately have to hit on the majority of your draft picks to complete the rebuild and contend for championships. The star-studded cast at RotoHeat can definitely help you with that, so be sure to check out our website!

Thank you for reading the second installment of JUST ASK JOE! I really enjoyed tackling such a thought-provoking question, and hope I was able to shed a little light. Make sure to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook with more inquiries and/or to tell me how wrong you think I was. Either way, I can’t wait to hear from you!

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