Last Week’s Question:
What are some guidelines for trading next
season’s draft picks as part of this season’s trades?
column featured a trade proposal received by a reader named
Dennis, who was offered Terrell Owens and an 8th-round draft pick
for Carson Palmer and a 4th-round draft pick. Palmer and Owens
would switch teams for the remainder of this season, but the draft
pick swap would be in effect for next season.
I was less interested in getting feedback about the trade itself
than in the rules that various commissioners use to govern the
trading of future draft picks, but I did promise to include the
best answer to Dennis’ question, which came from Larry:
I would tell Dennis to make the trade. He
doesn’t need both Orton and Palmer nearly as much as he
needs help at receiver. There is almost no cost to him this season
if his other QB stays healthy. The only cost is in next year’s
draft, but worrying too much about the future is the best way
to lose in fantasy football. Get your team in the best possible
shape to win this week—and let the rest take care of itself.
I hope Dennis appreciates the directness of Larry’s
answer. What I appreciate about the answer is that it points to
the concern that some FFers are bound to have about the trading
of future draft picks. The desire that most of us have to win
now could lead to some questionable judgments about the value
of our future draft picks. What if some schemer decided to give
up entirely on the current season in order to trade for a first-
or second-round draft pick from as many people as possible in
his league? Once we allow owners to trade future draft picks,
we make it possible for one owner to draft most of his team next
season in the first 3 rounds of the upcoming draft—provided
he is willing to wheel and deal his team into complete worthlessness
this season. Henry wrote in with just such a concern:
We are a competitive 14-team league, and we
have allowed trading future picks. The problem is that some guys
are willing to take crazy risks and give up a large chunk of their
picks. The result is you get a guy who's got a complete roster
by Round 8 the next year--and that's not fun.
So this year I'm feeling pressure from several owners to put a
stop to this. Some want no draft pick trading at all, and others
want it wide open. I don't want to eliminate trading picks altogether
because I think there are valid uses for it. So where and how
do you draw the line? I'm really stuck here. I would love to hear
some proven examples of things that have worked.
The line that Henry wants to draw is not at all tricky
for Mac, who does not apologize for the extremism of his position:
Trading future draft picks is idiotic in fantasy.
The potential for collusion is sky-high. It’s hard enough
for a commissioner to make judgments about which trades should
be approved even without future draft picks being thrown in. Only
a glutton for punishment would add [such an unnecessary complication]
to the mix.
Most of those who wrote in seemed uncomfortable with the
inflexibility of Mac’s position. It seems that many commissioners
would like to find a way to make trading future draft picks work,
but the strategies for doing so were sketchy or untested or idiosyncratic.
Martin was willing to give such trades a try in his league, but
the membership voted down his proposal:
A few of my owners wanted to be able to trade
future draft picks, [but I think] too many nightmares could come
out of [such trades] if they could happen unchecked. Before this
season started, I put a vote to the owners about a new rule that
would limit everyone in the league to one trade per season involving
future draft picks. The proposal was shot down 8-3 (since I don’t
vote as commissioner). Too many owners just saw too many opportunities
for abuse. Now at least I can say it’s not my fault when
I have to disallow any trades that include draft picks.
Van reported a thoughtful rules package for trading draft
picks, but by his own admission it is untested:
We lost two members of our league three years
ago over the trading of future draft picks. There wasn’t
much discussion about the two trades when they happened, but at
the next draft party when one owner got to pick 4 times in the
first 2 rounds, people went ballistic. Our solution was to make
a rule that only the picks from rounds 6 to the end of the draft
can be traded, but no one has traded draft picks since. I think
the early picks are too important to be traded away in advance,
but apparently the later picks aren’t even worth trading—or
not to my guys at least.
If any commissioners have formulated policies for trading
future draft picks that really do work for their leagues (in actual
practice—not just on paper), they did not share those policies
with me. I wish commissioners like Henry luck in adapting the
policies of Martin and Van to their leagues if they insist of
keeping the possibility of trading future draft picks open. But
based on the responses of Martin’s and Van’s leagues
to the proposed solutions, it may be better and simpler for most
commissioners to adopt Mac’s inflexibility.
This Week’s Question:
Should I avoid using a receiver in my lineup
if his quarterback is active for my opponent?
A reader named Mike apparently wants to know whether anyone has
done the math on the desirability of starting Reggie Wayne against
a team that includes Peyton Manning. He writes:
I have a question about matchups that I haven't
seen addressed anywhere. Let's say I start a receiver and (in
fantasy) am facing an opponent starting the QB who throws to my
player (in reality). Obviously the scores of the WR and QB will
be correlated to some extent, but what effect does this have on
the overall matchup? Basically I'm wondering who gains more in
this sort of situation. In other words, if I had to choose a starter
from two wide receivers who were exactly equal in all ways EXCEPT
that one played on the same team of my opponent's QB and one did
not, should I be more or less inclined to go with the player who
my opponent's QB throws to?
I'm assuming the skill of the individual WR and the collective
depth of the QB's receiving corps are pertinent. For example,
whether it helps me or my opponent I'd guess it's a bigger deal
to start Andre Johnson versus Matt Schaub (pretty much his only
reliable wideout right now) than it is to start Braylon Edwards
against Matt Sanchez (who has other reasonable targets) or Greg
Camarillo versus Brett Favre (WR not likely to have an impact
on fantasy or reality). But I haven't really been able to reach
any conclusions on this and would love to hear some other people's
I am not really sure there is a sound answer to this question
other than the standard, “It’s situational.”
However, if any readers of this column have helpful
and relevant answers, I look forward to sharing them in next
Last Man Standing Picks (Courtesy of
Mark Den Adel)
Last week I recovered and went 3-0 with Minnesota winning in
OT and Atlanta holding on against Tampa Bay.
1) Indianapolis over Cincinnati
Indy will bounce back from a tough road loss at the Eagles. Although
the stats may tell you to expect a Bengals win, I’m going
with Peyton Manning. Peyton will find someone to throw to and
Jacob Tamme is proving to be an adequate fill-in for Dallas Clark.
Austin Collie will be out with a concussion, but Manning still
has Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon. The Colts need a victory as
their schedule gets harder in the coming weeks (with games against
New England and San Diego).
2) Philadelphia over Washington
Washington won the first matchup in what turned out to be Donovan
McNabb’s triumphant return to Philly. But the Redskins are
in a different emotional place this week. They are coming off
a bye and have had to work through the consequences of McNabb
being benched in the last 2 minutes of Week 8. Philly’s
10th-ranked passing offense should brutalize Washington’s
terrible pass defense (which currently ranks as the second-worst
in the league). DeSean Jackson returned to action last week, so
Michael Vick has his full arsenal of weapons.
3) NY Giants over Dallas
The Giants have the 3rd best rushing offense and the 7th best
passing offense in the league. They can beat almost anyone in
the NFL, so it is hard to imagine them having any trouble against
a Cowboy organization that is in complete disarray - even before
a mid-season coaching change. Expect a double-digit blowout here.
Upset – Houston over Jacksonville
I was close but wrong about my upset pick last week - Indy over
Philly. Houston is coming off tough losses at Indianapolis and
at home vs. San Diego. Houston’s pass defense is last in
the league but Jacksonville’s pass defense isn’t much
better at 28th, and their rush defense is 22nd. Houston needs
this game to get back above .500 and make a push for the playoffs.
Jacksonville is coming off a surprising win at Dallas two weeks
ago and is now coming off a bye week, but the Jags typically struggle
when given an extra week to prepare.
For responses to this week's fantasy
question please email me.