Lineup Advice & Team Tracking: Week 3


Important:  I am traveling internationally from 9/20 – 10/14 meaning that I will NOT be doing the lineup advice for weeks 3 – 6. I am turning that over to Ken Kelly, one of my fellow DLF co-founders and writer of the Aftermath article here on DLF. You can trust Ken to give you good advice and if I ever needed someone to manage my team, he’d be my choice so, you’re in good hands.

Week 3

It was a brutal week with a lot of significant injuries. Offenses are coming around, slowly and things should start normalizing a bit this week. For lineup advice, weeks 1-3 are always the most difficult, especially one and two. Coming out of the preseason, with very vanilla offenses and team’s not wanting to give much/anything away, there’s just little way to determine who will have chemistry, who won’t, what the committees will look like and, generally, who will come out hot and who won’t. We start our studs, we lean into what we “know” and fade what we don’t. I don’t make many/any bold calls this early until we get a pattern of performance. We’re starting to see that now but we still likely have one more week of wide variability.

The Nick Chubb injury was brutal and he joins J.K. Dobbins as being done for the year. We also lost Saquon Barkley for a number of games but it could have been worse. Thankfully, I’ve been on Jerome Ford as a rookie and have him on a number of teams. He’s built for the NFL and I liked his profile quite a bit after scouting him from his days at Cincinnati. I’m hoping the Browns give him the work but they are certain to bring in veteran talent. Kareem Hunt would seem to make sense and it’s not out of the question Cam Akers is in play.

I’m also starting to see cracks in the Patrick Mahomes equation. I’m wondering if the Chiefs have just gone too far in their desire not to address the receiver position and, instead, rely on Mahomes’ greatness to get them back to the Super Bowl. Without the aging Travis Kelce, this receiver corps. looks extremely pedestrian and though Mahomes is certainly a magician, there’s limits to what magic can do. In my estimation, they need that sure-fire WR1 lining up across, from Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney. I still have a belief that Justyn Ross could be that guy but, like the others, he’s young and not established. I was still hoping for DeAndre Hopkins to make the move to Arrowhead.

Looking ahead, I see all sorts of trouble at running back. Just so few options to rely on and this is exactly why I have been prioritizing receivers. I’ve said it ad nauseum over the past 18 mos. and I’m still saying it. A good running back can be the difference between reaching the playoffs in dynasty or not, and be responsible for pushing you over the top, but finding that name is difficult. The actors are easy to target early in the season, but whether or not they remain healthy is another thing entirely. In response, I’ve been loading up on second tier running back talent, starting the maximum number of receivers, and simply plugging in backs until one gets their big break. If that doesn’t occur, I just stream the position for max point potential each week.

Heading into this week’s games, don’t overreact yet. Keep your hands off the trade keyboard unless you have a great offer and simply don’t allow two weeks of non-performance force your hand. It’s still a young season. Give it a couple more weeks before making bigger moves. If you’re an opportunist and clearly a frontrunner, you have my ‘green light’ to swoop in and secure those veteran producers for your projected late-first or second round draft picks.

Team Tracking

Not a lot of tight games this week for me though I did scooch by for a “W” in one league thanks to Deshaun Watson not lighting it up. In another league, one of my favorites, I scored in the top four (14 teams) and lost to the team scoring the most points. It’s been a theme for me in this young season. What I like about this league is that point performance matters more than head-to-head matchup performance. It’s a “Victory Point (VP)”  league where a H2H victory gives you a a single point and scoring in the top four rewards two VPs, scoring in the next six rewards one VP, and zero VPs for being in the last four. So, while lost the matchup, I still earned two VPs for scoring in the top four and I’m still in first place. In this particular league, I happen to have Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook and Cooper Kupp so I’m trying to tread water for a couple more weeks.

I mostly play in VP formats now and I really like them because they smooth out the bad-beat occurrences.

9-5 again this week, bringing my record to 18-10.  Could have been better or worse. I only have one 0-2 team and it has surprised me with how bad it has performed. My strong running back room (there’s that position again) has been anything but strong. At least I have Jerome Ford. The season is still young and there’s plenty of time for this young team to turn it around.

To say that losing Nick Chubb in multiple leagues is a blow is an understatement. I now have an eroding foundation of veteran performers on multiple teams such that I have legitimate concerns about their ability to make the playoffs. When an aging veteran goes down, the realization that you will no longer receive any trade value in return sets in. It’s always a concern when you hold those aging production machines, but I remain a firm believer in that those are the horses you ride to championships. When one goes down, however, the impact is real and significant. At some point, you need to understand the reality of your aging team’s likelihood to bring home the trophy. In 2022 I was trading away Josh Allen shares to rebuild where needed and I love what I received in return. This year I have a competing team built upon Aaron Rodgers (oops), Christian McCaffrey, Justin Jefferson, Tyreek Hill, Calvin Ridley, Deebo Samuel and Mike Williams. I’m at a crossroads now with this multiple-time championship winner of a squad.

It’s the game we play and as dynasty managers, we all have to choose how we wish to build our teams and, then, how long we will ride those veterans before rebuilding. I’ve always been one to build slowly beneath my veteran production but sometimes it’s easy to get top-heavy while the youth doesn’t pan out. This team is the perfect example of that. The struggle is real!

Let’s get to the lineup advice!

Lineup Advice Rules & Format

DLF continues to see growth in our membership and each year I continue to wonder how I’m going to keep up with all of your questions while also holding to a level of service and quality you’ve all come to expect from me. I’ve been VERY happy with my level of accuracy but, for that to occur, I need your help. Each question can take up to 10 minutes for me to research as I research up to a dozen different variables and trends. I do everything I can to get my answers correct. For that reason, I need you to read the following rules and guidelines to help me maintain efficiency:

  • Please don’t ask me to set your entire lineup
  • Put “TNF” as the top line for any question involving Thursday Night Football games
  • Please also make sure to tell me who YOU would be starting if not for my advice. It helps me to understand your gut feeling(s).
  • Include your scoring format  (PPR, Non-PPR, etc.)
  • Keep your questions as brief as possible – Story questions add a lot of time
  • I prioritize questions involving the earliest (Thursday, etc.) games first. If I skip over your question, don’t worry, I’ll be back to it.
  • It’s easy to miss responses to my responses in thread. When in doubt, always post a separate new question

Lastly, I work very hard to get my advice correct and I do not mail it in. When I’m wrong, I feel every incorrect answer so, go easy on me! That said, the DLF community has been absolutely fantastic to work with which is why I’m still doing this after so many years.

Have a great week! Have an even better season!

Jeff Haverlack
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Lineup Advice & Team Tracking: Week 3

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