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The Saturday Evening Post with Bob Harris

@Culture_Coach take a few minutes to talk trades, COVID, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and the Amari Coaster with @FootballDiehard Bob Harris.

Welcome back to the Saturday Evening Post. Week 3 marks the quarter(ish) pole in the fantasy football season. Week 4 brings us our first COVID-19 reschedule. We have some of the marquee players riding the pine with injuries. What moves should Your dynasty team might be showing some promise, or it might missing expectations, leaving you with the decision to fight or flight.

This week I sat down with Bob Harris, SiriusXM radio host, FSWA Hall of Famer, and Senior Editor at Fantasy Sports Publications and FootballDieHards.com. I picked Bob’s brain about where we are in the fantasy season, handling COVID-19 issues, and being a cheapskate in trade negotiations.

Are you ready?

Dennis Bennett: Let’s get started. So we’re going to talk a little bit about dynasty and where we are week three going into week four. So how are your dynasty teams doing this season so far?

Bob Harris: Reasonably good, you know, a mixed bag as usual. Some of the startups I started extremely well. I’m going to have some issues as I have Christian McCaffrey in one. So I started the draft with McCaffrey then went with JK Dobbins thinking that he’d be a solid play, and now I’m scrambling a little bit for a running back in that league. But otherwise, I’ve been competitive in all the league’s I hope to be competitive in, and I’m incredibly uncompetitive in the league where I had no expectation of being competitive. It’ one of those orphans that I’ve picked up, and I’m still battling my way back, but for the most part, I’m pretty pleased.

Dennis: So you took over an orphan and you’re rebuilding, so what were a couple of the moves you made right out of the gate when you took it over.

Bob: I started trading for draft picks for the most part. I think that was the big move. It’s a full IDP league, which adds to the misery because injuries have been an issue. But, I started building; there was just literally nothing there. I think I landed some good players in this draft. I’m just working on getting a floor, but there are positions I’m still struggling to fill in the weekly lineup.

That’s always the conundrum when you take one of these teams. It’s been totally neglected. You just have to force it. So I was able to get Joe Burrow. I obviously had an early pick in the draft. I’ve been able to get some deals made at running back. I was able to get Chris Carson. But beyond that, you know, LeVeon Bell has been a bit of a disappointment. I still have Mark Ingram, who is semi playable. Beyond that, I have nothing.

Credit: Seahawks Wire

Wide receiver is where I’ve just started building. That’s been a focus. I’m okay at tight end. I’ve got Evan Ingram. We’ll see what Chris Herndon turns out to be or not to be. But my wide receiver corps can carry me. Unfortunately, I swung and missed on Antonio Brown, you’re just playing to, scrambling, and I gambled on him. I hoped to get something out to him last year. But beyond that, this year I’m relying on Cooper Kupp, and that’s the guy who’s carrying me at wide receiver this year.

Mike Davis

Dennis: You had mentioned you’re dealing with Christian McCaffrey’s injury. Did you expect Mike Davis would perform as well as he has?

Bob: I don’t know that I expected him to do this well. I did expect him to get the run as he has. I think that’s all you can ask of him right now. I just didn’t think he would be as productive as he has been. But, this was not like something that came out of the clear blue, though. We saw this building over the course of the offseason, over the course of training camp.

It wasn’t a real surprise once Reggie Bonnafon went to the practice squad. I think last week’s game was super encouraging if you roster Davis. Bonnafon had been promoted and got two carries. Curtis Samuel got his now customary four carries. Beyond that, we saw Mike Davis get 14 carries, and he did okay with them, but it’s that receiving opportunities, the nine targets, eight catches in each of the first two games. This is a guy that can at least not just keep you from getting zeros, but maybe actually help you out with the touchdown like he did last week. I think he’s a solid play solid and one that’s reasonably priced right.

That’s always the problem for me with handcuffing. That premium, I hate paying the premium, I mean, I’m cheap. I don’t like to pay that bonus. Look, if you have to draft guys like Alexander Mattison (FantasyPros RB44 pick 126), in the 9th, 10th, 11th round, it’s just more expensive than I’m willing to pay. I get wanting to have them. I get if you really think they’re a plug and play threat, but I’d rather have a guy like Davis (FantasyPros RB89, pick 308), who was an affordable plug and play threat and hope for the better price.

COVID-19

At the time of this interview the Tennessee/Pittsburg game had not been rescheduled and the New England/Kansas City positive tests had not yet occurred.

Dennis: So we’re going into week four, and we have our first in-season COVID-19 issue. The League is kind of figuring it out. It looks like they’re postponing it at least until Monday, maybe Tuesday.

Bob: The latest I heard, a report from CBS, sounds like the teams have been told to prepare for Monday night game to show in the local markets. So that report was late, just before we started recording this interview. So that seems to be the direction it’s heading.

Dennis: Well, that’s what I’m hoping. I’ve told the leagues I commission they should treat these teams and these players like any other questionable player. When you have 30-35 man, sometimes 50 man rosters, if it’s an IDP league, you have players. So you may not have great depth, but you’re going to have some players. I put the onus on the team managers. Hey, you need to make the call. Is Julio Jones in, or is it Leonard Fournette out?

Bob: I think that’s exactly the approach to take as a commissioner. I’ve had people texting me all day. Oh, “what are you gonna do about this?” What am I going to do? What are you going to do? It’s your damn team. You figure out. Use your sense of how this has been playing out, just like you do with any decision.

When you’re looking at a fantasy player, do we look at someone’s one-week results and say, wow, man, I want Justin Jefferson into my life. No, you say, wow, there’s a nice data point. The league is working on it. It gives me some hope for the future. I look at the NFL and how they’re handling COVID, and it goes back to free agency. It goes through the draft. It goes through how they handled the offseason or the virtual OTAs. It goes to the technologies they put in place, the testing that they secured, and they’ve ramped it up since then. They’ve done a lot of things you can bitch about, but the NFL is a huge business. Huge businesses want to keep making money. When you leave a huge business that makes a lot of money, they will invest a lot to continue making that money, and the NFL is done that.

You know I like the way things went through training camp, and obviously, the test results were amazing, but travel was going to add a layer of difficulty. I don’t know if that was the case here. It seems like it was happening before they left Tennessee.

In Minnesota, after the Titans game, everyone is contact tracing. Whether it’s in the facility or on the field during the game. There’s a chip on the shoulder pads. They know who you’ve been in contact with, who have you been within six feet of them, and how long you’re within six feet of them. They have a lot of tools at their disposal. They’ll be testing everyone going in and out of the building. I think they’re on top of this, to the degree that you know nothing is guaranteed because nothing is guaranteed.

The NFL is on top of this. My guess is they’re going to push this out, and my sense has been all along that this season was going to get played. They are determined to make that money, and I’m thinking, there’s going to be a game if at all possible. We’ll see if there’s a bunch of positive tests or something in the next day or two. That’s going to be the determining factor, but right now, it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case.

Dennis: I put in my leagues pre-season COVID-tingency measures, what we would do if the season is shortened or canceled. In season though, you have got to manage your roster.

Bob: Right. You know we do the magazines, and we were planning to do magazines before we knew there would be a season. Still, it just came to a point where I said, “look at the very worst they’re not canceling this until they have to cancel it.” Right. There’s football until there’s not. We’re all going to be interested, but in my heart, I just felt like these guys are dead set on doing it. So we cut back the number of magazines this season. I said, look, hope is not a strategy. I want to plan for every damn thing. And just based on what we had seen, that was the case. That’s what fantasy commissioners like you did, have plans in place. Be ready, total points, whatever it is, however, you’re going to handle it. Just have the plan in place. The same with the games like this as you told everyone treat him like questionable players.

Trading

DynastyGM

Dennis: So we’ve had a couple of major injuries to Saquon Barkley and Courtland Sutton. No segue there. I recently received a trade offer. Here is the scenario. I was offered a first-round pick and Saquon Barkley for Dalvin Cook and Terry McLaurin. My team is 0-3, and the offer came from the league leader.

I’m 0-3 in this league because Eric Fisher vultured Travis Kelce’s touchdown in Week 3 and I lost be less than a point in Week 1.

Bob Harris Hate him, Fisher. For fantasy anyway.

Dennis: The sales pitch was, “You really should make this trade. You’re going to be 0-3 barring some sort of great Kelce night.” Well, 20 points from Travis Kelce is a fairly common occurrence, especially in a tight end premium league.

What’s your strategy when it comes to guys like Barkley or Sutton three or four weeks into the season? Are you looking for them? What are you willing to pay for them for next year?

Bob: I’m looking for them; I mentioned I’m cheap, right. So I’m looking for whatever I can get cheap, and most of those guys playing in the leagues we play in are pretty competitive, you’re not playing with a bunch of newcomers. So making those trades cheap is not easy to do. So I tend not to pursue to heavily. I’ll throw out some offers and see if I get any bites. I’ll check the rosters, see if they’re desperate for something, or see if there’s something that they’re missing that maybe can keep them competitive.

In the end, I know in these leagues I’m in, I want to win them. Also, I just want to be competitive. I’m in 30 leagues. I’m battling here. So, you know, make the offers and try and work it see who has needs and and and make reasonable offers, but I’m not breaking the bank.

Selling

Dennis: So let’s say you have Barkley on your roster. You’re very competitive, top three in points 2-1 or 3-0, what are you accepting for Barkley to get to that piece to keep you going?

Bob: Ha! I must rob somebody; I’m greedy. I mean, I’m looking for probably a first-round pick and a piece that can contribute. I’m not going to just settle for somebody who can contribute this year. I’m not going to take just a guy. I’m going to need a guy and some pretty heavy draft capital and hope for the best. If someone comes offering like a frontline player for Barkley, I’m going to wonder why. It’s not like I won’t do it. But, you would have to think that through carefully, and I can’t imagine someone being so loaded that they would come at you with someone that you feel like you could hang your hat on the way you can hang your hat on a Barkley.

Dennis: Well, I would think that somebody offering that, they probably feel like they’re out of it. They’re like, well, he lost Barkley, and he needs a piece. So let’s say a first-round pick plus what player would you give up Barkley?

Bob: First-round pick and a receiver I could start every week. You know, maybe a WR2. I’d like, ideally, a WR1. But, a guy I feel like I could start every week, maybe you know a Michael Gallup or above. I would say CeeDee Lamb, but in a dynasty, probably not. As long as I was getting that first-round pick and I thought it was going to be an early pick.

Dallas Trifecta

Dennis: I’m glad you brought up Michael Gallup. Those Dallas wide receivers, how high do you think the three of them will finish this season?

Bob: All that talk about 3-1000 yard receivers is not ridiculous. I mean, maybe it’s been the matchups, and they’ve been very favorable so far. We should not get too far in front of that. But all these guys can play. I’ll say this right now, Amari Cooper has been impressively consistent based on his history. We’ll see if he can carry that over the course of the season. I call him the Amari Coaster, for a reason.

Dennis: So if you’re building your dynasty team and you got Gallup and Lamb on your team, which one you’re building around, which one are you selling?

Bob: Probably Lamb, I’m building around Lamb. Then again, that may depend on how much building I have to do. Maybe Lamb is the piece that’s going to get me the most in return. Honestly, it’s not such a disparity between what I think the production will be for them. I just think Lamb is this the flashier guy, and he’s probably going to attract more attention from a dynasty perspective. I think Gallup looks like he could be a WR1 in the NFL. Maybe that doesn’t happen in Dallas. Although we’ve heard teams chasing Cooper, you know the Football Team last offseason, and he makes a hell of a lot of money.

I think I can be fine building around Gallup. I think he’s just a really good player. I’m not going to panic over a down game when he was the guy they were targeting when it mattered most. Who is Jalen Ramsey covering when it mattered most? That tells you something right there.

The new Joe Cool

Credit: SI.com

Dennis: So you mentioned you drafted Burrow. Where do you think he’s going to end the season at? QB what?

Bob: Wow, based on volume alone, probably the QB10. Anywhere from QB10 to QB15.

Dennis: Which veteran quarterback does this play remind you of?

Bob: I don’t want to go overboard. I think the mobility you want to say, Aaron Rodgers. Burrow’s not that cerebral. But I think the skills are similar. The accuracy and the mobility are similar, and the weaponry around him is high-end. We’ll see if AJ Green ever gets on track, but they have a pretty good young core of talent around him. I guess I keep focusing on the mobility, which I think is the overlooked part of his game. I keep hearing about the accuracy, although I haven’t seen it as much in the games as I heard about it.

I think guys like Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd will benefit from this, and we’ll see if AJ Green can turn his targets into something. The big concern for me with Joe Burrow is my investments in Joe Mixon. Last year we had negative game scripts and kept handing the ball to Mixon because what else were they going to do. This year they’ll throw the ball 61 times. They have something else they can do.

Dennis: It’s easy to forget he’s only played three games in the NFL, and he didn’t have any preseason games. I think the game is still slowing down for him a bit.

Bob: Right.

Dennis: He was a little bit ahead, but there’s still a process you have to go through, the live fire to be able to come out the other side.

Bob: That’s why I’m a huge proponent of getting these guys on the field. As much as I feel bad for Tyrod Taylor in Los Angeles, you know, Herbert looks like he can play. I think once you see that that guy can play, you play him.

What is the key to success in the NFL in recent years? If you’re not the Patriots, it’s getting a rookie quarterback who can take you to some level of success. So you can put a bunch of talent around him and not have to worry about the contract implications of your quarterback. I think, if nothing else, that’s why you push the rookies onto the field if they look capable, and I know we both know it’s a fine line between destroying a guy and turning out the next superstar, and I think you have to be able to be aware of that when you’re a coach.

Dennis: Yeah, I think Tyrod will be questionable for the next few weeks, and then he’s going to be the backup. So let’s recap.

  • Go get draft picks in a rebuild or when you take over an orphan
  • Mike Davis has been a pleasant surprise
  • COVID is like any other game time situation, manage your team

Bob: No, because Christian McCaffrey is coming back say all my shares and CMC will be just fine.

Dennis: Well, no, I mean if Davis goes somewhere else.

Bob: Mostert played for what five teams before he turned into Raheem Mostert, so I don’t know. Davis, it’s been what, four teams?

Dennis: Yeah.

Bob: San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, now Carolina. Yeah. So maybe it’s entirely possible. I mean, look, people are going to chase that production so now that you say it. Yes, it’s entirely possible.

Dennis: Alright, back to the recap.

  • Bob is cheap when it comes to trades. Sometimes it works though
  • CeeDee Lamb or Michael Gallup could be building blocks
  • Joe Burrow looks like he is going to be good, at least for fantasy in 2020
  • Is Mike Davis going to be the 2021 Raheem Mostert? Time will tell.

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