Engel's Mailbag: Talking trades, draft strategy
Andrew (Oakland, Calif.): I drafted Kevin Curtis as a great value in the eighth round. I love this guy and want to play him a lot, but I also have Reggie Wayne and Roy Williams. What's your take on being able to interchange and let Kevin see some action on my team, even though I can only start two receivers?
Engel: I like Curtis myself, and so does Donovan McNabb, who targeted him six times in Sunday's exhibition loss at Pittsburgh. Curtis projects to be a fine downfield complement to Reggie Brown and can easily fill the big-play role vacated by Donte' Stallworth. Yet while Curtis is promising, he is clearly not a top-10 receiver in the mold of Wayne or Williams, and you can't justify starting him over either one, regardless of matchup. Wayne and Williams are going to produce outstanding numbers more often and they are more proven players. I believe Curtis will have some very good outings, but don't get tempted to pull better players out of your lineup for him. Just be glad you have Curtis as a terrific bye-week option and reserve. He's great insurance in case Williams battles injuries as he has done in the past.
Matt (New York): I recently made a trade where I received Frank Gore and Jerricho Cotchery for Andre Johnson, Brandon Jackson and Santonio Holmes. It was accepted, but other league members think it should be vetoed. I certainly don't think so, because they are just seeing that I get Gore and aren't focusing on the rest of the trade.
Engel: Gore is a fantasy superstar and a top-five running back. We can call Cotchery/Holmes a wash, and the two players you gave up are not enough for Gore. You essentially gave up a top-15 receiver and an unproven rookie running back for Gore. When you receive a superstar, in most cases, you should give up a superstar. Or you should have at least included a much better running back with Johnson if you had one. I can't see how you cannot focus on Gore here. He's the centerpiece of the trade. You didn't give up enough in return for him. I believe you don't agree with your league mates because you received a franchise-type fantasy player and didn't give a real top-level player. Sorry, but I would veto the trade also. Your league manager should approve all trades or there should be a vote on every one. There needs to be a solid trade approval process in your league.
Joe (Charleston, S.C.): I have Joseph Addai, Edgerrin James, Cedric Benson, Julius Jones and DeAngelo Williams as my running backs. Lee Evans is my best option at wide receiver. I've been offered the Chicago defense/special teams and Warrick Dunn for Edgerrin James and I need a reserve defense/special teams. Acquiring Larry Fitzgerald may also be possible.
Engel: You don't need Warrick Dunn with your current core of running backs, and you don't need a reserve D/ST. If your current starting unit is solid, you can add one from the free-agent list when needed during a bye week. Chicago is definitely an elite unit, but I would not surrender a starting fantasy running back for a D/ST. You don't need an elite unit to win in fantasy football and the trade doesn't help if you if your current unit is adequate. If you're not comfortable with the D/ST you have, I'd trade Jones for another decent unit, but that's the most I would surrender. There are certainly some units available in free agency right now that will surprise you with their performances and will be worth adding early in the season. I would focus more on getting Fitzgerald if you can, but you will likely have to part with more than James. In fact, none of your running backs outside of Addai might be enough to land Fitzgerald, but you can shop them for another No. 2 wide receiver of lesser value than the Arizona standout. You can certainly pick up someone in the range of Plaxico Burress or Hines Ward for James.
Mark (Cleveland): I have been informed that I will have the first pick in our upcoming draft. It is a 12-team league, and I know that my obvious choice for the first pick is LaDainian Tomlinson, but what should my strategy be after that? My guess is that I won't have many top wide receivers to choose from, and definitely not any other topflight running backs. Should I go running back/quarterback or running back/wide receiver with my second and third picks?
Engel: By the time your second pick comes around, you will simply have to take one of the best running backs available, because you won't be able to grab a viable starter by your fourth choice. It simply will be a case of taking the best available player remaining at that position. As you can see in our latest mock draft, the team with the first overall pick was able to take Edgerrin James, and Brandon Jacobs while also having the opportunity to take Clinton Portis or Marion Barber III. Top wide receivers such as Reggie Wayne and Terrell Owens were still available. I'd take that second running back and go for the top wideout available. You can still contend by taking a solid quarterback such as Vince Young or Matt Hasselbeck with your fifth or sixth pick. Your draft won't look exactly like our mock, so be ready for anything. Better players than the ones I mentioned could fall to you by the second and third rounds. Just go with the flow, and let it all come to you. Don't worry about what other owners are thinking and whom they will take. You can't control those things. Just be ready and well-prepared when your turn is up.
Danny (Iowa City, Iowa): What are your thoughts on Joey Galloway? Do you see him having another disappointing season, or will Jeff Garcia increase his value and production? I have him as my third receiver in a 12-team league and I was thinking about trading him for a more consistent receiver.
Engel: I don't think Galloway was a disappointment at all last season, and he is one of the most underrated wide receivers in fantasy football. At age 35, Galloway is still going strong. He has the downfield gear of a much younger player and is more willing to make possession catches in the later stages of his career. I'd be comfortable with him as a second fantasy wide receiver, and I think he is a luxury as a third. He has not missed a game in the past two seasons and has gone over 1,000 yards in each of those campaigns with a total of 17 touchdowns. Galloway played quite well last year as the Buccaneers dealt with notable quarterback problems. He should be even more productive with Garcia and you are underestimating him greatly, especially in a 12-team league.
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