In my Dynasty league — a start two quarterback league — I recently traded away James Conner and two 3rd-round picks for Carson Wentz. I did this even though I already had Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson on my team. James Conner was, arguably, my #4 running back, but I would be starting him every week in one of my two flex spots, and I didn’t have another skill-position player on my bench anywhere near his anticipated production.
Even though I severely weakened my starting line-up, I made the trade for a third QB. Given the longevity of QBs, I felt that the value was too much to pass up. My recent poll suggested the same. Yet, ADP [average draft position] has running backs like Conner going ahead of quarterbacks like Wentz in Superflex/2QB leagues. This continues to shock me.
So, I asked my trade partner, Dave, if he would agree to an interview to share his thoughts on why he made the trade. I am deeply grateful for his time and insights. An excerpted transcript from our interview appears below.
My QBs and RBs before the trade:
QBs: Rodgers, Wilson, Taylor
RBs: Gurley, Gordon, Mixon, Conner, Foreman
Dave’s QBs and RBs before the trade:
QBs: Wentz, Winston, Darnold, Foles, Bridgewater
RBs: Kamara, Henry, Howard, Peterson, I Smith, Hines, Collins, J Jackson
Me: We are working under the assumption that quarterbacks are going to have longer careers than running backs. If you take even a 30-year old quarterback who is elite, who is on the top of his game…
Dave: We’re on the same page. Not only that. I’ll start off the conversation by saying, “You crushed me in the trade.”
Me: Okay. So fill me in then. Why would you make that trade?
Dave: I had to. As a matter of fact, I would have made it without you giving me the draft picks back. Look at my running backs. I’ve got Kamara. I’ve got Henry — which I’m going to put a big question mark on. Is he going to be the running back that we saw last year and the year before or the running back that we saw in the first nine games? And Howard — where is he going to be. And I’ve got Ito [Smith]. And I’ve got AP.
In order to compete with you…, I had to get a top running back… So, while we [my team’s co-owner and I] took a loss in the trade, I think that sometimes you have to make trades like that to be a better team. We may have lost in the trade, but we became a better team…
Me: So this was a win-now move? This was a sacrifice of three, four, five, eight years down the line to stack the deck for this year?
Dave: Yes… [But] we’re going to come back in the next couple of years and draft another quarterback. So I don’t think we sacrificed the quarterback position for the next couple years. I think because of our success of drafting good quarterbacks and being able to maneuver them, we felt comfortable knowing we’re not done — we’re going to need to go back in one of the next year or two and we’re going to go draft another quarterback just like we have…
But, it really came down to: We had an excess of quarterbacks. I truly believe Wentz is the best of them. But I don’t believe on any particular week that he is that much better than any of my other ones [Winston, Darnold, Foles, Bridgewater]. And with our lack of production last year [at the RB position], you just have to think with how many points we put out when we plug in a top-10 running back. And I love Conner.
Me: I’m going to turn the table. Now you are analyzing the trade from my perspective. I could have kept stacking up with all those elite running backs — I’ve got Todd Gurley, I’ve got Joe Mixon, I’ve got Melvin Gordon, I’ve got James Conner. Why not hang on to all of those and figure out the quarterback some other way because it’s much easier to get a quarterback?
Dave: I would have done that if I were you. [Laughs] Actually, what I would have done is I would have gone after a piece-of-shit quarterback. Flacco. I would have done whatever I needed to do to get that particular piece. You could have popped a draft pick at that point or you could have popped a player out of your starting lineup to pull Flacco away. [Unknown to Dave was that I had inquired precisely about Flacco; his owner wanted no worse a player than Conner.]
Me: From your perspective, I was chasing value too much and not really focusing on the real opportunity in front of me.
Dave: I would say so. I don’t think you needed the quarterback…
But, but — and here’s the big but: you have two quarterbacks [Rodgers and Wilson] that are not exactly youngsters. I think that what you did with your team — you made your team. You now have that quarterback 2…
Me: So here’s the final question. Here was my logic: Forget who I have on my team right now. Forget everything else. Wentz is a young — and I’m not sure he’s elite; I think that you think more highly of Wentz than I do — but worst case he’s a top-10, top-12, top-14 quarterback probably for the next eight to ten years. I don’t see any way that I could get that kind of player for cheaper than James Conner and two 3rds. I think this is the cheapest you could get a player like Wentz by trade.
Dave: Right. Absolutely.
As an organization, with tomorrow being the first time that we were able to meet Conner, we are going to be having a monster party at our place tomorrow because we’re going to be playing for a championship. I believe that without Conner we were going to need to sit this year out…
Any thoughts that you thought differently, that surprised you at all [from what I said in this interview]?
Me: Based on the poll that I put up last week, over half the people that responded said that the QB is going to be more valuable in three years and in five years. But, if you look at ADP [average draft position], the running backs are going so much earlier. There has to be a reason. And you had a reason. So, it’s not that it surprised me. I just needed to know what that reason was because, just by value, it didn’t make any sense to me. You helped explain to me what it made sense for you.
Dave: When I’m playing you in the championship… [Laughter] Have a great night, and I’m glad I could help.
Me: Thank you, Dave!
So, what do you all think? Would you prefer Wentz or Conner? Do you think that this trade made sense just from my perspective, weakening my starting lineup to get a third QB? From Dave’s, losing on value to acquire a desperately-needed running back?