Kickers: You Gotta Have One (Actually Two, but Definitely Not More than Three)

By Steven Van Tassell

Last, and certainly for most fantasy football owners least, we finally examine kickers before we kick off the beta season of Dynasty Owner in 2019. Some dynasty leagues don’t require you to have a kicker, Dynasty Owner does. In fact, you need at least two kickers (one starter and one on your bench). Unfortunately for those of you who really like kickers, Dynasty Owner also limits you to no more than three.

If you’re going to have to draft at least two kickers, you might as well figure out which kickers are going to give you the best value for the salary that you’re going to have to pay them.

All stats are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the Dynasty Owner Constitution. Standard Dynasty Owner scoring for kickers gives you 1 point for every extra point, 2 points for a field goal of between 0 and 39 yards, 4 points for a field goal between 40 and 49 yards and 6 points for a field goal of 50 yards or longer. A missed extra point will cost you 1 point while a missed field goal of any length will cost you 3 points.

Value and Production All at Once

In looking at the top ten kickers, there was not a lot of overlap in terms of value and production. Out of the top ten fantasy point kicker scorers (production), only four of them were also in the top ten in terms of cost per point (value). In order of value, those four kickers are: Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs, Brett Maher of the Dallas Cowboys, Aldrick Rosas of the New York Giants, and Ka’imi Fairbairn of the Houston Texans.

The most valuable kicker in 2018 was Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs. Butker finished third overall in scoring for kickers in 2018 with 137 points. As for salary, Butker signed a $1.02 million, two year contract with the Chiefs in 2017 after being released by the Carolina Panthers, so his annual Dynasty Owner salary is a league low $510,000. Combining his salary and points, he only cost $3,723 per point in 2018.

  • Harrison Butker: 137 points, $510,000 salary, $3,723 cost per point

Coming in second place in value in 2018, while holding down the tenth spot in overall production was Brett Maher of the Dallas Cowboys. Maher has an annual Dynasty Owner salary of just $15,000 more than Butker at $525,000 because of his $1.05 million, two year contract. Maher scored 18 fewer points than Butker with 119 fantasy points, so the slightly better contract his agent negotiated for him combined with this lower production makes him slightly less valuable than Butker.

  • Brett Maher: 119 points, $525,000 salary, $4,412 cost per point

Aldrick Rosas of the New York Giants was the third most valuable kicker in 2018 and recently signed a one-year $645,000 to remain in New Jersey (we all know the Giants play in New Jersey) and kick for the Giants. Rosas was the seventh overall most productive kicker in 2018 scoring a total of 127 Dynasty Owner fantasy points.

  • Aldrick Rosas: 127 points, $645,000 salary, $5,079 cost per point

Finally, the most productive kicker in 2018 with 166 Dynasty Owner fantasy points – Ka’imi Fairbairn of the Houston Texans – ends our list of kickers who provide both value and production. Fairbairn sits in the tenth spot on the value list as his cost per point is $18,645 after signing a new one-year $3.095 million deal with the Texans earlier this year.

  • Ka’imi Fairbairn: 166 points, $3,095,000 salary, $18,645 cost per point

Only forty percent of the owners in a standard Dynasty Owner league are going to get one of these kickers. What if you are looking for reliability and accuracy in your kicker since a missed field goal will cost you 3 points?

The Most Accurate Kickers of All-Time

If you miss out on one of the four value and production kickers, you can always draft one of the top four most accurate kickers of all-time who just happen to still be playing in the NFL right now. Not only do all of them have career field goal percentages of 87% or higher, but all four of them also scored 126 or more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2018.

Because their teams value having one of the most accurate kickers of all-time, each of them makes over $4 million in annual salary. As a result, all of them are going to cost you roughly $30,000 to $40,000 per point – far more than Butker, Maher and Rosas and still twice as much as Fairbairn. In rank order by career field goal percentage, these kickers are Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens, Robbie Gould of the San Francisco 49ers, Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots and Will Lutz of the New Orleans Saints. However, when we look at them in cost per point order, there are some changes:.

  • Will Lutz: 136 points, $4,050,000 salary, $29,779 cost per point
  • Stephen Gostkowski: 130 points, $4,250,000 salary, $32,692 cost per point
  • Justin Tucker: 141 points, $5,000,000 salary, $35,461 cost per point
  • Robbie Gould: 126 points, $4,971,000 salary, $39,452 cost per point

The dilemma for Dynasty Owners is: How much are you willing to pay for a kicker? Is it worth $4 million to $5 million in salary cap to have one of the all-time best kickers in NFL history on your Dynasty Owner roster?

This List Goes to Eleven

With apologies to Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap, this article has been focusing on the top ten kickers from 2018, but we really should have gone up to eleven. The reason why is that the number eleven kicker in 2018 was Greg Zuerlein of the Los Angeles Rams who only played in (coincidentally) eleven games last season.

In those eleven games, Zuerlein scored 116 Dynasty Owner fantasy points – good for eleventh place. However, on a per game average, Zuerlein was the best kicker, averaging 10.5 points per game. This is slightly better than the scoring average of our top kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn who averaged 10.4 points per game (166 points in 16 games).

And in terms of cost per point in 2018, Zuerlein once again ranked eleventh at $19,397 based on his very reasonable $2.25 million annual salary, which is lower than the salary being paid to more than half of the kickers in the NFL.

  • Greg Zuerlein: 116 points, $2,250,000 salary, $19,397 cost per point

There are very few kickers in that price range in Dynasty Owner and with the Rams high powered offense, Greg the Leg could see a lot of field goal and extra point opportunities again in 2019.

Conclusions

You need at least two kickers in Dynasty Owner, so you might as well get the best value for your salary cap dollars when drafting them – likely in the 19th and 20th rounds. There appears to be a clear top tier of kickers with four being in the top ten in total points scored and cost per point in 2018. However, if you miss out on those four kickers, you can always console yourself with paying more for one of the most accurate kickers of all-time or Greg the Leg.

Or maybe, pick your kicker a little early and grab one from each group – it’s your call Dynasty Owners!

Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Gronk’s Gone – Who’s The Top TE Now?

Author: Steven Van Tassell

It’s time to analyze tight ends in our series of articles about the best players to build your team around when the beta season of Dynasty Owner starts in 2019. The regular fantasy football consensus number one TE pick for the past couple of years has been Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. In case you’ve been without internet access for the past couple of months, you know he retired after the Patriots Super Bowl victory, so there’s an opening for top TE in 2019. Who’s going to fill the gap and become the new Gronk on the field as well as who’s the best value at TE for Dynasty Owners?

Tight ends score less than running backs and wide receivers using the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system, but there’s some value out there at the TE position, but you have to look deep to find it.

All stats are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the Dynasty Owner Constitution. Standard Dynasty Owner scoring gives you .5 points for every 5 yards rushing or receiving, 1 point for every 20 yards passing, 1 point per reception, 6 points for a rushing, receiving or passing touchdown and 2 points for a successful 2-point conversion (rushing, receiving, or passing). Interceptions or fumbles lost cost you 3 points, while a fumble that is recovered by the player’s team is a loss of only 1 point. Bonus points are available for 100-199 yards rushing (2 points), 200 yards rushing or receiving (6 points), 300-399 yards passing (1 point), 400 yards passing (4 points). Kickoff and punt return touchdowns are worth 6 points for the player and kickoff and punt returns are worth .5 points for every 10 yards.

Head and Shoulders at the Top

If Dynasty Owner was a “regular” fantasy football league, then there would be an easy hierarchy or top tier of TEs since only three TEs had over 250 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2018. Those three TEs are Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles and George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers.

Two of those players make a lot of money and are prohibitively expensive by Dynasty Owner standards, while one is head and shoulders the best value at the TE position.

Based on their 2018 statistics, there is some, but not a lot of separation between the three players on just a points basis:

  • Travis Kelce: 296 Points (103 receptions, 1,336 yards receiving, 10 TDs)
  • Zach Ertz: 280 Points (116 receptions, 1,163 yards receiving, 8 TDs)
  • George Kittle: 255 Points (88 receptions, 1,377 yards receiving, 5 TDs)

However, this is Dynasty Owner and we need to put salaries into the mix. Adding salaries puts George Kittle head and shoulders above both Kelce and Ertz in terms of value as his annual rookie 2017 fifth round draft pick salary is only $674,572. This makes his cost per point a miniscule amount.

  • George Kittle: $2,645 per point

In terms of Dynasty Owner value, only two players at any position were more valuable in 2018 than George Kittle: Dak Prescott at $1,958 and Tyreek Hill at $1,971. Alvin Kamara was the top value running back at $2,723 per point. And this was with Nick Mullens throwing Kittle the ball for half of the 2018 season and C.J. Beathard starting five additional games. Could Kittle have an even better year with Jimmy Garoppolo behind center for the 49ers in 2019?

Because they have been getting the job done for the past several years, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz are two of the highest paid TEs in the NFL. Kelce will cost Dynasty Owners nearly $9.4 million annually for the next three seasons – the second highest TE salary behind the $10 million annual salary for Jimmy Graham of the Green Bay Packers. Ertz will cost $8.5 million for each of the next three seasons, which is good for a tie for fifth place with Delanie Walker in the TE annual salary rankings.

  • Travis Kelce: $9,368,400
  • Zach Ertz: $8,500,000

However, when we combine points and salary, it’s Ertz who is better Dynasty Owner value than Kelce, although both are more than ten times more expensive on a per point basis than Kittle.

  • Zach Ertz: $30,357 per point
  • Travis Kelce: $31,650 per point

With their high salaries and high cost per point in 2018, does it make sense to take Ertz and Kelce ahead of some other TEs who might score a few less points, but cost you a few million dollars less in salary? Let’s find out!

A Step Below

Kittle, Ertz and Kelce were the top TEs in 2018 with the next two players just a step below them in terms of fantasy production. However, only one of them was a slightly better Dynasty Owner value than both Ertz and Kelce and neither was close to as valuable as Kittle.

In his first season with the Indianapolis Colts after four seasons with the Detroit Lions, Eric Ebron was the fourth best TE in 2018 as he had career highs in catches (66), yards (750) and touchdowns (13). And at $29,680 per point, Ebron was indeed a slightly better value than both Ertz and Kelce.

  • Eric Ebron: 219 points, $6,500,000 salary, $29,680 cost per point

However, is Ebron worth as much as either Ertz or Kelce? While he was indeed the fourth best TE, he did score 61 fewer Dynasty Owner points than Ertz and 77 points less than Kelce. That’s nearly 4-5 points per game of lost production for a very small bump in value that you’ll have to make up elsewhere.

The fifth best TE in terms of overall scoring in 2018 was Jared Cook of the New Orleans Saints. Cook is the oldest TE of the group at 32 years of age, three years older than Kelce and four years older than Ertz. Despite his age, Cook produced a career year in 2018 for the Oakland Raiders with 68 receptions, 896 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns.

  • Jared Cook: 193 Points (68 receptions, 896 yards receiving, 6 TDs)

Now after signing a 2-year, $15 million contract (for an annual Dynasty Owner salary of $7.5 million), Cook’s 2018 value makes him more expensive on a per point basis than any of the other top TEs.

  • Jared Cook: $38,860 per point

Looking Deep for Value

We need to go deeper into the tight end player pool to find any kind of value at the position for the nine Dynasty Owners in the standard Dynasty Owner 10 team league who aren’t able to draft George Kittle. Even if you are willing to pay the big salary for Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce, you might not get them. What do the rest of your league’s Dynasty Owner who have to fill a starting lineup position at TE do if they don’t get Kittle, Ertz or Kelce and decide against taking Ebron or Cook?

The good news is that second most valuable TE on a cost per point basis was also the sixth highest scoring TE in 2018 – Austin Hooper of the Atlanta Falcons. Hooper had himself a nice season in 2018, scoring 161 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (71 receptions, 660 yards receiving, 4 touchdowns) for only just over an $800,000 annual salary.

  • Austin Hooper: 161 points, $803,357 salary, $4,990 cost per point

The bad news is that Hooper scored almost 100 fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points (94 to be exact) than Kittle, or almost six fewer points per game. And you’re paying nearly twice as much on a per point basis for Hooper than Kittle.

As bad as that may seem, Hooper was still only one of four TEs in 2018 to score more than 100 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and have a cost per point of under $10,000. In contrast, there were thirteen WRs and twenty RBs who did so in 2018.

You’re probably asking yourself – Who are these other two value TEs? A deep dive into the 2018 TE player rankings shows us that they are: Chris Herndon IV of the New York Jets and Mark Andrews of the Baltimore Ravens.

  • Chris Herndon IV: 113 points, $792,841 salary, $7,016 cost per point
  • Mark Andrews: 107 points, $863,290 salary, $8,068 cost per point

That’s it! Beyond Herndon and Andrews, we only have TEs who scored less than 100 points in 2018 or cost more than $10,000 per point remaining.

Conclusions

With Rob Gronkowski gone, George Kittle is clearly the top TE to own in Dynasty Owner based on his 2018 production and low annual salary. It’s not even close.

Kittle was one of only four tight ends to score at least 100 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and have a value of less than $10,000 per point in 2018. Out of the four, he was the only one who scored more than 200 points. In addition, he was nearly twice as valuable on a cost per point basis than the second best TE, who he outscored by nearly six fantasy points per game. And you could argue that he may be even more valuable in 2019 with Jimmy Garoppolo at QB throwing him the ball.

The only question is: How early does he get drafted in your inaugural Dynasty Owner draft? We’ll find out soon as mock drafting has already started, and real drafts are gearing up in August.

Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Top Dollar for Top Production at Wide Receiver

Author: Steven Van Tassell

Wide receivers are the next position that we are going to examine in this series of articles about the best players to build your team around when the beta season of Dynasty Owner starts in 2019.

In comparison to running back, where the most expensive top RB was Todd Gurley at just under $40,000 per point in 2018, most of the top wide receivers are going to cost you more. That’s because while none of them make Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan money, many of them do earn as much as Gurley or slightly more (in the $14 million to $16 million range). Also, the top wide receivers also score slightly fewer points than the top running backs in Dynasty Owner. As a result, the top wide receivers are going to run Dynasty Owners more than the top running backs on a per point basis.

Does that mean you should be drafting your franchise WR after you grab a top RB or make sure you get a good value at WR first in order to avoid using your Dynasty Dollars on the more expensive WRs?

All stats are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the Dynasty Owner Constitution. Standard Dynasty Owner scoring gives you .5 points for every 5 yards rushing or receiving, 1 point for every 20 yards passing, 1 point per reception, 6 points for a rushing, receiving or passing touchdown and 2 points for a successful 2-point conversion (rushing, receiving, or passing). Interceptions or fumbles lost cost you 3 points, while a fumble that is recovered by the player’s team is a loss of only 1 point. Bonus points are available for 100-199 yards rushing (2 points), 200 yards rushing or receiving (6 points), 300-399 yards passing (1 point), 400 yards passing (4 points). Kickoff and punt return touchdowns are worth 6 points for the player and kickoff and punt returns are worth .5 points for every 10 yards.

The Whole Nine (Yards)

It’s not just a saying, it’s a Dynasty Owner reality as we had nine WRs who are at the top of the WR rankings based on their 2018 stats. On points alone, they are all close as from number one to number nine, they all scored within 40 points of one another. In order, they are:

  1. DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans – 337 points
  2. Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons – 329 points
  3. Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs – 328 points
  4. Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers – 327 points
  5. Antonio Brown of the Oakland Raiders – 323 points
  6. Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints – 319 points
  7. Adam Thielen of the Minnesota Vikings – 307 points
  8. JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers – 296 points
  9. Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 286 points

We are going to look at groups of three, as in trips formation. The first three are those WR who make less than the rest and represent the best value (Tyreek Hill, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Michael Thomas). Due to the ongoing investigation of Hill, we are going to set aside the top Dynasty Owner value WR from 2018 (328 points for an annual salary of $646,555, which equals $1,971 cost per point) and focus on Smith-Schuster and Thomas. By the time drafts roll around in August, we may have a better picture of what 2019 is going to look like for Tyreek, but for now, we’ll just look at the other two.

There was a post a while back on the Dynasty Owner Facebook page about which WR was a better value and we can settle that argument here by looking at their 2018 stats.

  • Michael Thomas: 319 Points
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster: 296 Points

Based on points alone, it’s Thomas by a small margin. Thomas had more receptions than Smith-Schuster (125 to 111) for a similar number of yards (1,405 yards to 1,426 yards) and touchdowns (9 for Thomas vs. 7 for Smith-Schuster).

However, this is Dynasty Owner and we need to account for salaries in addition to just statistics. Fortunately for their teams, both of them have low salaries due to being second round draft picks (Smith-Schuster in 2017 and Thomas in 2016), Thomas’ salary is slightly higher since he was a mid-second rounder in 2016 (47th pick overall), while Smith-Schuster was a late second rounder in 2017 (62nd pick overall). Based on his higher NFL draft selection, Thomas actually makes more as their annual salaries for Dynasty Owner purposes are:

  • Michael Thomas: $1,279,743
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster: $1,048,945

When we combine points and salary, it’s now Smith-Schuster who comes out slightly ahead on the all-important cost per point basis. Therefore, Smith-Schuster is actually a better Dynasty Owner value (and maybe worth a higher draft pick?).

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster: $3,544 per point
  • Michael Thomas: $4,012 per point

The rest of the top nine look similar in terms of not only points as we saw earlier, but also salary as they all make in the $14 million to $16 million range and have costs per point in the mid-$40,000 to high-$50,000 range.

The order is slightly different for Dynasty Owners than in a regular fantasy football league as in Dynasty Owner. The top three in terms of points were DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones and Davante Adams, but they were separated by only ten points for an entire season. When we factor in salaries, both Jones and Adams were slightly more valuable in 2018 than Hopkins despite being outscored slightly.

  • Julio Jones: 329 points, $14,251,209 salary, $43,317 cost per point
  • Davante Adams: 327 points, $14,500,000 salary, $44,343 cost per point
  • DeAndre Hopkins: 337 points, $16,200,000 salary, $48,071 cost per point

That extra $1.7 million in salary for Hopkins makes him less valuable, despite scoring more points than the other two. So, who are you going to draft first – Jones, Adams or Hopkins?

The last set of trips – Antonio Brown, Adam Thielen and Mike Evans – are each in the $16 million salary range and just above $50,000 range in terms of cost per point, making them a tier below the rest of the top nine in terms of Dynasty Owner value.

  • Antonio Brown: 323 points, $16,708,333 salary, $51,729 cost per point
  • Adam Thielen: 307 points, $16,050,000 salary, $52,280 cost per point
  • Mike Evans: 286 points, $16,500,000 salary, $57,692 cost per point

As you can see, most of the best wide receivers are pricey and the top ones are going to cost you top dollar. However, there are values out there if you look beyond these nine guys and start hunting for value for the Dynasty Owner receiving corps.

Top Value WRs

Our top value Dynasty Owner WRs consists of five wide receivers who provided their team with very good production in 2018 at a low salary with four out of the five making less than $1 million annually. In addition, four out of the five also have two years remaining on their current contracts so you can bask in their value for more than one Dynasty Owner season.

Our number one Dynasty Owner value (besides Tyreek Hill) is Kenny Golladay of the Detroit Lions. While he doesn’t score as nearly many fantasy points as the top nine players, Golladay’s value on a cost per point basis is similar to that of both Michael Thomas and JuJu Smith-Schuster due to his low annual salary of just under $800,000.

  • Kenny Golladay: 207 points, $799,081 salary, $3,860 cost per point

Number two on this list is a surprise – Dede Westbrook of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite having Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler throwing him passes, Westbrook managed to score 187 Dynasty Owner fantasy points last year for on a fourth round 2017 draft pick salary of just $769,039. This makes his $4,113 cost per point value just slightly higher than Golladay and Michael Thomas and fifth overall among WRs in 2018.

  • Dede Westbrook: 187 points, $769,039 salary, $4,113 cost per point

Now that Westbrook has Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles throwing him passes, could he be in line for a breakout season in 2019 and worth a high Dynasty Owner draft pick?

Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is up next. While his teammate Mike Evans scored over 100 more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2018 (286 for Evans vs. 185 for Godwin), he did so for twenty times as much in salary ($16.5 million for Evans vs. $821,041 for Godwin). This combination of low salary and good production made Godwin the sixth most valuable WR in 2018 on a cost per point basis.

  • Chris Godwin: 185 points, $821,041 salary, $4,438 cost per point

Appropriately, the fourth WR on this list of value WR is the guy who made me have to write “four out of five” twice in the opening paragraph of this section – Tyler Boyd of the Cincinnati Bengals. Boyd is the only value WR in this section with a salary of more than $1 million ($1.064 million) and is a free agent next year. However, he had the most Dynasty Owner fantasy points of the value WRs (221 points) which slots him just behind Godwin in value.

  • Tyler Boyd: 221 points, $1,064,742 salary, $4,818 cost per point

Last but not lease is the WR had the highest cost per point of the five value WRs since he also only played half of the 2018 season. That’s right, it’s Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams.

In only eight games in 2018, Kupp caught 40 passes for 566 yards and 6 touchdowns for a total of 135 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Projected over an entire season, he would have just missed making the top nine into a top ten, but even in half a season, Kupp still had a value of just over $7,000 per point.

  • Cooper Kupp: 135 points, $957,940 salary, $7,096 cost per point

Conclusions

Many of the wide receivers at the top of the stat sheet are also the ones cashing some of the biggest checks on payday. It appears that Dynasty Owners may have to pay top dollar to get the top producers at the wide receiver position since six out of the top nine point scoring WRs in 2018 also had some of the highest salaries for the position.

However, there are WRs out there who can help your Dynasty Owner team at a major discount if you look around and focus your attention outside of the top nine. They may not score as many points, but they also aren’t going to cost you $14 million to $16 million in salary cap space. Are they worth a high draft pick come Dynasty Owner Draft Day or should you wait and draft your team a running back or quarterback first before turning your attention to wide receiver?

The good news is that you get to make the decision. You’re the Dynasty Owner!

Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.