Christian McCaffrey’s New Contract and Implications for Dynasty Owner(s)

Author: Milos Ljubic

Hi everyone, my name is Milos. This is my first article for the Dynasty Owner. I hope that this will be good for a start and that I will continue to write in the future.

As I wrote in the title, the subject of this article will be Christian McCaffrey’s new contract. As we all know, McCaffrey was the best (non-QB) fantasy player in the 2019 season and his new contract will be very interesting for the next few seasons.

McCaffrey signed a 4 years extension worth 64 million dollars. In reality this new 6-year contract is worth 78 million. Let’s explain this. McCaffrey was the first-round pick in the 2017 draft. He was selected from the 8th position. According to the rules, a first-round pick can sign the first extension after the third season. Also, teams have an option for a 5th-year extension for first-round picks. That is the case here. In the 2020 season, McCaffrey is under his rookie deal worth 0.8M, plus 2.7M prorated bonus. (For Dynasty Owners this numbers is 4.3M which is the annual amount of his rookie contract.) And as a rule, the 5th-year option for first-round running back who played one Pro bowl has a value of transition tag of somewhere around 10.4M dollars. Technically, the extension starts from the season 2022. When a player signs an extension like this, it means that he can restructure the last year of a rookie deal, the 5th year and the extension. According to the Overthecap, cap hit for the next five years will be 7,8M; 12.5M; 12.9M; 16.3M; 16.3M respectively and 12.2M in the 2025 season. Guaranteed money on signing is 30.1M dollars, but on the 5th day of the 2021 season, that number will rise to 38.2M. We can be 100% sure this will happen.

How has McCaffrey deserved this contact? McCaffrey is the third player in the NFL history with 1000 running + 1000 receiving season. Before him, the only ones who achieved that were Roger Craig in the 1985 season playing for the 49ers and Marshal Faulk in the 1999 season playing for the Rams. He has set a few all-time NFL records so far. McCaffrey is the first running back with over 2500 as a rusher and 2500 as a receiver in the first three seasons in the NFL. He has the most receptions by a running back in a single season and holds a few others records.

The main questions are how does this affect you in Dynasty Owner and how will it affect your salary cap. If you already have McCaffrey on the roster, you are in a great position. McCaffery’s cap number for the next season is 4.3M. McCaffery was the best (non-QB) fantasy player for the 2019 season. He is projected to be the second-best fantasy player for the 2020 season. Lamar Jackson is projected as the first and Pat Mahomes as third. You will have a whole season to decide what you want to do with his new contract. You can trade him during the season if you receive an offer that will satisfy you. If you decide to keep him through the end of a season, you will have the option to drop him for free. Or you can continue with him and his new contract. The more interesting question is how this affects new players. To find the answer to that question, we need to analyze a few things.

McCaffrey is now the face of the Carolina Panthers franchise. Carolina fired Ron Rivera after 9 years and one appearance in Superbowl. Luke Kuechly retired. Cam Newton and Greg Olsen were fired too. Carolina is in rebuilding mode. They gave a 7-year contract to the new head coach, Matt Rhule. How does the new Carolina team look after the new changes? Teddy Bridgewater is the new QB and that is an upgrade for sure. The OL from the 2019 season was average. OL was changed, only two starters from 2019 season will start next season. Carolina loses both starting guards. Turner was traded for Okung and that move upgraded the tackle position. New guards will come off the bench or from free agency. We can expect that OL will be average and this season. The biggest addition in offense is Roby Anderson from the Jets. With Moore and Samuel, Carolina will have a very good receivers squad. And very young at the same time. These three had almost 200 catches and over 2500 receiving yards. Carolina’s TEs group without Olsen isn’t good, but that won’t be upgraded on a draft. Also, besides McCaffrey, they don’t have a decent 2nd RB. This also won’t be changed. Carolina has too many needs on defense, so we can presume that all draft capital will be invested on that side of the ball.

And what about the division? The NFC South teams, except for Carolina, are in win-now mode. The Saints have a great team, but also have salary cap problems. Drew Brees is 41 years old. Tampa changed the head coach and signed Bruce Arians. They added Tom Brady on a two-year contract. And on Wednesday, they added Rob Gronkowski in a trade with the Patriots. They were solid last year and with this addition, it is expected that they will only get better. The problem with Tampa is Brady’s years. He is 42. Also, we don’t know what we can expect from Gronkowski. When he was healthy, he was the best TE in the league. But that was a few years ago and he didn’t play last year at all. Atlanta is currently an average team, at best. Ryan and Julio are on the wrong side of the 30s. Cap space for the next seasons also isn’t big and Dan Quinn will be under pressure.

Where is McCaffrey compared to the other running backs? McCaffrey is the best dual-threat running back in the NFL for the last 10 years, at least. He is still young. In July he will be 24 years old. When this extension expires, McCaffrey will be only 29 years old. His numbers in the previous two seasons were great. This can be a problem in the future because that means that he is overused. Only 3 RB’s had more carries last season and all three combined had fewer catches than McCaffrey. McCaffrey played almost all snaps for Carolina last season. 99,6% to be precise, according to Spotrac. The second most used RB was Zeke Eliot with 89.3% of snaps. McCaffrey had 407 contacts with the ball. Once again, the second was Eliot with 355 contacts. The good thing about McCaffrey is that he stayed healthy in his career so far.  Marshall Faulk, for example, had over 400 contacts with the ball in his 5th season. And in his 6th year, he had a 1000 + 1000 season. In his 7th season, he was the MVP of the regular season and in the 8th season, he had over 2000 scrimmage yards for the fourth time in a row. If Carolina decides to lower the usage of McCaffrey on some 350 contacts with the ball per season, it’s very possible that he can be productive during the next six years.

What if McCaffrey starts to decline with his production? Carolina can release him after the 3rd year, at the earliest. If they release him after the 2022 season, they would save 7.7M in cap space with 8.6M of dead money. If they decide to release him after the 4th season, cap savings after the 2023 season would be 12M, and dead money, in that case, would be the only 4.3M. On the other side, this can be a reason for the concern of owners if they decide to draft/keep McCaffrey on a new contract. If we suppose that McCaffrey can decline to the level of Gurley’s declined last season, McCaffrey probably won’t be cut. Carolina doesn’t have on a roster 35M+ QB, doesn’t have a top-paid defensive player in the league, and doesn’t have CB who is waiting to become the highest-paid player on his position.

Milos Ljubic is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

A Tale of Three Mock Drafts

Author: Steven Van Tassell

With the NFL draft coming up tonight, it seems like the current players are being somewhat forgotten by many dynasty players and analysts alike as everyone salivates over potential future studs like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. Everyone is also looking for affordable players they can add to their roster who might match the 2019 production of second and third round picks like D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Devin Singletary. Still others are focused on late rounders who might turn into the next Dak Prescott or George Kittle. For some possible future Prescott’s and Kittle’s, everyone should check out the article by our new writer Chris Wolf (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/04/late-round-dart-throws/).

It’s like people are forgetting about established young (and old) stars who are likely to be high draft picks in the new 12-man Dynasty Owner leagues coming soon. To give those established players the recognition they deserve, let’s look at the results of three mock drafts conducted last week to see what your fellow Dynasty Owners think of the current crop of players before the rookies are available to draft. We’ll also look at some interesting observations from those three drafts that may help you with your real Dynasty Owner draft later on this year.

All three of these mock drafts consisted of 25 rounds and had at least a majority of actual Dynasty Owners making their selections, including one draft that had 11 out of 12 slots filled by real Dynasty Owners. The names of the Dynasty Owners are not included to protect them from potential ridicule for poor selections and to also not give away any of their draft secrets in case you get matched up in the same league as them.

All stats are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the updated Dynasty Owner Constitution. Standard Dynasty Owner scoring gives you .1 points for every yard rushing or receiving, .1 point for every 2 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) and 400 yards passing (4 points). There is also a 3 point bonus for clutch scoring, which is a score that results in a lead change in the final two minutes of the 4th quarter or overtime. Kickoff and punt return touchdowns are worth 6 points for the player and kickoff and punt returns are worth .25 points for every 10 yards.

Standard Dynasty Owner scoring for kickers gives you 1 point for every extra point, while a missed extra point will cost you 1 point. It’s 2 points for a field goal of between 0 and 39 yards, 4 points for a field goal between 40 and 49 yards and 5 points for a field goal of 50 yards or longer. A missed field goal of between 0 and 39 yards will cost you 3 points, while a miss of 40 yards or more is a loss of 2 points.

First Round Consensus

There was a consensus of eight first round draft picks in all three mock drafts. Five out of the eight players were RBs (Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook) and two were WRs (Michael Thomas and Chris Godwin). Finally, we had the top scorer in Dynasty Owner from 2019 and consensus #1 pick – QB Lamar Jackson.

This finding is right in line with traditional year-to-year redraft leagues where most owners take a RB in the first round, but it might be somewhat surprising to Dynasty Owners since 10 of the 12 top scoring players in Dynasty Owner last year were QBs. The only exceptions were the top #1 players at their respective positions in 2019: RB Christian McCaffrey (#2 overall) and WR Michael Thomas (#8 overall).

Even though he carries a salary of only $4.1 million annually for 2020 right now, won the Super Bowl and finished the 2019 season as the #7 overall scorer in Dynasty Owner despite missing two games, Patrick Mahomes was only taken in the first round once. In the other two drafts, he was taken in the second round. This is after having the best ADP in 2018 (ADP 4). It appears that some owners are scared off drafting Mahomes first because of the potential of a big contract that he’s likely getting sometime soon.

With seemingly all of the commonality in these three mock drafts, it was also surprising that only one other player was drafted in the same spot in the first round in two out of the three mock drafts (Alvin Kamara with the #6 pick). This shows that Dynasty Owners who don’t get one of the top two picks in their 2020 drafts may be able to get their favorite player not named Lamar Jackson or Christian McCaffrey.

The Draft Status of the High Priced QBs Varies Widely

Out of the eight high-priced QBs making $30 million or more, only three of them (Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers) were selected in all three Dynasty Owner mock drafts. And it was Seattle QB Russell Wilson, the $35 million man and the highest paid player in Dynasty Owner right now, who was picked first in all three mock drafts.

It’s understandable since Wilson finished the 2019 season as the #3 QB in Dynasty Owner with 428.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. However, he did finish behind another $30 million plus QB in Dak Prescott (445.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). Wilson was selected ahead of Prescott in all three drafts despite costing $4.856 million more ($35 million versus $30.114 million). Wilson’s ADP in the three mock drafts was 57, while Prescott’s was selected almost two full rounds later on average with an ADP of 79. Rodgers was the last of the three QBs picked in each of the three mock drafts and his ADP was significantly behind both Wilson and Prescott at 135.

Maybe Dynasty Owners are worried about Prescott because he’s playing under the franchise tag in 2020 and is bound to earn more in 2021 while Wilson’s salary is high, but stable for the next four years. Either way, it appears if you prefer Prescott over Wilson, you shouldn’t panic when Wilson gets drafted because you’ll likely be able to get Prescott before your next pick.

Stacking Arizona

One interesting strategy employed in two of the three mock drafts was the stacking of the Arizona Cardinals new dynamic duo of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins with a team’s first two picks. In one draft, the Dynasty Owner was drafting in the #11 spot and took Murray with his first pick, then drafted Hopkins with the 14th pick in the second round. In the other draft, the Dynasty Owner took Hopkins with the 5th pick and was lucky to have Murray available with the 20th pick when his turn came up again. Two stacks, but two completely different methods to obtain the same result.

The cost for this stack is a shade under $25 million. Not a bad strategy if you have a late draft slot and believe the hype about the Cardinals offense in 2020 and beyond. It’s unlikely that Murray makes it to the 20th pick in too many drafts so I wouldn’t advocate this stack if you have an early first round pick. If you wanted to employ this strategy but don’t have the right draft slot and can’t deal your way into a position to do it, there are a few other stacks that might be worth investing your top two picks in for 2020.

Dynasty Owners could draft the Kansas City duo of Patrick Mahomes and either Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill for less than the Murray-Hopkins duo. The Mahomes-Kelce stack would cost less than $13.5 million in salary ($4.11 million for Mahomes and $9.37 million for Kelce), while the Mahomes-Hill stack would be slightly more expensive at just over $22.1 million due to Hill’s $18 million annual salary. Bear in mind that you’ll only likely have either one of these duos at those salaries for one year before Mahomes gets paid a lot more money. You’ll also be drafting Hill and Kelce a bit early as they went in the third or fourth round on average (Hill was ADP 35 and Kelce was ADP 39).

Another interesting stack and very cost efficient stack could be selecting Lamar Jackson with the first pick and then reach for Mark Andrews in the third round (#25 pick) or hope that he falls to the end of the fourth round (#48 pick). With an ADP of 37 in the three mock drafts being analyzed and salary of just $863,290, Andrews doesn’t appear likely to fall down to the fourth round too often so if you get Jackson with the first pick and want Andrews, you’ll need to reach and take him in the third round. This stack will only cost Dynasty Owners a total of $3.23 million and you might get one more year out of both of them at these salary figures.

Two Brown Tigers

Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry have a lot in common. Both are WRs, played in every game in 2019 as members of the Cleveland Browns, attended college at LSU, were born in November of 1992 and make over $15 million per season in salary. They are different in that one of these two players has never missed a game in his NFL career, outscored the other player by 38.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 (an average of 2.4 more points per game) and costs $2.9 million less in salary for one less year.

Those of you in the know are aware that player is Jarvis Landry. However, if you were to guess which player was selected first in all three mock drafts and had a higher ADP (52 vs. 68), would you guess Landry or OBJ? Believe it or not, the correct answer is OBJ. So, if you want Landry over Beckham, it appears you can wait to draft Landry until Beckham is off your draft board.

Kicking It with an Early Draft Pick (or Maybe Not)

There are only three kickers who are being taken inside the Top 200 players in the three Dynasty Owner mock drafts. Three more were taken just outside of that range. This means that almost all Dynasty Owners are drafting players to stash on their Practice Squad before picking up their starting kicker.

The top kicker off the board in mock drafts was Matt Gay of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gay was only the fourth best kicker in 2019 with a total of 114 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for the season, but has a low salary of $711,443 for each of the next three seasons. In the three mock drafts available for analysis, Gay was ADP 160, making him a middle 13th round draft pick on average.

In the mock draft with 11 real Dynasty Owners, only three out of the 11 Owners selected three kickers, 7 selected two and one Owner drafted only one, the minimum required. We see two different kicker strategies emerging as out of the 24 kickers selected in that mock draft, half were taken before Round 20, while the other half were taken in Rounds 20-25 (including 7 chosen in the final two rounds alone). Two teams decided to only draft kickers as a last resort by taking them in the last two rounds, while five had the opposite strategy and took two kickers before the onset of Round 20.

Conclusions

What have we learned from looking at these three mock drafts? First, if you want either Lamar Jackson or Christian McCaffrey, you’ll need to have one of the top two draft picks. After that, only Alvin Kamara with the #6 pick was selected in the same spot in the first round in more than one draft, so you might be able to get a player you really want at any other spot in the draft. Second, Russell Wilson is more desirable at $35 million per year for four years than Dak Prescott is at $30.1 million for 2020 and a to be determined salary for 2021 and beyond. Third, if you fancy a stack of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, then get yourself a late first round draft pick and see if it falls into your lap. Fourth, Jarvis Landry is criminally underrated compared to his teammate OBJ. And last, but certainly not least, is that there is no consensus strategy when it comes to picking your Dynasty Owner kickers.

There is lots of activity coming up in the Dynasty Owner universe. The NFL draft is coming later today, and the next Dynasty Owner live stream is on Friday at 10 AM (Eastern). If you haven’t seen them yet, don’t forget about all of the great podcasts from the past couple of months, including two highly recommended archived YouTube Live podcasts.

We also have message board debates, a couple of articles by our new writer Chris Wolf (follow him on Twitter – @ckwolf21) and Twitter posts that you can check out. All of this great content is available to help you win your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!

Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Best Fit for Players in the 2020 Draft

Photo Credit: SKYSPORTS.COM

Author: Chris Wolf

If we can expect anything from this week’s draft, it is to expect the unexpected. This year’s rookie selection event projects to be the most watched draft in NFL history. This historic function is sure to be loaded with plenty of fireworks involving trades for both picks and current players.

We will witness real life NFL GM’s doing their best impression of drafting like us fantasy sports enthusiasts; at home, on a laptop. Our guess is as good as anyone’s as to who will go where. Without visits, medicals, and agents middling in the process…this draft can go in any direction.

Instead of providing you with yet another mock draft, let’s take a look at the best team fits for some skill position players that will be selected this weekend.

***Their projected team salary for 2020 in parenthesis***

Tua Tagovailoa QB – Los Angeles Chargers ($4,832,502)

This could be the best case scenario for Tua. A red-shirt year would be optimal for this high-profile QB for not only medical reasons, but also the lack of preparation due to the pandemic.

CeeDee Lamb WR – Las Vegas Raiders ($3,031,205)

An advanced prospect that is just 21 years old. Incredible hands and an absolute beast after the catch. Known for his competitive fire, he would be a great fit in Jon Gruden’s receiver friendly scheme.

Jerry Jeudy WR – San Francisco 49ers ($2,950,550)

This route technician would be an incredible addition to any team. His landing spot with the Super Bowl runners up would be much needed to line up across from budding star Deebo Samuel and overlooked Jalen Hurd. The Alabama product is also reportedly coveted by Philadelphia as well.

Justin Jefferson WR – Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2,816,127- $2,480,064)

Jefferson’s selection would be best as a result of Tampa trading down after the top 4 tackles are taken. If there is one thing that Tom Brady always had it was a sure handed slot technician. Although All Pro Chris Godwin ran 518 routes in the slot last year, his 4.42 wheels could be utilized on the outside with the addition of Jefferson.

Jordan Love QB – Miami Dolphins ($2,816,127- $2,480,064)

Miami has acquired an NFL leading 14 picks for the 2020 draft and is primed to reload it’s roster. Jordan Love just may be the 3rd QB selected this weekend and it would be a great fit for the Fins. His ultra competitive attitude and play making ability could just be what Dolphins have needed for a long time.

Henry Ruggs WR – Denver Broncos ($2,762,356)

This just makes too much sense, but he might not last to Denver’s pick at 15. Any team could use the talents of this speed demon. Although he had limited career production as Jerry Jeudy’s running mate at Alabama, Ruggs is a complete receiver. He is a precise route runner with sure hands (only 1 drop in 2019).

Jalen Reagor WR – New Orleans Saints ($2,305,310)

With the door closing on the career of Drew Brees, Jalen Reagor would be a fantastic addition for what could be a playoff bound team. With the ability to play in the backfield and be used as a gadget-type player, Sean Payton could have fun with this one.

Tee Higgins WR – Green Bay Packers ($2,046,218)

The Packers have been searching the last few drafts for someone to occupy the field across from Davante Adams. Tee Higgins just may be their guy. Size, speed, contested-catch ability are the reasons Aaron Rodgers will love this weapon.

Brandon Aiyuk WR – Kansas City Chiefs ($1,967,559)

The world champs may be better suited adding a CB in round 1 but a WR makes sense as well. They are wearing championship rings because they continue to add speed to their WR corps.

Aiyuk is a big play threat with solid hands and excellent after the catch ability. Probably not happening but it’s a nice fit.

Denzel Mims WR – Washington Redskins ($1,565,972)

Mims is raw but is a physical freak. He demonstrates fantastic body control and produced an explosive body of work at Baylor. He would add to the young receiving group of Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon, and Trey Quinn.

Jonathan Taylor RB – Detroit Lions ($1,552,530)

Size, speed, and toughness is what Taylor would bring to the underwhelming running back group led by Kerryon Johnson. Taylor would bring the much needed hammer to Detroit’s rushing attack.

D’Andre Swift RB – Miami Dolphins ($1,514,891)

Possibly the best RB prospect in this class. Explosive, with superb vision and solid receiving ability would make a lot of sense for the rebuilding Dolphins. He and Jordan Howard would make good complimentary pieces in the backfield.

J.K. Dobbins RB – Jacksonville Jaguars ($1,423, 482)

An elite runner with good size and great hands. He would be a perfect fit for Jacksonville after they move on from the limited Leonard Fournette.

Clyde Edwards – Helaire RB- Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($1,297,661)

CEH is an elusive runner with gifted catching ability. He is extremely elusive and could become Tom Brady’s prefered weapon out of the backfield.

Jalen Hurts QB – Atlanta Falcons ($856,257)

Atlanta had a front row seat to the Taysom Hill show. The Falcons also need to add to their dynamic playmakers. They could kill two birds with one stone by selecting the incredibly athletic Hurts in round 3. It would benefit the team to upgrade the backup QB position and benefit Hurts to learn from Matt Ryan.

Zack Moss RB – Pittsburgh Steelers ($850,989)

The Steelers will need to add a dynamic playmaker to this workmanlike backfield in this year’s draft. Pittsburgh’s running back room could have doubled as the trainer’s room in 2019 with all of the nagging injuries. Coincidently, Moss reminds many of Le’veon Bell with his elusiveness and glide ability.

Cole McDonald QB – Buffalo Bills ($784,843)

This one is just fun. McDonald is an absolute clone of Josh Allen. The backup QB position candidates aren’t exactly intimidating with the likes of Matt Barkley and Davis Webb. McDonald is a draftable prospect that should go somewhere in rounds 4-6.

This list does not necessarily encompass team needs or what they will do come draft weekend. It’s simply a compilation of players that would benefit from a team’s scheme. This draft has the sense of “anything can happen” and it will provide some much needed entertainment for all of us.

Late Round Dart Throws for the 2020 NFL Draft

Author: Chris Wolf

With draft season upon us there are more uncertainties than usual. Due to COVID-19, NFL teams are in uncharted territory when it comes to the rookie draft. The NFL mandates that team Owners, General Managers, Head Coaches, and Directors of Scouting must be separate during the draft and are allowed one IT person to be present during the draft. You can view an inside look as to the world we live in ​here​.

A big issue, according to several NFL executives, is the 2nd phase of the draft. The second phase begins when the draft is complete and non-drafted players are able to sign with NFL teams. These undrafted free agents are free to sign with the team of their choice when they come calling.

The problem that teams face is the unusual lack of information when it comes to draft eligible players. Normally, NFL teams are permitted to transport up to 30 draft prospects to their facility for medical exams, interviews, and additional testing during the pre-draft process. Many players and teams were shorted this experience in 2020. Instead, teams must rely on private pro-days without a team representative present. The workouts have been awash with sketchy editing, weird camera angles and it seems everyone runs the 40 in the 4.2’s during the pandemic.

Listed here are five future NFL players with an estimated 2020 cap value. So, let’s take a look at some players that may be late round draft picks or UDFA’s that you might want to keep your eye on during your fantasy draft or free agency period.

QB Jake Luton – Oregon State

Luton is considered to be one of the top 10 QB prospects in this year’s draft class. With three years starting experience at Oregon State, Luton has put together an impressive resume in his tenure with the Beavers. Luton improved every year in passer grading including going for 28 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions in his senior campaign. As a two star recruit coming out of Washington, Luton accepted an offer to play at Idaho. He redshirted there and then transferred to Ventura Community College. During his lone season at Ventura, he posted a 3,551 yd/40 TD line white adding 175 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground.

Sporting a 6’ 7” and 230lb frame, Luton offers above average pocket presence and escapability. He is absurdly accurate when given a clean pocket and is very proficient in the play action game, whether under center or in shotgun.

Playing in a limited offense for Jonathan Smith at Oregon State, we may not have seen what Luton was capable of. Luton should be a day 3 pick and does not project to be a year one starter but he offers potential in the right system and just might be a good stash on your practice squad.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $650,000-$800,000

WR John Hightower – Boise State

If it were any other year and the 2020 wide receiver class wasn’t so inslanely loaded, we would be talking about John Hightower being drafted in the 2nd round. A deep threat out of Boise State, by way of Hinds Community College in Mississippi, Hightower is a speed demon with above average ball-tracking ability.

His 2019 season saw him catching 51 balls for 943 yards and 8 scores. His impressive 18.5 yards per reception ranked him 5th in the nation (of those with more than 50 receptions) albeit playing against lesser competition in the Mountain West division. Hightower is not a tackle-breaker by any means. In fact, he is more of a catch and get tackled or catch and score type of player.

Evans is a vision runner that would excel with better blocking in a zone themed rushing attack. NFL teams will love the fact that he rarely fumbles and has some receiving chops. In 2019 he was able to carry the load for Appalachian St turning 256 attempts into 1484 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding 198 yds through the air.

What he lacks in elusiveness, he makes up for in vision and big play ability. Evans was able to bust out 28, 20+yd runs ranking him 3rd in the nation. At 5’10” and 203lbs soaking wet, Evans projects as a speed back in a complimentary role at the next level. Because the NFL is finally realizing that you can find quality running backs in the later rounds, expect Evans to go late in the draft or be signed quickly as an UDFA.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $630,000

RB/WR Antonio Gibson – Memphis

With fresh legs and insane explosiveness, Antonio Gibson is going to make some NFL team very happy. Gibson is undoubtedly the most talented yet anomalous selection on this list. His limited use at Memphis was a head scratcher with only 307 career offensive snaps.

He appears to be built in a lab with a solid base and supreme athleticism, his game oozes with quickness, bounce, and crazy tackle breaking ability. With an insanely limited 77 career touches; Gibson broke 16 tackles on 33 rushing attempts and 17 tackles on 38 receptions. That is enough to make any NFL GM drool over the possibilities. He is listed on several draft boards as either a WR or RB but should find work somewhere in between with his new employer.

He does not run the most polished routes and could do a better job of catching the ball away from his body, his incredible athleticism will translate well to catching balls coming out of the backfield or close to the line of scrimmage. The NFL seems to be finally coming around to the usage of athletes like Gibson (RIP Tavon Austin and Corradele Patterson fantasy owners). He should be a round 2-4 selection in the NFL draft and an early to mid round 3 pick in Dynasty Rookie drafts.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $860,000

TE Harrison Bryant – Florida Atlantic University

The list would not be complete without a tight end in what appears to be an underwhelming draft class for the position. Typically, tight ends outside the top three taken don’t get love in the fantasy community but Harrison Bryant is a name you may want to be familiar with. With a 6’5” 240lb frame, Bryant is a solid route runner that brings physicality to his game.

Bryant will not be confused as a good or even competent in-line blocker, his fantasy relevant abilities are why we’re here. In three seasons of work at FAU, he has compiled a resume consisting of 142 receptions on 197 targets for 2,076 yards while hauling in 18 TD’s. While he’s not a seperator like George Kittle or Noah Fant, he is a good seam stretcher that has a knack for finding openings in coverage. He reminds you more of a Cam Brate or Hunter Henry type player that bails out his QB with his smarts.

Smooth enough to create missed tackles and strong enough to gain some yards after the catch, he became a drop monster in 2019 totaling an alarming 8 drops. These drops appear to be fixable since they are mostly concentration drops and not ones that seem to be technique issues. That being said, his toughness with the ball in his hands and his contested catch prowess, he should be the 5th to 8th TE taken somewhere in rounds 5-7 at the end of April.

Although the players on this list may not and probably won’t be much more than year 1 bench stashes, they are still worthy of consideration for dynasty fantasy football purposes. These players are the ones you want to keep in mind if your rookie drafts get into the 3rd, 4th, or 5th rounds when the notable players are scooped up and you’re at a loss. With all of the uncertainty in this year’s pandemic influenced draft, you just might be able to find a gem in the late rounds.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $650,000

Follow us on Twitter: @DynastyOwner

Salary Cap Room for Draft Picks

Author: Steven Van Tassell

One great question that keeps coming up is – “How much salary cap room do I need to have for draft picks?”  The short answer is: “It depends”. That answer isn’t very helpful so it’s time to dive into some 2020 draft pick research, look back at last year’s draft, and give a (somewhat) better answer to that question for all of our Dynasty Owners.

Unless you traded away all three of your 2020 Dynasty Owner draft picks, you’ll need a minimum of three roster spots and $1.53 million in salary cap room. That will get your Dynasty Owner team three rookies on minimum salary contracts of $510,000 in 2020 to add to your team’s roster. Depending on your situation, your team could need more cap room and roster spots if you traded for a draft pick and less if you traded away a draft pick.

However, say you wanted the top three picks in the NFL draft and skill position players (QB, RB, WR, TE) were selected as the top three players, your Dynasty Owner team would need almost $26.4 million in salary cap room. The 2020 rookie salary for the top pick will be $9.154 million, it’s $8.735 million for the second pick and $8.469 million for the third pick. That’s a total of $26.36 million, or $24.83 million more than the minimum.

Let’s take a look at some realistic scenarios based on current mock draft projections. We’ll use NFL.com as our source for projections of when players will be drafted (http://www.nfl.com/draft/2020/mock-drafts). After that, we’ll check out some “real world” examples from 2019.

2020 NFL Mock Draft Projections

While it is possible for a Dynasty Owner to draft the top three skill position players in their Dynasty Owner rookie draft, based on current projections, you’d be adding three QBs to your roster. Joe Burrow is projected as the #1 pick and either Tau Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert are projected to go as the #5 and #6 picks – depending on which mock draft expert you believe. If you don’t need three QBs, then you’ll likely be spending less than the $26.36 million.

Based on the Spotrac NFL draft tracker (https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/draft/round-1/), those three players will probably be paid the following amounts at the listed mock draft selection spot:

  • Joe Burrow (#1 pick) – $9.154 million
  • Tua Tagovailoa (#5 pick) – $7.631 million
  • Justin Herbert (#6 pick) – $6.68 million

In total, that’s $23.465 million if you grabbed the top three skill position players likely to be drafted in the 2020 NFL draft. However, since very few Dynasty Owner teams probably need (or want) three rookie QBs, it seems that $23.5 million in cap room is really the highest possible amount that Dynasty Owners need to have available to draft rookies. More likely, the best that a Dynasty Owner will do is be able to draft the top QB, RB and WR.

Based on the mock drafts, the following players are projected as the top position players taken in the 2020 draft:

  • Joe Burrow (#1 pick) – $9.154 million
  • Ceedee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy (#11 pick) – $4.586 million
  • D’Andre Swift (#26 pick) – $3.025 million

The top QB, RB and WR are likely to cost a Dynasty Owner around $6.7 million less than the three QBs as the total for Burrow, Lamb/Jeudy and Swift is projected at $16.766 million. In reality, that’s the upper range a Dynasty Owner should keep on hand after the amnesty period is over to give himself room to draft three top rookies. So, unless everyone in your Dynasty Owner league is close against the salary cap, someone is likely to have enough room to take one of those top guys, so most Dynasty Owners can get away with less than the nearly $17 million mentioned above.

Examples from 2019 to Emulate for Your 2020 Cap Floor

For Dynasty Owners who like their team, but still have three draft picks and don’t want to restrict themselves to all rookies on minimum contracts, what’s a reasonable floor of salary cap space that you should have on hand?  Since about 10 skill positions are projected (on average) to be drafted in the first round, you could in theory draft a first round NFL draft pick (think WR N’Keal Harry who was the 32nd pick in the 2019 NFL draft), a mid-second or third round pick (one of the several WRs taken in that range in 2019 include A.J. Brown, Mecole Hardman, Parris Campbell, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside or RB Miles Sanders) and a fifth, sixth or seventh round pick (such as Hunter Renfrow, Darius Slayton, Gardner Minshew or Darwin Thompson). The most expensive of these grouping would have cost you only about $4.65 million in 2019, so to be safe, you’d need $5 million of salary cap room in 2020 to get the following players (# draft pick):

  • N’Keal Harry (First Round – #32 pick) – $2.525 million
  • A.J. Brown (Second Round – #51 pick) – $1.413 million
  • Hunter Renfrow (Fifth Round – #149 pick) – $708,987

While that’s three WRs, it’s still not a bad draft haul for less than $5 million. If you took one guy from three different positions, say Minshew at QB (sixth round), Josh Jacobs at RB (first round) and D.K. Metcalf at WR (second round), you would have spent a little bit more ($4.81 million):

  • Josh Jacobs (First Round – #24 pick) – $2.983 million
  • D.K. Metcalf (Second Round – #64 pick) – $1.146 million
  • Gardner Minshew II (Sixth Round – #178 pick) – $677,721

Without running more scenarios, it appears that $5 million is a good amount to have on hand to get a nice haul of rookies. It can be done for less if you need to and are able to mine the draft for some quality late round picks. A good draft last year would have been possible for only $2.533 million and netted a Dynasty Owner the following players:

  • D.K. Metcalf (Second Round – #64 pick) – $1.146 million
  • Hunter Renfrow (Fifth Round – #149 pick) – $708,987
  • Gardner Minshew II (Sixth Round – #178 pick) – $677,721

The 2020 salaries will be slightly higher, and the picks won’t be the exact same selections, but based on these results, it looks possible to have a good 2020 Dynasty Owner draft for around $2.5 to $3 million.

Conclusions

It depends is actually the correct answer here as, everything depends on your roster and draft picks stash. If you need more good players and have cleared enough salary cap room and others in your league are cap strapped, then you could pick up three of the top skill position players taken in the 2020 NFL draft. You’ll possibly need as much as $26.4 million, but more realistically about $16.8 million.

It’s possible to have a great draft for less – just look at 2019 when a savvy Dynasty Owner could have picked three quality players up for as little as $2.533 to $4.81 million. That’s more like $3 million to $5 million in 2020 draft salaries, but it shows any amount can be the “right” amount of salary cap room. Don’t forget about all of the great Dynasty Owner specific podcasts you can listen to and watch. The YouTube Live podcast from last Thursday with special guest Christopher Harris and the one from the previous Friday were really great and highly recommended. We also have message board debates and Twitter posts that you can check out.  All of this great content is available to help you win your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!  After all, what else do you have to do now!

Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Old Faces in New Places (Schitt’s Creek Version)

Author: Stephen Van Tassell

If you’re not familiar with Schitt’s Creek, then I recommend you go to Netflix and start watching as it’s a very funny show. If you’ve seen it, don’t go ruining it for me and others with spoilers in one of the Slack channels because I’m only on season two. Here’s a summary of the show from Wikipedia.

The series follows the trials and tribulations of the formerly wealthy Rose family who are forced to relocate to Schitt’s Creek, a small town they once purchased as a joke. Now living in two adjoining motel rooms, Johnny and Moira Rose—along with their adult children, David and Alexis—must adjust to a life without money and with each other.

So, it’s the opposite of the Jeffersons and means that this article will focus on players who have moved teams during the NFL off-season, but will highlight players who aren’t making as much as they did in 2019. They aren’t living in a motel without any money, but like the Roses, they are going to have to learn how to adjust to life in a new town with less money.

Are all of them suddenly worth having on your Dynasty Owner roster since they will count less against your salary cap than they did last year? Not exactly. Less money doesn’t automatically equal making the league minimum salary and some of the players highlighted still carry pretty hefty contracts of $6 million per year or higher. Just like the Jeffersons article, there are a lot of players who left one team in free agency for less money with another team, so we can’t cover everyone. Let’s look at six guys who will be making less in 2020, but hoping to play well enough to earn a higher paid contract for 2021 and beyond (all except one who signed a two year deal).

All stats are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the updated Dynasty Owner Constitution. Standard Dynasty Owner scoring gives you .1 points for every yard rushing or receiving, .1 point for every 2 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) and 400 yards passing (4 points). There is also a 3 point bonus for clutch scoring, which is a score that results in a lead change in the final two minutes of the 4th quarter or overtime. Kickoff and punt return touchdowns are worth 6 points for the player and kickoff and punt returns are worth .25 points for every 10 yards.

U Know These TEs

Let’s start with a pair of TEs from the University of Miami – Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen. Both are in the later stages of their careers before they move on to other pursuits (Olsen is likely to be a TV football analyst, while Graham is apparently an experienced pilot). Both signed contracts this off-season with a new team, but for less money than they were making in 2019. We’ll start with Jimmy Graham since he is slightly younger (33 vs. 35 for Olsen) and had a slightly bigger salary reduction ($2 million vs. $1.55 million for Olsen).

New Bears TE Jimmy Graham moved over to Chicago from Green Bay by signing a two-year, $16 million contract, worth $8 million per year in Dynasty Owner (Graham is the only one here who isn’t playing for a 2021 contract). This is down from the $10 million contract his Dynasty Owners paid in 2019. He slipped from the highest paid TE in the NFL to a tie for sixth place with fellow Bears TE Trey Burton. While his 2020 contract is less than 2019, Dynasty Owners shouldn’t settle for just a savings of $2 million but go for the entire contract and drop Graham while they can for free.

As the top TE in Green Bay, Graham only had 99.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019, an average of 6.2 points per game, with just three games of 10.0+ Dynasty Owner fantasy points. He ranked as the #21 TE in Dynasty Owner last year despite playing in all 16 games and not having much significant competition from the other TEs on the Green Bay roster. This is after he was the #11 TE in Dynasty Owner in 2018. Even if he’s the top TE in Chicago, he’s going from the inconsistent Aaron Rodgers to an even worse QB in either Nick Foles or Mitchell Trubisky. Plus, he’s likely sharing the TE role with Trey Burton (unless Burton gets released). Regardless, that’s not worth $8 million in salary for the Dynasty Owners in 24% of leagues in which Graham is owned. Nor is he worth picking up in the rest of the leagues in which he’s available in the Free Agent Auction.

In a previous article this month, I looked at Greg Olsen. For those of you who want the full analysis, check it out at  https://dynastyowner.com/2020/03/amnesty-candidates-part-4/. If you don’t want to read it, here are the highlights:

  • Signed a one year, $7 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks back in mid-February that is valid for the 2020 Dynasty Owner season
  • 2020 salary is $1.55 million less than 2019 salary
  • Was the 13th best TE in Dynasty Owner in 2019 with an average of 8.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in the 14 games he played
  • Had three explosive games mixed in (25.5, 17.8 and 17.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points), but in half of his 2019 games, he scored 7.0 or fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points, meaning he was at best a Bench option for half of the season
  • Better QB in 2020 (Russell Wilson) versus Kyle Allen for most of 2019
  • Two other good TEs on Seattle roster in Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister plus competing with WRs Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf for catches

Olsen is rostered in 39% of Dynasty Owner leagues now – higher than 12 days ago when the last article was posted and he was rostered in 37% of Dynasty Owner leagues, so clearly more people disagree with me and have picked him up rather than dropped him. He’s the 12th highest paid TE as of right now according to Spotrac (https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/rankings/average/tight-end/) so he’ll need to be a starting Dynasty Owner TE to justify his salary.

Trust me, I don’t like recommending that you drop my fellow University of Miami alumni, but both Graham and Olsen will cost too much in salary to justify being on your Dynasty Owner roster in 2020. Drop them if you need cap room or see if another owner is bullish on them and trade away those contracts.

A is For “Are Either of These Guys Worth $1,047,500?”

Both Geronimo Allison and Nelson Agholor will receive $1,047,500 with their new teams. Allison is in his fifth season, but the first with the Detroit Lions after four relatively unproductive years with the Green Bay Packers, while Agholor starts fresh in Las Vegas with the Raiders after five years in Philadelphia.

Both seem very similar but are also different in many ways, such as the percentage of leagues they are rostered in Dynasty Owner (74% for Allison versus 24% for Agholor). Kind of surprising considering that Allison was slightly more expensive in 2019 ($2.8 million) than Agholor ($2.34 million). Agholor appears to be in a better spot with his new team as he’s likely the third WR for the Raiders, behind Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow, while Allison is stuck at fourth on the Lions depth chart behind Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola.

If Allison can return to his 2018 form when he averaged 12.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (in only 5 games), he might be a bargain for his Owners at his new salary, but that seems unlikely unless multiple injuries hit the Lions WR corps. If you’re a Dynasty Owner with Allison on your roster and really tight on salary cap or roster space, you can safely drop Allison (Full Disclosure: I’m an Allison Dynasty Owner, but have room for him on my roster in terms of salary and roster space, so I’m keeping him, for now).

Agholor on the other hand is probably someone Dynasty Owners should grab now in the Free Agent Auction if they need cheap players with some upside as he possibly could also return punts in Las Vegas next year and get some return yardage points (.25 points for every 10 yards of punt and kickoff returns). Since he’s likely available in your league, put in a bid for Agholor now and hope nobody else in your league is reading this recommendation. Don’t drop the ball on this one, right Philly Hero Man (https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/09/philly-hero-unlike-agholor)!

Talk About a Salary Reduction

Finally, let’s look at two players who are taking a huge reduction in salary to play for a new team in 2020 – Devin Funchess and Todd Gurley. Gurley is the big name here, so let’s wait on him and analyze Funchess first.

Funchess was an early second round draft pick in 2015 by Carolina who thought the big body WR would be a great target for Cam Newton to throw the ball. Sadly, that never really worked out too well as even in his best year (2017), Funchess had just 63 catches for 840 yards and 8 receiving TDs. That’s 195.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points or 12.2 points per game. We don’t have Dynasty Owner stats to rank him for 2017, but if those were his 2019 stats, he would have ranked as the #29 WR, just behind Emmanuel Sanders and right in front of Marvin Jones. Keep in mind that 2017 was his best year and he would have only been, on average, the third best WR on your team. Basically, that’s a FLEX starter or bye week/injury replacement starting WR. In 2018, Funchess had 124.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to rank as the #56 WR in Dynasty Owner, which is Practice Squad depth. There are plenty of other WRs you can have who are younger (Funchess will be 26 when the NFL starts in 2020) or get paid less than the $2.5 million for one year that Funchess signed for with Green Bay. According to Spotrac, Funchess is tied for the 61st highest paid WR right now (https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/rankings/average/wide-receiver/).

If you think Funchess can return to his level of play in 2017 and be the #2 WR in Green Bay, then go pick him up since he’s only owned in 6.5% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Don’t worry about Green Bay drafting another WR who will vault over him on the depth chart, as they haven’t drafted an offensive skill position player (QB, RB, WR, or TE) in the first round since Aaron Rodgers in 2005. If you don’t have confidence that he’ll be back from the injury that wiped out almost all of his 2019 season or that his “best” days are behind him, go find a younger, cheaper WR or even two WRs in your league’s Free Agent Auction. Even if I wanted Funchess (which I don’t), he’s actually owned in my Dynasty Owner league, so I can’t pick him up.

In a surprise move, the Los Angeles Rams released Todd Gurley two weeks ago and he subsequently signed a one year, $6 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons. In a move that many Dynasty Owners can now appreciate more, the Rams had a challenging salary cap situation and released both Gurley and LB Clay Matthews to help alleviate that problem. The $6 million contract that Gurley signed with Atlanta will make him the 10th highest paid RB in the NFL in 2020 (https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/rankings/average/running-back/).

The new contract replaced the 4-year, $57.5 million contract he signed with the Rams back in July of 2018, an average contract amount of $14.375 million that his Dynasty Owners paid for him in 2019. Gurley was the second highest paid RB in 2019, behind only Ezekiel Elliott, but finished the 2019 as the #16 RB in Dynasty Owner. Dynasty Owners were paying top dollar for likely the second best RB on their roster. Even at that salary level, Gurley was still rostered in 98% of Dynasty Owner leagues last season.

So, should Dynasty Owners with Gurley on their roster drop him now for free even though they are “saving” over $8 million in salary cap space, put him up for trade or keep him. Earlier this year at his $14.375 million salary, dropping was the recommended option (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/02/amnesty-candidates-part-1/), but now I think you should explore trade options for Gurley first and then if nobody in your league wants to give you anything of value, then you drop Gurley.

Here are the pros and the cons of keeping Gurley on your Dynasty Owner roster:

Pros

  • Motivated by release from Rams
  • Playing closer to where he went to college (Georgia) and high school (Tarboro, North Carolina)
  • Supposedly a better offensive line in Atlanta than Los Angeles, but the Falcons only averaged slightly more yards per carry in 2019 than the Rams (3.76 versus 3.74)

Cons

  • Still has arthritis in his knees
  • Moving from playing on grass to FieldTurf, which won’t help his knees
  • Averaged only 3.84 yards per carry in 2019, down from 4.88 in 2018 and 4.67 in 2017 and had fewest rushing yards in career (857 yards in 2019)
  • Receptions and receiving yards (31 receptions for 207 yards) were lowest since rookie season, with the lowest yards per reception (6.68) of his career

The cons outweigh the pros for me, especially the arthritis in his knee, so I’d make offers to trade Gurley if I could find a Dynasty Owner more bullish on his 2020 prospects, or if no trade offers are acceptable, then drop him and save the $6 million in salary.

Conclusions

Signing a new contract for less money does not necessarily mean that a player is worth their new salary and should be kept on your Dynasty Owner roster or picked up if he is in the Free Agent Auction. Sadly, for the most part, the guys mentioned in this article are still not worth their new salaries in Dynasty Owner and should be dropped or left in the Free Agent Auction for other Owners to bid on.

Now that we have extra time (until April 8th) to drop players with no fee, there’s time to cover some of the players who signed more recently or players we didn’t cover in previous articles or even in this article like Eric Ebron, who got a slightly lower salary recently with Pittsburgh.

Don’t forget about all of the great Dynasty Owner specific podcasts you can watch or listen to. The YouTube Live podcast from Thursday with special guest Christopher Harris and the one from last Friday, which was a lot of fun to participate in, are highly recommended. We also have message board debates and Twitter posts that you can check out.  All of this great content is available to help you win your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!

Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner