Author: Steven Van Tassell
With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror and the schedule due to come out late this week, a lot of fantasy football players are looking at what rookies will make an impact next year. Since the focus is on the rookies who were just drafted, a potentially overlooked aspect is what will be the impact of the draft on veteran players. Since this is the first season of Dynasty Owner after an NFL draft, let’s do a “stock market” report where we look at players whose stock is down after the draft and those whose stock is up.
For every rookie who will make an impact during the 2020 Dynasty Owner season, there will be a veteran player who will lose playing time, along with targets, catches or carries. The first part of this article focuses on the players most impacted in a negative fashion by his team’s selections in the 2020 NFL draft. Because of the sheer number and talent of the rookie WRs chosen in the draft, four out of the five players whose Dynasty Owner stock is down after the draft are WRs.
On the other hand, sometimes the draft improves a player’s stock with his team. It could be because the team didn’t draft any players to compete with him for playing time or their team drafted players who should help him perform better. In the second part of this article, the focus will be on some players whose stock should rise because of what their team did or didn’t do during the draft. In contrast to the stock down list, we have players at every skill position (QB, RB, WR and TE) on the stock list up.
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.
Stock Down for These Players
Amari Cooper (DAL – WR): Jerry Jones got to do the draft alone on his yacht without those pesky scouts, coaches and player personnel people around to influence his selections. Rumor has it that this is what happened in 2014 when Jerry really wanted to draft Johnny Manziel and the Cowboys front office staff convinced him to draft a player at a position they needed (offensive guard Zack Martin who by the way has made it to the Pro Bowl in each of his first six seasons, the fifth offensive lineman to ever do that). Not this year! Despite needs at other positions and having two top WRs in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, Jones couldn’t resist taking a WR who slipped down to the 17th pick in CeeDee Lamb.
The selection of Lamb should reduce targets for both Cooper and Gallup, but in Dynasty Owner, it’s Cooper will be negatively impacted to a greater extent since he costs $20 million per season for five more seasons vs. $880,995 for Gallup for the next two years. Sometimes a team can have three productive receivers (see the 2018 Rams through the first five games, before Cooper Kupp got injured, as Kupp, Robert Woods, and Brandin Cooks were all top 25 fantasy WRs), but for what Cooper is making, he needs to be a clear #1 WR. He’s unlikely to earn that salary now with both Gallup and Lamb around.
Tyrell Williams (LV – WR): The Raiders drafted a WR (Henry Ruggs III) in the first round which obviously hurts the value of the rest of the WRs on the team. After that, they went ahead and drafted two more WRs with back-to-back third round selections (Lynn Bowden Jr. and Bryan Edwards). Drafting three players at the same position can only be seen as an indictment of the current guys on the roster who play the same position.
Some people think these picks plus the addition of veteran TE Jason Witten foreshadows a reduction in Darren Waller’s usage, but the player most impacted in Dynasty Owner will be WR Tyrell Williams. Williams is still getting paid Top 20 WR money as he’s scheduled to make over $11 million in 2020. Williams is owned in only 41% of Dynasty Owner leagues right now and those owners are probably wishing they dropped him for free when they had the chance.
Alshon Jeffery (PHI – WR): Another team with poor production and injury problems from its WRs in 2019 were the Philadelphia Eagles. To address this glaring issue, the Eagles went ahead and drafted WR Jalen Reagor in the first round. This selection hurts the fantasy value of all of the Eagles incumbent WRs who were injured or didn’t play well in 2019 (Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside). The player who will be hurt the most though is Alshon Jeffery. That’s because Jeffery’s salary is higher at $13 million than the $9.3 million that Jackson will make and much higher than the $1.236 million due Arcega-Whiteside in 2020.
A.J. Green (CIN – WR): Despite not playing a down in 2019, some Dynasty Owners still kept Green on their rosters through amnesty and are preparing to pay him nearly $18 million in 2020. Those owners were likely expecting Green to develop a rapport with rookie QB Joe Burrow and a return to 2018 form when he scored 10.0 or more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in all eight games he played before getting injured, averaging 18.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.
What his Dynasty Owners were not anticipating was that the Bengals would grab a WR (Tee Higgins) with the first pick of the second round. Green’s 2020 salary is over $7 million higher than fellow Bengals WR Tyler Boyd ($17.97 million vs. $10.75 million for Boyd). The Bengals also just signed Boyd to a 4-year, $43 million deal last off-season, so they probably see Boyd and Higgins as their WR duo of the future, not Green.
Jimmy Graham (CHI – TE): When the Bears released fellow highly paid TE Troy Burton a few days before the NFL draft, Graham’s stock was looking up as the top TE on the team, even though the Bears have plenty of TEs on their roster. Then the Bears went ahead and drafted another TE in the second round (Cole Kmet). By having his new team use a high pick on another TE, it shows that the Bears probably don’t think Graham will return to his 2011 and 2013 form in 2020 and want to have his replacement ready to go. At $8 million per year for both 2020 and 2021, Graham is the 7th highest paid TE in Dynasty Owner and will need to hold off Kmet and the rest of the Bears TE corps to be valuable enough to be paying that much for two more years.
Stock Up for These Players
Jarret Stidham (NE – QB): Long-time Patriots fans shouldn’t have been surprised that Bill Belichick didn’t spend a draft pick on a QB this year. For years, people have assumed that the Patriots would draft a replacement for Tom Brady in the first round and he never did it. Remember that Jimmy Garoppolo was a late second round pick, Jacoby Brissett was a late third round pick and Stidham was a late fourth round pick. Now that Brady is gone to Tampa Bay, Belichick didn’t suddenly change and draft a QB with the Patriots first round pick. He did what he’s done many times in the past – he traded down for more late round picks. As Belichick might have said “On to Cincinnati”.
The decision to not draft a QB was a vote of confidence in Jarret Stidham as the Patriots starting QB for 2020 and maybe beyond, depending on his performance. Stidham will only cost Dynasty Owners $788,423 per year for the next three seasons and he’s still available in quite a few leagues (37% to be exact). If you’re a Belichick believer and Stidham is available in your league, go ahead and grab him before someone else does.
Matthew Stafford (DET – QB): Another team who many people thought would draft a QB in the first round was the Detroit Lions. In a vote of confidence for incumbent QB Matthew Stafford, they didn’t and roll into the 2020 season with Stafford, career backup Chase Daniel and David Blough, who started the last five games of the 2020 season as a rookie, as their QBs. Lions’ General Manager Bob Quinn also just gave a vote of confidence to Stafford in an by saying “Matthew (Stafford) is our guy” (https://lionswire.usatoday.com/2020/05/03/bob-quinn-is-happy-with-where-the-lions-stand-at-quarterback/.
Not only did they not draft his replacement, the Lions helped out their porous running game, ranked 21st in yards per carry and 22nd in yards per game in 2019, by drafting D’Andre Swift with the third pick of the second round (35th overall selection). Swift was the second RB drafted and should start and help improve the Lions’ running game to take pressure off of Stafford. While Stafford is making $27 million in salary, that’s only the 11th highest in Dynasty Owner. He’s available in 91% of Dynasty Owner leagues right now for anyone who has that kind of room on their roster for one of the favorites for the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year award.
Jordan Howard and Matt Brieda (MIA – RB): Instead of drafting a RB, the Dolphins took their QB of the future in the first round (Tua Tagovailoa) and two offensive linemen (tackle Austin Jackson in the first round and guard Robert Hunt in the second round). The selection of the linemen should help the Dolphins running game with Howard and Brieda being the primary beneficiaries.
In case you want to go grab them in the Free Agent Auction, neither one is available in many Dynasty Owner leagues (Brieda is owned in 98% while Howard is owned in 93.5%). Brieda is cheaper ($3.259 million vs. $4.875 million for Howard) and only has one year left on his deal versus two years for Howard, so his stock might be up a slight bit more than Howard’s. However, both of them and their owners should benefit from how the Dolphins drafted in 2020.
Allen Lazard (GB – WR): In case you weren’t aware, Lazard was the #2 WR in Green Bay in 2019 with 102.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 11 games, an average of 9.3 points per game. He dressed for all 16 games, but only had a catch in 11 of them. The only WR that the Packers signed so far this off-season is Devin Funchess, who was a disappointment in Carolina and injured for almost all year in 2019 with Indianapolis. In a curious move, they also didn’t draft a WR in the 2020 draft at all. That wasn’t the only curious Green Bay draft move this year, but that’s a story for another article.
For Lazard’s Dynasty Owners, this was good news as it means he’s probably locked in as the #2 WR behind Davante Adams for 2020 for only $675,000 in salary. That’s a great bargain and if you are in a league in which Lazard is available in the Free Agent Auction (35% of them), you should probably go grab him ASAP.
Jonnu Smith (TEN – TE): Delanie Walker is no longer a member of the Tennessee Titans as he was released back in mid-March. This led to speculation that the Titans might grab a TE in the draft. They didn’t so it looks like Jonnu Smith will be the starter. He earned the opportunity to work with Ryan Tannehill again as in the 10 games that Tannehill started in 2019, Smith averaged 8.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game and had 4 games with 10.0 or more points. Over a full 16-game season, this would have made Smith the 11th ranked TE in Dynasty Owner last season. Not bad for just $776,572 in salary for 2020. He is owned in 87% of Dynasty Owner leagues so there are plenty of Dynasty Owners who will benefit from having Smith on their roster this year.
After the NFL draft, there is always a lot of talk about the players drafted and projections on how they are going to do at the next level. Just as important for Dynasty Owners is figuring out how the draft will impact the value of current players already on their rosters. There were plenty of WRs drafted this year, which negatively impacted the value of several veteran WRs, while players at every position had an anticipated increase in value based on who their teams did or didn’t draft.
There is lots of activity coming up in the Dynasty Owner universe as Tim outlined recently. The NFL schedule is also due to be released by the end of the week. There are Dynasty Owner podcasts to view if you haven’t seen them yet. We also have Slack message board debates and commentary on breaking NFL news, a couple of articles by Chris Wolf (follow him on Twitter – @ckwolf21) and one from our newest writer, Milos Ljubic. 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.