Roster Roundup – Round Three: AFC South

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Corona Virus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we’ll take a look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we’ll examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

Houston Texans

HC: Bill O’Brien OC: Tim Kelly

QB: Deshaun Watson, AJ McCarron, Alex McGough, Nick Tiano

RB: David Johnson, Duke Johnson, Buddy Howell, Karan Higdon, Scottie Phillips, Cullen Gillaspia

WR: Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills, Keke Coutee, Steven Mitchell Jr, DeAndre Carter, Chad Hansen, Isaac Whitney, Isaiah Coulter, Tyler Simmons

TE: Darren Fells, Jordan Thomas, Jordan Akins, Kahale Warring, Dylan Stapleton

With the departure of DeAndre Hopkins, this is now clearly Deshaun Watson’s team. There aren’t too many other NFL QB’s as clutch as Watson. He is a gamer whose leadership will be on center stage this season. He doesn’t have a true Alpha WR this season so it will be up to him to make quicker, more assured choices without Hopkins as his safety valve. McCarron is a competent clipboard holder and is on his 4th NFL team since starring at Alabama. 

David Johnson’s short time as a fantasy stud is nearing an end. He has caught unlucky breaks with seemingly unrelated injuries over the last few years, but he is in a great situation to go out with a bang. The former Cardinal was a top 5 running back in the first 5 games of last season, injuries struck, and he appeared to come back too soon as we all witnessed his horrible performance before being shoved aside for Kenyan Drake. Fast forward to 2020 where Johnson claims to be fully healed and the Carlos Hyde-less Texans have 245 vacated rushing attempts. If the 28-year-old still has any juice left, he could be in for an ample workload.

His receiving skills are a bit redundant with Duke Johnson also in the mix. Duke Johnson did pull down a respectable 52 grabs on 72 targets for 463 yards and 3 TD’s. He was only targeted outside of 10 yards just once on the year, so he clearly operates in the shallow flat/check-down zone. Carlos Hyde only caught 14 catches for 65yds. So, this backfield may be hard pressed to find targets for their RB group even with the 168 vacated targets of Hopkins.

Which brings us to my next point; Bill O’Brien likes opening up the longball by lulling you to sleep with a grinding run game and short passing game. This team has a few guys that will go deep.  The newly acquired Brandon Cooks figures to operate as the #1 option in the passing game. The same Brandon Cooks that is coming off of his worst statistical season as a pro and is on his fourth team since entering the league in 2014. He is a dangerous player with the ball in his hands, but he has an unfriendly contract and is concussion prone. Will Fuller has been the team’s resident deep threat and he is a threat. Tyreek Hill is possibly the only other NFL receiver that absolutely crushes DB’s as well as Fuller can when going deep. Fuller is a gamble every year due to mostly lower body injuries but when he hits, he hits. He is a bonafide week winner, but you have to take the bad with the good and be willing to gamble.

Randall Cobb is another new arrival and is a sneaky good pick if you’re looking for a somewhat affordable short-term option. He is the fourth highest paid receiver on his team, and he will operate in the same area of the field as the departed Hopkins. Coming off a nice season in Dallas, Cobb could be primed for decent usage. Kenny Stills is a good player but will be pushed down the depth chart. The coaching staff seems to absolutely loathe Keke Coutee and his best days as a Texan could be behind him. The tight end group is a moderately skilled one, but it lacks high level talent. Darren Fells put up 7 TD’s, good for third best in the NFL and a 71% catch rate. Jordan Akins could be considered the chain mover of the group. 2018 pick Jordan Thomas was supposed to operate as the starter in 2019 but his season was cut short due to a rib injury. Thomas is an absolute monster of a human being, but he will need more quality playing time to move up the depth chart. Second year TE Kahale Warring is the future of this group but is essentially a rookie again after sitting out his first year due to injuries (concussion, hamstring). He is currently working out with Deshaun Watson during the pandemic along with Cobb, Cooks and Coutee.

Indianapolis Colts

HC: Frank Reich OC: Nick Sirianni

QB: Philip Rivers, Jacobey Brissett, Jacob Eason, Chad Kelly

RB: Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Darius Jackson, Bruce Anderson III, Roosevelt Nix

WR: TY Hilton, Michael Pittman JR, Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Artavis Scott, Daurice Fountain, Dezmon Patmon, Chad Williams, De’Michael Harris, Rodney Adams, Malik Henry, Ashton Dulin

TE: Jack Doyle, Trey Burton, Mo Alie-Cox, Matt Lengel, Xavier Grimble, Farrod Green, Ian Bunting

The Colt’s settled on Philip Rivers after kicking the tires on several other QB’s early in free agency. They knew they had to upgrade from Brisset who admirably performed to his ceiling in 2019.Rivers is as tough and fiery as they come but his arm strength was noticeably declining last year. The Colts will rely more on his experience and leadership than his statuesque athleticism and arm cannon. Rivers is known to be a millisecond slow on his reads, often “after-throwing” his open receiver but he doesn’t care. He will fire it in there anyway which bodes well for bigger targets like Jack Doyle and Michael Pittman JR. His 2019 numbers were ho-hum at best but that was under a ho-hum coaching staff. His 4615 yards were good for fourth in the NFL and his TD/INT ranked 15th (23) and 3rd(20) respectively. He is an upgrade over Brissett but in no way should be relied on to help your fantasy team except for a bye week.

If you are a Colts fan, you had to come away with a smile after this year’s draft. The running back position was a bit of a mess and was a tad underwhelming last year despite having an elite offensive line to block for them. By selecting Wisconsin stud RB Jonathan Taylor in the second round, the offense got really exciting. Marlon Mack is a respectable player and he does run hard, but he will never be a bruiser. Taylor is violent and fun to watch. He and Mack should form a solid committee and Taylor’s presence is sure to make Mack a more efficient runner. Nyhiem Hines is the passing game specialist and is sure to get game scripted out of many contests this year. Talented? Absolutely. But this team does not utilize him as the Bears use Cohen. Hines is used more situationally than rotationally like Cohen. Rivers does love checking down, but I really believe that Mack could be more of a benefactor of those passes this season than in years past.

There is room to grow after a tough season for Colts receivers last year. T.Y. Hilton topped the group with just 45 receptions and 5 TD’s. Zach Pascal led the team in yards with just 607 on the season while also hauling in 5 TD’s. There isn’t much talent on the depth chart but there is cause for excitement with the drafting of Michael Pittman JR and the return of Parris Campbell. T.Y. Hilton has been the de facto #1 receiver for some time now and has performed but we know he’s not the most consistent week-to-week fantasy producer. Hilton’s Base salary is the highest on the team at $14,542,000 and is looking at free agency after the 2020 season. The big bodied Pittman joins the team and is slated for the “X” receiver position in Frank Reich’s offense. At 6’4” 225lbs, he will be a welcome addition and a big target for Rivers. He has drawn numerous comparisons to Vincent Jackson and that is pretty high praise for the rookie from USC.

Parris Campbell returns after seeing mixed playing time in just seven games due to injuries as a rookie. The Ohio State product projects to man the slot while Pittman and Hilton operate the perimeter. There was a lot of excitement going into this crafty route runner a year ago and hopefully the former second round pick is fully healthy for the start of the season. Filling out the rest of the possible depth chart are Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson and Dezmon Patmon if they keep 6 WR’s. Pascal performed above expectations last year and provides quality depth at the position. Johnson is a deep threat that was just re-signed and Patmon is a rookie out of Washington State that is a quick receiver that comes from a pass heavy offense. The tight end position is once again anchored by Jack Doyle. Doyle is one of the most boring picks you can make but he consistently produces. He delivers as a low end TE1 to high end TE2 and shouldn’t be cast off this year especially with the tight end loving Rivers throwing the ball. The athletic but underperforming Trey Burton figures to resume his role in Frank Reich’s offense of a move tight end while the massive man known as Mo Allie-cox will continue his role contributing as the TE3 for the Colts.

Jacksonville Jaguars

HC: Doug Marrone OC: Jay Gruden

QB: Gardner Minshew II, Mike Glennon, Joshua Dobbs, Jake Luton

RB: Leonard Fournette, Chris Thompson, Devine Ozingbo, Ryquell Armstead, Tavien Feaster, James Robinson, Nathan Cottrell

WR: DJ Chark, Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, Laviska Shenault Jr, CJ Board, Keelan Cole, Collin Johnson, Josh Hammond, Terry Godwin, Michael Walker, Marvelle Ross

TE: Tyler Eifert, Josh Oliver, Charles Jones II, James O’Shaughnessy, Tyler Davis, Ben Ellefson

The legend of Gardner Minshew got a boost when the Jaguars traded away Nick Foles. New OC Jay Gruden seems pleased with his new QB stating “(Minshew) has got the intangibles you want in a quarterback”. Minshew was a 6th round pick and was thrown into the fire week one when Foles left with a broken clavicle and the mustached legend was born. He finished with a 6-6 record while proving that he was capable of putting a team on his back and showed his toughness and grit. He was the 10th ranked QB under pressure and had the highest QB rating in the NFL when throwing deep. He appears to be safe at the moment with not much of a starting threat behind him on the depth chart. But when the Jags are picking in the top 10 (or higher) range in next year’s draft, they may find it incredibly difficult to pass on one of the big three QB prospects.

Fournette is coming off of one his best years as a pro. Keeping the injuries at bay, he played in 15 games, running for 1152 yards while catching 76 passes for an additional 522 yards. The only bad part of his 2019 campaign was the lack of TD’s (3). He was the centerpiece of this offense but was supposedly being shopped last spring. If he remains on the team, the receptions are sure to take a hit with pass specialist Chris Thompson joining the team. Thompson reunites with Gruden and like Fournette, has struggled with injuries. Ryquell Armstead is someone who the dynasty world was keeping an eye on during the Fournette trade talk and he should be kept on watch lists. He didn’t offer much as a rookie, but he also didn’t get much of an opportunity with Fournette commanding the bulk of the snaps. Ozigbo, like Armstead, has the frame to handle a heavier workload if anything were to happen to Fournette. Additionally, at 225lbs he turned in a 4.54 forty at his Nebraska Pro Day prior to last season.

DJ Chark became the go-to receiver in his second year in Jacksonville. After boasting only 14 receptions as a rookie in 2018, he came down with 73 grabs for 1008 yards and 8 touchdowns.   It was a true breakout year for the young receiver and Gruden has already said that he’ll be used in every position in the receiving game. Dede Westbrook was the next receiver in line with 66 catches for 660 yards and 3 touchdowns. He figures to maintain a similar role in 2020 as the longest termed Jag in the receiving corps. The #3 receiver is Chris Conley who quietly had a career year with high in both receptions (47) and yards (775).  He offers big play potential while also showing his reliability as a route runner.

Laviska Shenault is an excellent athlete and could prove to be a very dangerous weapon in the NFL if used right. Coach Doug Marrone promised to line him up all over the field which always sounds good. Shenault’s versatility was showcased in college albeit in limited fashion. Nearly ¾ of his receptions were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage with many coming from bubble screens. His injury history is a bit concerning due to the pummeling he received in his quick pass role while at Colorado. If given touches in space, allowing him to use his athleticism, he could be a wildcard for fantasy position eligibility in the next few years. Tyler Eifert and Josh Oliver are the notable tight ends for Jacksonville. Eifert was a former scoring machine when he was with Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. He offers a good, reliable veteran presence with a nose for the endzone. Oliver is the more athletic of the two and should be the future TE1 on this team. He is a natural pass catcher with upper-end athletic talent. Although he missed much of 2019 due to a back fracture, the coaching staff has been quick to point out that he will be a big part in this year’s passing game.

Tennessee Titans

HC: Mike Vrabel OC: Arthur Smith

QB: Ryan Tannehill, Logan Woodside, Cole McDonald

RB: Derrick Henry, Darrynton Evans, Dalyn Dawkins, Khari Blasingame, Shaun Wilson, Senorise Perry, Cameron Scarlett

WR: AJ Brown, Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, Trevion Thompson, Cody Hollister, Kalif Raymond, Nick Westbrook, Kyle Williams, Cameron Batson, Kristian Wilkerson, Rashard Davis, Mason Kinsey

TE: Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firsker, MyCole Pruitt, Cole Herdman, Parker Hesse, Tommy Hudson

Ryan Tannehill capped off his impressive season from backup to leading the team to the AFC championship game with a four-year $118 million salary and $62 million guaranteed. That was a huge payday from the Titans for a position of uncertainty the last few years. Marcus Mariota was to be their future but never really put it together in Tennessee. Tannehill delivered when he got the call off the bench. More than just a game manager, he did well under pressure and pushed the ball down the field when needed. He was PFF’s #1 rated QB with a 91.0 passing grade while throwing for 22 TD’s and rushing for another four.

Derrick Henry’s contract was the talk of the early offseason. He is set to perform under a $10.2 franchise tender in 2020 but both sides are looking to get a contract done sooner rather than later. Henry is an absolute monster and has the build to take a beating as the NFL’s premier grinder. He led the league in attempts (303), yards (1,539), and tied for 1st in touchdowns with 16. He also chipped in 18 catches for 206 yards and 2 TD’s. Undervalued as a passer, the Titans have been looking elsewhere for backfield pass catchers. Pairing Henry with former Titan Dion Lewis made for an interesting duo but Lewis never seemed to fit in Tennessee’s scheme.

In the 2020 draft, the Titans went out and selected Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans in the third round. Evans offers versatility in the run, receiving, and return game. He is a decisive runner and will lower his pads but lacks the wiggle and big play threat ability. What he does offer is reliability. With just 2 fumbles in nearly 600 touches, he is a sure runner that avoids big hits but doesn’t avoid contact. He is a fantastic complement to Henry since he is accomplished in different facets of the RB game.

The 2019 Titans were not exactly a passing juggernaut, but they were fairly efficient. Rookie standout AJ Brown led the way with 1051yds on only 52 receptions. He sported an outstanding YAC total of 462yds, good for 6th best in the NFL as well totaling 8TD’s tied for 7th best. Brown’s yards per reception were equally impressive at 20.2yds per clip and his 38 first downs on 52 receptions equals a stud in the making. Brown’s production was what the Titans had hoped for when they drafted Corey Davis in round 1 (5th overall) in 2017. Davis has been just eh so far but has the skills and athleticism to put it together if he can just find that missing ingredient. So basically, he is the Mitch Trubisky of wide receivers. In the three years Davis has been with the Titans, he has amassed 157 receptions, 2,033 yards and just 9 TD’s. After declining his fifth-year option, the Titans are forcing Davis to prove he is worth keeping beyond 2020.

Adam Humphries is the elder of the Titans receivers at 27 years old. He was a coveted free agent after the 2018 season when he departed Tampa to join Tennessee. The former Clemson product was third in the team in receiving snaps while operating almost exclusively in the slot. Tied with Jonnu Smith for third on the team with 41 receptions, Humphries is a good NFL receiver shackled in a run-first offense. Speaking of Jonnu Smith, many are excited about his potential for this year after his mini breakout in 2019. He set career highs in receptions (41), yards (498), TD’s (4) and first downs (18). You would like to see your #1 TE with a slightly higher 1st down to reception ratio but this will be his first year as the true #1 and he certainly has the talent to fit the bill. Anthony Firkser is the #2 TE and showcased his red zone ability by bringing in two touchdowns in this year’s playoffs while averaging 8.5 yards per target. He won’t see much volume in the passing game but will receive his fair share of snaps along with H-Back MyCole Pruitt in the run heavy scheme of Mike Vrabel’s Tennessee Titans.

That is the AFC South! We hope you enjoyed the read. Check back soon! We will continue with the NFC South next week.

Chris Wolf is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner

Gimme Five: An Analysis of the Five Beta League Drafts

Author: Steven Van Tassell

For the past couple of weeks, new and returning Dynasty Owners have been drafting their teams for the upcoming 2020 season. We highlighted the results of the first league to draft (Beta League 3) in an earlier article, but that was just one draft. In total, there are 6 beta leagues with 72 of the most passionate returning owners from the 2019 Dynasty Owner season competing to win. Five of those leagues have drafted (all but League 5) and new Dynasty Owners can learn a lot by looking at the results of these beta user drafts.

All five of these beta user leagues drafted in June with the first league (League 3) picking on June 14th and the last of the beta leagues (League 6) drafting back on June 26th. As a result, these Dynasty Owners didn’t have the benefit of more recent information, such as the signing of QB Cam Newton on a 1-year, $1.75 million contract by New England or the Patrick Mahomes 10-year, $450 million mega-extension.

High Five

In the first 12-team Dynasty Owner beta user drafts, we saw five players consistently be drafted at the top of the first round. Those players are, in order, Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes. Each one of them has an ADP of 4.0 or lower and were drafted in the top five players in every beta user draft, except Kyler Murray who was drafted with the #7 pick in League 1 and Patrick Mahomes who was drafted with the #7 pick in League 2.

The two players not listed above who ended up as the 5th pick in the League 1 and League 2 drafts respectively, were Michael Thomas and Daniel Jones. Jones is an interesting situation and there will be more on him later in the article.

First Round Draft Selections

Out of five beta user leagues, we had a total of 18 different players drafted in the first round. Most of the first round draft picks were RBs (11), with 5 QBs and 2 WRs rounding out the rest of the first round picks. No TEs were drafted in the first round in any 2020 beta user draft. The average salary of these first round picks was just over $5 million ($5,068,669), which was driven up by the double-digit salaries of Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million) and Michael Thomas ($19.25 million) and driven down by the salaries of two players who make less than $1 million (Alvin Kamara at $964,443 and Chris Godwin at $821,041).

In contrast, a quick look at the Dynasty ADP rankings on Fantasy Football Calculator (https://fantasyfootballcalculator.com/adp/dynasty) shows a total of 23 players selected with a first round pick in 471 dynasty league drafts between April 11th and July 9th of this year. Out of those players, less than half (11) were RBs, while nearly as many were WRs (9). Only two QBs (Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes) and one TE (Travis Kelce) were selected in the first round in any of these 471 leagues.

As mentioned earlier, there are more QBs selected with a first round pick in Dynasty Owner than a regular dynasty league because of the unique Dynasty Owner scoring system. The increase in the number of QBs drafted in the first round in Dynasty Owner comes at the expense of WRs, with fewer of them drafted in the first round in Dynasty Owner. While there were the same number of RBs drafted in the first round, there were two drafted in the first round in Dynasty Owner (Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Austin Ekeler) who were not drafted in the first round in any of the 471 regular dynasty leagues. Both Derrick Henry and Leonard Fournette went in the first round of at least one regular dynasty league, but not in any of the five Dynasty Owner beta user leagues.

Fan Club Presidents Meeting

The running joke on dynasty fantasy football Twitter is that if you really like a guy and draft him early, you are President of his Fan Club. Last year, I was the President of the Jimmy Garoppolo Fan Club since I was in four leagues (two redraft, one regular dynasty and Dynasty Owner) and had him in all four. I wasn’t able to draft him in the beta users draft so my reign is over, but think Hillbilly Trash Trucks (Matthew Montgomery) got himself a heck of a starting QB with the last pick in the 13th round.

In the same spirit, I would like to nominate the following Dynasty Owners as President of the Fan Club of the following players. To be nominated, you had to draft a player at least one full round before he was drafted in any other beta user league. You also had to draft him a full round ahead of his ADP. For example, if you took Player A in the first round with the #10 pick and based on the other beta user league drafts, he would have been available with your #34 pick and his ADP was 22.0 or higher, then you’re nominated for President of that guy’s Fan Club. Without further delay, here are a few of the nominees:

  • New Mexico Mountain (League 2) – Daniel Jones
  • The Jerk (League 3) – Ke’Shawn Vaughn
  • Kralj_Smeca (League 2) – Robert Woods
  • Fumbled Dreams (League 4) – Ronald Jones
  • TE Ertz when Eifert (League 6) – Julio Jones
  • Hillbilly Trash Trucks (League 3) – Stefon Diggs
  • CyberFire (League 2) – Carson Wentz

It might have something to do with having Jones as your last name as three of the six guys picked “too early” by one Dynasty Owner are Jones’s (Daniel, Ronald and Julio).

New Mexico Mountain won the Daniel Jones presidency in a landslide as he selected Daniel Jones in the first round with the 5th pick in the League 2 draft when he wasn’t selected until at least the third round in any of the other four beta user drafts.

In the same League, Kralj_Smeca took Robert Woods with the 40th overall pick. That’s a fourth round pick for Woods when he was drafted at the end of the sixth round or in the seventh round in the other beta user drafts. Even with the high pick in League 2, Woods still has an ADP of 66.0.

Fumbled Dreams loves the Tampa Bay backfield. He drafted Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn back to back with the 48th and 49th picks in the League 4 draft. For Vaughn, that was right on his beta users draft ADP of 49.4, but for Jones, it was way earlier than in any other beta users draft. Jones went at the end of the sixth round (#69), top of the seventh round (#73), middle of the seventh round (#78) and middle of the eighth round (#91) in the other drafts. Even though his next pick wasn’t until the 72nd pick, Fumbled Dreams probably could have waited and gotten Jones at that time.

Fumbled Dreams was lucky that he’s not in League 3 or he would have completely missed out on Ke’Shawn Vaughn since The Jerk took Vaughn with his third round pick (#31 overall). He could have had him a round later in every other beta user league since the next highest spot that Vaughn was selected was with the #46 pick.

TE Ertz when Eifert might want to rename his team to I Love Julio Jones. He drafted Julio with the #45 pick in the 4th round of the League 6 draft, while no one else grabbed Julio before the start of the 7th round (#76). At the other extreme was League 2, as Julio wasn’t drafted until the 10th round (#117) in that league.

Stefon Diggs was drafted by Hillbilly Trash Trucks with the second pick in the 8th round (#85 overall). Matthew Montgomery might not have picked Diggs so early if League 3 hadn’t drafted first since the earliest Diggs was chosen in any other beta user league was with the #115 pick in League 2.

However, the undisputed #1 Fan Club President has to be CyberFire who drafted Carson Wentz and his $32 million salary with his 4th round pick (#47 overall). Wentz went undrafted in League 4 and has an ADP of 118.0 in the four leagues he was selected in. Wentz was drafted in the 10th round (#115), 13th round (#151) and 14th round (#159) in the other three beta leagues.

Salaries

Dynasty Owner is using real NFL contracts as part of the game, unlike any other fantasy football game out there. Just like an NFL General Manager, Dynasty Owners need to build a team using real NFL salaries (average salaries based on the total contract value divided by number of years on the contract) and stay under a hard salary cap ($110 million for the 2020 season). So, how do the five beta league rosters look in comparison to all NFL skill position players in terms of salaries?  The surprising answer is that Dynasty Owner rosters are a little top heavy.

Just over three-fifths (61%) of players drafted in the five beta user leagues have salaries of $1 million or more (Vikings WR Tajae Sharpe and Browns WR JoJo Natson both make exactly $1 million), but less than one-quarter (22%) make $5 million or more and only one in ten (11%) make $10 million or more.

In comparison, an analysis of Spotrac salaries for 914 skill position players (available at https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/rankings/average/offense/) finds that just over one-third (35%) of skill position players (QB, RB, WR, TE, K) make $1 million or more, while one in eight (12%) make $5 million or more and just 5% make $10 million or more.

This is probably not too surprisingly as Spotrac includes all skill position players under contract right now, even if many of them will eventually be waived or placed on the practice squad. Dynasty Owners are likely not picking too many of these low-paid, undrafted rookie free agents who aren’t going to make their NFL team’s roster.

Solitary Men

Raise your hand if you’re a Neil Diamond fan and got the headline reference to his 1966 song Solitary Man. I prefer Sweet Caroline myself, but nobody with the name Caroline is currently on an active NFL roster so I couldn’t use that. Shout out to my friends Scott and Kerri Bernstein who are huge Neil Diamond (and fans of the Neil Diamond cover band Super Diamond as well) for being the people who introduced me to Neil and Surreal Neil.

Not every good NFL player will be on a Dynasty Owner roster in every league. There are many guys out there who were only drafted in one of the five beta leagues that have drafted already and probably won’t be highly owned when new players start drafting as well. Here are some guys drafted in the Top 200 or higher who only were selected in one beta user league out of five.

  • Rams QB Jared Goff – #110 pick in League 3
  • 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo – #156 pick in League 3
  • Raiders QB Derek Carr – #169 pick in League 6
  • Jaguars TE Tyler Eifert – #193 pick in League 4
  • 49ers RB Salvon Ahmed – #191 pick in League 6. Admit it, most of you had to go look to see who he is. Congrats to The Replacements for making this bold selection.
  • Samaje Perine – #182 pick in League 3 and big brother to La’Mical Perine, who was drafted in all five beta leagues, but a few rounds higher than Samaje. Through extensive investigative reporting, I can confirm that this was a mistake by the team who drafted him. (Editor’s note: The team who drafted Samaje admitted he goofed up and said so, no investigative reporting was done for this article).

Both Golden Tate and Brandin Cooks were taken with the 203rd pick of the League 1 and League 4 drafts, respectively, and just missed inclusion in this list.

Random Facts

Finally, here are some random facts about the five beta user league drafts that seem interesting to me.

  • Player with highest ADP drafted in all five drafts – Gus Edwards (ADP 274.2)
  • Kicker with the lowest ADP – Matt Gay (ADP 179.4)
  • First kicker drafted in any beta user league – Greg Zuerlein (#162 pick in League 1 by Young Gunz)
  • Number of kickers with ADP below 200 – 7 (Matt Gay, Younghoe Koo, Greg Zuerlein, Justin Rohrwasser, Harrison Butker, Austin Seibert and Michael Badgley)
  • Total number of players drafted in all five beta user drafts – 366
  • Number of players drafted in all five beta user drafts – 239

Conclusions

What did we learn, if anything, from this analysis of the five beta user leagues?  

The first lesson learned is that no two leagues are the same. No player was drafted in the same draft slot in all five beta leagues. While Lamar Jackson is the top rated player in the initial Dynasty Owner Top 300 and had the lowest ADP in the five beta user drafts, his ADP is still 1.2 – meaning he was drafted first in four leagues and second in the fifth league (League 4). Fumbled Dreams had the first pick in League 4 and took Patrick Mahomes with it. With 72 Dynasty Owners, you’re likely to have 72 opinions on what to do at any single draft slot.

Second, if you want Lamar, CMC, Saquon, Kyler, or Mahomes, you better trade up into the Top 5 if you don’t get one of those top five draft slots since they will all be likely gone by the fifth pick. I saw a new Dynasty Owner on Twitter (@tommysavs) who drafted Kyler Murray with the eighth pick, but that is likely an outlier like League 1 where he was drafted seventh. By the way, congrats to him and his team (WLN Savages) on stealing Murray and “what were you thinking?!?” to the seven owners in his league who let Murray fall down to that pick.

With that said, there’s still some consensus surrounding certain things, like QBs get drafted earlier in Dynasty Owner than your regular year-to-year redraft league and most regular dynasty leagues. If you don’t know why, then look at the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system information that appears at the beginning of most of my articles. Or you can read the Dynasty Owner Constitution posted in the app or online at https://dynastyowner.com/how-it-works/ under “Read Constitution” to figure out why QBs are drafted earlier.

No surprise here, but almost nobody loves kickers in Dynasty Owner. The first one wasn’t drafted until the 14th round in any of the beta user leagues and many Dynasty Owners leave them to the end of the draft, just like your regular non-Dynasty Owner league.

For some of you, this article was too late, but others reading this haven’t drafted yet. Hopefully, this article helps you prepare for your initial Dynasty Owner season. If you want more preparation, you still have time to get yourself into one of the mock drafts going on every 15 minutes.

We have more articles coming on a regular basis from Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter) and I. The first of the monthly Dynasty Owner Top 300 is also coming very soon. The podcast series with myself and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer will continue to be posted on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube as well to help you get prepared. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. 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

Roster Roundup: Part Two: NFC North

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Corona Virus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we’ll take a look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we’ll examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

This week, we start in the NFC North and will follow with NFC South next week:

Chicago Bears

HC: Matt Nagy OC: Bill Lazor

QB: Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, Tyler Bray

RB: David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce, Napoleon Maxwell

WR: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Coradelle Patterson, Riley Ridley, Ted Ginn, Javon Wims, Darnell Mooney, Alex Wesley, Reggie Davis, Trevor Davis, Thomas Ives, Ahmad Wagner

TE: Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet, Demetrius Harris, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker, JP Holtz, Jesper Horsted, Eric Saubert, Darion Clark

This QB position is one of the few in the league that might not be settled until after training camp. Trubisky is the incumbent starter since 2017 but will have competition from veteran Nick Foles. Foles has been a career backup that shined in the playoffs and won the Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2018. He was traded from Jacksonville this offseason for a fourth-round pick after starting only 4 games. Trubisky is at times, fun to watch but also cringe worthy. He’s a strong-arm talent with under-utilized wheels that plays better on the move. Foles, is a heady decision maker that might lack top arm strength but makes up for it with his wit and grit.

Montgomery and Cohen could be considered co-starters at the running back position. GM Ryan Pace said that Montgomery could be “the team’s feature back” and “could carry a heavier workload” this season. Montgomery out carried the diminutive Cohen 242-64, but Cohen earned his paycheck in the receiving game. While Cohen had his worst statistical year as a ball carrier, he had his best year catching the ball out of the backfield and from the slot. While his 79 catches on 104 targets were his career best, it came in check down territory dropping his 2018 YPC from 10.2 to 5.8 in 2019.

Allen Robinson is a damn good football player. You really do feel for this guy. He is a WR1 talent that has suffered from sub-par QB play his entire career. He led the team in every receiving category but that wasn’t saying much for the 2019 Chicago Bears that went 8-8 thanks to their elite defense and 28th ranked offense. While Robinson is an over-achiever, the rest of the WR’s just need to put up mediocre numbers. With the departure of cap casualty Taylor Gabriel, the path is clear for Anthony Miller to take a leap forward this year. Miller is a solid football talent that has been slowed by legitimate injuries the past two years. He finished the last six games of the year on fire while averaging 5.7 catches and 72 yards during that time. Miller is the unquestioned WR2 on this team that could return strong WR3 value on your fantasy team.

The rest of the WR’s won’t hold much fantasy value unless something unfortunate happens. Coradelle Patterson, Riley Ridley and the immortal Ted Ginn round out this receiving corps. We really don’t have to spend much time talking about the TE position. Jimmy Graham was dug up to play for yet another NFL team that obviously doesn’t watch his film. Cole Kmet was drafted with the 43rd pick in the 2020 draft and is an inexperienced, yet promising talent with a large catch radius. He may take a bit longer to develop but has plenty of tutors with a whopping 10 TE’s on the roster. Harris and Shaheen will get theirs but this TE group is not very inspiring for 2020.

Detroit Lions

HC: Matt Patricia OC: Darrell Bevell

QB: Matthew Stafford, Chase Daniel, David Blough

RB: Kerryon Johnson, D’Andre Swift, Bo Scarbrough, Ty Johnson, Wes Hills, Jason Huntley

WR: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, Geronimo Allison, Quintez Cephus, Travis Fulgham, Victor Bolden Jr, Marvin Hall, Tom Kennedy, Chris Lacy, Geremy Davis

TE: TJ Hockenson, Jesse James, Isaac Nauta, Matt Sokol, Hunter Bryant, Luke Sellers

Coming off of a 3-12-1 record the Detroit Lions have a lot to improve on. The defense was absolutely abysmal grading out as the #31 defense per PFF. Their offense has lots to look forward to with the likes of Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, TJ Hockenson and newly drafted D’Andre Swift.

Stafford was in the midst of his most efficient season before succumbing to injuries related to his back and ankle. There is plenty to get excited about for Stafford’s 2020 outlook if healthy.

In his limited 9 full games from 2019, Stafford posted three or more touchdowns and over 290 yards in 5 of those games. Still just 32 years old, Stafford often returns numbers warranting him as a QB1 on your fantasy team. He is a great QB to rely on if you decide to draft a rookie and need a few years to plug him in as a viable starter.

The running back group has received an injection of speed with the drafting of D’Andre Swift. Swift was a dynamic back at Georgia excelling in both the run and passing game. His skill set was desperately needed in the lackluster run game of the 2019 Lions. While Kerryon Johnson carried a respectable 2019 2nd round ADP in dynasty drafts, his on the field play hasn’t quite translated to his draft status. He is an able runner who can be trusted in pass protection, his skill set best suits him in a rotational role with Swift and not as the bell-cow back that he was being drafted as. 2019 waiver wire disappointment Ty Johnson is still in the mix while plodder Bo Scarbrough looks to keep his role in the short yardage game.

This group of receivers, led by Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, is sure to get back on track with their efficiency. It’s been a bit of feast or famine for the two and you really can’t blame it all on the team executing the unimaginative play calling. When they are good, they are good. When they are not-so-good, they are horrible. Golladay recorded 5 games with over 100 yards last year with TD’s in all but one of them. Then he had five games that looked like this; 2/17/0, 1/21/0, 1/34/0, 3/44/0, 4/61/0. His touchdowns were certainly up last year(11), but his targets, receptions, and drops all took a bit of a hit.

Marvin Jones is admittedly not as dynamic as Golladay and is four years his senior. His touchdowns were comparable (Golladay-11, Jones-9) and his payroll is significantly higher (Jones- 4.29%, Golladay-1.08% of the team’s cap) but Jones may come way cheaper at a WR4-5 ADP range than his running mate Golladay is being drafted as a low end WR1, high end WR2. Entering his fourth season, Golladay is sure to rake in a big payday with a calculated market value of $18.9 million. Rounding out the WR position is the veteran Danny Amendola and Geronimo Allison. Amendola (642) and Alison (689) both saw significant snaps in 3Wr & 4WR sets last year but intriguing 5th round selection Quintez Cephus is one that may press for playing time.

The tight end position is anchored by sophomore T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James. Hockenson got more snaps running receiving routes and graded out better than James while runblocking. Hockenson had a solid rookie year and was thrown right into the fire early in the season. He is sure to be a staple of this offense for years to come. He, like the rest of his offensive teammates, is talented and would do far better with more imaginative and bold play calling.

Source: packers.com

Green Bay Packers

HC: Matt LaFleur OC: Nathaniel Hackett

QB: Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, Tim Boyle, Jalen Morton

RB: Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Jamaal Williams, Dexter Williams, Patrick Taylor Jr, Damarea Crockett, Tyler Ervin

WR: Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Devin funchess, Jake Kumerow, Equanimeous St Brown, Darrius Shepherd, Reggie Begelton, Darrel Stewart Jr, Kabion Ento

TE: Marcedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger, Josiah Deguara, Robert Tonyan Jr, Evan Baylis, James Looney, Jordan Jones

The 2019 season for the Green Bay Packers told us three things; 1.) As great as he is…Aaron Rodgers had more friction with another coaching staff 2.) Rodgers desperately needed a complimentary weapon in the passing game to Davante Adams 3.) The Packers got absolutely whopped by the 49ers run game twice. The Packers 2020 draft was very entertaining and definitely told a story for those paying attention.

Instead of providing Rodgers with a weapon in a loaded wide receiver draft class, they made a statement by drafting a QB in round 1. 

Whether or not Rodgers is in the declining stages of his career is debatable. In 2019 he led first year head coach Matt LaFleur’s team to a 13-3 record while throwing for over 4,000 yards and 26 TD’s to just 4 INT’s.  He definitely took a step back in the rushing department posting his lowest yards per rush average in 11 years. But do the Packers think that Rodgers is at the end of his career or just nearing the end of their time together? Typically, you don’t find NFL teams spending a 1st round pick on a player they project to be a back-up, especially at the QB position. So, you have to assume that Jordan Love is in the Packers very near future plans.

Aaron Jones won lots of team’s fantasy championships last year. In fact, he was downright studly. While rushing for 1084 yards and 16 TD’s, he also caught 3 TD’s on 49 catches for 474 yards. Still only 25 years old, the 2017 5th rounder is in the last year of his contract and hopes to be a Packer for life. But the Packers are not known to sign their running back to second contracts so we might have some insight to why they used a second-round pick on A.J. Dillion.

Dillon is a massive man weighing in around 250lbs. He walks around on tree trunks and shows some top end speed when given the chance. He does tend to need a full head of steam to get going and is not very talented when he has to make quick decisions. He has the build to carry a full workload but will likely find himself in a committee with walk year running backs Jones and Jamaal Williams. Although there is only one ball to share, the Packers are also very high on Tyler Ervin.

As for wide receivers, you have Davante Adams…the End. Green Bay has struggled to find a consistent compliment to Davante Adams and shame on them for not drafting appropriately. Instead, they opted to build a power run game through the draft and ignore a glaring need. Although Allen Lazard rose to the top of the trash heap in 2019, Green Bay WR’s showcased very inconsistent play evidenced by the team’s 24 dropped passes. They did sign the big-bodied Devin Funchess to a $2.2 million salary, but he more or less will help replace the evacuated red zone presence of Jimmy Graham. Valdez-Scantling and St.Brown are still very young and raw and could surprise with some much needed reps. Finally, Jake Kumerow rounds out the list of notable receivers. The tight end group is led by an unaccomplished Jace Sternberger and veteran Marcedes Lewis. Sternberger was the 3rd selection in 2019 and is poised to take a leap in 2020. He is a seam stretcher with so-so blocking skills and should be good to go to replace Graham after missing half of his rookie year due to an ankle injury. He could be the most over hyped dynasty prospect to never catch a pass in the regular season. Mercedes Lewis will siphon some in the passing game while 2020 3rd rounder Josiah Deguara is a Dan Vitale clone who projects more as an H-Back.

Minnesota Vikings

OC: Mike Zimmer OC: Gary Kubiak

QB: Kirk Cousins, Sean Mannion, Nate Stanley, Jake Browning

RB: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Michael Boone, Ameer Abdullah, Tony James-Brooks, CJ Ham, Jake Bargas

WR: Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, Olabisi Johnson, Chad Beebe, Tajae Sharpe, KJ Osborn, Alexander Hollins, Dillon Mitchell, Quartney Davis, Dan Chisena, Davion Davis

TE: Kyle Rudoplh, Irv Smith Jr, Tyler Conklin, Brandon Dillon, Nakia Griffin-Stewart

Captain Kirk’s contract has caused this team to lose talent. His two-year $66 million extension is near the top of the league and will impact the team’s roster for years to come. Luckily, they kicked butt in the draft. With the early addition of Justin Jefferson falling into their laps, promising tackle Ezra Clevland and some much-needed secondary help, Minnesota had one of the best drafts based on talent alone.

Cousins isn’t considered a top talent in industry circles, but he is a fine player. In 2019 he ranked fourth in efficiency rating, 7th in yards per attempt, and 5th in completion percentage. He does not put up gaudy numbers that will make you jump out of your chair, but he does offer that even keel consistency that you look for on your fantasy team. Behind him you have the reliable but not-so-talented Sean Mannion and the 7th rounder out of Iowa, Nate Stanley.

This backfield is very talented. Dalvin Cook is in early season holdout mode but is incredible with the ball in his hands as well as off-ball play. Cook returned value for those that drafted him last year, but will we take the gamble again this year? He carries uncertainty with his holdout as well as his injury history. Cook has a problematic shoulder which resulted in two torn labrums as well has several lower body issues. He seems to be fully recovered from the 2017 grade 3 ACL tear, but he chronically has hamstring issues. Cook has all of the talent in the world, but you cannot ignore the potential holdout and injury concerns.

Next on the RB depth chart are Alexander Mattison, Mike Boone, and Ameer Abdullah. Mattison was the top backup posting 462 yards with 1 TD in 13 games. Boone is much more comparable to Cook than Mattison is and enjoyed his week 17 “breakout” with 160 total yards and 1 touchdown. Boone is a talented player and deserves a look in the late rounds of dynasty drafts.

At wide receiver we witnessed the social media outbursts of Steffon Diggs lead to his departure to Buffalo. Surviving on the roster is his former running mate Adam Thielen. Thielen has enjoyed a rather clean injury history aside from a 2016 concussion until he slid into a wall outside of the endzone in the first quarter against the Lions. Injuring his hamstring, he missed one game and attempted a comeback against KC two weeks later and re-injured the leg resulting in a 4-game hiatus. He is undervalued due to injury recency bias and is a strong bounce back candidate that should dominate the target share on his team.

To replace Diggs, the Vikings scooped up Justin Jefferson from LSU in the first round. Running nearly 80% of his routes in the slot in his final year at LSU, Jefferson figures to kick inside in 3WR sets. Jefferson offers fantastic straight-line speed (4.41) and is a nuanced route runner. This is a great example where opportunity marries talent. Olibisi Johnson has the leg up on Tajae Sharpe for the 3rd WR spot while Chad Beebe offers more talent in the slot with his short area quickness.

Kyle Rudolph seems like he has played tight end for the Vikings forever. Still just 30yrs old, he operates on third downs and in the red zone evidenced by his 367 yards for 6 TD’s last season. Meanwhile Irv Smith is a candidate for more looks following Diggs departure. Smith played 60% of the snaps as a 20-year-old rookie out of Alabama in 2019. His yards per catch (8.6) are sure to increase, he had a respectable 36/311/2 rookie campaign in a talented offense. Former basketball player, Tyler Conklin sits third on the depth chart offering plus run-blocking ability with decent hands.

That is the NFC North! We hope you enjoyed the read.

Check back soon! We will continue with the NFC South next week.

Chris Wolf is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner