By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)
Originally this article was going to be titled “More Flexibility” because that’s what might be needed in the NFL schedule for this week and the rest of the season if players don’t stop testing positive for COVID. However, Tim kept saying as we were talking before and during the podcast taping about how everything was “Subject to Change” and that sounded better. The point is still the same. This NFL season is subject to change at any minute – just look at what happened with the Patriots-Broncos game being moved to Monday and the Titans-Bills game getting pushed off to Tuesday. Neither of those games (or any other game) is guaranteed to be played this week. Players could test positive for COVID and suddenly things change, team complexes are closed, position meetings are on Zoom and games are in jeopardy of being cancelled. It could continue to the point where a whole week is postponed to the end of the season. This is not without precedent as it happened back in 2001 when the entire Week 2 slate of games scheduled for September 16 and 17 were pushed back to the end of the season and played on January 6 and 7. This rescheduling enabled me to go to the Patriots-Panthers game in Charlotte to watch the Pats clinch the AFC East title and a first round bye on their way to their first Super Bowl victory.
Subject to change is what everyone’s Starting lineup is going to be for pretty much the rest of the season. Dynasty Owners might think they mapped out their bye week situation for the 2020 season during the draft, but then a game or two is pushed back and suddenly those plans are subject to change. Dynasty Owners might set their lineup on Saturday night only to wake up on Sunday morning and find out Adam Schefter is reporting one of their players tested positive for COVID and is now out for the game that week. Right now, everything related to football (and for some people, life in general) is subject to change.
What isn’t changing is that every week of the regular season and playoffs, we’ll present a set of players at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) who you should have as a Starter in your Dynasty Owner lineup as well as one player per position who should be on your Bench or Practice Squad. Go crazy and start the RB, WR or TE mentioned in the FLEX position – it’s 2020 and new for Dynasty Owner this season after all. We won’t recommend a kicker to Start or Bench though and these won’t be the obvious choices for Starters, like go ahead and start Russell Wilson, Alvin Kamara and Travis Kelce (as if you weren’t going to do that already if you have them). Instead, these will be guys to Start who might be ranked outside the top players at their position, not be highly owned or who were drafted to be a backup. For the Bench or Practice Squad choices, we’ll find typical Starters who shouldn’t be in your Starting lineup for the week based on matchups or past performance against a team. We’ll also review my Week 4 recommendations and see how those players fared.
Finally, we will look at one Dynasty Owner game, our Match-up of the Week. For the Match-up of the Week, we will look at the overall projected score and then each team’s Starters and Bench to see how their current lineups are projected to produce. If you want your Dynasty Owner team to be featured as the Match-up of the Week in the future, just tweet me (@SteveVT33).
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 1 point for every 40 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. For the purposes of this article, ADP and Dynasty Owner ownership statistics were current as of October 9th.
These Guys Should be Starters This Week
First, let’s take a look at how my Week 4 Starter recommendations fared (Good, Bad or Just Ok):
- QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick – 23.5 (Just Ok recommendation)
- RB: Ronald Jones II – 20.8 (Good recommendation)
- WR: Cole Beasley – 12.2 (Just Ok recommendation)
- TE: Dalton Schultz – 17.2 (Good recommendation)
Another week, another Good RB recommendation. It was Ronald Jones II in Week 4 who finished as a RB1 and thus, a Good recommendation. Not quite as Good as Rex Burkhead was the week before, but still Good. On the better side, Dalton Schultz was also a Good recommendation – finishing as the #4 TE for the week, but completely overshadowed by the monster weeks put up by George Kittle and Robert Tonyan. Ryan Fitzpatrick was Just Ok as he was the #16 QB in Week 4, while Cole Beasley had double digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points, but was also Just Ok since plenty of WRs outscored him this week. Still no Good recommendations yet at QB or WR. However, this was the first week with no Bad recommendations. Let’s try to duplicate that feat in Week 5:
Teddy Bridgewater (QB – CAR): Quarterbacks are averaging 43.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game against the Atlanta defense over the first four weeks of the season. Three of those games were against top-flight QBs like Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers, but they also allowed 41.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to the Bears QB combo of Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. Carolina and Teddy Bridgewater visits Atlanta for Week 5 and even though cornerback A.J. Terrell is back for the Falcons, he played the first two games when they gave up 43.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to Russell Wilson and 49.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to Dak Prescott so his return isn’t the cure to the Falcons defensive ailments. He may be the #18 QB in Dynasty Owner right now, but Bridgewater should be a Starter this week.
Tony Pollard (RB – DAL): The Cowboys have been great on offense and terrible on defense this season – averaging 31.5 points scored per game and allowing 36.5 points per game. It’s doubtful that the Giants are going to score that much since they are averaging 11.75 points per game. If the Cowboys are able to throw the ball early and open up a lead, they can rely on Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to run the ball late to preserve a big lead. In 2019, there were three weeks in which both Elliott and Pollard were both worthy of being Starters. In those three games, Pollard averaged 22.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (while Elliott had 23.1). This is the first of those weeks in 2020 as the Cowboys roll to an early lead and then sit back and run the ball with Elliott and Pollard in the second half, making Pollard worth putting in your Starting lineup.
Cole Beasley (WR – BUF): If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Am I right? Last week, putting Beasley in your Starting lineup if you had him turned out to be a Just Ok move. He put up 12.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (3 receptions, 32 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD) but did come out of the game for a while with a foot injury. His performance versus the Las Vegas Raiders was perfectly in line with what he’s been doing all year. In the first three games, he averaged 12.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game and in Week 4, he had 12.2 points. In 2019, he scored 184.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 15 games, or an average of 12.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. He still falls outside of the Top 24 WRs and is only owned in 37% of Dynasty Owner leagues (up 13% from last week at this time). With several top WRs on bye this week (Kenny Golladay, Davante Adams, Allen Lazard), out with injuries (Michael Thomas and Chris Godwin) or possibly on bye if things change and there are more positive COVID tests for their team or their opponent (Tyreek Hill), having a steady presence like Beasley in your lineup doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Of course, Buffalo is supposed to play the Patient Zero of NFL teams in the Tennessee Titans, so this recommendation is “subject to change”. However, if the game is played, then get Beasley into your Starting lineup.
Eric Ebron (TE – PIT): The Steelers play their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, this week and in three out of four games this season, the Eagles have allowed a Top 12 TE performance. Two of them (the 28.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy point performance by Tyler Higbee in Week 2 and the 40.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy point performance by George Kittle in Week 4) saw the Eagles give up the most points to a TE for the week. Ebron isn’t Higbee or Kittle, but he’s as good or better than Logan Thomas who had 13.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points against the Eagles in Week 1 and was the #7 ranked TE for the week. As for Ebron himself, he’s improved his production every week so far this season starting with just 2 targets and 2.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 1, moving up to 5 targets and 7.2 points in Week 2 and ending with 7 targets and 16.2 points in Week 3. Go ahead and Start Ebron this week.
These Guys Should Be on the Bench (or Practice Squad) This Week
Next up is reviewing the Week 4 Bench or Practice Squad recommendations to see how those did.
- QB: Cam Newton – DNP
- RB: Ezekiel Elliott – 19.5 (Bad recommendation)
- WR: Allen Robinson – 23.1 (Bad recommendation)
- TE: Tyler Higbee – 5.1 (Good recommendation)
Ezekiel Elliott was a RB1 this week, so he should have been in your Starting lineup, not on your Bench. Ditto with Allen Robinson as that recommendation continues the streak of four Bad Bench WR recommendations in a row. On the other hand, for the third week this season, the Bench TE recommendation was a Good one as Tyler Higbee had only 5.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Finally, while technically the Cam Newton selection could be rated as Good since he didn’t play in Week 4 and thus, should have been on your Practice Squad, we’re calling that one a Did Not Play (DNP) and not counting it. Hopefully the Good Bench TE selections keep coming along and it pairs with a first Good Bench WR recommendation of the season. Here are the Week 5 Bench or Practice Squad selections.
Gardner Minshew II (QB – JAX): Minshew is currently the #10 QB in Dynasty Owner, even though he’s scored 73.0 fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points than #1 QB Russell Wilson. Minshew has put up three good performances (28.6, 30.9 and 28.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) and one bad one (10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points against Miami in Week 3). The Jaguars are travelling to Houston to face the 0-4 Texans who rate as a middle of the pack defense so far this season, but have yet to record an INT. Meanwhile, Minshew has thrown 4 INTs so far this season. The Texans defense could be revitalized with the departure of Head Coach Bill O’Brien and the elevation of Associate Head Coach Romeo Crennel to interim Head Coach. Crennel wants a different attitude and energy so maybe that translates into an INT or two. There are plenty of QBs in the same range who Dynasty Owners can put in their Starting lineup instead of Minshew this week. Hope you have one and can sit Minshew on your Bench.
Joe Mixon (RB – CIN): Joe Mixon struggles quite a lot against the Baltimore Ravens defense. He’s averaging 10.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in six games against them in his career with only two double-digit point games. Now, he did just have 44.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points last week to move him up to the #7 overall RB in Dynasty Owner, but that’s just one good week. Once a season in his three years as a pro, he has been held to less than 15 rushing yards in a game by the Ravens. The Ravens defense in 2020 is similar to those from the past two years in terms of holding down the fantasy production of RBs. Are you willing to risk they won’t hold Mixon down for his one bad game against them per season this week? Play it safe and leave Mixon on your Bench.
Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS): McLaurin has dealt with a lot of adversity this season. He was questionable with a thigh injury last week against Baltimore and still managed to put up 21.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, but he is still questionable with that injury for Week 5. He also suffered by having Dwayne Haskins as his QB for the first quarter of the season and still managed to score 71.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and be the #11 ranked WR in Dynasty Owner. That’s very impressive, but likely to end this week. Kyle Allen is the new QB for the Football Team, at least for this week, and the Rams defense that has only allowed 1 TD to a WR this season (Stefon Diggs) is on tap. Allen probably struggles, takes a few sacks and has a bad game in his first outing for Washington. That’s not good news for McLaurin owners so get him on your Bench.
Zach Ertz (TE – PHI): It’s unlikely that the Steelers defense forgot how to cover TEs after last week’s unexpected time off. They may have even spent the week watching tape of Week 2 versus Denver when Noah Fant had 17.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to hype themselves up for playing this week against Zach Ertz and the Philadelphia Eagles. Ertz only had 6.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points last week versus the San Francisco 49ers and is currently the #16 TE in Dynasty Owner, but come on, everyone drafted him so high (ADP 72.7) to be their week in, week out Starter at TE. Sorry to say that Carson Wentz really isn’t passing it well enough to trust him to get the ball into Ertz’s hands enough to justify having him in your Starting lineup. Bench Ertz this week.
Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week – F.F. Express vs. Yayareaboogiemen
It’s time for our fifth Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week for the 2020 season. This week we have a battle of 4-0 teams with high point totals. F.F. Express has scored 675.2 points this year and sits in 14th place in the Chase for the Ring. Yayareaboogiemen isn’t far out of the Chase with 627 points to sit in 86th place. By the end of Week 5, one of them will be in control of their league.
Based on the exclusive Dynasty Owner scoring projections for each team’s current lineup, it looks like a really close game with F.F. Express pulling out the win in a high-scoring game by less than two points (149.4 to 147.8). Any change in Starting lineups or even Bench players could result in a change in who’s projected to win. First, let’s look each team’s current Starting lineup to see who’s got the advantage there:
F.F. Express has a 3.8 point advantage from his Starting lineup. The F.F. Express backfield of Dak Prescott, Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott is projected to outscore the Yayareaboogiemen starting backfield of The G.O.A.T. Tom Brady, James Robinson and James Conner by 17.2 points (69.3 to 52.1). At WR, Yayareaboogiemen makes back 10.0 of those points with Amari Cooper and Terry McLaurin projected to outscore Mike Evans and JuJu Smith-Schuster 41.8 to 31.8. We also have a battle of two of the top TEs in the NFL with F.F. Express having Travis Kelce, while Yayareaboogiemen has George Kittle. With this caliber of players, it’s not surprising the scoring in this game is projected to be so high.
Let’s look at both Benches to see how Yayareaboogiemen makes it a closer game.
It’s mostly at TE and kicker where Yayareaboogiemen close the gap as Tyler Higbee and Sam Ficken are projected to outpace Dan Arnold and Graham Gano by 10.2 Bench points, which converts to 2.0 points. Not enough to overtake the F.F. Express though.
Of course, both teams’ lineups are subject to change, especially for F.F. Express who has A.J. Dillon (who is on bye) sitting in one of his Bench spot. The good news for both teams is that both of them have no Titans or Bills players and few Patriots and Broncos players with games in the most jeopardy of being subject to change and postponed this week.
From the start to finish time for this article, two Sunday games were pushed back to Monday (Patriots vs. Broncos) and Tuesday (Titans vs. Bills) respectively. Hopefully there are no more positive COVID tests for any of those teams and those games can go on as rescheduled, but Dynasty Owners better be ready to change out their lineups if either game is postponed further.
Please read the preview article each and every week. Maybe your team will be featured in a future Match-Up of the Week. If you want your team featured, then just tweet me (@SteveVT33) and check out next week’s preview to see if your matchup was chosen. Remember that there will be a recap article coming out every Tuesday and a preview article posted every Friday throughout the Dynasty Owner season. We will also have articles from Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21), Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) and Jay Poundsee (@jaypoundsnfl) during the season as well.
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