By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)
As we inch ever closer to the end of the fantasy season, this is a good week to look back at the season as a whole. Over the next two weeks, I’m going to cycle through every NFL team (similar to what I did in my Don’t Tilt article) and pick out one player that has strayed from their initial preseason ranks. No prediction is perfect, but I feel like we have a good idea of who most NFL players are and what we can continue to expect from them. This is especially true for veteran players.
Kyler Murray is the clear, obvious choice to talk about here. Kyler was drafted this year as a Top 10 overall option as his ADP was 6.1. It’s difficult to say if he has fully met those expectations as he is currently the QB4 on the season. Owners were drawn to Murray not only for his 2020 season outlook, but also because of his attractive salary. Murray will have two years remaining on his contract after this season, and he will make $8,789,661 per year. That contract is a steal for a quarterback, and I look forward to Kyler being a top three quarterback coming into 2021.
There is a lot to be disappointed about when it comes to the Falcons’ season. First and foremost is their record…4-10 is amazingly disappointing for the talent that Atlanta has, but no player this season has been more confusing to understand than Todd Gurley. Gurley ($6,000,000) is on a single year deal, and it’s very likely he will be “one and done” with the Falcons. Gurley is RB23 on the season which doesn’t sound terrible until you look at how he arrived at this spot. Over the first seven games of the season, he averaged 16.5 fantasy points per game. Over the last six games Gurley has averaged 6.6 fantasy points per game. It seems (in my amateur opinion) that Gurley is getting run down over the second half of the season and that he has been unable to keep up his high touchdown percentage that he touted through the first nine weeks. Gurley will likely head into free agency next year with a great amount of uncertainty involved.
The top two running backs for the Bills would be considered a disappointment by most fans. Their “down” seasons aren’t necessarily indicative of how they have played this year. Both running backs are receiving far less opportunity than I expected them to get. Buffalo has transformed into a pass first offense, and it has hurt the ceilings for both backs. Singletary ($974,500) and Moss ($1,153,079) are RB27 and RB52 on the season. They are both, actually, still a value given their cheap contracts, but they haven’t been reliable enough to crack into most Owner’s starting lineups.
Like Gurley, J.K. Dobbins has had a “Jekyll and Hyde” type of season. Fortunately for Owners and the Ravens, Dobbins is becoming more efficient and is receiving more volume as the season ages. Through the first six weeks, Dobbins averaged only six touches per game as Ingram and Edwards took the majority of the touches. Well, over the past seven games that Dobbins has played, he has averaged 13.1 touches and 11.6 fantasy points per game. He will take over as the lead back in Baltimore next year, and he will hold that job for quite a while.
I’m willing to bet that some of you aren’t able to tell me which Panthers’ receiver has the most fantasy points this season. So, who do you think it is? You have a one in three chance…I honestly didn’t know until I looked it up, but I would have guessed wrong. I would have said D.J. Moore. The right answer is Robby Anderson. They rank like this…
- Anderson ($10,000,000) 
- Moore ($2,792,829) 
- Samuel ($1,613,421) 
They are all very close to each other in terms of fantasy points and yearly standings. Carolina has distributed the targets very evenly throughout the season, and it is nearly impossible to predict who the top receiver will be each week. Moore and Samuel are obviously values, but Anderson has disappointed given his above average salary.
Oh boy, where do we go from here. The Bengals were a mess this season (with some bright spots that no one could have predicted) but overall, it wasn’t great. The biggest question I have for the Bengals is “what on earth are we going to do with Joe Mixon?” Mixon was set to be a steal of a pick, at least for this season. His $1,362,544 salary had the potential to be a league winning value. Well, Mixon has been sidelined since Week 7 with a lingering foot issue that has frustrated any Owner that was unfortunate enough to draft him. I’m obviously not a doctor, but I find it hard to believe that Mixon will make his way back to the field for your Week 16 championship matchup. The question begs to be asked then, what do I do with him next year? Assuming he comes into the 2021 season fully healthy, I think Mixon will be 100 percent owned in Dynasty Owner. The problem will be if his current owners have allocated enough cap room to afford him. There is no doubt that he will be dropped in a small percentage of leagues, and if he is, I would be looking to pick him up.
Nick Chubb is the best pure runner in the NFL. I’ve said that for a couple of years now. Derrick Henry is a close second, but Chubb is one of the most special backs I’ve seen. We all know that Chubb essentially missed six games this season. Despite those missed games, he is still RB13 on the season. He will carry a less than two-million-dollar salary into 2021, and he looks to be a Top 3 running back in terms of value.
Allen Robinson has had an amazingly consistent season. He has fallen below 10 fantasy points just once in 2020. He will end the season as a Top 10 wide receiver. I, however, am more interested in what will happen with Robinson this offseason. He is in the final year of his $14 million per year deal. Robinson will, no doubt, command more money in his next contract. The question is…where he will be playing. I don’t have a good answer for that. I can speculate on where I would want him to land, for his sake, but it would just be speculation. Regardless, if I owned Robinson, I would plan on making at least 5 million dollars in cap room if you plan on retaining his contract.
Dallas has, for obvious reasons, had a disappointing season. They do have an abundance of talent on their roster though. While the Dallas receivers haven’t been a complete disaster, they did lose a great deal of fantasy potential when Dak Prescott suffered a season ending injury in Week 5. Amari Cooper is the one receiver whose production did not drop off much. He is currently WR13 on the season with 15 fantasy points per game. Amari does not have anywhere close to the upside that he had when Prescott was leading the team, but I predict Dak will be back in Dallas next season. Although his price tag is very expensive ($20,000,000 per year), Cooper will look to be a Top 10 wide receiver and should be on a lot of championship contending teams if they can afford to hold him.
Quick, tell me which Broncos’ receiver has the most fantasy points this season…
Tim Patrick ($750,000) is the disappointing answer. Patrick currently has 148 fantasy points for an average of 12.3 fantasy points per game that he has played in. 148 points is 31 more than Jerry Jeudy’s 117. There’s no doubt that Drew Lock’s inconsistent season is stunting the growth and potential of all the weapons for Denver. It remains to be seen if Lock is the long-term quarterback, but if he is, it’s hard to rank any Broncos’ skill players as high-end options going into 2021.
D’Andre Swift has shot up my Dynasty Owner rankings and for good reason. Coming into the season, I had Swift as my fifth ranked rookie running back. Given his efficiency throughout the season and his increased usage since Week 9, he has jumped to my second ranked rookie running back, and he will probably remain there over the offseason. As this rookie running back class moves into their sophomore year in 2021, I see no reason why Swift couldn’t and shouldn’t be the lead back for Detroit. Adrian Peterson is on a single year deal with Detroit that will expire at the end of the season. AP has expressed interest in playing football until he’s 40 years old. I don’t doubt that’s possible, but I don’t see it being with the Lions. With less competition for touches, I predict Swift will lead the backfield with at least a 65/35 split with Kerryon Johnson.
I faded Aaron Jones all preseason, and I had no interest in drafting him in any league, especially Dynasty Owner. My concern wasn’t so much that I predicted a decline in fantasy production (which did happen), but it was concern over his impending contract extension. He is in the final year of a 4-year contract worth $2,601,937 total. This equates to roughly $650,000 per year. He was obviously a value for 2020, and any owner that drafted Jones has to be happy with his year. His preseason ADP actually ended up being a value as well. On average he was drafted at 20.1 which is terrific value for a running back that is currently RB5 on the season. Congratulations if you drafted him and if he has provided you a successful season. Let’s keep our attention on him in the offseason as we find out where he signs and how much his salary will be worth.
Deshaun Watson is a very similar case to Aaron Jones.
- Both players were drafted within the first two rounds, on average.
- Both players are elite options at their respective positions.
- Both players will have signed new contracts by the time the 2021 season starts.
- Both players will be amnestied in some percentage of Dynasty Owner leagues.
While that last statement will end up being true, I don’t expect Jones to be let go in too many leagues as his salary cap hit will be roughly one third of Watson’s. Watson is set to make $39,000,000 per year starting in 2021. This will make it difficult for current Watson owners to hold him. Dynasty Owner has already announced that the salary cap will be increasing for 2021 so that should help, but it will still make for some very difficult decisions.
This is what DO is all about though right? Attempting to simulate the decisions that real NFL owners and GMs make.
Jonathan Taylor is quickly becoming one of my favorite NFL players. Like Swift, Taylor has flown up my rankings. Taylor is, quietly, the RB9 on the season. Following the draft, he was poised to be one of the top three rookie running backs. The absence of a very serviceable back, Marlon Mack, has allowed Taylor to receive more opportunities than he may have with Mack on the active roster. Taylor’s usage was disappointing for the first two months of the season, but he has made up for that recently with 21 touches per game in his last four. In those four games, he has 90 fantasy points. Taylor is peaking at the right time, and over the next three seasons he will more than pay for his salary cap hit ($1,957,287 per year).
Pat Mahomes is the best quarterback in football. “Well, duh. Tell us something we don’t know.” How about this one…Pat Mahomes is the QB1 on the season. “Okay, that’s obvious as well.” One more…Pat Mahomes is the greatest value of any player in Dynasty Owner. This may also seem like a given, but there were plenty of contenders for “best value.” A few others that come to mind are:
- Josh Allen
- Deshaun Watson
- Dalvin Cook
- Alvin Kamara
- James Robinson
- D.K. Metcalf
- Calvin Ridley
Obviously, in order to become a top value player you have to have a cheap salary combined with top level fantasy production. Mahomes has that this year. He only costs a little over $4,000,000 and has 30 more points than the next closest quarterback. The only two players that could come close to Mahomes’ value are James Robinson and Travis Kelce (if he cost less than $5,000,000.) Next year is a different story though…
If you’ve read even a few of my articles, you know that I like to talk about Justin Herbert. Herbert is one of the few bright spots for the Chargers this year. He is QB9 and will finish inside the top ten at the end of the season. There really isn’t much else to say here. Herbert is going to be drafted in the first couple of rounds for startup drafts next year, and he will be the subject of many trade proposals. I’m just glad I was able to grab him in one of my Dynasty Owner leagues.
As always, thank you all for reading, supporting and using Dynasty Owner. I hope everyone is safe and has a great holiday season. Look for the second part of this article to drop next week. Take care.
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