By: Matthew “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)
As I write this article, a new Chase for the Ring Champion has been crowned. Barbee Kilgore (Viktor) has won the ring with a regular season record of 10-3, and he scored over 50 points more than the team that finished second. Congratulations on a great season, and we will see if he is able to repeat as Champion in 2021.
Today I’m going to be wrapping up my two-part series that highlights at least one player from each team in an attempt to bridge this season’s fantasy production with projections for the 2021 season. Starting next week, I will start my preseason long series. In this series, I will look at one team per week and break down two or three contracts from players on that team. In addition, I’ll be constantly updating and analyzing potential new contracts. I look forward to sharing this journey with you all, but first, let’s wrap up this year.
Cam Akers ranks third in fantasy points for a running back…on his own team. It has been a disappointing fantasy season for the 21-year-old rookie, but it’s not totally unexpected. It’s not common for a rookie running back to take over the starting job on Day 1, and I’m not sure anyone predicted that would happen for Akers. Darrell Henderson (RB33) and Malcolm Brown (RB43) have been thorns in the side of Akers’ owners all season, and the backfield has operated as a three headed monster. I have Akers as RB7 for the 2020 rookie running back class going into the 2021 season. With the increased usage recently, I have Akers as a buy candidate over the offseason.
Speaking of rookie running backs that don’t usually take over immediately…
James Robinson is the exception. He (as I’ve mentioned in past articles) has risen faster than any rookie I’ve analyzed. The rookie running back rule certainly doesn’t apply to him. While he unfortunately missed Championship Week, he still finished the season as RB4 and had 20.6 touches per game. That volume ranks third among all running backs. It’s truly amazing how fast Robinson has jumped from an undrafted fantasy running back to a Dynasty Owner Top 10 running back.
Let’s do a mini blind contract…
Who is this player?
He costs less than 2 million dollars, and his current contract expires in 2022. He finished with 48 receptions, 656 receiving yards and six touchdowns. This production netted him 149.6 fantasy points. You may have a good idea of who it is, but this will leave no doubt in your mind…
He finished seventh at his position.
No wide receiver that puts up less than 150 fantasy points could finish at seventh for the position, so we know he is a tight end.
That’s right, the player is Mike Gesicki. I have talked about Gesicki quite a bit this season, and I’m sure I’ll talk about him more over the offseason as he remains one of my favorite dynasty tight ends. Let’s hope Miami’s run heavy offence will yield enough opportunity for him over the next couple of years.
Justin Jefferson finished the fantasy season with 79 receptions for 1,267 yards and seven touchdowns. He ranks as the WR8 and will be a rock-solid Top 20 pick in Dynasty Owner start up drafts next year. Jefferson has far exceeded my expectations this year as he jumped from my WR4 for 2020 rookies all the way to WR1. Barring injury, his baseline for 2021 will be 70 rec – 1,000 yds – 6 TDs.
A lost season for the Patriots is something that hasn’t been seen in over a decade. I honestly don’t know where they go from here. It’s not a sure thing that Cam Newton will return in 2021, and their lack of offensive weapons is troublesome. The biggest player takeaway I have from 2020 is N’Keal Harry. Harry has had a disappointing career to say the least. A first-round pick in the 2019 draft, Harry was the first (and only) wide receiver that Bill Belichick has drafted in the first round as head coach of the Patriots. The Pats and Belichick rarely miss on draft picks, but it’s continuing to look like Harry was a miss. He finishes the season as WR101 where his best single game performance was eight receptions for 72 yards in Week 2. I’m not dropping Harry yet, but I would trade him for just about anything at this point.
Who is the highest scoring non quarterback this season? You guessed it. The answer is Alvin Kamara. A running back that doesn’t reach 1000 rushing yards by Week 16 is the overall fantasy points leader for the position. Unbelievable. Kamara did this by doing what he always does: posting modest rushing attempts with a high volume of receptions. Pair this with the fact that the Saints are fourth in points per game, and you have a recipe for fantasy gold. Kamara was so dominant this season that if you take away all of his PPR points (all points he received from receptions) he would be RB4 on the season. Owners will have to make tough decisions in order to keep Kamara for 2021 as his cap hit will increase by more than 14 million dollars. The reality is that you can’t “afford” to drop him.
Saquon Barkley ($7,798,688) barely had a chance to show anything this season. He was tasked with playing one of the best rushing defenses in Week 1 (Pittsburgh), and then he tore his ACL in his right knee in Week 2. We saw how much success Wayne Gallman had especially through the middle stretch of the season, and we also know how much better Barkley is than Gallman. I have no concerns for Saquon coming into 2021.
“His name is Chris Herndon… His name is Chris Herndon…”
Pardon my Fight Club reference, but if you weren’t paying close attention this year, you may have assumed Herndon retired over the offseason. In a year where the tight end position was as scarce as I’ve ever seen it, Herndon was almost non-existent. He finished as TE45 on the season with 52.4 fantasy points. He had eight games with less than two fantasy points including five games with no catches and one with -1.7 points. Herndon had a single game this year where he would have been startable and (not surprisingly) it came in Championship Weekend when no one would dare start him. The only silver lining that I can see for him is the fact that Adam Gase will almost certainly be gone for 2021, and the Jets’ new head coach will realize the talent that has been wasting away. If you drafted and continue to roster Herndon, I feel your pain. I drafted and still own him in both of my Dynasty Owner leagues.
I had Josh Jacobs ranked as my RB2 coming into 2020. While I’m not ready to say that was a bad call, there is not doubt that he has had a disappointing season for where he was drafted. I wrongly assumed that Jacobs would become much more involved in the receiving game and that he would lead the Raiders’ backfield with at least a 75 percent snap percentage. Instead, Jacobs’ snap percentage for the season was 63% and that puts him 13th among all running backs. Jacobs’ usage has been baffling to me especially when he has shown to be the far superior back in Las Vegas. Regardless, I am not an NFL coach and there is no doubt that I know much, much less than Jon Gruden. I look forward to Jacobs having more than 33 receptions in 2021.
Another tough question for you…
Which Eagles wide receiver has the most fantasy points on the season?
The answer is Greg Ward. Ward (132) has almost 20 more than Travis Fulgham (113) and almost 50 more than Jalen Reagor (85). There is no doubt in my mind that Reagor or Desean Jackson would have led this list had they been healthy for all 15 games, but Ward is the correct answer. This section isn’t a compliment to Ward, but it goes to show that not one wide receiver for Philadelphia could be trusted this season. In fact, if Dallas Goedert could be included in this comparison, he would rank second with 116 fantasy points. Let’s hope Jalen Hurts will have a full complement of healthy players going into and continuing through 2021.
George Kittle sank a lot of Owners this year. Through no fault of his own, he missed eight games this season. More disappointing is the fact that Owners will now have to make a tough decision about how to stay under the cap while also keeping Kittle for 2021. There’s not really much to say here…make it happen.
Let me see if I can go back and pull a quote from my “Top Ten Through the First Quarter” article…Keep in mind that this was written between Week 4 and Week 5.
“Tyler Lockett ($10,250,000) and DK Metcalf ($1,146,513) both slide into the Top 10. It may appear odd that two players from the same team are WR4 and WR7, but what’s even more surprising to me is the fact that they are tenth (Lockett) and twentieth (Metcalf) in targets for wide receivers. Once again this shows the efficiency of Russell Wilson and his receivers. If Russell cools down (which I assume will happen), I expect both Lockett and Metcalf to fall in the rankings. While I project good seasons for both these receivers, I don’t see them both finishing inside the Top 10 given their “lowish” volume. It may be late advice, but I’d obviously take Metcalf over Lockett the rest of the season, given the more than nine-million-dollar difference between them.”
I think it was fine advice at the time, and for the most part, it rang true. Metcalf finished WR5 while Lockett finished WR12. Russ cooled down dramatically over the second half of the season as he finished at QB5. Going forward, it’s going to be hard to trust Lockett while Metcalf should be thought of as a Top 5 WR in Dynasty Owner.
James Conner is in the final year of his rookie contract, and he will become an unrestricted free agent. I’m anxious to see where he lands and what his second contract will be worth. While he should be kept until news breaks about his potential new team, I would not be actively trying to buy him. There is just too much uncertainty that comes with free agency.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a player that I was very excited about coming into 2020. Most notably, Steve VT wrote about my love for him in a preseason article as I “reached” for him in my BETA league draft. I wouldn’t say that I want the pick back because I see Vaughn as an above average running back in this league within a few years, but there were a lot of players still on the board that could have helped me win a title this year that I passed on. At any rate, I would be a buyer for Vaughn in the offseason if his current Owner has given up.
Who is Corey Davis, and what should be doing with him? It’s a loaded question and one that I’d prefer not to answer until we know the details of his upcoming contract. Davis is an unrestricted free agent after this season, and we already know that his 5th year option was declined by the Titans. He’s had a very rocky career, but it seemed like he was starting to bring things together this year. Even with the ups and downs, I expect Davis to make more than his current contract (per year). He currently makes a little north of 6.3 million dollars per year.
Logan Thomas has evolved into a high-volume tight end over the second half of the season. Thomas was unranked and undrafted in the majority of Dynasty Owner leagues this year. His finish as TE5 is, therefore, very impressive and great value for whoever claimed him through the Free Agent Auction. Thomas will be a free agent in 2022, and I see no reason why he can’t be a very productive tight end in Washington at least for one more year. His salary of $3,072,500 is very affordable for a tight end, especially as we see Kelce and Kittle getting large contracts.
Thank you all for reading, and I hope all of you have a Happy New Year. See you in 2021.
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