How to Draft a Dynasty Owner Championship Team – Part I

By Steven Van Tassell

For the next few weeks, we will look at how Dynasty Owners drafted in 2020. By looking at the data of how the winners drafted relative to the rest of the teams in their league, we hope to discover some takeaways that can help everyone who is drafting a 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up team to win their League. We will also look at the “best of the best” and see how the teams that finished in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring drafted and find out if they went about drafting differently. Using these data, we can answer a bunch of questions and evaluate draft strategies, such as:

  • Which type of Dynasty Owner leagues had the “best” Owners?
  • When should you draft your Dynasty Owner team?
  • What draft position is the “best” one to have in your Dynasty Owner draft?
  • What position should you draft with your first pick?
  • What players were the “best” first round draft pick?
  • How much in salary should your first pick make?
  • Which players were drafted by the most Dynasty Owner league winners?
  • Should you use all of your salary cap during the draft or leave extra cap room to make post-draft Free Agent Auction pickups?
  • Are there any draft strategies that worked better than others in 2020?

Those are only a few of the questions that we can answer with the complete 2020 Dynasty Owner draft data. There are plenty more questions out there and not all of those questions will be answered in this article. To start, let’s look at some of the questions that don’t involve individual players, positions or salaries.

Which Type of Dynasty Owner League Had the “Best” Owners?

Which type of league had the “best” of the best Dynasty Owners in 2020? That means, was there a type of league (For the Love of the Game, $50 cash buy-in, $100 cash buy-in or beta) that had more of the Top 25 teams in the Chase for the Ring.  Beta league Dynasty Owners, who all played in 2019 and had a year of strategy under their belts, would argue that they are the best. However, would those beta league players be able to crack the Top 25 playing in leagues with only other beta owners? Does the data from 2020 support this idea or not?

Now, we know the answer. The best of the best in Dynasty Owner in 2020 were playing in $50 cash buy-in leagues. While just over one-quarter (27%) of leagues were $50 cash buy-in leagues, the winners in these leagues accounted for 11 out of 25 (44%) of the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring. The $50 leagues were even more represented in the Top 10 as 6 out of 10 teams who finished in the Top 10, including Chase for the Ring winner Barbee Kilgore, played in $50 cash leagues.

Type of League% of Leagues% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
FLOTG44%40%46%
$50 Cash27%44%21%
$100 Cash19%8%23%
Beta9%8%10%

The Beta leagues were evenly competitive. Beta leagues comprised nine percent of all leagues and eight percent of the Top 25 teams (PirateWolf in 14th place and BluecivicJJ in 15th place represented for the beta users).

At the other extreme from the $50 cash leagues, Dynasty Owners in $100 cash leagues were under-represented in the Top 25 as one-fifth (19%) of the 2020 Dynasty Owner leagues were $100 cash buy-in leagues, but only 2 out of the Top 25 (8%) played in that type of league (Congrats to Hawk Nation who finished 4th overall and Gold Phantom who finished 19th on representing the $100 cash leagues).

Of course, Dynasty Owners in $100 cash leagues might argue that their leagues had better players because of the higher buy-in amount and were more competitive, which led to fewer Top 25 teams.

So, if you are picking your type of 2021 Dynasty Owner league, it appears that you should pick a $100 league if you want the most “competition” and a $50 league if you want a better chance of finishing in the Top 25 and winning the Ring.

When Should You Draft Your Dynasty Owner Team?

Now that we know what type of league best suits you, the next question to answer is when is the “best” time to draft your Dynasty Owner team?  Is it better to draft as early as possible right after the NFL draft in May or closer to the start of the regular season in September? This question came up because the Chase for the Ring winner Viktor told me via email that he waited until “the last possible day to draft in order to have the most information about what NFL teams would look like”. While that ended up being a huge advantage for Viktor, did more Dynasty Owners do what he did and wait or did they start drafting as soon as they could in mid-June?

The last Dynasty Owner teams were drafted in the few days following the September 5th final roster cut deadline when all team rosters were cut down to 53 players. Viktor drafted after that day, so did he and other Dynasty Owners who drafted on September 5th or later have an advantage in the Chase for the Ring over Dynasty Owners who drafted before September 5th?

53-Man Roster Cut Day% of Leagues% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
Pre-Roster Cut Day78%84%76%
Post-Roster Cut Day22%16%24%

The answer appears to be No as a higher percentage of the Top 25 teams in the Chase (84%) drafted before roster cut day that drafted before that day (78%). Waiting to draft didn’t necessarily increase an Owner’s chances of a high finish in 2020.

How about waiting until after training camps opened? Training camps officially opened on a rolling basis with rookies reporting first, then quarterbacks and injured players. All veterans had to report by July 28th, so we’ll use that as our Training Camp Opening Day. Maybe waiting until Training Camps opened and some players had opted out of the 2020 season helped a Dynasty Owner make it into the Top 25 of the Chase?

Training Camp% of Leagues% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
Pre-Camp44%60%39%
Post-Camp56%40%61%

Once again, the answer is No. The results are even more pronounced for the training camp date than for the 53-man roster deadline date. Three-fifths (60%) of the teams who made the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring drafted before training camps opened, but less than half (44%) of all Dynasty Owner leagues drafted before that day.

Since we already know that more Top 25 teams drafted before training camps opened, then the next question is: How early is too early? Is going early not a liability towards the goal of making it into the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring?

The first two Dynasty Owner drafts were on June 14th and the final two drafts were conducted after the first Thursday night game on September 10th, but prior to the first Sunday games on September 13th. There were around equal numbers of leagues that drafted in each month (June, July, August and September), but more Top 25 Chase teams drafted in June (36%) than leagues that drafted in June (23%). The same is true for July, but the difference is less pronounced (28% of Top 25 teams drafted in July vs. 23% of all leagues).

Month% of Leagues% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
June23%36%19%
July23%28%21%
August29%20%33%
September24%16%27%

While waiting to draft clearly was the right strategy for Viktor, it’s not necessarily a strategy that new Dynasty Owners need to copy. The 2020 season shows that drafting early was actually better than drafting late on average.

What Draft Position is the “Best” One to Have in Your Dynasty Owner Draft?

In theory, there should not be a “best” draft position since all Dynasty Owner start-up drafts are snake drafts. In case someone isn’t familiar with the term, a snake draft is a draft that goes in the opposite order each round, so the team with the last pick in the first round has the first pick in the second round and so on. It’s supposed to equalize drafting so no team gets an advantage over another team, but how did that work out in the 2020 Dynasty Owner season? Does the data show that one draft slot produced more league winners than average, while another one produced fewer? Let’s see:

Draft Slot% of League Winners
111%
25%
39%
48%
56%
613%
75%
812%
99%
107%
1111%
123%

Four spots (#6, #8, #1 and #11) appear to have been better to draft from in 2020 as they produced a higher percentage of League winners. Three spots (#12, #7 and #2) were at the opposite end and produced fewer League winners.

Of course, winning your League is the goal, but finishing in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring standings is an even greater achievement. The draft slot with the most Top 25 Chase finishers was #3 as five teams who finished in the Top 25 drafted from that slot, followed by four who drafted from the #4 slot and three who drafted from the #1, #6, #8 and #9 slots. Interestingly, nobody who finished in the Top 25 drafted from either the #5 or #7 slots.

Draft Slot% of League Winners% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
111%12%10%
25%4%6%
39%20%6%
48%16%6%
56%0%9%
613%12%13%
75%0%7%
812%12%11%
99%12%9%
107%4%9%
1111%4%13%
123%4%3%

Of course, our 2020 Ring winning team Barbee Kilgore drafted from the #10 slot, the only Top 25 team to do so. More importantly, Viktor was able to draft Patrick Mahomes and his $4.1 million salary with his first pick, which in the end was probably more important than his draft slot.

Conclusion

So far, there doesn’t appear to be any magic formula associated with your type of league, draft date or draft slot. More Top 25 teams drafted early and played in $50 cash leagues, but no single draft slot was the dominant one that yielded an overwhelming number of League winners or Chase for the Ring Top 25 teams. While the Ring winner played in a $50 cash league and drafted from the #10 slot in a league that drafted after rosters were cut down to 53 players in September, his nearest competitor (Quaranteed for Greatness) had a different path. Quaranteed for Greatness’ path to being the runner-up saw him play in a For the Love of the Game league and drafting from the #6 slot in a late June draft, a month before training camps opened. They even drafted two different players (at different positions), which is a topic that we’ll dive into more in a future article.

The top two teams in Dynasty Owner took different paths to their respective League championships in 2020. Do you have a particular plan for your 2021 start-up team? What about a draft strategy that you think will lead you to a Championship and maybe a spot in the Chase for the Ring? Send those plans and strategies for 2021 Dynasty Owner success to me on Twitter (@SteveVT33) or post them in the comment section on YouTube.

My articles and videos on getting you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team will be out on Fridays throughout the off-season. Keep an eye out for new articles and videos from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owners writers as well. On Mondays, Nate Christian (@NateNFL) will break down rookies in his Prospect Preview. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@dynastyjerk) is back for another year and will do a deep dive into contracts on Wednesdays. Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL) has his articles and videos on how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Thursdays. Read all of their articles, watch and like all of their videos on YouTube (and all of the other available formats, such as Spotify) and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Thanks to everyone for following, reading and watching!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

The Top 10 Players Rebuilding Owners Should Stash

By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)

I am going to make this intro a bit different than usual and take a couple minutes to explain what will be coming in terms of content from me in the future (all will be geared towards rebuilding). In last week’s article we talked about the 10 players I would trade away when rebuilding and it seemed to be an article a lot of you enjoyed judging the views and comments on YouTube. Over the next few weeks,

I’m going to take that theme and run with it, while hopefully giving you guy’s content you will really enjoy and find helpful too. Once we have covered all of the top 10 players rebuild topics, I am hoping to switch gears to my orphan team. I have not gained access to my orphan team just yet but when I do I plan on turning it into a series of articles where we will rebuild this orphan team together. What I mean by building the team together is I will write/make a video on the team once or twice a month and will be taking the readers advice before making any kind of moves.

Once given the team I will do an article covering the roster and moves I think are needed, followed by all of your input before making said moves or the following article. I chose to make these articles twice a month at most giving me plenty of time to gather everyone’s input before releasing the next article, if a move happens to be split amongst everyone, I will be the tiebreaker at that point and will always have the final say.

I am hoping this will be something we can all engage with each other about and help give those who need it a true in depth look on how to rebuild a team step by step. As mentioned earlier I have yet to see this orphan team, but regardless of the roster outlook I will be tearing this team completely apart and rebuilding with all of you, we will also decide together if we want to keep any of our rostered players as building blocks.

This is something I am really looking forward to and I hope you all will enjoy it as well. When rebuilding a fantasy team, you must begin to think differently than you usually would, which means trading players you just don’t want to let go of. I have always said if you go into a rebuild with a closed mind the process is going to be a long one. The points above are the key points I want to emphasize when rebuilding this team with all of you as I feel sometimes the mental side is the toughest. The series will be called, let’s build a championship roster together!

In today’s article I am going to touch on some players that are considered stashes (not buys). In this article you will not find players like Paris Campbell, Aj Dillon, or Cole Kmet as I feel they will cost a decent price to acquire and will cover these players in next week’s article (sneak peek). The players covered in this article should be available in most leagues, if they are not, they will be very cheap to get in a trade. These are also players that may not be ready to consistently contribute for another few seasons but are on the right trajectory.

Stash These Players

1.  Taylor Heinicke- 27 years old, Free Agent

2020 stats- 12-19 137 yards, 1Td.

While Heinicke can definitely fit into next week’s article I feel more comfortable with him as a player you want to stash, making him the number 1 choice. Heinicke has yet to sign a contract for the 2021 season but it seems The Football Team is very interested in bringing the signal caller back. The 27-year-old quarterback only appeared in one game during the 2020 season, and he almost completed a comeback, along with looking fantastic in the postseason against an excellent defense.

Heinicke was thrown into action against Carolina just one week before the playoffs started giving him very little time to prepare for his first ever playoff start. How did Heinicke respond? By completing 26 passes on 46 attempts for 306 yards, 1 pick, and 1 touchdown. Absolutely none of this makes him a lock to return to Washington, especially as a starter, which is why he is a player to stash instead of a player to buy. If Heinicke gets a deal and looks close to the way he did against Tampa he could be the steal of the offseason. I wanted to put my money where my mouth is, so I placed a bid on Heinicke in my league and received his services for just $1 million Dynasty Dollars, an easy price to pay for a gamble.

2. Van Jefferson- 24 years old, 3 years $1,402,784

2020 stats- 19 catches, 220 yards, 1 Td.

Jefferson had a rough rookie season by all accounts in 2020. The Rams invested a 2nd round pick on the Florida product, just as they did with Akers and will certainly be expecting him to take a leap heading into 2021. With Goff leaving town and Stafford coming in, it will boost Jefferson’s outlook easily, but that’s not what attracts me to him.

What I like most about Jefferson’s outlook in the coming years is the fact Cooper Kupp is due a new deal, Reynolds is likely to be gone, and the Rams should throw the ball more than they ever have under McVay with Stafford in town. If even one of Kupp, or Reynolds leaves this offseason that should open up a ton of room for someone like Van Jefferson in this offense. If you are looking for a potential quality Wide out, Jefferson is a good talent to bet on. McVay has looked like an offensive wizard with Goff under center, a Qb like Stafford should give everyone in the system a significant boost in production.

3. Quintez Cephus- 22 years old, 3 years $734,822

2020 stats- 20 catches, 349 yards, 2 Td’s

The wide receiver on the other end of the Stafford-Goff trade is number 3 on my list Quintez Cephus. With the Lions receiver room in flux in 2020 the rookie Cephus stepped up nicely for a late round draft pick. With Golladay out most of the season Marvin Jones had to step up and be the guy, which left the number 2 spot open most of the year. Cephus did not have a clear handle on the role at any point in 2020 but he was able to flash at times, even while seeing more coverage than a typical late round newcomer normally would.

Every time I hear Cephus’ name I instantly think back to the Okudah quote when he was asked who the best receiver he faced in college was, Okudah responded “Quintez Cephus.” The step back the Lions took getting Goff is worrisome but Cephus seems like he is going to be in the league for a while which makes him an easy stash. Cephus is another player on this list that I roster on my own team.

4. Tyler Johnson- 22 years old, 3 years, $737,355

2020 stats- 12 catches, 169 yards, 2 Td’s.

I had an extremely tough time ranking players 3 and 4 for this article. I ended up siding with Johnson here based on what my eye’s saw from each season. While player 4 has better stats Johnson came up huge in big moments when called upon and seemed to make tough contested catches with ease. If not for the talent on Tampa Bay’s roster Johnson would be a firm buy in next week’s article, instead you find him here at number 4 in players, you should stash.

With the uncertainty around Godwin and Antonio Brown returning to the Bucs next season it could open up a ton of playing time for Johnson, but the bad news is I see both returning. If both return Johnson has not shot at obtaining any type of consistency with him being buried so far on the depth chart and so much high-end talent above him. Eventually Johnson will get his chance to shine, and he is someone you will want on your roster when that time comes. If none of this is enough to make you a believer just look at the moments Tom Brady trusted him with and it may change your mind.

5. Donavon Peoples-Jones- 22 years old, 3 years $870,402

2020 stats- 14 catches, 304 yards, 2 Td’s

While there is an easy argument to move Peoples-Jones up this list I have him settled in at number 4 because of the offense he plays in. I do not see Cleveland being a pass first team under Stefanski anytime soon. The Browns finished 2020 with just over 3500 yards passing, which is not enough to have any more than 2 consistent fantasy pass catchers on the roster, especially with a back like Hunt catching the ball out of the backfield.

Peoples-Jones flashed excellent potential in 2020 and has a chance to do more of the same in the years to come. If Beckham, or Higgins happen to leave town this offseason it could mean big things to come for Peoples-Jones, if either one of them leaves he becomes a lock for the wide receiver 3 in Cleveland. My biggest knock-on Jones is the system he plays in which heavily features the running game and utilizing tight ends. With Peoples-Jones looking like he will continue to grow I highly recommend acquiring him now if you wait the price will only continue to go up.

6. Tyron Johnson- 25 years old, Free Agent

2020 stats- 20 catches, 398 yards, 3 Td’s

Our 2nd Ty Johnson on the list! This Johnson went undrafted in 2019 and never really amounted to much in Houston during his rookie campaign. In 2020 the Oklahoma State product flashed some great upside, especially towards the end of the season. If Johnson can resign with the Chargers, it certainly would improve his outlook and chances of becoming a reliable player. Herbert seemed to look for Johnson more as the season went on but that’s something we see often in the NFL.

Johnson is older than everyone on the list which is why he slots in at number 5 instead of being higher, though he has roughly the same amount of service time. With Johnson being a bit older it hurts his chances of finding a permanent home, but he is more than worth a stash from rebuilding owners. The big positive for Johnson aside from his production is that the Chargers need a number 2 receiver they can count on and Mike Williams has shown he just isn’t it. Williams is due for free agency next season, look for Johnson to fill that role if improvements continue.

7. Salvon Ahmed- 22 years old, Free Agent

2020 stats- 75 carries, 319 yards, 3td’s

I am sure many are wondering how Ahmed is on this list instead of the buy category for next week’s article after the rookie season he was able to put up in limited fashion. I have Ahmed on this list because I feel he needs a year or 2 more of getting his body ready to be a starting NFL running back. The Dolphins had one of the thinnest running back rooms in the NFL in 2020 and even after watching Ahmed play well, there are multiple rumors that they will draft an Rb high, or sign someone like A. Jones, they also have Gaskin on the roster.

With that being said I believe the Dolphins are worried about Ahmed’s durability and ability to take the punishment a running back needs to take in the NFL. If Ahmed is able to continue to improve, he could be a very solid Rb2/flex option in a couple of years. Ahmed also seemed to be a dependable receiver out of the backfield which is something that can help him stay on the field.

8. Collin Johnson- 23 years old, 3 years $900,538

2020 stats- 18 catches, 272 yards, 2 Td’s

Collin Johnson, Lavishka Shenault, and James Robinson are the only young playmakers the Jaguars have on offense to look forward too. Shenault was a highly drafted rookie and he nor Robinson are going anywhere with both being owned in all leagues, the same cannot be said for Johnson. Johnson should be easily obtainable, or available here on Dynasty Owner and with Trevor Lawrence and Urban Myer coming to town I recommend throwing a flier on Collin Johnson.

When Mike Glennon was on the field for Jacksonville Johnson seemed to shine which tells me he just needs someone to trust him like Glennon does. With a new coach coming to town Johnson will need to prove himself, but I believe this gives him the fair shot he needs with no one except rookies being tied to the regime. Keelan Cole is likely to leave during free agency this offseason which leaves Johnson competing with Chark and Shenault for targets from Lawrence in 2021.

9. Harrison Bryant- 22 years old, 3 years $1,016,008

2020 stats- 24 catches, 238 yards, 3 Td’s

Harrison Bryant should be the face of dynasty stashing right now! As I have mentioned several times in earlier articles, it takes a long time for tight ends to develop in the NFL, which is why Bryant is so low on the list. While Bryant has the typical length, it takes his tight ends to produce in the NFL to deal with, he also has 2 quality tight ends in front of him on the depth chart in a run heavy offense.

The good news for Bryant is that the Browns system typically features two tight end sets, meaning once Njoku, or Hooper leaves he has a clear path to production. I would not bet on Hooper leaving after signing a massive deal last offseason, but the Browns and Njoku have not seen eye to eye recently. Rebuilding owners should not expect Bryant to be consistent until at least 2023, but if you wait until then to acquire him you will be paying a premium. Get him now while he is easily obtainable.

10. Ke’Shawn Vaughn- 23 years old, 3 years $1,152,681

2020 stats- 26 carries, 109 yards, 3 catches, 34 yards, 1 Td

I could not even imagine being a rookie in the NFL and having a Super Bowl ring after your first season. Ke’Shawn Vaughn knows how it feels and should have a secure spot on the Bucs roster for years to come. The Fournette signing really put a damper on Vaughn’s rookie campaign, as well as playing behind an improved Ronald Jones, which will only make him easy to acquire. In 2021 the Bucs do have some cap space, but they have a ton of quality players to re-sign which may leave Fournette on the outside looking in.

The Bucs invested a high draft pick on Vaughn, if they let Fournette walk it could mean big things for Vaughn in the years to come. The last major positive on Vaughn is that he is not racking up miles on his body and should be fresh come time to step in and produce. My best advice is to target him before the Fournette decision, because in the scenario he does not re-sign, Vaughn’s price will instantly go up.

Conclusion

I am so pleased with the outcome of last week’s video on YouTube that I would like to challenge all of you! Last week’s video is nearing 400 views and counting, but I believe this week’s video can do even better. My challenge to all of you this week is to hit 350 views and 40 likes. If this challenge is met, I will have a random winner selected, with the winner receiving a Dynasty Owner shirt. If we can meet these requirements, I will do this again in the future. The only rules for this contest are view the video, like the video, and comment something on the video. My goal for this is to help get people active and make the orphan team series a lot of fun! Thank you all for your continued support and helping Dynasty Owner grow! I hope you all enjoy the article and good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Contract Speculation and Breakdown: New Orleans Saints

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Once this article has concluded, we will have wrapped up the NFC South, and I’ll be bringing you a brand-new division next week. I think we’ll switch things up and give some love to the AFC next month. Not that it really matters as I’ll be discussing every team and potential free agent prior to kickoff of the 2021 season, but there are a few players in the AFC that I would like to speculate on prior to the opening of free agency. Speaking of the start of free agency…let me first discuss some important dates and times that Dynasty Owners should be aware about if they want to stay “in the know”.

Franchise and Transition Tag Period:

February 23 – March 9

This is the time when all teams must make a decision on whether or not they want to franchise, or transition tag a player. The difference between the two types of franchise tags and the transition tags matter in real life, but it doesn’t much matter for our purposes. I’ll oversimplify today and just lump all three of these tags into one. Regardless, as I said, after this time window, we will know who has been “tagged” in any fashion.

Compensatory Draft Picks:

March 10 – 13

Picking up the day after the franchise window closes is the compensatory draft pick announcement. Compensatory picks are awarded to teams during this period based off of a measured and calculated formula. This formula looks at free agents that certain teams lost throughout the year that they were not “adequately compensated” for. Essentially, the NFL calculates each team’s gained and lost value and then compares this to every other team. Picks are awarded accordingly. This doesn’t affect us as Owners directly, but it has the potential to add picks to some of our favorite teams.

Free Agency Contact Begins:

March 15

There are strict rules in the NFL (like most sports) about how and when a player may be contacted about a possible contract. Up until this date, teams are prohibited from contacting free agents. Again, this may not mean much to us as Owners other than the fact that we will probably be getting a heavy amount of rumors flying during this 48-hour period.

New League Year and Free Agency Begins:

March 17

Minus the Draft, this has to be the most anticipated date in the NFL offseason. On March 17, free agents will be able to sign with the teams of their choosing. This applies to all free agents except for exclusive-rights free agents. This will be a great day and a great week as some of the contracts we’ve been anticipating will be signed.

These are all the events that are currently on my radar. It’s worth mentioning that the NFL Draft spans April and May as it will take place April 29 – May 1. Okay, let’s talk Saints’ free agents…

Contract Speculation

I currently have three “notable” Saints’ free agents that I feel are worth mentioning. As always, notable means players that I deem to be rosterable in Dynasty Owner leagues. I’m obviously not going to talk about defensive players as Dynasty Owner does not play IDP, and I won’t be talking about players like Michael Burton, Dwayne Washington or Bennie Fowler. These three, while offensive players, are not currently rostered in any DO league. The three I want to talk about are Jared Cook, Jameis Winston and Ty Montgomery.

Jared Cook is 33 years old. He is finishing a $7.5 million per year contract, and he finished the season as TE18. Fun Fact:  there were only two tight ends with higher salaries that finished lower in the rankings than him. Can you name them? Cook had a lackluster season although he did end with seven touchdowns despite a disappointing 58.33 catch percentage in the red zone. I wouldn’t dare declare that Cook has nothing left. It’s expected he’ll return for the 2021 season, but according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett, it’s unlikely it’ll be with the Saints due to “cap restrictions.”  I do agree. Cook is going to demand roughly the same contract that is about to expire. (Think Jimmy Graham’s contract)  This coupled with the fact that the Saints traded their 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th round 2020 draft picks to Minnesota in exchange for their 3rd round pick which they converted into Adam Trautman. I’m not going to break down Trautman in this article, but surely the Saints want to see him on the field at some point given the draft equity they invested in him. Expect Cook to move on.

Up next we have the possible starting quarterback for the 2021 Saints:  Jameis Winston. Winston signed a single year contract worth $1,100,000 last year. According to a lot of analysts, this deal seemed to be much less than he actually deserved. I would have to agree given the fact that he had just come off of a 2019 season where he had career highs in attempts (626), completions (380), yards (5109) and touchdowns (33). Unfortunately, he also had a career high in interceptions (30). Regardless, I believe that Jameis showed enough in 2019 to make him deserving of a contract closer to 10 or 12 million dollars per year. The rest of the NFL did not see it this way and he essentially signed a minimum contract with the Saints. Well, Jameis was unable to show much of anything during the 2020 season. Despite Drew Brees missing four weeks in the middle of the season, Jameis did not attempt a pass during those weeks. Instead, Taysom Hill received the starting quarterback job. In fact, Winston only completed seven passes for 75 yards in 2020. 63 of these yards came in the game where Brees was injured. Now for some speculation…

The expectation is that Brees will be retiring sometime this offseason. The fact that he agreed to cut his pay to the league minimum for the 2021 season paves the way for a retirement. This move drops New Orleans’ cap more than $20 million dollars. Jameis is too cheap not to hold until his contract situation is a little clearer. Hold with confidence, and I would even advocate trading for him if the price is right.

The final player worth mentioning is Ty Montgomery. I’m not going to talk much about him as he has yet to pass 121 touches in any season. In fact, he has averaged only 72 touches per season in his career. He is only owned in 8.25 percent of Dynasty Owner leagues so he’s a borderline player to even mention, but if he is signed by a team expect his salary to be between 2 and 3 million per year. Even though this is a cheap price to pay for a running back, I would still be staying away.

Contract Breakdown

Today I have a single player that I want to talk about for my breakdown section. We’ve already discussed both potential starting quarterbacks in New Orleans and also their tight end situation so let’s now focus on a wide receiver. How about Emmanuel Sanders?

He has a single year left on his current contract that he signed in early 2020. The contract was two years’ worth $8,000,000 per year. There are a few different directions Sanders’ career could go in 2021. First, he could just play out the 2021 season with the Saints and then enter free agency in 2022 as a 34-year-old wide receiver. The second (and more likely scenario in my opinion) is that Sanders is cut by the Saints during this offseason. Even with the sly maneuver to reduce Brees’ cap hit in 2021, the Saints are currently projected to have the worst cap issues. Cutting Sanders would not solve all their problems, but it would free up roughly $4,000,000 in space. Again, I’m not claiming he will be cut, but it’s an option that the Saint’s organization is without a doubt looking into. With that in mind, let’s look at how Sander’s value compares to similar wide receivers…

SalaryYearsDO FPsDD/FPGames Missed% Owned
A. Cooper$20,000,0004236.8$84,459099
J. Crowder$9,500,0001174.6$54,410489.7
E. Sanders$8,000,0001163.8$48,840277.3
D. Parker$7,625,0003165.3$46,128399
M. Gallup$880,0001173.3$5,0781100

So, I have these five players arranged by “value” or Dynasty Dollar per Fantasy Points (DD/FP). We, as Dynasty Owners, know that DD/FP is kind of the general value that a player holds. It is best used to compare players to each other. These five players finished right around each other for the 2020 season. I also included games missed to give you a reference for how their seasons may have looked had they played every game. We can see that Gallup was the player with the most value. This isn’t a surprise given that his salary is a fraction of the other four. His teammate, Amari Cooper, had a fantastic season and finished as the WR15. This is a very healthy season, but as you can see, his value is at the opposite end of the spectrum. The main point from this table was to show the two extremes of value with three “mid-level” salary players in the middle. Every Owner has to answer the question for themselves…

“Would I rather own Cooper or Sanders?”  The answer to this obviously depends on roster construction and where you see your strategy heading in the next few years, but from a value standpoint, Sanders is the answer. It’s not surprising that Cooper is owned in 20 percent more leagues either. People are willing to pay up for a known, rather than taking a cheaper unknown. Here is the final way I’m going to present this point.

Would you rather have 40% of Cooper’s salary with 70% of the fantasy production, or would you rather pay up the other 60% for 100% of his production? Because the former is what you would be getting with Sanders (at least in 2020.)  But wait, there’s more…

Keep in mind that Sanders played in two less games than Cooper as well. Making this argument could lead to someone, rightfully, claiming that Cooper didn’t have Dak throwing to him for an entire season though. All of this is true and worth keeping in mind as we move towards the new NFL season.

Thank you for reading and be sure to watch the video that relates to this article. Next week we’ll be starting a new division. I’ll turn my attention to an AFC team that has quite a few free agents as well as one of the more favorable cap situations. I’ll also be using a couple of new comparison strategies. Please follow us on Twitter @Dynasty_Owner and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

The Importance of Drafting in Dynasty Owner

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

For the past few weeks, these off-season articles on helping to get people ready for their 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up leagues have mainly looked back at the 2020 season. These have included articles on the best players in the regular season and playoffs, players who should be picked in the first round based on their 2020 performance, players to avoid drafting based on their 2020 performance and salaries, second half breakout players and players who faded in the second half of 2020. All of them looked at which players to draft, or not draft, this upcoming season based on last season.

In looking at how the two Chase for the Ring Champions (Eddie Driscoll in 2019 and Viktor Kilgore in 2020) put together their Ring winning teams, it appears that drafting is critically important to Dynasty Owner success. However, there are limits though on just looking back at past performance. Past performance is nice, but is only one part of your overall draft strategy.

There are plenty of ideas on how to construct a winning redraft or “regular” dynasty fantasy football league, but likely none of them can be fully applied to Dynasty Owner because of the inclusion of salaries and the salary cap. Players and analysts can’t even agree on what draft strategy or strategies work in non-Dynasty Owner leagues and with only two years of history, there are no long-standing Dynasty Owner draft strategies that can be evaluated to determine their effectiveness.

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, all Dynasty Owner fantasy points cited are from the full, 16 game 2020 NFL regular season. Salaries listed are current as of February 21st, 2021.

Draft Like a Ring Champion

Our first Chase for the Ring winner Eddie was able to draft the #1 QB (Lamar Jackson), RB (Christian McCaffrey), WR (Michael Thomas) and TE (Travis Kelce) for his team (New York’s Strongest) in his 2019 Dynasty Owner draft. He also traded for Dalvin Cook who finished 2019 as the #6 RB. The 2020 winner Viktor didn’t get all of the top players at each position in his draft, but was pretty close. Here are Viktor’s first six draft picks (in order):

Pick #PositionPlayer2020 Overall Rank2020 Position Rank
10QBPatrick Mahomes33
15RBDalvin Cook183
34WRTyreek Hill202
39TETravis Kelce241
58WRMike Evans4212
63WRDavante Adams171

As you can see, Viktor was able to draft the #1 TE (Travis Kelce) in the fourth round and the #1 WR (Davante Adams) in the sixth round. While they weren’t the best players at their position in 2020, his first three picks were solid as well. His first round pick of Patrick Mahomes finished the 2020 season as the #3 overall player, while his second round pick Dalvin Cook finished as the #3 RB and his third round pick Tyreek Hill was the #2 WR. He also picked up James Robinson (the #7 overall RB) off the Free Agent Auction the day before the season started.

Even though each Ring winner had a key player who they acquired outside of the draft, they both put together the starters for their team in their draft. If you draft like Eddie did in 2019 or Viktor did in 2020, you’ll probably be in good position to be the 2021 Ring winner.

The Limits of Relying Only on Past Season Performance

This is not to say that the way to win in 2021 is to just draft the best players from the 2020 season. Past performance is not an automatic indicator of future success. However, Dynasty Owners should still prepare for a 2021 Dynasty Owner draft by looking back at player performance in previous years. It’s a great way to start the draft process, but just recognized that there are limits to only using past performance.

If you just looked at Eddie’s roster from 2019 in preparation for your 2020 Dynasty Owner draft and in the unlikely event that you were able to draft those players in your 2020 Dynasty Owner draft, you wouldn’t have had nearly the same success. Both McCaffrey and Thomas missed a significant portion of the 2020 season, while Jackson’s scoring dropped significantly from 515.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 to 399.9 points in 2020. Only Kelce was able to improve on his top ranked 2019 performance in 2020 (314.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2020 versus 253.3 points in 2019). A team with Jackson, McCaffrey, Thomas and Kelce would have been good in 2020, but not a Ring winner team.

As previous articles have noted, full season performance is important, but sometimes it can hide what happened during the course of the season. Seeing that Kirk Cousins finished the 2020 season with 406.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (25.4 points per game) is good, but a closer look at his performance will lead Dynasty Owners discover that he only averaged 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the first half of the season, but over 30.8 points per game in the second half. Conversely, Russell Wilson was the #5 QB for the entire 2020 Dynasty Owner season. However, he was the first half MVP with 309.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in his first eight games, an average of 38.7 points per game. In the second half of 2020, his performance dropped considerably as he averaged 20.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.

And for Dynasty Owner purposes, we haven’t even touched on salaries yet, which could make a second half surge seem even better or a second half fade even worse. Deciding that you want to draft David Montgomery based on his improved performance in the second half of the 2020 season is great, but seeing that he’s scheduled to make “only” slightly over $1 million in 2021 makes him even more valuable in Dynasty Owner than other dynasty leagues. On the other hand, Ezekiel Elliott’s decline in performance after Dak Prescott’s season ending injury in Week 5 is a potential warning sign, but his lengthy contract and $15 million annual salary makes it worse if Dynasty Owners draft him and he doesn’t rebound in 2021.

What’s the Best Strategy for Drafting a Winning Team?

There are many ways to construct a winning fantasy football team. For every league with 10 teams, there are going to be 10 different draft and team management strategies. For 12 team leagues, there are 12 different strategies, and so on. It’s not just regular fantasy players though, even fantasy football experts don’t agree on draft strategy. For example, this analyst tells you to not draft waste an early draft pick on a tight end:

“Waiting to draft the tight end position is something that I have done every year and have had solid success with.”

While this analyst contends that grabbing an elite TE is the key to victory:

“Elite tight ends are difference-makers, so it’s perfectly fine to draft a George Kittle or Travis Kelce in Rounds 2-3, depending on your format.”

Those two opinions came from different analysts and represent pretty much opposite viewpoints on the value of when to draft a TE.

It’s not just analysts who disagree. There are other strategies that appear to fall in and out of favor depending on the year. A fantasy analyst can change his mind from season to season, as evidenced by these two headlines from the same analyst from a major newspaper at roughly the same point in the past two seasons:

How to win your fantasy football draft using the Zero RB strategy – August 19, 2019

Don’t waste your time with the Zero RB strategy in fantasy football drafts – August 31, 2020

Somehow the Zero RB strategy was a way to win in 2019, but not in 2020. Not sure what changed so dramatically in the fantasy football landscape between those two seasons to make Zero RB fall out of favor.

Fantasy football analysts and players alike appear to disagree on exactly how to construct your fantasy team through the draft, but everyone should agree on the importance of having a good draft.

Because Dynasty Owner is new and different than other fantasy football leagues and only has two years of history, there aren’t a lot of competing strategies out there on how to construct your Dynasty Owner team. In 2019, I put together a list of a few draft tips to help with the inaugural season of Dynasty Owner in 2019 (https://dynastyowner.com/2019/07/dynasty-owner-draft-tips/) and then revised them last year (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/05/draft-tips-2020/). They are largely the same but with some differences as Dynasty Owner has evolved over the past two seasons and the draft tips needed to evolve as well. What they aren’t yet is tested to see if they have worked. The good news is that the data exists to test those tips (and any others out there) and see if they in fact worked to help Dynasty Owners win in 2020 so Dynasty Owners drafting new teams can utilize them in 2021.

Conclusion

To win the Chase for the Ring in 2021 (or just your Dynasty Owner league), you’re going to have to draft well. It’s not likely that a Dynasty Owner team can survive on trading and Free Agent Auction pickups alone. While it might not be realistic to draft all of the top players at QB, RB, WR and TE like Eddie did in 2019, or even to grab five of the top 25 scoring players in the first six rounds of your Dynasty Owner draft like Viktor did last year, a good draft will go a long way towards lining your team up for success.

In order to draft well, everyone who wants to win needs to have a solid draft strategy. There’s no consensus on exactly how to construct a winning fantasy football team in “regular” fantasy football leagues that have been around for years, so it’s unlikely that there is a magic formula for Dynasty Owner at this early stage in our game’s history.

There might not be a single way to win in Dynasty Owner. In future weeks, we will dive into some data from the 2020 season to discover if there are any strategies or ideas recommended that worked last year. We will look at how 2020 Dynasty Owner league winners as well as those who finished in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring (the best of the best Dynasty Owner teams) drafted their teams. These data may uncover a strategy that you can use to win your league, or even the Ring, in 2021.

As mentioned earlier, there are 12 draft strategies in every Dynasty Owner league. What’s your strategy? Maybe there’s a way to look at the 2020 draft data and see if your strategy was effective last year and should be utilized again in 2020. Send out some of your ideas for Dynasty Owner draft strategies to examine in the future to me on Twitter (@SteveVT33) or post them in the comment section on YouTube.

My articles and videos on getting you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team will be out weekly throughout the off-season. Keep an eye out for new articles and videos from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owners writers as well. On Mondays, Nate Christian (@NateNFL) will break down rookies in his Prospect Preview. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is back for another year and will do a deep dive into contracts on Wednesdays. Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL) has his articles and videos on how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Thursdays. Read all of their articles, watch and like all of their videos on YouTube (and all of the other available formats, such as Spotify) and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Thanks to everyone for following, reading and watching!

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Prospect Preview: Javonte Williams

Position: RBWeight: 220
College: UNCAge: 20
Height: 5′ 10″247 Rating: 3 Stars (0.8344)

By Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

Part of a historic North Carolina offense, Javonte Williams was half of a nasty 1-2 punch in the backfield with Michael Carter. Williams was the so-called “thunder”, while Carter played the part of “lightning”. The thunder was certainly real, and Williams found the end zone 19 times this past season. With 25 receptions thrown in there as well, Williams has quickly flown up draft boards as a player who can immediately step into a 3-down role at the next level.

College Production:

After a decent sophomore season (933 yards at a 5.6 average), Williams became one of the best college running backs in 2020. With a North Carolina team that at one point was ranked as high as 5th, Williams was able to better play his role in a stronger offense. That led to 1,140 yards on the ground, while averaging 7.3 yards per carry, and 22 total touchdowns. With his strength and speed combination, the highlights have been fun to watch, and everyone is starting to hop on the Williams hype-train. The production was good in his junior year, leading to his early declaration, but now we look forward to his NFL future.

Strengths:

  • NFL-Ready Size
    • At 5’ 10” and 220 pounds, Williams is a thick running back, and it’s somehow surprising that he still plays bigger than his size! His thick base gives him the ability to brush off arm tackles and punish smaller defenders for trying to square him up. He also has the upper body strength to utilize stiff arms and hold off defenders. His frame is set up perfectly for a 3-down role and in a world of specialization, Williams has the physical traits to be elite.
  • Angry Runner
    • Thanks to his size Williams controls a lot of power in his game. He’s an aggressive runner who isn’t scared of contact and sometimes, in fact, goes out of his way to create contact. This violent running style is a throwback to an older NFL, but also is a trend we could see start to come back as NFL defenders get smaller and quicker. He hardly ever goes down at first contact and runs with a good pad level to help create leverage 1v1 against defenders.
  • LOS Burst
    • While Williams is no track-star, his burst around the Line of Scrimmage is impressive. His ability to hit the hole and come out the other side at nearly full speed gives him an advantage that most other backs his size don’t have. This ability helps his versatility as he can not only get to the second level quickly between the tackles, but he also has the acceleration to break it to the outside and beat a linebacker to the edge.

Weaknesses:

  • Average on Passing Downs
    • Maybe it was due to Carter being a passing-down extraordinaire, but Williams seemed average at best when it came to his role in the passing game. He was able to make most of the catches that came his way, but it didn’t seem as natural as some other backs nor did his routes look great. The biggest knock though, is his pass protection. A very important, yet underrated, ability in the NFL, Williams will be limited on NFL passing downs until he shows improvement in this area.
  • Lack of Elusiveness
    • The power and the burst are there, and the yards after contact is impressive, but the actual missed tackles (in the sense of making a defender whiff) are not prevalent on the film. This is certainly not a death sentence for Williams’ profile, that’s not the staple of his game, but it is something to be aware of. In the NFL the defenders are bigger and stronger than in the ACC, so you can’t always rely on simply running over them. His lateral ability is good enough to make some defenders miss, but he isn’t likely to create a ton of yardage when coming up to a defender in open space.

Things to Watch:

I’m very interested in seeing what Williams’ measurables end up looking like, even though usually I think of testing as more trivial in comparison to tape. His athleticism is apparent on film, but I want to see better numbers than David Montgomery ($1,111,577), who is my player comparison but didn’t do so well at the combine. Beating a 4.63 40-Yard Dash and the rest of Montgomery’s numbers, shouldn’t prove too difficult for Williams, but I do believe it is important for his draft stock. He has the thickness and frame that NFL teams want to see, but the athleticism and numbers will have to match what we see on tape. But remember, Pro Days always swing a bit in the prospect’s favor.

Projected Round/Contract:

With the recent trend in devaluing running backs in the NFL, long gone are the days of us seeing four or five RBs go in the first round. Every now and then we get a couple that sneak into the back half of the first round, but with the plug and play ability it’s happening less and less. This means that when Day 2 of the NFL Draft starts, there’s a flurry of moves to get your guy at the position. Last year we saw five running backs picked in the second round (the most of any round in the 2020 NFL Draft), and the talent was there. Williams slides into a similar draft slot as Cam Akers ($1,402,962) in the middle of the second round. This would give him a 4-year contract worth roughly $6,000,000.

Team Fits:

Javonte Williams is a versatile back who could be used on all three downs in the NFL but likely starts off in a more traditional two-down role. He’ll have to work on his transition after the catch as well as the all-important ability to protect his quarterback on passing downs. With that in mind, one team he would fit well with is the Seattle Seahawks (assuming Chris Carson doesn’t re-sign). Javonte Williams would fit that power-run scheme very well, and while he’s learning the intricacies of blitz pickups Deejay Dallas ($903,600) and/or Rashaad Penny ($3,425,367) could play out of the backfield on passing downs. The scheme fits seem near perfect in this instance and is one to watch if Williams is still on the board when the Seahawks pick with the 24th pick in the 2nd round.

Another good landing spot for Williams is the Miami Dolphins. Now whether the Dolphins will draft a RB or not is up in the air, Myles Gaskin ($871,694) played very well as the lead back in 2020 and is a cheap option for the team. Moving on from Gaskin will mean the Dolphins are looking for a top back who can do it all, and Williams could fit that mold for the young team. Landing in Miami would be a big boost for William’s fantasy stock as the team is built to succeed and he would likely see a high volume of opportunities from Day 1.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

The Top 10 Players You Should Trade Away When Rebuilding

By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFLL)

Well now that the 2020 NFL season is finally in the books it’s time for owners to start looking at the future of their roster, instead of the present. My 10-year-old son just finished his first real dynasty experience and the questions he asks me from time to time are quite comical. He was able to make the playoffs in his first year and for the most part his future looks bright, I say for the most part because he drafted Drew Brees in a super flex format and as we all know Brees is likely going to retire. The first question he asked me going into the offseason was why in the world did I draft Drew Brees, or in a more realistic version… Why did you let me draft Drew Brees’ dad? I laughed and told him it’s because you already had L. Jackson, Hill, Kittle, and Metcalf, but even after that he still didn’t fully grasp the why of it all.

I then broke it down in ways he could understand and told him with what your core was projected to do in 2020, Brees was the pick you made in hopes of winning a championship. I bring this little story up because he will be starting Dynasty Owner this season and am sure he will run into a similar situation again, only this time he should fully understand the choice he is making. What’s left for him to try and decide this off season is if he is willing to trade future draft capital to replace Brees with a quality quarterback that has a bright future, does he try to get lucky in free agency in hopes to capitalize on injury or bad player, or does he run the year with just Jackson and play for a higher draft pick (I feel his team is too good for this option).

I have also been trying to explain to him that even though his team looks great right now that making the wrong move this offseason could really hurt his future and even send him into a rebuild. These are the types of situations that make or break most fantasy owner’s seasons and must be handled correctly to stay competitive. My best advice to him or any other owner in this situation is, if you feel you have good enough receivers and backs to not have a 1st round pick for a year or two then make a trade but do not overspend simply because you need a quarterback.

Before we get into the article, I want to touch on one more interesting thing about my son and his team which is how much different he would approach this offseason if he would have drafted a player like Julio Jones instead of Metcalf. If he drafted Julio over Metcalf my advice to him would be to trade everyone listed except for Kittle, and possibly Jackson, though I feel trading Jackson could net the resources to revamp the entire quarterback position. I bring this up because something so small as changing one player with similar production can completely change your way of thinking for the future, meaning everyone’s rebuild is different. That being said if you have read these articles and just don’t feel I’ve hit the topic you need to hear about feel free to contact me on Twitter.

In today’s article I will be breaking down the top 10 players I would trade in a rebuild. This list will go in order with number 1 being who I think will net the most value in a trade while number 10 would bring the least amount of value in a trade. I will also take a deep dive into these players’ 2020 performance’s, salaries, and why a rebuilding owner should trade these players. I will not be listing what I feel each player’s true trade value is, because every owner values players and picks differently. One thing to remember is that these are players rebuilding owners should look to trade, if you are competing for a championship these may be players to help your team. I am sure these are players most wouldn’t even consider trading but in a rebuild you must think differently.

Players to Trade

1. Lamar Jackson- 2 years ($2,367,912), $5,921(DD/PT), 400 fantasy points scored.

I have a feeling most will probably laugh and not take trading Jackson with serious thought. While you may be right there are multiple reasons I have him number 1 on this list. If you were to trade Jackson tomorrow you will receive a massive haul in return and while trading Jackson seems silly it’s much deeper than just, what you’ll get in terms of value for him in return. Jackson had a down year this season, especially in the fantasy world and while he holds massive upside because of his legs they also scare me the most too. Jackson is in line to get a shiny new deal and while that means long term security it also doesn’t ease my future concerns with Jackson.

In 2020 defenses certainly didn’t have an answer for Jackson but they were able to contain him for the most part, especially through the air, and while he is still young the amount of rushing, I feel he’s going to have to handle year in and year out may break his body down quick, fast, and in a hurry…. Just look at Cam Newton. When I break down Lamar Jackson for a team that is rebuilding, I truly think trading him before he signs his new deal is the smart thing to do. The deal Jackson signs should be somewhere near Mahomes territory, and I can only imagine how tough it is going to be to build around a deal like that.

I do not want anyone to take this as me not endorsing Jackson because I would love to have him on any of my teams, I just feel that the risks of Jackson getting injured, taking another step back passing, his new deal that’s coming, and what he can net in a trade that the smart play is to try and move him. If you want to get creative, try to deal Jackson for a Herbert or Burrow plus depending on the owner.

2. Alvin Kamara- 5 years ($15,000,000), $2,539 (DD/PT), 380 fantasy points scored.

You will notice a trend as we move down this list with running backs and 2nd contracts. The most recent memory of Kamara that stands out in owner’s heads is the 6-touchdown performance Kamara put up during championship week and I feel it’s something you should exploit if you own Kamara and are entering a rebuild.

The 2 things I have just mentioned above is exactly why Kamara owners should be looking to deal. The first major red flag is the number of running backs we have seen fail in very recent memory when playing on their 2nd contract. In the NFL running backs generally fall off after their rookie deals and while it’s not always the case it’s not something I don’t like betting against. I am sure many will question this with the fact that Kamara still has some highly productive years ahead of him, and while those people are right, they are only right from certain points of view.

If you have a team that isn’t going to be competitive why keep a talent like Kamara who will more than likely be much more unproductive when your team is ready to win. The 2nd reason is the 6td performance stuck in owner’s head’s which will likely drive up the value. Another reason I would insist on trading Kamara is the fact that Drew Brees is likely going to retire, and the fact Kamara has been somewhat touchdown dependent averaging 14.5 touchdowns per season, something we could see bounce back to reality with a new look offense, especially if that offense stars Taysom Hill.

3. Derrick Henry- 4 year ($12,500,000), $27,922(DD/PT), 368 fantasy points scored.

Yes, the back-to-back rushing champ is 3rd on this list. Derrick Henry has easily been the fiercest, most bruising, abusing, and old school running back we have seen in a long time, and that is exactly why I recommend owners trade him. Running backs like Henry take a ton of abuse and rarely ever leave the field, they’re just too important to be on the sidelines. Which makes him one of my top trade candidates for rebuilding owners.

As mentioned with Kamara Henry is now going into a new contract, which means he has some mileage on his body. In 2020 Henry had a monstrous 2027 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. When you hear Henry’s name you still think of prime Derrick Henry and one of the best backs in the league and is exactly why you should be using that to your advantage to trade him. If there is a running back in the NFL that could buck this trend, we have seen in recent years its Henry but is that a risk you’ll have to be willing to take.

If you have Henry, he will more than likely be a shell of what we know now when it comes time for your team to compete for titles. I also want to touch on the fact that Henry lost his offensive coordinator this off season to the Falcons head coaching job and it’s not something anyone should overlook. Arthur Smith is one of the game’s best up and coming offensive minds and if that causes Tannehill to falter it will affect Henry, and while Tannehill playing bad certainly isn’t the end of Henry it would put a damper on his outlook.

4. Dalvin Cook- 5 year ($12,600,000), $4,502 (DD/PT), 353 fantasy points scored.

Another expensive running back heading into their second deal, another trade candidate. Dalvin Cook was magnificent in 2020 finishing with 1918 total yards and 17 touchdowns. As I mentioned with Henry fantasy owners are very high on Cook and any contending team would be thrilled to have him on their roster so use it to your advantage and make them pay a little extra. Cook has had a somewhat rough injury history missing 2 games in 2020 and it should definitely be taken into consideration here as a rebuilding owner.

The combination of injury history, a 2nd contract, and the salary you will pay him as a rebuilding owner is all I need to hear to put him 4th on this list. You can also use Cook’s deal as a positive outlook to the owner you’re offering him to by preaching security and the fact the Vikings must believe he can stay healthy to pay him what they did. Cool should net a significant haul if traded.

5. Ezekiel Elliot- 5 year ($15,000,000), $67,659 (DD/PT), 222 fantasy points scored.

As much as I hate putting him on this list as a die-hard Ohio State fan, I just have too. If you were a Zeke owner in 2020 you were highly disappointed and probably would have had a tough time trading him if you tried. All of that said Zeke played well until Prescott went down and had a big game late in the year, he also played behind a horrible offensive line compared to what he has grown accustomed to.

When Prescott went down the entire Cowboys offense struggled mightily, and Zeke just never got anything going. I feel trading Zeke now and getting some value and salary relief while you still can is the smart play. Use Prescott coming back as a conversation starter in any Zeke trade. This may be one of the trades mentioned in an earlier article where you trade Zeke and take a bad contract plus your value in return.

6. Tom Brady- 1 year ($25,000,000), $54,981 (DD/PT), 455 fantasy points scored

The amount of crap I talk about Brady he just had to be on this list. Terrific Tom just finished the most unprecedented season we have ever seen. At 43 Brady tossed the pigskin for 4633 yards and 40 touchdowns, in just his first season in Tampa Bay. Brady should only get better next season as he played some of his best ball as the year went on, and that’s exactly what you should be selling to anyone that will buy.

A what should be a top 5-10 quarterback next season for $25 million is what you’re hoping other owners see and, in some cases, you may have to open their eyes a bit because some may only look at 43 years old. Brady could be the perfect quarterback for someone’s championship run which should net solid value. As I’ve mentioned before cheaper quarterbacks in the top 10 don’t grow on trees use that to your advantage in a league where bench points matter.

7. Melvin Gordon- 1 year ($8,000,000), $40,323 (DD/PT), 198 fantasy points scored.

When I sat down to really think about this list, I just kept coming back to Gordon feeling that he should be lower, but then I just kept thinking about how gross the running back position was in 2020 and that thought won. In my personal opinion if I am rebuilding and have a running back that’s starting to age, I’m trading them before the season while memories of owners desperately looking for production at the running back spot are still fresh, Gordon fits right into that category.

Gordon just missed the 1,000-yard mark finishing with 986 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns while sharing carries with Phillip Lindsey, which should bring back good value from contending owners. When trading Gordon try and sell how bad Lindsey was in the 2nd half of the 2020 season before getting hurt and the fact that Lindsay is an inept receiver while Gordon excels catching the ball, all of that combined should lead to a larger Gordon role in 2021. Gordon also finally improved in a category he has typically struggled in at a solid 4.6 yards per carry which can only help in trade talks.

8. Tyler Lockett- 1 year ($10,250,000), $37,879 (DD/PT) 271 fantasy points scored.

Can you find anyone who was more inconsistent than Tyler Lockett in 2020? While that statement has some truth Lockett still posted solid numbers most weeks finishing as the wide receiver 8 in Dynasty Owner in 2020. On the season Lockett broke the 1,000-yard mark and had 10 touchdowns. When trying to trade Lockett, keep the opposite owner focused on the big performances, as well as overall season stats, and try to place the blame of the downs on an inconsistent Seattle offense instead of rough Lockett weeks.

The news of Chris Carson being unlikely to resign with Seattle bodes well for the passing attack and Locket’s outlook. The Seahawks future has dimmed quite a bit in recent weeks with the frustrated Wilson finally voicing his opinion which will certainly hurt the value of Lockett. The best bet in this scenario is to wait out some of the drama with Russ and then trade Lockett.

9. Brandin Cooks- 3 years ($16,200,000), $69,828 (DD/PT), 232 fantasy points scored.

I honestly feel horrible for Cooks, the guy finally seems to have found a home and now the quarterback wants to leave town, thus leaving his future outlook in potential shambles. If Watson was a sure thing to come back, Cooks may not even be on this list, but the reality is Watson does not want anything to do with the Texans.

At 27 years old it is possible to justify keeping a player like Cooks who could have his best days ahead of him, if he has a quarterback. The best bet on trading Cooks would be to find an owner who either doesn’t mind if Watson leaves, or one that doesn’t think Watson will leave town. Cooks finished with solid numbers in 2020 with 1150 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns, despite struggling badly until O’Brien was fired. Cook’s outlook is way too uncertain to not trade him at this point, that is unless you like to gamble.

10. Adam Thielen- 4 years ($16,050,000), $63,189 (DD/PT), 254 fantasy points scored.

Last but not least we have Adam Theilen of the Minnesota Vikings. At 30 years old it may be a little too late to get great trade value in return for Thielen, but you should still be able to get something of value. This will be a trade where you will have to take a bad contract to send Thielen out because of his age and salary other owners will be wary… oh yea and a kid named Jefferson doesn’t help. Thielen was extremely touchdown dependent in 2020 to the point he would have been unstart-able a lot of weeks if it weren’t for his massive touchdown total. Thielen finished the year with 925 yards receiving and a whopping 14 touchdowns in 15 games. When trying to trade Thielen focus solely on his 14 touchdowns and the amount of goal line targets he gets in this offense.

Conclusion

As you can tell there are so many different ways you can rebuild a roster. When rebuilding the best ways to expedite your process are usually the outside of the box ones like trading Lamar Jackson, or Alvin Kamara when no one else expects you too. If you really sit back and think about it, if your roster is weak in several spots why not trade someone who will net you multiple 1st round picks and/or players. I look forward to hearing the differing opinions on these 10 players. As always good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!

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Contract Speculation and Breakdown: Carolina Panthers

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Two teams down and two to go…That’s right, this month is more than halfway over, and we are halfway through the NFC South. Up today we have another team that had a rough season to say the least. The Carolina Panthers finished third in their division at 5-11. I know football is a game that doesn’t rely on a single player. In fact, it is probably the furthest away you can get from a single player sport. That being said, the loss of Christian McCaffrey was clearly an insurmountable problem for the Panthers. CMC played only three games in 2020, and he strung Dynasty Owners along all season. When a player suffers an injury that is season ending it is devastating, no doubt. But I would argue that it’s worse to have a Joe Mixon or CMC type injury where the Owner thinks there is hope of return just to be disappointed in the end. This scenario is true about both Mixon and CMC. They both suffered serious injuries, but there was optimism a return to action was coming. Neither were able to provide any semblance of fantasy production over the second half of the season. In the three games that McCaffrey did play, he averaged 30.1 fantasy points per game. An unreal and seemingly unsustainable production. We look ahead to 2021 where Christian should leave the pain of 2020 behind him.

Contract Speculation

I have noted only two Dynasty Owner rosterable free agents for the Panthers this year. As always, the term “rosterable” is subjective, but I feel these are the only two players worth mentioning from an Owner’s standpoint. The players are Mike Davis and Curtis Samuel. We’ll get to Samuel in a bit, but first I want to talk about a player I was fortunate enough to own last year in both of my DO leagues: Mike Davis

Davis is a 27-year-old running back who has completed six years of service in the NFL. It would be appropriate to consider him a journeyman player as he has played on four different teams in those six years. Davis signed a two-year contract worth $6,000,000 with the Bears in 2019 prior to being released by them in the same year. Carolina claimed Mike off waivers, and he kept his original contract. Well, that contract is expiring, and he looks to continue his career as a backup. It’s hard to imagine that Davis showed enough this season to warrant a lead back opportunity on any team. While he was an effective fantasy asset (he finished the season as RB12) he was also unreliable from week to week as more than half of his games ended in less than 11 fantasy points. Here were the high points from Davis’ season…

  • Massive Opportunity:  Davis ranked 13th in touches for the 2020 season. (224)
  • A Target Hog:  Davis received the fifth most running back targets in 2020. (70)
  • High Touchdown Total:  Davis went for six rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns. He was also a very reliable “goal to go” player as five of his six rushing touchdowns came inside the five-yard line.
  • Sure Hands:  Davis not only ranked sixth in the entire NFL in catch percentage (84.3%), but he also had only a single fumble all season.

Now for the bad…

  • Inefficiency:  Davis constantly underwhelmed in the efficiency category (one that most of you know is my favorite). He rushed 165 times for 642 yards on the season for a mediocre 3.6 yards per carry.
  • No Bonuses:  Despite the extremely healthy workload Davis had all season, he was unable to crack 100 rushing yards in any game. I understand this Dynasty Owner two-point bonus is not the pinnacle of fantasy production, but with a running back of Davis’ caliber, you think he would have accomplished that feat at least once.
  • Lackluster Second Half:  Davis had inconsistent games throughout 2020, but they also seem to be back loaded towards the end of the season. Here are his final nine games played in 2020:  (8.6 – 8.7 – 8.7 – 8.4 – 15.9 – 10.9 – 26.3 – 8.1 – 8.8)  The number of eight-point fantasy games are mind boggling, but even more concerning is the idea that maybe he isn’t used to a full workload for an entire season. I’m not claiming that to be the case, but you better be sure that prospective teams are considering that.

So, what does all this mean? This means that Davis will make a team in 2021. He will be rostered. The extent to which he plays is anyone’s guess. I tend to believe past history doesn’t lie, and it will dictate his 2021 season. He should find his way to a team in need of running back depth and possibly a change of pace/goal line back. This is certainly a valuable player to have if you are an NFL franchise. The problem is that his real-world value is most likely not going to translate over to fantasy value. I predict he’ll sign a contract similar to 2 years for 8 million dollars. This will put him right at $4,000,000 per year and worth rostering in Dynasty Owner in case his lead back goes down with an injury. Continue to roster Davis confidently until we see where he signs.

Up next we have one of my favorite free agents of this offseason and a contract that I can’t wait to see unfold. The player is Curtis Samuel. Before I get into the specifics of Samuel, let me give you a blind player pool to look at. I’ll post a table with five players and their 2020 stats. You tell me who you would rather have…

ReceptionsTotal YardsTouchdowns2020 FP
Alpha661,2154211.5
Bravo771,0515211.1
Charlie911,0013207.3
Delta728504189.6
Echo978319231.1

Okay, who would you rather own? I know this is kind of an impossible question to ask because you’re likely to just take the player with the most total points last year. Without giving much more away, I’ll give you each player’s Dynasty Dollar per Fantasy Point (DD/FP) for last year as well…

DD/FP
Alpha13,205
Bravo7,643
Charlie4,621
Delta79,641
Echo4,539

It’s safe to assume that most of these players were on cheap contracts given the fact that all but one has a low DD/FP. That is a correct assumption. Everyone except for Delta made under $3,000,000 in 2020. So, do you have guesses as to who any of these players are? You know that one of them is probably Curtis Samuel. Any idea who he may be? Well, here it is…

ReceptionsTotal YardsTouchdowns2020 FP
D.J. Moore661,2154211.5
C. Samuel771,0515211.1
C. Kupp911,0013207.3
J. Landry728504189.6
J. Smith-Schuster978319231.1

Any surprises? I suppose the biggest shock is my main point. Samuel was comparable, if not more productive, than his four coworkers on this list. He was arguably the most reliable and consistent wide receiver for the Panthers in 2020 especially over the back half of the season. Once again, I ask, “what does it mean?”  Well, Curtis is only 24 years old and is set to be an unrestricted free agent. Spotrac has his “Calculated Market Value” at 12.4 million dollars per year. The closest contract we’ve seen that is comparable to Samuel’s upcoming contract is probably Stefon Diggs’ when he signed for $14,400,000 per year for five years. Now, I’m not saying that Samuel is on Diggs’ level production wise, but he will command a similar type contract given the fact that “wide receiver money” has been rising consistently.

Contract Breakdown

For my breakdown today I’m going to keep it simple. I’m not going to overthink it. We’re going to just be talking about the best “fantasy” running back in the league:  Christian McCaffrey. Notice how I didn’t say, “the best running back in the league.”  While I think he is clearly amazingly talented and athletic, I think he is well outside the Top 2 for best true running back. So, let’s get talking…

CMC had a season to forget. As I mentioned in the opening, he only played three games, but he provided 30.1 fantasy points per game during those three. That production is not sustainable, and he would have surely dipped below that average had he played an entire season.

Or would he have?

I wanted to find out for myself, so I took a look at his 2019 season. Wouldn’t you know it, he averaged exactly 30.1375 fantasy points per game. UNREAL! Then I started to think, “what would his actual stats have looked like for 2020 if he would have averaged the same production season long? Here is the 2020 projected season compared to his actual 2019 season…

Rush AttRush YdsRecRec YardsTDsFP
2019 Season2871,3871161,00519482.2
2020 Season3141,1949079432481.6

Hopefully this gives a little more of an explanation. We can see that CMC was less efficient in every way for the 2020 season except for touchdown percentage. Yes, it is a small sample size of three games, but it is still data. He was, proveably, less efficient in 2020 than 2019. He was good. There is no doubt about it, but his unsustainable touchdown rate is what inflated his fantasy points per game last year. So yes, I would argue that unless his efficiency made some major improvements, he was on an unsustainable pace. Now, let’s take a look at his comparison to fellow players before we wrap this article up…

2021 SalaryYearsFantasy PointsDD/FP
CMC$16,015,8754481.6$33,256
A. Kamara$15,000,0005379.9$39,484
E. Elliot$15,000,0005221.7$67,659
D. Cook$12,600,0005352.8$35,714
D. Henry$12,500,0004368.1$33,958

Here are the top five highest paid running back in the NFL for 2021 (minus David Johnson. I didn’t include DJ in this comparison as he finished outside the Top 20 for RBs in 2020, and he would be an extreme outlier.)  We can see that CMC is not only the highest paid back in this group, but he is also (according to DD/FP) the biggest value as well. It’s rare to compare five players of any position and find that the most expensive one holds the most value. This is especially true when talking about a 3-million-dollar difference in contract. At any rate, based on 2019 and 2020 data, CMC is still the back to own of any of these five. Now, you could make a case for any of these other running backs for the long term, but I myself would still take CMC. Let me ask you this question…off the top of your head, who do you think is the youngest of these five players?

It’s not a trick question. The answer is McCaffrey. Not only is he the youngest, but it’s not even close. Kamara, Cook and Elliot were all born in the summer of 1995 and Henry was born in the winter of 1994. CMC was born in the spring of 1996. That may not be surprising to you, but it was for me. CMC is still my choice off all these elite running backs. Once we get started talking about Saquon, Taylor or Sanders, then we may have a better conversation, but of these five, he is the pick.

Thank you for reading and be sure to watch the video that relates to this article. Next week I’ll be wrapping up the NFC South as we will discuss the New Orleans Saints and a handful of contracts. Please follow us on Twitter @Dynasty_Owner and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Prospect Preview: Rashod Bateman

Position: WRWeight: 210
College: MinnesotaAge: 21
Height: 6′ 2″247 Rating: 4 Stars (0.8914)

By Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

In a class full of talent, especially at the wide receiver position, it’s hard for a prospect to truly stand out among the rest. DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy this past year and Ja’Marr Chase was key to one of the most prolific offenses in college history, there’s a spotlight on the top receivers in this class. Rashod Bateman meanwhile is flying under the radar, despite being one of the better receivers in this class. He’s not flashy, but that may be his best asset.

College Production:

Last week I talked about Rondale Moore and how he dominated as a freshman. Bateman showed up his freshman year at Minnesota and established himself as a top receiver with 51 receptions for 704 yards and 6 touchdowns. His sophomore season he set school records with 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns, leading to a selection as the Big 10 Receiver of the Year. He initially opted out of the 2020 season but came back for 5 games and performed well.

Strengths:

  • Route Running
    • Possibly the best route runner of the class, Bateman’s routes are well-varied and constantly catch cornerbacks out of position. His routes all start the same and the cornerbacks’ guess is as good as the fan’s in the stands. His release off the line is nearly unstoppable and he has a variety of moves he uses to get the defender on his heels. Once he gets off the line the separation he creates is nearly instantaneous, allowing him to find the ball quickly and effectively. This should transition very well into the NFL.
  • Magnet Hands
    • Bateman doesn’t drop many passes. If it’s within reach (and he has a good catch radius) he’s usually able to snag the ball. His hands are soft and he does very well to secure the ball across the middle of the field and complete the catch regardless of contact or the traffic around him.
  • Pro-Ready
    • Bateman’s skillset of route-running, technique, and on the field IQ make him one of the most pro-ready players in the entire draft. He’s the most likely to make an immediate impact at the next level and is someone you could feel comfortable about starting Week 1 if needed.

Weaknesses:

  • Average Athleticism
    • Bateman isn’t going to test the speed of the defense very often. He gets compared to Michael Thomas for his tendency to work the short and intermediate areas of the field. Possibly the next “Slant Boy” that doesn’t necessarily mean you should look at his potential in a negative light. Bateman is a volume receiver and I expect any team that drafts him will understand that. In PPR leagues, Bateman could quickly become a top option.
  • Lack of YAC
    • He may catch a lot of balls, but he’s going to need more than most players to reach the same pinnacles of receiving yardage. Though he averaged 20 yards per catch his sophomore season, Bateman profiles as a player who is more likely to keep an average of around 13 yards per catch at the next level. It’s not that he can’t be explosive, it’s just that being a player who does most of his damage on slants and more technical routes, he’s not usually three steps behind the defense or catching a screen with green grass to work with.
  • Not Flashy
    • Being that Bateman won’t shine with his testing numbers and that he doesn’t have a ton of big “SportsCenter Top 10” plays,  he’s being undervalued in comparison to the rest of the top wideouts in the draft class. This may be a weakness for his overall draft stock, but this is something you can take advantage of as he falls to the end of 1st rounds or even into the second. No matter where you pick him up in your rookie draft, I imagine it will be at good value.

Things to Watch:

Many people will be interested in seeing Bateman’s 40-yard dash time at the Minnesota Pro Day. But I don’t expect anything special, and it doesn’t really matter. What we see on film is a receiver who doesn’t win on speed and uses technique and savvy to get open down the field. If he runs a 4.6 nobody should start dropping him down rankings, it doesn’t change a thing. Also in the same vein if he comes out and runs a 4.4, it doesn’t change much for me either, he’s still exactly what we see on tape.

Projected Round/Contract:

Some people will say Bateman is a first round pick, and I could see it happening, but I’m more likely to bet on Bateman slotting in just short of the first round at the top of the second. While it may hurt his stock to be a Day 2 pick, he’s a player like Tee Higgins ($1,974,270) last year who didn’t have the hype of the offseason leading up to the Draft and went under the radar. It doesn’t take away his immense talent and pro-ready skillset. I expect his contract to be similar to Higgins at around 4-years and $8,686,785. This could give Bateman great value in rookie drafts on the Dynasty Owner platform.

Team Fits:

The first team that comes to mind for Bateman is the New York Jets at the 34th overall pick. Whether or not they keep Sam Darnold ($9,794,271) or draft a new quarterback at #2 overall, the offense could use plenty of help. Bateman would fit well with the current group of wide receivers there and would help any quarterback succeed. He’s a pro-ready player for a team that simply just needs more pro players. The Jets don’t have the opportunity to mess around with project players and how they develop, Bateman gives them someone who they can start Day 1, and truly help them rebuild their team.

Another landing spot I quite like is Philadelphia Eagles at 37 overall. If the Eagles pass on one of the top receivers at #6 overall I believe there’s a really good chance that they take one on Day 2. Bateman once again fits right into the offense and would compliment Jalen Reagor ($3,016,063) well. Bateman’s ability to get open quickly and find soft spots in the zone could work wonders for Jalen Hurts development as a passer. Bateman projects well as a safety blanket on any offense.

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Players Who Faded in the Second Half of the 2020 Season

By Steven Van Tassell

After looking at players who improved over the course of the 2020 season in my last article, the logical next article would be to look at players whose performance went down over the course of the 2020 season. The full-season MVP is not always the same player who was the best at mid-season and this season was no different. Just as some players improved their draft stock with their better second half performances, there are other players who hurt their draft stock by performing worse at the end of the 2020 season.

It’s not necessarily a guarantee that a player who has a poor second half of a season is finished from being productive. Aaron Rodgers had a significant decline in performance during the second half of the 2019 season, but turned things around in 2020 and was just named the 2020 NFL MVP. Guess that’s what happens when your team trades up to draft its “QB of the future” in the first round of the NFL draft.

On the other hand, Matt Ryan was better in the first half than the second half of 2019. He played fine in 2020, but didn’t turn it around as much as Rodgers did which was likely a disappointment to his Dynasty Owners.

What’s going to happen to those players who started strong but then faded in the second half of the 2020 season? Are there any players who Dynasty Owners should think twice about drafting as early in 2021 as they did in 2020 based on their performance in the second half of the 2020 NFL season?

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, all statistics cited are from the full 2020 NFL regular season. First half statistics are based on the first eight games played by the player’s team in 2020 and second half statistics are based on the final eight games. For example, Weeks 1-9 would constitute the first half for a player whose team had a bye in Weeks 4-8, while Weeks 1-8 are considered the first half if the player’s team had a bye in Weeks 9-13.

A Tale of Two Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan have many similarities. Both are former first round draft picks and highly paid, veteran QBs who have only played for one team in their entire career. Prior to the 2020 NFL season, Rodgers had won a Super Bowl ring and the MVP twice compared to no Super Bowl rings and just one MVP for Ryan. And as you can see, coming into the 2020 NFL season, their performances declined in the second half of the previous season.

2019 Points per Game Average
NameTeamAgeSalaryFull SeasonFirst HalfSecond Half
Aaron RodgersGB37$33.5 million23.328.118.4
Matt RyanATL35$30 million23.726.721.0

Despite a slightly worse 2019 season, higher salary and being two years older, Rodgers was drafted earlier than Ryan in 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts (ADP 140.8 for Rodgers vs. 156.1 for Ryan). The decision to draft Rodgers instead of Ryan worked out for his Dynasty Owners as Rodgers had a MVP season in 2020 and averaged 9.2 more Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game than Ryan (32.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for Rodgers versus 23.2 for Ryan).

Second Half Faders in 2020

The 2020 NFL season was different in many ways, but many things remained the same. The performance of some players went down as the season went along. Here are five players, one per position (QB, RB, WR, TE and kicker), who saw a decline in their scoring in the second half of the 2020 season. Are any of them in line to be the 2021 version of Aaron Rodgers, or should Dynasty Owners resist the temptation to overlook how they finished the 2020 season? While all of them should be selected in 2021 Dynasty Owner drafts, deciding when to draft them will be a key question.

Russell Wilson (QB – SEA) – In the first half of the 2020 NFL season, all of the people who constantly post #LetRussCook on Twitter were at the height of their power and influence. The Seattle offense scored 274 points in their first eight games (34.25 points per game) and Wilson scored 309.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, an average of 38.7 points per game. Wilson was remarkably consistent as well, scoring under 30.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points only twice. His 27.0 point performance in Week 9 was his worst week of the first half. The following week, the Seahawks faced the Los Angeles Rams and the Rams held Wilson to just 9.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. That set off a second half of the season in which the Seattle offense sputtered and scored just 185 points. Wilson’s fantasy production dropped accordingly, as he only had 163.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (20.4 points per game) in the final eight games of the 2020 season.

In response, Seattle fired Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer after three years citing “philosophical differences” as the reason for his departure (https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/30701471/seattle-seahawks-citing-philosophical-differences-part-offensive-coordinator-brian-schottenheimer). Will this change be the cure to their second half offensive woes? Will Wilson respond to the change like Rodgers did to his likely replacement being drafted after an “off” season? Or is the decline in Wilson’s performance in the second half a sign of problems that could keep him from the heights he reached as the top scorer in the first half of 2020 and in 2019 when he was the #3 QB in Dynasty Owner?

At $35 million per year for the next 3 years, it’s an important question for Dynasty Owners to examine this off-season. Wilson’s 2020 ADP was 70.6 and he was likely the first expensive QB off the board in most Dynasty Owner leagues (Dak Prescott had the second highest ADP of 89.5 for QBs making $25 million or more). Wilson earned that draft position in the first half, but not in the second half. Even with one of the biggest contracts in the league, Wilson will still be cooking for a Dynasty Owner team in 2021.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL) – The tale of two seasons for Ezekiel Elliott really isn’t about halves, but how he did with Dak Prescott as his QB versus how he did with the rest of the Cowboys’ 2020 signal callers. Using half seasons, he declined but not dramatically as he averaged 16.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the first half of 2020 and 12.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the second half. That’s a drop of 3.9 points per game, which is troublesome for a RB, but not a complete breakdown in performance.

However, the difference in his performance with versus without Dak is much more stark. He scored 108.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in five games with Dak (21.7 points per games) compared to 113 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in ten games without Dak (11.3 points per game). The drop in production was 10.4 points per game after the season-ending injury to the Cowboys starting QB.

While Elliott’s performance dropped without Dak, backup RB Tony Pollard improved over the course of the 2020 season. In the 15 games that he and Elliott played together, Pollard averaged 7.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. Pollard averaged 6.0 points per game in five games with both Prescott and Elliott (29.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) versus 7.8 points per game in ten games without Prescott, but with Elliott (78.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points).

At $15 million in salary for 2021, Elliott will be among the top played RBs in Dynasty Owner. His high salary didn’t depress his ADP in 2020 as he was taken generally in the first round (ADP 9.7), but is the decline in production for Elliott combined with Pollard’s improvement over the course of the season, a sign of things to come for Elliott?  Or will the return of Dak Prescott mean a return to his early season 2020 performance? Your answer to that question will determine whether you decide to draft Elliott and his $15 million salary in 2021 or leave him to be selected by another Dynasty Owner team.

Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA) – After seeing the split in Seattle’s offense performance between the two halves of the season, it’s not surprising to see a Seattle player listed here. In fact, both of Seattle’s starting WRs suffered a performance drop during the 2020 season. Both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett saw their Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game decrease from the first to the second half of the season. However, due to Lockett’s much higher salary of $10.25 million (versus $1.15 million for Metcalf), Lockett is the Seattle WR who more Dynasty Owners will be thinking twice about when to draft in 2021.

Lockett was drafted, on average, in the seventh round in 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts (ADP 88.8) after putting up 241.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019. With his salary staying the same for 2021 and his production for the entire 2020 season having gone up (270.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points), it stands to reason that Lockett should be drafted even sooner in 2021.

However, his second half decline in performance may lead some Dynasty Owners to hold off on drafting him. He averaged 20.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game during the first half of the 2020 season (162.7 points in 8 games), but only 13.5 points per game in the second half (107.9 points in 8 games). Which version of Tyler Lockett you believe will be in uniform for the Seahawks this coming season will influence your opinion on his 2021 draft position.

Jonnu Smith (TE – TEN) – Smith is in an interesting position compared with the rest of the players on this list, as he’s the only one who is a free agent for the 2021 season. He is expecting a big increase in salary from the $776,572 he made in 2020 while playing for Tennessee. His payday as well as his eventual 2021 Dynasty Owner draft position will hinge on whether NFL teams and Dynasty Owners believe more in his performance in the first half of the 2020 season versus the second half.

In the first half of the season, Smith averaged 4.6 targets and 11.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game, including five games with double digit fantasy points. He was better in the first quarter of the season as he averaged 17.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in the Titans’ first four games. In the second half, his targets went down slightly to 4.0 per game, while his fantasy production dropped to an average of 7.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game with a high game of just 12.0 points.

For the whole season, Smith was the #15 ranked TE in Dynasty Owner. This was a slight drop from projections as he was drafted as the #11 TE on average (ADP 114.6). With the prospect of a new contract, Dynasty Owners will have to decide if Smith can replicate his early season performance with a new team (and at a new salary) in 2021 and be worth of drafting, or if he’ll be a highly paid TE who will be left to the Free Agent Auction until he can prove himself again.

Wil Lutz (K – NO) – No kicker saw a steeper decline from the first half of the 2020 season to the second half than Wil Lutz. After his first eight games, he had 74.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (9.3 points per game), which ranked him as the #3 kicker, behind only Jason Sanders and Justin Tucker. He only missed one kick in the first half of the season as he connected on 16 out of 17 FG attempts and all 28 of his PAT attempts.

The second half was a different story as he scored only 40.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (5.0 points per game) and missed five kicks (4 FGs and a PAT). His performance cratered in the second half games that the Saints played without QB Drew Brees as he averaged just 2.75 points per game (11.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in four games). However, his second half average was still lower without counting those games (7.25 points per game) than the first half.

Coming into 2021, Dynasty Owners should be wondering whether it’s worth paying Lutz $4.05 million to be their kicker, especially since the signs are there that Brees will retire. In 2020, few made the call not to roster Lutz as he was owned in all but a handful of leagues (95% ownership). The Saints offense wasn’t nearly as good without Brees and that could make Lutz’s second half of the season more representative of what to expect in 2021. If they think so, Dynasty Owners should draft a kicker earlier and find one who might be as productive (or possibly more productive), but cost a lot less salary than Lutz.

Conclusion

Unlike the players who improved over the course of the 2020 season and likely improved their draft position for 2021, the draft prospects vary for these five players who declined over the course of the 2020 season. Some Dynasty Owners may be reluctant to draft them as highly as they were selected in 2020. They may feel like the end of the 2020 season was a signal towards how they will produce in 2021. Others may be willing to “take a chance” in the hopes of landing a stud player ready to rebound later on in their 2021 draft.

What do my fellow Dynasty Owners think about the 2021 draft prospects for these five players? Will Russell Wilson bounce back and start cooking again in 2021 (and will he take Tyler Lockett along for the ride)? Will anyone be drafting Ezekiel Elliott as high in 2021 as he was being drafted last year or have you reassessed after his production dropped in 2020 with the injury to Dak Prescott?

Let’s keep the discussion going on Twitter and YouTube. Send me a tweet (@SteveVT33) or post in the comments section for the video on YouTube and tell your fellow Dynasty Owners your thoughts of these guys for 2021. 

My articles and videos on getting you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team will be out on Fridays throughout the off-season. Keep an eye out for new articles and videos from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owners writers as well. On Mondays, Nate Christian (@NateNFL) will break down rookies in his Prospect Preview. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@dynastyjerk) is back for another year and will do a deep dive into contracts on Wednesdays. Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL) has his articles and videos on how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Thursdays. Read all of their articles, watch and like all of their videos on YouTube (and all of the other available formats, such as Spotify) and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter.

Thanks for reading and hope this article helps you prepare for the 2021 Dynasty Owner season.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Understanding Each Position During a Rebuild

By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)

After a long, crazy, and wild NFL season it has finally come to an end. What’s ironic about all of the change and unprecedented territory the NFL found itself in this season is that despite all of this there happens to be one constant, and that is Tom Brady winning a Super Bowl. I know I have touched on Tom Brady recently but it honestly deserves another look, regardless if you love or hate him. The man, the myth, and the legend himself just won another ring only this time he happened to be 43 years old, oh and on top of that he was able to do it in his teams own stadium, becoming the first to not only play the big game at home but win it as well. Brady and his remarkable career sits at 10 trips to the Super Bowl winning 7 of them which is more than any franchise in NFL history can say. Terrific Tom has done and accomplished more than anyone could ever dream of accomplishing, yet next season is his toughest battle yet, against Father Time or as it may soon be known Father Tom. Over the many years sports have been played one force has ruined more athletes than even injuries could and that force is known as the previously mentioned Father Time. The fact Brady has been able to keep not only his body but his mind fresh enough to compete and beat the young guys is one of the most impressive feats I have ever seen. I have read quite a few biographies on successful athlete’s and I have usually found that an athletes mind tends to hold them up long before their body and heart is ready to pack it in. In a sport based so much on rhythm and timing as football is, one’s mind must be sharp and on time processing the information, if not as we have seen so many times in the past a throw just a second behind the receiver turns into a pick six. Like I said before, you either love or hate Brady but regardless of your feelings for him it’s time to enjoy the greatness we have had the privilege of watching. Brady will go down as the greatest athlete of this era (barring a few more title runs by LeBron) better than Tiger, Manning, LeBron, Jeter, or any of the other greats we have seen the past 20 years (maybe ever) and that’s just something we need to all take in and enjoy while he’s still playing!

Enough of the Brady love story (even though I honestly can’t stand the guy) it’s time to get into the article. This week I’m going to be covering all of the different positions here in Dynasty Owner. I will also be going in depth on how I handle these positions and how I think you all should handle them as well. We will start with what I feel is the most controversial position of all running back, and will finish at the quarterback position. As always if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please reach out to me on Twitter.

Running Back

In Dynasty Owner the toughest position to deal with is the running back spot and is caused by multiple reasons I will list below. The main reason the running back position is so difficult to handle is the longevity of the position. How many times have we seen a NFL running back have 3-5 amazing years and just fade away into nothing, the most notable names I could think of are Arian Foster, Larry Johnson, and Michael Turner. NFL running backs take an absolute beating each and every play from running the ball to pass blocking, contact always seems to find them. The next on the list is the running back by committee approach many NFL teams use these days. A team using multiple running backs doesn’t automatically mean that the team has zero useful fantasy running backs but it does limit the overall ceiling you will get with that player simply because he is limited in the amount of touches he will get over the course of the game, though this could counteract the longevity issue (still undetermined). A running back also tends to fall off after getting a 2nd contract, while there are obviously outliers to this situation it is a trend that has become worrisome. The 2nd contract situation is a huge issue in this format because if you have a back that falls off on a big contract you are now spending money on a player that does not do much of anything to help you win and one of the biggest keys here on Dynasty Owner is having a low cost in terms of point per dollar spent. I have always seen and read that a running back is at his highest value the second he gets drafted, and the deeper I dive into the position the more it becomes true. Target young 1st or 2nd year running backs whose teams drafted them high (Taylor, Helaire, Akers) as they are the most likely to receive a huge share of their teams offense. If you look back at recent history you will only find 2 running backs drafted in the first round that didn’t see 250 touches, being Sony Michele, and C.E.H. with both being limited by injury at some point during their rookie campaign. The overall take here is to fortify the rest of your roster and then trade for, or draft your running backs for the next few years. Yes there are more ways than this to acquire a talented running back just look at Mike Davis and James Robinson, but those types of players are very uncommon and almost never have any sustainability, which is something most owners desperately need at running back. If you remember back to past articles you will recall me pounding the fact that you should acquire running backs last in a rebuild because of these reasons above instead of hoping to acquire the next lottery ticket to win your league.

Tight End

In Dynasty fantasy one word comes to mind when thinking about tight ends and that word is patience. The tight end position has been known to take 3-5 years before they are fully developed and ready to consistently produce, which is one of the main reasons I stress drafting the position earlier than any other. If you target your tight end of the future a year before, or the year of your rebuild you should have a stud by the time you’re ready to compete, if the player pans out of course. In recent NFL history we have seen basically zero tight ends get drafted and have a monster year, for some reason it just takes that position forever to develop. A great rookie season at this position is something near 500 yards receiving and a touchdown or two, which isn’t good enough most years to be on a championship roster. Let’s take a look at Cole Kmet, (4 year $1,894,444) he had 25 catches 243 yards and 2 touchdowns on the entire season something you would be extremely disappointed in if your rookie receiver put up these numbers, yet it was a fantastic rookie season for Kmet. Kmet looks poised to be the next big up and coming star at the tight end position and is exactly the type of tight end any rebuilding owner should target. I want to touch on the other option you can use to handle this position, and that is to target someone like Robert Tonyan (1 year $750,000) to trade for. In the middle of this season you could have got Tonyan somewhat cheap which would have been an excellent way to establish yourself at tight end. Tonyan was in his 3rd NFL season this past year and really started to make a name for himself finishing with 52 catches 586 yards and a whopping 11 Td’s. Tonyan fits exactly what I’m talking about here being in his 3rd season and really starting to take off putting him on pace to be a top tier Tight end around his 5th NFL season as long as this pace continues. The key takeaway here is unless you are willing to trade draft capital for a quality Tight end you must be patient!

Wide Receiver

The wide receiver position happens to be one of the most interesting as well as my favorite position to deal with. There are plenty of reasons I enjoy dealing with this position with none being more relevant than the fact there are so many solid receivers to choose from each season. Receiver is nothing like the other positions because most plays there are 3-4 of them on the field making the chances of them producing higher. Wide receivers tend to have a slow rookie season and really start taking off in their sophomore campaign, but we have seen that change quite a bit in recent memory. The name that comes to mind is the best rookie receiver this past season Justin Jefferson. If you are able to land a solid rookie receiver like Jefferson you may set yourself up at the position for many years due to the longevity of the position unlike the running back position where they are constantly churning out year in and year out. If you have had someone like Hopkins, Adams, or Julio on your team for years you have been able to enjoy the luxury of playing them and only worrying on their bye weeks or when they have injuries. When you break it down this way and really dig into it I’d say it’s safe to target this position just before you handle the running back position (after Tight end and Quarterback). Let’s look at the ways you can go about acquiring this position cheap. The best way to acquire a young stud receiver is to draft them with your own capital and if you hit you will have a spot filled on your roster for many years to come. The other cheap way is to find them in free agency, while you may not find rookies that will be on your roster forever you can find quality talent in free agency. Looking back at this past season you were able to get players like Cooks, Marvin Jones, Anderson, and Agholor at some point in most leagues. All of these options have potential to be solid options again next season and you were able to get them for a few Dynasty Dollars. As you can see this is a position worth spending major assets to acquire if needed but you can also take the cheap route and still succeed.

Quarterback

Ahh the Quarterback, also known as the field general, or the most important position in sports which also happens to be what I feel is the most important position in Dynasty Owner. At quarterback you really only have 2 options, the first being spend big on a veteran who has a massive deal and figure the cap out from there, or play the draft and always try to have at least one Quarterback on a rookie deal saving you a ton of cap space. Let’s talk about the second option first because it’s the much more risky option. In the NFL there is nothing close to a sure thing when it comes to rookies at Quarterback as we all have seen each and every year. If you are going to go the rookie deal route at Quarterback you must be sure to do your homework and even then there is a huge risk involved in the strategy. The upside of this strategy is massive simply because you are spending roughly $25,000,000 less in cap space for very similar production, but as I said you must hit on your draft picks. The easier but much more expensive route is to target a veteran Quarterback’s and I don’t mean expensive as in trading for them. Most NFL Quarterbacks have a salary near $30,000,000 on average so if you plan to go this route you must figure out how to make the cap work. The most manageable way I’ve seen to handle the position is to own one playing on a big contract and another still on his rookie deal as it is near impossible to pay 2 vets and field a competitive roster at the same time. Last but not least let’s get into how to handle this position when rebuilding. In a perfect world I would target my Quarterback directly after handling my tight end position giving me plenty of time to see if said player is the answer before targeting my Receivers and Running backs. The only 2 reasonable ways I see to acquire a good fantasy Quarterback is to either draft one, or find one in free agency. The key word in the last sentence being reasonable because while yes you can trade for a Quarterback imagine what it would cost to acquire Justin Herbert right now. As we discussed with the Receivers there were also plenty of quality fantasy Quarterbacks available from Carr, Tannehill, Goff, Wentz, and Cousins were all available on free agency in most leagues. All of that said Quarterback is where I recommend you put the most effort into finding a long term solution over any other position. Quarterbacks almost always score the most fantasy points on their teams. If you are able to find a consistent top 5 Quarterback for several years you should be able to be competitive with just a few trades.

Kicker/Conclusion

I don’t want to spend a bunch of time making you read about Kickers so I will just touch on them briefly. Kickers are pretty easy to acquire and the only real advice I will give on them is to just look for Kickers on cheap deals, unless it’s someone like Justin Tucker of course. The less money you tie up in the Kicker position the more cap space you have to spend everywhere else. Kickers also don’t usually produce much more than a few points each week so unless they are absolutely elite spending big doesn’t make much sense. The only other recommendation I have for the position is to keep 3 rostered at all times ensuring you never take a 0 on a bye week.

The time is almost here to decide who you will keep and cut, March 18th to be exact. Make sure you have thought all of your tough decisions over, and remember the salary cap will increase to $123 million next season giving owners a little more spending freedom. As always if you run into tough decisions you need help with them or want to discuss feel free to contact any of our writing team and we will do our best to help. Thank you for reading and until the next time good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!