Contract Speculation and Breakdown: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By: Matt TheJerk (@dynastyjerk)

Super Bowl LV is official; it is in the books. Given that this was the biggest game of the entire NFL season, I’m going to give a few observations that I made.

How unbelievable is it that the Chiefs didn’t score a single touchdown? A team that averaged 3.5 touchdowns per game in the regular season was unable to tally one on the biggest stage. What about the fact that Leonard Fournette led the game in touches (20)? Or how about the resurrection of Gronk as he put up six receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Whoever you wanted to win the game; you have to admit that very few predicted a Bucs blowout.

Here is the final point I want to make. Tom Brady was obviously in this game, and over the years, he has become a top target for non-Patriot or Bucs fans to root against. Now, I know that not every fan roots against him, but it is more common that an unbiased fan likes seeing Brady lose instead of winning. Here is what I have to say about that. I’ll use a quote from an unlikely source…

“Everybody loves the underdog, and then they take an underdog and make him a hero, and they hate him. But as long as they can knock you back down, it seems like you’re an underdog again…”
Fred Durst

Yes, this quote initially had nothing to do with football, but I think it applies perfectly to Brady. Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. He was picked 199 overall by the New England Patriots. He was a modest prospect who performed poorly at the combine. Most of us know what happened after this. He’s won seven Super Bowls, five Super Bowl MVPs, and three MVP awards. Now, based on where he was drafted, wouldn’t you think he would be a perfect “All American Underdog Story?” I would consider it for sure. So the question is…why so much hate for this man? The answer is very nuanced, and it spans over two decades. I’m also not sure I have an excellent concise solution for you. I suppose the hate comes from a combination of his cheating allegations, on-field whining, and just the overall “chip on his shoulder” attitude he’s had his entire NFL career. But I think Fred Durst was on to something with his quote.

We like underdogs in the country. Nay, we love them. A considerable percentage of NCAA fans rooted for 11 seed George Mason in the 2006 NCAA tournament. I sure did. George Mason beat a 6, 3, 7, and 1 source on their way to the Final Four. They eventually lost to the eventual champion, No. 3 seed Florida University. The overwhelming majority of unbiased fans did root for the underdog. I’m not going to list every underdog story to happen in sports, but the question remains: what makes Brady different? Why is there so much hate for the most successful quarterback in NFL history, especially after he had a humble beginning to his career?

I’m guilty as well. I rooted against Brady in 2002 as he was playing my St. Louis Rams, but besides that, I’ve rooted against him mainly because I didn’t want to see the winning streak continue. I knew where he came from. I knew the chip he had on his shoulder. I learned how remarkable his ascent to the GOAT was, but it didn’t matter. I wanted to see him lose because he’d won enough. I feel like a lot of people had the same mentality. As I hinted in my previous article, I was rooting for Brady to win another one last Sunday. Nothing against the Chiefs, but I finally reached the point in my fandom that I said, “if he’s going to be the best, let’s see him do it so that he leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind.” You can love him if you want. You can hate him if you wish. You can be indifferent. None of these positions changes the fact that he is the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

Alright, it time to digress a bit after that long-winded rant. Today we are going to talk about some Bucs’ free agents.

Contract Speculation

The Bucs have a somewhat lengthy list of Dynasty Owner roster able free agents. There are five in all. They are:

  • Rob Gronkowski
  • Leonard Fournette
  • Antonio Brown
  • LeSean McCoy
  • Chris Godwin

All five of these players are big names and will end up on a roster in 2021. Today we are going to be talking about the three non-running backs. First up is Gronk…

Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement for the 2020 season to join up with longtime teammate Tom Brady. More accurately, he and a seventh-round pick were traded to the Bucs for a New England 2020 fourth-round pick. Because he was traded, Gronk retained his original contract worth $9,000,000 per year for one more year. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this year and looks to resign with the Bucs if he doesn’t retire. In my opinion, those are the only two options Gronk would consider. I highly doubt he would be willing to move onto another team (especially without Brady), but given how his season ended this year, he may be ready to sign a single year deal with Tampa Bay. I see Rob making right around what he is making this year. Anything in the 8-10 million dollar range will probably be his going value. There is another scenario where he would purposely take less contracted money and add bonuses and incentives to make him whole. After all, if he doesn’t get the money he is seeking, he can retire again. Expect him back for the Bucs in 2021.

Next up are a pair of wide receivers. Obviously the Bucs are bound by their cap situation, as is every team, but I think Brady plays a significant role in bringing back (if either of them). Of course, I am talking about Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin. The Bucs signed AB in October 2020 to a single year contract worth $1,666,667. This was a steal of a deal for Brown’s talent level, but it was also a place for him to show his commitment to seriously playing in the NFL again. In eight games in 2020, he posted 45 receptions, 483 yards, and four touchdowns. This was good for 117.2 fantasy points. Let’s expand those stats out for an entire season and see who he would compare to…

2020 Salary2020 FPs (16 Game Pace)
J. Smith-Schuster$1,048,945231.1
An. Brown$1,666,667234.2
A. Cooper$20,000,000236.8
R. Woods$6,800,000243
B. Cooks$16,200,000265.1
K. Allen$11,250,000277

If we look at an entire 16 game season based on average fantasy points per game, all of these players are in the same ballpark. This isn’t to say that AB will immediately get a Cooper type contract, but he will no doubt command more money than last season. We also need to talk about his teammate, Chris Godwin. Godwin is set for a large contract given his elite route running, above-average hands, and his ability to pick up yards after the catch. Quick, name the top three wide receivers in catch percentage in 2020. To qualify, they have to have over 80 targets. Are you able to name all three of them? Here they are:

TargetsCatch Percentage
Curtis Samuel9779.4
Chris Godwin8477.4
Davante Adams14977.2

There are your top three for the 2020 NFL season. It is much more impressive what Davante did as he has 65 more targets than Godwin, but the point still stands…Godwin is an amazingly reliable receiver and would be a welcomed addition to any franchise. Unfortunately, something is going to have to give. As Tim, Steve, and I speculated about last year, I expect Godwin to make north of 16 million per year, and it could easily be north of 20 million per year. Given their cap situation for 2021, I don’t see how Tampa Bay could re-sign both AB and Godwin, but I think they will do everything they can to try. My gut is that Brown will be resigned as he will be on a lighter deal than Godwin. Godwin will likely be franchise tagged as Tampa Bay looks to “run it back” next season. No matter where Godwin falls if you own him in Dynasty Owner, you need to be making plans to free up your cap room now.

Contract Breakdown

With all the star power the Bucs have going into free agency this offseason, it’s challenging to find a worthy player to break down that isn’t set to be a free agent. So, I’m going to cheat a little bit. Let’s talk about Uncle Lenny and have our first combined speculation and breakdown of the season. The Buccaneers signed Leonard Fournette to a single year contract worth $2,000,000. This signing occurred after he was released by the Jaguars earlier in the 2020 preseason. Following his release from the Jags, Fournette’s dynasty outlook was up in the air as much as any player could be. We had an aging running back with an injury history who had just been released from a team that seemed like it couldn’t afford to lose running back depth. Well, Tampa Bay and Bruce Arians resurrected Lenny’s career and made him a serviceable backup to Ronald Jones. Fournette finished the 2020 season as the RB36 while missing four games. He finished with 97 rushes for 367 yards and six touchdowns. More impressively, he added 36 receptions for 233 yards. Like what we looked at for Antonio Brown, let’s see when Fournette would fall amongst his peers if he had played a full season…

RushRush YdsTDsRecRecYardsFantasy Points
L. Fournette129489848310178.7
C. Edmonds97448553403176.8
T. Gurley208723927175178.3
???85365380589188.4

Once again, this is looking at all four of these players’ seasons had they played all 16 games and stayed on their season average for all their stats. What we notice right away is that Fournette’s production falls directly in line with Gurley and Edmonds, which would have put him well for right around RB25.

But who is this mystery running back? Does anyone have any guesses? This player was second in running back receptions and LEAD all running backs in targets. ** I’ll reveal the answer at the end of the article. Regardless, this mystery player finished at RB19 and is right on pace where Fournette’s 16 game pace would have landed him. So, what have we learned? We know that Lenny was productive enough to earn himself a 2021 contract, but where will it be, and how much will it be worth? The latter is more comfortable to answer. Spotrac currently has Fournette’s “Calculated Market Value” at four years and a little over 32 million dollars. This would put him right around 8.1 million dollars per year. At this moment, I don’t see the Bucs resigning Fournette. This is for a couple of reasons. First, we already discussed how he deserves his market value, and it is probably going to be too much for Tampa Bay to want to take on. Second is the fact that they still have an above-average running back in Ronald Jones for another year. Third is the fact that the Bucs have Ke’Shawn Vaughn on a rookie deal for three more years and the potential to re-sign LeSean McCoy to a contract a third the size that Fournette would want. It sounds disgusting to say it out loud, but I believe Vaughn and McCoy could combine for Fournette’s production if he is no longer in Tampa Bay. This is combined with the idea that Ronald Jones will become more of a workhorse and goal-line back in 2021. Again, some of this is speculation, but that’s what I’m here for. I’m here to get Owners ready for free agency because it will hit fast when it gets here.

Thank you for reading and be sure to watch the video that relates to this article. Next week I’ll be writing about the Carolina Panthers and one of my most anticipated free agents. Please follow us on Twitter @DynastyOwner and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care and be safe.

**J.D. McKissic in the mystery running back. Unreal…

TheJerk

Prospect Preview: Rondale Moore

Position: WRWeight: 180
College: PurdueAge: 20
Height: 5′ 9″247 Rating: 4 Stars (0.9123)

The Rundown:

Jaylen Waddle has some serious competition for the title of “Biggest Playmaker” in the 2021 NFL Draft. Rondale Moore has been lighting up college defenses since he was a true freshman and outside of an injury and a weird CO-VID season has continued to produce at a high level throughout his college career. There’s not many players who are scarier than Moore when they touch the ball, he can go from being surrounded behind the line of scrimmage to 10 yards beyond the defense on his way to the end zone.

College Production:

Moore has an incredible Breakout Age of 18.2, which puts him in the 99th percentile for that statistic. His incredible stat-line of 114 receptions, 1,258 receiving yards, and 14 total touchdowns as an 18 year old is historical. In the Big 10, against Ohio State his first year, he broke out for 12 receptions for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns leading Purdue to an incredible upset. By the end of his season, Moore had won the Paul Hornung Award and been selected as an All-American. After 4 games in 2019, Moore suffered a knee-injury and missed the rest of the season. During the 2020 season Moore had some behind the scenes issues with whether or not to play in the once-cancelled Big 10 season and ended up coming back for 3 games where he amassed 35 receptions for 270 yards before officially opting-out to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Strengths:

  • Off the Charts Athleticism
    • Thanks to the emphasis and depth on college recruiting we have verified testing results for Moore going back to high school, and it’s impressive. Moore has a verified 4.33 40 yard dash, a 4.01 shuttle, and a 42.7 vertical jump. These numbers are a bit ridiculous and if he can hit those same numbers at his pro day, teams will be salivating over Moore’s quick twitch abilities.
  • Versatility
    • Moore offers what a lot of coaches appreciate, a role on Special Teams. It’s usually overlooked by the casual fan, or even the dynasty fantasy football player, but having an impact on special teams gets you on the field quicker and gives you more opportunities to touch the ball and make an impact. Moore instantly will give just about any team an upgrade at kick returner and can be used all over the offense,. He’s a dream come true or a creative offensive coordinator, and I expect whichever team that drafts him will plan to get the best out of his skillset.
  • Historical Production
    • The true freshman production is something we don’t see often, especially sustained over the entirety of a football season. In a top conference, Moore was able to make an impact right away and now the question is if he’ll be able to walk into the NFL and make an impact right away. The history and statistics point to him being successful.

Weaknesses:

  • Size Concerns
    • At 5’ 9” and 180 pounds, Moore most likely isn’t going to be your alpha high-volume receiver. He’s got good size to him, he’s not tiny, but the NFL is a physical league and you always have to wonder if the smaller guys will be able to line up week-in and week-out against the most physical of players. Moore plays bigger than his listed weight, but the size will certainly knock him down a couple slots on some teams’ Big Boards.
  • Gadget-y?
    • It’s almost like a backhanded compliment to get compared to Tavon Austin. Yes he was one of the most exciting players to ever play in college football, but he essentially “busted” in the NFL. You can certainly argue that landing spot and the type of football being played when Austin was drafted didn’t help his cause, but these players sometimes become a bit gadgety and don’t fit into a traditional offense. Now going into 2021, the NFL plays a much different game than in 2013 when Austin was drafted. Teams are quicker, passing more often, and overall much more creative. Players like Tyreek Hill have opened up the door for the smaller more athletic players to have a significant role at the professional level of football.

Things to Watch:

With no NFL Combine this year we’re going to miss out on the official numbers that Moore would have put up, but I’m sure his pro days numbers will blow us away. His testing is going to look great and I expect him to look good in the Pro Day drills, and he should look good considering he opted-out and has been preparing for the draft. His film looks great and his numbers show that as well, making him a top receiver for most draft analysts.

Projected Round/Contract:

Before the season I would have said that Rondale Moore was a lock to go in the first round, but due to his limited season and the fact that some other players have burst onto the scene (DeVonta Smith), I think there’s a chance Moore finds himself selected on Day 2 of the draft. Whether it’s at the end of the first round or beginning of the second round, Moore is going to be drafted as a top wideout and playmaker, with ample opportunity. I think his contract might look similar to Tee Higgins’ ($1,974,270) contract which was for 4-years and a total of $8,686,785.

Team Fits:

One of the most exciting fits for Rondale Moore would be with the New Orleans Saints at the end of the first round. For a team that has one of the best wideouts in the league, they’re lacking in depth at the position. Sean Peyton would be an incredible coach for Moore, as he would find a multitude of ways to get Moore the ball with space in front of him, taking advantage of his greatest ability, creating yards after the catch. Moore would be a nice compliment to the traditional style of Michael Thomas ($18,800,000) and would be a nice weapon for whatever quarterback is starting for the team in 2021.

Another team that stands out to me for a possible marriage, is the Detroit Lions in the second round. With the recent trade the Lions are setting up for a rebuild, but Jared Goff ($27,825,000) gives them the opportunity to make a run if things come together quickly. With the Lions’ wideouts all but gone away to free agency, they need some new recruits. Moore would be a great fit to catch passes from Goff as he does most of his work on short quick passes and that fits the style the Lions are likely to now run. While I’m not sure that Moore will be able to take on the volume of a true WR1 right away, this fit would make a lot of sense for a team that is looking to acquire top talent for a value.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Second Half Breakout Players to Watch in 2021

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

When drafting players in any dynasty start-up league, checking out past performance from the previous season or seasons is one important way to gauge future success. Lamar Jackson was the top scorer in Dynasty Owner in 2019 and that combined with his age and salary led him to have the lowest ADP of any player in 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts. Following Jackson in Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 was Christian McCaffrey, who ended up having the second lowest ADP in 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts.

It’s not always that way. Sometimes a player will improve over the course of the season and improve his draft stock the following year. Kenyan Drake was the Value Player of the Week for both weeks of the 2019 Dynasty Owner playoffs. This likely catapulted his draft position even higher than it would have been without those games. It’s not an exact science as other factors, such as being traded from Miami to Arizona and the injury to and subsequent trade of David Johnson also likely contributed to Drake’s improved draft position in 2020. However, his strong push at the end of 2019 likely helped him significantly.

Based on their performance in the second half of the 2020 NFL season, are there any players that Dynasty Owners should be targeting higher in 2021 start-up drafts than they would be based on their season-long performance? Will there be a 2021 version of Kenyan Drake? Which player who improved over the course of the 2020 season will end up being drafted earlier than another player with similar season-long stats?

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.

Guys Who Broke Out at the End of 2019

Kenyan Drake had himself quite the performance at the end of the 2019 NFL season. He had 41.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 15 and followed that up with 35.4 points in Week 16 before cooling off slightly in Week 17 and scoring “only” 17.3 points. His season-long scoring average was a respectable 15.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game, which more than doubled to 31.4 points per game in the final three weeks. His performance at the end of the season was likely one of several reasons he ended up with an ADP of 30.4 during 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts.

For other players, it’s a bit more clear that the hype they gathered with their performance at the end of the 2019 season helped make them more desirable to Dynasty Owners who were drafting for the 2020 season. A good example of this can be found by looking at a trio of young, low-paid WRs who had similar 2019 performances, but different 2020 draft outcomes.

        2019 Points per Game Average
Name Team Salary ADP Full Season First Half Second Half
Steven Sims WAS $590,000 187.6 8.0 4.3 12.0
Russell Gage ATL $654,049 192.8 7.0 3.0 10.0
Zach Pascal IND $660,000 241.4 10.1 13.8 7.4

Steven Sims and Russell Gage both had lower ADPs than Zach Pascal despite scoring fewer points per game over the course of the entire season. Sims’s slightly lower salary of $590,000 combined with his higher average Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game of 8.0 might be the reason for his slight edge over Russell Gage ($654,049 salary and 7.0 average points per game), but based on 2020 performance, neither one should be getting drafted around 50 draft slots ahead of Zach Pascal. Dynasty Owners needed to grab Sims or Gage in the 15th or 16th rounds to secure their services for the 2020 season, but could wait until the 20th round to take Pascal. The heightened performances by Sims (20.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points average in the final three weeks) and Gage (10.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the final nine games after the Falcons traded away Mohamed Sanu) at the end of the season probably caused fantasy analysts and Dynasty Owners alike to move both of them up their draft boards.

Second Half Stars in 2020

It’s too early to predict 2021 draft order since the 2020 season just ended and few off-season moves have been made. However, we can examine some players who could be the 2021 versions of Sims and Gage. The following five players, one per position (QB, RB, WR, TE and yes, even kicker), likely improved their Dynasty Owner draft stock for 2021 by improving their play in the second half of the 2020 season. As a result, Dynasty Owners will need to draft them earlier in 2021 than they did in 2020 (or in one case, draft them, period).

Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN): His $33 million contract is probably still far too high for most Dynasty Owners. However, he was better in 2020 than 2019 and it all came in the second half of the season. Cousins averaged 30.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game (242.4 points in 8 games) in the second half of the 2020 season. He was consistently good as well with only one game of under 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the second half. This is compared with his first half average of 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game (160.0 points in 8 games), in which he failed to reach 20.0 points in half of the games.

First half Kirk Cousins was similar to 2019 Kirk Cousins in terms of fantasy production (20.0 points per game in 2020 vs. 21.4 points per game in 2019).  After his performance in 2019 that ranked him as the #15 QB in Dynasty Owner, it wasn’t a surprise that he and his $33 million salary went undrafted in 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts. However, a few Dynasty Owners picked him up near the end of the season as his play improved and now he’s owned in 3% of leagues.

For the entire season, Cousins was the #10 QB in terms of Dynasty Owner fantasy points (406.3), but #5 in terms of salary. His salary will stay the same in 2021, but a few other QBs (Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson plus likely Dak Prescott) will make more money than him. This combined with his improved second half means that more Cousins will be owned by more Dynasty Owners in 2021 than he is now.

There is also speculation that Cousins may be on the move to San Francisco or elsewhere, which could improve his fantasy outlook even more. That might help increase the number of Dynasty Owners who draft Cousins in 2021. Even if he stays in Minnesota, his second half improvement gives hope that some people will draft him in Dynasty Owner in 2021. 

David Montgomery (RB – CHI): After being drafted in the late fourth or early fifth round on average (ADP 44.2) in 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts, David Montgomery is poised to be drafted even higher in 2021 based on his improved play in the second half of the 2020 season. Montgomery was the #20 RB taken, on average, after a 2019 season in which he averaged 10.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (172.4 points in 16 games).  He finished the 2020 Dynasty Owner regular season a little better than his draft ranking as the #10 overall RB in total points (163.8) and #14 in points per game (14.9). However, he really turned it on in the Dynasty Owner playoffs with 77.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (25.9 points per game).

For the entire second half of the NFL 2020 season, Montgomery averaged 23.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game, an increase from his 13.2 points per game average in the first half. He finished with six consecutive games of over 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points after returning from injury to help lead the Bears into the NFL playoffs.

Of course, the Bears were without the services of RB Tarik Cohen for the most of the 2020 season and the entire second half. Some people might say Montgomery is unlikely to duplicate his success at the end of the 2020 purely due to Cohen’s presence on the roster in 2021. At the same time, Cohen might be included in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz. If that happens, Montgomery may be in a similar situation in 2021 as he was for most of 2020.

Regardless of Cohen’s status, with just one year remaining on his rookie deal that pays him only slightly over $1 million, Montgomery is one of the few top RBs making that little in salary. Only one RB in 2020 (James Robinson) who isn’t getting a big raise in 2021 had a better cost per point than the $3,720 put up by Montgomery. He also raised his yards per carry from 3.7 in 2019 to 4.3 for all of 2020 and 4.8 in the second half. All of this points to Montgomery being drafted higher in 2021 than 2020.

Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN): Jefferson was the top scoring rookie WR by more than 50.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points over his nearest competitor (273.2 points for Jefferson versus 221.4 for CeeDee Lamb). That’s better than anticipated in 2020 as he was the 4th rookie WR off of Dynasty Owner draft boards, behind Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Jalen Reagor. Jefferson finished ahead of all of them and was the #7 ranked WR.

Jefferson had a slow start to the season and scored only 12.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in his first two games combined. He exploded in Week 3 with 30.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and followed that up with 39.6 points in Week 6. After the Vikings’ Week 7 bye, it was back down to scoring in the single digits with two performances of under 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (5.6 points in Week 8 and 9.4 points in Week 9). For the first half, he averaged 14.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game, but was wildly inconsistent as in five out of his eight games, he failed to score in double digits.

That changed in the second half as his points per game average increased to 19.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game (an increase of 5.0 points per game). Not only that, but he was more consistent on a weekly basis. He reached double digits in seven of the eight games in the second half of the season and just missed it in the eighth game with 9.9 points.

After being drafted in the sixth or seventh round, on average, in 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts, Jefferson will go much higher in 2021. He’ll still be on his rookie contract of $3.28 million and should slot just behind two WRs (D.K. Metcalf and Calvin Ridley) in 2021 drafts since both of them make even less in salary and had more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2020.

Logan Thomas (TE – WAS): After starting off the 2020 Dynasty Owner undrafted, Thomas put together 10 games with double-digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points to finish as the #4 TE for the entire season. Only Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and T.J. Hockenson had more Dynasty Owner fantasy points over the entire NFL season. He finished the Dynasty Owner regular season as the #7 TE (117.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, 9.8 points per game), but moved up with 59.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Weeks 14-17 of the NFL season (14.9 points per game).

Over the entire second half of the season, Thomas averaged 13.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game and scored double-digit points in seven out of eight games, including the final six games of the NFL regular season. That was an increase of 5.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game from his first half average of 8.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.

At his 2021 salary of just slightly over $3 million, he’s the 25th highest paid TE in the NFL right now, but cheaper than all three TEs who finished ahead of him in Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2020. He’s more expensive than another TE who played better at the end of the season in Irv Smith Jr., but he’s also likely to get you more Dynasty Owner fantasy points than Smith in 2021 as well. With better QB play for the Football Team in 2021, Thomas should once again be solid producer for your Dynasty Owner team, but someone who may need to be drafted earlier than warranted after how he finished the 2020 season.

Tyler Bass (K – BUF): Nobody attempted more kicks during the 2020 NFL season than Buffalo rookie kicker Tyler Bass who had 93 attempts (34 FG attempts and 59 PAT attempts). With 53 of those attempts coming in the second half of the season, it’s no surprise that he got better as the season moved along.

Bass started off very slow and after six games had only scored 25 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (4.2 points per game). By that point, he had missed 2 FGs of 39 yards or less plus a 50+ yarder, along with a PAT. However, things changed in Week 7 against the Jets as he was called upon to kick eight FGs and made six of them (29, 37, 40, 46, 48 and 53 yard FGs) to score 16.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Even with that game, he only finished the first half as the #26 kicker with a total of just 46.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (5.8 points per game).

In the second half, Bass was on fire, making 15 out of 16 FG attempts and 36 out of 37 PAT attempts. That was good for a total of 78.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (9.8 points per game). He had more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the second half scoring than two kickers making over $3 million per year in salary (Dan Bailey and Jake Elliott) scored in the entire season.

As the kicker for the powerful Buffalo offense and a very Dynasty Owner salary cap friendly price tag of just $704,804 through the 2023 season, Bass is likely to be one of the first kickers off the board in your 2021 Dynasty Owner draft and maybe even the first one. Let the other Dynasty Owners in your league scoff at drafting a kicker early and grab Bass before anyone else. Then sit back and watch the rest of your league scramble in the last few rounds for kickers who make a lot more and will score a lot fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points.

Conclusion

These five players were not the only players to improve their 2021 draft stock with their performances at the end of the 2020 NFL season. Surely some of my fellow Dynasty Owners can think of others who stepped up their game at the end of 2020, but who are missing from this list.

Let’s keep the discussion going on Twitter and YouTube. Do you agree with that these players are likely to be drafted earlier than their full season scoring would indicate based on their end of the season performances? Send me a tweet (@SteveVT33) or post in the comments section for the video on YouTube and tell your fellow Dynasty Owners who you think increased their draft Dynasty Owner draft position based on their 2020 second half performance.  

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! Hope everyone enjoyed the Super Bowl and is excited to get started on preparing for the 2021 Dynasty Owner season.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

The Things Most Owners Overlook When Rebuilding

By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)

In this article I want to touch on the 4 main things I feel owners will tend to overlook when rebuilding. When we as owners start a rebuild, we usually have a core plan set in place but sometimes it’s the small little details that can speed your rebuild up significantly. Today I’m here to help and make sure you factor these little things into your rebuilding process.

If the trade we just saw the Lions and Rams pull off is any sign on how this NFL offseason will be, then be prepared it should be a lot of fun with plenty of drama. The offseason in the NFL in recent years has become much more intriguing than say a decade ago, when stars just seemed to stay put, nor did they have much of a voice. Now days we are constantly seeing stars switch teams whether that be through demanding a trade, or free agency, just look at the blockbuster of 2 former number 1 overall draft picks mentioned above.

This offseason we could see numerous big-name players switch teams from Aaron Rodgers, JuJu, D. Adams, Conner, and so many more that the NFL could look so much different next season. I am a bit torn on which style NFL I enjoyed more between the old school stay where you are drafted, and the new way where the players have much more control leading to so many more players leaving the team that drafted them for new homes.

The players having more control definitely has its pros and cons with the cons being fairly easy to spot, just look at the Deshaun Watson situation. I mention all of this because it has made a huge impact in the way we handle our fantasy rosters. Just 8-10 years ago you could have drafted Hopkins and just forgot about it, instead fast forward a decade later you draft Hopkins, and he gets traded the very next season making his outlook a bit more unclear, even though its still Hopkins stability tends to put our minds at ease.

Another great example of this is Brandin Cooks who seemed to have finally found a permanent home where he would be able to produce gaudy numbers only for his star quarterback to demand a trade, something that was virtually unheard of a decade ago. All of this means you have to be much more vigilant in formats like Dynasty Owner on what type of players you target and the organization they play for (stay away from Jack Easterbay).

If you were to draft Antonio Brown a few years back you would be regretting it big time right now, but a little digging on what kind of person/teammate he is and that would have gone a long way helping you make the correct decision. Aside from the headache some of this movement can cause us fantasy owners I will say it does make the offseason so much more fun, especially when the league’s new year kicks in.

Different Ways to Prepare for the Rookie Draft

How does one go about preparing for the rookie draft when it feels like your roster needs help everywhere, don’t worry this is a common problem and can usually be handled with relative ease. The first step I will recommend is to realize you’re not going to fill your entire roster with studs in just one draft. The most common mistake I see in a rebuilding owners drafts are them going into the draft blind and taking the best available player with no plan, while this isn’t a horrible move all of the time it can be depending on the layout of your team.

If you are picking #1 overall and you have holes everywhere it doesn’t make much since to draft a running back, or even to just target one player per round during the draft. If there are no generational receivers. Tight ends (wouldn’t recommend drafting that high), or quarterbacks that you have fallen in love with as a permanent building block towards the future then find a way to trade down and acquire more picks in the range of players you need. If you have someone like Herbert paired with 2 top 25 receivers then a running back may be ok for your roster, but I always look to fill that position last when rebuilding.

Every draft there will be opportunities to trade down you just have to find the owners that want to pay to move up. If you have no solid players for the future on your roster having one draft pick in each round isn’t going to help much in the short term, which is where trading down comes into play. Let’s say you are picking first overall and have just one young stud on your roster the best choice you have is to look at the owners picking 3-7 and offer them trades.

The goal here would be to swap the first round picks this season, get the other owners 2nd rounder this season, and their 1st next year. The owners that will typically bite on these types of trades are ones that feel they are ready to compete or were hampered by injuries the season prior resulting in a high draft pick. The other route you could go with this is when no owner’s trade for your draft pick you take the best player on the board and look to trade him for more once he is producing.

While right now the 1st overall pick may net the 3rd pick, a 2nd rounder, and a 2022 1st in a few months when that player is balling out you can potentially ask for an extra 1st rounder or even more depending on who the player is. Another great way to look at it is to look at what Jonathon Taylor, Burrow, Herbert, or Jefferson would fetch in a trade right now vs. what their draft slot would have netted in a trade.

Do You Have Enough Quality Young Depth On Your Roster

Another vital piece of information I feel owners may overlook is how much quality young depth they have on their roster. The key word in the opening sentence is quality and without quality depth in Dynasty Owner your team can unravel fast. I tend to not be a fan of handcuffs in more traditional formats but here in Dynasty Owner I’m starting to believe that handcuffs may be the key to staying competitive for many of years.

If you have someone like Dalvin Cook on your roster it makes much more sense to stash Mattison than to let another owner have him. If you roster both you virtually own the entire Vikings running game for basically the same price you are paying for Cook, because of how cheap Mattison is. If you don’t have Mattison and Cook goes down with a significant injury you are now left trying to trade for another back (which will probably be expensive) instead of just plugging in in Mattison and forgetting about it.

If you can find a way to handcuff your top 3 or 4 players as well as your top quarterback, you should be able to withstand almost any injury while still being competitive and not killing your cap space. The other way to go about making sure you have enough quality talent is to just do some research, just because a player is 22 and on an NFL team doesn’t mean he’s a solid piece on your roster.

If you have a bunch of Malcom Perry’s on your roster instead of players like Eno Benjamin, Jeff Wilson, or Preston William’s (2 years ago) you will always have trouble with depth on your team. The other strategy I want to touch on here is to target backups for injury prone players around the NFL, for instance if you were carrying Chad Hanson, or Coutee deep on your practice squad this past season because of the injury concerns for Fuller you were probably wildly happy come playoff time. These types of moves will almost always go under the radar, but they are a great way to keep your team consistent over the years.

How Much Draft Capital Is Too Much?

One of the great dynasty debates of all time is how much draft capital is too much. I have seen numerous times where owners control almost the entire 1st round of a draft, and while this can work certain years it’s also extremely risky. Drafting 10 players in the 1st 12 picks of a rookie draft can be a great thing but it can also devastate your team if it happens to be a bad draft class, and as we all know nothing in the NFL is a guarantee especially with rookies.

This isn’t a strategy that’s a guaranteed failure, but I can’t imagine it has a great success rate either. If you are one of these owners with 10-20 draft picks in the upcoming draft, I would highly recommend trading around half of them and splitting your picks up between a few drafts. The scenario I see working much more often is targeting 4-7 players for each draft class and target them where they’ll go during the draft, while doing the same in the following seasons.

My personal opinion is that anything over 3 picks per round is probably too much and too risky, though having more picks does increase your chances of hitting on a player it also increases your chances of missing. If you have that many 1st round picks your team was more than likely in rough shape the season before which doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for error if you’re wanting to rebuild on the quicker end of things.

The last part I want to touch on here is how to handle the situation of having too much draft capital. If you happen to run into this problem, I suggest you look at the upcoming draft class and decide which players you think just can’t miss, and where you think they will get drafted. Once you have done this you will have an idea of what draft picks you need to keep and what positions you will have filled after drafting, you then take the picks you think you won’t use and trade them for players that you feel will complement the players you’re going to draft.

A great example would be this past season you fell in love with Taylor, Lamb, and Jefferson and you figured they’d be drafted 3rd, 5th, and 8th. Now that you know who you want and what you expect them to be moving forward you start finding owners who you feel would be willing to trade for some of your excess draft picks. In this scenario I would target a 2nd running back to pair with Taylor and a receiver like Woods who is very consistent to help when your rookies Lamb, and Jefferson have off weeks.

Always Try to Determine a Draft Pick’s Value

While this part of the article may seem fairly obvious it is something that gets overlooked in a couple different ways. Let’s start by talking about the value of your own draft picks when you are trying to deal them. When you have a team that is not going to do well then naturally your draft picks will go up in value because of where it is projected to land.

If you are going to attempt to deal your picks make sure you place said value on each draft pick. Another way to add a little extra value is to throw other owners draft picks (that you control) into your trades instead of your own, simply because you know that pick will be later in the round than yours. I know this seems like common sense but it’s also something that gets overlooked often.

The other scenario here is when you are acquiring draft picks you need to do your best at projecting where that pick could potentially fall, for instance if you are working out a deal with the clear cut number one team in your league then you should be treating their draft pick like it would be a very early 2nd in terms of value. It may not seem like it, but you can leave a potential star on another owner’s roster by valuing a draft pick wrong.

If you are trading with a middle of the road team that you are certain won’t win but is also too good to lose a lot, then you look at their picks as true first rounder’s where the value doesn’t change much at all. To sum all of this up in a short sense just be wary of who you’re trading with and the potential that their roster has on it for the year of the acquired pick.

I know I have said numerous times that if you’re really bad multiple 1st round picks will help much more than just one will, but you still don’t want to let picks go for a undervalue or overpay for them at the same time, meaning if you absolutely have to stay put and trade the player later to get a fair value.  Always remember just because you’re stuck today doesn’t mean something better won’t open up tomorrow.

Conclusion

In Dynasty Owner finding consistent production for cheap will be the key to winning year in and out. In order to be able to maintain a winning roster you must hit on your picks which is the easiest way to get great production for cheap. You also cannot afford to just trade every rookie pick away for veterans because you will run out of money at some point in time making rookie drafts all that more important.

As you can see there is a lot that goes into winning and losing here at Dynasty Owner. If you take anything away from this article its make sure you are looking at where teams will pick and prepare for your rookie draft. That’s all I have for you all today good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Contract Speculation and Breakdown: Atlanta Falcons

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

Good afternoon Owners, and welcome to a new “Speculation and Breakdown” article.

I want to start off by talking about the Stafford/Goff trade that happened on Jan 30th.  Matthew Stafford ($27,000,000) was traded for Jared Goff ($33,500,000), a 2021 third-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick.  Whichever side that you think won that trade, you have to admit that this is a monster deal and one that will hopefully foreshadow the rest of the offseason.  Now, how does this affect us as Dynasty Owners?  If you are a Goff owner, I wouldn’t expect much of a change.  As I mentioned last month, Goff is a perfect amnesty candidate if you were unlucky enough to draft or pick him up last year.  Goff’s recent trade does nothing to make me think anything different, and in fact, it could make his dynasty outlook worse.  Once again I repeat, cut ties with Goff if you still own an Amnesty Provision. 

Stafford may be a little different story however.  He is on a contract that has two less years remaining and $6.5 million less than Goff’s.  Stafford was more productive than Goff in both 2020 and 2019 on a per game basis.  I predict a decent uptick in fantasy production as Stafford moves to a better offence and one that will win more games than his last place Lions did in 2020.  All this is meant to say that I would seriously be considering picking up Stafford if he was available in my DO league.  He is only rostered in 72.16 percent of leagues and that needs to rise.

Well, as I said in my opening, welcome to a new article and also welcome to a new division.  We completed the NFC West in January, and now we turn our attention to the NFC South.  The NFC South is composed of the Falcons, Panthers, Saints and Buccaneers.  Here is a table of each team’s finish at the end of 2020…

 RecordSeason OutcomeNotable Free Agents
Saints12-4Eliminated, NFC Divisional3
Bucs11-5Super Bowl Bound5
Panthers5-11Eliminated, Regular Season2
Falcons4-12Eliminated, Regular Season3
Swipe for more on mobile.

“Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.”  -Thanos

I apologize for the pop culture reference, but that quote has always hit home for me.  I am a man that likes symmetry, so to see a perfectly symmetrical division…well that’s just pleasing to my eye.  What isn’t pleasing to the eye (at least for Falcons’ fans) is their 2020 record.  Last season looked to bring hope to the Atlanta fanbase.

An offensive team run by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Todd Gurley was set to impress.  Well, the Falcons did score.  They actually finished middle of the pack as far as total points scored goes.  **(Three teams that made the playoffs actually scored less than the Falcons: See if you can guess who they are, and I’ll reveal the answer at the end of the article)  Lack of scoring didn’t seem to be the problem.  The problem was actually more their team defence and the fact that they were abysmal at winning close games.  The Falcons were involved in 10 one score games.  Of those 10 games, they lost eight.  Take from that what you will, but the Falcons were competitive in the majority of their games.  At any rate, let’s stop talking about generalities and jump into contract specifics…

Contract Speculation

As noted in the table above, the Falcons have only three notable free agents.  I define “notable” as free agents who directly pertain to Dynasty Owner rosters.  Simply put, these are players who are rosterable in our format.  These players are…

  • Todd Gurley
  • Brian Hill
  • Younghoe Koo

Whoa?  We’re gonna get some kicker talk in this article?  Not exactly.  I’m merely mentioning Koo as he finished the season as the K2.  This is where his speculation ends.  Kickers need to be rostered in Dynasty Owner as they are a position, but the only thing harder than predicting a kicker’s fantasy outlook is predicting where a free agent kicker is going to sign.  I may do a short contract breakdown on him when he does sign or re-sign, but until then, let’s talk about the running backs.

Todd Gurley and Brian Hill…where do I start?  Let’s start with the facts.  Gurley finished the 2020 season as RB27 and Hill finished as RB52.  Both seasons were disappointing in the end, although I don’t think there were high expectations for Hill.  Gurley started the season very strong as he posted nine touchdowns in his first nine games.  Well, it turns out that his high touchdown percentage is all that was holding his fantasy season together.  After Week 9, he had only 27.9 fantasy points…total. 

Gurley was a suspect draft pick last preseason due to his lingering knee issues as well as his change of venue.  It’s hard to believe that he is only 26, but it’s very likely he is in the back half of his career.  While I don’t expect him to retire in the offseason, I think it’s possible.  Spotrac has his “Calculated Market Value” at 5.5 million dollars currently. 

I think that’s the absolute top number that he would receive.  I have him pegged for around 4 to 4.5 million dollars per year.  As always, wait and see where he lands before making a long term decision.  I own Gurley in my Dynasty Owner All Star League, and I passed on Gurley straight up for Robert Woods prior to the playoffs.  I’m regretting that now.  If anyone gives you a halfway decent offer for Gurley, I would take it especially if you have adequate running back depth.

Brian Hill is the second Falcons’ running back I’d like to talk about.  Hill (like Gurley) is an unrestricted free agent.  Hill is also 26 years old, and he has a healthy 4.7 yards per carry for his career.  The perception is that Hill was largely inefficient last year.  While that may be true, he was on par with the rest of his teammates.  Let me show you…

 CarriesYardsFantasy PointsFantasy Points/Carry
Gurley220842167.20.76
Hill12566493.40.75
Smith8134356.30.70
Swipe for more on mobile.

So, we can see that all the Falcons’ rosterable running backs were close to the same efficiency, at least by this metric.  But how did they compare to similarly ranked running backs…

 CarriesYardsFantasy PointsFantasy Points/Carry
Williams150741127.60.85
Pollard129627139.91.08
Fournette1336001341.01
Swipe for more on mobile.

As we can also see, Jamaal Williams, Tony Pollard and Leonard Fournette are all backups yet they were much more efficient and almost outscored every Falcons’ back.  This is a long winded way of saying that the Falcons’ backfield had a poor 2020 showing.  So what can we expect moving forward?  This is my honest read…

I think Gurley will not be re-signed.  He was actually named the backup running back towards the end of the 2020 season.  He’ll sign with a new team.  Hill will be re-signed by the Falcons for a similar contract that he just completed.  Look for Hill to make around 2 to 3 million per year.  There is also little doubt in my mind that Atlanta will draft a running back in the first half of the draft.  Time will tell if that draft pick will become the projected starter, but suffice it to say, there really is no Falcons’ running back that can be trusted going into 2021 at this point.

Contract Breakdown

Hayden Hurst

Today we are going to be talking about a highly sought after tight end coming into the 2020 season (at least I sought him).  The player is Hayden Hurst.  Hurst, a 2018 first round pick, was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Atlanta Falcons in March of 2020.  This trade looked to, essentially, slide Hurst into the vacated role of Austin Hooper.  In 2019, Hooper posted a sensational line of 75 receptions, nearly 800 yards and six touchdowns while missing three games.  This was not an easy ask for Hurst to complete, but it is one that he had the skills and athleticism to achieve.  The reality is that Hurst did not live up to his preseason hype.  That’s not to say he didn’t have a productive season, but he was unable to post a dominant tight end season.  Here is how 2020 shook out for him..

 SalaryRecYardsTouchdownsFantasy PointsDD/FP
Hurst$2,759,007565716149.1$18,504
Swipe for more on mobile.

As I said, this isn’t an abysmal season, but just adequate.  These stats were able to provide Hurst with a TE 9 finish.  Again, not terrible, but not great when you think about how scarce the tight end field currently is.  So what do we do with him?

Hurst has a year remaining on his rookie contract.  After that, he will become an unrestricted free agent.  He is 27 years old and he remains one of the better values as far as tight ends go.  In 2020, Hurst was drafted around the 8th round in most Dynasty Owner Leagues.  He was a common player that Owners targeted due to his low salary mixed with a seemingly high target share and talent. 

I expect nothing much to change in this offseason.  Yes, Hurst has lost a year on his contract, but he will still have a year’s worth of that value before he signs a new one.  While the long term outlook for Hurst may not be the greatest, I expect him to meet and exceed his production from 2020 going into 2021.  As it is with every player, there is a chance that he signs an extension prior to the start of a new DO season, but I think that is unlikely.  Anyone currently rostering Hurst will not have a league winning tight end, but they will have a player that outscores their opponent’s tight end more times than not.

Matt Ryan

Following our discussion of Jared Goff a few weeks ago, I’d like to use Matt Ryan as a comparison.  Yes, they are different players and are in different stages of their careers, but I think this comparison is valid.  Both players are in a limbo type contract situation, and he’s what I mean by that…

Both Goff and Ryan are on above average contracts, but are only providing average results.

(Full disclosure: I typed these first two paragraphs prior to the news of the Stafford/Goff trade.  Regardless, the statements still stand.)

Ryan finished 2020 as the QB12 while Goff finished 2020 as the QB18.  Now when you compare that to their salary rank among quarterbacks in 2020, the numbers begin to skew.  Ryan ($30,000,000) is the eighth highest paid quarterback per year, and Goff ($33,500,000) is the fourth highest paid quarterback per year.  We already know that even if either of these QBs had cracked the Top 10 last year, they still wouldn’t be a great value as their salaries are just too high.  It would take a yearly performance close to what Wilson and Rodgers did to return value for their cost.

There are many rumors flying around that Ryan may have played his final snap for the Falcons.  I don’t know if that will end up coming true, but what I do know is that unless he purposely takes less money next year, (which he won’t) he won’t be rostered by many teams.  Similar to Goff, Ryan is a prime amnesty candidate as there are several quarterbacks that make over $30,000,000 that I would rather own.  Like always, I will update the community as soon as I have any info on Ryan’s departure from Atlanta.  For now, don’t expect him to be your starting quarterback in 2021.

Thank you for reading, and be sure to watch the video that relates to this article.  Next week I’ll be writing about a Super Bowl contender, and the team that I actually hope wins the championship.  By the time we talk next week, maybe The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be crowned champions.  Please follow us on Twitter @DynastyOwner, and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Take care and be safe.

**The Falcons outscored the Bears, Rams and Football Team in 2020

TheJerk

Let’s Talk About How You Can Rebuild Without Actually Tanking

By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)

Dynasty Owner Constitution – Tanking

We do not endorse tanking but as long as the starting lineup is set each week with active non injured players and not on the BYE week, then we shall not micromanage how you operate your team.

Dynasty Owner Constitution

Three things in life are an absolute guarantee and that’s death, taxes, and Tom Brady playing in the Super Bowl every year (even without “The Hoodie”). In the early 2000’s as I was just becoming a huge football fan, a kid named Tom took over for the Patriots for injured vet Drew Bledsoe and as we know the rest is history. I am the biggest Brady hater you will ever find, but I will always give the man his respect. 10 super bowls is one of the most absurd stats I have ever laid eyes on in all of sports because of how hard it is to win multiple championships in the NFL, the NFL has truly done a fantastic job giving teams a level playing field. The only comparison we have in this era is LeBron James and his 10 NBA championship appearances.

On February 7th we will see the biggest names at the quarterback position we have ever seen on the biggest stage of them all with the next potential G.O.A.T quarterback Patrick Mahomes against the G.O.A.T himself, Tom Brady. Super Bowl LIV has every narrative any football fan could hope for from, the Buccaneers hosting the first ever home game in a Super Bowl, the QB matchup, the guy who could lead the next great dynasty against the guy that just finished one, and coaches that could not be any more opposite of each other. I want to touch on Brady a bit more before we get into the article, because well lets face it he deserves it.

Brady came in as an unheralded prospect getting drafted 199th overall in the 6th round which is something he has used as a “chip on the shoulder” his entire career. Brady’s first Super Bowl came out of nowhere beating the exceptionally talented Oakland Raiders on his path there, but it did not come without controversy, something Brady would grow accustomed to throughout his career.

Some may take the last comment as a shot at Brady but in all honesty, it is nothing more than greatness and people trying to influence that greatness in a negative way. After beating the Rams in his first Super Bowl appearance he went on the greatest run we have ever seen in the NFL going to 10 Super Bowls winning 6 of them, with the tenth yet to be played. Win or lose it is safe to say we are all extremely lucky to witness the greatness of Tom Brady on a football field, enjoy it while it lasts, he may only play until he is 74. Buckle up people this Sunday we could see the greatest game ever played.

This article will be focused on owners who are in a position where they need to offload vets to gear their team towards the future (also known as tanking). I will touch on 4 different topics on rebuilding, hopefully giving owners a better understanding on how and when to make certain moves.

There are plenty of ways tanking can upset the other owners in your league so be sure you are not one of the ones ticking people off because of your lineups. My rule of thumb when you don’t have many producing players is to look at your lineup and ask yourself “would I be mad if another owner used this lineup with the options available?” if the answer is a sound no then you should be safe to play that specific lineup.

Is Tanking Acceptable

As self-explanatory as this title sounds it is something that should be talked about in detail. We have seen tanking from professional teams in every single sport, which does not seem like it will ever stop because of the draft capitol it produces.

There are plenty of wrong ways to tank and honestly only one way to correctly do it. Let us start with the negatives, the most important being that tanking the wrong way can really upset some of the other owners in your league to the point they will ask that you are removed. The easiest way to avoid a scenario like this is to always play the most competitive lineup your resources will allow (see tanking policy in constitution), for instance if you had Calvin Ridley this past season and you decided you wanted to tank the rest of the way for higher draft picks, so you play someone like Michael Gallup over Ridley, which causes you to lose a game instead of winning.

While you may say “Hey Jay, I am trying to lose that is the point?”, and while yes this is true you also went against the integrity of the game not playing your best players. Setting a lineup this way can really bother someone if it were to cost them a playoff shot when you could have won by playing your better options, leaving them on the outside looking in.

Now you may be wondering how do I tank while still playing my best lineup? The answer there is simple, once you decide you want to tank/rebuild you then start trading players like Ridley away, so you have no choice but to not have him in your lineup.

This route does two particularly important things, the first being you gained draft capital for Ridley instead of leaving him on the bench during a low salary year, and you also will not upset any of your league mates if you go this route. If you have ever been in a league where owners do not set lineups or blatantly set bad lineups, you will understand what I am saying here.

The definitive answer here is no tanking is not acceptable BUT if it is done in a professional manner you can suffice. Always remember while the main objective in rebuilding is to lose the second goal is to do it in a way that makes at least most of the other owners happy.

Different Ways to Prepare Your Team for the Future Without a Full-on Tank

As we have discussed tanking is a no-no, here are a few ways to prepare for the future without tanking and upsetting other owners. The first and correct path is trading players and salary away for draft capital, cap space, and younger players.

As an owner, if you know the 2021 season is more than likely going to be a bust then start tearing your roster apart now to set yourself up to overhaul this season. I would start this reconstruction by looking at my roster and picking out players over $10 million a year that still produce and find the 3 best looking teams heading into 2021 and try to unload these players to those three owners.

This should make you and the other owner happy about the aftermath of said trade. Once you have unloaded as much big salary deals as you can you then start trading the less expensive producing players, though I recommend keeping 1 or 2 cheap young studs to build your team around.

The last bit of advice I have on this type of tanking is never make a player untouchable, everyone is for sale at the right price. The other type of rebuilding I want to talk about is what I like to call a “Tanker” (briefly mentioned above). When you have an owner that is neglectful while rebuilding/tanking it can really ruin a league.

Imagine being week 10 fighting for your playoff life because of injuries and the owner with the same record as you play the “Tanker” (a free bye week) and wins putting you a game back in the standings. I am sure that would be one of the worst and most unpleasant experiences of anyone’s fantasy career.

While it may not be obvious there is an enormous difference in trading your studs away versus just not playing players, or playing horrible players, there is a substantial difference, especially to your league mates. The main difference here is that the owner who traded his talent away got younger players with upside in return, as well as draft picks, meaning they will still be competitive some weeks when the young guys get going.

The neglectful owner will not have these types of up-and-coming players to plug in they will just have their bench and practice squad players to rely on, with some on their bench being stars. If you remember how bare free agency was most of the year, you will really understand that a neglectful tanker has zero shot at building a competitive team, so do not be that owner.

The Pros and Cons of an Overhaul

Pros – There are multiple positives when it comes to giving your team an overhaul, but they all are terribly similar in ways that I am going to tell you. There is one objective for owners who rebuild and that is be bad enough to get high end draft picks and speed up the process.

If you rebuild correctly with a little luck you should be able to land a top 3 pick while having a few building blocks on your roster. A splendid example I have is from my personal team is that I ended the year with Gibson, Dobbins, Pittman, Cooks, Reagor, and Tannehill as my core moving forward, while landing 2 top 5 draft picks (2nd, 5th) to add some of the high-end talent from this rookie class.

I am absolutely thrilled with the core I have and the potential I have in draft capital to hopefully turn my team around quickly. If you look at all 3 major sports you will constantly see teams that are rebuilding each year, just look at the Jets this past season trading Jamal Adams away when he was easily their most talented player.

The Jets turned Adams (and his upcoming massive contract) into a couple 1st round draft picks as well as a ton of cap space, which is the same route some of our owners should be looking to go.

Cons – When you are a “Tanker” there will always be a lot more negatives than positives. The main reasons for this are the guessing game fantasy football can be, as well as injuries. I know injuries happen to championship teams as well as losing teams, but injuries can hurt a “Tanker” just as much as someone competing for a championship.

If one of the guys you were hoping to trade before their new contract hits gets hurt you are going to get so much less in return than if they were healthy balling out, unless you wait until the player is healthy which is no guarantee either. The other issue I want to touch on is the uncertainty of Fantasy football in general.

What I am meaning is that your draft picks are nowhere near a guarantee to hit or even produce at a mediocre rate. If you happen to be tanking and you miss on a top 3 pick that may set you back another 2-3 years because you now must wait, hope, and depend on another rookie hitting. My biggest concern with tanking is that so many things can go wrong compared to right, yet it is one of the best ways to expedite your rebuild.

Handling Free Agency While Rebuilding

One of the strangest things to handle while you are full on rebuilding is what to do with free agents. Do you pick good free agents up, or leave them be? What I like to do with free agency while rebuilding is still take part but change what criteria I am looking for.

If I went in to 2020 in a full-on rebuild, I would not even try to acquire free agents like Mike Davis. The reason I would not target Davis is because he is highly likely to only help me win this season, which when rebuilding is not good. I am looking for players like Fulgham (even though he did not pan out) because he is young, he was producing at an extremely elevated level, has a friendly contract, and most importantly there was potential for a future role with the team.

If Fulgham was 30 years old on a $14 million contract I would not even consider him, but since he was cheap, young, and putting up numbers he was exactly the type of player rebuilding owners should be salivating over.

Take chances on every young free agent that has a good game or is seeing a lot of opportunity. In the NFL opportunity is usually king! I also want to touch quickly on a bit of a dilemma I had this past season while rebuilding.

The courtesy flush (extra rookie draft pick for winning losers’ bracket) is an excellent idea that adds even more strategy to your thinking. I had a solid team compared to the rest of the field in my league (loser’s bracket teams only) and am still not sure which route was the better to go with.

I ended up picking up Tannehill to make a run at winning the extra pick and while it almost paid off, I lost in the championship game, losing the extra pick. When I look back at it more, I feel I made the right choice because none of the wins caused me to drop in the draft and I planned to pick up Tannehill for next season anyway. If any of you ran into this issue yourselves please message on Twitter, i would love to see which route you decided to go.

If You Must Tank Have Some Courtesy/Conclusion

A lot of this article was geared towards good “tanking etiquette” I just did not lay it out in front of your face. At Dynasty Owner we do not endorse tanking but if you are going to you must show Tanking etiquette. Tanking Etiquette is the art of not making other owners mad when tanking.

As I mentioned earlier, no one wants to play in a league where someone does not set their lineups most weeks because they want to lose it is not fair to the owners not playing that team. If you are putting out the best lineup available to your roster you will be fine, but I have seen the opposite happen more times than it should.

I hope you are all enjoying this rebuild series as well as gaining valuable information from it. In last week’s article I discussed one of our owner’s trades, which was a lot of fun and I hope to do more of. Please feel free to send any rebuilding trades and I will gladly break them down as I did last week. One more game left and it is on to 2021, with that being said good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!

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Prospect Preview: Jaylen Waddle

Position: WRWeight: 182
College: AlabamaAge: 22
Height: 5′ 10″247 Rating: 4 Stars (0.9791)

By Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

Coming into the 2020 college football season, Jaylen Waddle was a somewhat popular pick for the classes’ top receiver. In his first four games of the season, Waddle amassed 557 yards and 4 touchdowns with only 25 catches. At an incredible average of 21.1 yards per catch, it was an incredible start to the season and Waddle was the most exciting player in the country. In his 5th game of the season, he went down with a severe ankle injury early in the first quarter and exited the game, looking like his season had prematurely ended. He showed incredible progression in his training and was able to play in the National Championship game (although looking a little hobbled by his injury). An incredible feat just to get back onto the field, Waddle proved to a lot of teams that day that he was a true competitor, ready for the NFL stage.

College Production:

It’s often that we hear fast and explosive players likened to Tyreek Hill ($15,850,500), but it’s not often a player actually deserves that comparison. Waddle may need to add a couple more pounds of muscle to show the same strength that Hill has, but his speed and overall ability to take it to the house are reminiscent. His Junior season stats were impressive, but Waddle has made an impact since he was a true freshman. In 2018 Waddle compiled 45 receptions, 848 yards, and 7 touchdowns. This on the same team as older teammates, Jerry Jeudy ($3,452,949), Henry Ruggs ($3,789,006), and DeVonta Smith. His ability to step into the top program in the nation and immediately compete on the field is incredible and speaks to his work ethic and athletic talent.

Strengths:

  • Lightning Speed
    • There’s a video out on Twitter, from last year, showing Waddle essentially tying Henry Ruggs ($3,789,006) in a 50-yard dash. Ruggs showed up at the 2020 NFL Combine later that year and posted a 4.27 second performance. One of the fastest attempts ever recorded, Waddle is likely to bring that again this year. Unfortunately, with no NFL Combine we may never really know how he’d stack up against Ruggs, John Ross, and Chris Johnson.
  • Offensive Weapon
    • Waddle isn’t just capable of being a team’s top wideout, but he also has the ability to be a playmaker in the return game as well as on the ground (whether out of the backfield or on sweeps). He’s a dream come true for a creative offensive coordinator, but independently talented enough to fit in nearly any offensive scheme. Any team that drafts Waddle isn’t just getting a deep threat, they’re getting a weapon to score touchdowns.
  • Eating Up Green Grass
    • It’s been said many times already in this article that Waddle has the special edge to his game, the ability to score on any play, but as a wide receiver he excels in getting into space (with or without the ball). Without the ball he’s able to speed past cornerbacks, zoom through zone coverage, and make himself an open target for the quarterback. Once the ball is in his hands, he has great vision to find running lanes and can make the first defender miss on his way to pay dirt.

Weaknesses:

  • Not Prototypical “Alpha” Size
    • At 5’ 10” and 182 pounds, he about mirrors Tyreek Hill’s ($15,850,500) measurables. And the reason that’s who I compare him to is because that’s the same role he can play for a team. Hill might not be a “big” receiver, but he still is the WR1 for his team and one of the main offensive outlets. I predict Waddle can be used in a similar fashion and with a team willing to commit to him, I wouldn’t expect any regret for his lack of height.
  • NFL, but not Fantasy
    • There’s a chance that Waddle ends up becoming a much better wide receiver for his NFL team than for your fantasy team. His ability to stretch the field and be used as a decoy in motion could open up space and time for other players on the offense and may be much more valuable to a team than getting his stats some padding. I think most speedsters can have this issue, where they are on the field but don’t make a consistent impact due to the nature of their role in the offense. Waddle brings a lot more to a team than just speed, but this is always something to keep in mind.
  • Dak Prescott ($$$)
    • No, Waddle isn’t going to end up in Jerry World, but the ankle injury he suffered is quite similar to Prescott’s. Teams will be spending as much time as possible weighing the pros and cons of Waddle’s ankle injury and if there is anything more to it. A decision that could prove quite costly if things go south for Waddle, he might be pushed down some teams’ boards depending on what their doctors say.

Things to Watch:

With his continued rehab it will be really interesting to see how he feels at the Alabama Pro Day. With every millisecond counting on some the drills, Waddle will want to be at full health before he starts giving NFL teams a number to study. If Waddle is fully healthy, he’s going to blow up the underwear Olympic activities, but if he’s not 100% I wouldn’t expect him to participate in much. Waddle is constantly talked about as one of the top receivers, but not quite in the top 2 or 3 of the class, I think as the NFL Draft gets closer Waddle will become more and more popular as media outlets realize that NFL teams are interested early. We’ve seen enough teams “ooh” and “ahh” over many other speedsters in the draft.

Projected Round/Contract:  

Without the injury this season, Waddle would have been a lock for the middle of the first round. While the injury may scare a couple teams off, Waddle was able to get back on the field and show he’s made progress in recovery. If teams aren’t worried about the long-term repercussions of the ankle injury, then I’d expect Waddle to still find himself in the early/middle slots of the 1st round. In the scenario that Waddle falls into Day 2, one lucky team would be getting a steal. If drafted in the 1st I would expect Waddle contract to look similar to CeeDee Lamb’s ($3,184,094). Lamb signed a 4-year deal (with 5th year option) worth $14,010,012, counting for $2,547,275 in his rookie year.

Team Fits:  

Perhaps the most popular fit in mock drafts is currently the New York Giants, a team that has a lot of young offensive players but has been lacking high-quality receiver play. Sterling Shepherd ($9,000,000) is good but struggles to stay on the field, Darius Slayton ($908,497) had a sophomore slump, and Golden Tate ($10,852,942) has been in and out of the doghouse all season. The Giants, if willing to give Daniel Jones ($7,189,288) one more year to prove himself a franchise quarterback, could do worse than selecting Waddle to give the offense an extra spark.

A second team that could end up selecting Waddle is the Detroit Lions, the now Matthew Stafford ($20,000,000)-less Detroit Lions. With Jared Goff ($27,825,000) coming into Detroit, and Matthew Stafford ($20,000,000) leaving to LA, I don’t expect Kenny Golladay to re-sign with the Lions. That leaves a huge gap on the depth chart as Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola are both moving on as well. Insert Jaylen Waddle and let him take over that offense an either provide a outlet for Goff ($27,825,000) or a safety blanket for the next quarterback in Honolulu Blue.

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