League Winners and How They Used the Salary Cap

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

We’ve almost figured out how Dynasty Owners need to put together their rosters on Draft Day to give themselves the best chance possible to win their League. That’s good because with the NFL Draft being held this weekend, mock drafting including rookies will be available soon, followed by real 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up drafts.

To summarize, by analyzing the draft data from all 2020 drafts and particularly League Winner drafts, we’ve learned the following:

  • There’s no “magic formula” associated with your type of league, draft date or draft slot so go ahead and do whatever you want and can afford.
  • Dynasty Owners who drafted players with lower salaries in the first round were more likely to win their League title than those who drafted higher salary players.
  • Alvin Kamara was the “best” first round selection in 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts, followed by Patrick Mahomes.
  • The recommendation to “Draft at Least Three Starting Quarterbacks” is not backed up by the 2020 data and should be discarded for 2021, while the jury is still out on drafting three kickers.
  • Using most of the $110 million salary cap in 2020 was the strategy that more League Winners employed as the average League Winner kept about $8 million in reserve.
  • The contenders for the Chase for the Ring spent more of the $110 million salary cap than regular League Winners when drafting.
  • League Winners spent a lot of their salary cap on Draft Day, but not more or less than the rest of the Dynasty Owners in their respective Leagues.

The next step is to break down how League Winners spent their salary cap on Draft Day by position. I remember someone asking Christopher Harris during a podcast back before last season what was the ideal breakdown of how much to spend by position. He (nor anyone else) had a good answer. Because the structure of Dynasty Owner changed between 2019 and 2020 with the institution of the hard salary cap and the addition of the FLEX position, no one could really have answered that question properly for 2020. However, I always wondered about it and since we have the 2020 draft data available, I decided to go ahead and analyze those data to find out for 2021.

Please keep in mind that we are looking at how to help Dynasty Owners who will be drafting a new team in 2021. These are data only from 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts – it doesn’t account for trades or acquisitions after the Draft. Teams could have changed dramatically (or not much at all) between Draft Day and the end of the season. However, the Draft is the starting point for all Dynasty Owners. Knowing the best way to construct your roster when drafting and having a plan built upon what has worked in the past going into Draft Day will help Dynasty Owners not only draft well, but also maximize their ability to make trades and pick up players off the Free Agent Auction later on in the season.

All salary data listed are from the 2020 Dynasty Owner season which had a $110 million salary cap on Draft Day, but was increased to $112 million for rosters due to COVID-19 considerations.

Overall Salary Cap Usage Summary

In last week’s article (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/04/how-much-of-the-salary-cap-should-i-use-in-the-draft-part-ii/), we determined that the average League Winner spent just over $100 million ($100,419,671) in salaries during their 2020 Dynasty Owner draft. This was less on salaries than the average Dynasty Owner ($101,651,629) by over $1.2 million!

While draft spending by League Winners ranged from a low of just under $69 million($68,897,854) to a high of $109,997,204 (only $2,796 under the salary cap), we found that League Winners were more likely to be in the bottom half of spending in their individual league. In fact, three-fifths (60%) of them were in the bottom half. Clearly, it’s not necessary to outspend the other teams in your league to win.

However, League Winners who finished in the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring spent more than just a regular League Winner when drafting and were more likely to be one of the bigger spenders in their draft. Half (48%) of the Top 25 in the Chase and three-fifths of the Top 10 were in the top half of spenders in their League, compared with two-fifths (40%) of all League Winners.

So, we have a problem. Everyone wants to win their League, but also contend for the Ring and join Eddie and Viktor as Ring winners. We know to leave some money unspent on Draft Day and that it’s not necessary to spend more than everyone else in your League to win. However, just knowing overall draft spending doesn’t tell us how they spent their salary cap money. That’s the next step, figure out how much you should spend at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE, K) to win your League.

Position to Spend the Most Money On

Quarterbacks are the highest paid players on the football field. Not on every team, but on most of them. The rankings of highest paid players always have a bunch of QBs before you get the first non-QB. Last year in Dynasty Owner, there were 17 QBs at the top of the list of largest contracts before Amari Cooper and his $20 million per year salary appeared. Does that mean Dynasty Owners spent the most on QBs?

Out of the five positions in Dynasty Owner, it is clear which one League Winners spent more on than any other position. And it’s not Quarterback! Believe it or not, it’s not a kicker either. Or even tight end, but that’s at least closer. The position that over two-thirds of 2020 League Winners spent the most on during their draft was: Wide Receiver.

Position% of Leagues% of Top 25% of Top 10
QB26%28%30%
RB4%4%10%
WR69%68%60%

It’s true for the Top 25 in the Chase as well as the Top 10. More of those teams spent more on WRs than any other position.

Salary Cap Usage by Position

Now that we know League Winners spent more on WRs than any other position, we can go on and determine how much did they spend on WRs versus players at the other positions. The breakdown by position is as follows:

Average Salary Cap Spending by Position

On average, nearly two-fifths (37%) of the salary cap for a League Winner was spent on WRs, followed by about one-quarter (23%) on QBs and one-sixth (17%) on RBs. League Winners spent just a little bit more on TEs (10%) than they left unspent (9%). And last, but certainly least, League Winners spent just 4% of the salary cap on kickers.

In dollar figures using the $110 million salary cap, the average amount spent on Draft Day by League Winners in 2020 was:

PositionAmount SpentPercentage Spent
QB$ 25,731,39323.4%
RB$ 18,615,74116.9%
WR$ 40,951,00537.2%
TE$ 10,499,3289.5%
K$ 4,622,2044.2%
Not Used$ 9,580,3298.7%
TOTAL$ 110,000,000100.0%

The average League Winner spent about $41 million on WRs, $25.7 million on QBs, $18.6 million on RBs, $10.5 million on TEs, $4.6 million on kickers and left just under $9.6 million unspent. The average League Winner spent less on QBs than the individual salary for many QBs, including Russell Wilson ($35 million) and 2020 MVP Aaron Rodgers ($33.5 million). The same is true at TE where they spent less than what Hunter Henry ($10.607 million) or Austin Hooper ($10.5 million) made in 2020. Don’t forget about kickers as Justin Tucker ($5 million) cost more than the average League Winner spent on all of their kickers combined ($4.6 million).

Winning your League is first and foremost, but since your ultimate goal is to win the Ring, do you need to spend differently to make the Chase for the Ring leaderboard? We already know that most of the Chase for the Ring contenders spent more on WR than any other position. What about the percentage that they spent, is it different or similar than all League Winners?

When we look at all League Winners compared to those who finished on the Chase for the Ring leaderboard, we don’t see a lot of differences in the percentage of the salary cap spent by position. From an earlier article, we already knew that the Top 25 and Top 10 on the final Chase leaderboard spent more of the salary cap than all League Winners (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/04/how-much-of-the-salary-cap-should-i-use-in-the-draft/).

Now, we can see that they used that additional spending on QBs and TEs, while spending less on RBs and kickers.

Position% Spent by Winners% Spent by Top 25% Spent by Top 10
QB23.4%24.8%25.5%
RB16.9%16.4%14.8%
WR37.2%37.0%38.0%
TE9.5%10.5%10.7%
K4.2%3.4%3.6%
Not Used8.7%8.0%7.3%

The differences aren’t a lot by percentage – just a point or two in most cases, but when you put them in dollar figures, that’s almost $1.6 million more on QBs for the Top 25 and $2.35 million more for the Top 10. Chase for the Ring leaderboard League Winners spent over a $1 million more on TEs than a regular League Winner as well.

Position$ Spent by Winners$ Spent by Top 25$ Spent by Top 10
QB$ 25,731,393$ 27,300,861$ 28,087,673
RB$ 18,615,741$ 18,044,324$ 16,326,575
WR$ 40,951,005$ 40,656,355$ 41,840,164
TE$ 10,499,328$ 11,561,373$ 11,746,967
K$ 4,622,204$ 3,691,732$ 3,977,715
Not Used$ 9,580,329$ 8,745,355$ 8,020,905

Projected 2021 Spending by Position

That’s great to know, but that was then, and 2021 drafts are right around the corner. Let’s project these data for this year and see how much Dynasty Owners should be spending at each position. Based on the $127.75 million salary cap for the 2021 Dynasty Owner season, here’s how much the average League Winner will spend on each position during their draft.

Position2021 Amount to Spend
QB$ 29,883,504
RB$ 21,619,645
WR$ 47,559,009
TE$ 12,193,537
K$ 5,368,060
Not Used$ 11,126,245
TOTAL$ 127,750,000

If you follow these averages, you can’t draft Patrick Mahomes ($45 million), Dak Prescott ($40 million), Russell Wilson ($35 million) or Aaron Rodgers ($33.5 million) as your QB. Don’t take George Kittle ($15 million) or Travis Kelce ($14.3 million) as your TE either. You can afford any RB or WR you want with plenty of room for more of them. You’ll even be able to afford Justin Tucker as your kicker, but you just won’t have enough for a backup.

Conclusion

We’ve figured it all out! Now we know how much of the salary cap you need to spend to win your start-up Dynasty Owner league in 2021. Of course, this assumes that the averages will be the same in 2021 as they were in 2020. There’s going to be more leagues and more new players in 2021, but if these figures hold true for 2021, everyone knows how much to spend. Now, you just have to figure out who to spend it on. Good luck with that!

It’s not just good luck but research and preparation that will help you draft the best team you can on Draft Day. A team that can go out and with some modifications during the season and smart game day decisions on who to Start and who to Bench, can make you a League Champion. Looking back at 2020 is just one piece of the entire process of constructing a 2021 League Winner.

Fortunately, the construction process is going to start happening very soon as we are in the middle of the NFL draft. After that, rookie drafts for everyone who is in a league started in 2020 will commence. There will also be those 2021 start-up drafts beginning soon afterwards as well. The season is getting closer!

Starting next week, we have a new publication schedule for articles and videos. That’s right, videos will be back starting next week to accompany the weekly articles by each of our writers. All of the articles and videos will be released at 1 PM (Eastern). My articles and videos to get you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team will be released on Saturdays throughout the off-season. Keep an eye out for new articles from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owner writers as well. Nate Christian (@NateNFL) will continue to break down rookies in his Prospect Preview, now available on Tuesdays. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is doing a deep dive into contracts by teams that you can check out on Wednesdays. Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster and everyone will get his insights on Fridays.

Please read all of their articles and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Hope you were able to watch the Livestream that Tim and I did for the First Round of the NFL Draft. Thanks, and have a great day!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

NFL Draft Speculation & Breakdown

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

Hello Dynasty Owners and welcome to Draft Week.  Hailed as one of the best events for NFL fans, the 2021 NFL Draft is upon us.  As I mentioned in one my previous articles, there are many highlights throughout the year as it pertains to the NFL and the Draft ranks in the top 3 for me.  It would be some combination of Super Bowl, my personal fantasy football drafts, and then the NFL Draft.  I took this question to Dynasty Owner BETA users and the majority seemed to agree with me.  This is how the final poll results shaped up…

Best NFL EventVotesTotal VotesPercentage
Free Agency1340.03
Super Bowl3340.09
NFL Draft8340.24
Personal Fantasy Drafts15340.44
NFL Opening Week4340.12
NFL Playoffs3340.09
Other0340.00

The overwhelming majority of Owners (68%) think that drafts in general are the best part of the NFL.  I agree.  Not only do I agree, I think it makes sense when you really think about it.  Drafts bring a fresh start to the season.  Drafts bring the unofficial start to the new season.  Simply put…they bring hope.  Let’s break down the current NFL Draft structure and go over some of the trades that have already taken place.

First and foremost, the Draft consists of seven rounds that are spaced out over three days.  Day 1 is dedicated entirely to the first round as it is where the majority of the big names come from.  Day 2 is made up of the second and third round, and Day 3 takes up rounds four through seven.  The first round starts with teams getting 10 minutes on the clock and it is decreased as the rounds progress.  Players and picks are able to be traded during the actual draft (although we have seen several trades process prior to the draft this year).

This year, the Draft starts with Day 1 on Thursday April 29 and will run through Saturday May 1.  One of the greatest takeaways I want you to have from this article is to have a general idea of what each player’s salary will be based on where they were drafted.  We know that higher picks make more money because of the way that NFL salaries are structured for rookies.  These numbers are just estimates, but they should give you a good idea coming into the draft.  I’m not going to run through every single position, but I’ll give you a range of what each player could make.

***Before I start, it’s important to note that the exact value of these contracts will not be known until the NFL releases them.  The NFL uses a rookie wage scale that is not completely public knowledge.  With that, I will do my best to estimate salaries based on previous years and this year’s salary cap.***

Let’s start with Number 1 overall.  We all know that Trevor Lawrence will be the first overall pick to Jacksonville.  With that pick, you can expect TLaw to make right around 8.75 million dollars per year.  I have him currently estimated at $8,787,777.  You will notice that this estimate is a touch lower than what Joe Burrow received last year as the #1 overall pick.  In 2021 the NFL salary cap was reduced by 8%, compared to the 2020 NFL cap.  For this reason, it is assumed that rookies this year will make less.  If you are planning on taking Lawrence in your DO Rookie Draft, be prepared to have at least 9 million dollars in space (and that is just one of your picks).

What if you are eyeing a mid-first round receiver?  What can you expect them to make?  Let’s look at a couple of Alabama receivers for this comparison.  I expect both DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle to be drafted later than the top ten overall.  In the 11-15 pick range, both of these players can be expected to make right around 4 million dollars per year.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Henry Ruggs was taken at 12 overall in 2020, and his salary is $4,167,906 per year.  By comparison, let’s say DeVonta Smith gets drafted by the Eagles at 12 overall…I project that he will make $4,052,134.  This isn’t much of a decline from 2020, but it is more skewed with the first ten picks.  In summary, a mid-first round wide receiver will cost you roughly half of what Lawrence will.

Maybe you have an early 2021 first round pick in your DO draft and you’re struggling with how much you’ll have to spend on a running back.  Let me tell you the good news when it comes to running backs.  They usually fall in the NFL Drafts.  This isn’t anything against running backs in general, but teams (as a whole) usually wait on running back.  (Example: CEH was the first running back taken in the 2020 NFL draft.  He was drafted at 32nd overall).  This is of great value for Dynasty Owners because, as I explained earlier, the farther a player falls, the lower their salary.  This is also one of many reasons why I expect most DO rookie drafts to be running back heavy in the first round.  So, let’s say we expect Najee Harris or Travis Etienne to be drafted at the end of the 2021 draft.  What if we think the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to draft a running back in the first round?  (I think it’s likely)  Pittsburgh currently sits at 24th.  I estimate that a running back taken with the 24th overall pick would cost right at $3,000,000 per year ($3,082,758 to be exact).  Another outcome that is likely in my opinion is the idea that Atlanta will draft a running back with their second round pick.  Atlanta at 35th overall would have great value if they drafted Harris or Etienne, if either one falls that far.  A running back at 35th overall would cost an Owner right around 2.5 million dollars per year.  You start to see how some of the earlier drafted running backs are on much more affordable contracts than the quarterbacks and wide receivers.  Here is the full list of my calculated salaries for each of the top 32 picks…

PickEstimated SalaryEst. Salary/YearPickEstimated SalaryEst. Salary/Year
1$35,151,109$8,787,77717$13,623,535$3,405,884
2$33,585,521$8,396,38018$13,264,505$3,316,126
3$32,580,264$8,145,06619$13,049,088$3,262,272
4$31,431,355$7,857,83920$12,977,289$3,244,322
5$29,420,790$7,355,19821$12,905,480$3,226,370
6$25,830,508$6,457,62722$12,761,894$3,190,474
7$22,958,280$5,739,57023$12,618,257$3,154,564
8$20,086,051$5,021,51324$12,331,034$3,082,758
9$19,945,391$4,986,34825$12,187,427$3,046,857
10$19,152,575$4,788,14426$12,043,792$3,010,948
11$17,931,886$4,482,97127$11,900,204$2,975,051
12$16,208,537$4,052,13428$11,828,397$2,957,099
13$15,777,706$3,944,42629$11,252,192$2,813,048
14$15,059,127$3,764,78230$10,947,057$2,736,764
15$14,772,447$3,693,11231$10,691,452$2,672,863
16$13,910,758$3,477,69032$10,526,870$2,631,717

Hopefully these numbers will help you start to get an idea of what you’ll need to save to afford a first round pick.  Again, these numbers are not set in stone. They are only my projections.

Contract Speculation

The Browns had a single free agent that we need to talk about.  The key word is “had”.  Like the majority of free agents this year, Rashard Higgins has been signed already.  He re-signs with the Browns for a single year contract.  It is worth $2,377,500.  Higgins found decent success after Odell Beckham Jr. went down with a season ending injury in Week 6.  In the games that Higgins played in, he totaled 7.5 plus fantasy points in all but two games.  7.5 isn’t a fantastic performance, but more often than not, that was his floor.  In fact, he had very healthy fantasy performances to the tune of 12.1, 17.0, 21.5, 14.8 and 11.6 fantasy points.  Unfortunately for Higgins Owners, OBJ looks to be returning to the Browns in 2021.  This will bump Rashard down to the WR 3 on the team and limit the total volume he will receive.  He should be rostered in all leagues as he has shown his ability to step in for an injured superstar.

That’s it.  That’s all I have for speculation this week.  The excitement of the Draft took up almost all of my attention.  I hope everyone is able to relax and watch one of the greatest three day stretches of the NFL year.  I know I’ll be watching.  I’m sure that I’ll give a mini-draft recap in my article next Wednesday, but I’ll leave the heavy hitting rookie talk to Nate Christian.  As always, be sure to check out all of the Dynasty Owner content that Nate, Steve, Jay and I are putting out.  Please follow us on Twitter @Dynasty_Owner, and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Happy Draft Day!  Everyone take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Prospect Preview: Terrace Marshall Jr.

Position: WRWeight: 205
College: LSUAge: 20
Height: 6′ 3″247 Rating: 5 Stars (0.9930)

By: Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

With Terrace Marshall gaining first round hype going into the NFL Draft, we have to talk about another LSU receiving prospect. Justin Jefferson ($3,280,701) and Ja’Marr Chase were both top prospects and Marshall has been gaining similar hype. He’s got the length, speed, and production for a lot of fans and teams to be excited. Is the hype worth it?

College Production:

A 5-star prospect coming out of high school, Marshall didn’t really get on the field as a freshman. But his sophomore year with Joe Burrow ($9,047,534) he started really making an impact. He missed a couple games with a foot injury, but in the 12 games he played he caught 46 balls for 671 yards and 13 touchdowns. An impressive breakout season, he carried similar numbers in 2020 with a much worse LSU offense. In seven games as the de facto number one receiver, Marshall caught 48 balls for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns. After putting up those numbers, he decided to opt-out of the remaining games to focus on the NFL Draft.

Strengths:

  • Athleticism
    • Marshall blew us all away with his pro day this year, where he ran a 4.40 40-Yard Dash and jumped 39” in the vertical. This goes along with his already impressive 6’ 3” frame and we’re looking at a player who has all the physical tools to dominate. There’s a reason he was a 5-star recruit in high school and was able to make an impact as a sophomore on that historic 2019 LSU team.
  • Length
    • With his long arms and impressive vertical, Marshall is able to constantly win on 50/50 balls. He has good enough hands to work outside of his frame and catch the ball over defenders. While I wouldn’t call him a jump-ball specialist, he was able to dominate in that area in college and should continue to be a safety blanket for a quarterback in the pros.
  • Versatility
    • LSU was smart and used Marshall both outside and in the slot, and it was incredible. As an outside target, Marshall worked down the field, won on contested catches, and moved the chains. When lined up in the slot, he got free releases, got behind the defense, and was a constant threat across the middle of the field. This versatility is important for modern NFL offenses which are trying to come at defenses with so many different looks and patterns now. Marshall can be moved around to exploit matchups.

Weaknesses:

  • Lack of YAC
    • While he does have good speed and can get down the field when there’s green grass, Marshall doesn’t offer a lot of elusiveness or tackle-breaking ability after the catch. He has a good frame and enough strength to work through small cornerbacks in the open field, but overall, he’s not going to create a ton of yards with the ball in his hands.
  • Average Route Running
    • Marshall didn’t run a very varied route tree in college, he was used mostly on go routes and short crossing routes. He wasn’t able to create a lot of separation out of his breaks and his cuts were more often rounded than not. He’s certainly not a bad route runner, as he showed good pacing and the ability to find soft spots in zone coverage, but this is one area he could improve upon at the next level.

Things to Watch:

There are some injury concerns with Marshall. He had a bad leg break in high school and has had a major ankle and foot injuries. Nothing currently stands out in his profile to suggest they will affect him going forward, or that he’s injury prone, but when talking about first round picks in the NFL Draft, teams do their due diligence and are allowed to nitpick.

Projected Round/Contract:

Near the end of the first round, we’ll be waiting to see if Marshall is picked up by one of the playoff teams that need a receiver. If not, I’d expect him to go early in the second round. This draft capital will give him a similar contract to Tee Higgins ($2,171,696) last year who signed a 4-year deal worth $8,686,785.

Team Fits:

There are a couple teams at the back of the first who stick out for possible landing spots for a wide receiver. In Marshall’s case, I think there’s a very good chance the Baltimore Ravens take a chance on him at either of their picks. The team needs to surround Lamar Jackson ($2,367,912) with more weapons and Marshall would be a great addition to that offense. He’s a big bodied receiver who offers a different style of plan than their current receivers. He has the versatility to play inside and outside and has the size to be a good run blocker. Perhaps the best asset that Marshall brings to the table that goes with the Ravens is his red zone prowess. Outside of Mark Andrews ($863,290) this is one area the team could certainly improve.

While it might not be the obvious landing spot for Marshall, I think there’s a team that could take a chance on him if he’s still on the board. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have brought back every starter on both sides of the ball and are in a position to take the best player available when it gets to their pick. Receiver may not be a big need for them, but Chris Godwin ($15,983,000) is playing on the franchise tag and might be gone in a year. The team wants to give Tom Brady ($25,000,000) plenty of weapons to go out there and try to repeat and Marshall would be an incredible WR3 for the team. He also gets compared to Godwin often, and could be a great player to step in next year as the replacement.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

How Much of the Salary Cap Should I Use in the Draft? – Part II

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

Now that we’ve figured out that League Winners were more likely to use most of the $110 million salary cap in 2020 and that this was employed by more Chase for the Ring contenders, it stands to reason that the next step is to determine how much salary cap Dynasty Owners should be spending in relation to the other teams in their League. After all, if everyone in your league is spending almost the entire salary cap, would it be better to zig while everyone else is zagging? Or do you stick with the pack and go as close to the cap as you can? Basically, what every Dynasty Owner wants to know is how much should they be spending to give themselves the best opportunity to win their League.

This is salary cap management. It’s something that you’re not getting in any other dynasty league out there, just Dynasty Owner. Dynasty Owners not only have to look at their own team and see how it’s doing against the salary cap, but they need to keep an eye on the rest of the league during the draft to see what the opposition is doing. For example, if it’s late in the draft and you have room to spend money on some players, but the rest of the teams in your league are forced to draft the cheapest players they can find in order to stay under the cap, then you don’t need to spend that money. The player you can draft at that spot is likely to still be available later on since the rest of the league can’t afford him. Therefore, you can pivot and start to scoop up lower salary players while everyone else is doing it, secure in the knowledge that you can still get the player you want later on.

To help Dynasty Owners preparing for a 2021 start-up draft, we have found that draft strategies not involving salaries have proven to not matter, been inconclusive or straight up contradicted by the 2020 draft data. Strategies involving salary were important, such as discovering that Dynasty Owners who picked a low salary player in the first round were more likely to win their League Championship than those who picked a high salary player (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/03/how-to-draft-a-dynasty-owner-championship-team-part-ii/).

League Winners were more likely to spend closer to the salary cap, but were they more or less likely than the people in the rest of their League to do so? Is there an advantage to being one of the biggest spenders in your League or not?

All salary data listed are from the 2020 Dynasty Owner season which had a $110 million salary cap on draft day, but was increased to $112 million for rosters due to COVID-19 considerations.

Salary Cap Usage by All Dynasty Owners

In last week’s article (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/04/how-much-of-the-salary-cap-should-i-use-in-the-draft/), we found a pretty even distribution in salary cap usage among all League Winners. Around two-fifths (39%) of League Winners spent less than $100 million and had enough salary cap room after the draft to add a significant player to their roster, while one-quarter (24%) spent over $109 million and had little to no salary cap flexibility after the draft. The average League Winner spent just over $100 million ($100,419,671), while half of the winners spent under the $103.7 million median and half spent more.

Overall, it turns out that League Winners were different than the rest of the Dynasty Owners out there. They spent less on salaries than the average Dynasty Owner!

Overall Draft Salaries% of Winners% of Teams
Under $80 million2%4%
$80 million – $90 million15%9%
$90 million – $100 million22%18%
$100 million – $105 million17%17%
$105 million – $109 million20%24%
$109 million or higher24%28%
Mean$ 100,419,671$ 101,651,629
Median$ 103,682,235$ 105,510,176

As the chart above shows, only three in ten (31%) of all Dynasty Owners spent less than $100 million and had enough salary cap room after the draft to add a significant player to their roster. That’s lower than the percentage of League Winners. Almost as many (28%) spent over $109 million and had little to no salary cap flexibility after the draft. When we look at who spent $105 million or more, we see more Dynasty Owners did so than League Winners (52% of all Owners vs. 44% of League Winners). The mean salary was over $1.2 million higher for all Dynasty Owners compared to just the League Winners and the median was more than $1.8 million higher.

Many League Winners did indeed spend a lot of their salary cap on Draft Day, but it appears that they may have been doing so to try and keep up with the rest of the Owners in their League.

Salary Cap Usage Rankings

On average, all League Winners appear to spend less than all Dynasty Owners. However, does it really matter what Dynasty Owners in other leagues are doing when you’re in the middle of your draft and everyone else in your League seems to be picking up the big name, high salary players? Relative to the other teams, it is better to spend more than everyone else or be one of the lower spending teams?

League Winners tended to be on the lower spending side of things with three-fifths (60%) ranking in the Bottom Half of spending in their League.

Overall Salary Rank% of Leagues
Top Half40%
Bottom Half60%

When we shift a little bit and look whether the League Winners were in the top or bottom four teams in spending, we find a similar spread. There are more League Winners in the Bottom Four teams (38%) than Top Four (29%).

Overall Salary Rank% of Leagues
Top Four Teams29%
Bottom Four Teams38%

Finally, it’s better to be one of the two lowest spending teams than one of the two highest spending teams. One in four (25%) League Winners spent the least or second least amount of salary on Draft Day, while just 15% spent the most or were the second biggest spender.

Overall Salary Rank% of Leagues
Top Two Teams15%
Bottom Two Teams25%

Bottom line, you don’t need to outspend everyone in your League on Draft Day to win. In fact, it’s more advantageous to spend less.

Salary Cap Usage among the Chase for the Ring Contenders

Because the League Winners who finished in the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring spent more than just a regular League winner when drafting, we also found that they were slightly more likely to be one of the bigger spenders in their draft.

Overall Salary Rank% of Winners% of Top 25% of Top 10
Top Two Teams15%16%20%
Top Four Teams29%36%50%
Top Half of Teams40%48%60%

Twelve out of the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring (48%) were in the top half of team spending on the draft in their league as were six out of Top 10 (60%), higher than the two-fifths (40%) of all League Winners. However, it wasn’t necessary to go all the way up to the $110 million salary cap in 2020 as there was no difference among the top two spending sports in terms of getting on to the Chase leaderboard.

Keep in mind though that you don’t have to be one of the biggest spenders to be the best. Six of the Top 25 in the Chase spent under $100 million and were one of the lowest two spending teams in their League. They didn’t spend a lot on Draft Day while the other Owners in their League did.  To further illustrate this point, our Chase for the Ring winner in 2020 (Barbee Kilgore) was only ranked sixth in spending in his league and our runner-up (Quaranteed for Greatness) was ranked seventh.

Draft Day Spending by Date

Just as we did last week, we also want to look at spending by draft date to see if there are differences in how much of the salary cap was spent based on when the league draft was held. Among League Winners, there wasn’t any difference if the draft was held before training camps opened or after. However, there were differences by month with early (June) and late (September) drafters spending big and using $105 million or more of their salary cap during the draft. The open question is: did everyone in these leagues spend as big as the winners did or not?

Once again, we see little difference between those who drafted before training camps opened and those who drafted after, as well as among those who drafted before rosters were cut down to 53 players and those who drafted after that day. The percentage of winners pre-camp and post-camp who drafted salaries that fell in the top and bottom half of their League were identical, while the percentages in the Top/Bottom Two and Top/Bottom Four were very similar.

Overall Salary Rank% of Winners% of Pre-Camp% of Post-Camp
Top 215%12%17%
Top 429%26%32%
Top Half40%40%40%
Bottom Half60%60%60%
Bottom 438%33%42%
Bottom 225%29%23%

The same is true of the pre-cut and post-cut day data. While not identical like for the start of training camp date, the percentages for Top/Bottom Half by cut day were very close. The same was also true for the Top/Bottom Two and Top/Bottom Four data.

Overall Salary Rank% of Winners% of Pre-Cut Day% of Post-Cut Day
Top 215%15%14%
Top 429%28%33%
Top Half40%39%43%
Bottom Half60%61%57%
Bottom 438%38%38%
Bottom 225%27%19%

The data are trickier by month. Winners who drafted in June were more likely to be in the top half of spending, but not more likely to be in the Top Two or Top Four. Those who drafted in August were slightly more likely to be in the Top Two or Top Four of their League in draft spending, but not more likely to be in the Top Half. Winners who drafted in July displayed a clear preference for not spending as much as the other teams in their League as three-quarters (77%) were in the Bottom Half.

Overall Salary Rank% of Winners% of June% of July% of August% of September
Top 215%9%14%21%13%
Top 429%32%18%36%30%
Top Half40%55%23%43%39%
Bottom Half60%45%77%57%61%
Bottom 438%27%36%46%39%
Bottom 225%23%32%29%17%

Overall, these data by draft date are not as clear as the dollars spent data with one exception. Winners who drafted in July spent less in terms of total dollars than other Winners. They also didn’t spend as much as the other members of their League did during the draft. The rest of the findings are muddled or show no difference.

Draft Day Spending by League

Since Dynasty Owners can choose three levels of financial commitment (For the Love of the Game Leagues that only cost $29, $50 entry fee Cash Prize pool Leagues and $100 entry fee Cash Prize pool Leagues), we also want to look at relative spending by League Winners by type of League. In our initial findings, we saw that Dynasty Owner League Winners who put the most of their own money into playing were more likely to leave themselves some salary cap room for after the draft, while Beta League Winners appear to be big spenders. However, we don’t know the dynamics of the entire league at this point to see if the spending by Beta League Winners and $100 entry fee Cash Prize pool League Winners was in line, or not, with the spending by the rest of the teams in the League.

And the answer is: Yes, it was. Two-thirds (67%) of beta League Winners were in the Top Half of spenders in their League, while just one-third (33%) of Winners in $100 entry fee Cash Prize pool League were in the Top Half. The same patterns are true when looking at the Top Two and Top Four for both types of Leagues.

Overall Salary Rank% of Winners% of FLOTG% of $50 Cash% of $100 Cash% of Beta
Top 215%10%23%6%33%
Top 429%29%35%17%44%
Top Half40%31%50%33%67%
Bottom Half60%69%50%67%33%
Bottom 438%45%31%33%33%
Bottom 225%31%23%17%22%

The lesson here is that it appears to be easier to spend the entire salary cap (or quite a lot of it) when you’re not playing with your own money.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen in other analyses of 2020 draft data, salary cap strategy during the draft matters in Dynasty Owner. Whether it’s first round draft pick salaries, total amount of salaries drafted or where the League Champion ranks in comparison with other Dynasty Owners, salaries are an important consideration on Draft Day.

We see that League Winners did indeed spend a lot of their salary cap on Draft Day, but not more or less than the rest of the Dynasty Owners in their respective Leagues. Dynasty Owners need to be paying attention not only to how much they are spending on Draft Day, but also to how much everyone else in the League is spending as well.

Drafting a Dynasty Owner team is a lot of work. It goes without saying that preparation for your Dynasty Owner Draft Day is very important and goes well beyond the preparation needed in a re-draft or regular dynasty league. New (and returning) Dynasty Owners can start to prep soon for their start-up draft by participating in mock drafts. It’s difficult to mock draft in Dynasty Owner before rookies are drafted and have their salaries determined by their draft slot.

Fortunately, that’s going to happen very soon as we are less than one week away from the NFL draft. After that, rookie drafts for everyone who is in a league started in 2020 will commence. There will also be those 2021 start-up drafts beginning soon afterwards as well. The season is getting closer!

My articles to get 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 from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owner 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) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Thursdays.

Please read all of their articles and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Thanks, and have a great day!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

What do the Trading Rebuilding Teams Look like Now?

By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)

Last week, we took a different approach to things and looked at some trades that a few of our rebuilding owners made. When looking at these trades we went in blind, meaning I did not reveal any of the team’s rosters just their most recent trade. After looking at each of their trades, I tried to figure out a winner and the outlook of the team after making these moves. Today, we will dig deeper into each roster and see if some of the predictions made were right, or far off. I know prepping for this article one of the teams really shocked me and looking back at last week’s article I predicted what the roster looked like based on the trade.

Below I will list most of each team’s roster, leaving out some of the lesser-known players for your sanity and mine. You will also notice that there happens to be two teams missing from last week’s article and the reason for that is they just made too many moves to keep up with. The two owners featured last week that will not be in today’s article are WLN Savages and Havana Club 79. I cannot be certain if it is a good, or bad thing these teams missed the cut but either way keep on trading. It makes the game much more fun! If you are the team that made the listing in either article, feel free to ridicule my opinions of these trades, or rosters on Twitter.

Miami Hitmen

QB – Joe Burrow (3 years, $9,047,534), Tua Tagovailoa (3 years, $7,568,859), Jared Goff (4 years, $33,500,000), Drew Lock (2 years, $1,752,704)

RB – Josh Jacobs (2 years, $2,983,350), Jonathan Taylor (3 years, $1,957,287), Zack Moss (3 years, $1,153,079), Darrell Henderson (2 years, $1,053,001)

WR – A.J. Brown (2 years, $1,413,092), T.Y. Hilton (1 year, $8,000,000), Darnell Mooney (3 years, $894,263), A.J. Green (1 year, $6,000,000), Sammy Watkins (1 year, $5,000,000)

TE – Irv Smith (2 years, $1,449,609), Dan Arnold (2 years, $3,000,000)

Moves after trade

Add – Tyrell Williams (1 year, $4 million), Sammy Watkins

Drop – Isaiah Coulter (3 years, $896,988)

In the original trade, we see the Miami Hitmen come away with young stud quarterback Joe Burrow. They sent away two first round picks, but when trading for a player of Burrow’s caliber you are going to have to pay a premium. I am guessing the original plan was to roll with Tua, and Goff but anytime you can get Burrow at a price like this, you have to pull the trigger. 

Last week, I wrote that I felt this team may have come on strong at the end of 2020 or had a few big injuries and looking at the roster, I was correct. In 2020, Drew Lock, Joe Burrow, Sammy Watkins, Darrell Henderson, and Tua Tagovailoa all missed parts of the 2020 season while Jonathan Taylor and T.Y. Hilton really took off towards the end of the year. Overall, I think the team has a pretty solid future ahead of themselves and is a star receiver away from contending for the next few years. If I were this owner and I planned to try to compete this year I would look to add another decent running back for depth, followed by trading a future first or second for one more player that would put this roster over the top…… Georg Kittle, Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Derrick Henry, or Dalvin Cook, or a receiver as mentioned earlier!

Late To Draft

QB – Josh Allen (1 year, $5,295,760)

RB – Miles Sanders (2 years, $1,337,544), Antonio Gibson (3 years, $1,233,159), Anthony McFarland (3 years, $1,004,357), Darrynton Evans (3 years, $1,140,447)

WR – Tyreek Hill (2 years, $18,000,000), Stefon Diggs (3 years, $14,400,000), Laviska Shenault (3 years, $1,924,017), Marvin Jones (2 years, $6,250,000), Henry Ruggs (3 years, $4,167,906), Amari Cooper (4 years, $20,000,000)

TE – George Kittle (5 years, $15,000,000) Mike Gesicki (1 year, $1,652,981), Tyler Higbee (3 years, $7,250,000)

Moves after trade

Add – Amari Cooper

Drop – Rob Gronkowski (1 year, $8,000,000), Keelan Cole (1 year, $5,500,000)

I initially loved this trade for both teams and after seeing both rosters, I really like the trade, especially for Late to Draft. While getting rid of Joe Burrow will hurt no matter who is on your roster, I honestly believe they made the correct decision at the end of the day. After making the trade Late to Draft has three of the first four picks in the upcoming 2021 rookie draft including the top pick, which will make it extremely easy to fill out his roster. I am not sure if this team has any other picks outside of the top four in 2021 but either way they should be just fine moving forward.

If I were this owner, I would look to take Trevor Lawrence and Najee Harris with my first two picks (if possible) and attempt to trade pick number 4. In the scenario, they can trade the number 4 pick I would look to get pick 6, 7, or 8 and a player like Jerry Jeudy in return. If I happened to be unhappy with the return for the fourth pick, I would look to draft Ja’Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, or Travis Etienne. The other route they could go at the 4 spot is to draft the best quarterback available and demand a king’s ransom in return when trading. Overall, Late to Draft has a great chance to compete this season if they can hit on their draft picks or manipulate the board to his advantage.

Burrows Before Hoes

QB – Joe Burrow (3 years, $9,047,534), Sam Darnold (1 year, $7,561,929)

RB – Christian McCaffrey (5 years, $16,015,875), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (3 years, $2,705,393), Chris Carson (2 years, $5,212,500) Raheem Mostert (1 year, $2,900,000), Darrell Henderson (2 years, $1,053,001)

WR – Justin Jefferson (3 years, $3,280,701), Tyreek Hill (2 years, $18,000,000), D.K. Metcalf (2 years, $1,146,513), Cooper Kupp (3 years, $15,750,000), DeVante Parker (3 years, $7,625,000), Preston Williams (1 year, $588,333)

TE – Travis Kelce (5 years $14,312,500), Dallas Goedert (1 year, $1,406,068), Tyler Higbee (3 years, $7,250,000), Hayden Hurst (1 year, $2,759,007)

No moves after trade

Burrows Before Hoes was definitely the most interesting owner of any of the trades I broke down last week, and as I mentioned my take could be wrong and of course it kind of was. Last week, I had Quaranteam easily winning this trade. In 2020, Burrows Before Hoes had finished dead last, traded their draft pick away, and acquired a win now player like Kelce. When looking at all of this from the outside looking in, it looked like a really bad trade, but after a closer look this is what I have found.

Burrows Before Hoes dealt with tough injuries and had horrible quarterback play last season from Sam Darnold. Getting Christian McCaffrey and Joe Burrow back with Clyde Edwards-Helaire having a full year under his belt, Burrows Before Hoes is poised to compete this season, barring health of course. I did mention in last week’s article that this trade would make a lot of sense if Burrows Before Hoes had suffered major injuries in 2020 and as we have discussed that is exactly what happened. After all is said and done, I will call this a fair trade with it making sense for both owners. On the Burrows Before Hoes side, I really like the fact that they were able to get a first round pick back with Kelce to add a little more depth to the roster. If I were them and were wanting to make a serious run, I would look to trade future draft capital for another stud running back.

Quaranteam

QB – Tyrod Taylor (1 year, $5,500,000)

RB – Jonathan Taylor (3 years, $1,957,287), Dalvin Cook (5 years, $12,600,000), Ezekiel Elliott (6 years, $15,000,000), Le’Veon Bell (Free agent), James Conner (1 year, $1,750,000), Tevin Coleman (1 year, $1,100,000), Alexander Mattison (2 years, $867,793)

WR – Keenan Allen (4 years, $20,025,000), Chris Godwin (1 year, $15,983,000), Scotty Miller (2 years, $661,960), Bryan Edwards (3 years $1,173,113), Josh Reynolds (1 year, $1,750,000), Tyler Johnson (3 years, $902,355)

TE – George Kittle (5 years, $15,000,000), Gerald Everett (1 year, $6,000,000)

Moves after trade

Sent – Evan Engram (1 year, $6,013,000), Russell Gage (1 year, $654,049), A.J. Brown (2 years, $1,413,092), 2021 third round pick #7 

Received – George Kittle, 2021 first round pick #9

In my opinion, I saved the best trade for last. I have to say it was a brilliant set of moves, especially if they were planned ahead of time. Let me break down what Quaranteam was essentially able to pull off in just two trades. He was able to trade Travis Kelce for George Kittle, the ninth pick in this year’s draft, and to top it off he moved from the #8 pick to the #3 pick as well.

How was he able to do this you ask? He started by packaging Sam Darnold, Raheem Mostert, Travis Kelce, and pick #8 for Evan Engram, Carlos Hyde, A.J. Brown, and pick #3. Shortly after making that trade, he pulled off another blockbuster trade (details listed above). He took the rewards of trading Kelce (keeping pick #3) and swapped them for Kittle and another first round pick, losing basically nothing at the tight end spot after moving Kelce. I must give credit where credit is due and applaud Quaranteam on these moves, they are absolutely genius. The future of Quaranteam’s roster is extremely bright with extra picks, three stud running backs, and a tight end for the next 5-8 years potentially. If this were my team, I would be looking to add two of the top five quarterbacks in the draft even if it comes with a price of trading up. In Dynasty Owner, the quarterback position is extremely important, and this roster is just too good to waste not having a quarterback.

Conclusion

I had quite a bit of fun doing this article and getting to pick some of our owners; brains a little bit. The more trades I look at on Dynasty Owner the more I realize that some trades do not make sense until you really dive into them and break them down. In any other fantasy format, you can look at trades and easily see who got the better end of the deal 90% of the time, but in Dynasty Owner, there are many trades that just do not seem right. It is a tough task to get your brain to think about eating a bad contract to get a player back and things of that nature.

If you have not noticed yet, Dynasty Owner requires some out of the box thinking to be successful and if I have learned anything these last two weeks, it is that you can build a solid roster for this year and be hurting badly the following because of the challenge the cap presents for owners. Finally, in just one week we can put all these mock drafts to bed and finally have some landing spots for our incoming rookies. I may steer away from rebuilding and do a special draft article next week to change things up some for draft week, stay tuned! As always good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Contract Speculation: Cincinnati Bengals

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

Hello all and welcome back.  Free agent news has slowed as we move further away from free agency’s opening.  This was expected and happens each year, but one of my top free agents just signed last week.  His name is James Conner.  I spoke about Conner at length two weeks ago in my Steelers’ article.  I’m not going to belabor the point, but his new contract is worth talking about.  Let’s get to it…

The News

Marquise Goodwin

Goodwin signed with the Chicago Bears last week.  Details about his contract are not released yet, but it’s safe to assume he will be close to the league minimum.  I can’t imagine he would make over $1 million for 2021.  If you remember, Goodwin opted out for the 2020 season due to COVID reasons.  The fact that he is only owned in 4% of leagues is partly due to that fact, but don’t expect his DO ownership to rise above 10%.

Ito Smith

The Falcons released Ito Smith on Thursday.  This move comes after Atlanta signed veteran running back Mike Davis.  The move is bittersweet for me personally as I own both Davis and Smith in my BETA league.  This should give a slight bump to Davis, but I can nearly guarantee Atlanta will look to add an early round running back in the upcoming draft.  Speaking of adding running backs, they signed our next player to a deal as well.

Cordarrelle Patterson

Patterson has been signed by the Falcons.  He signed a single year deal worth 3 million dollars.  I honestly don’t know what this is going to mean for the Atlanta weapons.  My gut tells me that I shouldn’t put too much stock into it.  After all, Patterson is 30 years old and has yet to manage 470 receiving yards in any season.  You might say, “well maybe they will use him as a running back,” and I would agree.  I actually think it’s likely that he will have over 30 rushing attempts in 2021, but the point is that it probably won’t be enough to matter for his personal outlook.  Yes, all of his touches will take away from Davis, Ridley, Jones, and whichever offensive weapons ATL drafts, but I wouldn’t let it concern you.  As far as Patterson goes, I would stay away.  He is 3% owned and has massively disappointed for his first round draft capital.  In fact, this leads into a trivia question…

***In 2013, three wide receivers were taken in the first round.  One was Patterson, one has been massively successful and the other has been an extreme bust.  Name the other two receivers.

Julian Edelman

Edelman, at age 34, has decided to retire from professional football.  He had missed 14 games over the past three seasons.  He is owned in 18% of DO leagues so be sure to drop him before the 7 day window for free drops ends.

James Conner

I spoke quite a bit about Conner in my Steelers’ article.  Here is an excerpt for those that may have missed it…

“…This is a long way of saying that Conner’s value will decrease substantially in 2021, and unless he finds a way to receive more touches and/or increase his production, he will be relegated to middle tier running back value.  So, what do we do with him?  We wait.  I currently own Conner in my BETA league, and I am fine holding him until a new place of employment is discovered.  He will still be on a lower end running back contract, but Dynasty Owners need to accept the fact that he will not return 2018 value ever again.”

When I wrote this article, I was running with the assumption that Conner would make around $5 million per year.  Well, Conner Owners can rejoice in the fact that he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals for 1 year – 1.75 million dollars.  I’m not sure if this was a shock to you, but it sure was for me.  This means that Conner will make less per year than Mike Boone, Carlos Hyde, Devontae Booker, and Andy Janovich (among many others).  While I understand that Conner is not a top tier running back (or maybe even a middle tier running back), but he is better than all of those players, and I believe he should have been compensated more fairly.  But in the end, it is what it is.  A player’s value is determined by what a team is willing to pay him, and obviously Conner was happy enough to sign the contract.

Regardless, Conner Owners will be able to retain him for roughly one million dollars more per year than his previous contract.  This is great value and is a 65% pay cut from what I expected.  If he can work his way into any type of significant role in Arizona, he will be a very solid bench running back at worse.  Hold him with confidence, or (if you feel brave) send out an offer or two for him.

Contract Speculation

Now let’s talk about some current and former Bengals players.

One player that I have already written about is A.J. Green.  Green signed a single year contract worth 6 million dollars with the Arizona Cardinals.  He says goodbye to the Bengals, the only team he has ever played for.

John Ross has also left the Bengals.  He will play with the New York Giants in 2021.  In his four year career, the speedster was unable to eclipse 28 receptions in any season.  He will pair up with Daniel Jones in 2021 and bring a vertical threat to the Giants offence.

Samaje Perine resigned with the Bengals on a two year deal.  He will make $1.65 million per year.  Perine hasn’t been able to show much of his potential over his four year career.  His highlight season was also his rookie season as he had career highs in rushing attempts (175), rushing yards (603), receptions (22) and receiving yards (182).  Perine will come into 2021 as Joe Mixon’s backup (as Giovani Bernard has signed with the Bucs).  However, there is good reason to believe that Cinci will look at running back during the 2021 draft.

The final player I want to talk about today is Brandon Allen.  Allen is not a big name, but he does have the potential to provide value in 2021, especially in the first half of the season.  Allen re-signed with the Bengals for 1 year – 1.5 million dollars.  This move not only locks up Allen as the probable backup quarterback, but it is also possible that he will be the Bengals starting quarterback to start the season.  If you remember, Joe Burrow tore his ACL and MCL in November.  This was a devastating injury for both Burrow and the Bengals.  It was also unclear whether the injury would linger into 2021.  I’m not a doctor, and I have no new info on Burrow’s knee, but it is not outside the realm of possibility that he will miss at least a few games to start the season.  I know that teams and players like to be optimistic about injuries, but sometimes that optimism can go too far.  I truly hope Burrow will be ready for the start of the season, but if he isn’t, it’s likely you’ll be able to play Allen on your bench.  He will not be a league winner, but he should still be owned in most DO leagues on the off chance that Burrow gets injured again.  I am rostering him in my BETA league, and I have no intention of dropping him.

***The two wide receivers that were drafted before Cordarrelle Patterson in the 2013 NFL Draft are Tavon Austin (1.08, Rams) and DeAndre Hopkins (1.27, Texans).  Talk about quite a difference in careers…

As always, thank you for reading and continuing to stay up to date on all Dynasty Owner news.  Please follow us on Twitter @Dynasty_Owner, and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  We have only one more team to talk about in the AFC North and that is the Cleveland Browns.  They actually only had a single free agent that we need to talk about, and his contract has already been signed.  But we will get to that next week.  Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Prospect Preview: Kenneth Gainwell

Position: RBWeight: 201
College: MemphisAge: 22
Height: 5′ 8″247 Rating: 3 Stars (0.8280)

By: Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

Known colloquially as “the guy who kept Antonio Gibson ($1,233,159) at wide receiver”, Kenneth Gainwell has been gaining hype well into the draft process. His speed and explosiveness combined with his pass-catching production has gotten a lot of people excited in the fantasy football community, but outside of the stat sheet what does he look like as an NFL prospect?

College Production:

A one-year wonder, Gainwell had over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 2019. That included 1,459 on the ground and 610 through the air. His 6.3 yards per carry as well as his 12.0 yards per reception show off the explosiveness and playmaking ability that he can bring to a team. He then decided to opt-out of the 2020 college football season, so we never got to see him on the field again after that remarkable season.

Strengths:

  • Explosive Out of the Backfield
    • Like a rocket out of the backfield, Gainwell’s burst is impressive when he sees open grass. His acceleration opens up a lot of possibilities in an outside zone running scheme. Once he breaks outside and turns the corner, he’s got the top-end speed to finish runs as well. He doesn’t create a ton of yards after contact, but he gets into the second level of the defense very quickly.
  • Pass-Catching Production
    • With 51 catches in 2019 for 610 yards, Gainwell comes into this draft class as one of the top pass catchers out of the backfield. He has lined up often outside as a wide receiver and it shows with how he catches the ball down the field. He’s a weapon you can move around and use to attack a defense in multiple different ways. A lot of running backs can catch screens but not many can line up against a cornerback and get open. Gainwell can. He’s also pretty solid in pass protection.
  • Elusiveness
    • Perhaps my favorite trait for Gainwell, his athleticism is good in a straight line, but it’s truly impressive when you watch him laterally. He’s able to move back and forth in ways we don’t expect players to. He’s got a ton of wiggle in his hips and is able to make people miss not only in the open field, but also around the line of scrimmage. 

Weaknesses:

  • Hands (?)
    • So, this seems kind of backwards right? How can one of the top receiving backs in the class have a question mark next to “hands”? Well, it’s not that Gainwell has bad hands, it’s more that he’s a bit too inconsistent for me to overlook some of the minor issues I see on tape. He’s able to make some impressive catches, but he also has a couple drops. Yes drops do occasionally happen to everyone, but I’m more concerned with the amount of body catches he makes. For a player as highly-regarded as him, I just want to see him use his hands more to make these catches. Something to watch moving forward.
  • Impatient Runner & Tunnel Vision
    • Gainwell is a good athlete and a fun playmaker, but I wouldn’t consider him a great pure runner. Behind the line of scrimmage, he’s often just running to where the play was set up, without taking anytime to survey the defense. Sometimes this leads to him breaking away through a hole, but at the next level the defenses are faster, and he needs to be able to think ahead. If Gainwell can slow down just a bit once he gets the ball and learns to manipulate linebackers, we could see him go from being a solid receiving back to an all-purpose back, like his former teammate Antonio Gibson ($1,233,159).

Things to Watch:

Coming up to the NFL Draft, we’re all ready to just see where a player lands, and maybe even more importantly when they land. A player’s draft capital is very important to not only how much the team plans to use them, but also gives us an idea of how many chances they’re gonna get until the team moves on. I believe that the fantasy football community is likely higher on Gainwell than the scouts inside the NFL war rooms. We’ll see what this leads to on draft day, in regard to round 2, 3, or 4 draft capital.

Projected Round/Contract:

I expect Gainwell to go somewhere between the middle of the 3rd and the middle of the 4th round. He’s outside of that top tier of running backs this year, and I don’t believe that the NFL is going to grab as many running backs as early as last year. This likely pushes Gainwell down into late-Day 2/early-Day 3 territory. With a selection in the mid/late 3rd, his contract would likely look pretty similar to Damien Harris’ contract when he was picked 87th overall. That contract was signed for $3,631,136 over 4 years and comes out to $907,784 per year. As always, running backs on a rookie contract are a steal.

Team Fits:

Gainwell likely comes into the league as a 3rd down back, and there is a chance he becomes more than that, but I think his NFL role will be limited by both his size and abilities. With that being said, a good receiving back can be a solid fantasy football asset. A team that could now use a high-end receiving back is the Cincinnati Bengals. Yes, I know you’re probably very disappointed by that landing spot, but you also know that it’s a realistic landing spot for a team that just cut Giovani Bernard. Joe Mixon ($12 million) hasn’t been overly impressive in recent years and the team has refused to give him all the receiving work. Not great for fantasy, but Gainwell being added to the mix would be great overall for that offense.

Another team that could use a player like Gainwell plays out west, the Arizona Cardinals. The team has some holes on the defense to fix, so if they wait to address the running back, Gainwell could be there in the 3rd (possibly the 4th). It would be a murky backfield as Chase Edmonds ($728,090) and James Connor ($1.75 million) will be competing for snaps. Gainwell would have a fighting chance for touches against that backfield and it would be a nice fit for scheme as well as offer more upside for touches in the run game than most other landing spots.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

How Much of the Salary Cap Should I Use in the Draft?

By: Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

The salary cap. It’s the thing that makes Dynasty Owner different than other dynasty fantasy football leagues. It’s also why Dynasty Owner is the most realistic comparison to being a real NFL General Manager. Dynasty Owner uses real NFL salaries, not the daily fantasy game salaries that fluctuate from week to week or made up salaries, and a salary cap based on the NFL salary cap (70% of the NFL cap is the Dynasty Owner cap, $127.75 million in 2021).  When you participate in your Dynasty Owner start-up league draft, you will need to stay under that cap. Dynasty Owners also have to keep their teams under the salary cap for the entire season. If you want to pick up a player from the Free Agent Auction to replace someone on your roster who got injured or isn’t playing well, you’ll need to have salary cap room or cut someone from your roster. Same thing with trades – you can’t trade a rookie prospect with a salary of under $1 million for a veteran with a $10 million salary unless you have enough room under the salary cap to make the deal work. It’s a whole another level of dynasty than you get anywhere else.

To help Dynasty Owners preparing for a 2021 start-up draft, we have been looking at 2020 draft data to see if there are any strategies that helped League Winners capture their Championship in 2020. Several measures and draft strategies not involving salaries tested have proven to not matter, been inconclusive or straight up contradicted by the 2020 draft data. The only strategy tackled involving salary had a different outcome.

We found that Dynasty Owners who picked a player with a lower salary in the first round were more likely to win their League Championship than those who drafted higher salary players (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/03/how-to-draft-a-dynasty-owner-championship-team-part-ii/). In addition, Dynasty Owners who drafted players in the first round with salaries under $5 million were also more likely to overcome having that player miss a significant portion of the season or not play as well as projected than Dynasty Owners who drafted a player in the upper salary ranges with the same obstacles to overcome.

That was just a first round draft pick salary we looked then, but the question out there remains. Does the salary of the entire team that Dynasty Owners drafted in their start-up draft impact their ability to win their League?

Some people in 2020, such as myself, advocated using all or nearly all of the available $110 million salary cap, while others, such as Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer, preferred to not go right up to the $110 million cap, but to leave some wiggle room to make post-draft moves. When drafting, others employed a strategy of drafting low to leave their team with a lot of room for post-draft moves. In the Experts league that I participated in, the Dynasty Rewind team only used $85.8 million of the $110 million salary cap – leaving themselves with $24.2 million in cap room. Everyone else spent more, but they won the League. Only a handful of League winners used as little of the salary cap as they did.

That’s just one league. Let’s check out the salary data from all of the League Champions in 2020 and see if there are any differences or trends in the data that might be helpful for Dynasty Owners participating in a 2021 draft.

All salary data listed are from the 2020 Dynasty Owner season which had a $110 million salary cap on draft day, but was increased to $112 million for rosters due to COVID-19 considerations.

Overall League Winner Salary Cap Usage

There was a pretty even distribution in salary cap usage among all League Winners. About one in six (17%) drafted players with $90 million or less in salaries, leaving themselves $20 million or more in cap room. Two percent left themselves $30 million or more. Those Dynasty Owners had enough room to add any non-QB available in the Free Agent Auction and some even had enough room to add one of the top paid QBs left undrafted in their league. An additional 22% went up to $100 million but still left themselves between $10 million and $20 million, enough for some high-salary players who may have not been drafted. That’s around two-fifths (39%) of Dynasty Owner teams with enough salary cap room after the draft to add a significant player to their roster.

Another one-sixth (17%) of owners drafted between $100 million and $105 million and still 22% more went up to but not over $109 million. Only 22% of Dynasty Owners drafted more than $109 million in salaries and left themselves little to no room for additional players after their draft. Most of the Dynasty Owners who went over $109 million went pretty much as close to the $110 million salary cap as they possibly could, including one team that had less than $3,000 in salary cap room after their draft. A pretty impressive feat by the Midnight Marauderz.

Overall Draft Salaries% of Winners
Under $80 million2%
$80 million – $90 million15%
$90 million – $100 million22%
$100 million – $105 million17%
$105 million – $109 million22%
$109 million or higher22%
Mean$ 100,363,566
Median$ 103,139,930

The average League winner spent just over $100 million ($100,363,566), while half of the winners spent under the $103.14 million median and half spent more.

The Salary Cap and the Chase for the Ring

Everyone wants to win their League first and foremost. Then, there is the additional prize that Dynasty Owner offers to the “best of the best” – the chance to win the Chase for the Ring and be the best Dynasty Owner of 2021. The Dynasty Owners who finished in the Top 25 and the Top 10 of the Chase for the Ring in 2020 were these Dynasty Owners last season and they were more likely to spend more than just a regular League winner when drafting.

About half of the “best of the best” spent over $105 million during their draft, more than the 44% of all League winners who spent over that amount, while around three in ten spent less than $100 million compared to two-fifths (39%) of all League winners. The mean and median amount spent by this group were also higher than all League winners.

Overall Draft Salaries% of Winners% of Top 25% of Top 10
Under $80 million2%4%0%
$80 million – $90 million15%12%10%
$90 million – $100 million22%12%20%
$100 million – $105 million17%20%20%
$105 million – $109 million22%24%0%
$109 million or higher22%28%50%
Mean$ 100,363,566$ 101,100,045$ 101,979,095
Median$ 103,139,930$ 107,470,993$ 105,872,516

While having some flexibility in your payroll for post-draft player movement was important overall, it was apparently less important to make it into the Chase for the Ring Leaderboard. However, the top two teams (Chase for the Ring winner Barbee Kilgore and runner-up Quaranteed for Greatness) both spent between $100 million and $105 million and left themselves some salary cap room after the draft. This spending is one of the few similarities between those teams as they competed in different types of leagues ($50 cash for Barbee Kilgore vs. For the Love of the Game for Quaranteed for Greatness), different months (September vs. June) and had different first round picks (Patrick Mahomes vs. Alvin Kamara).

Does the type of league and when a Dynasty Owner League winner drafted have anything to do with how they employed the salary cap during their League draft? Let’s find out.

League Type and Draft Date As Factors in Drafting

There are many things that cause fantasy football players to alter their draft strategy. Younger players are valued more in dynasty leagues versus re-draft since you keep your roster from year-to-year. Quarterbacks are more valuable in Superflex leagues for example since most teams will start two of them are there are few great ones. Scoring systems can change things up as well with some players being more valuable in Points Per Reception (PPR) leagues than they are in non-PPR, or vice versa. However, with Dynasty Owner having a standard scoring system outlined in the Dynasty Owner Constitution (https://app.dynastyowner.com/how-to-play) and all leagues being dynasty format, the differences are less pronounced. The only differences that we can really look at are the type of league (For the Love of the Game, $50 cash leagues, $100 cash leagues and Beta leagues) and when the league draft occurs.

What we see by league type is that Dynasty Owners who put the most of their own money into playing were more likely to leave themselves some salary cap room for after the draft. Just one-third (33%) of them spent $105 million or more compared with 44% overall. The same percentage spent between $90 million and $100 million to leave themselves cap room to pick up a player or two off from the Free Agent Auction after their draft was completed.

Overall Draft Salaries% of FLOTG% of $50 Cash% of $100 Cash% of Beta
Under $80 million5%0%0%0%
$80 million – $90 million14%15%11%22%
$90 million – $100 million21%19%33%11%
$100 million – $105 million14%19%22%11%
$105 million – $109 million21%19%22%33%
$109 million or higher24%27%11%22%
Mean$ 99,429,280$ 101,156,420$ 100,589,482$ 101,981,270
Median$ 103,430,992$ 104,299,919$ 100,842,596$ 107,316,655

For the Love of the Game League winners were right about on par with all winners in terms of being at the upper and lower ends of draft spending compared to all League winners as were League winners in $50 cash leagues. Both groups had just under half of their League winners spend big and use $105 million or more on Draft Day (46% – $50 cash vs. 45% – For the Love of the Game) or be thrifty and spend $90 million or less (15% – $50 cash vs. 19% – For the Love of the Game).

Beta owners, who don’t pay an entry fee in return for playing Dynasty Owner during its launch period, appear to be the big Draft Day spenders. A majority of the Beta League Winners spent $105 million or more in salary during the draft. If you think you’re in a new league with a bunch of Beta users, then feel free to use this information to your advantage when drafting.

Since you’re not figuring out a draft schedule with a dozen friends, co-workers or family members, Dynasty Owners also have the ability to choose when they draft. Our 2021 Ring winner Viktor specifically mentioned that he waited to join a league and draft until closer to the start of the season. Other Dynasty Owners were chomping at the bit to draft and did so in June as soon as it was possible to do so.

In the first article on how to draft a Dynasty Owner Championship team (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/02/how-to-draft-a-dynasty-owner-championship-team-part-i/), we found that more of the “best of the best” drafted before Training Camps opened on July 25th and drafting even earlier, like being in one of the first drafts in June, was not a liability. We’ve seen that the type of league can have an impact on how much of the salary cap was used by the League Champion, but does when the draft happens impact salary cap usage at all?

That depends on the timeframe being used. If we only look at it by whether the draft was before or after camps opened, then there’s really not much difference.

Overall Draft Salaries% of Winners% of Pre-Camp% of Post-Camp
Under $80 million2%0%4%
$80 million – $90 million15%24%8%
$90 million – $100 million22%17%26%
$100 million – $105 million17%17%17%
$105 million – $109 million22%26%19%
$109 million or higher22%17%26%
Mean$ 100,363,566$ 99,597,056$ 100,970,989
Median$ 103,139,930$ 101,615,136$ 103,981,615

There were twice as many League Winners who drafted before camps opened who spent under $90 million than did so after camps opened (24% pre-camp vs. 12% post-camp), but spending in the $105 million or more range was similar.

Drafting closer to the start of the NFL season meant that more of the salary cap was used by League Winners. Over half (53%) of the League Winners who drafted after cut day on September 5th last year spent $105 million or more compared to 42% who drafted before cut day. Few (5%) League Winners who drafted after cut day spent $90 million or less. In comparison, one-fifth (21%) of those drafting before cut day did so.

Overall Draft Salaries% of Leagues% of Pre-Cut Day% of Post-Cut Day
Under $80 million2%3%0%
$80 million – $90 million15%18%5%
$90 million – $100 million22%19%33%
$100 million – $105 million17%19%10%
$105 million – $109 million22%22%24%
$109 million or higher22%20%29%
Mean$ 100,363,566$ 99,751,057$ 102,521,932
Median$ 103,139,930$ 103,132,485$ 105,447,761

Based on these results, it seems inevitable that League Winners who drafted as soon as it was possible in June were more likely to spend less than the League Winners who drafted in September. As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend”.

It appears that Dynasty Owner League Winners who drafted both early (June) and late (September) were most likely to spend big and use $105 million or more of their salary cap during the draft. Three-fifths (59%) of June drafters spent that amount as did half (52%) of September drafters. League winners who drafted in July were less likely to have spent $105 million or more in their draft with just one-quarter (23%) doing so. July drafters also had lower mean and median draft amounts with both being under $100 million.

Overall Draft Salaries% of June% of July% of August% of September
Under $80 million0%0%7%0%
$80 million – $90 million18%27%11%4%
$90 million – $100 million9%27%18%35%
$100 million – $105 million14%23%21%9%
$105 million – $109 million41%9%14%26%
$109 million or higher18%14%29%26%
Mean$ 101,723,633$ 97,235,980 $ 99,912,360 $ 102,603,531 
Median$ 107,614,436$ 98,585,515 $ 104,003,048 $ 105,447,761 

Conclusion

Because Dynasty Owner uses actual NFL salaries, it stands to reason that salary cap strategy during the draft should also be important. We found in one of the early analyses that the salary of first round Dynasty Owner draft picks is significant, and now we found differences in how much of the salary cap League Winners use during their drafts. It’s just another thing that Dynasty Owners need to factor in while putting their teams together.

Using most of the $110 million salary cap in 2020 was the strategy that more League Winners employed with more Chase for the Ring contenders and those who drafted early (June) and late (September) employing this strategy. However, Dynasty Owner League Winners playing in the highest entry fee leagues ($100) were the most cautious and less likely to spend more of their salary cap. For Dynasty Owners in 2021 start-up leagues, these findings could influence how they attack the $127.75 million salary cap when drafting their teams.

Speaking of drafting, we are less than two weeks away from the NFL draft and soon after that, rookie drafts for everyone who is in a league started in 2020 will commence. There will also be those 2021 start-up drafts beginning soon afterwards as well. The season is getting closer!

My articles to get 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 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) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Thursdays.

Please read all of their articles and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Thanks, and have a great day!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Breaking Down Trades from Rebuilding Teams

By: Justin Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)

I know I have said this 100 times over by now, but I love Fantasy Football. I still remember my very first draft with my uncle and his work buddies. Before being invited to the fantasy league I had been extremely interested in joining one, but I was a bit too young for most leagues to let me in. About a week after being shut down more than a couple of times I got a call from my uncle, who happened to be at his draft just around the corner from my house. I answered and heard those magic words, if you can get down here in 20 minutes you can join our fantasy league. I smiled ear to ear, hopped on my bike as fast as I could and pedaled my little heart out. I distinctly remember telling myself on the way into the house to just act like I know what I am doing, which fell apart before my first pick ever happened. I walked into the house and was greeted by everyone welcoming me to the big boy league and them telling me about their first ever draft picks and saying that it is something I would remember as well.

After the small talk was over one of the guys offered me a football magazine, I politely declined saying I am good. I did some research and I know who I want. This was met with a laugh. I had the 7th overall pick and as the guys were picking ahead of me, I knew I was in some trouble and quickly rethought turning the magazine down. I then asked if I could still use it. I needed the magazine because I thought for sure quarterbacks like Peyton Manning would be taken very early. To my surprise, it was a bunch of running backs coming off the board early and often. After reading some of the magazine I knew I was lost and decided to follow the rankings in the magazine as close as I could. My first ever pick ended up being Edgerrin James, not a quarterback and I must say those rankings worked out well for me as I finished 2nd in my first ever fantasy league.

After the draft was over, I knew fantasy football was going to be something I enjoyed for a long time, but that was not what hooked me to this game. The moment I had made my first trade was when I was hooked and had a whole different outlook on this awesome game. I traded James and a bench receiver for LaDainian Tomlinson and from that moment I was hooked knowing that any player I wanted could be had for a price. Trading for someone as fun to watch as L.T. in my first season had me absolutely hooked and I knew this game was going to be a lifelong hobby for myself.

Now that storytime is over, I wanted to take this week and do things a bit different than normal, while keeping the rebuilding theme going. I had Steve Van Tassell look up some trades from what he felt were teams that were rebuilding/retooling, because of what their record reflects. Before getting into the article, I want to take a second and say that I have not examined any of these owners’ rosters so everything will be looked at in a vacuum. The main reason I decided not to look through the rosters to understand the trades better is that I figured it would be a fun drill to see if I am thinking the same as some of these owners, while giving readers my thoughts as well. I also have not spoken to any of these owners to get any insight on why these trades were made, which was also done on purpose. If you happen to be one of these owners feel free to contact me on Twitter and let me know if we are thinking along the same lines or if I am completely off with my reasoning.

Next week, I will do a breakdown of each of these rebuilding teams and their future now that these trades have taken effect. I also want to say that just because I may have a differing opinion on these trades than some of you does not mean you are wrong by any means, heck it may mean I am wrong. Fantasy football is a game of opinions and luck where no one is ever right all the time, it is the beauty of this game. All of that said let’s get into some Dynasty Owner trades!

Reminder!!! If you like to discuss or see other owners’ trades, please post them on Twitter with @Dynasty_Owner or with #Dotrades!

Trade #1

Miami Hitmen – Record 5-8, finished in 9th place.
  • Received – QB Joe Burrow (3 years, $9,047,534 per year), 2023 2nd round pick
Late to Draft – Record 3-10, finished in 12th place.
  • Received – WR Laviska Shenault (3 years, $1,924,017 per year), 2021 1st round pick, 2023 1st round pick 
  • Has picks #1, 3, and 4 in the 2021 draft
Winner – Both

My initial thoughts on our first trade listed is that both teams won this deal pending the health of Burrow. Both owners are in somewhat of a rebuilding situation but with Miami Hitmen finishing 5-8, they may only be a few pieces away from playoff contention.

Miami Hitmen – I feel the Miami Hitmen could have come on strong at the end of last season, or even had someone like CMC on injured reserve making their record worse than it should have been. If this happens not to be the case, I still do not think it is a bad deal for him as he will still get a young stud QB who has shown he can produce for fantasy. I feel getting a 2023 2nd pick on top also helps offset the cost of the 2023 1st pick he is sending out. My final thought is that I do not blame him a bit for making this trade to get Burrow over a rookie QB who may be a bust. As we have all learned over the years there is no such thing as a lock in the NFL draft!

Late to Draft – Looking at the record for Late to Draft, I love the direction he has his team moving in. As I mentioned earlier, I have not looked at this roster but having 3 of the top 4 picks in the draft and getting an extra 2023 1st pick are great building blocks for any owner. I hate to send a quarterback like Burrow away, but with him owning the number 1 pick, Lawrence will be the obvious replacement. If Lawrence is what all the scouts think he is going to be then Late to Draft will be incredibly happy with his end of the deal. I also love that he was able to get a quality young receiver in Shenault back in this deal as well. If I am right and Late to Draft is starting a rebuild, they are heading in the right direction. I am speaking blind right now, but I would recommend taking 2 QBs with 2 of your top 3 draft selections and lock that position down for years to come.

Trade #2

Burrows before Hoes – Record 2-11, finished in 12th place.
  • Received – QB Sam Darnold (1 year, $7,561,929 per year), RB Raheem Mostert (1 year, $2,900,000 per year), TE Travis Kelce (5 years, $14,312,500 per year), 2021 1st round pick #8
Quaranteam – Record 7-6, finished in 6th place.
  • Received – TE Evan Engram (1 year, $6,013,000 per year), RB Carlos Hyde (2 years, $2,250,000 per year), WR A.J. Brown (2 years, $1,413,092 per year), 2021 1st round pick #3
Winner – Quaranteam

In my opinion this is the most interesting trade on the list simply because I cannot quite figure it out without really looking at the teams. My initial thought is why did Burrows before hoes trade for someone like Kelce, while moving down in the draft after finishing in last place in 2020.

Burrows before Hoes – If I am being completely honest, I will be wrong in my take on this trade. After finishing in 12th place in this league, I expected this trade to be the other way around with the team on the edge of the playoffs trading down in the draft to get Kelce. All of that said this roster could have had Saquon Barkley, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Golladay on it that I am not seeing that would make this trade make perfect sense. Even if that is not the case and his roster is still somewhat bare, he can trade all 3 players he received for a hefty haul. My main issue with this side of the deal is Kelce’s age and the fact he may be on the decline by the time this roster is ready to compete, as well as trading out of the number 3 spot where a stud will surely be waiting.

Quaranteam – I personally feel that Quaranteam did an excellent job with this trade setting himself up great for the future. I also think that he did one of the hardest things in fantasy, which is to sell a player like Kelce after squeaking into the playoffs last season, instead of holding him and being stuck in the middle again. Looking at this side of the deal Quaranteam got younger, cheaper, moved up in the draft, and did not lose much in terms of talent coming back to their roster. I love that he was able to get Brown, a young tight end in Engram, and moved up 5 spots in the 1st round all while getting significantly cheaper salaries and potentially saving himself from having to drop a quality player for salary reasons. I feel getting the number 3 pick back was the key in this trade which gives this owner so much freedom figuring out which way to go in the draft. He could even take Kelce’s replacement in Kyle Pitts, which would save him significant cap space at the position.

Trade #3

WLN Savages – Record 4-9, finished 11th place.
  • Received – WR Bryan Edwards (3 years, $1,173,113 per year), WR Brandon Aiyuk (3 years, $3,132,835 per year), 2022 2nd round pick 2023, 3rd round pick, 2021 1st round pick #10
Havana Club 79 – Record 9-4, finished in 2nd place.
  • Received – WR Keenan Allen (4 years, $20,025,000 per year), 2021 1st round pick #2
Winner – Both

Out of all three trades this one was by far the easiest to figure out, to the point I can see what kind of rosters each owner has in my head. I feel both owners went into this trade with a plan and executed their plan to perfection. This is a classic trade between a rebuilding owner and an owner who is ready to compete.

WLN Savages – The owner of WLN has taken the first and hardest step, admitting it is time to rebuild. I know looking at this deal some may say why would a rebuilding owner move down 7 picks in the rookie draft and at first, I thought the same, but after deeper digging it, all makes sense. WLN has no use for an aging receiver like Allen and was potentially going to cut him for salary purposes. Instead of outright dropping Allen, they went out and found a trade instead of netting nothing for him. Yes, the trade did come with a price of moving back in the 1st, but he was also able to get a young stud in Aiyuk who may be getting a huge upgrade at QB and came on extremely strong at the end of last season, Edwards who the Raiders love but had a disappointing 2020, a 2022 2nd round pick and an extra 3rd round pick in 2023. Overall, I feel WLN will be happy with this trade if they can turn the #10 overall pick into fantasy points.

Havana Club 79 – Is there a more painful way to end the fantasy season than finishing in 2nd place? It is something that will send you into the offseason ready to wheel and deal in hopes of making that last upgrade that gets you over the hump. I love the fact that it seems Havana Club 79 is not willing to overpay for players that might help him win. In all honesty, Allen is not a massive upgrade over Aiyuk if he can stay healthy but nonetheless, it is an upgrade. When you are competing for championships sometimes that is all you need is a few extra points. The fact Havana Club 79 was able to get a top tier receiver with a stud QB and move up to #3 in the draft is a big-time haul for someone ready to win. If Allen stays healthy and Havana gets the 3rd overall pick correct, he should be competing for a championship next season, maybe even the Chase for the Ring.

Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier, please do not hold me hostage if we disagree on these trades, but please do contact me on Twitter so we can discuss them. In any sports fantasy league, trading is one of the most crucial factors of winning or rebuilding and other owner’s opinions are directly correlated to this aspect. When trading you must know what the other owner wants and/or needs to get a deal done quickly, you also should try to understand how they value certain players before sending offers. If anyone of you have ever tried to rebuild a team using only your players and draft picks then you know exactly how monumental of a task it is to correctly complete, and not one I recommend trying.

What I am trying to say here is do not get discouraged because you were turned down twice because other owners think Corey Davis stinks and you want too much for him, in these cases send out a few messages and try again. Overall if you want to have a fun and fast rebuild, I highly recommend trading when there is a good deal in front of you, or that you start some trade conversations to get deals going yourself. You will be surprised how much 2 or 3 messages can change the outlook and understanding of any trade. I hope this was something you all enjoyed and gained a little knowledge from. As always good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring quest!

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Contract Speculation: Baltimore Ravens

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

By the time you read this article, we will be almost a month into free agency.  A majority of free agents have already been signed, but some remain.  My articles over the past month have been frontloaded with signing news, and they have been taking up the majority of the articles themselves.  As news slows, I’m going to be bringing more breakdowns of players on the specific teams that I’m talking about.  Today, we will talk a little bit of news and then about the Baltimore Ravens.  The Ravens are a fitting team to talk about this week as they still have a couple (more than most) free agents from their 2020 team.  These free agents are semi-big names and are definitely worth a speculation discussion.  Before that though, let me catch you up on some recent news…

The News

Sam Darnold

The biggest news of the past few weeks is, without a doubt, the Sam Darnold trade.  Darnold was traded from the NY Jets to the Carolina Panthers for a 2021 6th round pick, a 2022 2nd round pick and a 2022 4thround pick.  While Darnold finally escaped the grasp of Adam Gase, he will also leave the only NFL team he’s ever played for and join a Panthers team in need of a long term solution at quarterback.  There are many layers to this trade, so I’ll go through them one by one.

This is good news for Darnold, no doubt.  There were very few spots he could have gone that would have been a downgrade from New York.  With the Panthers, he will join the most talented NFL roster he has ever played with.  These players include Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore and of course Christian McCaffrey.  The future is bright for Darnold, and I expect a big career boost in 2021.

This is good news for the Panthers’ skill players as a whole.  Teddy Bridgewater has shown a lack of throwing the ball “downfield”.  In fact, in 2020 the Panthers ranked 22nd in the NFL in intended air yards.  They also ranked 22nd in intended air yards per pass attempt.  Carolina is in need of a quarterback that will push the ball down the field, and I have little doubt that Darnold will try to do exactly that.

Teddy Bridgewater is a player that clearly does not benefit from this trade.  I believe that Darnold is the more talented quarterback and that he will be the season long starter in 2021.  Teddy had his chance in 2020 (albeit with no CMC), and he underperformed.  He finished the 2020 season with 3,733 passing yards which ranked as QB17.  Look for the Panthers to move on from Bridgewater as $21,000,000 will be too much to pay for a backup quarterback.

Kalen Ballage

Kalen Ballage has signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The deal is 1 year – $920,000.  This is a very cheap contract for a player signing on a team that desperately needs a starting running back.  That being said, I do not think Ballage is the Week 1 starting running back.  I’m not even convinced the Steelers Week 1 starting running back has been drafted into the NFL yet.  That’s right, I think it’s possible (maybe even likely) that the Steelers are starting a rookie running back at the beginning of the 2021 season.  Even if they don’t, Ballage will have an uphill climb to take the starting spot away from Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland.

Mohamed Sanu

Here is an odd signing in my opinion.  Sanu has signed with the 49ers.  If you remember, the 31 year old wide receiver played for San Fran in the beginning part for the 2020 season.  Sanu’s production has declined each of the past two seasons including an underwhelming 2021 season where he only played in ten games and totaled 44.4 fantasy points.  He signed a single year contract worth $1,140,000.  Even with the cheap contract, don’t expect Owners to rush and pick him up.  He is owned in only 4.12% of leagues.

Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins has signed with the Baltimore Ravens.  He will make $5 million for a single year.  It’s hard to believe that Sammy is only 27 years old.  In my mind, it feels like he has been in the NFL much longer than seven years.  Regardless, he has not lived up to his 4th overall pick draft capital.  The pinnacle of Watkins career was his sophomore season.  That season he had 60 rec – 1,047 rec yards – 9 TDs.  This was a very solid season, and Watkins’ career outlook seemed bright.  Well Sammy was unable to pass 52 receptions or 700 yards in any season after that.  I do think Watkins can be valuable in Baltimore, but it will probably be more of a “real team value” and not fantasy value.  I’ve been offered a trade for Watkins several times since this signing, and I have declined all offers.  I’m going to need to see his breakout first before I can invest in him.  It also doesn’t help that Baltimore ranked dead last in pass attempts and passing completions for 2020.  The volume is just not going to be reliable.

Willie Snead

Willie Snead has been signed by Las Vegas.  The contract is 1 year – $1,127,500.  This is a fine value for a player like him.  I don’t think anyone expected him to receive a contract much more than this.  It will also be hard to see how Snead finds the field much in 2021.  He will start the season behind John Brown, Henry Ruggs and probably Bryan Edwards on the depth chart.

Contract Speculation

Let’s start with a few more Ravens players that have already signed contracts.  Gus Edwards was a restricted free agent coming into this offseason, and he has been given a second round designation as he was given a tender.  This means that he will continue to play for Baltimore, at least for one more season.  The numbers work out to be $3,384,000 for this year given that the designation was a second round.  Expect Edwards to continue to be a thorn in the side of J.K. Dobbins Owners.

Nick Boyle is a player that some people think shouldn’t be mentioned as he is not owned in a single Dynasty Owner league.  I’m including him for one reason, and it’s not because I’m expecting a breakout season from this 28 year old tight end.  I’m including him because Mark Andrews Owners need to know that Boyle is still a factor in Baltimore, and he will take targets away from Andrews.  I don’t anticipate he will take many receptions (14 in 2020, 31 in 2019), but as I mentioned earlier, the Ravens pass less than any other NFL team.  These targets are scarce and valuable.  Not to mention the fact that Boyle is getting high value targets (redzone, tenzone, etc.).  Boyle should not be owned with a yearly salary of $6.5 million, but this signing will hamper Mark Andrews, if only a little.

And now we have two former Ravens to talk about.  They are Robert Griffin III and Dez Bryant.  I don’t anticipate that either will re-sign with Baltimore.  If they were going to re-sign, I believe it would have happened by now.

RG3

Griffin has been relegated to a backup role over the past three seasons.  That will be the best case scenario for him in 2021.  I don’t even think that him being a backup is guaranteed as he remains unsigned.  RG3 will make between 1-3 million dollars when he is signed (similar to his 2020 salary).  The top possible landing spots for him have to be NYJ, ATL or DEN.  To be clear, I don’t think he could be the starter for any of these teams, but a backup position is likely.  Griffin can be dropped in all leagues if you need some cap room.

Dez Bryant

I doubt that Bryant will return to Baltimore as well.  The most likely landing spots would be TEN or PHI.  Both teams are in need of a wide receiver, although I’m not sure Dez fits the description of what they are looking for.  If Dez decides to play in 2021, he will make around 2 million dollars for a single year.

Well, that wraps up everything I wanted to talk about today.  Thank you for reading.  Please follow us on Twitter @Dynasty_Owner, and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Next week I’ll be talking about the Bengals current and already signed free agents.  Take care and be safe.

TheJerk