Is there a better time of year to be a Dynasty Owner player? All in a relatively short span we had free agency in the NFL, free agency in Dynasty Owner, the NFL draft, and our rookie drafts here on Dynasty Owner, which start May 28th. In just a few months we, as owners, have had a ton of new information to process and millions of different player takes to digest. Have no fear the culmination is coming, in just a few weeks we will all be able to sit back and relax a little while we all try to process what comes next for our rosters.
On May 28th, we will all start our rookie drafts and for some owners it’s time to start planning for the future with a few great rebuilding picks. Rookie drafts are where teams are built in all dynasty formats, but especially here on Dynasty Owner where value matters most. I came across an excellent tweet from @Dynasty_Owner today which asked who owners would rather have, DeVonta Smith or Rashod Bateman in rookie drafts. At first my brain told me to click Smith and continue scrolling, but when looking closer I chose Bateman, and I think I would time and time again in a vacuum. I bring this up because this is a fantastic example of what makes Dynasty Owner different from everyone else, because outside of Bateman die hard truthers no one would take Bateman over the Slim Reaper in any format…… Except Dynasty Owner. I also feel there are plenty of situations where I would take Smith over Bateman as well, for instance if I am rebuilding and have ample cap space, I am taking Smith because he is the better talent, but if I am contending, or rebuilding with limited space I would roll with Bateman 9 times out of 10.
I have been writing for Dynasty Owner close to a year now and the way I look at things in this format has changed dramatically. What do I mean by changed dramatically? When I started Dynasty Owner, I knew cheap quarterbacks were a great value, but I was looking in the wrong places. My first draft I took Daniel Jones and Sam Darnold a little later in the draft thinking I could load up elsewhere with all of the space I saved having zero veteran quarterbacks, and boy was I wrong. I have also started to look at contracts much more than who the player is because as fantasy players we are drawn to names but in Dynasty Owner we need to be drawn to valuable contracts. I want to touch back on the Rashod Bateman versus DeVonta Smith argument again to really hammer these two different points home. As a rebuilding owner, you should more than likely take the better talent regardless of price. The reason for this is you should have a bunch of cap space and with a weaker roster you need the best players you can get for the future. If you are a contending owner, you are likely limited in cap space and would take Bateman who should have similar production to Smith over the next season or two. All in all, if you’re contending sometimes you have to make small sacrifices like this to remain flexible longer. The other interesting thing could be the fact Bateman may fetch more in a trade in 2021 because of his low DD/PT (Dynasty Dollars per Point) which brings in a completely different strategy if you’re building a little further out.
The next couple articles I wanted to jump back into the top 10 players theme, because they are a lot of fun and tend to drum up some debate. In this article, we will be talking about the top 5 rookie DD/PT values for the new rookies coming in at the quarterback position and the top 5 DD/PT values for the position players as well. The only factors in these rankings will be how I think these players finish in terms of DD/PT in 2021, and how I think they will help rebuilding owners. Lastly, some of these players on here are ones I would draft and plan to trade around midseason as a rebuilding owner.
Justin Fields – Chicago Bears (4 years, $4,717,988)
At number 1 we have the draft’s most fascinating player, Justin Fields. The Bears wisely traded up to pick number 11 to draft the Ohio State product and I feel he will be playing sooner rather than later. The one thing that could really hurt Fields’ DD/PT in 2021 is the fact the Bears may roll with Andy Dalton for a few weeks, or maybe even longer. If I were on the board with the 1.01, the only QB I would take over Fields is none other than Trevor Lawrence. It seems like just yesterday Fields was the clear cut number 2 guy, who some had neck and neck with Lawrence and somehow between then and now (with no games being played), Fields fell to the 4th best QB based on the evaluators. Fields as a prospect is not perfect, but then again who is? The kid is tough as nails and in my opinion has unfairly had his name drug through the mud during the draft process. I look for Fields to come out with a massive chip on his shoulder and put the critics to rest, but I’m also an Ohio State homer with a little bit of a bias. I do feel the Bears have solid pieces in place for Fields to mature and grow over time, but the fact they cut their starting left tackle and will depend on rookie Tevin Jenkins is a bit worrisome. Fields does have solid rushing upside as well which is a huge benefit for a rookie QB when things break down.
Trevor Lawrence – Jacksonville Jaguars (4 years, $9,198,372)
The number 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft is not number 1 on this list. I am not saying I think Justin Fields will be better than Trevor Lawrence, I just think the way the draft played out Fields has more upside in 2021 because of his contract. The Jaguars have done a great job in making sure Lawrence has enough playmakers on the roster to succeed, especially when they grabbed his college teammate Travis Etienne. I don’t necessarily think Etienne will be a fantasy stud this season, but I do think the familiar face will help put Lawrence at ease. If anyone takes Lawrence over Fields, I will not blame them a bit as I will probably do the same in one of my leagues. The thing I love most about Lawrence is the fact that he has excellent running ability and went to a team that has a coach who loves to run the ball with his quarterback in Urban Meyer. Lawrence is one of the rare cases where he has been the number 1 prospect of this class since he was basically in diapers and has dominated at every level of competition. The one thing that will easily vault Lawrence, or the number 3 player to the top of this list is the fact they will both likely start from day 1, while Fields may not.
Zach Wilson – New York Jets (4 years, $8,787,670)
I wanted to put Trey Lance here in the worst way possible, but I couldn’t because I feel it will be a half season before we see Lance start a game. I am not much of a Zach Wilson fan, but do believe the Jets have made some solid moves to put him in a solid position to do well moving forward. Wilson will get the opportunity to start from day 1 in New York which will help his DD/PT tremendously over someone like Trey Lance, or Mac Jones. Wilson has an absolute cannon for an arm and has great accuracy, but I still have my reservations simply because New York is brutal, especially for a kid from a small college who doesn’t exactly have a track record to show us anything different. As rebuilding owners it’s not a crazy thought to take Lance over Wilson, but if you’re looking for pure value in 2021, Wilson should be a solid choice. If you end up with Wilson and he starts off hot you will likely get a bundle for him in a trade, or you keep him and hope to have a solid QB for the next few years at a massive discount.
Trey Lance – San Francisco 49ers (4 years, $8,526,319)
The biggest unknown of the draft may end up being the most polarizing player in the entire class. Trey Lance has had the most unusual runup to the draft we have ever seen with his team only playing in one game in 2020, which he was pretty bad in. Yet, somehow through all that, Trey Lance still heard his name called 3rd overall in the 2021 NFL draft. If there is one coach, I trust in the NFL to develop a quarterback, it’s Kyle Shanahan. I looked back briefly through Shanahan’s career, and he has made winners out of Matt Schaub, Brian Hoyer, RG3, Matt Ryan, and Jimmy G, taking the last two to Super Bowls. The 49ers are a team built to win right now and I fully expect Lance to be on the field at some point with Shanahan getting the most out of his talent in diverse ways.
Mac Jones – New England Patriots (4 years, $3,896,588)
The final quarterback on my list is the kid who will go from playing for the greatest college coach of all time to playing for the greatest NFL coach of all time. Does it get any better than that? I feel Jones will do well in New England as he has been coached on the same team first philosophies throughout college. I have also heard he is a very intelligent young man which helps on a Belichick coached team. I don’t see Jones ever finishing in the top 5 of fantasy quarterbacks solely because he has zero rushing upside to his game, and as we have all seen lately a mobile QB has a much easier time producing fantasy numbers. The other reason I have Jones last on the list is the fact I don’t know that he plays much this season with the presence of Cam Newton in Foxboro. If something were to happen to Cam early on, we could see Jones vault up this list. If we have learned anything over the years, it’s nothing is a guarantee and while it’s not likely Jones could very well be the best of the bunch, though I highly doubt it.
The Position Players
Najee Harris – Pittsburgh Steelers (4 years, $3,261,861
At number 1 we have the hands down, clear cut number 1 player in the entire draft – Najee Harris! If this is the first article of mine you have read you will soon learn I love the Steelers and that you can never go wrong drafting one of their players. All jokes aside I think Harris had the best landing spot of any rookie to pair with his very impressive profile. The biggest question mark surrounding Harris is the Steelers offensive line and while it may slow the rookie down some, he is still going to get every carry he can handle. Harris is a very likely candidate to see 250 to 300 plus touches this season with the Steelers wanting to get back to Steeler football, pound the rock and play strong defense. I can see Harris used in the passing game quite a bit as well. As long as Harris stays healthy, I feel he will easily take home the DD/PT award for all rookies here on Dynasty Owner. I know I tell the rebuilding owners to not build around running backs quite often, but in certain situations you take the player who will net the most in a trade during the season.
Ja’Marr Chase – Cincinnati Bengals (4 years, $7,547,410)
In this scenario, Chase will have quite a bit of catching up to do to produce a better DD/PT than Rashod Bateman or DeVonta Smith because of his much larger salary, but I think he is up to the task. The Bengals have Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins on the roster to compete with Chase, but I feel the day Chase steps onto the field it will be easy to see how much better he is than his teammates. I also feel the familiarity between Joe Burrow and Chase will pay huge dividends when it’s time to play meaningful football. The fact I can picture Joe Burrow on crutches trying to talk the Bengals into taking Chase over Penei Sewell tells me everything I need to know about how this season will go for the two former LSU standouts. If Joe Burrow can stay healthy look for Chase to explode as a rookie in 2021.
Rashod Bateman – Baltimore Ravens (4 years, $3,149,853)
In my opinion, Bateman is one of the more fascinating prospects heading into 2021 and had he been drafted elsewhere he would likely be ahead of Chase in this article. Bateman has been a high end prospect for a while now after exploding onto the college scene for the Golden Gophers as a true freshman, but the offense he was drafted into scares me a bit. In Dynasty Owner, DD/PT is all about being able to produce at a high level and if Bateman isn’t seeing a ton of targets, he doesn’t have much of a chance to win this award. I do feel Bateman will be operating as the Ravens top wideout sooner rather than later in 2021 but a lot of what he does rides on Lamar Jackson. If you are someone who believes Lamar has more to show as a passer and the Ravens will open up the passing game some, Bateman could be a steal.
DeVonta Smith – Philadelphia Eagles (4 years, $5,035,347)
At the number 4 spot we have the player who has been dubbed “The Slim Reaper” DeVonta Smith. Smith’s team, the Eagles traded up a few spots in the draft to get him which should mean big time targets are coming his way. In Philly they are pretty void in terms of talented pass catchers making Smith a very welcome addition. Philly currently has Jalen Reagor, Dallas Goedert, and Zach Ertz as known commodities and on top of a thin room, Ertz is likely to be traded. In fantasy opportunity is king and Smith should see as much if not more than any other rookie pass catcher in the 2021 class. My main worry with Smith heading into the future is how well Jalen Hurts will develop at the quarterback position. All in all, I feel Smith will be one of the top values for all rookies this season.
Javonte Williams – Denver Broncos (4 years, $2,216,438)
Even as a Steelers fan, I will still admit Williams was my favorite RB prospect coming out this year. Williams, like Harris is the total package when it comes to a 3 down back. Williams is also tremendous at making would be tacklers miss and getting to the second level. In 2020, Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave Javonte Williams the highest grade ever given to a running back and I look for that to translate well into the NFL. I also feel Williams has the most underrated landing spot of all the rookies, even with Melvin Gordon in Denver. Melvin Gordon should face at least a 4 game suspension in 2021 which does nothing but open up opportunity for a player like Williams. The other great part about this landing spot is he has a clear path to the top of the depth chart in 2022. I have to say it’s great seeing Tarheel football relevant.
If you haven’t already noticed, rookie contracts are what keeps your roster moving and filled with depth. In most rookie drafts you will find value across the board. The hard part is identifying who the best values are for your team. The 2021 class will have plenty of fantastic picks, will you choose correctly
Before we go, I want to remind everyone that start up drafts are about to start taking place and now is a perfect time to get a friend involved in Dynasty Owner. If you are wanting to check out more content, we have 4 articles/videos every week that come out from Steve, Matt, Nate, and myself. If there is anything you would like any of us to specifically cover feel free to get ahold of any of us on Twitter. As always good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!