By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)
I honestly feel like a kid waiting on Christmas right now waiting for football to start. As we continue to inch closer and closer, I will continue to break down what I feel is every player who will have an impact on our Dynasty Owner season. I know sometimes these rebuilding seasons can be frustrating but as I always say your season is what you make of it. If you are rebuilding the last thing you want to do is wait and let the rebuild come to you. You should be trying to attack every weak spot on your roster by trading and picking up young guys who have high upside.
In this week’s article, we will be breaking down the AFC West and what rebuilding owners should do with each player in the division, including the 2-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. I will place each player into one of three categories titled Buy, Sell, or Hold. If you see a player in the Buy category it means he is someone you will want to have on your rebuilding roster, and they are worth trading for if the price is right. Players in the Hold category are players that won’t fetch enough value in a trade to compensate for the upside they have, or they have roadblocks in the way of playing time, a great example of this would be Michael Gallup. The players who are in the sell category are players I feel should be on championship contending rosters, or players who just do not fit a rebuilding timeline. If there is anyone you feel I left out or put in the wrong category feel free to let me know on Twitter!
- Patrick Mahomes – 11 years, $45,000,000
As great as Patrick Mahomes is some may question why he is a buy with such a massive contract. While this is a solid argument I feel it will be a value in a few years as the salary cap continues to rise. The only reason not to take on Mahomes if you are rebuilding is if you truly feel we have seen the best of him (we have not). $60 million contracts are not far away in the NFL, so get him while you still can!
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 3 years, $2,705,393
Clyde Edwards-Helaire may be my top owned player throughout all my fantasy teams by the time the season starts because of how cheap he got. I understand the hate on CEH, but I don’t agree with it. The kid came into a well-oiled machine of an offense and had 1,100 scrimmage yards on top of missing three games because of injury. I also see him getting a pretty significant bump in passing game work in 2021. If you are sleeping on him going into the year I feel you will come to regret it when all is said and done.
- Byron Pringle – 1 year, $2,133,000
Byron Pringle has been a quiet, yet solid pro in his days with the Kansas City Chiefs. I have Pringle as a buy here because someone in the Chiefs receiving room must emerge as the number two guy. As a rebuilding owner I’m only looking to acquire the Chiefs 2nd guy to move him in a later deal, as I feel they will draft someone at the position next year.
- Mecole Hardman – 2 years, $1,248,763
Mecole Hardman like Byron Pringle has a clear-cut opportunity for the number 2 receiver role in Kansas City. Fantasy managers have been excited for Hardman since the day he was drafted, and he has yet to pan out. I am buying Hardman anywhere I can but be careful not to overpay on someone who has not done it in the NFL yet.
- Cornell Powell – 4 years, $930,038
I have seen a ton of buzz on Powell since being drafted by the Chiefs and I honestly don’t agree with it. Powell had a so-so college career at Clemson and was not talked about all that much before the NFL draft. All of that said, I do have him as a buy simply because he is young and attached to Patrick Mahomes.
- Antonio Callaway – 1 year, $920,000
Antonio Callaway is a complete flier at this point in his career but just like the few listed before him, he plays in the right offense. Callaway started his career with the Browns and flashed success as a rookie, but after character concerns coming into the league he found himself in trouble shortly after being drafted. If Callaway can find his way in KC, he could be a steal that absolutely no one is talking about.
- Justin Herbert – 3 years, $6,644,688
I won’t speak to much here on Herbert as his play at the quarterback position as a rookie sums up why you want this kid on your roster. I have said it many times and will say it many more, young quarterbacks are Dynasty Owner gold.
- Joshua Kelly – 3 years, $1,018,835
At the beginning of 2020, we saw Joshua Kelly involved early and often giving his owners a lot of hope. Once Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson went down, it seemed like Kelly was going to be the featured guy. Instead, it turned out to be more of a committee approach featuring Kalen Ballage. Kelly is a longshot, but you can get him for next to nothing at this point.
- Larry Rountree – 4 years, $913,940
The Joshua Kelly replacement is going to be none other than Larry Rountree. I am not expecting him to have a big impact in year one if Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson stay healthy, but he is in play to have a big role in 2022. I can also see the possibility of him being involved early as Jackson and Ekeler are not known for running between the tackles. Rountree has a wide range of outcomes and will be cheap to acquire. Rountree for power back in L.A.!!
- Josh Palmer – 4 years, $1,258,365
While the Chargers did elect to bring Mike Williams back on his fifth year option, I still think Palmer can be effective in year one. Palmer underwhelmed big time at Tennessee in college but has all the tools to be the type of receiver the Chargers envisioned Mike Williams to be when they drafted him in the first round.
- Jalen Guyton – 1 year, $540,000)\
Jalen Guyton quietly showed great progress throughout 2020 and may have earned himself a role moving forward. The number 2 spot in L.A. is Mike Williams spot to lose but the 3rd spot is wide open in an offense who put up a ton of points last season. If you can get your hands on Guyton and he does win the job, I would look to flip him before the season is over and add some extra draft capital to your team.
- Tre’ McKitty – 4 years, $1,196,462
I talked about Tre’ McKitty a while back and love the future outlook of this kid. In front of McKitty on the Chargers roster is an aging Jared Cook who seems to just catch the ball and fall down at this stage of his career. I do not expect McKitty to overtake Cook instantly but by the end of the year, I would not be surprised to see McKitty as a starting tight end who is tied to Justin Herbert for many years to come.
- Henry Ruggs – 3 years, $4,167,906
I am not sure there was a more upsetting position player than Henry Ruggs in 2020. Ruggs was the first wide receiver taken in last year’s draft ahead of guys like Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Tee Higgins, making the Ruggs selection that much worse. You can probably pick up Ruggs for a 2nd round pick plus a little something extra to make the other owner feel warm and fuzzy. The Raiders will give Ruggs every chance in the world to succeed this season, which is why he is an easy buy for rebuilding owners.
- Darren Waller – 3 years, $7,450,000
In my opinion, Waller is a massive buy for rebuilding owners with a big but, which is if you are just starting your rebuild I would wait until after this season to buy him, so he is not winning your team a bunch of games and hurting your draft capital. At just 28 years old, Waller should still be producing big time when your team is ready to compete. We have yet to see the best of Darren Waller on a football field.
- Bryan Edwards – 3 years, $1,173,113
Does everyone remember how hot of a name Bryan Edwards was at this time last off-season? Edwards had an insane amount of hype and I honestly feel like it was because the Raiders had no one for him to compete with. Fast forward a year and Edwards is being talked about some, but nothing like last season. Odds tell us one of Henry Ruggs or Bryan Edwards will have a solid year based on volume alone. Rebuilding owners should acquire these guys now and see what happens.
- Hunter Renfrow – 2 years, $708,987
While Hunter Renfrow should likely be a hold, I am going to go out on a limb and label him a buy. He will be a longshot and will never be a star, but he can offer consistent bench scoring, or if a receiver or two gets hurt for the Raiders you may be able to sell him for a good amount more than it took to get him. Remember rebuilding owners just because they are a buy before the season it does not mean you need to keep them forever.
- Marcus Mariota – 1 year, $3,500,000
I have Marcus Mariota here for two reasons, one being he looked great in relief last season for Carr, and second because the Raiders seem to hate Carr as much as Bruce Arians hates Ronald Jones. If you have Mariota on a rebuilding roster and Carr goes down for the year, someone will pay a premium for Mariota at his current contract.
- Javonte Williams – 4 years, $2,216,438
Like I always say I tend to shy away from running backs at the start of a rebuild but Williams should not see a massive workload in year one which should preserve his body some. Williams is the ideal rebuilding running back because he has a bright future and should not win you any weeks in year one sharing time with Melvin Gordon. Buying Williams now will be expensive, but his asking price should only go up from here on out.
- Jerry Jeudy – 3 years, $3,798,243
Jerry Jeudy had a rough collection of quarterbacks throwing him the ball in 2020, yet he still had a solid season and really picked it up towards the end of the year. These are three of the quarterbacks Jeudy was stuck catching passes from last season, Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel, and Kendall Hinton. Big time production is coming for Jeudy owners.
- Courtland Sutton – 1 year, $1,710,480
As much as I love Courtland Sutton, I had a lot of trouble putting him in with the players rebuilding owners should be buying. The issues I have with Sutton have zero to do with his talent on the field but with him coming off an injury and his salary getting ready to go up significantly I am not sure he is right for rebuilding owners. If you have cap room and can afford to keep him next season, I would take the risk if Sutton comes cheap enough.
- K.J. Hamler – 3 years, $1,784,282
Hamler reminds me of a toddler who just ate an entire bag of pixy sticks because of the way you see him zooming all over the field and he is very tough to locate at times. Hamler has the makings of today’s DeSean Jackson and if that turns out to be true, he is someone you will want on your rebuilding roster. Hamler should not cost much more than a 3rd round pick right now as he is still a year or two out from really making a difference, which is the perfect time to buy.
- Noah Fant – 2 years, $3,147,680
Noah Fant is a young athletic tight end who has gotten better each year in the league. If I am a rebuilding owner buying Fant I am praying he does not completely explode until his contract is finished. If Fant continues to slowly get better each year until his deal is up, he will probably get Darren Waller money, but if he explodes beforehand he is going to get pricey quick. The tight end position is a true difference maker in fantasy, if you are rebuilding make sure you find an up-and-coming stud.
- Albert Okwuegbunam – 3 years, $1,011,011
I hope all of you watch the video and hear how bad I mess this man’s name up. Albert Okwuegbunam is a solid young tight end who seems like he will find a steady role in the NFL. I am not expecting Albert O to become a star by any means, but he could be someone who is an extremely solid bench player in the coming years.
- Darwin Thompson – 2 years, $661,960
I will keep it short and sweet with Darwin Thompson as he could probably be left off the list at this point. If you have Thompson, he will net you nothing in a trade. If you must, hold onto him and see what happens. I would prefer to outright drop Thompson for someone with more upside.
- Demarcus Robinson – 1 year, $1,127,500
I have Robinson on the Hold list instead of the Buy list like the rest of the Chiefs receivers because he is a bit older and has had more chances to make an impact. Robinson is definitely worth a roster spot, and I would recommend holding to see what happens. He may blow up and net amazing value in a trade.
- Justin Jackson – 1 year, $570,000
If Justin Jackson could ever stay healthy he could be an excellent change of pace back. In 2020, Jackson had a fantastic opportunity with Austin Ekeler going down and just could not stay healthy. As a rebuilding owner I would hold onto him for the year unless you get blown away by an offer. Jackson will be a free agent this year and could end up in a Tarik Cohen type role elsewhere.
- Mike Williams – 1 year, $15,680,000
Has anyone had enough of Mike Williams after just four NFL seasons? If Williams can ever put together a full season he could be a tremendous value. Williams has already had a 10 touchdown season and a 1,000 receiving yard season in his career, yet it’s been more disappointing than not. I’m keeping Williams for now but if he explodes and you can find a taker I would move him in a heartbeat.
- Derek Carr – 2 years, $25,000,000
As I mentioned in the part featuring Marcus Mariota, the Raiders hate Derek Carr. Carr has been a solid NFL quarterback since taking over the Raiders miserable franchise, making them relevant again, at least somewhat relevant. The Raiders have done a horrid job of building around Carr. If you do not believe me just look at some of the guys Jon Gruden has drafted; cough, cough Henry Ruggs over CeeDee Lamb, or Justin Jefferson. As of now Carr is a hold as you will not get much in return for him because of his salary and the fact he offers zero upside running the ball.
- Kenyan Drake – 2 years, $5,500,000
As much as I love the talent of Kenyan Drake, I have to say I cannot remember a more frustrating fantasy career. In the beginning of Drake’s career, we all just wanted to see him get consistent playing time. He then gets moved to Arizona where he blew up over the back half of the season in 2019. Drake was given the transition tag and the keys to the Arizona backfield where he was a disappointment in 2020. Fast-forward to 2021 and Drake is now behind Josh Jacobs after it seemed he would be a Cardinal for a while.
- Willie Snead – 1 year, $1,127,500
At this stage of Willie Snead’s career, I am not expecting him to do a whole lot, but we have seen crazier things happen in the NFL. If you already have Snead rostered I would hold onto him just in case Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards are complete busts again this season.
- Zay Jones – 1 year, $2,500,000
I won’t waste much of your time talking about Zay Jones, but he could end up in a situation like I just mentioned with Willie Snead.
- Mike Boone – 2 years, $1,925,000
If you own Mike Boone I see him as a must Hold. Boone has been talked about as an extremely talented running back who just can’t find the field. Boone started in Minnesota behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison and the second it looks like he is finally a clear-cut backup to Melvin Gordon, the Broncos draft Javonte Williams. If Williams does not pan out, or if Gordon has lost a step Mike Boone could step in with no problems.
- Tim Patrick – 1 year, $3,384,000
2020 was the Tim Patrick show in Denver! If Patrick didn’t have another year remaining on his deal in 2020, he would be an easy cheap buy right now, but the fact is he will be playing behind Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and a 2nd year K.J. Hamler, who has potential to make noise, keeps him off the Buy list. I’m holding Patrick in the hopes that Sutton is not ready to start the year and, in that scenario, I’m offing Patrick for whatever I can get.
- Darrel Williams – 1 year, $1,600,000
It seems Darrel Williams is going into the year as the clear cut backup for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Williams did not impress in the work he received in 2020 and should be firmly on every rebuilding owner’s trade block. Get what you can before you can’t!
- Tyreek Hill – 2 years, $18,000,000
As I mentioned last week with Nick Chubb and Lamar Jackson, I hate labeling these players as a sell but in Dynasty Owner it makes even more sense. Tyreek Hill is not going anywhere for a while, but he will be getting a massive new deal in just two years. Even as great as Hill is, if I’m rebuilding, I’d take the big package he will fetch and move on.
- Travis Kelce – 5 years, $14,312,500
Travis Kelce is perhaps the best tight end we have ever seen in the NFL and I’m telling you to get rid of him now. At 31 years of age, Kelce will probably be producing when you are ready to compete, but it makes much more sense to go after players like Kyle Pitts, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, or Darren Waller who you can get for Kelce no problem and all of whom are younger. Rebuilding is all about trading current productive players for future productive players and Kelce is no exception.
- Austin Ekeler – 3 years, $6,125,000
Austin Ekeler is my favorite sell on the list, simply because he is highly productive on a team friendly deal. Ekeler has half of the contract as the other RBs in his range with a whopping three years remaining. If you are moving Ekeler make sure the other owner realizes what a value his contract is in a very weak running back market. Oh, and being attached to Justin Herbert never hurts.
- Jared Cook – 1 year, $4,500,000
I am guessing Jared Cook’s best days have come and gone. Cook can still be a productive tight end for a couple more seasons but has no business being on any rebuilding roster. Jared Cook is no different than Eric Ebron who I mentioned last week as an aging tight end who can help contenders. Move him for whatever you can get at this point.
- Josh Jacobs – 2 years, $2,983,350
While Josh Jacobs is no Nick Chubb, it still feels gross to call someone like him a sell with how the running back landscape is looking. In 2021, if you have a Top 20-25 running back you should be able to get 1.5 times the value you would have last year. The running back market looks like a steaming pile of poop at the moment and rebuilding owners with running backs should take advantage of it.
- John Brown – 1 year, $3,750,000
I know we all remember how Nelson Agholor came out of nowhere with the Raiders last season and put up a very solid year, solid enough to land a sizable contract from the Patriots. Barring a complete turnaround for both Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards, Brown should step into the role Agholor played so well last season. Brown is a borderline hold but I would sell him if the opportunity presents itself.
- Drew Lock – 2 years, $1,752,704
I do not know how many times I’ve said it, but cheap quarterbacks are gold in Dynasty Owner. At this point we are all unsure if Lock will be the starter this year for the Broncos, but someone will take a flier on him just because he will come cheap. Drew Lock is someone I would let go for any draft capital as a rebuilding owner. I also would not blame you if you held Lock to see if he is the starter when the season starts, which will no doubt raise his trade value.
- Teddy Bridgewater – 1 year, $11,499,000
If I own Teddy Bridgewater, I am selling him immediately. There is a good chance (in my opinion) Lock is the starter at the beginning of the season because he was drafted early by the Broncos. If that scenario plays out, you will likely get nothing out of Bridgewater and if you do get something, it will be minimal. If Bridgewater is the Broncos perceived starter in 2021, I highly recommend you capitalize as soon as possible. The other thing to look at with Bridgewater is do you really think Bridgewater will be starting come 2022. I know I do not.
- Melvin Gordon – 1 year, $8,000,000
Finally, we have the controversial Melvin Gordon. Gordon is facing a suspension this season, which could lead to his demise in Denver. While Gordon is away, it will do nothing but give the coaching staff opportunities to look at Javonte Williams and Mike Boone. If I have Gordon and there is a decent offer on the table, he is as good as gone. Gordon is also another player you could gamble and hold, but I would not recommend it with him.
Here you have it guys, half of the AFC has been broken down into categories for you. I would love to hear if you feel different about players than I do and why.
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