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Week 1 Preview – Back in Action

Week 1 Preview – Back in Action

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

It’s finally time for some regular season NFL football in 2021. The NFL is back already with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beating the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 31-29 on a game winning field goal with seven seconds left on the clock.  The field goal was setup by the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady who drove the defending Super Bowl Champions 57 yards down the field on 11 plays in just 1:22. Sound familiar?

Now that it’s Friday, we have Sunday and 14 games to look forward to plus Monday Night Football from Las Vegas. Dynasty Owner is also back in action and bigger than ever in 2021. We have more leagues, more Bench scoring (25% this season versus 20% in 2020), and a higher salary cap of $127.75 million, which is good because a lot of players got some pretty big raises during the 2020 season or in the off-season. Thanks to all of the returning Dynasty Owners who are back to test themselves again for the 2021 season. And a hearty welcome to all new Dynasty Owners who are hopefully looking forward to how to play fantasy football Dynasty Owner style.

Thanks for reading my weekly preview article. Every week of the 14-game Dynasty Owner regular season and three game playoffs, I’ll present a player at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) who you should have as a Starter in your Dynasty Owner lineup. After that, I’ll name one player per position who should be on your Bench or Practice Squad. These won’t be the obvious choices for Starters either. No recommendations to go ahead and start Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams and Travis Kelce. Players projected to be in the Top 12 QBs or TEs for the week, or Top 24 RBs or WRs, likely won’t be mentioned either. Nope, I’m going to recommend you Start players who were drafted to be on your Bench or Practice Squad. For the Bench recommendations, I’ll suggest players drafted to be Starters, but who shouldn’t be in there for the week based on matchups, past performance against a team or something else.

Finally, I will look at one Dynasty Owner game, our Match-up of the Week. For the first Match-up of the Week for 2021, it’s time to check in with 2020 Chase for the Ring Winner Viktor Kilgore. I’ll look at how his Ring winning Barbee Kilgore team from League #35395 matches up in Week 1 of 2021. Do the Dynasty Owner projections have him starting his title defense with a victory or defeat?

All stats cited are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the updated Dynasty Owner Constitution. Standard Dynasty Owner scoring gives you .1 points for every yard rushing or receiving, .1 point for every 2 yards passing, 1 point per reception, 6 points for a rushing, receiving or passing touchdown and 2 points for a successful 2-point conversion (rushing, receiving, or passing). Interceptions or fumbles lost cost you 3 points, while a fumble that is recovered by the player’s team is a loss of only 1 point. Bonus points are available for 100-199 yards rushing (2 points), 200 yards rushing or receiving (6 points), 300-399 yards passing (1 point) and 400 yards passing (4 points). There is also a 3 point bonus for clutch scoring, which is a score that results in a lead change in the final two minutes of the 4th quarter or overtime. Kickoff and punt return touchdowns are worth 6 points for the player and kickoff and punt returns are worth 1 point for every 40 yards.

For the purposes of this article, ADP and Dynasty Owner rostered percentage statistics were current as of the morning of September 10th.

These Guys Should be Starters This Week

Every week but Week 1, we will look to see how my recommendations from the previous week worked out (Good, Bad or Just Ok). In Week 1, we don’t have a previous week to review. Back in Week 1 of 2020, I reviewed my 2019 recommendations to see how well I did. The review found that I had almost an even percentage of Good recommendations (40%) as Bad ones (43%) with the remaining judged to be Just Ok (17%). 

The 2020 season was not as good on the recommendation front as 2019 and was pretty bad across the board at all positions. Out of 62 recommendation in total (4 per week for 16 weeks minus the two recommendations that were rendered “not applicable” as the player recommended did not play that week), only nine (15%) were rated as Good. Over half (53%) were Bad while one-third (32%) were Just Ok. In terms of position, my RB recommendation were the best of a bad lot with only one-third (33%) rated as Bad. In contrast, over two-thirds (69%) of my TE recommendation were Bad.

QB: Good – 2 picks (13%); Bad – 8 picks (50%); Just Ok – 6 picks (38%)

RB: Good – 3 picks (20%); Bad – 5 picks (33%); Just Ok – 7 picks (47%)

WR: Good – 1 pick (7%); Bad – 9 picks (60%); Just Ok – 5 picks (33%)

TE: Good – 3 picks (19%); Bad – 11 picks (69%); Just Ok – 2 picks (13%)

All: Good – 9 picks (15%); Bad – 33 picks (53%); Just Ok – 20 picks (32%)

My best week was Week 4 when none of my recommendations (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ronald Jones, Cole Beasley, and Dalton Schultz) were judged to be Bad. In contrast, I had two weeks (Weeks 9 and 11) when all four recommendations were Bad.

This year is bound to be better, so let’s see what players I’m recommending you get into your Starting lineup this week.

Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR): Last season with Jared Goff at QB, the Rams passed an average of 36.9 times per game. Now that Coach Sean McVay actually has a QB who he likes under center, don’t you think he passes the ball even more? Especially with top RB Cam Akers out for the season and the not as nearly inspiring duo of Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel replacing Akers. The Bears were in the middle of the pack (19th) in terms of passing yards allowed per game last season and lost cornerback and former first round pick Kyle Fuller to free agency. Stafford is projected as the QB12 for the 2021 season, but is the 19th QB being drafted, on average, with an ADP of 117.6, so most Dynasty Owners are probably thinking that he’s their Bench QB. Since he is very familiar with the Bears defense from his time in Detroit, this should be a good matchup for him in his first game with the Rams. Stafford put up 39.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 13 against the Bears last season with Marvin Jones as his top WR and a pretty motley crew (Quintez Cephus, Danny Amendola, Mohammed Sanu and Jamal Agnew) lining up opposite Jones at WRs for the Lions offense that day. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are a significant upgrade at the WR position for Stafford. He should take advantage of the upgrade and be worthy of putting in your Starting lineup.

Phillip Lindsay (RB – HOU): With Tyrod Taylor at QB and a lot of question marks at WR for Houston, it stands to reason that the Texans will try to run the ball this week against Jacksonville. Jacksonville gave up lots of Dynasty Owner fantasy points to RBs last year, including 12.3 points to Texans starting RB David Johnson in Week 5 and 14.3 points to his backup, Duke Johnson, in Week 9. Jacksonville did go out and acquire a couple of run stuffing defensive linemen in the off-season to help out their defense that finished third from last in rushing yards allowed to RBs and fifth from last in rushing TDs allowed to RBs. Lindsay fits the build of a RB who profiles as being a Bench player. He’s projected as RB44 for the season and his ADP is 143.0, which translates into the 50th RB drafted on average. However, with Houston’s likely need to run the ball to take pressure of Taylor, Lindsay should run plenty so that he’ll score enough Dynasty Owner fantasy points to rank as a Top 24 RB for the week.

Sammy Watkins (WR – BAL): For the past two seasons, Watkins has come and played really well in Week 1. In 2019, he had 46.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (9 receptions, 198 receiving yards, 3 receiving TDs). Then, he failed to score any more TDs or have any additional 100 yard receiving games for the rest of the 2019 season. Last year, he wasn’t as productive in Week 1, but still scored 21.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (7 receptions, 82 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD, 3 rushing yards). He only scored one more TD for the Chiefs all season and left to sign with the Ravens as a free agent. This year, he gets to face a Raiders defense that allowed Robby Anderson to score 25.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (6 receptions, 114 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD) in his debut for the Carolina Panthers in 2020. Let’s face it, the Ravens aren’t sure who’s going to run the ball for them this week other than QB Lamar Jackson, so they may have to lean on the passing game more than they’d usually do, which isn’t a bad thing against a Raiders defense that ranked in the bottom third of passing yards allowed to WRs for each of the past two seasons. Learn from the past and put Watkins in your Starting lineup if you have him on your Dynasty Owner roster. It might be your only chance to use him there this season and you don’t want to miss out.

Anthony Firkser (TE – TEN): Not only is Firkser now the new top TE in Tennessee, but he also would appear to be the third best receiver on the team behind A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. While Tennessee is perceived to be a “run-first” offense and ranked third in percentage of running plays executed in 2020, they still only ran the ball a little over half of the time (51.8%). Firkser was more of a pass catching TE in 2020 than the player he is replacing (Jonnu Smith) and the other main TE on the current Titans roster (Geoff Swaim).

PlayerOffensive SnapsTargetsTarget %
Jonnu Smith745658.7%
Geoff Swaim354123.4%
Anthony Firkser3485315.2%

If this pattern holds in 2021, then expect Firkser to get most of the TE targets and Swaim to stay in and block more. Last season, Smith and Firkser, the two primary receiving TEs for Tennessee, accounted for 118 targets between them, or 7.4 per game. Let’s reduce that to seven per game for Firkser who has averaged catching nearly three-quarters of the passes thrown to him in his career and in 2020 (74% for each). That’s five receptions per game. His average yards per reception in 2020 was 9.9 and for his career is 11.3. If we round that to 10 yards per reception, his projected stat line is 5 receptions for 50 yards in Week 1, which equals 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. That’s a low end TE1 and someone who plenty of Dynasty Owners would be happy to have as the TE in their Starting lineup.

These Guys Should Be on the Bench (or Practice Squad) This Week

Now it’s the time to look at how my Bench recommendations from the previous week worked out (Good, Bad or Just Ok). Just like for the Starter recommendations, I’ll take a look at how my 2020 season recommendations fared at each position since it’s Week 1.

Once again, the 2020 season was not as good on the recommendation front as 2019, but I did better on telling Dynasty Owners who to Bench than Start. Out of 60 recommendations in total (4 per week for 16 weeks minus four recommendations that were rendered “not applicable” as the player recommended did not play that week), 21 were rated as Good. That’s over one-third (35%). There were more Bad recommendations (25) than Good (21), but that’s only two-fifths (42%) that were Bad. The final one-quarter (23%) were Just Ok recommendations. The balance in 2019 titled more towards Good (42%) than Bad (32%) with about one-quarter (27%) being Just Ok. In terms of position in 2020, we had the following results:

QB: Good – 4 picks (27%); Bad – 7 picks (47%); Just Ok – 4 picks (27%)

RB: Good – 3 picks (19%); Bad – 5 picks (31%); Just Ok – 8 picks (50%)

WR: Good – 7 picks (47%); Bad – 7 picks (47%); Just Ok – 1 pick (7%)

TE: Good – 7 picks (50%); Bad – 6 picks (43%); Just Ok – 1 pick (7%)

All: Good – 21 picks (35%); Bad – 25 picks (42%); Just Ok – 14 picks (23%)

My Bench recommendations were definitely better than my Starter recommendations with twice as many good Bench recommendations than Starter ones (35% for Bench vs. 15% for Starters). The receiver Bench recommendations were the best with half (50%) of the TE recommendations and almost half (47%) of the WR recommendations making it into the Good category. In Week 9, I recommended Benching Tom Brady, Ezekiel Elliot, Mike Evans and Mark Andrews and three of the four turned out to be Good (Brady, Evans and Andrews), while Elliott turned in a performance that was deemed Just Ok.

This year is bound to be better, so let’s see if I can recommend four Good players for Dynasty Owners to sit on the Bench this week.

Justin Herbert (QB – LAC): This one hurts as I actually drafted Herbert with the #10 pick in the first round of one of my Dynasty Owner startup leagues and his startup ADP is 8.1. Herbert is projected as the QB4 for the entire 2021 season, but the matchup against the Washington Football Team isn’t great for him. Herbert was great last year, but he didn’t face the best pass defense in the NFL. That belonged to the Washington Football Team. Herbert also performed worse when playing on the East Coast in 2020, averaging 25.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in East Coast games (Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and Miami). That’s a couple of points under his 28.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy point average for the entire season. I’m not sure if I’ll follow my own advice here as my other QBs in that league are Mac Jones and Ryan Fitzpatrick, but if you have a better option, I suggest you use him and Bench Herbert.

Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG): Dynasty Owners didn’t draft Barkley with their first round pick in 2020 (ADP 3.0), or with either their first or second round pick in 2021 (ADP 11.8) to sit him on the Bench, but that’s my advice this week for several reasons. First, he’s not likely to get many carries as he’s coming off major knee surgery, was limited in practice on Thursday and the Giants play a division game against the Washington Football Team next Thursday. Second, the Denver defense is expected to be much improved over last year with the return of Von Miller. Third, the Giants offensive line didn’t play well in the pre-season, saw two players retire during training camp, traded one player away and had another placed on Injured Reserve. That doesn’t breed confidence that Barkley will do as well as anticipated in Week 1 and why his Dynasty Owners should probably wait and see how he does before inserting him into their Starting lineup.

Allen Robinson (WR – CHI): The Bears face off in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams and their top rated defense against WRs from 2020. These teams have played against each other in each of the past two seasons and Robinson hasn’t scored a TD in either game, while averaging only 8.25 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. He had 11.0 points (4 receptions for 70 yards) in 2020 and just 5.5 points (4 4 receptions for 15 yards) in 2019. In fact, Robinson has only been targeted 10 times in total in those two games. Robinson was targeted less often than fellow WRs Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller in 2019 and four players (Darnell Mooney, Jimmy Graham, David Montgomery, and Anthony Miller) in 2020 because he was largely being guarded by Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey who has been selected to four straight Pro Bowls and the top active cornerback in the NFL Top 100 this off-season. I didn’t even mention that the Bears are starting Andy Dalton at QB in Week 1. Robinson is a great WR and takes up a lot of the salary cap for your Dynasty Owner team at $17.88 million in salary for 2021, but don’t force him into your Starting lineup just because of his salary or high ADP (65.2). Move him to your Bench for this week.

Mike Gesicki (TE – MIA): Gesicki is the tenth TE in terms of startup Dynasty Owner ADP (100.7) and ranked eleventh overall in terms of projected 2021 production, so he’s probably a low-end Starting TE for his Dynasty Owners. Hopefully they have a TE with a better matchup on their Bench.  Gesicki hasn’t done great in his career versus New England as he has only scored 26.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in five career games (5.3 points per game on average) with just a single TD. In the 2020 season opener against New England, he had three receptions for 30 yards to account for 6.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Gesicki did not play against New England in Week 15. The Patriots appears to have a good idea of how to stop Gesicki, so I’d keep him on the Bench this week.

Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week – Barbee Kilgore vs. Dan’s Dynasty

It’s time for our first Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week for the 2021 season. Since everyone is tied for first place, all of the Week 1 Match-ups are compelling and worthy of previewing. However, there’s really only one team to mention here and that’s 2020 Chase for the Ring winner Viktor Kilgore and his Ring winning Barbee Kilgore team (League #35395). Viktor took down over 1,000 other teams across all Dynasty Owner leagues and was the “best of the best” last year.

In a “regular” dynasty league, a team has a good chance to repeat because you can keep your team intact. Not in Dynasty Owner as Viktor wasn’t able to keep his entire Ring winning team because of salary increases for several players. Three key players from his 2020 team (Patrick Mahomes, Dalvin Cook, and Travis Kelce) have much higher salaries in 2021. Because of the increase in Mahomes’ salary from $4.1 million in 2020 to $45 million in 2021, Viktor dropped Mahomes for free when his new contract kicked in and replaced him with Ben Roethlisberger (1 year/$14 million). The savings allowed him to keep both Cook and Kelce as their salaries increased by $11 million (Cook) and $4.9 million (Kelce) respectively. He was also able to afford to draft four players in the rookie draft (Mac Jones, Michael Carter, Chuba Hubbard, and Kyle Trask) who have salaries totaling $7.4 million for the 2021 season.

Unlike the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who returned all 22 of their starters from last year, Viktor had some roster turnover in the off-season. Check out the changes in his Starting lineup from the 2020 playoffs to Week 1 this year. Only four out of the eight Starters from both playoff weeks are the same. Essentially, half of the Starters from his 2020 Ring winning team have been dropped or traded.

Position2020 – Week 162020 – Week 152021 – Week 1
QBPatrick MahomesPatrick MahomesBen Roethlisberger
RBDalvin CookDalvin CookDalvin Cook
RBJeffrey WilsonJames RobinsonMyles Gaskin
WRDavante AdamsDavante AdamsDavante Adams
WRMike EvansTyreek HillTyler Boyd
TETravis KelceTravis KelceTravis Kelce
FLEXTyreek HillMike EvansMarvin Jones
KTyler BassTyler BassTyler Bass

Let’s see if that impacts the projections for his Week 1 match-up with Dan’s Dynasty.

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The projections have Barbee Kilgore as the winner of this week’s Match-up of the Week by a significant margin of 157.4 to 119.9. Unfortunately for Dan’s Dynasty, they already had Giovani Bernard play on Thursday night and only score 3.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Plus, they don’t have a Bench kicker. That’s likely to not get it done against the defending Champ!

A win will put Viktor one step closer to repeating as his League Champion and Chase for the Ring Winner. There is plenty of football left to be played this week and nothing is official until Monday Night Football is over. Check out the Tuesday recap article to see if Viktor actually won and if he’s on the first Chase for the Ring Leaderboard of 2021. If your Dynasty Owner team had a good week, they might be there as well.

Conclusion

Please read my weekly preview article each and every week to see who should be in your Dynasty Owner Starting lineup and who should be on your Bench. If you have one of the players mentioned, hopefully it will assist you with your lineup decisions. While some Dynasty Owners may heed my advice, others might disagree, or not have a better option for their Starting lineup and choose to ignore a Bench recommendation. Other Dynasty Owners may not need Starting lineup help as they have a stud player at a position who isn’t moving to the Bench unless he’s injured or on bye.

In addition to this weekly preview article, Dynasty Owner has plenty of other great content to help you win your League Championship and maybe the Chase for the Ring. Our in-season publication schedule is as follows:

  • Mondays: The week is starting, but the NFL football week is almost over. Almost, but not quite yet! To get ready for some more football, Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl) will preview the Monday Night Football matchup from the Dynasty Owner perspective.
  • Tuesdays: In the morning, I’ll recap the week in the NFL and the Match-up of the Week, award the Dynasty Owner Player of the Week and the Value Player of the Week. I’ll also check and see how my weekly recommendations fared and highlight players at each position who should have been in your Dynasty Owner Starting lineup and those who should have been on the Bench or Practice Squad. In the evening, Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl) is back with an article and video to help you figure out what players you need to target in the Free Agent Auction.
  • Wednesday: It’s time for Matt Morrison – The Jerk to dive into a topic of his choosing. His article and video will help Dynasty Owners set their weekly lineup, make roster decisions, think about trade ideas, or just make them more informed about how Dynasty Owners need to think. Every week is different so check it out!
  • Thursday: It’s time to start the football week! Thursday Night Football is happening every week and Matt Morrison – The Jerk will preview the Thursday night game to find the most relevant players from both teams and where they should be – in your Starting lineup, on the Bench or hanging out with the Practice Squad. At the end, he’ll pick his “Value of the Game”. He selected CeeDee Lamb (WR – DAL) in Week 1 and Lamb didn’t disappoint with 23.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for just $3.5 million in salary.
  • Friday: The end of the week, but NFL football is still two days away. It’s time for me to preview the Sunday games and look into one Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week. I’ll make my recommendations of players to get in your Starting lineup and which ones to keep on your Bench. There will be a weekly preview video as well.

Please read all of our articles, watch our videos on YouTube or listen to them wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t forget follow all three of us plus Dynasty Owner on Twitter as well. Thanks, and have a great day!

Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

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