By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)
A total of 304 NFL players are on Injured Reserve right now and a total of 472 players have been on it at some point during the 2021 NFL season, according to the NFL Injured Reserve Tracker from our friends at Spotrac. That’s a lot of players! Not surprisingly, the Baltimore Ravens lead the league with 16 players currently on Injured Reserve and a total of 27 at some point this season. Dynasty Owners know all about the season-ending injuries to RBs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, but fewer probably know the Ravens currently have 10 defensive players on Injured Reserve. It’s almost an entire defensive team on Injured Reserve alone.
Prior to the 2012 season, players placed on Injured Reserve by their NFL teams were out for the rest of the season. In 2012, NFL teams were allowed to have one player injured during the season designated to return after spending at least eight weeks on the Injured Reserve list. Subsequent changes have been made over the past decade to change the rules and increase the number of players allowed on Injured Reserve. In 2020, there were more changes due to COVID-19 and those changes carried over into the 2021 season. Those changes reduced the time that players had to stay on Injured Reserve to only three weeks. There is also no limit now on the number of players who can return from Injured Reserve. That’s how T.Y. Hilton (WR – IND) was able to return in Week 6, while Jerry Jeudy (WR – DEN) is seemingly likely to return in Week 8.
Of course, plenty of those NFL players on Injured Reserve also populate Dynasty Owner rosters. Fortunately, Dynasty Owner has an 3-man Injured Reserve that Dynasty Owners can use to stash injured players. Those players still count against the $127.75 million salary cap, but it allows Dynasty Owners to have up to 33 players on their roster. Injuries have been so prevalent this season that all four of my Dynasty Owner teams have had the entire 3-man Injured Reserve filled for most of the season. One team only has two players on there now as I activated Marquez Valdes-Scantling the other day when it looked like he would be added to the Packers’ active roster for their Thursday night game. All of my teams have suffered with injuries throughout the whole season with key players such as Christian McCaffrey, Raheem Mostert, Michael Gallup, James White and Ryan Fitzpatrick sitting on the Injured Reserve list now. There have been so many injuries that Tim had to go recruit his Cousin Justin, Doctor of Physical Therapy, to join the Wednesday livestream to help Dynasty Owners figure out how to navigate through all of the injuries happening this year.
Of course, my teams aren’t the only ones affected and to be honest, I haven’t had nearly the level of injuries as some other Dynasty Owner teams. I told a quick look at the other teams in my leagues and found one with six IR guys (Kareem Hunt, J.K. Dobbins, Will Fuller, Parris Campbell, D.J. Chark and Irv Smith) plus Jeffrey Wilson listed with an “O” for “Out” because he’s on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. That’s another list entirely, but Wilson has been out injured all season so far. There’s another team with six completely different players listed as “IR” (Ryan Fitzpatrick, David Montgomery, Chris Carson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Gallup and Rodrigo Blankenship) plus Jarvis Landry who just was activated last week.
Even if I’m injured, I’ll be here every week of the 14-game Dynasty Owner regular season and three game playoffs to give Dynasty Owners 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. The players to Start will be players who were clearly drafted to be on your Bench or Practice Squad, or who currently rank outside the Top 12 QBs, Top 24 RBs, Top 24 WRs and Top 12 TEs. For the Bench recommendations, I’ll suggest players drafted to be Starters or who should be in your Starting lineup based on their play so far this season, but who shouldn’t be in there this week based on matchups, past performance against a team or something else. Usually these players aren’t injured, but a few times so far this year, a player has been ruled out after appearing on one of these lists. It’s 2021, that stuff happens now.
I’ll also find one Dynasty Owner game, our Match-up of the Week, to preview. For this week, both teams featured have a combined one player on Injured Reserve (Saints RB Tony Jones). They have lots of players listed with a “Q” and one with an “O” (Davante Adams who is on the COVID-19 list), but they have largely avoided injuries so far this season. As a result, they are battling for the top spot in their League. If you’d like to see your team featured next week, then send me a tweet (@SteveVT33).
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 October 29th.
These Guys Should be Starters This Week
First, let’s look at how my recommendations from the previous week fared (Good, Bad or Just Ok). I predicted performances worthy of being in your Dynasty Owner Starting lineup for these four players in Week 7 and here’s how they did.
QB: Matt Ryan – 23.8 (Just Ok recommendation)
RB: Devonta Freeman – 12.9 (Just Ok recommendation)
WR: Marquez Callaway – 6.3 (Bad recommendation)
TE: Robert Tonyan – 16.3 (Good recommendation)
Another Good TE recommendation with Robert Tonyan for three in a row. The streak of Bad RB recommendations was broken because Devonta Freeman had a TD and was just barely inside the Top 24 RBs. While it was Just Ok, it’s the first time this season that my RB recommendation topped 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Matt Ryan was tied for QB11 in Dynasty Owner, so he’s with Freeman as a Just Ok recommendation. Only recommending Marquez Callaway was Bad as Alvin Kamara was a one-man show for the Saints against the Seahawks and Callaway only had 6.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Overall, a better than average week even with all of the bye weeks. With only the Ravens and Raiders on bye in Week 8, let’s see my Starting lineup recommendations.
Teddy Bridgewater (QB – DEN): Hopefully this isn’t wishful thinking on my part as I have Teddy Bridgewater in the Starting lineup in my Dynasty Owner beta league and also on my Bench in another league (Mahomes is the starter in that league). Teddy B has been a mid-range QB this season. He’s the QB16 for the season, has four games with more than 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, but none with 30.0 points. His only game with less than 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points was against Baltimore in Week 4 when he suffered a concussion late in the first half and didn’t play at all in the second half. Fortunately for his Dynasty Owners, he didn’t need a trip to the Injured Reserve list. Despite having foot and quadriceps injuries, he’s listed here because the Broncos play the Washington Football Team in Week 8, and the Football Team defense has been dreadful this season. They are allowing an average of 34.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game to opposing QBs and five out of seven starting QBs against the Football Team defense either had their best or second best game of the season against them. This game is in Denver and the Football Team defense has been even worse on the road, allowing an average of 41.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. The first more than 30.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy point game of the season is not out of the question for Teddy this week. He’s my beta league Starting QB and should be in your Starting lineup too.
Samaje Perine (RB – CIN): For the season, Perine is the RB56, but that ranking is largely because he started off the season with only 8.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (28 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 30 receiving yards) in the first four games. However, he played well in both Week 5 against Green Bay (18.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) and Week 7 against Baltimore (14.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). He missed Week 6 against Detroit as he tested positive for COVID and was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list, not the Injured Reserve, so he didn’t have to miss three games. His Week 7 performance was particularly encouraging for everyone with Perine on their Dynasty Owner roster (92.3% rostered) as his coach stated that his role for the game was “unclear” after fellow backup RB Chris Evans had played well in his absence against Detroit. Critics will say that a lot of his points came on a 46-yard TD run in the middle of the fourth quarter when the Bengals were ahead by 17 points. While Perine didn’t get a clutch scoring bonus, the TD was still worth 6.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. The Bengals’ opponent this week, the New York Jets, allowed a lot of garbage time RB fantasy points last week in their game versus New England. As a result, three New England RBs (Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden and J.J. Taylor) were worthy of using in Dynasty Owner last week. Two Cincinnati RBs (Joe Mixon and Perine) will be good enough to have in your Starting lineup this week.
Jamal Agnew (WR – JAC): Since Jacksonville was on bye in Week 7, Dynasty Owners may have forgotten how much and how well Jamal Agnew has played since D.J. Chark was lost for the season due to an ankle injury. Before Chark’s injury and subsequent placement on Injured Reserve, Agnew had only played a total of 20 offensive snaps in three games. That increased to eight snaps in Week 4 when Chark got hurt on the opening drive of the game and then ramped up to 45 snaps in Week 5 and 39 snaps in Week 6. That’s just over 60% of the offensive snaps in the past two weeks and this usage led to 27.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for Agnew (11 receptions, 119 receiving yards, 8 rushing yards, 140 return yards). He’s been pretty good and better than both of the other WRs on the Jaguars over the past two games (26.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for Marvin Jones and 18.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for Laviska Shenault). Agnew should have his third consecutive good game in a row, so if you need help at WR and have $4.75 million in salary cap room, go ahead and pick up Agnew (only rostered in 8.3% of Dynasty Owner leagues) and stick him in your Starting lineup.
Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT): Another player coming off a bye week after turning in a good performance in Week 6 that Dynasty Owners may have forgotten about is Pat Freiermuth. In the Steelers’ Week 6 victory over Seattle, Freiermuth scored 12.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (7 receptions, 58 receiving yards) and only trailed Diontae Johnson in receptions and receiving yards for the Steelers. This was their first game without JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was place on Injured Reserve after suffering a right shoulder injury in Week 5, and could be a sign of things to come for the rest of the season. Freiermuth has been more productive this year than veteran TE Eric Ebron and might get even more opportunities this week against the Browns with Ebron out with a hamstring injury. The Browns had solid defensive games against lesser TEs such as Jordan Akins and Pharoah Brown of the Texans, Cole Kmet of the Bears, and Darnell Daniels of the Cardinals, but haven’t fared as well in two of the past three weeks against the Broncos and Chargers. Noah Fant had 8.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points against them last week and Donald Parham had 12.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 5. Freiermuth has the potential to match his Week 6 production and that of Fant and Parham against the Browns defense. With two top TE options in Mark Andrews and Darren Waller out this week on bye, Freiermuth should be able to produce enough points to be in your 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 Week 7 worked out (Good, Bad or Just Ok). Unfortunately, these were not quite as good as the Starting lineup recommendations or the previous two weeks of Bench recommendations.
QB: Sam Darnold – 2.5 (Good recommendation)
RB: Darrell Henderson – 9.4 (Just Ok recommendation)
WR: Corey Davis – 14.7 (Bad recommendation)
TE: Mike Gesicki – 21.5 (Bad recommendation)
Choosing Corey Davis and Mike Gesicki for the second time didn’t work out as both of them scored a TD. Gesicki was the TE3 for the week, so recommending him for the Bench was clearly Bad. He is now the TE3 for the entire 2021 season, even after his Blutarsky (0.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) back in Week 1. Davis wasn’t quite as good as Gesicki, but his TD pushed him into being a low-end WR2 or FLEX starter so that recommendation was also Bad. Darrell Henderson had more touches than I anticipated, but didn’t do much with them to score only 9.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. That put him just outside of the RB2 or FLEX starter range, but not by much so that recommendation was Just Ok. Finally, Sam Darnold’s return to New York went worse than even I anticipated as he scored just 2.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and was pulled for backup QB Phillip Walker. Walker only costs $782,500 in salary for one year and is rostered in just 20.1% of Dynasty Owner leagues if you’re worried about Darnold’s future in Carolina. Recommending that Dynasty Owners put Darnold on their Bench was a Good recommendation.
I can’t recommend Darnold again since he’s now QB19 after his great start to the season, so I’ll have to find other players to recommend that Dynasty Owners sit on their Bench in Week 8.
Tom Brady (QB – TB): I fully expect very, very few people to follow this recommendation and I’m not 100% sure that I should be writing it. After all, the G.O.A.T. is the overall #1 scorer in Dynasty Owner with 245.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. He also already had his “bad” week back in Week 4 against New England when the Patriots defense held him to zero TDs and just 13.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Plus, when I listed him here in Week 3 against the Rams, he went out and scored 38.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. However, as I look out on the rest of the Starting QBs for the week, I didn’t see anybody else to put here. I can’t have Kyler Murray (8.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points on Thursday night) here, while Lamar Jackson and Derek Carr are on bye. The rest of the Starting QBs have either already played (Aaron Rodgers) or look like they have solid match-ups this week. The exception is the G.O.A.T. who is playing New Orleans on the road this week. He scored his season low of 1.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points last year in Week 9 against New Orleans at the Superdome and while he played better there in the playoffs and the Buccaneers won, it still wasn’t a great fantasy game for him (27.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). That was his best game versus New Orleans in 2020 as he scored 23.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the 2020 season opener versus the Saints. Without a better choice, I’m going to say Dynasty Owners should keep the G.O.A.T. on their Bench this week.
Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS): It’s sad, but after being in the early first or late second round of 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up drafts (ADP 14.4), Antonio Gibson is the RB21 for the season. He finished the 2020 season as the RB13 in Dynasty Owner and with three years left on his very affordable rookie contract ($1,233,159 per season), the hype wasn’t unwarranted. He started slowly, but had a good three game stretch (Weeks 3-5) as he scored a TD in each one of those games. The TDs have dried up and he has averaged just 5.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points over the past two weeks. In contrast, his teammate J.D. McKissic has averaged 14.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points over the past two weeks and outscored Gibson four times already this season. Gibson has been hurt for most of the season, but hasn’t been placed on Injured Reserve and is still going out there each and every week. However, just because he’s playing and was a high draft pick this season doesn’t mean he needs to be in your Dynasty Owner Starting lineup. Hopefully you have better options and can put him on the Bench this week.
Mike Evans (WR – TB): It’s not just the G.O.A.T. who struggles against New Orleans, Mike Evans does too. In three games against them last season, Evans averaged only 8.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. In two of those games, he was limited to only one reception. Fortunately, both of those receptions went for TDs, so he came away with a better fantasy day than real football day. He didn’t score a TD in other regular season contest and had his best game with 10.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (4 receptions for 64 receiving yards). Evans was only targeted 13 times in those three games. That’s because he is shadowed by Saints CB Marshon Lattimore and as Mike Clay from ESPN points out, it shows up in Evans’ numbers. Lattimore also held Evans to a Blutarsky (0.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) on three targets back in Week 5 of the 2019 season before the G.O.A.T. was in Tampa. Lattimore was beat by DK Metcalf for an 84-yard TD in the Saints’ last game, but then held Metcalf to only one more reception for 12 yards. It’s possible that Evans does the same this week and scores on a long TD pass, but I wouldn’t count on it. Put Evans on your Dynasty Owner Bench this week.
C.J. Uzomah (TE – CIN): Despite his standing as the TE11 in Dynasty Owner after seven weeks, Uzomah has really only been good enough to have in your Starting lineup when he scores two TDs in a game. That’s happened twice already in 2021 as he had 26.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (5 receptions, 95 receiving yards, 2 TDs) in Week 4 against Jacksonville and 24.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (3 receptions, 91 receiving yards, 2 TDs) in Week 7 against Baltimore. He has just 22.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (9 receptions, 70 receiving yards, 1 TD) on a total of only 10 targets in the other five games combined. While playing against the Jets would seem like a great opportunity for Uzomah to have another 2 TD game, the Jets have only allowed 7 passing TDs in their first six games of the season, which is tied for third fewest in the NFL. The Jets are far more vulnerable against the run and have allowed 11 rushing TDs, which is second worst in the NFL ahead of only the Houston Texans. Since it’s the Jets, we can’t be 100% certain that it won’t happen, but I don’t think Uzomah will have 2 TDs this week, so he can be safely put on your Dynasty Owner Bench.
Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week – Big Grizz vs. Little Donny Foundation
It’s time for the eighth Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week of the 2021 season and the first one featuring teams in one of my own Dynasty Owner leagues. Don’t worry, it’s not one of my teams. Instead, it’s a matchup between the top two teams in League #76065, which is also informally known as the Team Polian league.
Both of the teams in this match-up (Big Grizz and Little Donny Foundation) are ahead of Team Polian, as well as my team and Dynasty Owner Tim’s team. That could change this week as the first place Little Donny Foundation brings their 6-1 record into a match-up with Big Grizz, the second place team with a 5-2 record. While Little Donny Foundation has a one-game lead in the league standings, it is Big Grizz who has scored more points (1,051.0 to 1,030.1). Both Team Polian and Tim’s team are 5-2 as well, but Big Grizz has scored more points than everyone else in the league. All four of those teams are so far ahead of my team in the standings that I have a sore neck from looking up at them.
Big Grizz was sitting in 291st place in the Chase for the Ring standings before Thursday night’s game between Arizona and Green Bay. That’s pretty impressive, but Big Grizz (aka Dave Delp who those of you who watch the Wednesday livestream should be familiar with his commentary in the chat) might be angry at me for highlighting this team as it’s the worst of his five teams. That’s correct, his 5-2 team that is in 291st place in the Chase for the Ring is the worst out of his five Dynasty Owner teams. He has a 6-1 team in League #30056 that is in 91st place and another 5-2 team in League #31819 that is in 56th place. His other two teams are also 5-2 and in the Top 150 (the League #66644 team is in 145th place and the League #27989 team is in 150th place). Good luck keeping up all of those teams at or near the top of the standings in your leagues and Chase standings.
Both teams have a full complement of players at their disposal this week as the only significant players on bye are Rashod Bateman for Big Grizz and Devonta Freeman for Little Donny Foundation. As noted earlier, there are few players on Injured Reserve, but there are still injury concerns on both sides. Big Grizz should be more worried as both of the WRs in his Starting lineup (Sterling Shepard and T.Y. Hilton) are listed as questionable right now, logged limited practices on Thursday and didn’t play in Week 7. Dak Prescott is also Big Grizz’s starting QB, and his status seems up in the air, although he is more likely to play than Shepard and Hilton. Further complicating matters for Big Grizz is the fact that Prescott plays in the late game on Sunday night and Shepard plays on Monday night. Big Grizz hopes that both of them end up playing as a late gametime decision to make either one inactive might cause him to have a zero in his Starting lineup. Let’s see how the match-up is looking right now.
After all of the discussion about how great Big Grizz and his team are, it turns out that they are a slight underdog this week. Little Donny Foundation is projected to squeak out a close victory by just over 3.0 points (152.37 to 149.23). Both teams are pretty evenly matched as neither team has a significant advantage at any position in their respective Starting lineups as well as on the Bench. Based on how both of these teams have done so far this season and their projected lineups, it should be a close game that may come down to whether Sterling Shepard plays on Monday night and how well he plays. Regardless of which team wins, both will have a tough road to winning their League Championship. If one of them does, they have a good chance to appear on the final Chase for the Ring leaderboard.
The injuries for Week 8 already started last night as Robert Tonyan walked off the field after a 33-yard reception in the fourth quarter and was subsequently declared out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. There will be others who will get hurt this week and more additions to Injured Reserve next week. Hopefully, we will see the return of Jerry Jeudy this week and some other players, such as Russell Wilson and Michael Thomas, who are on Injured Reserve now, but can return later on in the season. Those returning players might offset the injuries that are sure to keep coming.
We’ll try to get Dr. Cousin Justin to comment on the Tonyan injury (and others) during our Wednesday afternoon livestream. If there is a particular injured player who you are interested in learning more about, drop me a line on Twitter (@SteveVT33) and I’ll put it on the list for Cousin Justin to research.
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. Hopefully, the choices for your Starting lineup and Bench are solid, your team wins its game and doesn’t suffer any injuries, and you stay in contention for the playoffs and even the Chase for the Ring.
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. On Monday, Jay Pounds will preview the Monday Night Football matchup from the Dynasty Owner perspective. Tuesday has a double shot of Dynasty Owner content with my Week 8 recap article and Jay’s Free Agent Auction targets article and video. Wednesdays is when Matt Morrison – The Jerk will dive into a topic of his choosing with an article and a video. This Wednesday, he handed out some mid-season awards and previewed his next series. The next day, he’ll have an article previewing the Thursday Night Football game that will start Week 9 of the Dynasty Owner regular season.
Don’t forget about the weekly Dynasty Owner livestream on Wednesday with myself, Tim Peffer, and Dr. Cousin Justin. Set the timer on YouTube so you don’t miss it live, or make sure to watch it afterwards. Either way, please don’t forget to smash the Like button.
Please read all of our articles, watch our videos on YouTube if you can’t make it live or listen to them wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t forget follow all three of the Dynasty Owner team of writers plus Dynasty Owner on Twitter as well. Thanks, and have a great day!
Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner