– Here We Go (Once) Again!
By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)
As the title says, here we go! It’s time for the 2023 NFL and Dynasty Owner seasons to begin. It’s been a hot summer, and while it’s still in the mid-90s here in the Washington, DC area, things are projected to cool down by Sunday. What’s really been heating up over the past few days are fantasy football drafts (I had four over the past three days). If you still want to do a Dynasty Owner startup draft, it’s not too late. There are startup drafts on Friday and Saturday, and you just go to your D.O. Store, click on New Team for 2023, and find a time when you can draft in the future. You can also Create A League for a specific day and time, invite friends who you want to play with, or just make it a public league. If any of those friends are new to Dynasty Owner, give them your affiliate code and get a $49 referral fee. Don’t forget to give everyone the most recent promo code (LETSGO) for $20 off a new team and use the code yourself as well.
It’s also been a busy past couple of days in the NFL, even though the three game pre-season ended on August 27th. There were over 1,000 players cut from NFL rosters since last Tuesday’s 53-man roster cutdown day, and nearly 600 were rehired to team practice squads.
Your Dynasty Owner roster may have experienced some turnover as players you expected to start or at least play a significant amount this season have gotten hurt like Travis Kelce ($14,312,500), or put on Injured Reserve (IR) for at least the first four games of the season, like Jeff Wilson ($3,000,000), released but then added back to the practice squad, such as what happened to Bailey Zappe ($1,076,768), or even gotten released outright by their team. Sayonara Cade York ($1,097,410)!
That whole end of the previous paragraph was just the setup for the Cade York line. Don’t worry if you have him on your Dynasty Owner roster (he’s still rostered in 55.98% of Dynasty Owner leagues now), as he’s resurfaced with the Titans practice squad. In fact, quite a lot of players who got let go over the past week are still on a lot of Dynasty Owner rosters. Our rosters can be up to 30 players plus 3 players on IR so there’s room to stash even Trey Lance ($8,526,319) who is still rostered in an unfathomable 89.96% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Hope springs eternal for everyone in early September as every NFL team is still undefeated and all fantasy football players should think their teams have a shot at winning their league. For Dynasty Owners, I hope that everyone is thinking about how they can be the 2023 Chase for the Ring Champion and join Eddie Driscoll – New York’s Strongest, Viktor Kilgore – Barbee Kilgore, Jeff Rachlin – SKOL Vikings and Rudolph Valentine – Dynasty|Trade|School (D|T|S) in that exclusive club.
The Dynasty Owner Chase for the Ring is still the best contest and prize in fantasy football. If your Dynasty Owner team wins its league and scores the most points of any league winner over the course of the entire season, you’re the winner. You get a Super Bowl-style ring and the title of “best of the best” in Dynasty Owner for the 2023 season. You have to win your league to win the Ring so that’s where this Week 1 preview and my Starting lineup and Bench recommendations come into play.
However, before we get to those recommendations, let’s remind everyone that Dynasty Owner still use real NFL salaries and contracts and our 2023 Dynasty Owner salary cap is still 70% of the NFL salary cap, or $157.36 million. Dynasty Owner has some unique scoring rules that everyone should be refreshed on, like Bench scoring that adds 25% of the points from players on your Bench to your total final score and a Clutch scoring bonus of 3 points for any TD or FG that results in a lead change (score is tied or takes the lead) in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter or anytime during overtime. The regular scoring rules are recapped below and also included in full in the Dynasty Owner Constitution. As Brad Hamilton said in Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Learn It. Know It. Live It.
Thanks for reading my weekly preview article and for being a Dynasty Owner. If you were a Dynasty Owner last year, thanks for coming back this year. For those of you first-time Dynasty Owners, or if it’s just your first time reading my preview article, here’s what to expect.
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. These won’t be the obvious choices. No recommendations to go ahead and start Davante Adams, ($28,000,000), Josh Allen ($43,005,667), or Mark Andrews ($14,000,000). Those guys are just the ones who’s last names start with an “A”. They are likely cemented in your Starting lineup unless something bad happens, or they are on bye. Other players who are rostered in 100% (or nearly 100%) of Dynasty Owner leagues with low ADPs won’t be mentioned either. Instead, I’m going to recommend you Start players who were drafted to be on your Bench or Practice Squad, aren’t on a roster in every Dynasty Owner league or have high ADPs and could be found in the 12th round or later in a typical Dynasty Owner startup draft.
After that, I’ll name one player per position who should be on your Bench or Practice Squad. For these Bench recommendations, it’s just the opposite. I’ll suggest players drafted early in Dynasty Owner startup drafts to be Starters, projected in the top 12 (QBs and TEs) or top 36 (RBs and WRs) in scoring this year. This section is where you might see Allen, Adams or Andrews appear. However, the recommended Bench players shouldn’t be in your Starting lineup for the week based on matchups, past performance against a team or something else.
All stats cited are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the 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.
Any salaries, ADPs and roster percentages listed were current as of the morning of September 7th. All 2023 contract information is currently what is listed on the Dynasty Owner platform (number of years and salaries) and has been taken from Spotrac (https://www.spotrac.com/).
That was a long introduction and I’ll try to be shorter next week. If you got through it all, thank you and here’s what you really came to read.
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). For Week 1, we’ll take a look back at how my recommendations fared in past years.
In 2019, I had almost the same percentage of Good recommendations (40%) as Bad ones (43%) with the remaining judged to be Just Ok (17%). In 2020, things took a turn for the worse with less than one-sixth (15%) of my recommendations being Good, over half (53%) being Bad and one-third (32%) falling into the Just Ok category. There was a slight improvement in 2021, as just over one-quarter (27%) were rated as Good, half (52%) were Bad, and one-fifth (21%) were Just Ok.
The 2022 Good recommendations were up slightly again, but still with a lower percentage than 2019 once again. Last year, I made a total of 67 recommendations with 4 per week for 17 weeks minus the one DJ Chark ($5,000,000) recommendation that was rendered “not applicable” as he did not play) and three in ten (31%) were rated as Good. Nearly three-fifths (57%) were Bad, which was also up from the past two years, while only 12% were Just Ok.
|Position||Good Picks||Good Pick %||Bad Picks||Bad Pick %||Just Ok Picks||Just Ok Pick %|
In terms of positions, it was completely different between receivers and backfield players. I had 8 Good RB recommendations and 7 Good QB recommendations, but just 4 Good TE recommendations and only 2 Good WR recommendations. Three-quarters of my WR and TE recommendations in 2022 were Bad.
I didn’t have any perfect weeks and Week 5 was the best as I had three Good recommendations and just one Bad one. In contrast, the season got off to a poor start with all four Week 2 recommendations being Bad. In fact, out of 12 recommendations through the first three weeks, only one was Good and one was Just Ok, while the other 10 were Bad. I dug myself into an early hole that I couldn’t dig out of and hopefully won’t do once again in 2023.
These are the players I’m counting on to give me a good start to the season and who I’m recommending you get into your Starting lineup in Week 1.
Baker Mayfield (QB – TB): I know that I shouldn’t read too much into pre-season stats, but Baker Mayfield ($4,000,000) had the fourth best QB passing rating (135.7) during the 2023 pre-season by completing 14 out of 15 passes (93.3%) for 106 passing yards and 2 TDs. He was 6 for 6 with 43 passing yards and a 11-yard TD pass to Chris Godwin ($20,000,000) in the Buccaneers’ pre-season finale against the Ravens. This is good news for Mayfield and the Buccaneers.
Across the field from the Buccaneers will be a Minnesota Vikings defense that gave up 266.9 yards per game passing, which was second worst in the NFL last year. The Vikings secondary is completely reworked as all four cornerbacks who played over 160 snaps for the team in 2022 are no longer on the roster. Two of the returning cornerbacks were on the team last year, but struggled which seems like trouble against a pair of veteran WRs in Godwin and Mike Evans ($16,500,000).
The Buccaneers offensive line is largely rebuilt and will be facing an aggressive blitzing Vikings defense, but if they can give Baker just enough time to find Evans and Godwin enough to be worth having in your Starting lineup.
Raheem Mostert (RB – MIA): The projections have Raheem Mostert ($2,800,000) as the overall RB43 for the season and his Dynasty Owner startup draft ADP is 124.25 so he’s being taken at the start of the 12th round on average. That makes him a very high-end Bench option and with fellow Dolphins RB Jeff Wilson on Injured Reserve (IR) and out for the first four games, Mostert should be the lead RB for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins travel to Los Angeles to play a Chargers defense that was dead last in rushing yards per carry allowed (5.4) last season. They return most of the defensive players who allowed all that yardage, so the conditions exists for the Dolphins and Mostert to run all over them. Hopefully the Dolphins run more than they did in a 23-17 loss against the Chargers in Week 14 when their RBs had 64 rushing yards on just 16 attempts (4.0 yards per carry). Without a solid backup RB, Mostert could easily see 12-15 carries and add in a couple of receptions for an opening game worth having in your Dynasty Owner Starting lineup.
As a bonus pick, in case you don’t think Mostert was truly someone most likely to be a Bench player, I give you Ravens RB Gus Edwards ($4,500,000). Edwards has a Dynasty Owner startup draft ADP of 209.4 and is projected as the RB62 overall. He’s the fifth or sixth RB on a Dynasty Owner roster, but because he’s playing against the Houston Texans this week, I’m saying that you can have him in your Starting lineup. The Texans ranked last in rushing yards per game in 2022 by giving up 170.2 rushing yards per game and were fourth worst in yards per carry (5.1). Edwards has averaged a remarkable 5.2 yards per carry in his career. The Ravens should handily beat the Texans and give Edwards a lot of rushing attempts at the end of the game, so he’ll get enough Dynasty Owner fantasy points to be worth having in your Starting lineup.
Curtis Samuel (WR – WAS): The Commanders will be playing on Sunday in front of a sell-out crowd at FedEx Field and facing the team (Arizona) widely expected to be the worst in the NFL this season. Because the Commanders are finally under new ownership, I would expect the team to come out and play well in front of a full stadium likely full of their own fans, as opposed to other teams’ fans as they have done many times over the past few seasons.
Last season, Curtis Samuel ($11,500,000) jumped out to a quick start with 18.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 1 and a season-high 22.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 2. In both games, against Jacksonville at home and Detroit on the road, Samuel caught a TD pass. Things slowed down after that, and he finished the 2022 season with a total of 174.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 17 games played (10.29 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game).
With fellow WR Terry McLaurin ($22,788,000) limited in practice on Wednesday and questionable due to a turf toe injury suffered back in Week 2 of the pre-season, Samuel could be asked to step up again at the beginning of the 2023 season and there’s no better way to do that then against one of the worst defenses in the league. As the projected WR62 for the 2023 season and with an ADP of 257.0, Samuel definitely projects as a season-long Bench player, but he should be in your Starting lineup this week against the Cardinals.
Tyler Higbee (TE – LAR): Cooper Kupp ($26,700,000) was ruled out of Sunday’s game against Seattle, which means a group of young and mostly unproven WRs will be taking the field for the Rams. With the Rams’ opponent in Week 1 (Seattle) likely down two starting secondary players (veteran safety Jamal Adams has been ruled out and rookie first round NFL draft pick cornerback Devon Witherspoon has been limited in practice and largely out of action for three weeks with a sore hamstring), it’ll likely be Higbee who steps into Kupp’s place as Stafford’s favorite receiver.
In two games against Seattle last year, Higbee was targeted 12 times but only had six receptions for 47 receiving yards. However, that was with John Wolford ($1,010,000) and Baker Mayfield under center for the Rams, not Stafford. In nine games last season together, Stafford targeted Higbee 65 times for 40 receptions and 357 receiving yards, but zero TDs (75.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) for an average of 8.41 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. Higbee had five games with double-digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points with Stafford at QB, and I think he’ll get his first double-digit Dynasty Owner fantasy point game in Week 1 of 2023 because both Kupp and Adams are sitting out.
These Guys Should Be on the Bench (or Practice Squad) This Week
Now it’s time to look at how my Bench recommendations from the previous week worked out (Good, Bad or Just Ok). Once again, I’ll take a look back at how my previous season recommendations fared since there are no previous week’s recommendations.
In 2019, I had more Good recommendations than Bad ones (42% Good vs. 32% Bad) with the remaining 27% being Just Ok. Similar to the Starting recommendations, things got worse in 2020. The percentage of Good recommendations slipped down to just over one-third (35%), while the percentage of Bad recommendations increased to two-fifths (42%). The remaining one-quarter (23%) were Just Ok. The 2021 Bench recommendations were a slight bit better as almost two-fifths (38%) were Bad, while just over one-third (35%) were rated as Good, with the remaining over one-quarter (26%) being Just Ok.
Once again, I improved in my 2022 Bench recommendations compared to last year, had more Good than Bad recommendations and was nearly back to my 2019 percentages. Out of 68 recommendation in total (4 per week for 17 weeks), almost half (46%) were rated as Good, compared to just over two-fifths (41%) that were Bad. The remaining 13% were Just Ok.
|Position||Good Picks||Good Pick %||Bad Picks||Bad Pick %||Just Ok Picks||Just Ok Pick %|
If it wasn’t for RBs, I would have been over 50% Good recommendations overall. RB was the only position in which I had more Bad than Good recommendations and it dragged my entire Good percentage down. I did the best at picking receivers to Bench as my Good percentage for both WRs and TEs was over half (53%).
The consistency of the Bench recommendations was remarkable as I never had a week without a Good recommendation. On the flip side, only once did I avoid having a Bad recommendation. That was the final week of the Dynasty Owner regular season (Week 14) when I had two Good and two Just Ok recommendations. Hopefully I can be consistent once again in 2023, but reduce the number of Bad recommendations and have a majority of recommendations be Good. Here are the guys who I’m recommending you keep on your Bench (or Practice Squad) in Week 1 to get the 2023 season off to a solid start.
Joe Burrow (QB – CIN): Last year, I used Aaron Rodgers ($37,500,000) because he had an almost completely new group of WRs and didn’t play any pre-season games with them. I was correct as he ended up struggling in Week 1 with just 3.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Since Rodgers played in the third pre-season game versus the Giants and is barely considered a Starter now (he is projected as the #12 ranked QB in Dynasty Owner this year), I’m going to need to look elsewhere. That led me to Joe Burrow ($9,047,534).
I’m very high on Burrow and the Bengals this season and predicted them to win the Super Bowl in recently released Dynasty Owner podcast with Jay Pounds. Burrow’s not here because I think he won’t be a great QB this year, he’s here mainly because the Bengals are playing the Browns and he didn’t play at all in the pre-season due to a calf injury. He also hasn’t had much practice time either due to that injury.
The Browns have a good secondary with their top three cornerbacks from last year returning. They held Burrow to 39.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in two games last season, including just 17.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 8. Burrow has started somewhat slowly in each of the past two seasons with 23.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 1 versus Pittsburgh last year and 25.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 versus Minnesota. Not terrible, but below his season-long average in both seasons.
I know it’s difficult for Dynasty Owners with Burrow as their QB to Bench him this week, but if you have an expensive veteran backup with a better Week 1 matchup, such as Kirk Cousins ($35,000,000) or even Derek Carr ($37,500,000) take a long look at it. You might agree with me and put Burrow on your Dynasty Owner Bench this week.
Najee Harris (RB – PIT): The pre-season fantasy hate for Najee Harris ($3,261,862) is real but mostly located outside of Dynasty Owner as Harris’ salary and workload potential are keeping him at an ADP of 32.6 in Dynasty Owner startup drafts despite being projected as the RB14 for the 2023 season. His ADP makes him the 12th RB off the board in a typical Dynasty Owner startup draft and his 2021 ADP (6.8) and 2022 ADP (3.1) means that his Dynasty Owners used a first round pick, or a lot of solid draft capital and good players, to acquire him.
I’m not sold that Jaylen Warren ($857,333) is going to replace Harris this season or that Harris will “struggle” once again in 2023. I put quotes around struggle as I don’t think RB14 is too bad of a season, just disappointing based on his ADP.
However, the reason for Harris being here has less to do with Warren and Harris’ disappointing 2022 season and more to do with the fact that the Steelers face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. The 49ers were the second ranked rushing defense in 2022 at 82.5 rushing yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry. That defense just got Nick Bosa back too. That’s why Najee should be on your Dynasty Owner Bench this week.
Gabriel Davis (WR – BUF): This might be considered a stretch, but Gabriel Davis ($998,595) does have an ADP of 95.7 in Dynasty Owner startup drafts which makes him a late eighth round draft pick and one of the Starters for most Dynasty Owners who draft him. Admittedly, it’s more likely because of his sub-$1 million salary than anything else. However, Davis is also projected as the WR33 for the 2023 season, which puts him as a FLEX starter, so he fits both of the main criteria.
Against the Jets last season, Davis had a total of 11.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (5 receptions for 64 receiving yards) on 9 targets. The Jets have all three of their main cornerbacks returning from a defense that allowed only 189.4 passing yards per game in 2022. That was third best in the NFL behind only Philadelphia and New Orleans. The fact that they’ve held Davis down before and the Jets will be playing at home on Monday Night Football and Jets’ fans are really excited for this season helps me to think that the Bills passing game may struggle overall, with Davis the most likely receiver to struggle individually.
Darren Waller (TE – LV): All three of the top TEs in projected Dynasty Owner fantasy points have the “Q” for Questionable listed next to their name. That’s potentially not a good start for the top TEs for 2023. Travis Kelce has drawn the most attention and I won’t pick him here since he may not play on Thursday night against the Lions. The other two TEs, Mark Andrews ($14,000,000) and George Kittle ($15,000,000), should play well enough to be worth a spot in your Starting lineup.
Last year, I had Waller ($17,000,000) here in Week 1 and I’m going with him once again. He burned me though with 11.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (4 receptions for 79 receiving yards) for the Raiders last year. That was then and he’s on the Giants now. He is considered their de facto WR1 and even though his Dynasty Owner startup draft ADP is 133.3 and the highest among the top 15 TEs in projected 2023 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, it’s because he’s the highest paid TE in Dynasty Owner this year. If Dynasty Owners drafted him, or kept him on their roster after his $17 million salary kicked in, they believe in Waller and plan on having him in their Starting lineup.
I’m here to throw cold water on that idea because the Giants face the Dallas Cowboys who have a really good defense, only gave up 1 receiving TD to a TE last year and an average of 4.5 receptions for 37 receiving yards. In two games versus Dallas last year, Giants QB Daniel Jones ($40,000,000) had just 424 passing yards and a single TD. Maybe Waller will get to the magical 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy point level to be worth having in your Starting lineup on volume and without a TD, but I’d play it safe and put Waller on your Bench this week.
It’s time for the NFL and Dynasty Owner seasons to get started already. It’s only a few hours away from the Thursday Night Football matchup between the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Hard Knocks darlings from last year Detroit Lions. After that game is over or even during the game, you can check out the 2023 Chase for the Ring standings to see if your Dynasty Owner team has cracked the Top 100. If you’re there at any point in the season, don’t forget to take a screenshot and post it on social media so everyone knows how much you are crushing it this season. It’s not easy to get there, or stay on the leaderboard, so enjoy your time on it and make sure to brag a little bit about it to your friends, family and the other teams in your Dynasty Owner league.
You may have noticed that there’s no Match-up of the Week this year. It’s more difficult to do this season than in the past so I’m moving it to be a Twitter/X feature and plan on posting it, likely on Fridays. If you don’t already do it, please follow me there (@SteveVT33) for that unique Dynasty Owner feature and to see who’s going up against Dynasty|Trade|School (D|T|S) with his Chase for the Ring Championship team from last season. You can send me your match-up for future weeks, but we always do the reigning Chase for the Ring Champion in Week 1.
Please read this weekly preview article each and every week to see my recommendations for 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.
If you like, or dislike, these recommendations, think you can do better, or even agree and want everyone to know, please comment when this article is published by Dynasty Owner on Twitter/X, or like the article posted on Facebook or Instagram and add your comment there. We appreciate the feedback from our fellow Dynasty Owners.
In addition to this preview, Dynasty Owner also has other content to help you out. Jay Pounds had Week 0 Free Agent Auction targets article published on Tuesday. He’ll be back every Tuesday during the 2023 season with a list of five (or more) widely available players in Dynasty Owner to help everyone with their Free Agent Auction bids for the first Auction run of the week on Wednesday at 5 AM. We also have the weekly Livestream with me and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer, which will be going live on Wednesday afternoons at 4:45 PM (Eastern) for the entire 2023 season. In addition to the afternoon Livestream yesterday, we had a Live Dynasty Owner draft special on Wednesday evening. If you missed either one of those broadcasts, then go watch them on the Dynasty Owner YouTube channel.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner