Contract Breakdown: Washington Football Team

By Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Hello Dynasty Owners. Welcome to our final Contract Breakdown article of the year. We started all the way back in the first week of January with the Arizona Cardinals. It just so happens that we started with the first NFL team alphabetically and are ending with the last NFL team alphabetically. Since the first week of January, I have done 31 contract breakdown articles. Today is the final one. We will talk about a few free agents that Washington had coming into the off-season. In addition, I will break down a single Football Team player.

Free Agents

Washington had three notable free agents that I want to talk about today. As I always say, notable is defined as a player that I deem able to be reasonably rostered in Dynasty Owner. (Or, in Jeremy Sprinkle’s case, it’s a player that was previously rosterable, but is likely no longer). They are…

  • Lamar Miller
  • Kyle Allen
  • Jeremy Sprinkle

Lamar Miller is up first. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I refer to Miller as a journeyman running back. Miller has been with five NFL teams in his 10 seasons. The list of teams include Miami, Houston, New England, Chicago and Washington. Most notably, Miller missed the entire 2019 season with a torn ACL. He tore it during a pre-season game, so he did not play a snap that year. Additionally, Miller signed with the Patriots in 2020 where he did not play in any game and was released less than a month later. Miller agreed to a single year deal with the Football Team right after free agency opened way back in March. The contract was 1 year – $1,212,500. In reality, there is not much to break down here. Lamar was released by Washington eight days ago. This move is unfortunate for Miller, but it is one that could have been expected. He is currently 30 years old and hasn’t seen a regular season rushing attempt since before his ACL tear. Miller is rostered in 8.5 percent of leagues, but it shouldn’t even be that high in my opinion. Even if he does sign with a team prior to Week 1, it will be a depth addition with no clear path to dynasty relevance. This is tough to see from anyone, but especially for a running back who averaged 936 rushing yards per season for the six seasons prior to his ACL tear.

Kyle Allen is next. Allen had a tough end to his 2020 season after he dislocated his left ankle against the Giants. He was in the middle of a decent stretch after taking over the starting job from Dwayne Haskins. Allen put together back to back 20+ fantasy point weeks prior to his season ending injury. Allen was an exclusive rights free agent coming into the 2021 offseason, and Washington decided to offer him a tender. Allen signed the tender which puts him with Washington for at least one more year. The contract is 1 year – $850,000. This doesn’t mean that he will be a relevant fantasy option in 2021 though. Ryan Fitzpatrick was also signed by Washington in the offseason. Fitzpatrick is the better, smarter and more seasoned quarterback so there is little doubt in my mind that he will be the starter for the majority of the season. Adding to the complexity is the fact that Taylor Heinicke is in all likelihood the backup quarterback for the Football Team. This is a long winded way of saying that I don’t expect Allen to see much playing time (if any) unless there are a couple of quarterback injuries. Allen is owned in 19 percent of leagues (which I think is fair), but it’s only because he is on a cheap salary. I would roster him, but not count on any fantasy points for 2021.

The final free agent I want to discuss is Jeremy Sprinkle. Sprinkle exits a crowded tight end committee in Washington to join an even more crowded committee in Dallas. Sprinkle signed a 1 year – $1,127,500 contract with the Cowboys. Sprinkle will compete against Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for regular season playing time. I would argue that both Jarwin and Schultz are better tight ends. They also have the additional head start of being on the team longer. There was a decent amount of hope for Sprinkle coming out of college, but unfortunately he has only put together a max of 26 receptions in any season. I see no reason why this season would be any different than that. Jarwin and Schultz will carry the bulk of the tight end routes, leaving little volume, if any, for Sprinkle. At zero percent ownership, all Dynasty Owners seem to agree.

Contract Breakdown

We are going to look at Antonio Gibson today. After a standout season in 2020, Gibson is projected to be the RB12 of the 2021 season. I think this a pretty fair landing spot for him although I think it may be a little too low.  Obviously time will tell, but he did finish as RB13 in 2020 with little volume.  In fact, he finished as RB13 despite missing nearly three games and having five games of 10 or fewer rushes. These five games do not include the times missed due to injury. There is almost no way Gibson’s volume won’t increase this season. Yes, J.D. McKissic is still in town, and he will garner touches (especially receptions), but Gibson is clearly the better and more talented running back. In addition, he has youth on his side. Let’s see how Gibson compares to similar value running backs…

 Salary2021 Projected FPs2021 DD/FP
Myles Gaskin$651,694197.9$3,293
Chase Edmonds$728,090197.0$3,696
David Montgomery$1,003,845266.0$3,774
James Robinson$763,333198.9$3,838
Antonio Gibson$1,233,159277.9$4,437

So, what are we thinking after seeing this comparison? If you haven’t guessed already, these are the five running backs that are projected to lead all DO running backs in terms of Dynasty Dollar/Fantasy Point (DD/PT. Essentially, they are projected to be the five most efficient running backs in 2021. We have a good inclination that none of these five will be the RB1, and certainly they all won’t be Top 12 running backs, but they will all be a value compared to higher salary running backs.

Let me ask you this question…if you were told that one of these players will finish the season as the number one running back, who would you think it would be? If you ask me, there’s really only two running backs that have the ability. They are David Montgomery and Antonio Gibson.  In the end, Gibson would be my first pick. I like Monty this year, but I don’t feel like he will have enough receptions to have a chance at the RB1.  So, when we talk about Gibson, we are talking about a projected Top 5 value, and he has the ability to be a Top 5 running back in terms of total fantasy points? That is starting to sound like a recipe for a rock solid league winner. That is what I think of Gibson.

Even if you think that a Top 5 running back finish is out of the question for Gibson, you have to admit that Top 10 is reasonable. After all, he did finish as RB13 last year with low volume. It also becomes clearer when you compare Gibson’s team dynamic to the other four running backs on this list. Edmonds and Robinson are on committees, and they may not be the best running backs on their own teams. That is scary and just makes for a situation that is overall more unknown. Gaskin is the best running back on his team, and he should be the lead/workhorse back, but the Dolphins showed that they liked to play the “hot hand” last season.  Monty is the workhorse back and he will command the lion’s share of the touches, but he has always been a low volume receiving back. Does that change this year? I hope so, but it is far from certain. That leaves Gibson. Gibson isn’t on the best team, he doesn’t have the best offense or offensive line, but he is the most talented and athletic running back on this list. He will receive the majority of the carries and running back receptions for the Football Team. He is a player that I would love to own, and one that I project to be a 2021 league winner. Draft or trade for him sooner than later as his ADP is currently 14.5.

Thank you for reading, and look out for my video that pairs with this article. Over my next two articles, I will highlight some of the more important breakdown points that I wrote about during the 32 week period. Message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Thank you all. Take care and be safe. TheJerk

How to Draft (and Not to Draft) Your First Dynasty Owner Team

By Steven Van Tassell

After spending the past five weeks discussing the first-ever Dynasty Owner Tiers, I wanted to change things up this week and write an article solely devoted to helping all of the new Dynasty Owners out there with the most important task at the start of their Dynasty Owner career – their first start-up draft.

Everyone has their first Dynasty Owner draft, and it can be a daunting task. One of the members of my Beta league commented after our 2020 league draft that it was “the hardest draft I have ever been in. I was exhausted after it was done.” Any dynasty league draft can be a lot of work to determine who you want to draft, who’s projected to do well this year (and in the future), keeping track of your own roster and what positions you need, who’s still available, bye weeks, etc. What Dynasty Owner does is add contracts and salaries on top of all of that and make you stay under a salary cap ($127.75 million for 2021).

Those of you new to Dynasty Owner might not believe that it’s true. Especially if you’ve participated in dynasty league drafts before. My first dynasty league draft was an auction with a cap on how much you could bid overall on salaries. I thought keeping track of that was difficult, but Dynasty Owner was even harder. Participating in mock drafts will help and I urge you to do as many of those as you can, but unless you are mock drafting with a dozen active Dynasty Owners and not computer autodrafting, it’s not the same thing as your first Dynasty Owner draft.

Going about your first Dynasty Owner draft in the same manner as you would a “regular” dynasty league draft is a mistake. In the NFL and Dynasty Owner, it’s all about maximizing the value of the players on your roster. Having Aaron Rodgers and his $33.5 million salary would have been great in 2020, as he led Dynasty Owner with 517.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. However, for only $5.3 million in salary, Dynasty Owners could have had Josh Allen and his 516.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. However, the team with Allen would also have $28.2 million more left to spend on the rest of their Dynasty Owner roster than the team with Rodgers.

If you forget about value and just focus on points, you won’t be the first person to make that mistake. I’m here to help you avoid that scenario and be able to compete with experienced Dynasty Owners in your first draft. Earlier this off-season, I did a series of articles looking at how 2020 Dynasty Owner league winners drafted their teams and encourage all new Dynasty Owners to read those articles. These articles are based on a thorough analysis of all 2020 Dynasty Owner leagues in every type of league (Beta, For the Love of the Game, $600 Cash Prize pool and $1,200 Cash Prize pool):

  • How to Draft a Dynasty Owner Championship Team – Part I
  • How to Draft a Dynasty Owner Championship Team – Part II
  • How to Draft a Dynasty Owner Championship Team – Part III
  • How Many Quarterbacks and Kickers Should I Draft?
  • How Much of the Salary Cap Should I Use in the Draft?
  • How Much of the Salary Cap Should I Use in the Draft? – Part II
  • League Winners and How They Used the Salary Cap
  • League Winners Salary Cap Usage Versus Average Teams

In these articles, there are findings about how Dynasty Owner League Winners drafted in comparison to the rest of the members of their League. Some findings contradicted suggestions that I had made before the 2020 start-up drafts took place and some were new. Many of the other analyses in those articles were inconclusive and didn’t come up with any broad findings applicable to a wide range of League Winners. Two of the main highlights were:

  • Dynasty Owners who drafted players with lower salaries in the first round were more likely to win their League title than those who drafted higher salary players.
  • It is not necessary to outspend the other teams in your League to win. League Winners were actually more likely to be in the bottom half of spending in their individual league

With these findings in hand, let’s look at a few examples of how to draft and, more importantly, not to draft your first Dynasty Owner team. There won’t be player recommendations contained in this article, instead, it’s all about using the salary cap and player value to your advantage.

All 2021 projections come from Rotowire and 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.

All 2021 Dynasty Owner ADP and fantasy points projections were accurate as of the morning of August 11th.

A Look at Two Different Potential Dynasty Drafts

There are any number of ways that fantasy football managers can go about drafting their team. I firmly believe that for every 12-team Dynasty Owner draft, there are 12 different draft strategies. Despite what some analysts will tell you, there really is no magic formula since there are too many things out of your control when drafting.

However, if you go into your Dynasty Owner draft looking at consensus “regular” dynasty league ADP from 2021 drafts, you’re going about it the wrong way. Here is an example of a “regular” dynasty league draft from the #1 draft position using consensus ADP, 2021 salaries and projected 2021 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. We’ll call this Team X.

RoundADPPlayerPosition2021 SalaryProjected 2021 Points
11Christian McCaffreyRB$16,015,875371.3
223Darren WallerTE$7,450,000265.5
325J.K. DobbinsRB$1,432,359269.7
447Cooper KuppWR$15,750,000268.8
549Chris GodwinWR$15,983,000263.5
670Chase ClaypoolWR$1,654,156250.2
771Russell WilsonQB$35,000,000448.9
    $93,285,3902,137.9

Personally, I believe Team X has a solid start for a “regular” dynasty team. Team X has a full complement of starters that you need in Dynasty Owner (1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX) minus the kicker position. The starting RBs are 22 and 25 years old and none of the receivers (WR and TE) are over 28 years old. Only QB Russell Wilson is over 30, but he’s not really “over the hill” at age 32 and has not missed a game in his nine-year NFL career. He’s also finished as QB5 (2020), QB3 (2019) and QB9 (2018) in the past three years using the Dynasty Owner scoring system and is projected as QB7 in 2021.

However, the problem is that Team X spent a lot of salary drafting Christian McCaffrey first. They also only have around $34.465 million to fill out the remainder of its roster. That’s 18 Bench and Practice Squad players, including a backup QB, left to draft.

In comparison, here’s an example of a Dynasty Owner draft from the #1 draft position using Dynasty Owner ADP, 2021 salaries and projected 2021 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Let’s call this Team Z.

RoundADPPlayerPosition2021 SalaryProjected 2021 Points
11.6Jonathan TaylorRB$1,957,287283.0
226.8Kyle PittsTE$8,227,624208.8
327.1D’Andre SwiftRB$2,134,728276.8
444.1Davante AdamsWR$14,500,000330.2
546.3Trey SermonRB$1,218,234216.2
684.0Courtland SuttonWR$1,710,480234.3
785.4Ryan TannehillQB$29,500,000426.9
    $59,248,3531,976.2

While Team Z is projected to score 161.7 fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points than the “regular” dynasty team, it still has a full complement of Dynasty Owner starters (minus the kicker position, of course). All three of the RBs are age 22, Adams is the same age as Kupp and Waller, while Tannehill is just one year older (33) than Wilson.

A solid start, but a couple of spots, WR2 (Sutton) and FLEX (Sermon), could be shored up. Fortunately, because Team Z has $68.5 million left under the salary cap, they can easily afford and are likely to be able to acquire the following player to upgrade their FLEX position over Trey Sermon.

RoundADPPlayerPosition2021 SalaryProjected 2021 Points
8102.8Mike EvansWR$16,500,000266.0
    $75,748,353 

The addition of Mike Evans for $16.5 million and adding him to the Starting lineup of the Dynasty Owner roster above still leaves Team Z with slightly over $52 million to spend on the remainder of its roster and projected to score 2,026.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points with Evans in place of Sermon, or “only” 111.9 points less.

To summarize, at this stage, Team Z has one more player, spent $17.5 million less in salary and projected to score only about 7.0 fewer points per game.

Team2021 SalariesProjected 2021 Points
X – “Regular” dynasty$93,285,3902,137.9
Z – Dynasty Owner$75,748,3532,026.0

With only $34.465 million to fill out the remainder of its roster, Team X has a difficult path left in their draft as they still needs an entire Bench and Practice Squad plus a Starting kicker. The difference between drafting the “regular” dynasty consensus #1 pick McCaffrey first versus the Dynasty Owner consensus #1 pick (Jonathan Taylor) is most of the difference in remaining salary and a good argument for drafting “value” with your first pick.

What Not to Do (2020 Version)

This example of how not to draft your Dynasty Owner start-up team comes from my own experience last year. I was in a league and almost everyone in it hadn’t played Dynasty Owner the year before. However, everyone in the league has tremendous knowledge of the NFL, dynasty fantasy football, etc., and in one particular case, the lack of Dynasty Owner experience clearly showed as the draft moved along. The Owner was clearly going with a “Stars and Scrubs” philosophy and likely ignoring the salary cap ramifications of the roster that he was drafting. Here are the first five picks for this team, which will be referred to as Team F from now on.

RoundPickPlayerPosition2020 Salary
19Alvin KamaraRB$964,443
216Davante AdamsWR$14,500,000
333Josh AllenQB$5,295,760
440DK MetcalfWR$1,146,513
557Todd GurleyRB$6,000,000
    $27,906,716

Keep in mind that all of the salaries listed are for the 2020 season. In terms of salary, Team F ranked in the middle of the pack at $27.91 million in salaries through the first five picks. They went for a value pick in the first round (Alvin Kamara) and didn’t load up on big salaries. All in all, it seems like a pretty solid start. However, the salary cap appeared not to be consulted for Team F’s next three draft picks.

RoundPickPlayerPosition2020 Salary
664Julio JonesWR$22,000,000
781Russell WilsonQB$35,000,000
888Le’Veon BellRB$13,125,000
9105Sony MichelRB$2,406,674
10112Jonnu SmithTE$776,572
    $73,308,246

With just three picks (Jones, Wilson and Bell), Team F spent over $70 million, or nearly 64% of the $110 million salary cap for 2020. After the first ten picks, Team F had exceeded $100 million in salaries ($101,214,962) and spent over $20 million more than the second place team in spending (Team Y with $81,107,064). Since $110 million was $110 million salary cap for 2020 was for a 25-player draft, Team F only had $8.785 million to spend on 15 players, or just around $585,667 per player, for the rest of their draft.

Since this draft was held in the middle of August, some players had opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns and had their salaries for the 2020 season assigned as $150,000. Out of the five players drafted in this league’s draft with $150,000 salaries, Team F drafted three of them (Damien Williams, Devin Funchess and Marquise Lee). That means, Team F had three players who were automatically not going to give them any Dynasty Owner fantasy points for the entire 2020 season.

In addition to spending too much, too early, Team F also made the mistake of using almost all of their $110 million salary cap during the draft as the chart below shows. Here’s the league salary situation after the draft (in draft order) along with after the first five and first ten picks:

TeamTop 5 PicksTop 10 PicksAll 25 Picks
Team J$32,655,794$60,543,353$109,841,235
Team R$6,179,809$45,676,281$91,067,685
Team P$46,322,490$65,443,695$102,569,131
Team T$31,924,897$64,713,394$106,197,584
Team A$27,119,918$75,575,718$107,201,237
Team C$30,681,851$47,120,660$108,465,903
Team S$8,353,418$23,648,825$104,544,978
Team V$28,030,028$58,171,664$102,611,258
Team F$27,906,716$101,214,962$109,797,716
Team Y$19,423,892$81,107,064$105,920,673
Team D$14,001,295$26,492,585$85,797,466
Team Q$50,452,958$77,132,314$100,464,522

By drafting so close to the $110 million salary cap, Team F left themselves with little flexibility for post-draft moves. In Dynasty Owner, each team drafts 25 players, but can have a 30-player roster. By only having a little over $200,000 left after the draft, Team F was stuck with their roster as is unless they dropped a player to add someone else.

If Team F wanted to drop someone, it would cost them either an amnesty provision or 25% of the total remaining salary for the player’s contract in Dynasty Dollars. For example, Team F drafted Qadree Ollison (RB – ATL) who had a 3-year, $707,891 salary for a total $2,123,673. In order to drop Ollison, Team F would have had to spend $530,918 in Dynasty Dollars to shed him from their roster. At that point, Team F would have had $910,175 in salary cap room to bid on another player in the Free Agent Auction.

Despite drafting the QBs (Allen), RB1 (Kamara) and WR1 (Adams), Team F finished in third place and lost in the first round of the playoffs. For the record, the team that spent the least overall in the draft and second least through the first ten picks (Team D) was the League Winner.

What Not to Do Versus What to Do (2021 Version)

For 2021, let’s look at how two Dynasty Owner teams drafting next to each other approached their 2021 start-up draft.

RoundTeamPlayerPosition2021 SalaryProjected 2021 Points
1AKyler MurrayQB$8,914,504473.8
1BPatrick MahomesQB$45,000,000524.2
2BTrey LanceQB$8,526,319369.2
2AAntonio GibsonRB$1,233,159279.0
3AJoe MixonRB$12,000,000269.0
3BAustin EkelerRB$6,125,000280.5
4BGeorge KittleTE$15,000,000263.5
4ATyreek HillWR$18,000,000328.3

After the first four picks, Team B has spent over $34 million more in salaries, but is only projected to score 87.3 more Dynasty Owner fantasy points.

Team2021 SalariesProjected 2021 Points
A$40,147,6631350.1
B$74,651,3191437.4

However, since Team B drafted QBs with their first two picks (Mahomes and Lance), they won’t even get the full compliment of Lance’s points from the Bench, just 25% of his points.

One change in Team B’s draft could make a big difference in their salaries, but with minimal impact on their 2021 projected points. That change would be to draft Justin Herbert (QB – LAC) and his $6,644,688 salary in place of Mahomes. Even though Herbert has a better ADP than Mahomes (8.3 vs. 24.4), he was available for Team B to draft in the first round.

RoundTeamPlayerPosition2021 SalaryProjected 2021 Points
1BJustin HerbertQB$6,644,688461.8

With that change, we see a dramatic difference in salaries as Team B actually has spent less than Team A at this point, while maintaining a slight advantage in projected points.

Team2021 SalariesProjected 2021 Points
A$40,147,6631350.1
B$36,296,0071375.0

Team B continued their high-spending ways and was considerably ahead of Team A in spending after the first five, ten and fifteen picks as well as only having $15,880 in salary left after the draft, compared to just over $4.8 million for Team A.

TeamTop 5 PicksTop 10 PicksTop 15 PicksAll 25 Picks
Team A$67,397,663$74,024,527$85,346,016$122,942,288
Team B$75,303,013$103,752,403$121,803,299$127,723,412

In fact, Team B was so close to the salary cap after its first 15 picks that they could only draft players costing less than $700,000 in salary for all of their final ten draft picks. This included drafting three kickers in the final three rounds who are unlikely to help their team (Cole Hedlund, Ty Long and Sergio Castillo).

In contrast, Team A had enough salary left to draft a projected Top 20 WR (Adam Thielen and his $16.05 million salary) in Round 20. While Team B could end up having a better 2021 season than Team A, Team B painted themselves into a corner at the end of the draft by spending too much of their salary cap in the first ten to fifteen rounds. Team A did this while spending in the middle of the pack (sixth) in their league, compared to Team B who spent more than all but one other team.

Conclusion

Looking at a couple of real Dynasty Owner drafts, we see that Team F in 2020 and Team B in 2021 both didn’t draft for value at the beginning of their drafts and ended up having severe salary cap restrictions on the players who they could draft by the end. As a result, both teams are very shallow and ended up with several players at the end who could not help (Team F in 2020) or are highly unlikely to help (Team B in 2021) their teams. In contrast, Team A was able to pick up a Top 20 WR due to their savvy salary cap usage.

Hopefully all Dynasty Owners found this article helpful in getting ready for their 2021 start-up draft. Dynasty Owner has plenty of other great content to help you draft your dynasty. We can also provide guidance as you continue to tweak your roster after your rookie or start-up draft is over so you can win your league. My articles and videos to get you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team are being released on Wednesdays. Keep an eye out for new articles from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owner writers as well. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is doing a deep dive on individual teams that you can check out on Mondays, while Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Fridays. All of the articles will be released at 1 PM (Eastern) with videos and podcast released at 3 PM (Eastern).

Please read all of their articles and follow all three of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Hopefully this article is helpful for everyone who has a 2021 start-up draft coming soon, and at least interesting for those of you who have already drafted or have an established team. 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

New York Giants Contract Breakdown

Welcome Dynasty Owners.  Thank you for tuning into another Monday Contract Breakdown Article.  Last week I started talking about the NFC East as I wrote about the Dallas Cowboys.  I also touched on the Chase for the Ring and how unique of an event it is.  Today, I’m going to break down how the NFC East shaped up in 2020.  Then I will break down a single player on the Giants’ team and what that player means for Dynasty Owners.

Division Breakdown

The NFC East was a rough division, and that is putting it as nice as I can.  The division leader (Washington Football Team) finished with a 7-9 record.  This makes for only the third time in recent memory that an NFL team finished below .500 and won their division.  The division had only 23 wins total on the season.  That makes them the worst division, by far.  The second worst division (AFC South) had 27 combined wins.  Here is how the division broke down…

 RecordSeason Outcome
Football Team7-9Eliminated, Wild Card
Giants6-10Eliminated, Regular Season
Cowboys6-10Eliminated, Regular Season
Eagles4-11-1Eliminated, Regular Season

As I mentioned, the Washington Football Team won the NFC East with a 7-9 record.  Despite losing two of their last three games, the Football Team squeaked into the playoffs.  Highlights of their season include Antonio Gibson ($1,233,159) and J.D. McKissic ($1,635,000) finishing as Top 20 running backs, Terry McLaurin ($961,918) finishing as a Top 20 wide receiver, and Logan Thomas ($3,072,500) finishing as TE4.  I have this offense taking a step forward in 2021 with Ryan Fitzpatrick ($10,000,000) leading the team.  Fitz is a more than capable quarterback who is not afraid to get the ball to his best players nor is he afraid to stretch the field.  I will talk about the offense as a whole when we get to Washington’s article, but I am very excited to see how it works together.  They are my bold prediction to repeat as division winners.

If we’re looking for a positive spin to the Giants’ 2020 season, here it is… they started 2020 with a 1-7 record.  Over the next eight games, they finished 5-3.  This is something to build on, and there is no doubt this brings some hope to the Giants’ 2021 season.  The Saquon Barkley ($7,798,688) injury was a nearly insurmountable task to overcome.  I compare it to the Christian McCaffrey ($16,015,875) injury in a few ways.  Both players are the workhorse back for their respective teams when they are healthy.  Both players missed the overwhelming majority of the 2020 season due to injury.  Both players look to rebound in 2021, and both are projected to be Top 10 running backs in terms of total points.  However, there is a major difference between the two that I want to point out, and this is something I have pointed out in the past.  Saquon’s injury (while incredibly devastating) provided more closure and an opportunity to move on when compared to CMC’s injury.  Saquon tore his right ACL in Week 2 against the Bears.  When a player tears an ACL, that is it.  There is not really any speculation anymore.  That player is going to be out for the rest of that season.  Dynasty Owners were therefore able to make plans and either trade or continue to roster Barkley in anticipation for the 2021 season.  CMC’s injury was much different.  While McCaffrey essentially played in two more games than Saquon, his status was constantly up in the air, and that left all fantasy managers annoyed and stuck in a limbo situation.  This made for a fantasy headache.  Early reports said that Barkley may not be ready for the start of the NFL season. Now, they are reporting that he will be back by Week 3. At a minimum, he will miss valuable training camp and preseason time.  The Giants’ organization has even said that they are not going to rush him back until he is ready.  Keep an eye out for more recovery reports as the season draws closer.

Much like the Giants and Panthers, the Dallas Cowboys were dealt a very tough hand in 2020.  Their star quarterback, Dak Prescott ($40,000,000), played only four and a half games before suffering a compound fracture and dislocation to his right ankle.  Dak was cruising to at least a Top 3 quarterback finish prior to the injury.  Here were his fantasy points through the first four games…

22.3

49.3

39.2

50.3

He was at an unreal pace, and it’s a shame we didn’t get to witness what could have been one of the greatest seasons a quarterback has ever had.  I expect Dallas to compete with Washington and New York for the division title.

The Philadelphia Eagles finished last in the NFC East.  They actually weren’t in the bottom of many team categories in 2020.  They were middle of the road as far as defensive efficiency goes.  They also weren’t terrible in terms of rushing yards per game.  (They finished 10th)  The problem lied with the passing production.  Philadelphia was 28th in the NFL in passing yards per game (207.9).  For reference, the Chiefs led the league at 301.9 passing yards per game.  Yes, the Eagles had very few established pass catchers in 2020.  They also had inconsistency at the quarterback position which turned into Jalen Hurts ($1,506,292) starting at the end of the season.  It also resulted in the Carson Wentz ($32,000,000) trade to Indianapolis.  All in all, I think the offense will take some baby steps forward, but I do expect them to finish last in the division for the second year in a row.

Now that we are done with the division breakdown, let’s talk about a few New York Giants…

Contract Breakdown

Who do you think finished highest in 2020 among all New York Giants’ wide receivers?  The answer is Sterling Shepard with 162.5 fantasy points.  How about this question…who do you think is projected to finish highest in 2021 among all New York Giants’ wide receivers?  The answer shouldn’t be too surprising as it’s the Giants’ new acquisition, Kenny Golladay.  Second is Sterling Shepard and third is actually the rookie Kadarius Toney.  Finishing out the wide receiver group is Darius Slayton.  So, the question begs to be answered…which of these four is the greatest value?  I think it’s clear that Golladay is the overwhelming favorite to finish the 2021 season with the most fantasy points, but with an $18,000,000 cap hit, is he the first Giants’ wide receiver that should be drafted in Dynasty Owner?  Let’s talk about it…

 Salary2020 DD/PT2021 DD/PT
Kenny Golladay$18,000,000$273,556$77,922
Sterling Shephard$10,250,000$63,077$60,294
Kadarius Toney$3,429,877N/A$21,504
Darius Slayton$688,497$4,918$4,352

Here is how all four of the Giants’ receivers stack up next to each other in terms of salary and Dynasty Dollars per Point (DD/PT) for both the 2020 season and the 2021 projected season.  It’s no surprise that the drastically cheaper contracts are the bigger value for DD/PT.  In this case, it would appear that Slayton is the biggest value.  That may be a true statement, but that doesn’t mean that I would pick him first over any of these receivers.  On the contrary, I would rank them in this order for the 2021 season…

  1. Golladay
  2. Shepard
  3. Slayton
  4. Toney

Even with the contracts included, I want Golladay for this year.  As I have stated numerous times in the past, I will pay for wide receivers especially if they are late values.  This is how I rank them past the 2021 season…

  1. Golladay
  2. Toney
  3. Shepard
  4. Slayton

Golladay still takes the top spot because he is only 27 years old, and he will outscore the other three players by quite a bit over the next four seasons.  After that, I will give the edge to Toney due to his youth and the general upside that he brings.

I want to thank everyone for reading and for watching my video breakdowns on YouTube.  Message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Thank you all.  Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Dynasty Owner TE Tiers

By Steven Van Tassell

More Dynasty Owner Fantasy Football Tiers 2021. It’s time to move on to tight ends and then finish our tiers with wide receivers next week. Since Dynasty Owners only need to have one TE in their Starting lineup and one on their Bench, these tiers will be more similar to the QB tiers than the RB tiers. Technically, Dynasty Owner teams could start two TEs with one in the FLEX position, but unless you have two of the top TEs in the NFL, you’re unlikely to do so.

Similar to QBs, we have an “Avoid” tier of large salary TEs who just don’t produce enough Dynasty Owner fantasy points to have on your roster. Unlike QBs, there is a clear set of a few high-end TEs who are expensive, yet well worth their salary and should be drafted early in your Dynasty Owner start-up draft. We had five young players in the top QB tier (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/07/dynasty-owner-qb-tiers/), while there are only four players in the first three TE tiers. That’s what makes TE such a unique position in the NFL, as well as in Dynasty Owner.

After those top players, it really is “pick your poison” for the rest of the TEs. All of them have a reason why they aren’t in the top few tiers and Dynasty Owners need to determine what they want. There are many productive, yet expensive TEs out there as well as several tiers comprised of younger, cheaper TEs who might break through and prove to be a huge bargain, such as Robert Tonyan was last year. It’s up to each individual Dynasty Owner to determine what path they want to take with these TEs and how they fit into their roster and under their salary cap.

All 2021 projections come from Rotowire and 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.

As Many TE Tiers as Regular Season Games

As stated in the QB and RB tiers article, Dynasty Owner tiers are not the same as tiers for other fantasy football leagues or on other fantasy football websites. There are multiple factors to consider in Dynasty Owner including current salary, future salaries, 2021 projected stats and long-term potential. Dynasty Owners also need to have a Starting TE and a Bench TE in their lineup every week. There is also a FLEX position in your Dynasty Owner Starting lineup that can be filled by a TE. A minimum of 24 TEs will be collecting points in Dynasty Owner on a weekly basis. That’s why we have more tiers and more players listed than in other TE tiers articles, but fortunately, not quite as many as in the Dynasty Owner RB tiers from last week.

There are five tiers for the top nine TEs with three tiers for the elite, top four guys. That’s why there are more TE than QB tiers despite using the same number of players on a weekly basis. In fact, we have the same number of TE tiers overall, including “a” and “b” tiers as there are games in the 2021 NFL season (17). Players in each tier are listed in order of Dynasty Dollars per Point (DD/PT).

  • Tier 13 – Overpaid Veterans to Avoid Having on Your Roster

Tier 1a – The Best TE with the Lowest Salary

There are three players the top of the TE heap. All three of them are signed to a long-term contract for several million dollars per year. All three of them are expected to score over 250.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 and at least 40.0 more points than any other TE. We are obviously talking about Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and George Kittle.

In 2020, they were the only three TEs to average more than 15.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. Kittle only played in eight games, so he was TE19, while Kelce and Waller were TE1 and TE2 with over 100.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points than more any other TE.

Because Dynasty Owner uses actual NFL contracts and salaries, Darren Waller is a tier by himself. His salary of $7.45 million is nearly $7 million less than Kelce’s salary and over $7.5 million less than Kittle’s salary. His contract is also only for three more years, so he’ll be on your team for quite a while, but will cost less to drop if something happens and his production declines. Both Kelce and Kittle recently signed five-year contracts.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Darren Waller, LV$7,450,0003265.5$28,060

Tier 1b – The Best TEs with Higher Salaries

The only difference between Darren Waller and both Travis Kelce and George Kittle is salary, as all three are projected to score roughly the same number of points. Therefore, their projected 2021 DD/PT are different with Waller costing roughly half as much as either Kelce or Kittle, which puts Waller in Tier 1a, while Kelce and Kittle comprise Tier 1b.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Travis Kelce, KC$14,312,5005274.0$52,235
George Kittle, SF$15,000,0005263.5$56,926

Tier 2 – Rookie First Round Draft Pick TEs

The title says TEs, but it’s really only one TE – Kyle Pitts from the Atlanta Falcons. Pitts was the #4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft and the highest selected TE in NFL draft history. Pitts is widely expected to step in and be at the same level as Waller, Kelce and Kittle in 2021. However, based on projections, he is just a step below the three of them with 208.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for 2021.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Kyle Pitts, ATL$8,227,6244208.8$39,404

For 2021, Pitts is projected to have a DD/PT value worse than Waller, but better than Kelce and Kittle as his $8.23 million salary for the next four years is several million dollars lower per year. Pitts is a step below both of them in Tier 2 because he hasn’t yet produced in the NFL, whereas the three TEs in Tiers 1a and 1b have done so more than once in the NFL. Nobody will likely fault you for drafting Pitts as high as (or higher than) Waller, Kelce or Kittle, he’s just a tier below for now.

Tier 3 – Young TEs with One Year Left on Their Contract

If you don’t get one of the TEs in Tiers 1a, 1b and 2, then it’s a steep drop down to Tier 3 in a regular dynasty league or redraft league. However, in Dynasty Owner, the difference is mitigated because the three players in Tier 3 are so much cheaper than the top four TEs, so they are much better values. Sure, none of them is going to produce as many points as those four TEs, but they may be the top receiver on their team in 2021 and were close to being so in 2020. However, all of them play for teams that spent a first round 2021 NFL draft pick on a WR and both the Dolphins and Ravens added new WRs in free agency as well.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Mark Andrews, BAL$863,2901222.5$3,880
Dallas Goedert, PHI$1,406,0681204.9$6,862
Mike Gesicki, MIA$1,652,9811177.3$9,323

The other downside is that those salaries are only valid for the 2021 Dynasty Owner season. Next year, all three are projected by spotrac.com with a market value of at least $10 million per season for three or four seasons. Enjoy their low salaries while you can!

Tier 4 – Former Iowa Hawkeye First Round Draft Picks

The two Iowa Hawkeye TEs drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft comprise this tier of their own. However, Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson aren’t the only former Hawkeye TEs who Dynasty Owners want on their roster as George Kittle has already been listed, but Kittle is better and wasn’t a first round pick (he was taken by the 49ers in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft).

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Noah Fant, DEN$3,147,6802204.5$15,392
T.J. Hockenson, DET$4,955,3062207.5$23,881

Both are projected to have almost the same number of Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 and since Fant was drafted later than Hockenson (20th pick by Denver vs. 8th pick by Detroit), his salary is about $1.8 million less and therefore, he’s listed first as the better value.

Tier 5 – Young TEs with Affordable Salaries and Potential

Finally, a tier with more than three TEs. Those initial tiers comprise the top eight TEs in terms of projected 2021 scoring with a significant drop-off from the top three TEs (Kelce, Waller and Kittle) and the next five (Andrews, Pitts, Hockenson, Goedert, and Fant). The drop from Tier 4 to Tier 5 might be steeper, but all of these players have potential to go along with low salaries since none of them were first round NFL draft picks.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Adam Trautman, NO$1,124,8513140.8$7,989
Irv Smith, MIN$1,449,6092177.2$8,181
Harrison Bryant, CLE$1,016,0073104.7$9,704
Brevin Jordan, HOU$958,046484.2$11,378
Albert Okwuegbunam, DEN$1,011,011376.2$13,268
Cole Kmet, CHI$1,894,4443139.6$13,571
Pat Freiermuth, PIT$1,507,045491.7$16,435

The key word is “potential” as two of these players are rookies (Freiermuth and Jordan), while none of the others (Trautman, Smith, Bryant, Albert O and Kmet) have scored more than 100.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in a season. All but Albert O are all projected to do so in 2021 and all are projected to beat their 2020 production by a minimum of 40.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Take a chance on these guys, it may work out great, and you’ll have an affordable productive TE for a couple of seasons.

Tier 6a – Low-End, $3 Million Starting TEs with One Year Left on Their Contract

While they are listed as “low-end” for 2021, all of these TEs finished in the Top 10 in TE scoring in Dynasty Owner in 2020. None are projected to be in the Top 10 in 2021, while all are at least 27 years old and on one-year contracts worth around $3 million for 2021. 

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Logan Thomas, WAS$3,072,5001171.9$17,874
Hayden Hurst, ATL$2,759,0071141.6$19,485
Robert Tonyan, GB$3,384,0001156.4$21,637

All of them have a red flag that prevents them from ranking in a higher tier. Thomas is the oldest (30 years old), but projected to have the most Dynasty Owner fantasy points and best DD/PT for 2021. Tonyan has a potentially questionable QB situation in Green Bay and the Falcons drafted Hurst’s replacement in the first round of the NFL draft. Dynasty Owners could end up with a solid, low-end TE if they draft these guys and they produce as they did in 2020.

Tier 6b – Potential $3 Million Low-End Starting TEs

This “b” tier is comprised of three players who could have gone in Tier 6a based on salary, but since none of them have produced as well as those players, they needed to be rated slightly lower. 

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Anthony Firkser, TEN$3,000,0001147.1$20,394
Dan Arnold, CAR$3,000,0002110.0$27,273
Mo Alie-Cox, IND$3,384,000195.7$35,361

All three of these TEs had career years in 2020 and are projected to exceed that career year in 2021. It’s possible that they do, but Dynasty Owners shouldn’t expect these guys to be a regular in their weekly Starting lineup. Only Arnold has more than one year left on his contract, so they all can be easily dropped next year if they don’t perform, or get a large multi-year contract that your team can’t afford.

Tier 7a – Cheap Contract TEs who Need to Prove Themselves

Everyone here has an annual salary of less than $1 million and a projected 2021 DD/PT value of under $10,000. However, none are projected as a Top 24 scoring TE in 2021. Each has just one or two years to establish themselves as a top-flight TE.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Dawson Knox, BUF$880,4002125.7$7,004
Christopher Herndon, NYJ$792,8411113.0$7,016
Dalton Schultz, DAL$728,0901102.0$7,138
Kaden Smith, NYG$680,002278.6$8,651
Jordan Akins, HOU$831,271186.1$9,655

Only Akins is over 25 years old, so the others still could have long, productive careers ahead of them. Unlike the Tier 3 TEs with one year left on their contract and similar DD/PT values, none of the TEs in this tier are one of the top receivers on their NFL teams. The possibility that each could make a lot more salary in a year or two puts them a couple of tiers below the Tier 5 TEs. While both Knox and Smith have two years remaining on their contract, as does Irv Smith in Tier 5, neither Knox nor Kaden Smith is projected to have as many Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 as Irv Smith.

Tier 7b – More Cheap Contract TEs who Need to Prove Themselves

All of these TEs are just a tier below the previous tier as in 2021, they are projected to have worse DD/PT values than the “a” tier TEs with similar salaries.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Will Dissly, SEA$777,568159.6$13,046
Durham Smythe, MIA$773,059144.8$17,256
Donald Parham, LAC$695,000138.6$18,005
Ian Thomas, CAR$801,999144.5$18,022
Hakeem Butler, PHI$780,000136.5$21,370
Jacob Hollister, BUF$1,127,500150.8$22,195
Drew Sample, CIN$1,376,574257.8$23,816
Foster Moreau, LV$752,098222.4$33,576

For one reason or another, all of them have lower projections. Buffalo and Cincinnati both have plenty of other pass catchers ahead of Hollister and Sample. Dissly, Thomas and Parham are on one year contracts and had their NFL teams sign another TE to a bigger salary to seemingly play ahead of them. Smythe and Butler have crowded TE rooms and another low salary TE who has had very good seasons in the past in front of them. Finally, Foster Moreau is stuck behind Darren Waller in Las Vegas, but is probably a good handcuff to have for Waller owners in case of injury.

Tier 8a – Expensive, but Productive Veterans on One-Year Contracts

Solid and steady. That’s what you’re getting for your money from these six guys.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Jared Cook, LAC$4,500,0001167.2$26,914
Gerald Everett, SEA$6,000,0001145.3$41,294
Rob Gronkowski, TB$8,000,0001185.3$43,173
Eric Ebron, PIT$6,000,0001130.7$45,907
Zach Ertz, PHI$8,500,0001137.3$61,908
Jimmy Graham, CHI$8,000,0001123.7$64,673

They are all pretty expensive with salaries of between $4.5 million and $8 million for the 2021 season, but all of them are projected to finish in the Top 30 TEs in Dynasty Owner after finishing that high in 2020 as well. Except for Zach Ertz who missed five games, but was still TE31.

Tier 8b – High Salary TEs with Multi-Year Contracts

Both of these TEs are a notch below the Tier 8a TEs because they have expensive, multi-year salaries in the same annual salary range.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Blake Jarwin, DAL$5,500,0003145.0$37,931
Tyler Higbee, LA$7,250,0003178.8$40,548

Tier 9 – TEs with $10 Million+ Annual Salaries and Multi-Year Contracts

These are the only TEs besides Travis Kelce and George Kittle who will make more than $10 million in 2021 and for at least three more years. Each took advantage of free agency to sign with a new team after success somewhere else. However, none are expected to be as productive as either Kelce or Kittle, so they are several tiers below them.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Austin Hooper, CLE$10,500,0003166.1$63,215
Hunter Henry, NE$12,500,0003176.9$70,661
Jonnu Smith, NE$12,500,0004158.1$79,064

The projections of roughly 100.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points less than both Kelce (274.0) and Kittle (263.5) means they have higher DD/PT values. That’s the problem as they are being paid nearly as much as Kelce and Kittle, while producing far fewer points. There are other expensive and less productive TEs out there (Tier 13), but their salaries make these three players less desirable than the TEs in earlier tiers.

Tier 10 – Disappointing 2017 First Round Picks Making $6.013 Million in 2021

Take your pick of these three guys. All of them are 25 or 26 years old, were drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, and are playing on their fifth year option salary of $6.013 million. None has really lived up to that lofty draft selection, but could play well in 2021 and find themselves with a nice payday in 2022. Or they could end up signing for one year and less money with a new team in 2022 after a poor season in 2021.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Evan Engram, NYG$6,013,0001145.5$41,326
O.J. Howard, TB$6,013,0001144.3$41,670
David Njoku, CLE$6,013,0001107.6$55,883

Tier 11 – Cheap Rookie Flyers

Here’s a collection of cheap rookie flyers who might break out (or might not). All of them were drafted in the third to fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft (interestingly, there were no TEs drafted in the sixth or seventh rounds), except Kenny Yeobah who was not drafted. That explains why his salary is more than $100,000 less than the rest and he is only signed for three, not four years.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Kenny Yeboah, NYJ$815,000358.7$13,884
Jacob Harris, LA$994,836455.2$18,022
Tommy Tremble, CAR$1,231,608449.6$24,831
Hunter Long, MIA$1,242,176442$29,576
Kylen Granson, IND$1,046,592421$49,838
Noah Gray, KC$948,444415.5$61,190
Zach Davidson, MIN$945,442413.1$72,171
John Bates, WAS$1,050,604411.6$90,569
Tre McKitty, LAC$1,196,46240.0N/A
Luke Farrell, JAC$959,50540.0N/A

They could turn out to be another George Kittle (49ers’ fifth round pick in 2017), or they could be the next Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene or Josiah Deguara. All of three of those players were drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft and proceeded to score few Dynasty Owner fantasy points during the 2020 season and are listed as no better than third string right now. They are our next tier.

Tier 12 – Cheap TEs Drafted Recently Who Didn’t Pan Out as Rookies

Here’s a collection of cheap TEs who would have been in Tier 9 last year, or maybe even Tier 5, but because they did next to nothing in their rookie seasons, have been dropped down several tiers. Sternberger did nothing in his rookie season in 2019 with 0.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and only had 29.6 points in his second season, hence his appearance here.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Dalton Keene, NE$1,124,851360.4$18,623
Jace Sternberger, GB$966,382234.0$28,423
Devin Asiasi, NE$1,145,705337.5$30,552
Josiah Deguara, GB$1,136,94130.0N/A

Two Packers and two Patriots. None are likely to do much in 2021 as the Patriots went out and signed Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith to big, multi-year contracts, while the Packers re-signed Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis. If any Dynasty Owners still have these guys on their roster, they likely drafted them last year and are sticking with them because of the affordable contract.

Tier 13 – Overpaid Veterans to Avoid Having on Your Roster

None of these guys are worth drafting in your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up draft, or holding on to on your roster in an established league. They cost too much at a minimum of $6 million per year, are projected to finish outside of the Top 35 TEs in 2021 and none is the clear starter for their NFL team. While all of them are projected to score more points than any of the TEs in the previous two tiers, their salaries make them too expensive to justify having on a Dynasty Owner roster.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Jack Doyle, IND$7,100,000298.8$71,862
Cameron Brate, TB$6,800,000389.6$75,893
Kyle Rudolph, NYG$6,000,000270.3$85,349
C.J. Uzomah, CIN$6,100,000162.7$97,289

Three out of the four are 30 years old or more and have two or more years left on their contracts (Uzomah is “only” 28 and has just one year left). Dynasty Owners are heeding the title of this tier as all four of them are currently owned in less than 10% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Uzomah is the youngest and least costly of the four TEs, since he only has one year left on his contract, but is projected to score the fewest points and is the only one who has 0% ownership.

Conclusion

TE tiers are in the books! There are lots of tiers, mainly because of the differences among the most productive and coveted TEs out there. We did cover a lot of the TEs available in Dynasty Owner, while leaving out all of the veteran free agents who have yet to sign for the 2021 season since it’s difficult to slot them without knowing their salary or team. There are a lot of young cheap TEs out there as well who are not likely to score much, but are there if you need a cheap Practice Squad stash. The only position left to tier is WR and that will be the topic for next week. Let me know what you think of these TE tiers on Twitter (@SteveVT33) or in the comments section on YouTube.

In addition to more tiers, Dynasty Owner has other great content to help you draft your dynasty. We can also provide guidance as you continue to tweak your roster after your rookie or start-up draft is over so you can win your league. My articles and videos to get you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team are being released on Wednesdays. Keep an eye out for new articles from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owner writers as well. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is doing a deep dive on individual teams that you can check out on Mondays, while Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Fridays. All of the articles will be released at 1 PM (Eastern) with videos and podcast released at 3 PM (Eastern).

Please read all of their articles and follow all three of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Hopefully this article is helpful for everyone who has a 2021 start-up draft coming soon, and at least interesting for those of you who have already drafted or have an established team. Maybe it’ll give you and other Dynasty Owners some ideas for potential trades too. 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

Contract Breakdowns: Detroit Lions

By Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

There are only six more teams that remain in my “Team Breakdown” series.  Two more teams from the NFC North and the entire NFC East is all that remains.  These next six articles should lead us right through the pre-season and almost all the way to the start of the 2021 NFL season.  After I finish these six weeks’ worth of breakdowns, I will most likely give a one week recap of some of the most important players we have discussed.  I’ll also include any pre-season news or game breakdown.

Free Agents

For now, here are some of the important Lions players that were free agents after the 2020 season.  They are…

Marvin Jones

Mohamed Sanu

Kenny Golladay

Danny Amendola

Adrian Peterson

Marvin Jones had a very healthy 2020 season for the Lions.  His season included 76 receptions, 978 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns.  Believe it or not, that was good enough to be WR18 in Dynasty Owner.  Jones found himself a new team in the offseason as Detroit failed to re-sign him.  He was added by the Jaguars to the tune of a 2 year – 12.5 million dollar contract (or $6.25 million per year).  Jones is 31, and he joins a somewhat crowded receiving team.  He will compete against D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, James Robinson and Travis Etienne for receptions.

Mohamed Sanu signed with the San Francisco 49ers at the end of March.  If you remember, he started the 2020 season with the 49ers but was cut in October.  He spent several weeks on the Lions practice squad before seeing game time towards the end of the season.  There isn’t a whole lot to talk about with Sanu.  Unlike Jones, Sanu has been a somewhat irrelevant fantasy wide receiver over the last two years.  In 2020, he managed less than 20 receptions and only a single touchdown.  I wouldn’t declare that Sanu’s fantasy career is over, but apparently even a 1.14 million dollar contract is too expensive for Dynasty Owners.  He is owned in less than 2.5% of leagues.

Kenny Golladay is clearly the big name on this list.  He signed a 4 year – $72 million contract with the NY Giants shortly after free agency opened up.  At $18 million per year, he is the sixth most expensive wide receiver to own.  ***Trivia Question:  Golladay is tied with two other wide receivers at exactly $18,000,000 per year.  Can you guess the other two receivers?***  I’m not going to talk about Golladay as this isn’t a Giants’ article.  Instead, let’s discuss what Golladay’s vacancy means to the rest of the Lions’ offense.  There is no doubt that the departure leaves a large void in the receiving core.  The top receivers on Detroit’s depth chart are Tyrell Williams ($4,000,000), Breshad Perriman ($2,500,000), Quintez Cephus ($899,822) and T.J. Hockenson ($4,955,306).  No one would call this a great receiving core, and most would call it well below average.  If there is a silver lining, it’s the fact that none of these receivers are terribly expensive.  Of these four, Hockenson should see the most work and should have the most productive fantasy season.  But as I said, feel free to take a chance on any of the other three.  Their cheap salaries and target projections make them speculative additions.

Finally, we have two players that have yet to sign a contract.  Both Danny Amendola and Adrian Peterson were not re-signed by the Lions.  It’s unlikely either will re-sign with Detroit this late into the off-season, but it’s not impossible.  Each player will retain their previous salary on Dynasty Owner until they sign a new contract.  This isn’t a big deal for Peterson owners as his previous contract was $1,050,000 per year.  He is still owned in 11.2 percent of leagues so there is clearly a decent number of people that want to wait and see where/if the former MVP lands.  (By the way, I agree with this strategy).  Amendola on the other hand is too much of a burden to hold onto.  He will cost $5,000,000 (as a placeholder) to keep him until he re-signs.  That is too much, and it just takes up valuable space on your roster.  Amendola is owned in less than 1 percent of Dynasty Owner leagues, and that is an appropriate number until his contract situation becomes clear.

That finishes the past and present free agents.  Today, I’m going to break down a single player.  His name is D’Andre Swift…

Contract Breakdown

For this contract breakdown, I am going to use a stat that I used last season.  This stat appeared in my “Opportunity is (Almost) Everything” articles.  In those articles, I showed some player’s total opportunities (rushes + targets), opportunities per snap, and points per opportunity.  Points per opportunity (Points/Opp) is what I was to discuss with you today.  On November 11th last year, I wrote about how D’Andre Swift was leading all running backs, inside the Top 35, in Points/Opp.  This is an excerpt from that article..

“Who do you think leads the Top 35 running backs in points per opportunity (efficiency rating)?  That player is D’Andre Swift.  He is currently averaging 1.30 fantasy points per opportunity (rushes plus targets).  To put that in context, the number two player in efficiency is Alvin Kamara at 1.28 points/opportunity.  If Swift had the same number of opportunities as Kamara and stayed on the same efficiency pace, he would lead all running backs in fantasy points this year.  Obviously Swift has a small sample size as far as opportunities go, but he shouldn’t be penalized for that.  He has been one of the most efficient players in all of football this year, and it’s time he deserves some praise and hopefully some increased usage.  I was so shocked when I saw him at the top of the list that I simply wrote “SWIFT!!!” in my rough draft.  I will be upgrading him in my rankings, and I look forward to tracking his Points/Opp throughout the season and his career.  – TheJerk, Opportunity is (Almost) Everything, 11/11/20

Essentially, this was a way to further try and sum up a player’s raw value or efficiency.  This statistic takes into account the fact that some players may not see a lot of playing time for various reasons.  It simply shows how many points a player averages for a single opportunity.  Here is how the Top 20 running back point scorers fared in Points/Opp in the 2020 season…

 Fantasy PointsCarriesTargetsPoints/Opp
A. Kamara379.91871071.29
N. Hines203.689761.23
D. Swift188.8114571.10
N. Chubb218.7190181.05
C. Carson186.8141461.00
A. Jones262.9201631.00
J. McKissic188.4851100.97
D. Cook352.8312540.96
J. Taylor261.8232400.96
A. Gibson204.2170440.95
D. Henry368.1378310.90
K. Hunt221.5198510.89
M. Davis205.5165700.87
J. Robinson259.4240600.86
D. Montgomery269.8247680.86
R. Jones192.3192420.82
M. Gordon198.4215440.77
J. Jacobs236.2273450.74
K. Drake193.2239310.72
E. Elliott221.7245710.70

D’Andre comes in at third in this efficiency ranking.  Here is another way I like to describe this statistic.  If every player on this list had the exact same opportunities throughout the year, and produced at the same rate they did in 2020, this list is how they would rank at the end of the season.  Swift was more efficient than Chubb, but he was slightly less efficient than Hines and Kamara.  What’s even more impressive is that all four of these running backs were on cheap salaries in the 2020 season.  I know what some of you are thinking…”Yeah, but it’s expected that as the volume increases, the production tends to decrease.”  I would largely agree with this statement.  Bodies get worn down throughout the year, and more volume means more chance for injury.  Even if injury doesn’t occur, people just get tired.  However, as you can see from the list above, no one in the Top 7 had 300 opportunities.  The only players that had more than 300 were Cook, Montgomery, Jacobs, Elliott and Henry (Henry actually had over 400 opportunities).

Back to my main point though…D’Andre Swift was one of the most efficient running backs in 2020.  This isn’t even taking into account his very cheap salary ($2,134,728).  I predict that Swift’s usage will increase by around 60 percent in the 2021 season.  I don’t expect his efficiency to stay the same (unless he’s the next coming of Alvin Kamara), but I do expect him to remain in the Top 10 running backs in terms of Points/Opp.

***The two other wide receivers that make exactly $18,000,000 per year are Tyreek Hill and Odell Beckham Jr.

Thank you for tuning in and reading.  Message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Thank you all.  Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Dynasty Owner RB Tiers

By Steven Van Tassell

It’s time to continue creating the first (and still the only) Dynasty Owner Fantasy Football Tiers 2021 and move on to the next position – running backs. The RB tiers are not going to be the same as the QB tiers since RBs and QBs are not the same position, nor are they treated the same way in the NFL in terms of usage and contracts. Almost every team plays multiple RBs and have several viable (or potentially viable) fantasy RBs, whereas only one QB starts every week and is worth using in your Dynasty Owner lineup on a weekly basis.

The RB tiers were not as easy to put together as the QB tiers. With so many more RBs than QBs, there were more players to include so while I wanted to limit the number of tiers since we had more than 10 QB tiers, it didn’t happen.

Unlike QBs, we’re not going to have an “Avoid” tier. There are just too many RBs who could or should be drafted that there’s no time to go through the players who shouldn’t be taken right now. All of the QBs to avoid were veterans with very large contracts who are productive, but not productive enough to use and take up a significant portion of your Dynasty Owner salary cap. There aren’t any RBs who fit that definition since few very RBs make over $10 million per year and those players are really, really good. No RBs make as much as those veteran QBs who aren’t recommended to have on your Dynasty Owner roster.

All 2021 projections come from Rotowire and 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.

Average Draft Position (ADP) listed is from 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up drafts and was accurate as of the afternoon of July 13th.

A Baker’s Dozen of Tiers

As stated in the QB tiers article, Dynasty Owner tiers are not the same as tiers for other fantasy football leagues or on other fantasy football websites. There are multiple factors to consider in Dynasty Owner including current salary, future salaries, 2021 projected stats and long-term potential. Dynasty Owners also need to have two Starting RBs and two Bench RBs every week. There is also a FLEX position in your Dynasty Owner Starting lineup that can be filled by a RB. As a result, more RBs will be used by Dynasty Owners on a weekly basis than in most fantasy leagues. That’s why we have more tiers and more players listed than in other tiers articles (and even in the Dynasty Owner QB tiers from last week). In fact, we have a baker’s dozen of RB tiers:

  • Tier 1 – High Value Young, but Not Rookie RBs
  • Tier 2 – High Value Rookie RBs
  • Tier 3 – High Value RBs with One Year Left Until They Get Paid
  • Tier 4 – High Production, High Salary Veterans
  • Tier 5a – Mid-Range Salary, Multi-Year Contract Veterans
  • Tier 5b – Mid-Range Salary, One Year Contract Veterans
  • Tier 6 – Young, Cheap Players who Might Start
  • Tier 7a – Low Cost Backups who Could Move from Bench to Starting Lineup
  • Tier 7b – Higher Salary Backups who Could Move from Bench to Starting Lineup
  • Tier 8a – Rookies Worth Owning and Playing in 2021
  • Tier 8b – Rookies Worth Owning to Play in the Future
  • Tier 9a – Good in 2020 and Under One Million in Salary for Only One More Year
  • Tier 9b – Not so Good in 2020, but Still Under One Million in Salary for Only One More Year
  • Tier 10a – Previously Valuable RBs on One-Year Contracts who Will Help Your Team
  • Tier 10b – Previously Valuable RBs on One-Year Contracts who Might Help Your Team
  • Tier 11 – Under One Million in Salary for Only One More Year with Potential
  • Tier 12a – Low Production, Low Salary RBs with Multi-Year Contracts
  • Tier 12b – Lower Production, Higher Salary RBs with Multi-Year Contracts
  • Tier 13 – Rookie Dart Throws

Tier 1 – High Value Young, but Not Rookie RBs

These are the elite RBs for Dynasty Owners to have on their team. They have established themselves as the lead RB on their NFL team and should shoulder the load at RB for the next several years. Not only that, but they are doing it on a rookie contract that has at least two years remaining, so your Dynasty Owner team should be able to rely on them for two or three seasons until they get a new contract. In order from lowest (aka Best) Dynasty Dollars per Point (DD/PT) to highest, they are:

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Myles Gaskin, MIA$651,6942224.4$2,904
David Montgomery, CHI$1,003,8452266.0$3,774
James Robinson, JAC$763,3332196.8$3,879
Antonio Gibson, WAS$1,233,1593271.0$4,550
J.K. Dobbins, BAL$1,432,3593269.7$5,311
Miles Sanders, PHI$1,337,5442247.9$5,395
Cam Akers, LA$1,543,2583277.2$5,567
Jonathan Taylor, IND$1,957,2873314.9$6,216
D’Andre Swift, DET$2,134,7283276.8$7,712
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC$2,705,3933277.8$9,739

As a result, eight out of ten of them are going in the first three rounds of Dynasty Owner start-up drafts in 2021 (ADPs of 36.0 or less). The two players (Myles Gaskin and James Robinson) with the lowest salaries and projected to have the fewest Dynasty Owner fantasy points are the exceptions and they are probably the least secure in their hold on the lead RB job for their NFL team. However, they have two of the lowest DD/PT projections for 2021 since both of them have salaries of under $1 million, so they are projected to be among the most valuable players in Dynasty Owner.

For the most part, the value for these players goes down as their salaries increase. Most of them are projected to score roughly the same number of Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Interestingly, the player with the worst DD/PT (Clyde Edwards-Helaire) was drafted earlier than the rest of the players in this tier in 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts.

Tier 2 – High Value Rookie RBs

All of these RBs are just a step below Tier 1 simply because they are rookies and have yet to prove themselves in the NFL. Last year, Clyde Edwards-Helaire was drafted as early or earlier than some non-rookie RBs. He didn’t live up to the hype, finishing as RB21 after being drafted in the first round on average (ADP 9.2). To avoid repeating the same mistake, these four rookies get their own Tier.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Trey Sermon, SF$1,218,2334189.8$6,419
Najee Harris, PIT$3,261,8624279.9$11,654
Javonte Williams, DEN$2,216,4384182.1$12,172
Travis Etienne, JAC$3,224,5264226.5$14,236

Najae Harris could be this year’s Edwards-Helaire as he was the first RB taken in the NFL draft and is projected to be the RB9 with 279.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, but is being drafted in the upper half of the first round with an ADP of 3.7.

On the other hand, we have Trey Sermon who wasn’t drafted by San Francisco 49ers until the third round of the NFL draft, but is going in the fourth round of Dynasty Owner start-up drafts and has a projected DD/PT of over $5,000 less than Harris. His 2021 projected DD/PT of $6,419 is comparable to that of the consensus top pick in 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up drafts (Jonathan Taylor at $6,216 DD/PT).

Tier 3 – High Value RBs with One Year Left Until They Get Paid

Both of these RBs would be in Tier 1 if it weren’t for the fact that they both have only one year left on their very affordable rookie contracts and should get paid in 2022. They have similar salaries, projected Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 and projected value, but the “1” in the Years column pushes them down a couple of tiers.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Chase Edmonds, ARI$728,0901197.0$3,696
Nick Chubb, CLE$1,845,7741288.9$6,389

Both Edmonds and Chubb will get paid just like the RBs in the next tier (Tier 4) if they play well, or end up settling for significantly less if they don’t, like the RBs in Tier 10a.

Tier 4 – High Production, High Salary Veterans

Here are the seven highest paid RBs in the NFL. All of them have at least three years left on their contracts that cost their Dynasty Owners at least $12 million per season. While all of them are going to cost you a lot in salary, they should provide plenty of Dynasty Owner fantasy points in return for that salary (barring injury). Joe Mixon is projected to be RB17 and with the Dynasty Owner fewest points at 267.3, but he is also tied for the lowest salary here with Aaron Jones at $12 million. At the opposite end, Christian McCaffrey is projected to be the RB1 in terms of scoring with 371.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. He is also the highest paid RB at $16.016 million for the next five years.  

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Dalvin Cook, MIN$12,600,0005334.3$37,691
Christian McCaffrey, CAR$16,015,8755371.3$43,135
Aaron Jones, GB$12,000,0004276.8$43,353
Derrick Henry, TEN$12,500,0003280.1$44,627
Joe Mixon, CIN$12,000,0004267.3$44,893
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL$15,000,0006319.7$46,919
Alvin Kamara, NO$15,000,0005319.7$46,919

In terms of DD/PT, they are all within $10,000 of each other. Dalvin Cook has the best projected 2021 DD/PT at $37,691, while Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara have identical projections of 319.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for $15 million in salary ($46,919 DD/PT for 2021). The only difference between those two guys is that Elliott has one extra year on his contract.

Though it’s not listed here, you’re going to need to draft these guys early in order to get one of them. Three of them (McCaffrey, Cook and Kamara have first round average ADPs of 3.0, 5.0 and 10.3 respectively). Henry and Elliott have second round ADPs (16.3 for Henry and 19.1 for Elliott), while Jones and Mixon are pretty tied at the hip with identical salaries, near identical projections and the highest ADPs in this tier at 34.5 and 39.9 respectively.

Tier 5a – Mid-Range Salary, Multi-Year Contract Veterans

All of these players have better value than the veterans in Tier 4, but are just one tier lower because they aren’t projected to score as many Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Everyone in this tier has a salary of at least $2.5 million, but that’s a lot less than the Tier 4 RBs. Also, none are signed for longer than three years, so they won’t be a drain on your salary cap for seasons to come if an injury occurs. All five of them are projected as Top 25 scoring RBs in 2021, and could do better than that and be even more valuable.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Josh Jacobs, LV$2,983,3502247.6$12,049
Mike Davis, ATL$2,750,0002207.0$13,285
Austin Ekeler, LAC$6,125,0003279.3$21,930
Chris Carson, SEA$5,212,5002223.6$23,312
Kareem Hunt, CLE$6,000,0002215.1$27,894

Tier 5b – Mid-Range Salary, One Year Contract Veterans

Another “b” tier with a set of RBs who are on mid-range, one-year deals of between $5 million and $8 million. All of them could be on the move after the 2021 season to greener pastures.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Saquon Barkley, NYG$7,798,6881284.1$27,451
David Johnson, HOU$5,000,0001173.7$28,785
Melvin Gordon, DEN$8,000,0001170.8$46,838

While Saquon Barkley is several years younger and projected to score over 100.0 more Dynasty Owner fantasy points than either Johnson or Gordon, he’s also coming off an injury that cost him almost all of the 2020 season. He didn’t really fit into another Tier though due to salary (too low for Tier 4 and too much high for Tier 3), contract length (not multi-year for Tier 5a), so he’s here.

Tier 6 – Young, Cheap Players who Might Start

Here are a bunch of players who might be the starter for their NFL team when the 2021 season starts. There are at least two players listed for two of these teams, all of whom coincidentally play in the AFC East.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Devin Singletary, BUF$974,5002177.5$5,490
Damien Harris, NE$907,7842143.2$6,339
Zack Moss, BUF$1,153,0793169.4$6,807
Ty Johnson, NYJ$672,976280.3$8,381
La’Mical Perine, NYJ$1,010,086394.5$10,689
Tevin Coleman, NYJ$1,100,0001101.3$10,859

The Buffalo combination of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss are both projected to score roughly the same number of Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 and have similar value. Moss is slightly less valuable as he has a higher salary than Singletary. As a testament to how close they are viewed, their ADPs are virtually identical (Moss – 97.0 vs. Singletary – 97.3).

Damien Harris is listed here, due to Bill Belichick’s propensity to be unpredictable with his RB usage, even though he should be the likely starter in New England. Harris also is similar to the Buffalo tandem of Singletary and Moss in terms of salary, 2021 projections, 2021 value and 2021 start-up draft ADP (92.7) and he also has multiple years left on his rookie contract. If Harris didn’t go in this tier, a separate tier might have needed to be created for him.

There are three young, non-rookies competing to be the starter for the New York Jets. They are competing with rookie Michael Carter who appears later on in Tier 8a. Each is different as they have varying number of years left on their contracts and anticipated Dynasty Owner fantasy points for 2021. Ty Johnson is projected as the best value due to his $672,976 salary, even though he is supposed to score the fewest number of points of the trio.

Tier 7a – Low Cost Backups who Could Move from Bench to Starting Lineup

This tier is comprised of players who are clearly backups on their current NFL team and worthy of a spot on your Dynasty Owner Bench on a weekly basis. They are great handcuffs and Bench players right now, as well as worthy of being elevated to your Starting lineup if the RB ahead of them suffers an injury and can’t play for a week (or longer).

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Tony Pollard, DAL$796,9452133.7$5,961
Darrell Henderson, LA$1,053,0012126.0$8,357
A.J. Dillon, GB$1,321,4583156.4$8,449
Alexander Mattison, MIN$867,7932100.9$8,601
Darrynton Evans, TEN$1,140,447384.2$13,545

Except for Darrell Henderson, all of these RBs are behind highly paid starting RBs in Tier 4. In terms of value, they are roughly as valuable as RBs in earlier tiers, but in order to maximize their value, they need an injury to the starting RB ahead of them. They are all roughly being taken in the first twelve rounds of Dynasty Owner start-up drafts, except for Darrynton Evans who has an ADP of 209.1 and the highest DD/PT of the RBs in this tier.

Tier 7b – Higher Salary Backups who Could Move from Bench to Starting Lineup

This tier, which is comprised of only two RBs, is similar to a few QB tiers that had only two players. The higher salaries that these two backups command puts both of them just a little bit lower than the players in Tier 7a. Both of them will be on their NFL team for multiple years as even though Gus Edwards is on a one year deal, he recently signed a two-year extension to stay in Baltimore through the 2023 season.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Gus Edwards, BAL$3,384,0001121.1$27,944
Latavius Murray, NO$3,600,0002118.9$30,278

Check out the similarities between Edwards and Murray. Their current salary, 2021 projected points and 2021 DD/PT are virtually identical. Edwards is five years younger than Murray (26 vs. 31), but even with the age difference, they have very similar ADPs right now (154.1 for Edwards and 157.4 for Murray).

Tier 8a – Rookies Worth Owning and Playing in 2021

There were quite a few rookie RBs drafted in the 2021 NFL draft. Due to his unique situation with the 49ers, Trey Sermon jumped into Tier 2, even though he was drafted in the 3rd round. These 4th or 5th round picks are listed as Tier 8a. All three are expected to play a significant role in 2021, but are not looking like the main guy (at least this season).

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Michael Carter, NYJ$1,071,8424153.2$6,996
Kenneth Gainwell, PHI$953,8824126.6$7,535
Chuba Hubbard, CAR$1,048,2944111.4$9,410

Tier 8b – Rookies Worth Owning to Play in the Future

These RBs were also drafted in the middle (4th) to end (7th) of the 2021 NFL draft. While all of them are expected to play some this season, none should be counted on to help your Dynasty Owner team until later on in their careers.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Jermar Jefferson, DET$889,581476.4$11,644
Kylin Hill, GB$889,766468.9$12,914
Rhamondre Stevenson, NE$1,057,264481.6$12,957
Demetric Felton, CLE$910,285466.3$13,730
Khalil Herbert, CHI$902,677457.0$15,836

Each one sits behind another young, but more established RB (or two) which limits their potential for 2021, but when those established RBs are eligible for a big contract or an injury comes, these RBs might be in for more work.

Tier 9a – Good in 2020 and Under One Million in Salary for Only One More Year

These players all share three traits. They played well in 2020 and they have one year remaining on a contract that pays them less than $1 million.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Nyheim Hines, IND$796,1371150.8$5,279
Salvon Ahmed, MIA$695,0001101.2$6,868
Boston Scott, PHI$920,0001108.7$8,464
Jerick McKinnon, KC$990,0001102.8$9,630
Wayne Gallman, SF$990,000182.1$12,058

Tier 9b – Not so Good in 2020, but Still Under One Million in Salary for Only One More Year

Same contract duration and salary as Tier 9a for these three guys and they are in the same range in terms of projected 2021 DD/PT, it’s just they weren’t as productive in 2020, so they rank a little bit lower.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Justin Jackson, LAC$570,000169.1$8,249
Royce Freeman, DEN$985,005185.4$11,534
Jordan Wilkins, IND$675,310154.9$12,301

Tier 10a – Previously Valuable RBs on One-Year Contracts who Will Help Your Team

We have two RBs here who have been valuable in the past, but signed low-salary, one-year contracts this off-season. These guys are betting on themselves and are likely to be more expensive next year if their bet pays off and they have a good season in 2021.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
James Conner, ARI$1,750,0001176.1$9,938
Leonard Fournette, TB$3,250,0001182.1$17,847

Fournette is almost twice as expensive as Conner and although both are projected to have roughly the same number of Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021, Fournette is being drafted about two rounds ahead of Conner (88.7 ADP for Fournette vs. 111.5 ADP for Conner) since he is the likely starter in Tampa Bay, while Conner is expected to share time with Chase Edmonds in Arizona. Both are a shade better than the players in the next tier (10b) due to past production and age (both are still only 26 years of age).

Tier 10b – Previously Valuable RBs on One-Year Contracts who Might Help Your Team

We have a much larger list of RBs here who have been valuable in the past, and have a one-year contract, so they might help your Dynasty Owner team in 2021. No guarantees here at this tier as everyone has a reason why they are on a one-year deal at this point in their careers.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Ronald Jones, TB$1,767,9771178.4$9,910
Giovani Bernard, TB$1,212,5001104.7$11,581
J.D. McKissic, WAS$1,635,0001136.9$11,943
Darrel Williams, KC$1,600,0001112.6$14,210
Raheem Mostert, SF$2,900,0001186.4$15,558
Kerryon Johnson, PHI$1,625,923184.5$19,242
James White, NE$2,462,5001116.5$21,137
Matt Breida, BUF$1,055,000148.6$21,708
Phillip Lindsay, HOU$3,250,0001134.9$24,092
Malcolm Brown, MIA$1,750,000161.6$28,409
Marlon Mack, IND$2,000,000170.4$28,409
Mark Ingram, HOU$2,500,000150.0$50,000
Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL$3,000,000157.8$51,903

Several of these players are mostly third down RBs at this point (Giovani Bernard, J.D. McKissic, Darrel Williams and James White) who benefit from Dynasty Owner having a full point per reception (PPR) scoring system. Both Jones and Johnson are still young and in the final year of their rookie contract, but need to prove themselves.

Tier 11 – Under One Million in Salary for Only One More Year with Potential

Another step below the Tier 10a and 10b RBs are these six players who have salaries under $1 million for 2021, so Dynasty Owners can’t be blamed for taking a shot that they will produce more Dynasty Owner fantasy points than they are projected for in 2021. However, they are Practice Squad only unless something changes between now and the first week of the season.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Dare Ogunbowale, JAC$850,000141.2$20,631
Kalen Ballage, PIT$920,000144.0$20,909
Jaylen Samuels, PIT$679,517125.8$26,338
Brian Hill, TEN$990,000137.3$26,542
Corey Clement, NYG$990,000121.8$45,413
Jordan Howard, PHI$990,00010.0N/A

Tier 12a – Low Production, Low Salary RBs with Multi-Year Contracts

All of the players in this tier are projected to score less than 100.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 and none has a salary of over $2 million per season. Unlike the RBs in Tiers 9a through 11, these guys all have two or three years left on their contracts.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Joshua Kelley, LAC$1,018,835387.4$11,657
DeeJay Dallas, SEA$947,350365.3$14,508
Anthony McFarland, PIT$1,004,357366.0$15,218
Benny Snell, PIT$805,517240.6$19,840
Samaje Perine, CIN$1,650,000280.3$20,548
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB$1,188,999355.4$21,462
Justice Hill, BAL$815,414231.5$25,886
Mike Boone, DEN$1,925,000269.5$27,698
Darwin Thompson, KC$661,960214.7$45,031
Travis Homer, SEA$665,704214.3$46,553
J.J. Taylor, NE$695,00028.7$79,885

Tier 12b – Lower Production, Higher Salary RBs with Multi-Year Contracts

Same as Tier 12a, but with salaries of more than $2 million per season for two years, except Tarik Cohen who just signed his three year, $5.75 million contract. Any of them could be the primary backup and produce better than anticipated, but it’ll cost Dynasty Owners a lot of salary to find out.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Jamaal Williams, DET$3,000,0002129.8$23,112
Sony Michel, NE$2,406,674299.2$24,261
Rashaad Penny, SEA$2,691,3602101.4$26,542
Carlos Hyde, JAC$2,250,000274.6$30,161
Devontae Booker, NYG$2,750,000288.1$31,215
Kenyan Drake, LV$5,500,0002148.0$37,162
Tarik Cohen, CHI$5,750,0003120.8$47,599

Tier 13 – Rookies Dart Throws

Most of these guys were drafted, but none are anticipated to make a splash in 2021 and some may not even survive training camp and make the roster for Week 1. Because of that and since all of them have three or four years on their contracts, they might end up taking up Practice Squad room on your team or need to be dropped and pay the 25% drop fee, which will range from around $600,000 to $1 million Dynasty Dollars.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Jaret Patterson, WAS$808,333336.7$22,025
Chris Evans, CIN$913,222437.2$24,549
Gary Brightwell, NYG$914,718433.9$26,983
Larry Rountree, LAC$913,940423.2$39,394
Javian Hawkins, ATL$810,000319.4$41,753
Kene Nwangwu, MIN$1,058,200423.2$45,612
Pooka Williams, CIN$808,333310.3$78,479
Jake Funk, LA$897,05748.7$103,110
Gerrid Doaks, MIA$894,02543.5$255,436
Caleb Huntley, ATL$808,33330.0N/A
Elijah Mitchell, SF$915,89240.0N/A

Two players from Atlanta and Cincinnati made this list and it’s unlikely both make the roster and produce. Pick wisely if you draft one of them or pick them up off the Free Agent Auction. They could be the 2021 version of James Robinson, or the 2021 version of Eno Benjamin (Arizona’s 7th round draft pick in 2020 who spent all season as a healthy scratch).

Conclusion

There are so many RBs listed, and the fact is that there are ones who will end up being productive who aren’t listed even here. The article and video would be even longer if we listed or tried to talk about every RB who might end up helping your Dynasty Owner team in 2021. There’s going to be a lightly regarded player heading into 2021 who will finish as a Top 25 RB. That’s what happened last year with Mike Davis (RB12 in 2020, but ADP of 263.1 and only drafted in 7% of 2020 Dynasty Owner leagues) or J.D. McKissic (RB19 in 2020, but ADP of 236.7 and only drafted in 24% of 2020 Dynasty Owner leagues). We’d have to list every RB on a NFL roster right now to find all of those diamonds in the rough.

Two more sets of tiers to come for the receivers (WR and TE) for the final two weeks of July. Let me know what you think of these RB tiers on Twitter (@SteveVT33) or in the comments section on YouTube.

In addition to more tiers, Dynasty Owner has other great content to help you draft your dynasty. We can also provide guidance as you continue to tweak your roster after your rookie or start-up draft is over so you can win your league. My articles and videos to get you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team are being released on Wednesdays. Keep an eye out for new articles from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owner writers as well. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is doing a deep dive on individual teams that you can check out on Mondays, while Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Fridays. All of the articles will be released at 1 PM (Eastern) with videos and podcast released at 3 PM (Eastern).

Please read all of their articles and follow all three of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Hopefully this article is helpful for everyone who has a 2021 start-up draft coming soon, and at least interesting for those of you who have already drafted or have an established team. Maybe it’ll give you and other Dynasty Owners some ideas for potential trades too. 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

Contract Breakdown: Chicago Bears

By Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

As I started in my previous article, today we are going to continue with the NFC North.  I laid out the division last week, and did a mini breakdown of each team and how they finished last year.  I didn’t include the chart of their finishes though so here it is…

 RecordSeason Outcome
Packers13-3Eliminated, Conference
Bears8-8Eliminated, Wild Card
Vikings7-9Eliminated, Regular Season
Lions5-11Eliminated, Regular Season

The Bears finished second in the division with an 8-8 record.  Their lukewarm success was mainly based on their defensive efficiency.  The Bears ranked in the top half of least total yards and points allowed on defense.  Their quarterback play was shaky at best, and most people would call it below average.  Today, we are going to break down a couple of players from the Bears and use our value rating, Dynasty Dollars per Point (DD/PT), to assist us.

Contract Breakdowns

As much as I would like to talk about Justin Fields in this breakdown, the truth is that I would be basing it on massive speculation.  Not only do we not know when/if he is going to play this season, but then we would have to predict how productive he would be in those games.  Therefore, I’m going to center these two breakdowns around established NFL players that have a large sample size of production.  First, let’s talk about David Montgomery.

If I asked you where Monty finished in DO last season, do you think you’d be able to guess?  I had a guess, and it wasn’t even close.  My guess was RB9.  He actually finished as RB4!  That’s right, he was the fourth most productive running back in 2020.  While he was actually very consistent throughout the entire season, he finished on an absolute tear.  Here are his final six games…

 CarriesReceptionsTotal YardsTDsFantasy Points
Week 12 (GB)115143127.3
Week 13 (DET)174111227.1
Week 14 (HOU)113155126.5
Week 15 (MIN)321162231.2
Week 16 (JAC)232121120.1
Week 17 (GB)229132128.2

That is one incredible ending to a season, and one that I somewhat predicted in my “League Winners and Playoff Predictions” article near the end of last season.  I made a bold prediction that Montgomery would finish the season with…

52 rushes – 285 total yards – 4 touchdowns

He blew those numbers away.  But equally impressive is how much value he provided on a season long basis.  When we talk about DD/PT, we are using a metric to try and define how “valuable” a player is.  It is used to show how efficient a player is when you compare them to their salary.  Montgomery finished behind only one running back in terms of DD/PT for the 2020 season.  His name is James Robinson.  Here is how Montgomery compares to his peers (there aren’t many).

 Salary/YearTotal FPsDD/FP
James Robinson$763,333259.4$2,943
David Montgomery$1,003,845269.8$3,721
Nyheim Hines$796,137203.6$3,910
Myles Gaskin$651,694162.2$4,018
Chase Edmonds$728,090176.8$4,118

(2020 stats)

There are a few things I notice right off the bat.  First, Monty not only had the most fantasy points of anyone in this list, but he also had the highest salary.  You may say, “well yeah, but those numbers are so close together that it is pretty much negligible.”  I wouldn’t disagree with that statement in terms of actual monetary value.  However, when you look at the percentage of these salaries when compared to each other, that is where it gets impressive.  For example…

David Montgomery makes $352,151 more than Myles Gaskin.  This is not a large chunk of money in terms of Dynasty Owner.  (It is 0.28 percent of the salary cap)  What it also means is that Gaskin makes 65% of what Monty does.  In order for Montgomery to have more value than Gaskin, he had to produce 249.8 fantasy points in 2020.  We can see from above that he ended with 269.8.  I do realize that Gaskin missed a big chunk of the season, but he was also very productive in the games that he played in.  The point is that Monty was an extreme value in 2020.  He was close to the most valuable running back overall.  So, the question is…”do I expect it to continue?”

I expect Montgomery to continue to be one of the most valuable running backs in 2021, yes.  What I don’t expect is that he will be as valuable.  One thing I conveniently forgot to mention is that Tarik Cohen played in less than three games last year.  He tore his ACL in Week 3 and did not return for the season.  Cohen will without a doubt take touches away from Montgomery (especially receptions).  This combined with the quarterback uncertainty in Chicago makes me hesitate on placing Montgomery in the top tier of value for the next couple of years.  Would I be happy to draft him in the third round?  Yes, I would, but as you can see from my running back rankings article a few weeks ago (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/06/contract-breakdown-running-back-top-10/), he is not in my Top 10 for value over the next three to four seasons.

The second and final player I want to quickly mention is Allen Robinson.  I talked about him last week as we know that he signed his franchise tag earlier this offseason.  His tag is worth $17,880,000 for a single year.  This makes him the ninth most expensive wide receiver on a yearly basis.  Here is how his peers compare to him…

 Salary/YearTotal FPsDD/FP
Mike Evans$16,500,000248.6$66,372
Robert Woods$16,250,000243$66,872
Allen Robinson$17,880,000262.9$68,011
Brandin Cooks$16,200,000232$69,828
Cooper Kupp$15,750,000207.3$75,977

(2020 stats)

***Full Disclosure:  Some of these players’ contracts have increased since the 2020 season.  Their DD/PT were actually different in the 2020 season as it was happening.  For my example, using these numbers do work though.  We are just using their 2020 stats compared to their current salaries.***

Robinson has a higher salary and more fantasy points in 2020 than any other player on this list.  That being said, they are all in the same ballpark for value.  Who on this list would you rather have?  If it were my pick, it would probably be Robinson.  Not only does he have the highest potential of any year, but he should see the most volume of any player on this list.  Robinson does not have a cheap enough salary to be a Top 10 value wide receiver, but there is no doubt he will be ranked as a Top 20 value wide receiver.

That concludes another article.  Thank you for tuning in and reading.  Message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Thank you all.  Take care and be safe. TheJerk

Dynasty Owner QB Tiers

By Steven Van Tassell

Tier rankings are one way that fantasy players and analysts categorize players. There are a lot of ways to do it and plenty of websites and analysts who do these types of rankings. A quick Google search for “Fantasy Football Tiers 2021” turns up about 4.1 million results. If you add the words “Dynasty” at the beginning, it increased to about 4.86 million results. However, if you make it “Dynasty Owner”, the number drops down to about 686,000 results. Those searches just use all of the words.

If we want all of the results for exactly “Fantasy Football Tiers 2021” or “Dynasty Fantasy Football Tiers 2021”, there are a more manageable number of results with about 14,600 and 14,400 respectively. However, if we want all of the results for exactly “Dynasty Owner Fantasy Football Tiers 2021”, we get the following screen:

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to returning Dynasty Owners. There isn’t anybody doing these rankings for Dynasty Owner because it’s much more difficult. After all, you need to factor in salaries as well as 2021 projected production and long-term projections. In a “regular” dynasty fantasy football league, you don’t have to worry about Patrick Mahomes’ new $45 million salary for the next 11 years, but Dynasty Owners do. Dynasty Owners also need to consider how much Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson are going to make in 2022 when deciding whether to draft them or not. For all Dynasty Owners, we’re going to cover this new territory over the month of July with a series of articles about Dynasty Owner Fantasy Football Tiers 2021 (that’ll stop the above page from coming up). This week, it’s QBs followed by RBs, WRs and TEs. We won’t do any tiers for kickers, but Dynasty Owner uses them, and you’ll still need at least two of them and preferably three to account for the need for a Bench kicker on bye weeks.

All 2021 projections come from Rotowire and 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.

Average Draft Position (ADP) listed is from 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up drafts and was accurate as of the morning of July 6th.

These Tiers Go Up to Eleven

Dynasty Owner tiers are not the same as tiers for other fantasy football leagues or on other fantasy football websites. There are multiple factors to consider in Dynasty Owner including current salary, future salaries, 2021 projected stats and long-term potential. Dynasty Owners also need to have a Starting QB and Bench QB every week, so more QBs will be used by Dynasty Owners than in a single-QB league, or even a SuperFlex league. That’s why we have more tiers and more players listed than elsewhere.

Just like Nigel Tufnel’s amplifier, these tiers go up to 11. Of course, there are a couple of tiers with an “a” and “b” to really make it 13 tiers, but let’s not confuse matters. The QB tiers are:

  • Tier 1a – High Value Young QBs
  • Tier 1b – High Value Young QBs who Are Getting Paid Soon
  • Tier 2 – Low Value, but High Production Veterans
  • Tier 3 – High Potential Young QBs
  • Tier 4 – Young QBs who Need to Prove Something to Get Paid
  • Tier 5 – Low Salary QBs with Unclear Futures
  • Tier 6 – Veterans at the End of Their Careers on One-Year Contracts
  • Tier 7 – Veterans who Might Start in 2021 on One-Year Contracts
  • Tier 8 – Rookies with Future Potential
  • Tier 9 – Veteran Handcuffs
  • Tier 10a – Low Salary QBs on One Year Contracts so Why Not in Case They Play
  • Tier 10b – Low Salary QBs on Multi-Year Contracts so Why Not in Case They Play
  • Tier 11 – Veterans to Avoid Drafting Due to High Salaries

Tier 1a – High Value Young QBs

These are the elite QBs for a Dynasty Owner to have as all of them are young (24 or younger) and expected to put up plenty of Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021. They are still playing on their rookie contract that has multiple years left on it, so they have lots of value and a low Dynasty Dollar per Point (DD/PT) figure for at least two years.

Dynasty Owners are going to have to draft these five guys early in their 2021 start-up drafts as their current ADPs range from 8.3 to 43.9. In order from lowest (aka Best) DD/PT to highest, they are:

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Jalen Hurts, PHI$1,506,2923422.5$3,565
Justin Herbert, LAC$6,644,6883461.8$14,389
Kyler Murray, ARI$8,914,5042473.8$18,815
Trevor Lawrence, JAC$9,198,3724434.1$21,190
Joe Burrow, CIN$9,047,5343418.9$21,598

The QB with the highest ADP (43.9) is Jalen Hurts who has the lowest projected points in 2021 (422.5) and the best DD/PT by far at $3,565 because of his salary of just slightly over $1.5 million. Kyler Murray is the only QB listed who was drafted in 2019 and only has two years left on his contract, while Trevor Lawrence is the only rookie QB in this elite tier.

Tier 1b – High Value Young QBs who Are Getting Paid Soon

In a “regular” dynasty league, this would be one tier as these two QBs would be combined with the five QBs in Tier 1a since salaries don’t matter. However, this is Dynasty Owner and the fact that Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen are going to get huge salary increases in 2022 is very important since Dynasty Owners have to stay under the salary cap and those contract extensions will make it difficult to keep Allen or Jackson on your Dynasty Owner roster. To keep them, Dynasty Owners will likely be forced to drop other productive players for salary reasons. Even though they will get paid soon and have new 2022 salaries, they still have low ADPs (16.2 for Allen and 38.0 for Jackson) that will require Dynasty Owners who want them to draft them in the first couple of rounds.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Lamar Jackson, BAL$2,367,9121441.4$5,365
Josh Allen, BUF$5,295,7601493.1$10,740

Jackson is about twice as valuable since his salary is less than half as much as Allen. However, Allen is projected to score more Dynasty Owner fantasy points than Jackson in 2021 so if you want Allen, you’ll have to draft him earlier.

Tier 2 – Low Value, but High Production Veterans

While these guys are NFL veterans, age is not the reason they are on this list. The important factor is that they are on multi-year contracts that will pay them at least $25 million per year in salary. No more rookie contracts for these guys. They cost you a lot in salary, but they should provide plenty of Dynasty Owner fantasy points in return for that salary (at least 400.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021).

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Tom Brady, TB$25,000,0001419.1$59,652
Matthew Stafford, LA$27,000,0002417.9$64,609
Ryan Tannehill, TEN$29,500,0003426.9$69,103
Aaron Rodgers, GB$33,500,0003451.4$74,214
Russell Wilson, SEA$35,000,0003448.9$77,968
Dak Prescott, DAL$40,000,0004479.7$83,385
Patrick Mahomes, KC$45,000,00011524.2$85,845
Deshaun Watson, HOU$39,000,0005401.4$97,160

The players at the top and bottom of this list need additional explanation. The G.O.A.T. (Tom Brady) is listed on Dynasty Owner as only having one year left on his contract, but he is signed with Tampa Bay through 2022 and plans on playing until then when he turns 45 years of age. Dynasty Owners can drop him free of charge after the 2021 season when his $25 million extension for the 2022 season kicks in if they want. Deshaun Watson is projected to score over 400.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021, but he might produce none in 2021 and future years due to his legal troubles. Dynasty Owners who draft Watson, or kept him on their roster when his new $39 million per year contract kicked in, should make sure they have an Amnesty Provision on hand to use in case he doesn’t play this year and they need to find another QB.

Tier 3 – High Potential Young QBs

These are the “potential” elite QBs who are just a step below the Tier 1a QBs since they are projected to score fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 than the elite QBs. If you believe in one of these guys, you can draft him at a discount this year compared to the elite QBs as their ADPs range from 46.0 to 83.7 and maybe give him a year to develop since they all have two or more years left on their rookie contract.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Justin Fields, CHI$4,717,9884324.8$14,526
Daniel Jones, NYG$6,416,0142378.1$16,969
Mac Jones, NE$3,896,5884192.5$20,242
Tua Tagovailoa, MIA$7,568,8593315.6$23,982
Trey Lance, SF$8,526,3194305.7$27,891
Zach Wilson, NYJ$8,787,6704299.8$29,312

Four out of the six QBs listed here are rookies drafted in first half of the first round of the 2021 NFL draft. The others were also early first round picks, but in 2019 (Daniel Jones) and 2020 (Tua Tagovailoa). Daniel Jones is projected to score the most Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021, while Mac Jones is projected to score the fewest.

Tier 4 – Young QBs who Need to Prove Something to Get Paid

Tier 4 could have easily been combined with Tier 3 except for the looming one year left on each Tier 4 QB’s contract. They are a couple of tiers below fellow 2018 NFL first round draft picks Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson because they haven’t produced as many fantasy points as them and aren’t guaranteed to get paid. Both of them could have a great year in 2021, prove to their current team that they are worth a huge salary contract and get paid. Or, they could have a poor season, have their fifth year option declined and become a backup on a one-year contract like Mitchell Trubisky.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Sam Darnold, CAR$7,561,9291370.6$20,405
Baker Mayfield, CLE$8,170,7451384.5$21,250

Tier 5 – Low Salary QBs with Unclear Futures

None of the QBs on this list are the clear starter on their team and two are definitely going to be backups, but all of them have affordable salaries that make them attractive to Dynasty Owner. All of them are also worth owning for different additional reasons.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Gardner Minshew, JAC$677,7212111.1$6,100
Drew Lock, DEN$1,752,7042220.9$7,934
Jordan Love, GB$3,095,8633249.5$12,408
Brandon Allen, CIN$1,500,00010.0N/A 

Minshew is unlikely to play for Jacksonville, barring an injury to Trevor Lawrence, but his rock bottom $677,721 salary for two more years makes him attractive if Lawrence does get hurt, or if another team trades for him and gives him an opportunity to play. Drew Lock only has to beat out Teddy Bridgewater to be the starter in Denver. Jordan Love might be the starter in Green Bay, depending on the playing status of Aaron Rodgers, which makes him a solid speculative add even at the highest salary ($3.1 million) on this list. Finally, while Brandon Allen is projected to score zero Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 and only has one year left on his contract, I added him to this tier because of the potential that Joe Burrow could miss the beginning of the 2021 season due to the injury he suffered that ended his 2020 season. If Allen plays even a game or two, Dynasty Owners would have a bargain at only $1.5 million in salary for 2021. He’s widely available now with only 11% ownership.

Tier 6 – Veterans at the End of Their Careers on One-Year Contracts

Both QBs in Tier 6 are likely in the final year of their careers since they are nearing 40 years of age. While each one has a double-digit million dollar salary, it’s a bargain relative to other veterans and they only have one year contracts. Both are projected to score fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points than the veteran QBs in Tier 2, but they will provide better value and cost at least $10 million less than the Tier 2 QBs.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Ryan Fitzpatrick, WAS$10,000,0001368.6$27,130
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT$14,000,0001320.6$43,668

Roethlisberger is probably the safer play out of the two despite the extra $4 million in salary since it’s unlikely the Steelers play one of the many other QBs on their roster over him. Fitzpatrick also has a couple of younger QBs on the Football Team roster to contend with, but it would be less surprising to see him yield time as the season progresses than Big Ben.

Tier 7 – Veterans who Might Start in 2021 on One-Year Contracts

This tier is one of the largest with seven QBs falling in it. The potential to start varies greatly as do the salaries and the projected value for 2021. None of them are signed beyond 2021, so they can be easily shed off your Dynasty Owner roster if they get injured or aren’t the starter for their team since you’ll only have to pay 25% of their remaining salary to drop them.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Blake Bortles, GB$1,075,000164.8$16,590
Cam Newton, NE$5,100,0001289.6$17,610
Jameis Winston, NO$5,500,0001307.6$17,880
Tyrod Taylor, HOU$5,500,0001194.6$28,263
Taysom Hill, NO$12,159,0001312.1$38,959
Teddy Bridgewater, DEN$11,499,0001249.2$46,144
Andy Dalton, CHI$10,000,0001200.2$49,950

The only player at a true low salary is Blake Bortles at $1.075 million. Of course, he’s the most unlikely to play any snaps in 2021. The three QBs in the $5 million range could all see significant time in 2021, but also might not depending on if they win a QB battle (Winston), can hold off a rookie first round pick (Newton) or the real starting QB on the team plays (Taylor). The stories are similar for the $10 million plus salary QBs. One needs to beat out another QB on this list (Hill), win a QB battle with a younger, cheaper QB (Bridgewater) or hold off a rookie first round pick (Dalton). Dynasty Owners are taking a chance with all of these guys in Tier 6, but fortunately they are all on one year contracts so there’s no long term commitment or large drop fees.

Tier 8 – Rookies with Future Potential

In terms of 2021 value, all of these players have next to none. Some of them are projected to score Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021, but don’t count on it. Davis Mills is the most likely, but he’ll need to beat out a couple of veterans in Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Driskel plus have Deshaun Watson out for the year to make that happen.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears
Kyle Trask, TB$1,383,8344
Kellen Mond, MIN$1,305,8544
Davis Mills, HOU$1,304,3834
Ian Book, NO$1,038,3964
Jacob Eason, IND$1,006,8163
Sam Ehlinger, IND$902,6774

Trask and Mills have very similar ADPs right now (152.6 for Mills; 152.8 for Trask), while Mond and Mills were drafted back-to-back at the beginning of the third round of the 2021 NFL draft, so their salaries are virtually identical. Trask’s salary is about $80,000 higher than both of them since he was the final pick in the second round. Technically, Jacob Eason isn’t a rookie, but he didn’t play at all in 2020 so this is the best tier for him. He’s here along with fellow Colts backup QB Sam Ehlinger who is indeed a rookie.

Tier 9 – Veteran Handcuffs

These QBs are also unlikely to play. Take a look at the list and think about the teams they play for, and you’ll know why. But, if you have the starter ahead of them of your Dynasty Owner roster, it could be worth paying a couple of million, or less in some cases, for these veteran handcuffs in case of an injury.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears
Case Keenum, CLE$6,000,0002
Jacoby Brissett, MIA$5,000,0001
Joe Flacco, PHI$3,500,0001
Marcus Mariota, LV$3,500,0001
Mitchell Trubisky, BUF$2,500,0001
Chad Henne, KC$1,625,0001
Colt McCoy, ARI$1,212,5001
Geno Smith, SEA$1,212,5001
Chase Daniel, LAC$1,075,0001

Out of the nine of them, Marcus Mariota is the most likely to play this year for Las Vegas. Case Keenum is the most expensive at $6 million and is the only one with two years left on his contract. That explains why he’s also unowned in Dynasty Owner right now. All of them are widely available with Trubisky having the highest ownership at 43%.

Tier 10a – Low Salary QBs on One Year Contracts so Why Not in Case They Play

This tier is filled with a bunch of QBs who make less than $1 million and probably won’t play in 2021. Some of them might not even be the backup. They could be the third string emergency QB. However, they don’t cost much and if the opportunity presents itself, all of them do have NFL experience. They are flyers for sure, but cheap ones and only have to be kept for 2021.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears
Mason Rudolph, PIT$980,4721
Nick Mullens, PHI$970,0001
Kyle Allen, WAS$850,0001
Dwayne Haskins, PIT$850,0001
Josh Rosen, SF$850,0001
Phillip Walker, CAR$782,5001
John Wolford, LA$770,0001

Mason Rudolph did sign a one-year extension for $5 million for 2022, but Dynasty Owners can always release him after that contract kicks in if they don’t want to keep him for 2022. Nick Mullens might still be listed as a Free Agent with a $750,000 salary, but he signed with Philadelphia for almost $1 million in mid-June.

Tier 10b – Low Salary QBs on Multi-Year Contracts so Why Not in Case They Play

Another “b” tier as all of these guys would be in the same tier in a “regular” dynasty league, except for that extra year on their current contract. That makes them a bit more expensive than the Tier 10a guys so slightly less valuable in Dynasty Owner.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears
C.J. Beathard, JAC$2,500,0002
Taylor Heinicke, WAS$2,375,0002
Will Grier, CAR$963,2492
Jarrett Stidham, NE$788,4232

Heinicke has the most likely path to playing time in Washington, which is why he’s 81% owned in Dynasty Owner and you’ll need to draft him in the later stages (ADP 223.2) of your start-up draft if you want to secure his services. Jarrett Stidham is owned in 42% of Dynasty Owner leagues, but that’s probably because Dynasty Owners took him in 2020 drafts when it was expected that he was the starter in New England. Many of these owners probably didn’t release him since his salary is low and he did play some in 2020.

Tier 11 – Veterans to Avoid Drafting Due to High Salaries

None of these guys are worth drafting in your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up draft. They cost too much, are projected to finish outside of the Top 12 QBs in 2021, have more than one year left on their contract and will produce fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points than other veteran QBs at similar salaries (see Tier 2). If you have one on these players on your roster already, they will cost you an Amnesty Provision or lots of Dynasty Dollars to drop so they could be worth keeping around since all of them are projected to start in 2021 (at least at the beginning of the season). They might have a renaissance season, like Aaron Rodgers did in 2020, and end up being worth their contract.

PlayerYearly SalaryYears2021 Projected Points2021 DD/PT
Derek Carr, LV$25,000,0002372.9$67,042
Matt Ryan, ATL$30,000,0003393.0$76,336
Kirk Cousins, MIN$33,000,0002394.8$83,587
Carson Wentz, IND$32,000,0004368.3$86,886
Jimmy Garoppolo, SF$27,500,0002278.8$98,637
Jared Goff, DET$33,500,0004301.3$111,185

Not surprisingly, none of them are owned in more than one-quarter of Dynasty Owner leagues with Carr having the highest ownership (25%), along with the lowest salary in the tier at $25 million. Kirk Cousins has the lowest ownership at less than 1% (.81% to be exact). For the 2.4% of Dynasty Owners with Jared Goff, he’s projected as the #30 QB in 2021 and to have the highest DD/PT by far, as the only starting QB with a projected 2021 DD/PT of over $100,000.

Conclusion

There you have it. The first Dynasty Owner Tiers. No more zero matches when you search for Dynasty Owner Fantasy Football Tiers 2021. Depending on how you count them, it was either 11 or 13 of them. And we didn’t even include a couple of QBs who might play and find their way on to a few Dynasty Owner rosters this year (Mike Glennon, Jeff Driskel, etc.). More tiers to come for the other positions (RB, WR and TE) for the rest of July. Let me know what you think of these QB tiers on Twitter (@SteveVT33) or in the comments section on YouTube.

Dynasty Owner has great content coming to help you draft your dynasty. We can also provide guidance as you continue to tweak your roster after your rookie or start-up draft is over so you can win your league. My articles and videos to get you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team are being released on Wednesdays. Keep an eye out for new articles from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owner writers as well. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is doing a deep dive on individual teams that you can check out on Mondays, while Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Fridays. All of the articles will be released at 1 PM (Eastern) with videos and podcast released at 3 PM (Eastern).

Please read all of their articles and follow all three of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Hopefully this article is helpful for everyone who has a 2021 start-up draft coming soon, and at least interesting for those of you who have already drafted or have an established team. Maybe it’ll give you and other Dynasty Owners some ideas for potential trades too. 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

To Stack or Not to Stack?

By Steven Van Tassell

To steal a line from Hamlet, that is the question. For the past two weeks, I’ve discussed stacking QBs with WRs or TEs and who the top stacks were in 2020 and might be in 2021. It was presented as a fact that stacking was a good idea and that all Dynasty Owners should try and do so with the players on their roster. However, what does the 2020 Dynasty Owner data say about stacking? Did League Champions and Chase for the Ring contenders stack a QB-WR, a QB-TE, or did they not stack anybody at all?

Lots of fantasy analysts will tell you to stack, or not to stack, and maybe provide examples of when they did one or the other and won a title. Where else but Dynasty Owner are you going to find an analysis of whether or not the people who won their League Championship last season had a stack or not? Nowhere else as none of the other major platforms (ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo!, Sleeper, My Fantasy League, etc.) provide this type of data and analysis about the people and teams playing on their platform. Just Dynasty Owner! It’s another thing that makes Dynasty Owner unique and great.

Dynasty Owner also has the Chase for the Ring and a 25-team Leaderboard that you can check out and see how those teams put together their roster, Starting lineup and Bench. As I’ve written before, our 2020 Chase for the Ring Champion Viktor and his Barbee Kilgore team (League #35395) had a three-player stack from the Kansas City Chiefs with QB Patrick Mahomes, WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce. However, the team that finished second overall (Quaranteed for Greatness) didn’t have a single stack in their starting lineup in the playoffs. They had both Hill and Kelce, but Josh Allen at QB and no other Bills players in their Starting lineup or Bench, not even a kicker.

All stack data are taken from the final two weeks of the 2020 Dynasty Owner playoffs (Weeks 15 and 16). All rosters had been frozen at this point in the season so no players could be added or dropped. The overall level of stacking throughout the season may be understated as teams could have had players on the Practice Squad or Injured Reserve who were part of a stack during the season, but not in Weeks 15 and 16. For example, a team with Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb may have stacked those WRs with QB Dak Prescott at the start of the season, but not been counted since Prescott was injured and didn’t play in the Dynasty Owner playoffs. Not all Dynasty Owner leagues are included as some teams have been sold (another way that Dynasty Owner is different) or orphaned and lineups for their playoff games are unavailable.

The Answer to the Question is a Qualified “Yes”

It appears that stacking can help you win your League Championship. Just over half (52%) of all League winners had some type of stack (QB-RB, QB-WR, or QB-TE) in either their Starting lineup or on their Bench during their playoffs, compared to one-third (33%) who did not. One-sixth (16%) of winners’ rosters could not be analyzed. Among the teams in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring, a majority (56%) had a stack while just over one-third (36%) did not, with two out of 25 teams (8%) not being able to be analyzed. Among Top 10 Chase teams, the split was 60% with a stack versus 40% without one.

Any Playoff Stack% of Teams% of Top 25% of Top 10
Yes52%56%60%
No33%36%40%
Unknown16%8%0%

As mentioned before, this is a very generous definition of having a “stack”. There are several reasons:

  1. It includes QB-RB stacks (say QB Ryan Tannehill and RB Derrick Henry from the Tennessee Titans) as well as the more traditional QB-WR and QB-TE stacks talked about in previous articles.
  2. The team could have utilized a stack in either playoff week, or both, but didn’t have to do it in both playoff weeks.
  3. The stack could have been spread across the Starting lineup and Bench. Remember that Dynasty Owner scoring includes Bench scoring (20% of points scored by players on your Bench in 2020 count towards your final score with the percentage moving up to 25% in 2021). Bench scoring is another Dynasty Owner innovation that has to be factored into your roster construction and lineup setting calculations.

Even with this generous definition, the percentages aren’t overwhelming in favor of stacking. However, our percentages may be deflated as well if a team drafted a player stack and had that stack early in the season. These stacks could have been derailed by injury (Dak Prescott) or suspension (WR Will Fuller of the Houston Texans), not be used in the playoffs and not included in this analysis.

QB-WR Stacks Were the Most Common

Not surprisingly, the QB-WR stack was the most common type of stack and League Winners finishing in the Chase for the Ring were more likely to employ a QB-WR Starting lineup stack. Overall, 44% of League Winners who had a stack had a QB-WR stack, but the percentage jump up to three-quarters (75%) of Top 25 teams who utilized a stack and four-fifths (80%) of Top 10 teams. Since teams could have had more than one stack, the percentages below exceeded 100%.

Starting Stack% of Teams% of Top 25% of Top 10
RB28%13%20%
TE36%38%40%
WR44%75%80%

In fact, Top 25 and Top 10 teams were more likely to have more than one stack. And the data show that the QB-TE Starting lineup stack was more common than the QB-RB stack regardless of the type of League Winner.

In terms of players, the Bills QB-WR stack of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs and the Chiefs QB-WR stack of Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill were the most common ones. Despite the lower salary cost, no League Winners had the Patrick Mahomes-Mecole Hardman stack and only one had Josh Allen and Cole Beasley. No surprise that the Mahomes-Travis Kelce stack was the most common QB-TE stack and the only one fielded by the Chase for the Ring teams who had a QB-TE stack. A solo QB-RB stack of Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers-Aaron Jones was the only one that a Chase team had.

Other Stacking Facts from 2020

While Viktor used a three-player stack to help him win the Ring, it was not a strategy employed by too many League Winners. In fact, only two League Winners had such a stack in their Starting lineup for both weeks of the 2020 playoffs. Probably not coincidentally, both of them were in the Top 10 of the Chase for the Ring. The other team finished 7th (Rimmerworld Smegheads in League #31819) and they had Packers QB Aaron Rodgers along with RB Aaron Jones and WR Davante Adams.

A couple of other League Winners utilized a three-player stack as a Bench stack or a split stack with the players on the same team split between the Starting lineup and the Bench. This was how the 11th place finisher in the Chase, the Swamp Donkeys in League #27448, did it as they had Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams in their Starting lineup plus TE Robert Tonyan on the Bench.

All of the Chase teams utilized their stack in both playoff weeks, indicating the star power of those stacks. In contrast, a few of the regular League Winners did a stack in one week, but not the other one.

Some League Winners had a stack, but of Bench players. In fact, one-fifth (20%) of League Winners had a Bench stack, defined as two players who were both on the Bench, in Week 16, while one in six (17%) had a Bench stack in Week 15. Seven teams had both a Starting lineup stack and a Bench stack in Week 16, as did five teams in Week 15.

There were some split stacks, but not as many as Starting lineup stacks. About one-quarter of League Winners and Top 25 Chase for the Ring teams split a stack between the Starting lineup and the Bench with QB-WR split stack being the most prevalent by far.

Conclusions

It appears that stacking is something that Dynasty Owners should consider based on the results from the 2020 season. Just over half of League Champions and a majority of Chase for the Ring contenders utilized at least one stack in their playoff lineups. The QB-WR stack was most frequent with a skew of more Chase for the Ring teams employing this type of stack. The Bench-only and split stacks were less frequent, but still employed by some League Winners.

With the new salaries in place for the 2021 Dynasty Owner season, the prevalence of some stack may diminish, while other stacks have been formed to take their place based on free agency and the NFL draft. Dynasty Owners who choose to stack and pick the right one (or two) could have an advantage over their rivals in 2021 and find themselves competing for the Ring.

Dynasty Owner has great content coming to help you draft your dynasty. We can also provide guidance as you continue to tweak your roster after your rookie or start-up draft is over so you can win your league. My articles and videos to get you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team are being released on Wednesdays. Keep an eye out for new articles from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owner writers as well. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is doing a deep dive on individual teams that you can check out on Mondays, while Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Fridays. All of the articles and videos will be released at 1 PM (Eastern).

Please read all of their articles and follow all three of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Hopefully this article is helpful for everyone who has a 2021 start-up draft coming soon, and at least interesting for those of you who have already drafted or have an established team. Maybe it’ll give you and other Dynasty Owners some ideas for potential trades too. 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

Tight End Top 10 Rankings

Broncos & Raiders’ Breakdown

By Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Today I will be presenting a double dose of team breakdowns.  As I mentioned in my previous article, I had skipped a team breakdown two weeks ago.  In an attempt to make up for that, I will be breaking down a tight end from both the Broncos and Raiders.  We have a lot to talk about today so I’m going to move right into the meat of the article.

Tight End Rankings

I approached the tight end position the same way I approached every other position.  I’m ranking based on Dynasty Owner value and not based on a single year’s projections.  There is little doubt in my mind that this Top 10 list will not reflect the Top 10 point scorers for tight ends at the end of the 2021 season.  Rather, this hopes to give you a good understanding on where to value certain players, especially the high-salary ones.  For example, Travis Kelce would be my number one tight end for 2021 if we were not playing dynasty or had a salary cap to worry about.  With that being said, here are my early tight end rankings…

RankPlayer2020 DO Finish2021 DO Proj FinishYears RemainingSalary
TE1Darren Waller223$7,450,000
TE2Travis Kelce115$14,312,500
TE3George Kittle1935$15,000,000
TE4Kyle PittsN/A54$8,227,623
TE5Mark Andrews641$863,290
TE6T.J. Hockenson362$4,955,306
TE7Noah Fant882$3,147,680
TE8Irv Smith Jr.22122$1,449,609
TE9Mike Gesicki7111$1,652,981
TE10Dallas Goedert2071$1,406,068

Darren Waller is my Dynasty Owner TE1.  As I stated above, I don’t project him to produce the most fantasy points this year, but long term, he is a better value than Kelce or Kittle.  It’s also interesting to note that he is cheaper to own than Kyle Pitts (my TE4).  This is a strange occurrence.  Rarely does an established player make less than a rookie.  This happened in part because Pitts was drafted as the 4th overall pick in the 2021 Draft.  (By the way, this makes him the highest drafted tight end in the history of the NFL).  The other part is the fact that Waller played in only 22 games over his first three NFL seasons.  Waller was a late bloomer and therefore, received a smaller contract than he would qualify for now.  The point is that Waller is in the “sweet spot” of contracts.  Here is what I wrote about contract “sweet spots” back in January.

“Woods is in what I would call “the second contract sweet spot.”  He is old enough to have made it past his first contract, but he was not so productive in that first contract that he demanded top tier wide receiver money.  And much like Devante Parker, he broke out late.”  This was true of Robert Woods and Devante Parker.  It is also true of Darren Waller.  Waller should be making Kittle and Kelce money (right around $15,000,000 per year), but unfortunately for him, the cycle of his contracts worked out so that a top tier contract will have to wait another three years.  (There is always a chance the Raiders sign Waller to a contract extension, but I wouldn’t expect that to happen any time soon).  Suffice to say, if I’m drafting in a DO start up draft, I’m taking Waller as my first tight end if he is available.

Travis Kelce finished 2020 as the TE1, and I expect the same result in 2021.  While I think it is possible that Kittle or Waller takes over as number one, I would put my money on Kelce.  What’s interesting about tight ends is the idea that they have a very defined tier.  The top three tight ends are in a tier above the rest.  Some may argue that Kelce is in a tier of his own.  I don’t think I agree with that (especially when it comes to Dynasty Owner), but Waller, Kelce and Kittle are clearly the top three.  I think that my TE4 has a chance to break into that top tier, but I’m unable to make that claim so early in the offseason.

George Kittle had several speed bumps in his 2020 season.  He suffered a knee injury in Week 1 which caused him to miss two games.  He then missed six games from Week 9 through Week 15 with a broken bone in his foot.  It’s tough to analyze someone’s season when they miss half of it, but I will try anyway.  Kittle finished 2020 with 15.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.  There were only two tight ends that produced more…I’m sure you can guess they were Waller and Kelce.  Yes, I know that fantasy points per game may still be a little skewed due to the fact that Kittle was most likely playing through injury and pain during those games.  While that is probably true, I’m sure that’s also true for the majority of NFL players.  If healthy, Kittle is a lock for Top 5 fantasy points for a tight end.  If Waller and Kelce are drafted, I would feel comfortable taking Kittle as the third tight end off the board.

Kyle Pitts ranks as my fourth tight end.  I was reluctant to put him at the four spot.  The reluctance comes not from his lack of talent, but at the fact that tight ends typically have the hardest and longest time developing compared to other position players.  As I mentioned above, Pitts is the highest drafted tight end in NFL history, and he will have a fantasy productive career, but I’m a little worried that it may be slow going in the first year.  There are two reasons I placed him at TE4.  First, the tight end landscape is shallow and mediocre (fantasy wise) after the Top 3.  A player with as much potential as Pitts almost requires me to place him in the Top 5.  Second, he will retain his rookie contract for the next four years.  While a little over 8.2 million dollar per year isn’t the cheapest tight end salary, it does look better when you think about the fact that everyone else below him in my rankings will be receiving a contract increase within the next two years.

I really wanted to rank Mark Andrews higher than I did.  I would have ranked him higher had he not come into 2021 with a single year left on his contract.  He is on, by far, the cheapest contract of any Top 10 tight end, but he will look to make at least 10 times that number next year.  I am also discouraged about the low volume he received last year.  He finished 2020 with 58 receptions while missing two games.  It’s sad to say, but I predict every other tight end on this list will have more than 58 receptions.  I would be happy to roster and/or draft Andrews, but just know he is not going to be a 100 reception player.  Chances are he won’t even reach 80 receptions.

T.J. Hockenson finished as the TE3 in DO last year.  That may be tough to believe.  I had to double check that stat for myself, but it is indeed true.  It is worth noting that TE3 (177.3) had over 100 points less than TE2 (282.6) though.  (Remember what I said about the large tier gap between tight ends.)

The second part of my team breakdown today is discussing Noah Fant.  Fant ranks at TE7 for me and a lot of it has to do with his salary.  Would I trust Fant to be my starting tight end this year?  Probably not.  Hopefully if you draft Fant, you draft him as your second tight end.  If you don’t, know that you are still getting a value of a tight end.  Saving on him early may allow you to take a chance on a more risky, expensive tight end later on.  Rob Gronkowski, Tyler Higbee and Hunter Henry all come to mind when I think of late tight ends.  None of these three will lead tight ends or jump anywhere close to the top tier, but they should provide enough production throughout 2021 so that you can piece together an above average tight end squad.  I love Fant as a value, but temper expectations.  Know that you are going to have an uphill battle if you intend on winning your league with him as your number one producer for the position.  Fant should finish as a Top 10 tight end in terms of 2021 fantasy points, but as I showed earlier, the difference between TE2 and TE10 is further than you would like.

Rounding out my rankings are Irv Smith Jr., Mike Gesicki and Dallas Goedert (in that order).  All three of them could be interchanged as you please.  I’m not going to argue with you if you like Goedert over Smith Jr.  I will note that Irv Smith Jr. has one more year on his rookie contract than Gesicki and Goedert which is what makes him more appealing to me.  He is also three years younger.  I’m very interested to see how Smith Jr. produces this year as the number one tight end on his team.  We saw bursts of excellence last year as he had two games with two touchdowns.  Yes, touchdowns are fluky, but the willingness to trust him with the ball in the Red Zone is certainly encouraging.

Before we wrap up, I wanted to drop three names of tight ends that I was unable to rank in my Top 10, but deserve to be mentioned.  These are players that I would not be surprised to see in my Top 10 starting in the 2022 off-season.  All three of them are talented enough to be Top 10 tight ends, but for one reason or another, have not had the opportunity.  The three players are…

  • Blake Jarwin
  • Adam Trautman
  • Cole Kmet

That finishes up my tight end rankings, and it also concludes my rankings theme that I’ve been doing over the past month.  Next month I’m going to get back into more traditional team/player breakdowns.  I’ve had fun with the blind comparisons and rankings, but as we approach the “fourth quarter” of my offseason articles, we will start to settle down and focus more on individual players.  It’s hard to believe we’ve gone through 24 teams already.  Message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know what you agree with or disagree with as far as my rankings go.  I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Thank you all.  Take care and be safe. TheJerk