Prospect Preview: Christian Watson

Position: WR

College: North Dakota State

Height: 6’ 4”

Weight: 208lbs

Age: 22

247 Rating: N/A

By: Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

One of Trey Lance’s ($8,526,319) favorite targets in college, it’s easy to see why they were averaging over 20 yards per connection. Watson is an incredible size/speed combo that if coming out of the SEC or the Big 12, he would likely have been considered one of the top wideouts in this year’s class. Despite playing at the FCS level, his dominance of the lower-level competition combined with one of the best combines of all time have led to him becoming just about everyone’s favorite sleeper in the upcoming NFL Draft.

College Production:

Here’s an interesting part about Watson’s production, not only was it in the FCS level, but North Dakota State steamrolled just about every team they went up against. So therefore, Watson’s numbers overall aren’t that impressive. But he was efficient with every touch he got, pulling in 95 receptions for nearly 2,000 yards over the past three years. When evaluating small school prospects, you want to see them show that they are above everyone else on the field, and Watson did that consistently.

Strengths:

  • High-Pointing- When you combine Watson’s frame and reach with his strong hands and physicality, it makes it hard not to believe that any ball thrown his way could be considered a 50/50 ball. But once again we have to remember he was playing against FCS competition; not to completely disregard it but we need to take into account the defenders at the next level are quite the step up. Watson has a knack for making the most of his length though, and no matter how good the defender is, it’s hard to stop someone at his size when he gets up in the air.
  • Home-run Threat- Watson was used in a variety of ways while at North Dakota State. He tested the defense deep quite often, but the coaches made sure to get him the ball as quickly as possible and gave him many opportunities on sweeps and screens. Watson took advantage of this and created plenty of chunk plays. Many times, he would split the closing defenders and gain extra yards down the sideline before being forced out of bounds. Even if it takes some time for Watson to polish his game at the pro level, he still brings big-play potential on every play that he is on the field.

Weaknesses:

  • FCS Level Competition I’ve mentioned it many times already, and I don’t want to discredit Watson’s achievements as you can only play who is in front of you, but I want to caution anyone who expects Watson to make a Day 1 impact. While it’s always possible, I would expect the transition could take up the majority of his rookie season. This makes him a possible “post-hype buy” midway through the season. Keep that in mind when you see him go early in your rookie drafts.
  • Route Running – Watson has dominated his opponents because he’s bigger, faster, and stronger. He should have been playing on the FBS level, and that much is very clear. At the pro level, he’s still an elite athlete, but the gap will be significantly closer between him and the defenders on the other side of the ball. Watson needs to become a better route runner to succeed at the next level, to get in and out of his breaks cleaner and create more deception with his body. This will likely be the biggest hurdle for him as he makes the transition to the NFL.

Things to Watch:

Watson had a combine for the ages, and he’ll go down as one of the most athletic wideouts to ever grace the field in Indianapolis. Now we wait for the draft, as he’s done everything he could possibly do in this pre-draft process to raise his draft stock. Starting from an exciting week down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl and ending with testing out of the building during the NFL Combine.

Projected Round/Contract:  

There will be some mocks that have Watson at the end of the first round, and while I appreciate the optimism, I think he is simply just a bit too raw of a prospect to go that early. I do think that he is locked into Day 2 draft capital and likely won’t see himself slide much farther than the Top-50 or so picks.

I’d expect him to come off the board around the middle of the second round which could see him sign a 4-year deal worth about $7 million total. This would put Watson’s cap hit around $1.75 million a year, an incredible value if he reaches half of his potential while on his rookie deal.

Team Fits:  

A lot of times with wide receivers, a specific landing spot isn’t as much of a big deal compared to running backs or quarterbacks, but in Watson’s case he needs some time to develop and grow into a role. A team can absolutely get him involved right away in the offense, it would just likely be limited and more so with manufactured touches. A team that fits the bill here would be the New York Jets. Zach Wilson ($8,787,670) has a huge arm, and the team wants to surround him with talent on the offense. Watson could be part of a great young duo with Elijah Moore ($2,235,107) and take some time to develop behind Corey Davis ($12,500,000), who many have forgotten about due to his injuries last year. The tide is turning for the Jets (hopefully), and Watson would fit the new look offense that Robert Saleh is looking to build.

With the recently acquired 50th overall pick, the Kansas City Chiefs seem like almost too perfect of a fit for our fantasy football hope. Sure, they probably need a more polished prospect to step into the Tyreek Hill ($18,000,000) size hole, but Watson would be most intriguing if they want to double-dip early at the position. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a QB with a big arm throwing to a big and fast wideout, and that’s exactly what this pairing could provide us. It might be a pipe dream, but there are already plenty of rumors swirling about.

Don’t Panic and Other New League Year Tips

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

NFL free agency has officially started with a lot of changes, surprises and twists and turns that nobody saw coming. It really started well before the official start as contract extensions, free agent signings, trades and player releases have been on quite the pace for about two weeks now. It began in earnest when the franchise tag deadline was fast approaching. Davante Adams, Chris Godwin and the TE trio of Mike Gesicki, David Njoku and Dalton Schultz were tagged, and the moves and countermoves haven’t let up since. Even when things appear to start cooling down, we have another signing or two, or a trade that dramatically changes things again.

The NFL trading market is something that has really been evolving since Dynasty Owner started. Back in 2020, there were 22 trades from March through the NFL draft with the biggest names getting dealt being all non-QBs (Brandin Cooks, Stefon Diggs, Rob Gronkowski, DeAndre Hopkins, Hayden Hurst and David Johnson). The only two QB trades involved Nick Foles and Kyle Allen. Fast forward to the same time period in 2021 and there were fewer trades (19), but we started to see bigger name QBs on the move (Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff, Carson Wentz to Indianapolis, Sam Darnold to Carolina and Teddy Bridgewater to Denver). So far just 21 days into March, we have seen a baker’s dozen of trades with five involving QBs, including two huge names (Russell Wilson to Denver and Deshaun Watson to Cleveland). In addition, three big salary, big name WRs have been traded (Davante Adams, Amari Cooper and Robert Woods). All of them make at least $16 million per season. There are bound to be more trades as Cleveland needs to kick Baker and Emily Mayfield out of their home. Those Progressive commercials are true, aren’t they? The number of trades might be about the same or go up, but the quality of the players being traded, and the salaries have never been higher.

What does all of this mean for Dynasty Owners who have to navigate this new era of NFL free agency and trading? In this hyper speed frenzy of an off-season player movement market, do Dynasty Owners need to emulate their NFL GM counterparts and make immediate roster decisions, or should they be more patient and wait and see how things evolve? If you saw the title of the article, you might think you know my answer to that question, but read on and see that it’s more nuanced than just a simple Yes or No.

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

For the purposes of this article, all statistics, roster percentages and 2021 position ranks were current as of the afternoon of March 21st. All 2022 contract information is currently listed on the Dynasty Owner platform (number of years and salaries) and has been taken from Spotrac (https://www.spotrac.com/).

Weekend Update – Part II

Just like last week, there has been a significant amount of movement (free agent signings, contract extensions, trades and releases) since Friday through just this afternoon (so no Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota or Matt Ryan listed here. Let’s quickly review three major moves and give a quick assessment:

Probably the biggest and most surprising move was Deshaun Watson getting traded from Houston to Cleveland and signing a new 5-year, $230 million contract ($46 million per year) with the Browns.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
N/A58.9%26$39,000,000$46,000,000+ $7,000,000

Many things were surprising about this move, including but not limited to:

  1. Watson basically dictating to Houston what teams he would consider being traded to and meeting with multiple potential teams. He did have a no-trade clause, but it seemed to me like a high school senior picking a college rather than a professional team trading one of its players.
  2. After meeting with Cleveland, Watson announced on Thursday that the Browns were out of the running as a trade option, before to agreeing to be traded to them the very next day.
  3. Cleveland giving Watson a new contract to replace the $39 million per year (4 year, $156 million) contract that he had signed on September 5th, 2020.  Obviously this had a lot to do with Watson’s change of heart.
  4. Cleveland trading three first round draft picks (one each in 2022, 2023 and 2024) to Houston in return for Watson. I think Tim disagrees, but this price seemed rather high to me.

In terms of a recommendation, I’m all over the place. I was a Hold on Watson for the entire 2021 season, keeping him in my Dynasty Owner beta league with an expectation that he’d end up playing again eventually. However, I didn’t anticipate that he’d get a new contract for $7 million per year more after sitting out an entire season. I waffled on that decision for a day or two, then actually dropped Watson for free and picked up Derek Carr off the Free Agent Auction and acquired D.J. Chark in a trade for a third round pick in the 2022 rookie draft. It’s a savings of $11 million dollars and I’m only attached to Carr and Chark for one year (barring any changes, after all it’s 2022) versus being tied to Watson for five years. Is it the right move? Talk to me after this season and again in a few years.

The Dynasty Owner community seems to be all over the place too based on his roster percentage. His Dynasty Owner roster percentage is 59.5% today, but yesterday it slightly lower, so more Dynasty Owners are picking up Watson than dropping him right now. Clearly some people are onboard with this move and taking on that contract. In two of my leagues, someone picked him up after a Texas grand jury declined to indict him on criminal charges and both have held him even after the trade to the Browns and the $7 million per year salary increase. Last year, Watson was rostered in roughly the 20% to 30% range for most of the season so interest in him has definitely increased, but he still isn’t at 99% or 100% like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.

JuJu Smith-Schuster finally made the move out of Pittsburgh and signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
WR14999.4%25$8,000,000$3,250,000– $4,750,000

Dynasty Owners with Smith-Schuster on their roster received a salary savings of $4.75 million by keeping him on their team for the 2022 season. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold him.

There is no doubt that Dynasty Owners with Smith-Schuster should hold on to him. The contract is small and short, the landing spot is really good, and he has value to your Dynasty Owner team regardless of your expectations for the 2022 season. There is zero reason to drop him for free due to the contract change and in fact, his roster percentage is at 99.4% now.

Finally, the Falcons retained the services of Cordarrelle Patterson for another two seasons.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
RB898.7%31$3,000,000$5,250,000+ $2,250,000

Patterson signed a 2-year, $10.5 million contract, or $5.25 million per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Patterson on their roster currently will have to pay him $2.25 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Keep him

At the end of January, Patterson was listed as “Hold for now. Value depends upon who signs him” in my High Salary QBs and RBs article. His market value was estimated at $9.142 million per year, which is almost $3.9 million more per year than he finally re=signed for with the Falcons. Patterson was a keeper in my eyes if he re-signed with the Falcons and Coach Arthur Smith. The fact that he was signed for significantly less than expected solidifies that recommendation and makes it better for his Dynasty Owners. His decline in production at the end of the 2021 season is worrisome, but the price is better than anticipated so Patterson is worth keeping on your Dynasty Owner roster.

New League Year Tips

There are many tips that people are going to offer on what to do with certain players, like “Drop Player A” and “Pickup Player B now that Player C was traded to Team A”. This isn’t what I’m going to discuss here. Instead, these are going to be tips on how to handle the first Dynasty Owner off-season for many Dynasty Owners.

Tip #1 – Don’t Panic

The email that went out to Dynasty Owners on the Saturday before NFL Free Agency started said “Don’t panic” five times. For good reason, because inevitably somebody is going to panic and make a bad decision right at the start of the new Dynasty Owner league year.

For example, when new 2022 contracts and salaries became active on the Dynasty Owner platform on Friday at Noon, many teams started dropping players for free right away. Not a problem if the player is Will Dissly (TE – SEA) who had his new 3-year, $24 million contract ($8 million per year) with Seattle take effect on Friday. In 2021, his salary was only $777,568 when he scored a mere 49.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and finished the season as TE53. He is only rostered in 24.7% of Dynasty Owner leagues now, so it was unlikely that those remaining Dynasty Owners with Dissly will find a trade partner. Dropping Dissly for free right away to be able to make other roster moves is a wise decision, even if the salary savings are meager because that roster spot can be used in other ways. No reason to wait and hold Dissly to see if a market develops. It likely won’t happen for a backup TE on Seattle. There are dozens of other players out there who I could have used for this example, so hopefully you get the idea.

On the other hand, there was a league in which someone dropped Josh Allen. Not the Jaguars defensive end/linebacker who isn’t in the Dynasty Owner database, but the Bills QB who finished 2021 as the overall #2 player in Dynasty Owner with 503.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Admittedly, his 6-year, $238.034 million contract ($43,005,667) kicked in on Friday, but dropping QB Josh Allen is a complete panic move when you have 30 days to try and move him if you don’t want him at that salary. If you can’t do it within that time frame, you still can drop him for free.

In that league, at least two teams put in Free Agent Auction bids for Allen. This means that there was a trade market for him. Both bids were over $1 million so both Dynasty Owners who bid anticipated competition from someone else. Why else would they bid more than $1 million Dynasty Dollars? It seems like a complete misread of the situation in this league and pretty much every other Dynasty Owner league out there.

The team also didn’t make any immediate moves to compliment the dropping of Allen, like picking up a couple of players for slightly less than Allen’s 2022 salary to reduce their salary cap. They did release a few additional players at the same time and made some trades over the next couple of days. Could they have made those moves and kept Josh Allen on their roster? Most likely Yes based on my analysis of the roster changes in the league.

Tip #2 – Wait for the Official Contract Signing

This tip is similar to “Don’t Panic” in that it’s advising Dynasty Owners to pump the brakes a little bit, take a moment to reflect and wait until the official contract figures are posted on Spotrac, then updated in Dynasty Owner before deciding what to do with a player. Even if the contract is updated, it can be revised after additional information is reported.

There have been too many initially reported contract figures that have been wrong this off-season already for anyone to take an initial contract report as the gospel truth. Even Spotrac has revised some contract figures originally posted later on. It’s not just the Aaron Rodgers contract, which changed at least three times, that I’m talking about here. Here are some players who had contract news reported, then the report changed before it was published on Spotrac (as well as afterwards) and updated in Dynasty Owner:

  • Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB): The initial reporting of a 4-year, $200 million contract was disputed by many, including Rodgers himself. The contract was briefly revised to a 2-year, $123,844,412 contract extension and finally settled in as a 3-year, $150,815,000 contract extension. The annual salary amount for Dynasty Owners bounced around from $50 million to almost $62 million back to the final amount of $50,271,667.
  • Christian Kirk (WR – JAC): It was a 4-year, $84 million contract for Christian Kirk in Jacksonville at first, but it ended up as a 4-year, $72 million contract. Dynasty Owners saved $3 million in annual salary with the final amount.
  • Michael Gallup (WR – DAL): Gallup’s 5-year, $62.5 million reported contract extension fell by $5 million from a 5-year, $57.5 million contract. That’s $1 million less in salary per season for his Dynasty Owners in the end.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – KC): Most recently, JuJu Smith-Schuster’s contract started off as a one-year deal for $10.75 million. It was changed the next day to just a one-year deal for $3.25 million, saving Dynasty Owners with Smith-Schuster $7.5 million for the 2022 Dynasty Owner season.

Right now, Dynasty Owner is doing daily updates of contracts which can mean that an initial report might be revised. In the next few months, these updates will be coming every couple of days or even just once a week. This will give Dynasty Owners even more time to deal with a contract change and might prevent them from overreacting to an initial report that is later corrected. It might not, but you’ll always have enough time to at least wait for the official contract announcement from Spotrac to make a roster move.

Tip #3 – Don’t Drop Players Until You Win the Free Agent Auction Bid

This has probably happened to you or someone in your league. You bid on a player in the Free Agent Auction and get outbid. It sucks that you don’t get the player you wanted, but otherwise, nothing bad happened. If you had a roster spot and salary cap room, you didn’t need to do anything other than make the bid and see if you won it. If you lose, there’s always going to be someone else to try to acquire. As Bill Belichick would say, “On to Cincinnati”.

However, if you don’t have a free roster spot or enough room under the salary cap to fit the player you are bidding on, you have two options. First, you can drop a player (or two, or more) to create the roster and/or salary cap room you need, then make the Free Agent Auction bid. The second option is that you make the Free Agent Auction bid but set it up, so the player or players are only dropped if you win the bid. It’s kind of a way to “act fast”, but also hedge your bets.

This is particularly important in the off-season when you can bid on Free Agents as they become available. Especially in the current period we are in with teams allowed to be over the cap, it’s important to put in these “conditional” Free Agent Auction bids so you don’t lose a player unless you win the bid. As long as your team isn’t going up in salary after the transaction is completed, it’s ok.

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that I dropped Deshaun Watson for free and picked up Derek Carr off the Free Agent Auction. Because Carr is rostered in 88.6% of Dynasty Owner leagues, I was concerned that another team might put in a bid on Carr. Instead of dropping Watson and then bidding on Carr, I did it as a “conditional” bid. If I won the bid for Carr, then Watson would be dropped in a corresponding move. If I lost, I’d keep Watson and continue to have the flexibility to trade or drop him for another player. Finally, doing it this way also has the advantage of helping to conceal your bidding.

Tip #4 – Put Calvin Ridley on Injured Reserve Now

Calvin Ridley has been suspended for the 2022 NFL season. He is officially listed as Out. This designation means that he is eligible, right now, for the Dynasty Owner Injured Reserve. You can park him and his $2,725,178 salary for 2022 there for the entire season. This frees up an extra roster spot for your Dynasty Owner team if you need or want it. It’s an extra roster spot to use on a potential break out player who’s still sitting out there on the Free Agent Auction, or an extra player who you can hold and not drop just yet from your roster. Maybe you can work out a trade for that player now.

Ridley seems to still be a desirable player to have on your Dynasty Owner roster as his roster percentage is 99.4%. Yes, his salary will still count against your $145.74 million salary cap, but it’s less than 2% of the entire cap. Your team can also fill that spot with a rookie. That leads us to the next tip.

Tip #5 – Save Room for Rookies

Just a quick tip that you can’t forget to save room for rookies, or at least have a plan for those rookie draft picks. You’ll need both roster spots and salary cap room to fit in as many rookies as you have draft picks. Unless you plan on trading those draft picks away. I’ll have more on this tip sometime before the rookie drafts start just as I did last year.

If you had a rookie draft last year, you know what’s going to happen, but a refresher isn’t a bad thing. If this is your first rookie draft, check out the article from last year to start getting familiar with what’s going to happen. The salary amounts for draft slot are going to change, for the rookie picks, from last year’s amounts. However, those salaries by draft slot will still be set before the draft.

Based on mock drafts, it looks like there will be fewer position players drafted early in the 2022 NFL draft, so the salary amount you need should be less than last year. Don’t count on it yet though. The full details will be shared in an article either closer to the NFL draft (April 28th to April 30th) or in the month after the NFL draft, but before Dynasty Owner rookie drafts start on May 27th.

Conclusion

It’s been a whirlwind of activity for NFL General Managers and Dynasty Owners since the calendar turned to March. There is always activity ongoing, but it has ramped up over the past three weeks with the NFL combine, followed by franchise tags, early announcements of contract extensions and signings, then a flurry of big name players getting traded and then finally, the official start of NFL free agency. With everything going on, it can be difficult to keep up and potentially overwhelming.

As the article says, “Don’t Panic”. You have plenty of time to make roster moves now and don’t have to do everything at once. In some cases, you might need to act right away, but still do so in the proper way. For a few Dynasty Owners, these tips are unfortunately a couple of days late. Not really, as we have been discussing these tips and topics on the Livestream for a few weeks now and an email highlighting what to expect when the new league year starts was sent out to all Dynasty Owners almost a week before last Friday. Two follow up emails were also sent out to reinforce the message. Hopefully you were paying attention and didn’t panic.

We will cover these tips, analyze recent trades and free agent moves, plus discuss plenty of other things on the weekly Dynasty Owner livestream with myself and Tim Peffer on Wednesday at 4 PM (Eastern). Set the timer on YouTube so you don’t miss it live, or make sure to watch it afterwards. Either way, don’t forget to smash the Like button. You can also listen to it afterwards wherever you get your podcasts.

Please read all of the off-season articles from our Dynasty Owner team as well. On Mondays, I write about players, salaries and contracts to help new and returning Dynasty Owners navigate how to play our unique game. Jay Pounds is writing about everything on rebuilding your Dynasty Owner roster and his articles usually appear on Tuesday. Nate Christian is back for 2022 and will do prospect previews every Thursday. Finally, Friday is Free Agent Friday with articles from Matt Morrison – The Jerk.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Prospect Preview: Chris Olave

Position: WR

College: Ohio State

Height: 6’ 0”

Weight: 187lbs

Age: 21

247 Rating: 0.8875 (3 Stars)

By: Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

In a somewhat surprising move, Chris Olave decided to return to college football for the 2021 season. A return to Ohio State meant he would be competing with Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and many other highly rated recruits. It worked out decently well for Olave, who was viewed as a mid-day two pick last year and now has seen himself sneak into the back end of the first round in many mock drafts. He’s got the talent to make an impact in the NFL, but how high can he climb?

College Production:

A very productive receiver over the past three years, Olave has consistently been good, but never truly great. Averaging 54 receptions, 835 yards, and about 10 touchdowns a year, Olave was a solid weapon for Justin Fields ($4,717,989) and C.J. Stroud, but never topped 1,000 yards or truly took over the Ohio State receiver room. In fact, his senior season he was out matched by both of his counterparts. It certainly is a talented corps that he had to compete with (similar to the Alabama wideouts we’ve seen over the past few years), but many are asking if he has what it takes to become a top option for an NFL offense.

Strengths:

  • Route Running Technician- One of the most refined route runners in the draft, he shows the ability to use his quick burst to catch defenders on their heels. His cuts are great as he is able to sink his hips when breaking down at the stem, or pace himself in the first five yards. He’s a great space finder, and while he’ll do well against man coverage, his ability to find holes in zone coverage could be his calling card in an offense. He also showed the ability in 2021 to play both inside and outside, with a deep understanding of route concepts.
  • Smooth Operator- Before the catch, Olave does well to get off the line and start developing his route. The transition from release to the first couple steps of his route are smooth and help him get an early step on defenders. After the catch, he offers the ability to make people miss on the first tackle and gain extra yardage down the sideline. He’s got great burst in and out of his cuts and enough wiggle to keep defenders on their toes.
  • Soft Hands- Doesn’t have many drops on the tape and has made his fair share of impressive catches all around the field. A good hands catcher who is comfortable with the ball away from his body, he can be a reliable option for any quarterback who needs a quick throw-and-catch.

Weaknesses:

  • Upside?- Olave is viewed as one of the safest prospects in the class, he does everything you need a wideout to do, and honestly does it pretty well. Despite this, he seems to lack a truly elite trait to stand out from the crowd. While this certainly does not mean he is doomed to fail at the next level, it brings caution when teams are trying to select the elite talent at the top of the draft. Olave could be a great WR2 on a team across from a strong X receiver, but if he is left with handling the majority of an offense’s volume, he may struggle to keep up his efficiency.
  • Lack of Physicality- With a slender frame, Olave does not play up to his height and he certainly doesn’t play like a player 10 or 20 pounds heavier. He gets pushed around by bigger defenders and is more sneaky and quick than thick and strong. Not every player can be A.J. Brown ($1,413,092), but you’d like to see him offer a bit more in contested catch situation and prove that he can hold his own once the defenders become even stronger and more athletic.

Things to Watch:

Olave had a great combine, posting a 4.39 40-Yard Dash. The burst shows up in the tape, he does have the ability to pick up yards quickly and can stretch the defense at times, but I think his play speed is a bit slower than his testing numbers. He certainly isn’t slow, but I wouldn’t be so quick to label him as a true down-the-field threat. Overall, the combine showed that he has been training and is putting in the work to maximize his talents. You like to see that in a player like Olave.

Projected Round/Contract:  

The rumors are he could find himself drafted in the back end of the first round next month, but I still have him projected as a second rounder myself. Teams are going to swing for upside in players like George Pickens and Jameson Williams before they “settle” for Olave. I would expect a contract around $2.2 million a year for Olave, similar to Elijah Moore ($2,235,107) who was selected at the 34th overall pick in 2021. But don’t be surprised to see him in the first round, the vast majority of mock drafts have him there at the moment.

Team Fits:  

Going off of what I said earlier, Olave would do well across from a strong X receiver, it helps narrow it down to a couple teams that would be able to use the strengths that Olave brings to the table. One of the easiest fits to hope for is the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers ($33,500,000) is back and apparently happy, so the front office really needs to bring in some receiver help if they want that to continue. Olave should be available at the 28th pick and would be a solid option in that offense across from Davante Adams ($20,145,000), assuming Adams and the Packers work out a contract.

Another team in a similar situation, pushing for a Super Bowl and needing a crafty WR2, is the Tennessee Titans. With the recent announcement that they will release Julio Jones on June 1st, the depth chart is shallow behind A.J. Brown ($1,413,092) and the team could use a good Z receiver for the ball to go to on a more consistent basis. This is the role that Olave would thrive in, and with a run-first team and a physical receiver across the field from him, he would likely post great efficiency numbers. Olave does some of his best work when given some freedom, and with heavy play action usage, the connection between Olave and Ryan Tannehill ($29,500,000) could lead to taking the pressure off the rest of the offense.

Make sure to follow Nate Christian over on Twitter at @NateNFL and check out all the work he is doing with the Dynasty Rewind (@DynastyRewind).

Free Agent Weekend Update

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

It’s the Dynasty Owner Free Agent Weekend Update! Unfortunately, your host isn’t Colin Jost or Michael Che. It’s not one of the great Saturday Night Live Weekend Update hosts from the past either like Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, Dennis Miller, Norm McDonald, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Tina Fay or Amy Poehler. It’s just me, Steven Van Tassell, bringing you all of the weekend free agent signings and other transactions that will impact all of my fellow Dynasty Owners. As a bonus to make it better, I’m going to throw in some Monday morning transactions as well!

So much has happened since Matt the Jerk’s (@dynastyjerk) Free Agent Friday article that we needed another update to handle it all. If you want to know more about Aaron Rodgers’ new contract, the franchise tags given to a trio of top TEs (Mike Gesicki, David Njoku, Dalton Schultz) and two WRs (Davante Adams and Chris Godwin), the impact of the Russell Wilson trade to Denver, or Mike Williams’ new contract, then go back and read Matt’s article.

This is your place to catch up on what’s happened since then. If you were busy watching any of the NCAA men’s basketball conference tournaments (if so, check your email for a link to join Dynasty Owner NCAA bracket and win up to $500) or focused on the continuing NHL and NBA regular seasons, you may have missed these new transactions. If you were checking to see if the PGA Tour Players’ Championship was going to finish or when MLB spring training is going to start, you also may have missed some transactions and need to know what’s going on.

We are still a couple of days away from the official start of NFL free agent signings (Wednesday at 4 PM, which is the same time as the Dynasty Owner Livestream with me and Tim Peffer). It’s a few more days until the start of the 2022 Dynasty Owner league year when all of the new contracts will be live, and the $145.74 million salary cap will take effect. A helpful “Everything to Expect Next Week” email was sent to all Dynasty Owners on Saturday morning, so check your Inbox for that rundown of all sorts of important information too so you know what’s going on.

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

For the purposes of this article, all statistics, roster percentages and 2021 position ranks were current as of the afternoon of March 14th. All 2021 salary information is the current salary listed on the Dynasty Owner platform All 2022 contract information (number of years and salaries) have been taken from Spotrac (https://www.spotrac.com/).

They’re Back

So far, we have had a bunch of players re-sign with their current team with more coming seemingly every hour. They are listed as Free Agents on Dynasty Owner, but once the 2022 Dynasty Owner league year starts on Friday, they will go back to their prior team at a new salary. None of the announced contracts over the weekend were for the big name free agents who are expected to make a lot of money over the next couple of years.

That last sentence was true when I wrote it at around 7 PM (Eastern) on Sunday night. In the next hour, there were two huge contract announcements (Michael Gallup and Zach Ertz). However, those re-signings were completely overshadowed by the news that the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady was unretiring and returning to play for his 23rd NFL season. He’ll play once again for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and likely keep earning $25 million per year, which was the amount of the extension he signed previously. If his contract changes, it’ll be updated on Dynasty Owner, but that’s what I’m expecting for now.

Dallas WR Michael Gallup signed the biggest contract over the weekend both in terms of overall amount and on an annual basis.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
WR84100%26$880,995$12,500,000+ $11,619,005

Gallup signed a 5-year, $62.5 million contract, or $12.5 million per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Gallup on their roster currently will have to pay him $11.62 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold him

This is the same recommendation as from my High Salary WR article published a month ago. His market value was lower than $12.5 million, but only by around $630,000. He also got an extra year more than projected. Still, the salary difference isn’t too much to change the recommendation.

However, his value has actually increased with the trade of Amari Cooper to Cleveland as he was able to be productive when healthy with Cooper in the Cowboys’ lineup. He should see more targets from QB Dak Prescott without Cooper around, even with the return of TE Dalton Schultz.

If you don’t have Gallup on your Dynasty Owner roster, you’ll need to trade for him as he is rostered in every Dynasty Owner league. That percentage could go down starting Friday as new contracts become active and the new salary cap starts, but for now, those without Gallup need to make an offer to acquire him.

The second largest overall and annual salary contract was announced minutes before Gallup’s contract. It was for Arizona TE Zach Ertz.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
TE597.5%31$8,500,000$10,550,000+ $2,050,000

Ertz signed a 3-year, $31.65 million contract, or $10.55 million per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Ertz on their roster currently will have to pay him $2.05 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold if you plan on being a contender. Trade if you’re rebuilding.

Similar to Michael Gallup, the Ertz recommendation is the same as in my Lower Salary TE article from just two weeks ago. His market value was off by an extra year, and he received almost $2.94 million more than his projected market value. Even with that extra salary and going from an anticipated salary reduction to a $2.05 million salary increase, the recommendation stays the same.

Right now, he is expected to be the 10th highest paid TE in Dynasty Owner, just $381,000 less than the franchise tag values for Mike Gesicki, David Njoku and Dalton Schultz. His ranking could change, but his consistency over the past few years has remained the same, so I’d still want him on my Dynasty Owner team.

If you don’t have Ertz on your Dynasty Owner roster, you’ll likely need to trade for him as he is rostered almost every Dynasty Owner league. I expect that percentage to go down over the next couple of days in anticipation of the Friday start date for new contracts becoming active. However, a trade offer to the Dynasty Owner with Ertz may be the best way to acquire his services in case that drop doesn’t happen right away in your league.

Prior to the Gallup and Ertz contract news, the biggest contract signed over the weekend was Josh Reynolds with the Detroit Lions.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
WR10067.3%27$1,750,000$3,000,000+ $1,250,000

Reynolds signed a 2-year, $6 million contract, or $3 million per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Reynolds on their roster currently will have to pay him $1.25 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold if you plan on being a contender. Trade if you’re rebuilding.

Josh Reynolds was mired well down on the Tennessee depth chart for the beginning of the 2021 season, but was released and picked up by Detroit. A reunion with Jared Goff, his former QB in Los Angeles, helped salvage his season. Overall, he was WR100 with 80.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 12 games played (6.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game). In his seven games with Detroit, he had 61.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for an average of 8.8 points per game. He had over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in three out of his seven games with the Lions. Reynolds is a useful Bench or Practice Squad depth WR for a contender, but probably not worth the roster spot for a rebuilding team who should be trying to find younger, cheaper players who might blossom into greatness.

He is available in the Free Agent Auction in nearly one-third of Dynasty Owner leagues if you want him for your team. The increase in salary by $1.25 million might lead some Dynasty Owners to drop him for free when his contract changes, or increase their willingness to trade him.

The second biggest weekend contract was signed by Buffalo WR Isaiah McKenzie.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
WR11149.1%26$1,127,500$2,200,000+ $1,072,500

McKenzie signed a 2 year, $4.4 million contract, or $2.2 million per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with McKenzie on their roster currently will have to pay him just over $1.07 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold for now.

McKenzie feels like a Hold for now at his new $2.2 million salary (apparently not the $4 million per year salary originally reported by Adam Schefter). His value will depend on what other offensive players sign with Buffalo after free agency starts and if the Bills do in fact trade WR Cole Beasley. Without Beasley and with no significant additions at WR, McKenzie could slide into the WR3 role in Buffalo behind Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. He already has some value as a gadget player and returner, but adding WR3 responsibilities for a high-powered Bills offense makes him worth a roster spot at his new salary.

In Week 16, McKenzie had 29.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (11 receptions, 124 receiving yards, -1 rushing yard, 1 TD) against New England with Beasley and Davis out of the lineup. Of course, Buffalo could go out and sign two additional free agent WRs, or keep Beasley and leave McKenzie as the WR4 for the team. That could mean a similar overall season to 2021 when he had 68.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 15 games played (4.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game).

Regardless of what happens in a few days, his roster percentage is on the rise and if he’s available in the Free Agent Auction in your league, you may have to bid on him sooner rather than later to acquire his services.

Next on the list is restricted free agent (RFA) Jakobi Meyers who the Patriots assigned a one-year tender offer for $3.986 million.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
WR30100%25$588,333$3,986,000+ $3,397,667

Dynasty Owners with Meyers on their roster currently will have to pay him almost $3.4 million more in salary to keep him on their team for the 2022 season. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Keep him.

Jakobi Meyers is the latest slot receiver gem uncovered by the Patriots, following in the footsteps of Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. Meyers has been an extremely productive player in each of the past two seasons and should continue to do so in 2022. He finished 2020 as WR44 with 157.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and improved to WR30 with 186.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021. He produced those stats for a mere $588,333 and now is receiving a nearly $3.4 million salary increase. He had double-digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points in nine out of 17 games in 2021 with three additional games with between 9.0 and 10.0 points. He is a solid Bench WR, potential FLEX option and bye week replacement.

If you don’t have Meyers on your Dynasty Owner roster, you’ll need to trade for him right now as he is rostered in every Dynasty Owner league. That percentage could go down starting Friday when his new contract become active, but more likely those without Meyers will need to make an offer to his current Dynasty Owner to acquire him.

Another RFA assigned a one-year tender offer by his team was D’Ernest Johnson of the Cleveland Browns. His contract is for $2.433 million.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
RB4996.9%26$585,000$2,433,000+ $1,848,000

Dynasty Owners with Johnson on their roster currently will have to pay him $1.848 million more in salary to keep him on their team for the 2022 season. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Keep him. Only trade if the offer is too good to pass up.

The recommendation for Johnson is the same as from my Lower Salary RB article  Lower Salary TE article in early February, but I could have updated it and removed the “only trade if the offer is too good to pass up” part. His potential is too great to trade away even with a salary that’s almost $1.85 million more than it was in 2021. The RB49 ranking is completely misleading. He only received significant snaps in three games in 2021 and had over 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in all three of those games.

If you want Johnson on your Dynasty Owner roster but don’t have him now, you’ll likely need to trade for him as he is rostered almost every Dynasty Owner league. You’ll probably have to overpaid to acquire his services if you think he’s worth it.

The remainder of the signings over the weekend and early Monday morning were almost all backup QBs (Tim Boyle, Jeff Driskel, Dwayne Haskins, Brian Hoyer, and Nate Sudfield). Two of them signed one-year deals for $2 million (Boyle and Sudfield), while Hoyer got an extra year at $2 million with a 2-year, $4 million contract. Haskins was a RFA and got a tender offer from Pittsburgh for one year at $2.54 million. Driskel got a veteran minimum salary contract for one year at $1,187,500 from the Texans.

The final three signings that I’ll mention were Chris Conley getting a one-year, $2 million contract to stay in Houston and two RFAs who signed tender offers for $895,000 for the 2022 season (WR Jalen Guyton of the Los Angeles Chargers and RB Ja’Mycal Hasty of the San Francisco 49ers). There may have been more on Monday afternoon after I finished writing, but this article needs to be published.

The Trading Post

Back on Friday, Matt handled the details of the Russell Wilson trade to Denver and its impact on Wilson, the two players traded to Seattle (Drew Lock and Noah Fant) and some other players on the current Broncos and Seahawks roster. There was a trade last week that he didn’t touch on as well as a big name, high salary player who was dealt on Saturday. Let’s briefly mention the two players involved in the other recent trades.

First, Carson Wentz was traded from the Indianapolis Colts to the Washington Commanders. The deal includes a bunch of draft picks as well, but the only player changing teams is Wentz.

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
QB1211.95%29$32,000,000$32,000,000None

Carson Wentz and his 4-year, $128 million contract through the 2024 season moves from Indianapolis to Washington. There is no change to his salary on Dynasty Owner and Dynasty Owners with Wentz on their roster will see no changes other than his team.

The second deal involved Amari Cooper getting traded from the Dallas Cowboys to the Cleveland Browns along with a 2022 sixth round pick (pick #202) for a 2022 fifth round pick (pick #155) and a 2022 sixth round pick (pick #192).

2021 RankRoster %Age2021 Salary2022 SalarySalary Change
WR2898.1%27$20,000,000$20,000,000None

Amari Cooper and his 5-year, $100 million contract through the 2024 season moves from Dallas to Cleveland. There is no change to his salary on Dynasty Owner and Dynasty Owners with Cooper on their roster will see no changes other than his team.

Since there is no contract change for either Wentz or Cooper, Dynasty Owners will those players on their roster will not be able to drop either player for free. It’s still 25% of their remaining contract amounts, which is a large enough fee for both that you should use an Amnesty Provision, or buy one for $5 million Dynasty Dollars (if you can), in order to move Wentz or Cooper off your Dynasty Owner team.

Release the Kraken (aka Overpaid Players)

As NFL teams navigate their own 2022 salary cap, we have seen several players restructure their contracts to move around money to lower their salary cap number for the 2022 season. Those contract changes don’t impact their Dynasty Owner salary as Dynasty Owner uses the average annual salary for the entire contract. Sorry to everyone who has a prominent expensive player such as Aaron Jones, Alvin Kamara, Matt Ryan, or Michael Thomas who restructured as your Dynasty Owner team gets no benefit.

The other way to alleviate the salary cap crunch for a NFL team is to outright release players with a high salary cap figure. The following players (with their Dynasty Owner salaries listed) have been released or waived in recent days:

Blake Jarwin and Tarik Cohen had two years left on those contracts, while everyone else had just one year. All of those players will become Free Agents on Dynasty Owner soon and be eligible for a free drop ($0 Dynasty Dollars). If they sign a new contract once NFL free agency starts on Wednesday, Dynasty Owners can also choose to keep them on their roster at their new salary amount. That will also result in a contract change and if the new contract doesn’t work for your Dynasty Owner team, then you can drop the player for free as well.

Conclusion

This weekend (and Monday morning) was a busy one for NFL free agents and Dynasty Owners. It continues on even as I edit this article and send it to be published. There were so many more transactions that it wasn’t possible to wait until Friday for another update. By the time many of you have read this article, there will probably have been additional announcements of free agents staying with their current teams and maybe even some reports of contracts reached by free agents with a new team. None of those contracts can be officially signed by NFL players until Wednesday to take effect in Dynasty Owner on this Friday (March 18th).

The weekly Dynasty Owner livestream with myself and Tim Peffer will review all of these transactions (and more) on Wednesday at 4 PM (Eastern). That’s the same time as NFL free agency officially opens and free agents can sign with new teams. Set the timer on YouTube so you don’t miss it live, or make sure to watch it afterwards. Either way, don’t forget to smash the Like button. You can also listen to it afterwards wherever you get your podcasts.

Please read all of the off-season articles from our Dynasty Owner team as well. On Mondays, I write about players, salaries and contracts to help new and returning Dynasty Owners navigate how to play our unique game. Jay Pounds is writing about everything on rebuilding your Dynasty Owner roster on Tuesday. Nate Christian is back for 2022 and will do prospect previews every Thursday. Finally, Friday is Free Agent Friday with articles from Matt Morrison – The Jerk.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Free Agent Friday: News & Top Free Agents

By: Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Last week I finished talking about each notable free agent from each division. That wrapped up Phase One one of my off-season article series. Over the next two weeks, I will be transitioning into Phase Two where I talk about each team a little more in depth. This will also be a good time to recap a lot of the free agents who have signed new contracts. Speaking of new contracts and news, let me use the first half of this article to break down some breaking news since last Friday…

The News

Early Tuesday I thought that I had a major news story that I would be able to use to take up the entirety of this section. That news was the fact that Aaron Rodgers will be returning to the Packers for at least the 2022 season. I have heard rumors that a new contract of 4 years – 200 million dollars is being discussed. Of course, this is not a concrete, signed contract, but I think this will likely be close to the final deal. This would make Rodgers the highest paid quarterback in the NFL. It would also make owning him much more difficult in Dynasty Owner. Anyone who dedicates more than a third of their cap to a single player is asking for management troubles at other positions. Let’s wait and see the final contract, but expect a substantial increase if you have Rodgers on your Dynasty Owner roster.

This news was quickly overshadowed by news that Russell Wilson was being traded to the Denver Broncos.

(I should mention that this trade is technically official from Wilson’s end as he passed his physical and approved the trade. Now we just have to wait for the other players involved to pass their physicals, but that shouldn’t be a problem.)

At any rate, here is the trade…

  • Denver gets Russell Wilson and a 2022 4th round pick.
  • Seattle gets Shelby Harris, Drew Lock, Noah Fant, a 2022 1st round pick, 2022 2nd round pick, 2022 5th round pick, 2023 1st round pick and a 2023 2nd round pick.

In my opinion, Wilson immediately becomes a stronger fantasy asset with the Broncos. He has better offensive weapons than his past few years as well as a much easier division to play in (defensively at least). My opinion on Russ hasn’t changed all too much, but I am more optimistic for him.

Now for the bad…I see this as a major downgrade for Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Noah Fant. I don’t think it’s realistic that Drew Lock is the starting quarterback for the Seahawks the entire 2022 season, but the alternatives may actually be worse. It’s likely Seattle will use one of their newly acquired picks to draft a rookie quarterback. 

Noah Fant is a player who takes a massive hit with this trade. Not that I think this will affect Fant’s play on his own, but the lack of clarity from the quarterback position makes his fantasy outlook very dubious. I have a lot more to say about this trade, and I will talk about it much more over the next few months. For right now though, I think this sums up my initial thoughts.

A trio of tight ends were given a franchise tag this week. Mike Gesicki signed his tag on Tuesday. Unless a new deal is reached by July, Gesicki will make $10,931,000 for a single year. The same result happened for Dalton Schultz. Schultz was also given a tight end franchise tag which ends up being the same dollar amount as Gesicki, $10,931,000. David Njoku is the third TE to receive a franchise tag. All three tight ends will play under the same dollar amount in 2022. However, their levels of value and success will likely widely differ. If I had to rank them right now, I’d say Gesicki, Schultz and Njoku.

Other players “slapped” with a franchise tag include Davante Adams and Chris Godwin. Like Gesicki, this tag could very well just be a placeholder until a long term deal can be reached. If a new contract cannot be worked out between either of these players and their team, then each will cost Dynasty Owners more than the previous year. Adams will cost $20,145,000 for one year while Godwin will cost $19,180,000 for one year. The biggest news is that both top-level wide receivers will be returning to their teams in 2022.

Finally, Mike Williams signed a 3 year – $60,000,000 contract. This will equal $20,000,000 per year, and puts him right on track for what I expected him to make. Once again, I think the biggest takeaway from these tags and signings is that we have several big name players who have decided their future prior to Free Agency even opening. Big things are happening, and I expect them to only get bigger as we look ahead a few weeks.

Top Free Agents Remaining

In the second half of this article, I will list the Top 10 free agents who I am watching this off-season. What’s funny is that three of my Top 10 were signed on Tuesday of this week (Adams, Godwin and Williams). Therefore, I will remove those three from the list and start anew.

Top 10PlayerAgeStatus2021 SalaryMarket Value
1James Conner26UFA$1,750,000$6,500,000
2Allen Robinson28UFA$17,880,000$16,000,000
3JuJu Smith-Schuster25UFA$8,000,000$12,000,000
4Melvin Gordon28UFA$8,000,000$6,000,000
5Odell Beckham Jr29UFA$1,250,000$12,000,000
6D.J. Chark25UFA$1,111,807$11,000,000
7Ronald Jones26UFA$1,767,977$4,000,000
8Michael Gallup25UFA$880,995$12,000,000
9Leonard Fournette27UFA$3,250,000$7,000,000
10Robert Tonyan Jr.27UFA$3,384,000$8,000,000

I never thought that I would be writing this article with James Conner as my top watched free agent. Not that I don’t care about where Conner signs (I clearly do), but it surprised me that he is Number One. I suppose that’s what happens when your original top three players all sign contracts right before the franchise tag deadline.

There are plenty of great free agents still left to sign. What we do know is that none of the players on this list will receive a tag of any sort. The time for that has come and gone. The next news we will hear about any of them will likely be shortly after free agency opens. Remember that happens in the middle of next week (March 16th at 4pm ET)

This is one of my favorite football weeks of the year, and I hope you’re ready for a packed article next week. As always, thank you for reading. If there is any player that you want me to spend more time talking about, just message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know. I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care everyone and be safe.

TheJerk

Prospect Preview: George Pickens

Position: WR

College: Georgia

Height: 6’ 3”

Weight: 195lbs

Age: 21

247 Rating: 0.9880 (5 Stars)

By: Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

Coming off an incredible recovery from a torn ACL, Pickens didn’t have the chance to put up eye-popping numbers this season. Although he didn’t play until the playoffs, when he helped the Georgia Bulldogs win the National Championship, Pickens enters the draft as one of the top wideout prospects. After a very promising start to his college career, don’t let the majority of a year missed to injury distract you from his potential to be a top Dawg in the NFL.

College Production:

As a 5-star recruit, Pickens came into the Georgia program with a ton of natural talent. He fought for a spot in the lineup, and as a true freshman compiled 49 receptions for 727 yards and 8 touchdowns. He continued this success in the following year as his target share went up and he posted 36 receptions, 513 yards, and 6 touchdowns in just 8 games. In the off-season, he tore his ACL but still came back in time for the end of the 2021 season. He only caught 5 passes, but he averaged over 20 yards on those receptions. Now, a fully healthy Pickens is boosting his draft stock and trying to find his way into the first round, where he surely would have been if he had never missed games with the knee injury.

Strengths:

  • AcrobaticIf you have watched highlights of some of the best saves in the English Premier League, you’ll understand how Pickens catches the ball outside of his frame. If it’s anywhere near him, he is giving his all and putting his body at risk to make the catch. Whether it’s stretching out horizontally or out-jumping his defender, Pickens is going to win a lot of 50/50 balls at the next level.
  • Physical MatchupOne of the most physical wideouts in college football the past couple of years, Pickens certainly plays with an attitude. While that attitude has gotten the better of him in the past (see below), often times it gives him the edge to beat his man one on one. Pickens wants the ball, and we’ve seen that he is willing to do almost anything to win at the catch point.

Weaknesses:

  • Red Flags?In 2019, Pickens got into a fight with a defender from Georgia Tech and was ejected from the game. He was also then suspended for the first half of the following game. There were some rumors of immaturity his freshman year, but since then he’s been pretty clean, and no issues have arisen. While you’ll see some people point to “character concerns” with Pickens, they may not remember being 18 years old, and certainly don’t understand being that young and a superstar on one of the top teams in college football. Basically, I’m not worried about it at this point.
  • Healthy KneeWhile I don’t believe many teams will be worried about his knee and he’ll have plenty of time to be fully healthy by the start of the 2022 season, it will be a small concern going forward. We have seen some players struggle to come back 100% from knee injuries and while we did see some of Pickens at the end of the season, it was certainly not at full health.
  • Above-Average not Elite Route RunnerNot much to elaborate on here, as the title really is simple. Pickens does well to get in and out of his cuts for his size, but he’s doesn’t consistently create separation out of his breaks. Where he wins on his routes consistently is with leverage against his defender, making him a hard matchup in man-to-man situations.

Things to Watch:

After impressing at the combine with a 4.47 40-yard dash, I don’t expect Pickens to re-run the 40 at his pro day. He will likely retest on his vertical and broad jump as those could certainly be improved upon. Either way the numbers he posted are pretty good for a player his size. He did weigh in right under 200 pounds, and while the physicality is obviously there, teams would likely like to see him gain some more muscle on his frame. Something that he could absolutely do now that he is healthy and moving up to the pro level.

Projected Round/Contract:  

There are plenty of people hoping that George Pickens ends up in the back end of the first round, and I certainly think it’s possible, but I’m a bit more conservative with my projection. A couple years ago we saw both Tee Higgins ($2,171,696) and Michael Pittman Jr ($2,153,213) go at the very beginning of the second round, and I think that is one of the sweet spots for Pickens to be selected. This would obviously give him a similar contract to the two players listed above, meaning he’ll be making just over $2 million a year.

Team Fits:  

If I am going off of my early-second round projection (and it’s a good one as the first five teams could all be realistic landing spots), then one of the top teams ready to draft George Pickens would be the Detroit Lions in my eyes. They are going through quite the rebuild and they have a lot of holes to fill, the wideout position being one of the largest. I’m not the biggest Amon-Ra St. Brown ($1,066,313) fan but he could be a great WR2 across from a big physical X-receiver like Pickens. Pickens would give Jared Goff ($33,500,000) a safety blanket to throw to and a field stretcher to help open up the running game. Pickens would also be a great building block for any young quarterback the Lions may choose whether it’s in this year’s draft or in 2023.

If Pickens goes in the first round, a team that could be willing to make the splash with him would be the Miami Dolphins at pick 29. Mike McDaniel may try to replicate the 49ers offensive scheme and Pickens could do great in the Brandon Aiyuk ($3,132,835) role, with Jaylen Waddle ($6,771,498) playing the Deebo Samuel ($1,811,869) role of course. Yeah just think about that for a couple moments and get excited.

Make sure to follow Nate Christian over on Twitter at @NateNFL and check out all the work he is doing with the Dynasty Rewind (@DynastyRewind).

Free Agent Market Values: Lower Salary TEs

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

It’s the final article in this series about free agent market values, which can mean only one thing. The start of NFL free agent contract signings is coming very soon!

Teams have until tomorrow (Tuesday, March 8th) to place the franchise or transition tag label on their own players. The Kansas City Chiefs did it already with offensive tackle Orlando Brown (1 year, $16.5 million), but other teams may do it soon as well. After that, it’s a couple of days off but starting next Monday (March 14th), player agents can begin negotiations with teams regarding their free agent clients and the signings will begin at 4 PM on Wednesday, March 16th. This is conveniently timed with the Wednesday Dynasty Owner Livestream so clear your calendar for that time.

The 2022 Dynasty Owner season doesn’t start until Friday, March 18th giving Dynasty Owners a day and a half to process free agent moves before those contracts take effect on the Dynasty Owner platform. And with the recent decision to allow more time for Dynasty Owners to decide what to do with free agents who get new contracts, it’ll still be a frenzy of trades, free drops and Free Agent Auction bids, but stretched out over a longer period of time.

As for this article, the title is somewhat misleading. It says “lower”, not “low” on purpose. The five TEs listed all have market values of less than $8 million per season. However, four out of the five TEs have market values that aren’t much lower than the fifth guy in the high salary TE range (C.J. Uzomah at $8.23 million). With 10 TEs with market values, the difference between the fifth TE and the sixth TE was only around $620,000, less than it was for RBs (about $1.48 million) and WRs (about $2.05 million).

Interesting, three of these players were first round draft picks back in 2017 who had their fifth year option picked up for the 2021 season. They are now hitting the open market for the first time in their careers. All three had identical $6.013 million salaries in 2021, but their salaries could be much different in 2022. Two are expected to get small salary increases, but one could have the franchise or transition tag placed and receive a pretty hefty increase, although only for one season. The third TE is expected to have his annual salary trimmed by nearly $3.8 million.

Any 2022 signed contracts mentioned are either listed under Yearly Salary Breakdown or posted in the Contract section on the player’s profile if it hasn’t taken effect yet. Dynasty Owners can start planning for all free agent contracts using the anticipated free agent market values from Spotrac (https://www.spotrac.com/). However, before we can get to reviewing the market values for these five TEs, let’s review how players score Dynasty Owner fantasy points.

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

For the purposes of this article, all statistics and 2021 position ranks were current as of the morning of March 7th. Spotrac has market values available for select players at https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/.

TEs Who Are Going to Get Paid Between $6 and $8 Million Per Year

There were quite a few TEs in the $6 million to $8 million salary range on Dynasty Owner in 2021. They ranged from a pair of Top 20 TEs near the high end of the range (Darren Waller and Tyler Higbee) to a TE rostered in zero Dynasty Owner leagues who is mostly known as a blocker and only scored 1.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in five games played (Nick Boyle). In between, there are a couple of TEs who ranked just outside of the Top 20 and a couple more high-priced veterans. It’s quite the hodgepodge of players.   

The player with the highest market value in this group is actually someone who’s salary is projected to drop for 2022. It’s Zach Ertz.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE531$8,500,000$7,612,050– $887,950

Ertz’s market value is projected at 2 years and $15,224,100, or $7,612,050 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Ertz on their roster currently should expect to receive a savings of just under $900,000 in salary if they keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold if you plan on being a contender. Trade if you’re rebuilding.

Originally, I was going to suggest trading Ertz, but the more I think about it and look at his numbers, the more I move towards holding him. Unless you’re in a rebuild as your team needs younger talent and he’s 31 years old.

Consistency is the name of the game for Ertz. For his career, he’s averaged 4.7 receptions per game for 51 receiving yards. That’s 9.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game, which puts him as a low-end TE1 for your team. In 11 games in Arizona in 2021, he had 56 receptions for 574 yards (5.1 receptions for 52.2 yards per game). In eight games with Kyler Murray at QB for Arizona, Ertz had 41 receptions (5.1 per game), 413 receiving yards (51.6 per game) and 1 TD. Overall, he had 88.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, or 11.1 points per game with only one TD. Take out the TD and his per game average is 10.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game, which is pretty much his career average.

As I’ve stated before, if I’m paying top dollar for a TE, then I want him in my lineup every week. Ertz is that type of TE and at around $7.6 million per season for only two seasons, he’d be at the low end of the Top 12 TEs in average annual salary. It’s a reasonable amount to pay for him at his age and for the consistent production he can bring to your Dynasty Owner team.

Next on the list is Maxx Williams, the TE who Ertz replaced in Arizona.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE5627$3,500,000$6,689,191+ $3,189,191

Williams’ market value is projected at 3 years and $20,067,573, or $6,689,191 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Williams on their roster currently should expect to have to find $3.19 million more in salary cap to keep him on their team.  What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Drop him for free after trying to trade him, but not having any success

At his current $3.5 million salary, Williams is only rostered in 16.35% of Dynasty Owner leagues. The season-ending knee injury he suffered in the fifth game of the 2021 season curtailed a fine year with 16 receptions for 193 receiving yards and a touchdown (41.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). He had two games with double-digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points, one more than he had in his first two seasons in Arizona (25 games). Similar to C.J. Uzomah, did Williams finally find his groove and can be expected to perform like this in the future?

The short answer is No. The long answer is also No and good luck if you believe that or want to find another Dynasty Owner who does. While he earned his Dynasty Owner salary in those two double-digit point games early in 2021, he wasn’t worth having on your roster at $3.5 million and definitely isn’t at more.

Evan Engram is the third TE in this salary range, but in reality, he’s tied with David Njoku who’s ranked fourth. Unless Njoku get the franchise tag from the Browns, don’t be surprised if both of them sign identical contract after playing on their $6.013 million fifth year options in 2021. We’ll tackle Engram first as he has the slightly higher market value.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE2327$6,013,000$6,753,911+ $740,911

Engram’s market value is projected at 4 years and $27,015,644, or $6,753,911 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Those figures are flat out stunning to me. Dynasty Owners with Engram on their roster currently should expect to have to find only $740,911 more to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Trade him

Engram hasn’t panned out for the Giants after being a first round draft pick (#23) in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Giants exercised their fifth year option for $6.013 million on Engram for 2021 and he rewarded them arguably his worst season statistically. He averaged a career-worst 8.9 yards per reception, a career-low 408 receiving yards and only 46 receptions, third worst after the 2019 and 2018 seasons in which he had 44 receptions in 8 games (2019) and 45 receptions in 11 games (2018). In contrast, he played in 15 games in 2021 when he scored 101.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (6.8 points per game) with only five games of more than 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points.

It’s amazing that he could have his worst year and likely get a larger contract in free agency. Can Engram salvage his first round potential in New York under new coach Brian Daboll, or with another team? It’s possible, but if I was one of the Dynasty Owners with Engram on my roster (he is currently on a roster in 84.28% of Dynasty Owner leagues), I’d be happy to get rid of him in any manner that I could (free drop or trade). With that high of a roster percentage, it’s logical to assume that Engram can be traded, and his Dynasty Owners won’t need to utilize the free drop from the contract change.

If you look quickly, you might think that I copied the same data in the chart below for David Njoku as for Evan Engram. They are that close in almost every measure.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE2225$6,013,000$6,733,392+ $720,392

Njoku’s market value is projected at 4 years and $26,933,568, or $6,733,392 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Njoku on their roster currently should expect to have to find only $720,392 more to keep him on their team.  What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold him and see what his contract ends up being, especially if he gets the franchise or transition tag

Same as Engram, Njoku hasn’t panned out for the Browns after being a first round draft pick (#29) in the 2017 NFL Draft. However, he is in a much more interesting contract position as there are reports that the Browns may use their franchise or transition tag on Njoku. The franchise tag would give Njoku a contract of likely $10.93 million, while the transition tag would yield a $9.33 million salary. Both are much higher than his projected market value.

Njoku’s stats are nothing to get excited about over his career, but they do show improvement over the past three years from an average of 3.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in 2019 to 4.0 points per game in 2020 to 6.7 points per game in 2021 with a TE22 finish. He will obviously have to improve to be worth any projected new contract.

Truthfully, I like Njoku more than Engram. Part of it is my Miami Hurricanes’ bias, part is that he is nearly full two years younger than Engram and the rest is that he has been improving whereas Engram has not. A one-year franchise or transition deal with Cleveland would have me lean towards keeping Njoku and seeing what happens. A longer deal with Cleveland or elsewhere also leaves me leaning towards keeping him, but not rejecting a good trade offer.

Our Final TE Who Is Expected to Get Just Over $2 Million per Year

The jump from $6 to $8 million contracts to just over $2 million is pretty abrupt, but that’s all we have to discuss. There are no TEs with a market value between $3 million and $6 million and only one in this over $2 million salary range. There will likely be a few veteran TEs who join the $3 million to $6 million range with newly extended Ian Thomas ($5.5 million per year), T.J. Hockenson ($4,955,306 per year) and Noah Fant ($3,147,680) among others. However, no TE has a Spotrac market value projected in that range.

Instead, we have one final TE with a market value just north of $2 million per year. It’s O.J. Howard, the third first round draft pick from the 2017 NFL Draft who made $6.013 million in 2021.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE6627$6,013,000$2,215,824– $3,797,176

Howard’s market value is projected at 1 year and $2,215,824 for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Howard on their roster currently should expect to receive a savings of almost $3.8 million in salary if they keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold him

Howard was the first TE selected in that 2017 NFL draft as he was the #19 pick. He has been the least productive of the three TEs and was only the third best TE in Tampa Bay in 2021. He played in all 17 games in 2021, but only managed to score 33.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (14 receptions, 135 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD). That’s less than 2.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. After Tampa Bay’s Week 9 bye, he had two targets and one reception for 10 yards (2.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). He hasn’t done much for his Dynasty Owners in prior seasons either with a TE31 finish when he averaged 5.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in 2019 being his best season.

Why the hold then? It’s not outrageous to think that he could put together a decent season and just over $2.2 million isn’t a lot to pay for a 27-year old TE. If you’re contending, this is the type of move that helps your team get better if he plays well. If he doesn’t, trade him to someone who’s rebuilding for a high-salary player who might help you win. If you’re rebuilding and he plays well, you can move him for a draft pick. If he doesn’t play well, then he helps your team by not scoring points and maybe you get a better 2023 draft position. Then you drop him next off-season. Either way, he’s worth a roster spot at $2.2 million, while he wasn’t worth one at his level of production for $6.013 million.

Conclusion

As previewed at the beginning of this article, the lower salary TEs title was a little misleading as four out of the five TEs listed are expected to sign contracts worth over $15 million in total and over $6.7 million per year. That’s considerably higher than the low salary RBs and even higher than all but one of the high salary RBs. The TE market values are similar to a few of the lower salary WRs, such as A.J. Green, Cedrick Wilson, T.Y. Hilton and Braxton Berrios. However, they are a step below the market values for the five high salary free agent TEs.

The recommendations were also more varied here than in other articles. Only one is someone who Dynasty Owners will likely be dropping in droves during the Dynasty Owner off-season, while the rest have value. Whether that value is to their current Dynasty Owner, or to another team is something that we’ll find out soon.

Speaking of soon, the weekly Dynasty Owner livestream with myself and Tim Peffer is coming up soon – Wednesday at 4 PM (Eastern). Set the timer on YouTube so you don’t miss it live, or make sure to watch it afterwards. Either way, don’t forget to smash the Like button. You can also listen to it afterwards wherever you get your podcasts.

Please read all of the off-season articles from our Dynasty Owner team as well. On Mondays, I write about players, salaries and contracts to help new and returning Dynasty Owners navigate how to play our unique game. Jay Pounds is writing about everything on rebuilding your Dynasty Owner roster on Tuesday. Nate Christian is back for 2022 and will do prospect previews every Thursday. Finally, Friday is Free Agent Friday with articles from Matt Morrison – The Jerk.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Prospect Preview: Jahan Dotson

Prospect Preview: Jahan Dotson

College: Penn State

Height: 5’ 10”

Weight: 178

Age: 21

247 Rating: 0.9228 (4 Stars)

By: Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

One of the top playmakers in college football over the past two years, Jahan Dotson comes into the NFL Draft as an elite talent but with a couple question marks surrounding his size and translatable profile. The transition to the pros can be hard for many, but if the talent is there then the talent is there. Dotson has that talent and will be an undervalued asset come Draft Day.

College Production:

College production is hard to come by when Sean Clifford is your quarterback, yet Dotson made it happen. In 2020, his junior season, he caught 52 passes for 884 yards and 8 touchdowns. That season he showed some flashed of greatness and was an early sleeper for the 2022 NFL Draft. In 2021, he shed the sleeper label and became one of the best in the country with 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns. I was lucky enough to see Dotson live this season when he played my hometown Maryland Terps. In that game Dotson pulled in 11 catches for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns, nearly single-handedly leading his team to the victory.

Strengths:

  • Speed- I told Steve (our editor) that this article was going to be a little late, and while I did have some life events that slowed me down by a couple hours, I also wanted to have Dotson’s official 40 time for this piece. He ended up running an unofficial 4.41 and it shows on the tape. He’s got the game-changing speed that teams are going to drool over.
  • The “It” Factor- In 2021, nine out of Dotson’s 12 touchdowns were from 20+ yards out, and not all of them were just deep shots down the field. Dotson has great YAC ability to make people miss and get down the field with the ball in his hands. He’s truly an electric player and was the main offensive weapon for Penn State these past two years.
  • WR Profile- Not just a plus-athlete, Dotson is a solid receiver who will translate to the NFL well. He has some of the best hands in the class and holds his own in contested catch situations down-the-field. He’s got a great release off the line with very quick feet that help him gain leverage within the first few steps. A player that can create a lot of separation, Dotson is going to be a promising prospect for a lot of NFL teams.

Weaknesses:

  • Strength- Likely his biggest weakness, Dotson doesn’t have great play strength, which is almost to be expected at his size. He’s not going to push around cornerbacks, and gain that physical edge against defenders. What he lacks in strength he makes up for in speed, but this could limit his usage as he finds his role at the next level.
  • Inside/Outside?- Dotson played both inside and outside at the college level, and projecting forward many think he’ll be limited to the slot at the next level. While I do think the slot would be his best fit, I also see no reason why he can’t play outside at the Z position just like many other good route runners his size.
  • Size- With Dotson being (slightly) under 180 pounds, there are going to be some people out there that doubt his chances of being a top WR in the NFL. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t matter. He’s about the same size as Diontae Johnson ($1,070,241), Brandin Cooks ($16,200,000), and Tyler Lockett ($10,250,000), all who clearly have not had any issues with playing in the NFL. The talent is there, and that’s what matters.

Things to Watch:

This segment should almost be named “Things to Have Watched”, because you should have watched his 40-yard dash by now. Coming into the NFL combine, Dotson was up near the top of the list for projected 40-yard dash times and he came through with a great run at an unofficial 4.41. He posted an impressive 36” vertical and will likely have a great 3-cone drill. Dotson has had a great draft process so far and I expect the media to keep up with it. He will be one of the more exciting players in the lead up to this year’s draft, so be ready for more good news at his pro day.

Projected Round/Contract:  

I believe that Dotson is going to find his way into the end of the 1st round come Draft Day, and a team is going to be very happy to scoop him up. I’m thinking there’s a nice sweet spot for him around the end of the 20’s which means he’ll get a nice contract around $3,000,000 a year and that 5th year option for whomever is lucky enough to draft him.

Team Fits:  

At the end of the first round, the team that immediately sticks out to me is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If Chris Godwin ($15,983,000) leaves in free agency, the Bucs can replace one Penn State receiver with another. Next to Mike Evans ($16,500,000), Dotson would have CB2 coverage and would be able to provide a great compliment to the physical style that Evans brings to the table. The biggest question mark here though is the who will be throwing the ball from under center, as that picture is still very murky for Tampa Bay going forward.

Another team that is screaming for a playmaker like Dotson, are the New England Patriots. Right now, they lack a true WR1 (sorry, Jakobi) and Dotson would provide not only someone the offense can rely on, but his ability to create separation all over the field would mesh well with Mac Jones ($3,896,588) and his style of quarterback play. This could be a match made in heaven, with serious potential for fantasy football. Gone are the days of looking for the next Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, and Vincent Jackson. Now we look for the PPR magnets who can handle the focus of their offense and be productive. Jahan Dotson fits that mold.

Free Agent Market Values: High Salary TEs

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

The start of the 2022 NFL season is getting closer. We are in the first stage of the off-season, the two-week period in which NFL teams can place franchise or transition tags on their own free agents. No tags have been placed yet as teams generally wait until closer to the end of the two-week period (March 8th) to make those decisions.

However, there have been several players who have restructured their contracts in the past few days by converting 2022 base salary and roster bonuses into signing bonuses. This helps their NFL teams free up cap space for the 2022 season. The two position players who have done so in the past few days are Packers RB Aaron Jones and Saints WR Michael Thomas. However, while those restructurings will help their NFL teams with the anticipated $208.2 million NFL salary cap, they won’t help Dynasty Owners with the anticipated $145.74 million Dynasty Owner salary cap (70% of the NFL cap). Salaries in Dynasty Owner are based on the average annual value of the entire contract, so their Dynasty Owner salaries won’t change.

The one signing of note came on Friday when the Carolina Panthers re-signed TE Ian Thomas to a 3-year deal worth $16.5 million ($5.5 million for Dynasty Owner salary purposes). Other than that, it’s been mostly fringe players signing reserve/futures contracts since the Super Bowl.

Any 2022 signed contracts will be listed under Yearly Salary Breakdown or posted in the Contract section on the player’s profile if it’s like Thomas’ and hasn’t taken effect yet. Dynasty Owners can start planning for the remaining free agent contracts using the anticipated free agent market values from Spotrac (https://www.spotrac.com/).

Now that the discussion of free agent QBs, RBs and WRs and their market values is finished, our attention turns to TEs. This article will review the five high salary TEs, those players who have market values of $8 million or more per season. That’s fewer high salary TEs than WRs and also a lower salary figure for the TEs than the high salary WRs who had market values of over $10 million per season. However, before we can get to the players, let’s review how players score Dynasty Owner fantasy points.

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

For the purposes of this article, all statistics and 2021 position ranks were current as of the morning of February 28th. Spotrac has market values available for select players at https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/.

TEs Who Are Going to Get Paid Over $10 Million Per Year

There are three free agent TEs with market values of $10 million or more per year. If they end up getting contracts with an annual value of over $10 million, it will increase the number of TEs in that salary range to 10. In 2021, only five TEs had average salaries in that range (George Kittle – $15 million, Travis Kelce – $14.3 million, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith – $12.5 million, and Austin Hooper – $10.5 million). They will be joined by Dallas Goedert and Mark Andrews who signed new contracts during the 2021 season with average annual salaries of $14.25 million and $14 million respectively.

The free agent TE with the highest market value out of the three is Dalton Schultz.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE325$728,090$12,680,722+ $11,952,632

Schultz’s market value is projected at 4 years and $50,722,888, or $12,680,722 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Schultz on their roster currently should expect to have to pay nearly $12 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Keep him

Schultz was able to thrive in each of the past two seasons in Dallas under different circumstances. In 2020, he was the TE10 and had five games with 10.0 or more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in total from three different QBs (Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci). The only Dallas QB who he didn’t team up with for over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in a game was Garrett Gilbert. He had 8.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the one game Gilbert started against Pittsburgh. In 2021 with Dak Prescott at the helm for 16 out of the Cowboys’ 17 regular season games, Schultz had 11 games with over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Overall, he was the TE3 with 208.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (12.3 points per game). All of this production comes in a Dallas offense featuring several other high-profile offensive weapons.

If Schultz stays in Dallas, he should be fine. He’s proven that he can produce in this offense. If he leaves, the team that signs him should have plans to make him an even higher profile part of their offense. Paying $12.5 million for a TE is a lot, but good tight ends are hard to find. Especially 25-year old ones who have finished in the top 10 in TE scoring in each of the past two seasons.

Mike Gesicki is next and has a market value of just over $11 million per year.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE826$1,652,981$11,003,330+ $9,350,349

Gesicki’s market value is projected at 4 years and $44,013,320, or $11,003,330 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Gesicki on their roster currently should expect to have to pay just over $9.35 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Trade him

This may seem contradictory after I just wrote that Dynasty Owners should keep Dalton Schultz because “…good tight ends are hard to find. Especially 25-year old ones who have finished in the top 10 in TE scoring in each of the past two seasons.” That definition fits Gesicki as well, except that he’s a year older (26). It can’t be just the extra year that makes me change my recommendation, especially since Gesicki’s salary is projected to be less than Schultz’s at $11 million per season. So, why the trade recommendation for Gesicki?

It comes down to steady production that is lacking from Gesicki and not likely to get better with Tua Tagovailoa as his QB in Miami. Gesicki had only five games in each of the 2020 and 2021 seasons with over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. That’s my baseline for being a Top 12 TE in Dynasty Owner on a weekly basis. He also had ten games in those two seasons with between 8.0 and 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, making him a very low-end Starter or a high-end Bench TE option. If my Dynasty Owner team is spending $11 million in salary on one of the few TEs making that much, I want him in my Starting lineup every single week. I feel like Schultz is that type of player, but Gesicki is not.

Can new Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel turn Gesicki into the next George Kittle? Maybe, but I don’t think Gesicki is as good as either Kittle ($15 million) or Schultz. However, there’s a Dynasty Owner in your league who probably does and is willing to pay Gesicki’s contract. Find out who that is and trade him to that team.

The final TE with a market value of over $10 million per season is Robert Tonyan.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE5127$3,384,000$10,803,009+ $7,419,909

Tonyan’s market value is projected at 4 years and $43,212,036, or $10,803,009 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Tonyan on their roster currently should expect to have to pay just under $7.42 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Trade him during the free drop period and if you can’t get a deal, then drop him for free

Tonyan was the TE51 in 2021, but he got injured in Week 8 and missed the rest of the season. However, he only had 50.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in eight games, an average of just 6.3 points per game. At that pace, he would have been the TE23 if he played all 17 games with 107.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and slotted in between David Njoku and Evan Engram.

In 2020, he was the TE5 in Dynasty Owner with 176.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 16 games played (11.0 points per game). He was just 0.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points away from being the TE3. He caught 11 TD passes in 2020, tied with Travis Kelce for the most by a TE. His standing was improved greatly by the TDs. If you remove five of those TDs, he’s the TE12 and not looking as great.

Trade Tonyan regardless of whether the Packers figure out how to pay him that salary and keep Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. Even if that happens, Rodgers is still going to throw to Adams all of the time and Tonyan will be at best their third option behind Adams and Aaron Jones/A.J. Dillon. Anywhere else, he’s likely to not be worth that salary (think Austin Hooper in Cleveland). Hype up the TE5 finish in 2020 when making your trade offers and see what you can get.

TEs Who Are Going to Get Around $8 Million per Year

Right now, there are two TEs slated to make around $8 million in salary for the 2022 Dynasty Owner season. The first is Kyle Pitts who is on his rookie contract as the #4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft for $8,227,624 per season. The second is Logan Thomas who signed an extension with the Washington Commanders for three years and $24.065 million ($8,021,667 per season) during the season. Three other TEs made that much in 2021 (Zach Ertz at $8.5 million plus Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham at $8 million) and all three are free agents. However, only one out of the three is expected to return and play with a contract in that range for 2022. It’s Rob Gronkowski.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE732$8,000,000$8,387,909+ $387,909

Gronkowski’s market value is projected at 1 year and $8,387,909 for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Gronk on their roster currently should expect to have to find only $387,909 more to keep him on their team. Don’t be surprised if he signs again for the same $8 million figure as last year. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold if you plan on being a contender. Trade if you’re rebuilding.

Last year, Gronk missed five games, but still scored 171.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 12 games for an average of 14.3 points per game. He managed eight games with over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points despite only scoring a TD in three games (he scored 2 TDs in all three of those games). He improved to be the TE7 in 2021 after finishing as the TE11 in 2020. Even at 32 years of age, he’s Gronk and one of the best TEs to ever play in the NFL.

However, with four Super Bowl rings, one retirement in the books and plenty of injuries, it seems pretty likely that this is Gronk’s final NFL season. If you think you have a Dynasty Owner team that can contend for a League Championship in 2022, he’s worth holding. If your team is rebuilding, he’s pretty worthless if he retires next year so you need to trade him. Either way, it’s going to be his first season without Tom Brady as his QB, so you’re hoping that he lands in a good playing spot with a quality QB to maximize his value.

C.J. Uzomah is the other TE with a market value in the $8 million range.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE1929$6,100,000$8,229,563+ $2,129,563

Uzomah’s market value is projected at 3 years and $24,688,689, or $8,229,563 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Uzomah on their roster currently should expect to have to find $2.13 million more in salary cap to keep him on their team. What should they do?

Current Recommendation: Drop him for free after trying to trade him, but not having any success

At his current $6.1 million salary, Uzomah is only rostered in 52.7% of Dynasty Owner leagues. He finished the 2021 season as TE19 and has the lowest roster percentage of any Top 20 TE. A raise of over $2 million per season isn’t going to help his roster percentage or the ability for his Dynasty Owners to find a trade partner. Uzomah had career highs in receptions (49), receiving yards (493) and TDs (5) in 2021. Did he finally find his groove in his seventh NFL season or benefit from being on a team with a great young QB in Joe Burrow and multiple weapons drawing attention away from him?

Bet on the latter and Uzomah not being able to duplicate his breakdown season, either in Cincinnati or with another NFL team. Try and shop him now and even after he signs a new contract, but don’t expect to get much for him. Rejected trade offers will be the norm, so you’ll likely just have to drop him or add him as a throw-in to make salaries work in a larger deal.

Conclusion

Those are the five free agent TEs who are expected to sign contracts of more than $8 million per season in free agency. The free agent TE market is more robust than the QB or RB market, but not quite as plentiful as the WRs. There are five more TEs with market values of under $8 million to discuss next week. After that, it’s time to start writing about other topics as NFL free agency starts and the 2022 Dynasty Owner off-season heats up.

The weekly Dynasty Owner livestream with myself and Tim Peffer is back at its regular day and time – Wednesday at 4 PM (Eastern). Set the timer on YouTube so you don’t miss it live, or make sure to watch it afterwards. Either way, don’t forget to smash the Like button. You can also listen to it afterwards wherever you get your podcasts.

Please read all of the off-season articles from our Dynasty Owner team as well. On Mondays, I write about players, salaries and contracts to help new and returning Dynasty Owners navigate how to play our unique game. Jay Pounds is writing about everything on rebuilding your Dynasty Owner roster on Tuesday. Nate Christian is back for 2022 and will do prospect previews every Thursday. Finally, Friday is Free Agent Friday right now as Matt Morrison – The Jerk breaks down the free agents on every NFL team by division.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Ow

Free Agent Friday: AFC West

By: Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

The opening of NFL free agency is quickly approaching. The actual date is March 16 at 4 pm ET. We know that this date historically is the epicenter of major news and signings. I expect that this year will be no different. In addition to this date, there are several other important happenings around the NFL. As I did last year, allow me to give you some of the more important things that will be occurring over the next few months.

Franchise and Transition Tag Period:

February 22 – March 8

During this time, all teams must make a decision on whether or not they want to franchise, or transition tag a player. After this window has passed, we will know who has been “tagged” in any fashion.

NFL Scouting Combine:

March 1 – 7

The Scouting Combine was once one of my favorite events to watch when it comes to the NFL. COVID has taken a lot of that joy away because it’s not the consolidated, all-encompassing event that it once was. Many players opted out of the combine or participated in their hometowns with unofficial results. Thankfully, the NFL has relaxed some of the restrictions for this year, and it looks like it will be closer to a regular combine than the two years previously.

Free Agency Contact Begins:

March 14

There are strict rules in the NFL (like most sports) about how and when a player may be contacted about a possible contract. Up until this date, teams are prohibited from contacting free agents. Again, this may not mean much to us as Dynasty Owners other than the fact that we will probably be getting a heavy amount of rumors flying during this 48 hour period.

New NFL League Year and Free Agency Begins:

March 16

This is the date that all of us are waiting for…NFL free agency will open at 4 pm ET on March 16. Last year, we watched as free agents were signed very quickly. I anticipate this year will be the same. I will be sure to update you all every Friday with the newest info about all the free agents we have and will talk about in these articles.

These are all the events that are currently on my radar. It’s worth mentioning that the NFL Draft will take place from April 28 – 30.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

PlayerAgeStatusCurrent SalaryEstimated Value
Byron Pringle28UFA$2,133,000$4,000,000
Darrel Williams26UFA$1,600,000$3,000,000
Jerick McKinnon29UFA$990,000$1,500,000

The Chiefs have the majority of their offensive firepower returning for the 2022 season. Patrick Mahomes, Clyde Edwards-Helaire (CEH), Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will all be returning on the same contracts they had in 2021. Here are three lesser known players that played minor (but important) roles for the Chiefs in the past.

Byron Pringle actually had moderate success last season. He was quite inconsistent but did manage to have five games over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. There is little room for additional playmakers for the Chiefs given that Hill and Kelce take so much of the production. Not only that, but it’s been hard to predict which secondary player will step up on any given day. I expect Pringle to resign with KC for roughly double his previous contract.

Speaking of inconsistent, Darrel Williams was just that in 2021. He filled in nicely for CEH when CEH missed five games in the middle of the season, but Williams’ upside is very much limited when Clyde is healthy and in the lineup. I don’t see any reason why Williams shouldn’t be re-signed, however. He will cost more than last year, but it’s a worthy price to pay for a very capable backup running back. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t expect him to be a high scoring running back for a 3 million dollar salary.

Jerick McKinnon is likely on his way out of Kansas City. He was largely a non-factor in 2021, and he is nearing age 30. Expect McKinnon to leave the Chiefs and possibly find his last contract as a backup running back for a team in need. If you want to continue to roster him, prepare for a one and a half million dollar salary per year.

Los Angeles Chargers

PlayerAgeStatusCurrent SalaryEstimated Value
Mike Williams27UFA$15,680,000$18,000,000
Jared Cook34UFA$4,500,000$5,000,000
Jalen Guyton24RFA$540,000$4,000,000

Mike Williams is one of the biggest free agents this off-season. He has been perennially undervalued, and it is mainly because of his injury history. Here at Dynasty Owner, an almost 16 million dollar salary is not great value when it comes to a WR2 and an inconsistent one at that. I like Williams to return to the Chargers in 2022 as it won’t cost much more to sign him. I think his going rate will be around 18 million dollars per year.

Jared Cook is a player who I feel like I talk about every off-season. He is likely to find another new home in 2022. While retirement may be a long shot this close to free agency, I think it’s still possible. He is 34 years old, but has shown the ability to be an above average tight end.

Jalen Guyton is a restricted free agent. All that means for our purposes is that he has less freedom when it comes to his free agency decisions. Guyton will be signed to a new contract, and I think it should be along the lines of 4 million dollars. However, it will likely be less as he has little leverage. 

Las Vegas Raiders

Well, this is a first. The Raiders have zero notable free agents this off-season. I won’t break down any players in full for this article, but here are a few players who may be worth keeping your eye on. However, none of these players are rostered in more than 50% of Dynasty Owner leagues.

  • Marcus Mariota
  • Jalen Richard
  • Zay Jones
  • DeSean Jackson
  • Payton Barber

Denver Broncos

PlayerAgeStatusCurrent SalaryEstimated Value
Melvin Gordon28UFA$8,000,000$6,000,000
Teddy Bridgewater29UFA$11,499,000$10,000,000

We have two hot free agents in Melvin Gordon and Teddy Bridgewater. I truly believe that Gordon has a lot left in his career and that he would be much better served in another offense.  It’s not that I don’t like Gordon. Quite the opposite. I think he could join at least five teams and become the starter on Day One. Instead, the issue is Javonte Williams. Williams, at this point in their careers, is a more explosive and better running back than Gordon. I think the Broncos have realized that, and I’m pretty sure Dynasty Owners have too. The hard truth is that it is logical for the Broncos to bring Gordon back in order to keep wear and tear off of Javonte. They were both very efficient in 2021, and there is no reason they can’t be in 2022 as well. This would obviously take fantasy production away from both players, but it would be the right “real football move” in my opinion. In the end, Gordon will command roughly $6,000,000 per year.

Teddy B is the final player I want to talk about today. He was the starter for the Broncos for the majority of the season, but I’m nearly positive that he isn’t the long term solution to their quarterback problems. That being said, he is an above average backup quarterback in the NFL, and he will be signed to a team at some point in this off-season. Expect him to receive something around 10 million dollars per year.

If there is any player that you want me to spend more time talking about, just message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know. I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Take care everyone and be safe.

TheJerk