Contract Speculation and Breakdown: Atlanta Falcons

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

Good afternoon Owners, and welcome to a new “Speculation and Breakdown” article.

I want to start off by talking about the Stafford/Goff trade that happened on Jan 30th.  Matthew Stafford ($27,000,000) was traded for Jared Goff ($33,500,000), a 2021 third-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick.  Whichever side that you think won that trade, you have to admit that this is a monster deal and one that will hopefully foreshadow the rest of the offseason.  Now, how does this affect us as Dynasty Owners?  If you are a Goff owner, I wouldn’t expect much of a change.  As I mentioned last month, Goff is a perfect amnesty candidate if you were unlucky enough to draft or pick him up last year.  Goff’s recent trade does nothing to make me think anything different, and in fact, it could make his dynasty outlook worse.  Once again I repeat, cut ties with Goff if you still own an Amnesty Provision. 

Stafford may be a little different story however.  He is on a contract that has two less years remaining and $6.5 million less than Goff’s.  Stafford was more productive than Goff in both 2020 and 2019 on a per game basis.  I predict a decent uptick in fantasy production as Stafford moves to a better offence and one that will win more games than his last place Lions did in 2020.  All this is meant to say that I would seriously be considering picking up Stafford if he was available in my DO league.  He is only rostered in 72.16 percent of leagues and that needs to rise.

Well, as I said in my opening, welcome to a new article and also welcome to a new division.  We completed the NFC West in January, and now we turn our attention to the NFC South.  The NFC South is composed of the Falcons, Panthers, Saints and Buccaneers.  Here is a table of each team’s finish at the end of 2020…

 RecordSeason OutcomeNotable Free Agents
Saints12-4Eliminated, NFC Divisional3
Bucs11-5Super Bowl Bound5
Panthers5-11Eliminated, Regular Season2
Falcons4-12Eliminated, Regular Season3
Swipe for more on mobile.

“Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.”  -Thanos

I apologize for the pop culture reference, but that quote has always hit home for me.  I am a man that likes symmetry, so to see a perfectly symmetrical division…well that’s just pleasing to my eye.  What isn’t pleasing to the eye (at least for Falcons’ fans) is their 2020 record.  Last season looked to bring hope to the Atlanta fanbase.

An offensive team run by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Todd Gurley was set to impress.  Well, the Falcons did score.  They actually finished middle of the pack as far as total points scored goes.  **(Three teams that made the playoffs actually scored less than the Falcons: See if you can guess who they are, and I’ll reveal the answer at the end of the article)  Lack of scoring didn’t seem to be the problem.  The problem was actually more their team defence and the fact that they were abysmal at winning close games.  The Falcons were involved in 10 one score games.  Of those 10 games, they lost eight.  Take from that what you will, but the Falcons were competitive in the majority of their games.  At any rate, let’s stop talking about generalities and jump into contract specifics…

Contract Speculation

As noted in the table above, the Falcons have only three notable free agents.  I define “notable” as free agents who directly pertain to Dynasty Owner rosters.  Simply put, these are players who are rosterable in our format.  These players are…

  • Todd Gurley
  • Brian Hill
  • Younghoe Koo

Whoa?  We’re gonna get some kicker talk in this article?  Not exactly.  I’m merely mentioning Koo as he finished the season as the K2.  This is where his speculation ends.  Kickers need to be rostered in Dynasty Owner as they are a position, but the only thing harder than predicting a kicker’s fantasy outlook is predicting where a free agent kicker is going to sign.  I may do a short contract breakdown on him when he does sign or re-sign, but until then, let’s talk about the running backs.

Todd Gurley and Brian Hill…where do I start?  Let’s start with the facts.  Gurley finished the 2020 season as RB27 and Hill finished as RB52.  Both seasons were disappointing in the end, although I don’t think there were high expectations for Hill.  Gurley started the season very strong as he posted nine touchdowns in his first nine games.  Well, it turns out that his high touchdown percentage is all that was holding his fantasy season together.  After Week 9, he had only 27.9 fantasy points…total. 

Gurley was a suspect draft pick last preseason due to his lingering knee issues as well as his change of venue.  It’s hard to believe that he is only 26, but it’s very likely he is in the back half of his career.  While I don’t expect him to retire in the offseason, I think it’s possible.  Spotrac has his “Calculated Market Value” at 5.5 million dollars currently. 

I think that’s the absolute top number that he would receive.  I have him pegged for around 4 to 4.5 million dollars per year.  As always, wait and see where he lands before making a long term decision.  I own Gurley in my Dynasty Owner All Star League, and I passed on Gurley straight up for Robert Woods prior to the playoffs.  I’m regretting that now.  If anyone gives you a halfway decent offer for Gurley, I would take it especially if you have adequate running back depth.

Brian Hill is the second Falcons’ running back I’d like to talk about.  Hill (like Gurley) is an unrestricted free agent.  Hill is also 26 years old, and he has a healthy 4.7 yards per carry for his career.  The perception is that Hill was largely inefficient last year.  While that may be true, he was on par with the rest of his teammates.  Let me show you…

 CarriesYardsFantasy PointsFantasy Points/Carry
Gurley220842167.20.76
Hill12566493.40.75
Smith8134356.30.70
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So, we can see that all the Falcons’ rosterable running backs were close to the same efficiency, at least by this metric.  But how did they compare to similarly ranked running backs…

 CarriesYardsFantasy PointsFantasy Points/Carry
Williams150741127.60.85
Pollard129627139.91.08
Fournette1336001341.01
Swipe for more on mobile.

As we can also see, Jamaal Williams, Tony Pollard and Leonard Fournette are all backups yet they were much more efficient and almost outscored every Falcons’ back.  This is a long winded way of saying that the Falcons’ backfield had a poor 2020 showing.  So what can we expect moving forward?  This is my honest read…

I think Gurley will not be re-signed.  He was actually named the backup running back towards the end of the 2020 season.  He’ll sign with a new team.  Hill will be re-signed by the Falcons for a similar contract that he just completed.  Look for Hill to make around 2 to 3 million per year.  There is also little doubt in my mind that Atlanta will draft a running back in the first half of the draft.  Time will tell if that draft pick will become the projected starter, but suffice it to say, there really is no Falcons’ running back that can be trusted going into 2021 at this point.

Contract Breakdown

Hayden Hurst

Today we are going to be talking about a highly sought after tight end coming into the 2020 season (at least I sought him).  The player is Hayden Hurst.  Hurst, a 2018 first round pick, was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Atlanta Falcons in March of 2020.  This trade looked to, essentially, slide Hurst into the vacated role of Austin Hooper.  In 2019, Hooper posted a sensational line of 75 receptions, nearly 800 yards and six touchdowns while missing three games.  This was not an easy ask for Hurst to complete, but it is one that he had the skills and athleticism to achieve.  The reality is that Hurst did not live up to his preseason hype.  That’s not to say he didn’t have a productive season, but he was unable to post a dominant tight end season.  Here is how 2020 shook out for him..

 SalaryRecYardsTouchdownsFantasy PointsDD/FP
Hurst$2,759,007565716149.1$18,504
Swipe for more on mobile.

As I said, this isn’t an abysmal season, but just adequate.  These stats were able to provide Hurst with a TE 9 finish.  Again, not terrible, but not great when you think about how scarce the tight end field currently is.  So what do we do with him?

Hurst has a year remaining on his rookie contract.  After that, he will become an unrestricted free agent.  He is 27 years old and he remains one of the better values as far as tight ends go.  In 2020, Hurst was drafted around the 8th round in most Dynasty Owner Leagues.  He was a common player that Owners targeted due to his low salary mixed with a seemingly high target share and talent. 

I expect nothing much to change in this offseason.  Yes, Hurst has lost a year on his contract, but he will still have a year’s worth of that value before he signs a new one.  While the long term outlook for Hurst may not be the greatest, I expect him to meet and exceed his production from 2020 going into 2021.  As it is with every player, there is a chance that he signs an extension prior to the start of a new DO season, but I think that is unlikely.  Anyone currently rostering Hurst will not have a league winning tight end, but they will have a player that outscores their opponent’s tight end more times than not.

Matt Ryan

Following our discussion of Jared Goff a few weeks ago, I’d like to use Matt Ryan as a comparison.  Yes, they are different players and are in different stages of their careers, but I think this comparison is valid.  Both players are in a limbo type contract situation, and he’s what I mean by that…

Both Goff and Ryan are on above average contracts, but are only providing average results.

(Full disclosure: I typed these first two paragraphs prior to the news of the Stafford/Goff trade.  Regardless, the statements still stand.)

Ryan finished 2020 as the QB12 while Goff finished 2020 as the QB18.  Now when you compare that to their salary rank among quarterbacks in 2020, the numbers begin to skew.  Ryan ($30,000,000) is the eighth highest paid quarterback per year, and Goff ($33,500,000) is the fourth highest paid quarterback per year.  We already know that even if either of these QBs had cracked the Top 10 last year, they still wouldn’t be a great value as their salaries are just too high.  It would take a yearly performance close to what Wilson and Rodgers did to return value for their cost.

There are many rumors flying around that Ryan may have played his final snap for the Falcons.  I don’t know if that will end up coming true, but what I do know is that unless he purposely takes less money next year, (which he won’t) he won’t be rostered by many teams.  Similar to Goff, Ryan is a prime amnesty candidate as there are several quarterbacks that make over $30,000,000 that I would rather own.  Like always, I will update the community as soon as I have any info on Ryan’s departure from Atlanta.  For now, don’t expect him to be your starting quarterback in 2021.

Thank you for reading, and be sure to watch the video that relates to this article.  Next week I’ll be writing about a Super Bowl contender, and the team that I actually hope wins the championship.  By the time we talk next week, maybe The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be crowned champions.  Please follow us on Twitter @DynastyOwner, and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Take care and be safe.

**The Falcons outscored the Bears, Rams and Football Team in 2020

TheJerk

Contract Speculation and Breakdown: San Francisco 49ers

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

Welcome back and thank you for reading. Another fantastic Wednesday has brought us another Dynasty Owner Contract article. Before I start with the contract talk, I want to briefly address the trade rumors that have come to light over the past couple of days. Word on the street is that Deshaun Watson is unhappy in his current situation. Actually, at this point I think they are more than rumors. Chris Mortenson sent out a series of Tweets on 1/10/21 that essentially stated Watson is unhappy with his current team, it’s stance on social justice issues and it’s hiring practices. Watson also has a no trade clause so he would be able to “control” his fate if it came down to a trade.

Now, I don’t like to speculate on rumors and gossip, but this seems to be something more than that. Watson was reportedly upset following the DeAndre Hopkins trade in early 2020, and that anger, apparently, has grown. I’m going to leave this conversation right here because we really don’t have any facts to react on. What I will say is that Watson (4 years, $39,000,000 per year) owners should keep a close eye on this situation and be prepared that he may not play for the Texans in 2021.

Contract Speculation

Today we will discuss the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have a plethora of expiring contracts. In all, they will have to make decisions about 38 free agents, but for our purposes at DO they have four unrestricted free agents (UFA), three restricted free agents (RFA) and one exclusive-rights free agent (ERFA). The 49ers actually have the most Dynasty Owner “rosterable” free agents of any team in the NFL. I’m going to work through a few of these players one at a time…

Tevin Coleman

First up, we have veteran running back Tevin Coleman. Coleman is 27 years old, and he just finished a two-year contract worth $4,250,000 per year. This contract once looked like a steal for the 49ers in 2019, but it has derailed over last season. Coleman injured his knee in a Week 2 win against the Jets, and after that injury, he only received 11 touches for the rest of the season. Coleman re-injured the same knee in Week 8, and he was unable to see the field much after that. I don’t expect Coleman back in San Francisco given the emergence of Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr.  There is no doubt in my mind that Coleman will demand a lower salary than his previous one. Spotrac currently has his “Calculated Market Value” at $3.3 million per year. I can’t disagree with this assessment, and it would be tough to trust Coleman given his lackluster 2021 season.

Kendrick Bourne

Kendrick Bourne is an UFA that I could actually see sticking around for the 49ers. He is 25 years old and finished a single year contract worth 3.26 million dollars. It is unlikely he will make more than that amount moving forward. While he has been a reliable red zone target and possession receiver, he has not shown the top-level volume or skill to be a high paid guy. Look for Bourne to receive a deal around 2 years – $3,000,000 per year.

Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMychal Hasty

The final three players I’d like to talk about are all running backs. They are: Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson Jr, and JaMychal Hasty. The career for McKinnon has been a disappointing one. He came out of Georgia Southern in 2014 as one of the most athletic and talented running backs for the class. (That actually may not be saying much as these are the running backs taken ahead of McKinnon); Bishop Sankey, Jeremy Hill, Carlos Hyde, Charles Sims, Tre Mason and Terrance West.

None of these backs (barring Hyde) has had a particularly good career. The fact remains:  McKinnon has been injury plagued especially over the past three seasons. As an UFA, look for McKinnon to find a new home this offseason and to receive a contract comparable to his current ($1,160,000 per year).

I think the path for Jeff Wilson and JaMychal Hasty to make the team are much easier and let me explain why. Jeff Wilson is a restricted free agent coming into 2021. JaMychal Hasty is an exclusive rights free agent. Let me first breakdown what these designations mean. A restricted free agent includes any NFL player that had served for three years and that has an expiring contract. A RFA has received a “qualifying” offer from his current team, but he is free to explore other teams as well. If another team gives him a better offer, his current team is allowed time to give a matching or better offer with the hopes of retaining that player. (This could be referred to as “first rights of refusal”).

This is a very simplified way of explaining it, but for our purposes that’s the summary. Wilson is an RFA. My anticipation is that the 49ers will retain him at least for next year. He will still post a low contract and hopefully, for his owners, carry a productive 2020 season over into 2021. JaMychal Hasty is a little more complicated. Hasty is an ERFA. An ERFA is any player that has not accrued two years of service in the NFL and has an expiring contract. These types of free agents are almost always undrafted rookies. Hasty fits that description, and being an ERFA, he really has no options. The 49ers are able to sign him to a one-year tender for slightly more than their original contract. ERFA have no leverage to meet or sign with other teams. Essentially, expect Hasty to be back in SF next year with a very similar contract.

Contract Breakdown

You know the drill. I’m going to break down two current 49ers contracts and give you some player comparisons as well. Before I tell you, which player this is about, let me give you a blind contract comparison…

Who would you rather own in Dynasty Owner?

 AgePer YearYears Remaining2020 Fantasy Points
Player A22$3,132,8353185
Player B23$2,792,8292212
Swipe for more on mobile.

All things considered; these are two very comparable players. I’ll tell you that they are both wide receivers if you haven’t guessed that yet. (It may have been obvious from their contracts.). As you can also see, Player A (Alpha) seems to have been a rookie last year while it’s safe to assume Player B (Bravo) was a rookie in 2019. Maybe you’d like to take a look at their raw stats in 2020 to decide who you want…

 TargetsReceptionsYardsYds/RecTotal Touchdowns
Player A966074712.47
Player B118661,19318.14
Swipe for more on mobile.

Okay, this isn’t looking much better for Alpha, is it?  Bravo outperformed Alpha in every statistic except touchdowns and what looks to be catch percentage. However, the question remains…which player would you rather own knowing that Bravo has one less year on his very favorable contract? 

My answer would still be Bravo. I’ll take (what seems to be) the better player for one less year. Let me drop one final statistic on you and see if it changes your mind. Bravo missed one game last season. It’s looking better and better for him isn’t it?  Well, Alpha missed four games last season. In fact, this is what each of their full season stats would have been…

 TargetsReceptionsYardsYds/RecTotal Touchdowns
Player A1288099612.49
Player B125701,27218.14
Swipe for more on mobile.

Quite a bit closer than we originally thought, right?  In the end, I would still take Bravo due to the high yardage and yards per reception, but I wouldn’t blame you if you chose Alpha.

Well, Alpha is Brandon Aiyuk and Bravo is D.J. Moore. Again, I would prefer to own Moore, but this comp hopefully showed how quietly dominant Aiyuk’s season was. While I can’t say that he is as much a value as Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb or maybe even Chase Claypool, he is still a value. These stats are somewhat misleading because George Kittle was missing from the majority of Aiyuk’s dominance.

He shouldn’t be blamed for that though. I predict that the Sophomore leap that Aiyuk makes in 2021 will outweigh the return of Kittle into the lineup. Hold Aiyuk if you own him. If you don’t, I’d be willing to pay a 2021 high 2nd for him.

George Kittle

Speaking of Kittle, he is the second contract we are going to analyze. George Kittle is 27 years old, and he was set to be a free agent this offseason after he finished a 4-year contract worth a little under $700,000 per year. As we all know, Kittle signed a 5 year – $75,000,000 contract with San Francisco in August 2020. This puts him at $15,000,000 per year and makes him the highest paid tight end in the NFL. Breaking down Kittle’s contract is a tough endeavor as he missed exactly half of the 2020 season. Regardless, we have enough data over last year and the 2019 season to do some player comparisons with him. Let’s assume that Kittle played every game over the last two seasons, and let’s assume that he would have been just as productive over his missed games as he was in his games played. This is what his fantasy production would have looked like…

George KittleRecYardsTouchdownsFantasy Points
2019 Full Season Pace971,2036253.1
2020 Full Season Pace961,2684250.2
Swipe for more on mobile.

Okay, so we’ve established that Kittle is amazingly consistent and we know that he ranks as a Top 3 tight end, but how does his fantasy points per game and fantasy points per dynasty dollar rank against his peers. This is how…

 2021 Salary2020 FP (Full Season Pace)2021 Projected DD/FP
George Kittle$15,000,000250.2$59,952
Travis Kelce$14,312,500335.8$42,622
Austin Hooper$10,500,000139.7$75,161
Jimmy Graham$8,000,000163$49,080
Darren Waller$7,450,000282.6$26,362
Swipe for more on mobile.

Darren Waller is clearly the value here as he makes roughly half as much as Kittle and Kelce do. Kittle’s DD/FP are, therefore, not going to reflect his value. When taking into account position scarcity and relatively cheap contracts compared to top tier wide receivers, Kittle (and Kelce) become league winners even above $14,000,000 per year. Yes, he is expensive to own. Yes, you may need to make room on your roster to fit in his new salary. Yes, you need to find a way to make it happen. Kittle, Kelce and Waller are so much more valuable at their position than any other player. Their salaries need to be considered, of course, but Owners need to see that $15,000,000 per year for Kittle is not comparable to $16,050,000 per year for Adam Thielen. The top producing tight end will always be the greater value with a similar sized contract.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye out for my video series that will highlight this article. Please follow us on Twitter @DynastyOwner and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Contract Speculation and Breakdown: Los Angeles Rams

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

I hope you all read my article last week, and I also hope that you watched the video that paired with it.  If you haven’t, I suggest you go back and read that article first as it details my role as a writer in the offseason.  You can find all the articles that Nate, Jay, Steve and I put out on dynastyowner.com.  In addition, please subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube to get access to the latest mini videos that all four of us make.  I appreciate you supporting Dynasty Owner and all of us as writers.

Today we are going to discuss contracts for a team that is near and dear to my heart.  Let me rephrase that…” they used to be near and dear to my heart.”  Yes, I used to be a Rams fan.  I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, and I still live here.  I grew up watching Rams’ games with my family, and (as I’m sure you can guess) the pinnacle of my Rams’ fandom came almost 21 years ago.  Super Bowl XXXIV was one of the best nights of my life, at least as an adolescent.  I sat and watched the entire game with family and neighbors, and I celebrated (not really knowing what I was seeing) as Mike Jones tackled Kevin Dyson to seal a St. Louis Super Bowl.  We all went outside to bang pots and pans and then shot off fireworks.  A truly great night.  I casually followed and watched the Rams throughout the Marc Bulger, Sam Bradford and Jeff Fisher years.  What’s interesting is I was surprisingly indifferent when Stan Kroenke packed up and took them to the coast. 

Maybe it was the pitiful seasons the Rams produced leading up to the exodus.  Maybe it was the fact that I had accepted a move was inevitable.  Maybe I just didn’t care anymore.  This is what I do know…it was freeing.  Not that I spent a great deal of time invested in watching the Rams, but I no longer had to care or worry about my team finishing below .500 for the tenth consecutive season.  It was over.  I had no team.  I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, but it was a blessing.  I no longer felt compelled to adjust my fantasy football drafts based on home team biases.  I stopped blacklisting all Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals players just because they were rivals in the NFC West.  (Truth be told, there weren’t many Rams players that were rosterable during the end of their St. Louis tenure.)  My point is this…biases of any kind are a nasty habit to fall into, and we adopt them much easier than we think and oftentimes we don’t even realize it.  Throughout this article, I’m going to sprinkle in some biases that surrounded Rams’ players in the 2020 season.  As always, let’s start with some contract speculation…

Contract Speculation

I once again have three free agents that I would like to talk about.  They are Malcolm Brown, Gerald Everett and Josh Reynolds.  These aren’t the only Rams’ players that are set to become free agents in the offseason, but they are the most impactful for Dynasty Owner.

Malcolm Brown

Malcolm Brown is an unrestricted free agent following the 2020 season, and he will be free to sign with whicher team he likes.  In a crowded backfield, Brown finished as RB44 and averaged 7.2 fantasy points per game in the games that he played.  Due to a slow start by Cam Akers, Brown was able to finish the season as the second ranked running back for the Rams in terms of fantasy points.  Here is my honest take on Brown.  I think he needs to be owned in every league.  I don’t anticipate him making much more than his current contract ($1,650,000 per year).  I think his upper limit is $3,000,000 per year, and it depends on what team he signs with in order for me to determine if that’ll be a value.  If he returns to LA, I can’t imagine he would match his 2020 fantasy output.  As I stated earlier, Akers will be the lead back in 2021.  He is the most talented runner, and all that it took was a little time to prove it.  We obviously know that Darrell Henderson is still committed to LA for the next two years.  If the Rams resign Brown, it will be more of an indictment on their commitment to a running back by committee as opposed to a positive outlook for Brown himself.  I expect Brown to move on from LA and if he does, I’d look for him to get picked up by a team that’s looking for an average running back in case their lead back gets injured.  I’d compare Brown to Mike Davis in that way.  He isn’t a particularly special runner, but he can mostly do what is asked of him.  Keep rostering him until his contract situation becomes clearer.

Gerald Everett

Second, we have Gerald Everett.  Everett provided a disappointing season.  He finished as TE24 while his teammate Tyler Higbee found lukewarm success as the TE17.  Everett is about to finish up his rookie contract that is valued at $6,044,469 for 4 years or $1,511,117 per year.  Similar to what I wrote about Christian Kirk in the last article, Everett was a value even with his lackluster season, but he was probably rarely started last season.  He tallied only three games above 10 fantasy points and his highest total was 13.0.  We’ll see if he can part ways with the Rams and make his way to a team with a void at tight end.

Josh Reynolds

Last and most importantly, I want to talk about Josh Reynolds.  Reynolds is one of those players that I believe has an unfair bias against him.  He (probably fairly) was criticized because “there are just too many mouths to feed in LA,” or “Woods, Kupp and Higbee are all more talented than him.”  Both of these statements are probably true, but that doesn’t mean Reynolds is not talented.  He needs a team where he can go and become the true number two wide receiver on that team.  That team will not be the Rams though.  I believe LA will let Reynolds walk, and he will sign with a Green Bay or a Houston type team.  In either one of these scenarios, I believe he would emerge as a reliable receiving option for a top tier quarterback.  The best part (not for him unfortunately) is that his next contract will not be expensive.  I predict he’ll receive something similar to Keelan Cole’s expiring contract (1 year at $3,259,000).  I have Reynolds as a conservative bye at the moment.  Don’t spend a lot to get him, but if you can use him in a package deal as a throw in, I’d be a buyer for sure.

Contract Breakdowns

Robert Woods

Like the last article, today I’m going to be breaking down two contracts.  The first player is one of the hardest to evaluate in Dynasty Owner.  The player is Robert Woods.  When I say that he is one of the hardest to evaluate, I don’t necessarily mean that as a negative, just that he has a very odd salary for a wide receiver mixed with a WR2 production.  Woods is about to be on the final year of a five year contract worth $6,800,000 per year.  That seems very cheap for a player of his production, doesn’t it?  I would say that’s very productive.  Let’s compare him to like salaried wide receivers…

PlayerSalaryYears Remaining2019 FP2020 FP
M. Jones$8,000,0000193.9227.8
E. Sanders$8,000,0001195.7163.8
J. Edelman$7,750,000125656.6
D. Parker$7,625,0003246.2165.3
C. Beasley$7,250,0002184.8209.7
R. Woods$6,800,0001232.9243
B. Perriman$6,500,0000138.199.1
C. Davis$6,348,6720114.1190.4
W. Snead$6,000,000095.493.3
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This is Robert Woods compared to every other “rosterable” wide receiver that makes between 6 and 8 million dollars per year.  What stands out to you?  What stands out to me is that over the past two seasons Woods has been the most productive player on this list by far.  What also stands out to me is the fact that he is one of only five players on this list of nine that still has a contract in place.  (The other four receivers that aren’t going to be free agents are aged 33, 34, 27, and 31) Woods is currently 28 years old.  What I’m trying to say is this…Woods is in what I would call “the second contract sweet spot.”  He is old enough to have made it past his first contract, but he was not so productive in that first contract that he demanded top tier wide receiver money.  And much like Devante Parker, he broke out late.  This is Robert’s first eight seasons in the NFL…

R. WoodsReceptionsRecYardsRecTDs
1st 5 Seasons526463.4
Next 3 Seasons891,0964.7
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These are season averages for the amount of time listed.  Over Woods’ first five seasons, he caught (on average) 47 less passes, 450 less receiving yards and 1.3 less touchdowns compared to his last three seasons.  This isn’t even taking into account his rushing yards that have averaged 142 and 1.3 touchdowns over the past three seasons.  You are paying a 52 / 646 / 3.4 price, but you are receiving 89 / 1,096 / 4.7 value.  In the simplest sense of the word, Woods’ contract is an extreme value.  He’s in the “sweet spot”.

(One other thing I wanted to mention is the fact that there is one more outlier from this list.  Corey Davis is the only receiver with a rookie contract.  This isn’t too surprising as he is the highest drafted rookie wide receiver that is still under his rookie contract.  Davis was drafted 5th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.  Mike Williams (7th) and John Ross (9th) were also drafted in the Top 10 that year.  I just thought it was interesting and wanted to bring it up.  Davis seemed to hit the “sweet spot” with one year remaining in his rookie deal, which is good news for him, but it will most likely mean a steeper price for Dynasty Owners).

Jared Goff

The second player I want to break down is Jared Goff.  Goff is 26 years old, and he agreed to a four-year contract extension with the LA Rams in late 2019.  This extension totaled four years for $134,000,000 or $33,500,000 per year.  This large of a contract extension was offered, in part, because of the excellent 2018 season Goff produced.  He set career highs in team record (13-3), passing yards (4,688), touchdowns (32), and QBR (101.1).  He also took the Rams to Super Bowl LIII where they lost to the New England Patriots.  Well, the magic that Goff had in 2018 seemed to fade over the next two seasons.  A combined Rams’ record of 18-13 with him as the starter is not the start LA wanted for Goff’s new contract.

At any rate, Goff seems to have underwhelmed for the amount of money invested in him.  The underwhelming stats continue over into fantasy football and Dynasty Owner.  Let’s take a look at Goff’s 2020 season compared to his peers…

PlayerSalaryYears Remaining2020 FPOwnership %
R. Wilson$35,000,000347398.97
B. Roethlisberger$34,000,000136111.34
A. Rodgers$33,500,000351891.75
J. Goff$33,500,000430513.4
K. Cousins$33,000,00024063.09
C. Wentz$32,000,000423441.24
M. Ryan$30,000,000337147.42
R. Tannehill$29,500,000344467.01
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What do we notice about this list?  The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that he ranks second to last in points scored for quarterbacks that make over $29,000,000 per year.  (He really should rank last because Wentz shouldn’t count, but I left him on here to show the comparison.)  Oddly enough, Goff also is tied with Wentz for the longest remaining contract which is not a benefit when we’re talking about 27% of your DO salary cap.  The bottom line is that even at 13.4 percent owned, Goff is rostered in too many leagues.  I would much rather amnesty him and pick-up Roethlisberger or even Cousins.  Both quarterbacks are widely available, and their cap hit over the next three to four years will be significantly less.  The value is just not there for Goff.  As I’ve stated before, it’s not easy for these top contract quarterbacks to return value.  Wilson, Rodgers and even Tannehill did it last season, but it’s hard to predict.  If you end up with a Goff type contract and a Goff type 2020 season, it will be very challenging to compete for a DO Championship, let alone The Ring.  I like Goff as a real-life quarterback.  He’s above average, and he does enough for his team to win more often than not.  He just can’t be trusted in a contract dependent dynasty league.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye out for my video series that will highlight this article.  Please follow us on Twitter @DynastyOwner and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Contract Speculation and Breakdown: Arizona Cardinals

By: Matt TheJerk (@dynastyjerk)

Good afternoon Dynasty Owners and Happy New Year. I can honestly say that the 2020 season is the most fun I’ve ever had playing fantasy football. I’m not sure if it was the large void that other professional sports left in my soul after shortened seasons, or if it was the constant fear that the season could be postponed or cancelled. The NFL persevered, though, with only minor setbacks.

Throughout last season, I thought of myself as a “float writer.”  When I say float writer, I mean to say that I didn’t necessarily have a structured format to what I was going to write from week to week. Well, I and the rest of the Dynasty Owner team, have decided to settle down and focus on specific topics for this offseason. I’ll let my co writers explain their assignments, but I can tell you that I will mainly be writing about contracts. Now, I know that’s a broad topic so I will try to keep the content centered around future contract speculation and also breaking down current contracts in order to find value that otherwise may be missed.

In order to accomplish this in an efficient way, I am going to write each week about one team. In each article, I will lead off by recapping any breaking news about updated or new contracts. After that, I will discuss all the (rosterable) players on that NFL team that have expiring contracts. As many of you know, free agency is a very nuanced process and the number of free agents a team will have in any given year is variable. I am not an expert about all the rules of free agency (for that I would turn to Spotrac), but I do my research, and I feel like these articles will be a great place to provide help for difficult contracts.

In addition to a weekly article, I will be releasing a short video each week that will heavily relate to the write-up. These videos will allow me to better explain my more important points. Text just seems so impersonal sometimes, and I think putting a face with an article is a great way to convey a message.

Well, I think I’ve gotten all the info out that I needed to. How about we jump into our first official contract speculation and breakdown…

Contract Speculation

My first month of articles will be about the NFC West, and up first we have the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has three noteworthy players that will be free agents in 2021. The process that I’m using to select free agents is subjective, but I feel like these three players will be the most asked about.

Larry Fitzgerald

First up we have the legend, Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz has been in the league since 2004, and it’s very possible he is about to complete his final contract and retire in the offseason. I’m not going to speculate on Fitzgerald’s chances of retiring, but rather, I’ll speculate on what a new contract could mean. I believe the 2004 #3 overall pick would have a tough time signing in a new city. We know that Larry was drafted by the Cardinals and has played his entire career with them. That is a special accomplishment and one that doesn’t happen often. There is, however, no doubt in my mind that he will command much less money than he currently makes. A one year $11,500,000 salary is just too much to pay a 37-year-old wide receiver, even one that leads a locker room as well as Fitz does. I’ll keep an eye on contract discussions, but I can’t imagine many Owners will roster Larry in 2021 given that he is currently owned in only 7.22 percent of DO leagues.

Kenyan Drake

Next, we have a much more interesting free agent:  Kenyan Drake. Drake is finishing up a single year contract that is worth a little less than 8.5 million dollars. (More accurately, Drake is finishing up a one-year transition tag) Drake has completed four years of service in the NFL so he will be an unrestricted free agent. There are quite a few possibilities for Drake in the offseason. First, he could be slapped with a franchise tag. A franchise tag would place him somewhere in the ballpark of $11,000,000 for one year. Drake could also sign a new contract with Arizona or a new team. I would anticipate a new contract to be worth around the same price point as a franchise tag (possibly a little bit less). If I had to commit to a number right now, I’d say Drake will sign something like a three-year contract worth 24 million dollars. This would put his Dynasty Owner salary at 8 million dollars per year. Once again this is just speculation, but Drake owners need to start thinking ahead.

Dan Arnold

The final Cardinals’ free agent I want to mention is Dan Arnold. Arnold is about to wrap up a two year – 1.23-million-dollar contract. Arnold has not completed four years in the NFL, so he hasn’t reached the benchmark in order to become an unrestricted free agent. There isn’t much else to say about him at this point. Again, I’ll keep you updated when Arnold is extended or signed.

Contract Breakdowns

Kyler Murray

I’m going to delve into two more contracts, and this breakdown will hopefully help you make a decision on what value these players have in the offseason. The first player I’m going to discuss has a contract that is top three in terms of value in all of Dynasty Owner. The player is, of course, Kyler Murray. Kyler is 23 years old, and he comes into the 2021 offseason with two years remaining on his rookie contract. In 2019, he signed a four-year contract that was worth $35,158,645 or $8,789,661 per year. That contract (per year) ranks 21st among active quarterbacks in terms of dollars per year. Let’s look at the numbers a little closer and see why Murray is such a steal. Over the past two seasons, he has put up a total of 814.6 fantasy points.

He produced 353.5 points in 2019 and 461.1 points in 2020. I’m first going to look at dynasty dollars per fantasy point (DD/FP). As I’ve mentioned in the past, Dynasty Owner did a great job of creating this statistic, and it’s something that I will be using quite a bit this offseason to look at contracts. First, I’m going to compare Kyler to every other top tier DD/FP quarterback that played the entire season. ***(Minshew, Mullens, and Glennon all have better DD/FP than Murray, but I won’t compare them as they are not the current starters on their teams).

Player2020 SalaryYears Remaining2021 Salary2020 DD/FP
L. Jackson$2,367,9121$2,367,912$5,921
D. Watson$3,463,570Resigned$39,000,000$7,246
D. Lock$1,752,7042$1,752,704$7,811
P. Mahomes$4,106,447Resigned$45,000,000$8,148
J. Allen$5,295,7601$5,295,760$10,261
J. Herbert$6,644,6883$6,644,688$15,392
K. Murray$8,789,6612$8,789,661$19,062
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This is a long list, and it is pretty loaded so I’m going to break it down. As I said, this is a list of quarterbacks with the best DD/FP for the 2020 season. The way the quarterbacks qualify is if they were the starter in 2020 and project to be their team’s starter in 2021 as well. It’s obviously not surprising that the players with the best DD/FP rating are all low salary players. You may also be concerned that Kyler Murray is so far down. Well, don’t be. Kyler is the most expensive quarterback on this list which will skew his DD/FP when compared to players like Lamar or Lock. We already know that a high salary quarterback will never lead the league in DD/FP. It’s just not possible for Russell Wilson to be productive enough to lead DO in DD/FP.

Let’s do a what if. What if each one of these quarterbacks kept the exact same fantasy production over the next two years?  What would happen to their DD/FP?  I’ll show you…

Using these quarterbacks’ 2020 season as a benchmark, this is how their DD/FP would finish over the next two seasons with projected salaries.

Player2021 Salary2022 Projected Salary2021 Proj DD/FP2022 Proj DD/FP
L. Jackson$2,367,912$37,000,000$5,920$92,500
D. Watson$39,000,000$39,000,000$81,590$81,590
D. Lock$1,752,704$1,752,704$7,825$7,825
P. Mahomes$45,000,000$45,000,000$89,286$89,286
J. Allen$5,295,760$40,000,000$10,263$77,519
J. Herbert$6,644,688$6,644,688$15,381$15,381
K. Murray$8,789,661$8,789,661$19,067$19,067
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We can project/know that between the 2020 season and the 2022 season four of these quarterbacks will receive large contract increases. For this reason, Kyler becomes much more valuable over that time frame. In 2021, Kyler is expected to finish 5th among these seven players. In 2022, Kyler is expected to finish 3rd among these seven players. This is a long way of saying that Kyler is and will continue to be a value.

I did learn something else while doing this exercise. Maybe there is another way to determine value using DD/FP. What if we could make educated guesses on what we expect a player’s contract will be in the next three seasons and combine that with the player’s fantasy point projections over the next three seasons?  We would have a better gauge on a player’s long term value and not just season long value.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to start projecting players DD/FP through the 2023 season. This should help us get closer to a standardized formula for comparing players. (Something I’ve been working on for over a year.)

Christian Kirk

The second player I want to break down today is Christian Kirk. Kirk finished the season as WR44. He missed two games in 2020. The first was in Week 3 with a groin injury, and the second was Week 17 when he was placed on the COVID-19 list. Kirk had a disappointing year. There’s no sugar coating it. If you drafted him, you had to (on average) take him in the 8th round. So, the question I ask is…what do we do with Kirk for next year?  He comes into the 2021 season on the final year of his rookie deal that is worth a little less than 1.5 million dollars. There is no doubt that Kirk will be 100 percent owned in 2021 as his salary is very cheap, but the trust to start him each week is just not going to be there. The possible retirement of Larry Fitzgerald could open the door for more touches, but the acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins last year really put a damper on Kirk’s career outlook. Let’s break down his DD/FP and see where he ranks among his peers…

Kirk is 40th in DD/FP for wide receivers, and he sits at $9,871. This seems like a fairly decent value on paper, and in some ways it is. However, when you look at some of the players around him, the value starts to fade.

Sitting just two spots ahead of Kirk is Calvin Ridley. Is this surprising to you?  Ridley at 38th in DD/FP?  I’ll be honest, it’s surprising to me, but let me explain why it actually makes sense. Ridley has the highest salary of any wide receiver inside of the top 50 for DD/FP. In fact, the only players close to him in terms of contract are Justin Jefferson ($3,280,701) at 51st and D.J. Moore ($2,792,829) at 58th. So that means the 6th (Ridley), 8th (Jefferson) and 23rd (Moore) ranked wide receivers in 2020 are all outside the top 38th in DD/FP?  The truth of the matter is that if a receiver has a salary over $1,000,000, it is very difficult for them to crack the top tier of DD/FP. Of all the wide receivers in the top 20 for DD/FP, only five of them have contracts over $1,000,000, and the highest salary of any of them is A.J. Brown at $1,413,092. This is obviously one of the limitations for the statistic itself. The fact that Russell Gage, Greg Ward and Jacoby Meyers lead this statistic should tell you everything you need to know.

What I propose (and plan on doing over the offseason) is to create more of a tiered approach to DD/FP as opposed to a strict salary compared to fantasy points. For example, I could take every wide receiver under $2,000,000 per year and assign them the same, fixed value. Doing this will eliminate the skewed data that would have given twice as much value to a player that makes $600,000 compared to a player that makes $1,200,000. We would obviously rather own the $600,000 salary, but is it worth assigning double value for that contract given that they are both “cheap” salaries?  In the same way, I could make a tier of $2,000,000 – $5,000,000.

Regardless, I will get all of my data together and begin to work in this new tiered approach to value in the upcoming articles.

As always, thank you for reading and look out for my video that pairs with this article. I know I can get a little long winded so hopefully the video series we’re doing will help give a more personal touch to the content. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner