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
Swipe for more on mobile.

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: 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
Swipe for more on mobile

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
Swipe for more on mobile.

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

Takeaways from Each Team (Part 2)

By: Matthew “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

As I write this article, a new Chase for the Ring Champion has been crowned. Barbee Kilgore (Viktor) has won the ring with a regular season record of 10-3, and he scored over 50 points more than the team that finished second. Congratulations on a great season, and we will see if he is able to repeat as Champion in 2021.

Today I’m going to be wrapping up my two-part series that highlights at least one player from each team in an attempt to bridge this season’s fantasy production with projections for the 2021 season. Starting next week, I will start my preseason long series. In this series, I will look at one team per week and break down two or three contracts from players on that team. In addition, I’ll be constantly updating and analyzing potential new contracts. I look forward to sharing this journey with you all, but first, let’s wrap up this year.

Cam Akers ranks third in fantasy points for a running back…on his own team. It has been a disappointing fantasy season for the 21-year-old rookie, but it’s not totally unexpected. It’s not common for a rookie running back to take over the starting job on Day 1, and I’m not sure anyone predicted that would happen for Akers. Darrell Henderson (RB33) and Malcolm Brown (RB43) have been thorns in the side of Akers’ owners all season, and the backfield has operated as a three headed monster. I have Akers as RB7 for the 2020 rookie running back class going into the 2021 season. With the increased usage recently, I have Akers as a buy candidate over the offseason.

Speaking of rookie running backs that don’t usually take over immediately…

James Robinson is the exception. He (as I’ve mentioned in past articles) has risen faster than any rookie I’ve analyzed. The rookie running back rule certainly doesn’t apply to him. While he unfortunately missed Championship Week, he still finished the season as RB4 and had 20.6 touches per game. That volume ranks third among all running backs. It’s truly amazing how fast Robinson has jumped from an undrafted fantasy running back to a Dynasty Owner Top 10 running back.

Let’s do a mini blind contract…

Who is this player?

He costs less than 2 million dollars, and his current contract expires in 2022. He finished with 48 receptions, 656 receiving yards and six touchdowns. This production netted him 149.6 fantasy points. You may have a good idea of who it is, but this will leave no doubt in your mind…

He finished seventh at his position.

No wide receiver that puts up less than 150 fantasy points could finish at seventh for the position, so we know he is a tight end.

That’s right, the player is Mike Gesicki. I have talked about Gesicki quite a bit this season, and I’m sure I’ll talk about him more over the offseason as he remains one of my favorite dynasty tight ends. Let’s hope Miami’s run heavy offence will yield enough opportunity for him over the next couple of years.

Justin Jefferson finished the fantasy season with 79 receptions for 1,267 yards and seven touchdowns. He ranks as the WR8 and will be a rock-solid Top 20 pick in Dynasty Owner start up drafts next year. Jefferson has far exceeded my expectations this year as he jumped from my WR4 for 2020 rookies all the way to WR1. Barring injury, his baseline for 2021 will be 70 rec – 1,000 yds – 6 TDs.

A lost season for the Patriots is something that hasn’t been seen in over a decade. I honestly don’t know where they go from here. It’s not a sure thing that Cam Newton will return in 2021, and their lack of offensive weapons is troublesome. The biggest player takeaway I have from 2020 is N’Keal Harry. Harry has had a disappointing career to say the least. A first-round pick in the 2019 draft, Harry was the first (and only) wide receiver that Bill Belichick has drafted in the first round as head coach of the Patriots. The Pats and Belichick rarely miss on draft picks, but it’s continuing to look like Harry was a miss. He finishes the season as WR101 where his best single game performance was eight receptions for 72 yards in Week 2. I’m not dropping Harry yet, but I would trade him for just about anything at this point.

Who is the highest scoring non quarterback this season?  You guessed it. The answer is Alvin Kamara. A running back that doesn’t reach 1000 rushing yards by Week 16 is the overall fantasy points leader for the position.  Unbelievable. Kamara did this by doing what he always does: posting modest rushing attempts with a high volume of receptions. Pair this with the fact that the Saints are fourth in points per game, and you have a recipe for fantasy gold. Kamara was so dominant this season that if you take away all of his PPR points (all points he received from receptions) he would be RB4 on the season. Owners will have to make tough decisions in order to keep Kamara for 2021 as his cap hit will increase by more than 14 million dollars. The reality is that you can’t “afford” to drop him.

Saquon Barkley ($7,798,688) barely had a chance to show anything this season. He was tasked with playing one of the best rushing defenses in Week 1 (Pittsburgh), and then he tore his ACL in his right knee in Week 2. We saw how much success Wayne Gallman had especially through the middle stretch of the season, and we also know how much better Barkley is than Gallman. I have no concerns for Saquon coming into 2021.

“His name is Chris Herndon… His name is Chris Herndon…”

Pardon my Fight Club reference, but if you weren’t paying close attention this year, you may have assumed Herndon retired over the offseason. In a year where the tight end position was as scarce as I’ve ever seen it, Herndon was almost non-existent. He finished as TE45 on the season with 52.4 fantasy points. He had eight games with less than two fantasy points including five games with no catches and one with -1.7 points. Herndon had a single game this year where he would have been startable and (not surprisingly) it came in Championship Weekend when no one would dare start him. The only silver lining that I can see for him is the fact that Adam Gase will almost certainly be gone for 2021, and the Jets’ new head coach will realize the talent that has been wasting away. If you drafted and continue to roster Herndon, I feel your pain. I drafted and still own him in both of my Dynasty Owner leagues.

I had Josh Jacobs ranked as my RB2 coming into 2020. While I’m not ready to say that was a bad call, there is not doubt that he has had a disappointing season for where he was drafted. I wrongly assumed that Jacobs would become much more involved in the receiving game and that he would lead the Raiders’ backfield with at least a 75 percent snap percentage. Instead, Jacobs’ snap percentage for the season was 63% and that puts him 13th among all running backs. Jacobs’ usage has been baffling to me especially when he has shown to be the far superior back in Las Vegas. Regardless, I am not an NFL coach and there is no doubt that I know much, much less than Jon Gruden. I look forward to Jacobs having more than 33 receptions in 2021.

Another tough question for you…

Which Eagles wide receiver has the most fantasy points on the season?

The answer is Greg Ward. Ward (132) has almost 20 more than Travis Fulgham (113) and almost 50 more than Jalen Reagor (85). There is no doubt in my mind that Reagor or Desean Jackson would have led this list had they been healthy for all 15 games, but Ward is the correct answer. This section isn’t a compliment to Ward, but it goes to show that not one wide receiver for Philadelphia could be trusted this season. In fact, if Dallas Goedert could be included in this comparison, he would rank second with 116 fantasy points. Let’s hope Jalen Hurts will have a full complement of healthy players going into and continuing through 2021.

George Kittle sank a lot of Owners this year. Through no fault of his own, he missed eight games this season. More disappointing is the fact that Owners will now have to make a tough decision about how to stay under the cap while also keeping Kittle for 2021. There’s not really much to say here…make it happen.

Let me see if I can go back and pull a quote from my “Top Ten Through the First Quarter” article…Keep in mind that this was written between Week 4 and Week 5.

“Tyler Lockett ($10,250,000) and DK Metcalf ($1,146,513) both slide into the Top 10. It may appear odd that two players from the same team are WR4 and WR7, but what’s even more surprising to me is the fact that they are tenth (Lockett) and twentieth (Metcalf) in targets for wide receivers. Once again this shows the efficiency of Russell Wilson and his receivers. If Russell cools down (which I assume will happen), I expect both Lockett and Metcalf to fall in the rankings. While I project good seasons for both these receivers, I don’t see them both finishing inside the Top 10 given their “lowish” volume. It may be late advice, but I’d obviously take Metcalf over Lockett the rest of the season, given the more than nine-million-dollar difference between them.”

I think it was fine advice at the time, and for the most part, it rang true. Metcalf finished WR5 while Lockett finished WR12. Russ cooled down dramatically over the second half of the season as he finished at QB5. Going forward, it’s going to be hard to trust Lockett while Metcalf should be thought of as a Top 5 WR in Dynasty Owner.

James Conner is in the final year of his rookie contract, and he will become an unrestricted free agent. I’m anxious to see where he lands and what his second contract will be worth. While he should be kept until news breaks about his potential new team, I would not be actively trying to buy him. There is just too much uncertainty that comes with free agency.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a player that I was very excited about coming into 2020. Most notably, Steve VT wrote about my love for him in a preseason article as I “reached” for him in my BETA league draft. I wouldn’t say that I want the pick back because I see Vaughn as an above average running back in this league within a few years, but there were a lot of players still on the board that could have helped me win a title this year that I passed on. At any rate, I would be a buyer for Vaughn in the offseason if his current Owner has given up.

Who is Corey Davis, and what should be doing with him?  It’s a loaded question and one that I’d prefer not to answer until we know the details of his upcoming contract. Davis is an unrestricted free agent after this season, and we already know that his 5th year option was declined by the Titans. He’s had a very rocky career, but it seemed like he was starting to bring things together this year. Even with the ups and downs, I expect Davis to make more than his current contract (per year). He currently makes a little north of 6.3 million dollars per year.

Logan Thomas has evolved into a high-volume tight end over the second half of the season. Thomas was unranked and undrafted in the majority of Dynasty Owner leagues this year. His finish as TE5 is, therefore, very impressive and great value for whoever claimed him through the Free Agent Auction. Thomas will be a free agent in 2022, and I see no reason why he can’t be a very productive tight end in Washington at least for one more year. His salary of $3,072,500 is very affordable for a tight end, especially as we see Kelce and Kittle getting large contracts.

Thank you all for reading, and I hope all of you have a Happy New Year. See you in 2021.

TheJerk

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Sleepers and Rookies

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

Welcome back everyone and thank you for returning once again. It’s a cliche thought, but this season has really “flown by.”  We are through fourteen weeks, and there are only two weeks remaining in our fantasy season. Soon we will celebrate the new year as that is only half a month away, but we still have work to do. We still have to win many of you a Dynasty Owner Championship, and we have to win a single Owner something much more. Yes, we are two weeks away from crowning a new Chase for the Ring Champion.

I am, however, well aware that many more are not competing for a championship or The Ring. In fact, at the time of this writing, the Dynasty Owners still in contention for a league championship are one third of what they were at the start of the season. That’s right, our twelve team leagues have all been cut down to four teams. For this reason, I am going to, symbolically, split my article into thirds. One third of my article is going to break down info that I think would be more beneficial to teams that are still competing for a title. Two thirds of this article is going to discuss my outlook on select rookies, and my positional DO rookie rankings. Let’s get to it…

For the first part of this article, I’m going to talk about some of the top fantasy performers over the past few weeks and how these “hot” players can help win championships. As I mentioned in my previous article, everyone knows that we are unable to make any trades or acquisitions until the championship has finished. For this reason, it does no good to talk about trying to trade for or pick up a player. Instead, I’m going to take a deep look at some sleepers that are rostered, but they may not have been started for most of the season.

Championship Sleepers

Quick, who am I?

I am currently the WR 27 in Dynasty Owner. I have averaged 13.6 fantasy points per game this season, but I have averaged 16.4 fantasy points per game since Week 5. I have only twice as many receptions as I do rushes, and I have only one more receiving touchdown (3) than rushing touchdown (2). I am the third wide receiver on my team’s depth chart.

All of these stats are true, and I am Curtis Samuel.

Samuel is quietly putting together a respectable season. His name isn’t flashy, and he wouldn’t have much trade value, but he has been above average for Dynasty Owners. Yes, some of Samuel’s success occurred because Christian McCaffrey has missed all but three games this season. This is true, but I am unconcerned for a couple of reasons. First, there is no guarantee that CMC returns next week (or at all for that matter). Second, Samuel averaged three rushes per game when CMC was active. Three rushes per game is nothing to write home about, but when he receives these rushes they are (obviously) designed and in high leverage situations. I have Samuel as a low end WR2 for the remainder of the season and a lock to get you 10 points per game. Hell, he’s only fallen below 10 points once since Week 5. Not bad for a player that only costs you $1,613,421 this year.

Here comes another question for you. Which wide receiver has averaged 15.9 fantasy points per game in the games that he’s played and has averaged 20.7 fantasy points per game over the past five games played?  This is a tough one and one that I would not have known myself. For reference, over his past five games he is averaging more fantasy points per game than Adam Thielen (17.6), Justin Jefferson (16.8), Stefon Diggs (19.2) and DK Metcalf (19.2) have averaged for their whole season. The receiver is Brandon Aiyuk.

Aiyuk is becoming more involved in the 49ers offense, and he looks to be heading toward an even bigger workload now that Deebo Samuel is possibly done for the season with a hamstring injury. Aiyuk probably isn’t a player that carried your team to the postseason, but he will be as reliable as they come for the next couple of weeks.

Let’s do one more before we segway into the rookie ranks for each position.

I feel real dirty suggesting this player is a sleeper, but given the position, you may not have few better options. The player I’m talking about is Dan Arnold. Arnold is a tight end that plays for the Arizona Cardinals. He is 25 years old and is only owned in 63% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Arnold has only 22 receptions and 313 yards on the season. So, why am I suggesting you start him?  I’m suggesting you start him solely on the fact that he has touchdown potential. Arnold has scored four touchdowns in his last four games. Even with that fact, he has averaged only 10.2 fantasy points per game over those four. He has four touchdowns but only six receptions. This means two things…First, Arnold is a very, very low volume receiving tight end. He isn’t going to put up a 7/55/2 stat line in any game. Second, he has five red zone targets in the last four games, and he has nine on the season.

Once again, I’m not saying Arnold is going to win your league, but he should get at least one red zone shot per game, and he can get you between eight and twelve fantasy points per game. At $615,000 this year, he should have been rostered in every league prior to the playoffs.

Rookie Rankings

As I explained in my opening, I’m going to be giving a brief look at my updated rookie rankings. Hopefully this will help Owners get a good idea of how to value some of these players we were so high on to start the season. This should be especially helpful to Owners that have already been eliminated from any potential prize and that are looking forward to next season.

RankPlayer, TeamSalaryYearsADP
QB1Justin Herbert, LAC$6,644,688498.8
QB2Joe Burrow, CIN$9,047,534426.1
QB3Jalen Hurts, PHI$610,0004158.8
QB4Tua Tagovailoa, MIA$7,568,859464.0
QB5Jacob Eason, IND$841,8164190.1
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Rookie quarterback rankings have come a long way since the preseason. Joe Burrow was regularly taken in the middle to late second round. That pick was more than justified based on Burrow’s play before his injury, but as you can see there is plenty of lost value in the rest of the list.

Herbert comes in as my rookie QB1. This shouldn’t be a surprise especially if you read my article last week. Herbert has been sensational this season, and I don’t use that term often. Anyone that drafted him around the seventh or eighth round is more than happy with their pick.

It was a tough choice to place Hurts over Tua, but that’s where they landed. Hurts obviously has a very small sample size, and I don’t expect him to continuously rush for over 100 yards a game, but it was an impressive first start, nonetheless. Hurts has a bright career ahead of him, and it’s starting sooner than most people thought it would.

Overall, the rookie quarterback class is shallow, at least for fantasy production this year. I expect Eason, Love and Fromm to all have above average careers if/when they take over as a lead quarterback.

RankPlayer, TeamSalaryYearsADP
RB1Jonathan Taylor, IND$1,957,287416.1
RB2D’Andre Swift, DET$2,134,728433.2
RB3James Robinson, JAC$763,3334251.0
RB4Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC$2,705,39349.4
RB5Antonio Gibson, WAS$1,226,433488.2
RB6J.K. Dobbins, BAL$1,432,359427.1
RB7Cam Akers, LA$1,543,258434.6
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Rookie running backs have moved quite a bit as well. They have moved not only based on ranks but ADP too. Jonathan Taylor comes in as my number one rookie running back. We knew he had the talent and build to make an immediate impact in the NFL, but he hadn’t been given the workload we wanted to see. Well, over the past three games Taylor has 21 touches and over 23 fantasy points per game. He is a top twelve running back for the rest of the season, and purchasing him in the second round is finally paying off for Dynasty Owners.

It’s impossible to make this list without discussing James Robinson. By far the most impressive rookie running back this year, Robinson is making a case for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He is RB4 on the season and is averaging nearly 21 touches per game. There is no player in Dynasty Owner that has been more of a value than Robinson. Assuming Jacksonville doesn’t use an early draft pick on a running back, this dominance by Robinson should continue into 2021 and possibly beyond.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, J.K. Dobbins and Cam Akers have all fallen in my ranks. Actually, I wouldn’t say they have fallen. It’s more appropriate to say that other players previously below them have risen. Looking at this list of seven running backs it’s hard to say that anyone of them is guaranteed to be better than the next. What I can say is this…I believe that all seven (maybe excluding Robinson) will have an expanded workload in 2021 as their teams start to realize they are all the best and most explosive running backs on the depth charts. There is a fine career for each of these backs.

RankPlayer, TeamSalaryYearsADP
WR1Justin Jefferson, MIN$3,280,701480.7
WR2CeeDee Lamb, DAL$3,502,503458.6
WR3Chase Claypool, PIT$1,654,1564157.4
WR4Tee Higgins, CIN$2,171,6964131.7
WR5Brandon Aiyuk, SF$3,132,8354105.1
WR6Jalen Reagor, PHI$3,317,669473.2
WR7Jerry Jeudy, DEN$3,798,243454.6
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I think it would be hard for anyone to argue that Justin Jefferson is not the number one rookie wide receiver in Dynasty Owner. He leads all rookie receivers in fantasy points (219) and the next closest is Chase Claypool (174). Jefferson has five games of seven or more receptions and five games of over 100 yards receiving. He has also scored one or more touchdowns in five games. Remarkable. Jefferson has shown the ability to be the number one on his team when he still has an actual number one playing next to him. I would take Jefferson over any other rookie wide receiver.

The rest of the list was a little difficult to piece together. I have Reagor and Jeudy as WR6 and WR7, and I feel pretty comfortable with that. The WR2 through WR5 are tough though. I have CeeDee second mainly because I predict Dak will return to Dallas next year, and if he does, Lamb will be a top 24 wide receiver overall. Chase Claypool had one massive week that accounts for 25 percent of his total fantasy points on the year. Now, I’m not taking that week away from him, but it is an obvious outlier. Claypool has been a very solid wide receiver on eight out of his thirteen games, but he also can “disappear” from week to week as well. I look for his role to continue to increase especially with the chance that JuJu Smith Schuster may not be a Steeler in 2021.

RankPlayer, TeamSalaryYearsADP
TE1Cole Kmet, CHI$1,894,4444189.7
TE2Adam Trautman, NO$1,014,4114209.2
TE3Devin Asiasi, NE$1,068,2144218.8
TE4Harrison Bryant, CLE$851,0074261.5
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As it is with most years, the rookie tight end class has barely made a splash in 2020. The reason for this is probably far beyond my knowledge of NFL playbooks, but I think it has something to do with the fact that tight ends essentially learn two positions. I think of tight ends as an extension of the linemen, and the play calling schemes can be just as (if not more) complicated for tight ends. Along with this learning curve, most tight ends are also responsible for running routes. Now, I’m not saying that this is an impossible feat or that it can’t happen quickly, but it usually takes time.

With this being said, the most successful tight end this year (fantasy wise) is Harrison Bryant with 49 fantasy points. That’s not saying much as it puts him at TE39 on the season. Cole Kmet has risen up my rankings lately, and I see him as the tight end that will adjust to the NFL the fastest of the entire 2020 rookie class. Adam Trautman and Devin Asiasi are stashes. They should not be dropped, and hopefully they will be able to provide fantasy production within the next couple of years.

Thanks all, and I’ll catch you next time.

TheJerk

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

League Winners and Playoff Predictions

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

This is what we’ve all been waiting for.  The time has finally come.  We are officially in the Dynasty Owner Playoffs.  Some of you that are reading this have been eliminated from the playoffs and the Chase for the Ring, but there are also many teams who have grinded their way to a shot at the title.  If you have been eliminated, this article may still help you in the short term and here is why…

Don’t forget that the winner and runner up of the Loser’s Bracket receive a prize.  If you are victorious from the loser’s side of the bracket, you will receive a bonus draft pick that will be at the end of the 1st round of the 2021 rookie draft (Pick #13), and one Amnesty Provision.  The runner up in the Loser’s Bracket receives one Amnesty Provision.  The point is that if you have been eliminated from the overall top prize, don’t give up on the season until you have been eliminated from all prizes.

With the Dynasty Owner postseason starting, that means all trades and Free Agent Auction transactions have halted.  You are no longer able to improve your team through outside sources.  Everything that you do to change your team for the rest of the season will have to be internal.  For this reason, I will no longer be talking about trade targets, free agent finds, or under/over owned players.  All of these topics still matter for Dynasty Owner, but they won’t affect how you play for the remainder of the season.  Think about it this way…

We know that Dynasty Owner is the most realistic fantasy platform ever created.  We marry players to their real-life salaries and through that marriage, we can find value that otherwise doesn’t exist on other fantasy sites.  However, once our rosters are locked and we start the postseason, the salaries tend to matter less.  Now that we are entrenched in the playoffs, the best team is going to win their league.  The team with the best players that score the most points is going to win leagues.  It’s actually a very refreshing feeling (at least for me).  We spend all season trying to figure out value and which player’s salary can be moved or traded, but in the playoffs, all we have to worry about is setting our best lineup regardless of the salaries.  So today I present to you…

TheJerk’s League Winners

The League Winners are an assortment of five players that, in my opinion, are going to win Dynasty Owner’s their championship.  As I stated before, your roster is locked so there is no use in looking to trade for any of these players, but if you happen to find them on your roster, they should be started for the duration of your postseason run.

Justin Herbert (4-Years – $6,644,688/YR)

Herbert makes this list as somewhat of a “chalky” pick.  He is currently ranked QB9 on the season in Dynasty Owner, and he is on pace to smash Baker Mayfield’s rookie record of 27 touchdown passes.  He will also, no doubt, make a run for Andrew Luck’s rookie record of 4,374 passing yards.  (Herbert is on pace for 31 touchdown passes and 4,298 passing yards.)  Whether Justin ultimately takes down these records is still to be seen, but, as I stated, he has been just as impressive for Dynasty Owner managers who took a shot on him in the draft.  It’s not a secret that you are starting Herbert every week despite the matchup, but it is nice to know that he (statistically) has the easiest next three weeks of any quarterback in the league.  Let me break it down…

Herbert finishes his fantasy season by playing Atlanta (Week 14), Las Vegas (Week 15) and Denver (Week 16).  All three of these teams have been generous to opposing game managers throughout the season as they all rank bottom third in the NFL for fantasy points given up to quarterbacks.  Denver and Atlanta have been playing better defense as of late, but they are still able to be exploited by this rising young quarterback.  In addition, the game scripts for all three of these games should be in favor of Herbert.  Aside from last week, the Chargers have been very good at keeping games close.  In ten of their twelve games played, they have won or been within one score.  They do not get blown out very often.  In addition, the Falcons and Raiders have won or lost within one score in nine out out of their twelve games.  The Broncos have either won or lost within one score in eight out of their twelve games.  The point is…these next three games for the Chargers should be competitive, and they should be conducive to fantasy production by Herbert.

This is how confident I am in Herbert for your Championship run.  If you told me that I had to pick a single quarterback to start for the next three weeks, (I couldn’t switch him out with a bench quarterback) these are the only players I’d pick over Herbert…

  • Mahomes
  • Wilson
  • Rodgers

That’s the list.

There are quarterbacks I like over Herbert for individual matchups (D. Watson vs Cincinnati in Week 16 for example), but only three that I would take for the remainder of the season.  Despite his last two weeks being two of the worst three weeks of his season, he needs to be started in almost all playoff matchups.  The bold prediction for Herbert is…

Justin Herbert’s Final Three Games:

  • 967 passing yards – 2 INT – 8 passing touchdowns
  • 60 rushing yards – 1 rushing touchdown

Derrick Henry (1-Year – $10,278,000)

Okay, yes, I know that this is an absolute no brainer, but hear me out.  Derrick Henry is going to win a lot of people fantasy championships this year, but he’s also going to do a lot more than that.  Henry is going to be the #1 running back over the next three weeks by a good amount.  Here is where King Henry sits after Week 13…

He is the RB3 on the season for Dynasty Owner.  He trails only Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara.  Henry has 286 touches for 1,419 total yards with 12 touchdowns.  He has four multi score games this season, and I expect that number to rise.  First, I’ll give you Henry’s next three matchups, and then I’ll drop a bold prediction about how he’s going to finish the season.  Henry has the “easiest” next three weeks of any player in the NFL.  When I say easiest, I don’t presume to say that what Henry does is easy.  What I’m saying is that the next three teams he’s playing are all in the bottom fourth of fantasy points given up to opposing running backs.  Henry is about to play Jacksonville (Week 14), Detroit (Week 15), and Green Bay (Week 16).  That is as good as it gets.  For reference, here is what each team has given up on the ground over the past three weeks.

  • Jacksonville: 153 rushing yards/game
  • Detroit: 111 rushing yards/game
  • Green Bay:  126 rushing yards/game

There will be many opportunities for long runs for Henry during these playoffs.  The Titans rank fourth in the NFL in rushing percentage per play at 48.39%.  Henry is an absolute smash play for the rest of the season, and here is my bold prediction on his stat line.

Derrick Henry’s Final Three Games:

  • 68 rushes – 399 total yards – 7 touchdowns

That prediction puts him at 27.3 fantasy points per game, and I think it’s very possible.  Start Henry with confidence and pray that you don’t face the owner that has him.

David Montgomery (4-Years – $1,003,845/YR)

Montgomery has had a high floor, low ceiling season up until Week 12 and 13.  Through his first nine games he averaged 12.2 fantasy points per game.  In those nine games, his lowest performance was 4.2 points, and his highest was 21.7.  Every other game he played in he was somewhere between 7.4 and 18.9 fantasy points.  He has been very reliable.  Well, following Chicago’s Week 11 bye, Montgomery has come out and put up back-to-back 27-point performances.  He is peaking at the perfect time if you own him, and his schedule remains easy throughout Week 17.  Montgomery does not have a “Derrick Henry Cake Walk Schedule”, but he is facing a couple of the most favorable matchups possible.  He is slated to face Houston (Week 14), Minnesota (Week 15), and Jacksonville (Week 16).  I’m not going to go through the whole breakdown like I did with Henry, but none of these three matchups should scare Montgomery owners.  Houston and Jacksonville should be extremely comfortable for Montgomery owners.  Minnesota has been better lately, but they are still a bottom half rush defense.  Montgomery’s production isn’t what worries me.  What I’m concerned about is the chance that Chicago gets down early in a least a couple of these games and abandons the rush.  Even with that possibility, Montgomery has pulled in nine receptions over the past two games.  He should without a doubt be started in all leagues.  Bold predictions for Montgomery…

David Montgomery’s Final Three Games:

  • 52 rushes – 285 total yards – 4 touchdowns

Tee Higgins (4-Years – $2,171,696/YR)

Finally, we have made it to a little deeper of a pick.  Higgins is probably not the first player you would think of when considering a league winning wide receiver.  And let me be clear, I’m not claiming that Higgins is going to jump to Hill or Adams’ type production.  He is on a much less powerful offense than those two players, and he has lost his starting quarterback (Joe Burrow) for the season.  The knee injury that Burrow sustained in Week 12 was very unfortunate to not only the Bengals as a whole, but also to Higgins.  The type of quarterback play that Burrow was displaying is unable to be matched by Brandon Allen, but that’s not to say his receivers can’t be valuable.

Tee Higgins is the WR 28 on the season.  He is averaging just under five receptions and 66 yards per game.  He has also added five touchdowns.  This is a modest stat line for sure, but he has averaged 13.9 fantasy points per game.  This is a very respectable total for a rookie and one that is, frankly, getting overlooked.  Higgins now enters the last three games of the fantasy season with three very tempting matchups.  The Bengals will face Dallas (Week 14), Pittsburgh (Week 15) and Houston (Week 16).  Not only are each of these matchups above average for wide receiver fantasy points (maybe excluding the Steelers), but the game scripts for each game should be equally as good.  My prediction is that Cincinnati finds themselves trailing in all three games, and they may be trailing by quite a bit.  The Bengals are going to have to pass, and they are going to do it a lot.  While I don’t see Higgins as a better receiver than Tyler Boyd (yet), Higgins has kept pace with Boyd’s receptions over the past two weeks.  If you are looking for a rock bottom floor of 10 fantasy points and a ceiling of 25 fantasy points, Higgins is as reliable as you’ll find.  Bold prediction time…

Tee Higgins’ Final Three Games:

  • 17 receptions – 220 total yards – 2 touchdowns

Mike Gesicki (4-Years – $1,652,981/YR)

And now for the final player in our League Winners.  Here is a tight end that I touted all throughout the off season.  I targeted him in every league that I drafted in (including Dynasty Owner), and I was actually able to acquire him in my BETA league draft.  Mike Gesicki is one of the top three most athletic tight ends in the league, but he hasn’t received the volume that fantasy managers would have liked to see.  I don’t think it’s too harsh to say that Gesicki has had a disappointing season so far.  39 receptions through Week 13 is not what Owners expected.  Regardless, he has shown the ability to have league winning games.  In Week 2, Gesicki put up 8-130-1.  In Week 13, he put up 9-88-1.  As I said, Gesicki has shown that he is able to produce dominant fantasy weeks when given the right opportunity, and I think he will be relied on more throughout the next three games.  While none of Gesicki’s remaining matches is particularly favorable for tight end production, I do believe he will have a positive game script in those games.  Miami plays Kansas City (Week 14), New England (Week 15) and Las Vegas (Week 16).  Miami is expected to be losing or, at the very least, keep the game close in all three.  I look for Gesicki to lead the Dolphins in receptions and receiving yards over the fantasy playoffs.  Bold Prediction:

Mike Gesicki’s Final Three Games:

  • 19 receptions – 202 receiving yards – 2 touchdowns

If Mike is able to put up this stat line, he would be averaging 17 fantasy points per game, and would be well above the average tight end production for the season.

Final Thoughts

I want to finish by saying good luck to everyone this week.  Remember, no one has been eliminated from a prize yet.  You may want to give up because you are no longer competing for the Championship, but there is still work to be done.  An extra pick or an Amnesty Provision will go a long way towards rebuilding for next year.  As always, take care and be safe.

-TheJerk

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Blind Player Comparisons: Over Owned Players

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrisson (@DynastyJerk)

Well, we have yet another odd occurrence that the 2020 NFL season has brought us. While Wednesday games are rare, this isn’t the first time the NFL has been played on a Wednesday. It’s actually far from the first time. Did you know that the first night game in NFL history occurred on a Wednesday night in 1929?  Oddly enough, the Pittsburgh Steelers inaugural game was played on a Wednesday. (They were called the Pittsburgh Pirates) So yes, while this is a strange day to play professional football, the move is not unprecedented. Of course, this game (like all games this year) still has conditions with it.

There is a very decent chance that you are reading this article while the final game of Week 12 is being played. For this obvious reason, if a Steelers’ player is included in any of these blind comparisons, their Week 12 game will not count towards their overall stats.

Before I jump into the meat of the article, I want to make it known that my goal is not to roast any Owner who still owns one of these “over owned players.”  I can honestly say that since joining Dynasty Owner, I’ve played with some of the smartest fantasy managers I’ve ever known. Don’t let my opinion be the only thing that sways you from keeping or cutting a player as every team is built differently. Maybe some of these players fit perfectly into your plan. My goal in this exercise is to once again show how big names and draft equity can start to form biases that we don’t necessarily even know we’ve accepted. Without further ado, let’s talk about some players that, in my opinion, should be owned in less leagues than they currently are.

Quarterbacks

Who would you rather have in Dynasty Owner?      

Player A (Alpha):

  • Between 25 – 32 years old
  • 20.8 fantasy points/game in 2020
  • 2,541 passing yards – 16 touchdowns – 15 INT – 10 fumbles
  • 258 rushing yards – 5 rushing touchdowns
  • Salary is over $30,000,000 per year

Player B (Bravo):

  • Between 35 – 42 years old
  • 25.9 fantasy points/game in 2020
  • 2,534 passing yards – 24 touchdowns – 5 INT – 3 fumbles
  • 14 rushing yards – 0 rushing touchdowns
  • Salary is over $30,000,000 per year

I’ll take Bravo. There’s no reason not to, right?  He is averaging more than five additional points/game compared to Alpha, and he is making roughly the same amount of money.

Alpha’s team is 25th in points per game. Bravo’s team is 4th in points per game. That’s a good sign that Bravo is on a “high power” offence and has no trouble putting themselves in scoring situations.

Let me tell you the ownership percentage of each player and you tell me if you think that is reasonable…

  • Alpha is owned in 51.6 percent of Dynasty Owner leagues.
  • Bravo is owned in 13.4 percent of Dynasty Owner leagues.

That doesn’t seem right, does it?  The clearly superior quarterback (making the same money) is owned far less than the inferior quarterback. You may say that this season is just too small of a sample size, and you could be right. Let’s take a look at Alpha and Bravo’s last full season prior to 2020.

Alpha’s Last Full Season:

  • 22.6 fantasy points/game
  • 4,039 passing yards – 27 touchdowns – 7 INT – 16 fumbles

Bravo’s Last Full Season:

  • 27.5 fantasy points/game
  • 5,129 passing yards – 34 touchdowns – 16 INT – 7 fumbles

Okay, maybe the answer isn’t that we are looking at too small a sample size. Alpha has been subpar to Bravo over the last (healthy) season and a half. So why the gap in ownership percentage?

The real question is why is Carson Wentz (Alpha) owned 38 percent more than Ben Roethlisberger (Bravo)?  I propose that the answer is a combination of two reasons. First, Wentz (27) is far younger than Big Ben (38). Wentz should be playing in this league longer than Ben, and that youth is valuable. Second, Wentz’ ADP was 124 coming into the season where Ben went undrafted in most leagues.

In other words, the majority of Wentz’ owners are still holding onto him despite better quarterback options available in the Free Agent Auction. I have been a strong advocate for saving your Amnesty Provisions and not using them frugally, but Wentz is the perfect amnesty candidate. It’s time to let go and pick up a more reliable quarterback even if that replacement also costs over 30 million dollars per year.

Running Back

Due to the scarcity of the position, it was challenging to find a good running back comparison. In the end, I had to settle on one, but hopefully you enjoy trying to guess the players.

Who would you rather have in Dynasty Owner?

Player C (Charlie):

  • 26 years old
  • 10.6 fantasy points/game in 2020
  • 16.3 fantasy points/game over the past five games (since he was named the starting RB)
  • 93 rushes – 369 yards – 6 touchdowns
  • 16 receptions – 72 yards – 0 touchdowns
  • All six touchdowns came in the last five games

Player D (Delta):

  • 23 years old
  • 5.6 fantasy points/game in 2020
  • 47 rushes – 175 yards – 1 touchdown
  • 14 receptions – 152 yards – 1 touchdown

There is pretty good evidence that Charlie should be your choice at least for this year. There are however a couple of questions I’d like answered prior to picking for sure.

First, are Charlie and Delta currently both the lead backs on their team?

  • Charlie is currently the lead back on his team, but he has a veteran running back (possibly) returning in Week 13. Even with the possible return, Charlie has been playing well enough over the past five games that the backfield may be his for the rest of the season.
  • Delta is not the lead back on his team. In fact, he is currently third on his team in fantasy points, and overall touches. Delta’s usage this year has been disappointing, but it’s understandable with a couple of more talented running backs also on the team.

Second, what are the salaries for Charlie and Delta?

  • Charlie’s salary is a little over $700,000 for one more year.
  • Delta’s salary is a little over $1,600,000 for two more years.

Have you made up your mind?  Do you have a final answer?  Well, I’ll give you one more piece of information before you decide…

  • Charlie’s ADP coming into this season was 244, and the only reason that he rose to the ranks of “weekly starter” is because two running backs above him on the depth chart are both on IR. This isn’t to take anything away from Charlie. He has produced when called upon, but it’s hard to see this amount of volume and production continuing past 2020.
  • Delta is firmly entrenched as the third running back on his team. There is a chance one of the backs ahead of him retires or changes teams next year, but even still, he would not be the most talented or athletic running back for the team.

My final answer is Charlie. I would prefer to take the volume and touchdown upside this year as opposed to a possible dynasty sleeper.

Charlie is Wayne Gallman and Delta is Kerryon Johnson. I know. These aren’t big names or players who will lead anyone to a championship, but it is interesting to compare them. The most interesting part of the comp is the fact that Gallman is 95.9 percent owned in DO while Kerryon is 99 percent owned. (I told you it wasn’t going to be the most dramatic comparison.) 

The point remains though. Why is Kerryon rostered in 3 percent more leagues than Gallman?  The answer I’m sure has something to do with the fact that Kerryon began the year rostered in 100 percent of leagues, and Gallman was rostered in very few. Simply put, they haven’t caught up to each other yet. I wouldn’t say that Kerryon is over owned, because most running backs with his salary and play time should always be owned. I would say that if you happen to be in one of the leagues in which Gallman is unowned then you need to pick him up immediately.

Wide Receiver

This next set of players involves a player that I had in a DO league. I dropped him three weeks ago in my league, and I honestly think I held onto him too long. Here we go…

Who would you rather have in Dynasty Owner?

Player E (Echo):

  • 31 years old
  • 7.9 fantasy points/game in 2020
  • 33 receptions – 408 yards – 1 touchdown
  • Preseason ADP: 136.2

Player F (Foxtrot):

  • 26 years old
  • 7.9 fantasy points/game in 2020
  • 32 receptions – 300 yards – 2 touchdowns
  • Preseason ADP: 268.2

There is half a decade age difference between Echo and Foxtrot, but that seems to be the only real difference. Both receivers are obviously low tier options as less than eight fantasy points/game is not desirable. In fact, Echo and Foxtrot are WR 70 and WR 81, respectively, on the season. The draft equity spent on Echo is obviously much more than Foxtrot as, on average, he was drafted 11 rounds earlier.

How about we add the fact that Echo costs $13,000,000 per year for one more year, and Foxtrot costs less than $2,500,000 per year for one more year. Wow, that makes a big difference. I bet you’re asking yourself, “there’s a wide receiver in the NFL that makes 14 million dollars per year and only has 7.9 fantasy points/game?  That player must be barely owned.”  Well, you would be incorrect. T.Y. Hilton is owned in 61.9 percent of DO leagues. 61.9 PERCENT? 

When preparing for this article, I would have guessed Hilton was less than 15 percent owned. Other players that slide into this “high salary, over owned” group include AJ Green (50 percent), Sammy Watkins (67 percent) and Odell Beckham (80 percent). It is understandable why all of these players continue to be over 50 percent owned. They are big names that all were drafted for a reason, and Owners continue to hang on to the idea they may return to past glory. Well, here is my hard truth. With the exception of Odell, all of these players should be dropped from most rosters. The large contracts are weighing down your team’s options, and you are losing valuable value along the way. Like I said, I haven’t lost all hope in OBJ, and I would consider holding him for next year.

Regardless, Echo is T.Y. Hilton and Foxtrot is Demarcus Robinson. I included Robinson in this comp for the fact that his salary is six times less than Hilton’s, yet he has averaged the same number of fantasy points per game. If that wasn’t bad enough, Robinson is only owned in 48 percent of leagues compared to Hilton’s 61.9 percent. Unreal.

This isn’t me showing my love for Demarcus Robinson. I don’t own him in any league, and I honestly don’t care to. However, I would own him well before I owned Hilton, especially in Dynasty Owner.

Tight End

The tight end position has been an absolute wasteland this year with Kelce, Waller and Hockenson being the exceptions. If you can own a cheap tight end that has an above average chance to score in any given game, then you are probably pretty happy. That being said, here is a decent comparison involving an over-owned tight end.

Who would you rather have in Dynasty Owner?

Player G (Golf):

  • 27 years old
  • 8 fantasy points/game in 2020
  • 28 receptions – 322 yards – 3 touchdowns

Player H (Hotel):

  • 27 years old
  • 9.2 fantasy points/game in 2020
  • 35 receptions – 359 yards – 4 touchdowns

Both tight ends are the same age and their production this season is roughly equal. I would consider both of these players “touchdown dependent”. If you take away their touchdowns, they would be averaging 6.2 (Golf) and 6.8 (Hotel) fantasy points/game. By comparison, if you took away Kelce, Waller and Hockenson’s touchdowns, they would be averaging 15.6, 10.5, and 9.8 fantasy points per game. I know it’s unfair to compare Golf and Hotel to the top three tight ends in fantasy, but it proves the point that without a touchdown in any given week, Golf and Hotel are giving you un-startable performances. As I said earlier, there really is no stability with the tight end position.

What’s worse is the fact that Golf and Hotel both cost at least $6,000,000 per year. Six million or more for a tight end that will get you eight to nine points on average. That’s rough, but it’s also the reality of the position.

Getting back to the over owned portion of the comp…What would you guess is the ownership percentage of Golf and Hotel?  Expensive contracts and middle of the road production.

I know that I know the answers, but I would have given an honest guess around 30 – 40 percent owned. The correct answer is 91.8 percent (Golf) and 82.5 percent (Hotel). That’s right, Tyler Higbee is nearly 92 percent owned, and Eric Ebron is nearly 83 percent owned. Now, I’m not saying these players shouldn’t be owned. If they fit your team construction and you can afford them, then they are certainly keeping your head above water for their position. What I am saying is that they are over owned compared to tight ends with similar production and a fraction of the salary. Here is a non-comprehensive list of cheap tight ends that have similar ownership percentages that I would love to own over Higbee and Ebron…

  • Logan Thomas ($3,072,500, 93.8%)
  • Richard Rodgers ($910,000, 44.3%)
  • Jordan Reed ($1,050,000, 82.5%)

It’s also worth noting that Ebron is owned in less leagues than Higbee which is most likely (once again) due to the fact that Higbee was drafted well ahead of Ebron, and Hibgee’s owners have not yet jumped ship for a different tight end.

Thank you for reading my articles and for the overall interest and support in Dynasty Owner. I’ve said it before, but Dynasty Owner is the most unique fantasy platform I’ve ever participated in, and I truly believe it will become the number one fantasy site in the world. Thanks again to everyone. Stay safe and Happy Holidays.

TheJerk

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Opportunity Is (Almost) Everything: Part II

Author: Matt “TheJerk” Morrisson (@DynastyJerk)

Hey y’all.  Today I’m going to be discussing the second part of my “Opportunity” article series.  If you didn’t catch Part I on Wednesday (11/11), I suggest you go back and read it before reading this as it’ll make more sense.  I’ll go over a few of the main concepts before we jump into it.

I have been working with a couple of underused stats for the past few years.  I’m sure these stats can be found elsewhere, but I haven’t come across them yet.  They try to bridge the gap between player opportunity and production.   Players are often unfairly compared to each other for a variety of reasons including injury, bye weeks, and just overall lack of playing time.  What I’m attempting to do is find a player’s raw efficiency.  I’m trying to see how we can use this to predict future usage and maybe even predict when a breakout is about to happen.  In Part I, I discussed quarterback and running back efficiency.  We found that most of the top performing quarterbacks are the most efficient ones.  Yes, I know that statement should go without saying, but we also found a couple of outliers in Dak Prescott and Josh Allen.  There is no doubt both of them are elite, but they are just middle of the road as far as efficiency goes.  The difference maker for them is that they each have/had league leading volume.  We also talked about running back efficiency and how D’Andre Swift is pound for pound the most efficient running back this season.  If/when Swift receives 70 plus percent of Detroit’s carries, he will become a top ten running back.  Well, now it’s time to break down the wide receivers and tight ends.  As was the case with last week’s article, I will not be using the most recent week’s stats for this article.  All numbers I’m dealing with today are through Week 9 only.  Also, these ranks are limited to my Top 100 overall players.  Today I will be talking about player’s…

  • Total Opportunities
  • Opportunities per Snap
  • Fantasy Points per Opportunity
  • Salary Compared to Opportunity

Wide Receivers

Wide receivers have the same definition for opportunities as running backs.  A wide receiver gets an opportunity when they are targeted or have a carry.  I’ll be comparing my Top 43 ranked wide receivers.

(WR Opportunities = Targets + Rush Attempts)

As I mentioned in the opening, a player’s opportunity is a good indicator of how much their team relies on them throughout the season.  The receiver that has the most opportunities through nine weeks is Stefon Diggs.  This may be a little surprising from a pre-season perspective as Diggs’ role in Buffalo’s offense had yet to be seen.  Diggs leads the league in targets (91) and receptions (63).  There is no doubt he is Josh Allen’s number one target and there is no reason to think he won’t continue to be.  It’s also worth noting that all of the receivers in the Top 5 of opportunities make over $11 million per year.  Here is the complete Top 5…

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunities
Stefon Diggs, BUF$14,400,00091
Allen Robinson, CHI$14,000,00087
Amari Cooper, DAL$20,000,00086
Keenan Allen, LAC$11,250,00086
Tyreek Hill, KC$18,000,00080
Swipe for more on mobile.

I don’t see any surprises here.  As I said, all players are on “expensive” contracts.  There is no doubt in my mind that Davante Adams would be in the Top 5 had he not missed two games due to injury.  Now let’s look and see which receivers are getting the most opportunities when they are on the field.

Player, TeamSalaryOpp/Snap
Davante Adams, GB$14,500,0000.20
Diontae Johnson, PIT$1,070,2410.18
Stefon Diggs, BUF$14,400,0000.17
Keenan Allen, LAC$11,250,0000.17
Calvin Ridley, ATL$2,725,1780.17
Swipe for more on mobile.

Well look at that.  Davante Adams leads the list of receivers who are involved when they are actually on the field.  In the games that he has played, Adams has a 59 percent target share among wide receivers on his team, and a 34 percent target share between all pass catchers on his team.  Adams is seeing historic volume to the tune of 11.7 targets per game.  On a 16 game pace that equals 187.2 targets.  Therefore, it isn’t surprising that he is getting an opportunity on a fifth of his snaps.  Allen Lazard returning in the next few weeks would surely lighten Adams’ workload, but his production should remain largely unchanged.

Diontae Johnson has the least number of total opportunities of these five players and that is due to injury.  I hate to see players get injured, but I also hate when they receive unfair dynasty outlooks because of it.  Another term I hate to use is “injury prone”.  I feel like that is an unfair title to give any player especially in such a physical sport.  I would not consider Johnson injury prone.  I would say he’s been unlucky and has had some unfortunately strange injuries this year.  Johnson has shown that he is Big Ben’s most trusted receiver as he is averaging more targets and receptions per game than JuJu or Claypool.  In fact, Johnson is the only one of these five players who is not currently in the Top 10 wide receivers for Dynasty Owner.

As we did with running backs last week, let’s now see how efficient some of these pass catchers are…

Player, TeamSalaryPoints/Opp
Justin Jefferson, MIN$3,280,7012.66
DK Metcalf, SEA$1,146,5132.54
Will Fuller, HOU$2,541,0782.47
Davante Adams, GB$14,500,0002.45
A.J. Brown, TEN$1,413,0922.42
Swipe for more on mobile.

There is an interesting similarity between these five receivers.  Yes, they are all the most efficient, but they also seem to be a perfect balance of possession and deep threat receiver.  All five of these receivers are above average route runners, and they are all “deep threats.”  (Adams is a top three route runner) In addition to being deep threats, they all are reliable possession receivers.  This combination of skills is what allows players to be the most efficient.  These players receive deep shots and in turn, a lot of air yards, but they also have a high volume of targets.  Atop the list of most efficient wide receivers this year is Justin Jefferson.  Through nine weeks, Jefferson only has 44 opportunities.  That number is much less than receivers like Amari Cooper (86), Tyreek Hill (80), and DK Metcalf (68).  He has the same number of opportunities as Travis Fulgham yet has posted 20 more fantasy points.  If Jefferson’s efficiency remained unchanged and he had as many opportunities as Metcalf, he would be the number one wide receiver in football.  This is a very similar trend to what I mentioned in Part I of this article.  D’Andre Swift is the most efficient running back this season and would be leading all running backs in points if he had the same volume as Alvin Kamara.  Jefferson may not be leading all rookie wide receivers in points, but I could make a strong argument that he is the best rookie receiver this year.  Like Swift, I will be bumping Jefferson up in my rankings.

It may be surprising that a rookie could be the most efficient receiver through nine weeks, but it’s worth noting that three of the five are rookies or second year players.  Adams is the only wide receiver in the Top 5 in efficiency that has a salary over 3.3 million dollars.  This is a very similar trend to running back efficiency where all of the Top 5 most efficient running backs are making less than 2.2 million dollars this year.  The only explanation I can think of for this is the fact that, on average, younger running backs and receivers are the ones that make less money.  While youth isn’t necessarily the only factor, it can allow players to be more efficient as they, on average, have less wear and tear on their bodies.  Just a thought.  Finally, here are the least efficient wide receivers in my Top 43.

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunitiesOpp/SnapPoints/Opp
Michael Thomas, NO$19,250,000110.121.36
Diontae Johnson, PIT$1,070,241560.181.43
Jerry Jeudy, DEN$3,798,243610.151.44
Michael Gallup, DAL$880,995550.091.49
Deebo Samuel, SF$1,811,869280.151.50
Swipe for more on mobile.

These five players are putting up disappointing fantasy points per opportunity.  Michael Thomas’ stats include only two games.  That is an incredibly small sample size, but I actually believe his efficiency gets worse if you include Week 10.  In Week 10, MT put up two receptions for 27 yards.  Time will tell if his injuries inhibit his production for the rest of the season, but all things considered, he is off to a very inefficient season.

The most surprising player on this list is Diontae Johnson.  We’re well aware that Johnson’s total opportunities and points are down this year due to injuries, but I would not have guessed that he is this inefficient.  The main reason is a little odd.  Through nine weeks, he has 65 targets for 37 receptions or a 56.9 catch percentage.  While he is receiving over eight targets a game, he is bringing in only 4.6 receptions a game.  It seems (even though he’s been productive) that he is having some early season connection issues with Big Ben.  I look for those issues to be worked out prior to the fantasy playoffs, and if they are, Johnson could be a league winner if he becomes even a little more efficient.

Tight Ends

The players I will be comparing here are limited to my Top 5 ranked tight ends.  Tight end opportunities are defined in the same way as running back or wide receiver opportunities.

(TE Opportunities = Targets + Rush Attempts)

This section is going to mostly be me talking about Travis Kelce.  How could I not?  Through Week 9, Kelce leads all tight ends in opportunities, targets, receptions, yards, touchdowns, and (most importantly) DO fantasy points.  The closest tight end to Kelce is Darren Waller who has 58 less fantasy points.  Unreal.  Kelce is leading all but three wide receivers in points this year.  (Hill, Metcalf and Adams) The advantage that the Kelce Owner has over all other Owners is nearly priceless. I would say there are less than three players in Dynasty Owner that I would consider truly untouchable, but Kelce is one of them.  Let’s dive deeper and look at these stats closer.

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunities
Travis Kelce, KC$9,368,40080
Darren Waller, LV$7,450,00071
George Kittle, SF$674,57251
Mark Andrews, BAL$863,29044
Jonnu Smith, TEN$776,57237
Swipe for more on mobile.

I want to first start off by saying that I feel bad leaving T.J. Hockenson off this list, but he just barely missed my Top 100 players.  He comes in as my 104th player overall.  I just wanted to mention that he deserves a spot at the table here, and I’ll most likely be bumping him up in my rankings.

I already spoiled it, but I think everyone already knew that Kelce leads tight ends in opportunities.  He is averaging nearly 9 per game.

Mark Andrews and Jonnu Smith have been rather disappointing this year as far as opportunity goes.  We knew coming into the season that neither of these players are on high volume passing teams, but their utilization has been baffling none the less.

Kittle remains third in this Top 5 tight end opportunities even though he played only six games.  Kittle was the only tight end that was close to Kelce’s tier.   There is no change in how these players rank when we look at opportunities per snap.

Player, TeamSalaryOpp/Snap
Travis Kelce, KC$9,368,4000.16
Darren Waller, LV$7,450,0000.15
George Kittle, SF$674,5720.14
Mark Andrews, BAL$863,2900.13
Jonnu Smith, TEN$776,5720.09
Swipe for more on mobile.

All five of these tight ends are closely bunched for this stat.  Kelce wins again, but by a small margin.  Kelce is receiving an opportunity on 16 percent of the snaps that he takes.

Jonnu has remained a Top 10 tight end this year in total points.  That may not be saying much as the tight end position is incredibly scarce, but even so, he has been putting up decent performances.  The issue I have with Jonnu is the lack of opportunities he is receiving.  Jonnu is getting an opportunity on only nine percent of his snaps.  This number isn’t terrible for a tight end, but obviously it’s nowhere near elite.  Jonnu will continue to be started as a low volume, touch down dependent tight end.

Player, TeamSalaryPoints/Opp
Jonnu Smith, TEN$776,5722.43
Travis Kelce, KC$9,368,4002.10
George Kittle, SF$674,5721.92
Mark Andrews, BAL$863,2901.91
Darren Waller, LV$7,450,0001.55
Swipe for more on mobile.

Finally, we come to tight end efficiency, and what a surprise we have here.  Jonnu has jumped to the top of the list.  There are a few reasons why.  First, Jonnu’s overall lack of opportunities drives his efficiency up compared to a high-volume player like Kelce.  Through Week 9, Kelce has more than twice as many opportunities as Jonnu, but Kelce does not have more than twice as many fantasy points.  Therefore, Jonnu is the more efficient tight end.  In addition, if Jonnu remained as efficient and had as many opportunities as Kelce, he would have 26 more fantasy points on the year.  Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying.  Kelce is the better tight end, and it’s not close.  The reason Jonnu has been more efficient this year is partly due to a small sample size and partly due to his high touchdown rate.  Through Week 9, Jonnu has six touchdowns on 24 touches.  That means he is scoring a touchdown on 25 percent of his receptions.  I would say this efficiency can’t continue, but in Week 10, Jonnu scored a touchdown on three touches.  Remarkable.

As always, I thank you for reading my article and for reading all of the Dynasty Owner content.  I’ll be back with another article in a couple of weeks.  Take care, be safe and Happy Holidays.

TheJerk

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Opportunity Is (Almost) Everything: Part I

Author: Matt “TheJerk” Morrisson (@DynastyJerk)

Hello all, and welcome back to another mid-week Dynasty Owner article…

Today, I’m going to delve into a topic that I’ve wanted to write about for a while now.  A little background on me…I am a numbers person.  I love mathematics, statistics and all science in general.  I was taught at a young age that these subjects are, literally, the future of our world.  With that instruction, I took an interest in data (specifically data recording) very early on in my life.  I applied myself in Algebra, Stats, and Calculus classes much more than I did in History, Geography or Languages.  I like numbers, and I like dabbling in “number crunching.”  Believe it or not, data is what drew me towards fantasy football initially.  I had zero interest in the NFL all throughout the early 2000s and rarely watched a game other than the Super Bowls.

Towards the end of that decade, fantasy football began to show up on my radar.  My interest peaked, not from the game aspect, but from the statistical side.  I joined a couple free leagues in 2007, and my fantasy career accelerated every year after that.  Hell, my interest in statistics is what allowed me to start doing rankings and articles for Dynasty Owner.  Obviously nowadays I watch the NFL and enjoy the games themselves, but if it wasn’t for fantasy football, I wouldn’t be as involved.  (It doesn’t help that my home team packed up and left for California)

At any rate, a few years ago I came across a few underutilized metrics that, I think, can help bridge the gap between opportunity and fantasy production.  So often we compare Player x to Player y without having the full context of their seasons.  I am guilty of comparing players that I know haven’t had the same opportunity.  These metrics are also a great way to see which players are on the field but aren’t receiving the opportunity you would expect.  This article will be limited to players in my Top 100 updated rankings.  Also, Week 9 stats are not included for this article as I wouldn’t have had enough time to update all players.  So, without further ado, today I will be talking about player’s…

  • Total Opportunities
  • Opportunities per Snap
  • Fantasy Points per Opportunity
  • Salary Compared to Opportunity

Quarterbacks

First, let’s start with the quarterbacks, and I’ll also define some of these terms.  When it comes to quarterbacks, I define an opportunity as any play that they attempt a pass or a rush (hence an opportunity for fantasy points.)  I do understand that rushing attempts for quarterbacks are more valuable than passing attempts, and they should be weighted accordingly, but I’m going to keep it simple for this article.  I’ll be using my Top 15 ranked quarterbacks for this section.

(QB Opportunities = Pass Attempts + Rush Attempts)

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunities
Joe Burrow, CIN$9,047,534365
Josh Allen, BUF$5,295,760335
Kyler Murray, ARI$8,789,661318
Patrick Mahomes, KC$4,106,447318
Daniel Jones, NYG$6,416,014306
Swipe to see more on mobile

When looking at quarterback opportunities, no one in my Top 15 has more opportunities than Joe Burrow.  Burrow (365) tops the list followed close behind by Josh Allen (335).  This shouldn’t come as a surprise as both the Bengals and Bills are in the top half of the league in passing percentage, and both quarterbacks aren’t afraid to tuck the ball and run. 

So, we’ve looked at total opportunities for quarterbacks, but this stat can still be misleading.  Total opportunities don’t account for players that have missed time this season (i.e. Justin Herbert, Dak Prescott or Drew Lock).  In order to even the playing field, I’ve started to look at opportunities per snap. 

Player, TeamSalaryOpp/Snap
Dak Prescott, DAL$30,144,0000.67
Josh Allen, BUF$5,295,7600.64
Kyler Murray, ARI$8,789,6610.63
Gardner Minshew, JAC$677,7210.63
Deshaun Watson, HOU$3,463,5700.63
Swipe to see more on mobile

Opportunities per snap is total opportunities divided by the total number of snaps a player is on the field.  Using this metric, we can determine how often a player is receiving opportunities based on their time on the field.  For example, Dak Prescott continues to lead Top 15 quarterbacks in Opp/Snap.  Before Dak was injured, he had an opportunity in 67 percent of the snaps he was on the field for.  Essentially, the only plays that aren’t considered opportunities are when quarterbacks hand the ball off.  That really isn’t surprising because we knew Dallas was on a historic offensive pace before disaster happened.  Either way, Dak was receiving an amazing amount of opportunity.  Opp/Snap for quarterbacks can be closely related to a team’s run/pass percentage.

We can go one step further with our analysis if we decide to look at a player’s points per opportunity. 

Player, TeamSalaryPoints/Opp
Russell Wilson, SEA$35,000,0000.97
Patrick Mahomes, KC$4,106,4470.87
Deshaun Watson, HOU$3,463,5700.75
Justin Herbert, LAC$6,644,6880.75
Kyler Murray, ARI$8,789,6610.73
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This is the number of DO fantasy points divided by the player’s total opportunities.  I like to think of this as how efficient a player is.  Given that this is an efficiency rating, it should be no surprise who stands at the top of the list…Russell Wilson.  Russ is so efficient this year, that he is averaging 0.97 fantasy points per opportunity.  This means for every one opportunity he has, (passing or rushing attempt) he is getting 0.97 fantasy points.  That is a truly amazing statistic and one that I almost didn’t believe.  It is most unbelievable because the second quarterback on the list is Patrick Mahomes at 0.87 points/opp.  Mahomes is having a phenomenal season again, but Wilson’s efficiency is unmatched.  Here’s another way to explain it…Russ has six more fantasy points than Mahomes this year, yet he has had 27 less opportunities (Mahomes hasn’t had his bye yet).  Remarkable.  Coming into this season, analysts were questioning if Wilson would be able to stay as efficient as he was the years before.  I heard it many times…”no player can have low volume and be that efficient for that long.”  Last year Wilson’s points/opp were 0.73.  So, not only did he keep up the efficiency, but he has become much more efficient.  I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I want to give one final example for context.  Remember Patrick Mahomes’ season in 2018?  He finished with the second most fantasy points of any quarterback since at least the mid 1990s.  Well, Mahomes’ points/opp in 2018 was 0.87.  He’s on his same pace from 2018, but Russ’ season has been on a different level.  I don’t expect the 0.97 efficiency to continue, but then again, we’ve heard that before.

Ah but, like almost everything with Dynasty Owner, we have to think further.  We have to go deeper and find a way to bring salary into the equation.  This is where our mathematics runs out of steam.  I can prepare hundreds of stats for you, and they may all be true.  However, at the end of the day there are too many variables in Dynasty Owner to boil a player’s value down to one single formula.  I do feel like the best statistic we can look at to determine value is Dynasty Dollars per point (DD/point).  The fellas at Dynasty Owner have done a great job developing this statistic, and it is very useful.  The one thing it cannot account for though is a team’s available salary.  Let me put it this way…Who is the number one quarterback everyone would like to own?  The answer is clearly Russell Wilson or Patrick Mahomes.  They have been and will most likely be the best quarterbacks for the rest of the season but owning Russ for $35 million a year hamstrings the rest of your team.  Is he worth that price?  He is, but most teams are unable to afford him with their current lineup.  In the same way, would everyone like to own Daniel Jones?  Of course, they would.  He is on a steal of a contract for a quarterback and he is young, but the truth is that he is not providing enough fantasy points to justify starting him.  Jones is averaging only 0.39 points per opportunity this year.  That’s roughly half as efficient as Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson and Justin Herbert.

One final point before we move onto running backs:  I’ve heard a lot of discussion this year about whether Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow is better.  There are way better scouts and talent observers than me so I’m not going to be the decisive vote on that, but what I will say is Herbert has done more with the opportunity he has received.  Here’s how both players compare…

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunitiesSnapsOpp/SnapPointsPoints/Opp
Justin Herbert, LAC$6,644,6882554510.571900.75
Joe Burrow, CIN$9,047,5343655940.611930.53
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Herbert has taken 143 less snaps, has 110 less opportunities, and yet he has only three less fantasy points than Burrow.  Wow.  Let us also not forget that Herbert is $2.4 million cheaper than Burrow.

Now let me show you the five least efficient quarterbacks in my Top 15.

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunitiesSnapsPointsPoints/Opp
Tua Tagovailoa, MIA$7,568,859265480.31
Sam Darnold, NYJ$7,561,929209372710.34
Drew Lock, DEN$1,752,704156277600.38
Daniel Jones, NYG$6,416,0143065031200.39
Joe Burrow, CIN$9,047,5343655941930.53
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I feel bad including Tua on this list because he has the smallest sample size possible…one game.  Regardless, he is on here.  Burrow makes the list based on his massive volume so far, but the other three quarterbacks have all been disappointing and this efficiency rating reflects that.

Running Backs

Using this same method, let’s look at running backs.  For them, I define an opportunity as any rushing attempt or target.  I will be using my Top 35 ranked running backs for this section.

(RB Opportunities = Rush Attempt + Targets)

Through eight weeks, who do you think has the most opportunities?  The answer shouldn’t be too surprising.  It’s Derrick Henry.  Despite ranking 38th in targets for running backs, Henry still leads in total opportunities.  There are no real surprises in the Top 5 as all are high volume running backs. 

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunities
Derrick Henry, TEN$10,278,000179
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL$15,000,000178
Josh Jacobs, LV$2,983,350172
Todd Gurley, ATL$6,000,000160
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC$2,705,393159
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Once again, opportunity alone does not tell us the whole picture.  All this really shows us is which players are getting the most volume and not necessarily which ones are producing.  Let’s see how the Top 5 changes when we add snaps.

Player, TeamSalaryOpp/Snap
Cam Akers, LA$1,543,2580.58
Derrick Henry, TEN$10,278,0000.57
Dalvin Cook, MIN$1,588,3340.56
Josh Jacobs, LV$2,983,3500.55
Ronald Jones II, TB$1,767,9770.54
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Once again, it is not surprising that Derrick Henry is in the Top 5 due to his heavy volume.  The Titans are fifth in the NFL in rushing percentage.  It stands to reason that if a team has a primary running back and they are run heavy, that primary running back will rank high in opportunities per snap.  Henry, Cook, Jacobs and Jones are all good examples of this.  However, Cam Akers is the clear outlier.  How could Akers rank first in the category when he’s only been on the field for 64 snaps.  The answer is simple.  When Akers is on the field, he is receiving more opportunities than any other running back within the Top 35.  Take from that what you will, but he is clearly being used at a high rate, when he actually plays.

I guarantee this one will surprise you.  Who do you think leads the Top 35 running backs in points per opportunity (efficiency rating)?  That player is D’Andre Swift.  He is currently averaging 1.30 fantasy points per opportunity (rushes plus targets).  To put that in context, the number two player in efficiency is Alvin Kamara at 1.28 points/opportunity.  If Swift had the same number of opportunities as Kamara and stayed on the same efficiency pace, he would lead all running backs in fantasy points this year.  Obviously Swift has a small sample size as far as opportunities go, but he shouldn’t be penalized for that.  He has been one of the most efficient players in all of football this year, and it’s time he deserves some praise and hopefully some increased usage.  I was so shocked when I saw him at the top of the list that I simply wrote “SWIFT!!!” in my rough draft.  I will be upgrading him in my rankings, and I look forward to tracking his Points/Opp throughout the season and his career.  Here is the rest of the Top 5. 

Player, TeamSalaryPoints/Opp
D’Andre Swift, DET$2,134,7281.30
Alvin Kamara, NO$964,4431.28
Dalvin Cook, MIN$1,588,3341.18
Chris Carson, SEA$616,2821.14
Aaron Jones, GB$650,4841.13
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Every running back in the Top 5 is cheap to own for this year and have long careers ahead of them.  It’s an interesting trend, but it’s also nuanced because four of them are set for very large contracts in 2021.  It’s also unfair to large salary running backs like Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, and Saquon Barkley as they have all been inefficient for reasons unrelated to their play.  Let’s look back at 2019 and see how all three of these players would stack up to 2020’s Top 5.

***2019 Statistics***

Player, TeamOpportunitiesPointsPoints/Opp
Christian McCaffrey, CAR4294821.12
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL3723230.87
Saquon Barkley, NYG2902510.87
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Every player in the top five has been more efficient than McCaffrey was last year, but don’t get too excited about that for a few reasons.  First, this is a small sample size, and it’s unlikely that they will all remain above 1.13 points per opportunity all season.  Second, not one of these players will get close to McCaffrey’s total volume last year.  In 2019, CMC had 429 opportunities which equals 25.2 a game.  The closest player in this Top 5 is Kamara at 21.8 opportunities a game.  This may go without saying, but a truly elite player is formed when they can combine top level efficiency with high value opportunities.  McCaffrey, Kamara, Cook, Carson and Jones all provide that when they are healthy and should all continue to be considered elite running backs.

As was the case with the quarterbacks, this is not the whole story.  We play on the truest dynasty platform ever made.  We are Dynasty Owners.  We have salary caps to consider and long-term contracts to weigh.  It is encouraging that many of the most opportunistic running backs this year are cheap, but that will be changing next year with at least eight elite running backs likely to sign contracts over $12 million.

Finally, here are the least efficient running backs inside my Top 35.

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunitiesOpp/SnapPointsPoints/Opp
Cam Akers, LA$1,543,258370.58190.51
Josh Jacobs, LV$2,983,3501720.551110.65
Le’Veon Bell, KC$1,050,000370.47240.65
Devin Singletary, BUF$974,5001230.35810.66
Kenyan Drake, ARI$8,483,0001290.41870.67
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Thanks for making it all the way through.  In next week’s article I will be discussing wide receiver and tight end opportunities and efficiencies. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

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