How to Draft a Dynasty Owner Championship Team – Part II

By Steven Van Tassell

Last week, we started to look at how Dynasty Owners drafted in 2020 by analyzing data on three measures that didn’t involve individual players, positions or salaries (type of league, when to draft and what draft position to get in your start-up draft). We found that owners in $50 cash leagues were more likely to make it into the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring, while those in $100 leagues were less likely. Waiting until close to the start of the season to draft worked for our 2020 Chase for the Ring champion Viktor, but on average, drafting early was actually better than drafting late as June drafts produced the most Top 25 teams. Finally, we examined draft position and found that four spots (#6, #8, #1 and #11) were better to draft from in 2020 as they produced a higher percentage of League winners, while three spots (#12, #7 and #2) were at the opposite end and produced fewer League winners. None of the data were overwhelming, but they started to answer some basic questions that might help you win your League and score enough points to make it into the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring.

There is more data to analyze and more questions to answer. Here are the remaining questions and draft evaluation strategies that haven’t been answered yet from the first How To article:

  • What position should you draft with your first pick?
  • What players were the “best” first round draft pick?
  • How much in salary should your first pick make?
  • Which players were drafted by the most Dynasty Owner league winners?
  • Should you use all of your salary cap during the draft or leave extra cap room to make post-draft Free Agent Auction pickups?
  • Are there any draft strategies that worked better than others in 2020?

This week, we’ll look at the positions and salaries of first round draft picks in 2020 Dynasty Owner leagues and see if any position was drafted by more League winners. We’ll also see if the player’s salary made a difference in a team’s chances of winning their League.

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

All salaries listed are from the 2020 Dynasty Owner season. Updated 2021 salaries will be posted on the Dynasty Owner website at the start of the new NFL league year on March 18th.

What Position Should You Draft with Your First Pick?

The Dynasty Owner scoring system is weighted more heavily towards QBs than other positions. The leading scorer in 2019 was QB Lamar Jackson who had 515.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and the leading scorer in 2020 was QB Aaron Rodgers with 517.7 points. Not only that, but 19 of the Top 25 scorers in Dynasty Owner in 2019 were QBs, while 18 of the Top 25 in 2020 were QBs. Just like the NFL, Dynasty Owner is QB driven.

Does this mean that you should be drafting a QB with your first pick, so you are guaranteed to get one of the top scorers in the league in 2021? Or do you pivot to try and find a player at another position who will be near the top of the scoring chart? What did Dynasty Owners do in 2020?

Three out of every five (60%) of Dynasty Owner teams in 2020 drafted a RB with their first pick compared to just over one-third (36%) who drafted a QB. Few (5%) teams drafted a WR with their #1 pick while only a handful took a TE (George Kittle) or kicker (there was one kicker drafted in the first round, which we’ll assume was an auto draft situation or mistake).

#1 Pick Position% of Teams
QB36%
RB60%
WR5%

There was little to no difference in position drafted by type of league and, more importantly, little difference in how League winners drafted compared to all teams. Almost three out of every five (59%) of Dynasty Owner league winners drafted a RB with their first pick compared to just over one-third (38%) who drafted a QB. Only 3% of winners drafted a WR with their #1 pick.

#1 Pick Position% of Winners% of Top 25% of Top 10
QB38%40%40%
RB59%60%60%
WR3%0%0%

If we look at the “best” of the best, winners who finished in either the Top 25 or Top 10 in the Chase for the Ring, we see the same split – two-fifths (40%) drafted a QB and three-fifths (60%) drafted a RB. However, no team that drafted a WR with their #1 pick, finished the season in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring.

Therefore, there doesn’t appear to be a preferred position between QB and RB to take with your Dynasty Owner first round draft pick. Just don’t draft a WR first if you want to finish in the Chase for the Ring.

How Much in Salary Should Your First Pick Make?

This is an important question for everyone who will be drafting a Dynasty Owner start-up in 2021. Do you “go low” with the salary of your first round pick and save your salary cap for some higher salary players later on or just draft your Dynasty Owner team like you would a regular dynasty team and take a high salary player in the first round if you think he’s the best player on the board?

Unlike some of the other measures that we’ve looked at where the data hasn’t been overwhelmingly in favor of one side or the other, we have a pretty clear picture on how much in salary your first pick should make. 

#1 Pick Salary% of Teams% of Winners
Under $1 million9%18%
$1 million – $2 million16%16%
$2 million – $5 million43%43%
$5 million – $10 million20%17%
$10 million or higher12%6%

The percentage of teams who drafted a player making less than $1 million in salary in 2020 is significantly higher among League winners than all teams. At the same time, the percentage of teams who drafted a player making $10 million or more in 2020 versus the percentage of League winners was significantly lower. In general, drafting a high salary player in the first round was not a winning strategy, while drafting a low salary first gave teams a better chance to win.

It gets worse if we look at the Top 25 and Top 10 in the Chase for the Ring as no team who drafted a player with a salary of $10 million or more in the first round was able to crack the Top 25 in the Chase. In fact, none of the teams who finished in the Top 10 drafted a player making $5 million or more with Patrick Mahomes ($4.1 million) being the player with the highest salary among the five players taken by those teams (Kamara – 4, Mahomes – 3, Jackson – 1, Jacobs – 1, Mixon – 1).

#1 Pick Salary% of Winners% of Top 25% of Top 10
Under $1 million18%32%40%
$1 million – $2 million16%8%10%
$2 million – $5 million43%52%50%
$5 million – $10 million17%8%0%
$10 million or higher6%0%0%

These data help make the case for drafting a lower salary player as well since while just under one in ten (9%) Dynasty Owner teams drafted a player making under $1 million in 2020, it jumps to nearly one in five (18%) among League winners. The percentage jumps even higher among Top 25 Chase teams (32%) and Top 10 Chase teams (40%).

Looking at the top range of $10 million or more in 2020 salary means that a few of the people who drafted DeAndre Hopkins, Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott or Michael Thomas and their big contracts won a League title. However, it was definitely not as many as drafted one of those guys, or someone else, who had a $10 million or higher salary in 2020. The data shows the percentage of League winners in that salary range was only 6%, down from 12% overall who drafted a player in that range. Nobody who drafted a player with a salary of $10 million or more in 2020 cracked the Top 25 Chase teams.

Furthermore, if you by chance took a QB making over $25 million with your first pick, you didn’t win your League. No one who took Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or Tom Brady with their first pick was a League winner, despite the fact that all three of them finished in the top seven in Dynasty Owner scoring in 2020 and each had more than 450 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. This just goes to show that it’s not only about the points being scored by your first round pick.

Did Injuries Influence The Data and Skew Those Results?

Right now, some of you are saying “Injuries and a lack of performance probably played a huge part in those findings about salaries.” That may be true as Michael Thomas ($19.25 million) was injured for over half of the year and Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million) had a down season, while Alvin Kamara ($964,443) was healthy for the entire season. That’s a good point about Kamara as he was responsible for all of the League titles won by players who drafted a player making under $1 million. However, if that was the case, then the League title stats would be the same for injured players across all salary ranges, not just those making $10 million or more.

We can test this out by looking at players in each salary range who got injured or underproduced to see if the results are similar. For the $1 million to $2 million range, we can see how teams who drafted Joe Mixon (injured, only played 6 games) and Miles Sanders (underperformed and played only 12 games to finish as #26 ranked RB) did. In the $2 million to $5 million range, we have Christian McCaffrey (injured, only played 3 games) and Lamar Jackson (underperformed as #11 QB in 2020), while the $5 million to $10 million gives us Saquon Barkley (injured, only played two games). The other players mainly drafted in the $5 million to $10 million range were Kyler Murray and Josh Allen, neither of whom were injured or underperformed in 2020, so we don’t have an underperformer to compare in that range. Finally, the two guys in the $10 million or more salary range who were most often drafted in the first round were Michael Thomas (injured, only played 7 games) and Ezekiel Elliott (underperformed as #9 RB and #56 overall despite playing in 15 games).

Jackson, McCaffrey and Barkley were the top three players in ADP in 2020 (along with Patrick Mahomes) and were the only three players drafted in the first round in every Dynasty Owner league in 2020. Mahomes was drafted in the first round in all but one league (in case you’re wondering, it was in For the Love of the Game League #36362 that he was left until the #13 pick). The rest were drafted in the first round in fewer leagues, but still enough to be able to review. Elliott was a first round pick in three-quarters of Dynasty Owner drafts, while Thomas was a first round pick in just over two-fifths, followed by Sanders in one-third and Mixon in one-quarter.

#1 PickSalary% of Teams
Lamar Jackson$2,367,912100%
Christian McCaffrey$4,310,326100%
Saquon Barkley$7,798,688100%
Ezekiel Elliott$15,000,00075%
Michael Thomas$19,250,00043%
Miles Sanders$1,337,54434%
Joe Mixon$1,362,54426%

While more Dynasty Owners invested in either Elliott or Thomas with their first pick despite their very high salaries, they were drafted by League winners just as much as Mixon and Sanders. In comparison, more than twice as many teams who drafted Jackson or McCaffrey were able to win their League. In terms of the Top 25, we find four teams who drafted Jackson and made it on the list along with two who drafted McCaffrey and one each who selected Barkley and Mixon. Nobody who drafted Elliott or Thomas, the two highest salary players on this list, made the Top 25.

#1 PickSalary% of Winners% of Top 25
Lamar Jackson$2,367,9128%16%
Christian McCaffrey$4,310,3268%8%
Saquon Barkley$7,798,6884%4%
Joe Mixon$1,362,5443%4%
Miles Sanders$1,337,5443%0%
Ezekiel Elliott$15,000,0003%0%
Michael Thomas$19,250,0001%0%

Remember that while Mixon and Sanders were selected in the first round by three percent of League winners just like Elliott, they were drafted in the first round in far fewer leagues. By drafting one of the top players with a high salary, Dynasty Owners in 2020 significantly reduced their chances of winning their League title and completely forfeited their ability to make it into the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring.

The chart below shows the percentage of teams who drafted a particular player and won their League Championship. As you can see, the ordering is pretty much in reverse order of salary as Mixon and Sanders had the lowest salaries, but the highest percentage of winning teams, while Barkley, Elliott and Thomas were drafted with the top pick by the fewest percentage of winning teams.

#1 PickSalary% of Winning Teams
Joe Mixon$1,362,54412.0%
Miles Sanders$1,337,5449.4%
Lamar Jackson$2,367,9128.4%
Christian McCaffrey$4,310,3268.4%
Saquon Barkley$7,798,6884.2%
Ezekiel Elliott$15,000,0004.2%
Michael Thomas$19,250,0002.4%

The lesson to be learned is that everyone drafting a new Dynasty Owner team in 2021 should be wary about selecting a player with a high salary. It’s easier to still win with a low salary #1 pick who gets injured or underperforms than a high salary top pick.

Conclusion

While there wasn’t a magic formula associated with the type of league, draft date, draft slot, or even position drafted with your first pick, we did find that the salary of your first pick can make a difference in your chances of winning a League title. Dynasty Owners who drafted players with lower salaries in the first round were more likely to win their League title than those who drafted higher salary players. This is true regardless of injury or underperformance with teams who drafted players with salaries under $5 million more likely to overcome having a player miss a significant portion of the season or not play as well as projected than teams who drafted a player in the upper salary ranges.

Does this information change your 2021 draft plan? Do you think this will change in 2021 when some of the best players from 2020 like Patrick Mahomes and Alvin Kamara are making more in salary? Let everyone know by reaching out to me (@SteveVT33) or post your thoughts in the comment section of the video on YouTube.

My articles and videos on getting you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team will be out on Fridays throughout the off-season. Keep an eye out for new articles and videos from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owners writers as well. On Mondays, Nate Christian (@NateNFL) will break down rookies in his Prospect Preview. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is back for another year and will do a deep dive into contracts on Wednesdays. Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL) has his articles and videos on how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Thursdays. Read all of their articles, watch and like all of their videos on YouTube (and all of the other available formats, such as Spotify) and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Thanks to everyone for following, reading and watching!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Contract Speculation, Breakdown (& Trades): Indianapolis Colts

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

A new month brings a new division to discuss. First, I want to list some breaking news…

  • Greg Ward and Boston Scott have both been tagged under their ERFA rules. Both will be playing for the Eagles in 2021 with similar salaries to 2020.
  • Kyle Rudolph was released by the Vikings on March 2. This move doesn’t mean a whole lot for Rudolph owners (as there aren’t many of them). Instead, this paves the way for Irv Smith to become the starting and most productive tight end for Minnesota.

Up until this point, I have only written about NFC teams. Well, in March we are going to talk about the AFC South, and we’re going to start with the team that finished tied with the best record. They made the 2020 playoffs thanks to the seventh playoff spot. Of course I am talking about the Colts. Here is a table that shows the entire division…

RecordSeason OutcomeNotable Free Agents
Titans11-5Eliminated, AFC Wild Card3
Colts11-5Eliminated, AFC Wild Card7
Texans4-12Eliminated, Regular Season1
Jaguars1-15Eliminated, 1st Overall Pick5

Overall, this is a pretty typical division. Two teams dominated the season while two others had extremely disappointing years. We will get to the other three teams this month, but today I want to focus on the Colts. Let’s get started because there is a lot to talk about.

Contract Speculation

The Colts have seven free agents that should/could be rostered in Dynasty Owner leagues. As always, I need to mention that this is a subjective metric that I am using to define each player as “rosterable.”

(If at any time you think that I missed an important free agent from a certain team, let me know, and I’ll be sure to give a quick speculation or breakdown in one of my upcoming articles.)

The free agents list includes…

PlayerStatusPrevious ContractPercent Rostered in DO
Philip RiversRetired$25,000,000/year50.5
Jacoby BrissettUFA$15,000,000/year1.0
T.Y. HiltonUFA$13,000,000/year59.8
Trey BurtonUFA$910,000/year91.8
Marlon MackUFA$704,912/year100.0
Zach PascalRFA$660,000/year95.9
Mo Alie-CoxERFA$660,000/year88.7

I’m going to start including some “mock” trades or examples of trades that I feel is fair value. These trades that I’m going to propose are obviously not taking individual teams in mind and should not be completed based solely on my opinion. These examples should be used as a starting point for trade discussions with leaguemates, and my attempt is to find equal value for both parties. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk free agents…

I included Rivers on here solely as a reminder to Owners that he has, in fact, retired. He is currently owned in half of Dynasty Owner leagues. I chalk that up to the fact that almost everyone is waiting until the “free drop period” so he will be able to be dropped for no charge. That is a smart decision as there’s no reason to waste Dynasty Dollars to free up room. This goes without saying, but Rivers should be dropped in every league once the free drop period opens.

Trade Advice: None. Rivers should not be traded for as he has retired.

Speaking of quarterbacks, where do we think Jacoby Brissett will land? I pose the question this way because I think it’s very unlikely Jacoby returns to the Colts in 2021. Carson Wentz was traded to the Colts on February 18th, 2021. I’m going to talk more about Wentz later, but I at least wanted to mention this trade. This move puts Wentz in line to be the starting quarterback in Week 1. If Brissett does defy the odds and return to Indy, he will no doubt be a backup at least to start the season. That being said, Jacoby is an above average quarterback in this league, and he is an above average backup quarterback. I find it hard to believe he will make more than his expiring contract ($15,000,000/year).

Trade Advice: If you are convinced Brissett will get another chance as a starter in the NFL, I still wouldn’t pay anything to acquire him. I only see a handful of NFL teams that would be interested in him. (Saints, Bears, Broncos, Patriots)  I would say it’s a stretch to think he is number one on any of their lists, but hey, if the contract is cheap enough, it just may happen)  You won’t need a trade to pull off this deal. He’s available in 99% of leagues.

T.Y. Hilton was a positional killer last year if you were unfortunate enough to own him. I owned him in my paid league, and thankfully I cut ties with him early enough to still win a title. With a “Calculated Market Value” of 10.1 million dollars per year (according to Spotrac), Hilton’s value will be determined by where he signs. The optimist in me wants to believe that he can still succeed in the right offense with receiving weapons around him. I believe T.Y. could thrive as a number two wide receiver on a new team. I also believe that Indianapolis may be one of the worst teams he could sign with. In the two years since Andrew Luck’s retirement, Hilton has averaged only 50.5 yards per game. Maybe you believe Hilton stays in Indy and Wentz will return him to his 2013 – 2016 form. It’s possible, but I’m not betting on it.

Trade Advice:  Hilton is available in 40% of leagues so be sure to check the free agent auction prior to concocting a trade offer. [2021 3rd for T.Y Hilton]

Trey Burton had a subpar 2020 season though the blame can’t be placed solely on him. He missed five games and was only targeted 47 times the whole season. (That ranks 27th among tight ends)  He also rushed twice for two touchdowns, and that salvaged a few of his weeks. Any attempt to trade for Burton is going to a risky business. Yes, he is on a dirt-cheap contract ($910,000), but it will be going up. That coupled with the fact that we don’t know if Burton will be going to a team with a tight end committee or if he would even be the primary receiving tight end.

Trade Advice:  I’d hold off on any trade offers until his contract situation is figured out. At this point, I don’t think I’d even part with a late 2021 3rd unless I was very desperate at the position.

I’m going to skip over Zach Pascal and Mo-Alie-Cox for this article as their situations are almost too uncertain to speculate on. Neither of them are an unrestricted free agent. This opens the door for several different scenarios to play out. I will keep everyone updated as news comes in about both of them.

The player I’m most excited to talk about is Marlon Mack. It may be too early to claim this, but I’m going to do it anyway. Mack is going to be the steal of the year. Redraft, Keeper, Dynasty, Dynasty Owner; it doesn’t matter…I want him on my team. Mack has been virtually forgotten about in fantasy football, and it’s really a perfect storm of events. First up, you have the fact that he tore his Achilles Tendon in the first game of the 2020 season. Nothing is certain, but Mack seemed in line to lead the Colts backfield in touches had he stayed healthy. Second, the rise of Jonathan Taylor in the second half of the season helped a lot of people to downplay the role that Mack had prior to injury. Is it possible that Taylor was going to take the majority of the carries away from Mack throughout the season? It is, and it may have even been likely. The point is that Taylor’s dominance does not take away the fact that Mack is a very capable back, and he has been doing it for longer. If we look at Mack’s sophomore and junior season in the NFL, this is what we find:  He averaged 1,092 yards/season, 236 touches/season, and nine touchdowns/season. Granted, his receptions are down as he is not a receiving back. But as far as a “pure runner” goes, he is above average. He’s better than above average. He’s good. Now, here is the reason I say, “he will be the steal of the year.”  In redraft leagues, we already know he’s going to fall further than he should. His season long injury coupled with the idea that he is most likely changing teams. That’s not exactly the recipe for high tier draft picks. When we talk about Dynasty Owners though, the value increases. Not only is Mack going to fall in DO drafts, but he will be on a very cheap contract. His injury is obviously terrible, and no one would wish it on any player, but it’s a fact that he will make less money because of it. I project Mack to be in the 3 to 4 million dollars per year range. This is just a fraction of what he would have made had he stayed healthy. Think about it this way… Mack was the starter on his team coming into the 2020 season, and his ADP was 113. Yes, Taylor was a known issue for Mack’s Owners, but he was still the starter. Where do you think his ADP is going to fall in 2021 when he’s on a new contract, fresh off an injury and on a new team? I obviously can’t answer all of these questions until his place of employment is known, but if you’re like me, you see these questions as an opportunity to turn a profit.

Trade Advice:  Don’t be too eager when dealing with the Mack Owner. We all know that overexcitement about a potential trade will drive the price up. Play it cool, and simply ask what they think of Mack coming into 2021 and what it would take to acquire him. Me? I would be willing to give a mid to late 2021 2nd. I think the reward outweighs the risk. This could be a prime player to get prior to the opening of free agency. I can guarantee you that his value will multiply if he signs with the Steelers, Jets or Cardinals (assuming Drake is not resigned). Strike now. I will be putting out trades for Mack myself.

Contract Breakdown

I was a little long winded in my Speculation section, but we did have a lot of players to talk about. I’ll keep this Breakdown section shorter than usual. And I suppose I should address the elephant in the room. His name is Carson Wentz…

Some of you already know how I feel about Wentz. To sum it up…he is a disaster as far as value is concerned. No quarterback that makes over 30 million dollars per year had less fantasy points/game in 2020 than Wentz. I don’t need to fully break down his stats compared to similar salaried players because last year he was the worst in almost every category. What I do want to say is this…Wentz move to Indy can only help him. It’s clear that he was “beat down” in Philly and that he wanted a change of scenery. Yes, he should have a better 2021, but even if he does, is it going to be good enough to justify a $32,000,000 cap hit? The answer could be “yes”, but it’s likely going to be “no”. By now I think most everyone is getting the theme. “TheJerk hates large salaries.”  Yes and no. I see the value in some large contracts if the numbers make sense and the production is there. I loved Rodgers’ value last year. I loved Russ Wilson’s value last year. I loved Tyreek Hill’s value last year. The reason is because they were top tier fantasy producers. What I don’t love is top level money mixed with middle of the road production. That is how we get upside down as Owners and have to start considering Amnesty Provisions. Wentz fits the mold for that description. He couldn’t even be described as middle of the road. He was, blatantly, below average. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that he has a below average receiving core returning in 2021. The return of Parris Campbell should help, but the receiving core as a whole would still rank in the lower third.

Trade Advice:  I can’t justify proposing a trade for Wentz. On the contrary, I would be willing to trade him for literally anything if one of my league mates believed in a Colts’ comeback.

I don’t mean to sound negative because that’s not the type of person that I am. But I’m trying to get my point across that Wentz has no business being on a roster in a “value driven dynasty format.”

Thank you for reading and be sure to watch the video that relates to this article. Next week we’ll be talking about the team that won the AFC South…the Tennessee Titans. Please follow us on Twitter @Dynasty_Owner and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Prospect Preview: Brevin Jordan

Position: TEWeight: 245
College: MiamiAge: 20
Height: 6′ 3″247 Rating: 4 Stars (0.9820)

By Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

The #1 Tight End of the 2018 HS Recruiting Class (above Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth), Jordan had a productive career at University of Miami and was known for his playmaking ability. One of the best tight ends in the nation after the catch, Jordan carried a more-than-healthy 15.2 yards per catch average in his Junior season. Another athletic freak at the position, he’s currently flying under the radar as everyone raves about Pitts, but how much farther behind is Jordan? It’s closer than you think.

College Production:

Miami’s offense over the past couple years has struggled, but nonetheless Jordan was productive. Posting 30+ catches in each of his three years, his YPR increased each year as well, showing his improvement in getting down the field, both before and after the catch. He totaled 38 receptions through eight games in 2020 for 576 yards and 7 touchdowns. When on the field he was always one of the top threats and going into the 2020 season was in competition with Kyle Pitts as the TE1 for the 2021 Draft Class. While Pitts took the national spotlight, Jordan had a strong Junior season and is now entering the NFL Draft.

Strengths:

  • Unreal Playmaking Ability
    • After the catch Jordan is one of the most electric playmakers in the nation, it doesn’t matter that he plays tight end. Once the ball is in his hands, anything can happen and he has a great combo of strength and athleticism to not only break tackles, but also make defenders miss in the open field.
  • Top Level Athleticism
    • A true seam-buster, Jordan can be used lined up tight and break open the middle of the field. Too fast for most linebackers to keep up with, the defense has to account for him as a WR with his speed in the middle of the field. His quick turn ability also helps him find the open space in zone coverage and turn quick passes into big plays.
  • WR/RB Combo in a TE
    • Jordan is special because he runs routes as a wide receiver, with a smaller frame he’s quick and agile, but once the ball is in his hands he runs like a running back. His ability to side step defenders and get to the edge reminds you of someone coming out of the backfield. This combination at his position gives him so much room to grow and produce.

Weaknesses:

  • Run Blocking
    • While Jordan isn’t the worst run blocker in the class he sometimes struggles to set his base and win against edge rushers. He’s very willing in his run support, but has a habit of releasing his blocks too early. This makes him vulnerable 1v1 against defenders. He does great as part of a double team, but when matched up solo, he’s gotta keep his blocks longer.
  • Size in Contested Catches
    • This is where Kyle Pitts really distances himself from Jordan and the rest of the class. At 6’ 3” it’s hard for Jordan to be a dominating presence in the air and his frame certainly limits his ceiling in this area. He does well to compete and can still bring in his share of 50/50 balls, but this is not a strength.

Things to Watch:

Brevin Jordan is another guy that is expected to test off the charts. Jordan ran a 4.79 40-Yard Dash in high school and I expect him to crush that number at his Pro Day. He also excelled with the 20-Yard Shuttle and other agility drills, and I expect that to show once again. It’s a real shame that we don’t have a combine this year as there are so many impressive athletes in this class and some records very well would have been broken.

Projected Round/Contract:  

As one of the consensus Top 3 tight ends in the 2021 Draft Class, Jordan will likely be a second round pick come draft day. Whether he’s drafted before or after Freiermuth, it won’t matter much as they will likely be drafted within a couple slots of each other. With that draft capital his contract will likely look similar to Cole Kmet’s ($1,722,222). Kmet signed a 4-year deal worth $7,577,778 which gave him an average yearly salary of $1,894,445.

Team Fits:

There are plenty of teams in this year’s NFL Draft that could use an athletic young tight end. One of the top one’s that would be a perfect fit for Jordan would be the Jacksonville Jaguars at pick 45. The Jaguars have a lack of talent at tight end and pairing a top talent like Jordan with Trevor Lawerence of course brings up some exciting possibilities. Lawerence already has some good wide receivers to throw to, but if the Jaguars want to surround him with the best talents in that offense, Jordan makes so much sense for Urban Meyer and the rest of the coaching staff.

There’s a team picking after the Jaguars in the second round that could also use a young athletic tight end. It’s probably one of the best landing spots possible for Jordan, as he would be catching passes from one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. Kyler Murray ($9,763,721), and the Arizona Cardinals would be a match made in heaven for an athletic, play-making tight end like Jordan. Kliff Kingsbury would be able to use Jordan all over the field and create matchups that would win them big plays underneath and down the middle of the field. With either one of these landing spots, matching up Jordan with a young quarterback gives him all the upside in the world for your dynasty teams.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

How to Draft a Dynasty Owner Championship Team – Part I

By Steven Van Tassell

For the next few weeks, we will look at how Dynasty Owners drafted in 2020. By looking at the data of how the winners drafted relative to the rest of the teams in their league, we hope to discover some takeaways that can help everyone who is drafting a 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up team to win their League. We will also look at the “best of the best” and see how the teams that finished in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring drafted and find out if they went about drafting differently. Using these data, we can answer a bunch of questions and evaluate draft strategies, such as:

  • Which type of Dynasty Owner leagues had the “best” Owners?
  • When should you draft your Dynasty Owner team?
  • What draft position is the “best” one to have in your Dynasty Owner draft?
  • What position should you draft with your first pick?
  • What players were the “best” first round draft pick?
  • How much in salary should your first pick make?
  • Which players were drafted by the most Dynasty Owner league winners?
  • Should you use all of your salary cap during the draft or leave extra cap room to make post-draft Free Agent Auction pickups?
  • Are there any draft strategies that worked better than others in 2020?

Those are only a few of the questions that we can answer with the complete 2020 Dynasty Owner draft data. There are plenty more questions out there and not all of those questions will be answered in this article. To start, let’s look at some of the questions that don’t involve individual players, positions or salaries.

Which Type of Dynasty Owner League Had the “Best” Owners?

Which type of league had the “best” of the best Dynasty Owners in 2020? That means, was there a type of league (For the Love of the Game, $50 cash buy-in, $100 cash buy-in or beta) that had more of the Top 25 teams in the Chase for the Ring.  Beta league Dynasty Owners, who all played in 2019 and had a year of strategy under their belts, would argue that they are the best. However, would those beta league players be able to crack the Top 25 playing in leagues with only other beta owners? Does the data from 2020 support this idea or not?

Now, we know the answer. The best of the best in Dynasty Owner in 2020 were playing in $50 cash buy-in leagues. While just over one-quarter (27%) of leagues were $50 cash buy-in leagues, the winners in these leagues accounted for 11 out of 25 (44%) of the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring. The $50 leagues were even more represented in the Top 10 as 6 out of 10 teams who finished in the Top 10, including Chase for the Ring winner Barbee Kilgore, played in $50 cash leagues.

Type of League% of Leagues% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
FLOTG44%40%46%
$50 Cash27%44%21%
$100 Cash19%8%23%
Beta9%8%10%

The Beta leagues were evenly competitive. Beta leagues comprised nine percent of all leagues and eight percent of the Top 25 teams (PirateWolf in 14th place and BluecivicJJ in 15th place represented for the beta users).

At the other extreme from the $50 cash leagues, Dynasty Owners in $100 cash leagues were under-represented in the Top 25 as one-fifth (19%) of the 2020 Dynasty Owner leagues were $100 cash buy-in leagues, but only 2 out of the Top 25 (8%) played in that type of league (Congrats to Hawk Nation who finished 4th overall and Gold Phantom who finished 19th on representing the $100 cash leagues).

Of course, Dynasty Owners in $100 cash leagues might argue that their leagues had better players because of the higher buy-in amount and were more competitive, which led to fewer Top 25 teams.

So, if you are picking your type of 2021 Dynasty Owner league, it appears that you should pick a $100 league if you want the most “competition” and a $50 league if you want a better chance of finishing in the Top 25 and winning the Ring.

When Should You Draft Your Dynasty Owner Team?

Now that we know what type of league best suits you, the next question to answer is when is the “best” time to draft your Dynasty Owner team?  Is it better to draft as early as possible right after the NFL draft in May or closer to the start of the regular season in September? This question came up because the Chase for the Ring winner Viktor told me via email that he waited until “the last possible day to draft in order to have the most information about what NFL teams would look like”. While that ended up being a huge advantage for Viktor, did more Dynasty Owners do what he did and wait or did they start drafting as soon as they could in mid-June?

The last Dynasty Owner teams were drafted in the few days following the September 5th final roster cut deadline when all team rosters were cut down to 53 players. Viktor drafted after that day, so did he and other Dynasty Owners who drafted on September 5th or later have an advantage in the Chase for the Ring over Dynasty Owners who drafted before September 5th?

53-Man Roster Cut Day% of Leagues% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
Pre-Roster Cut Day78%84%76%
Post-Roster Cut Day22%16%24%

The answer appears to be No as a higher percentage of the Top 25 teams in the Chase (84%) drafted before roster cut day that drafted before that day (78%). Waiting to draft didn’t necessarily increase an Owner’s chances of a high finish in 2020.

How about waiting until after training camps opened? Training camps officially opened on a rolling basis with rookies reporting first, then quarterbacks and injured players. All veterans had to report by July 28th, so we’ll use that as our Training Camp Opening Day. Maybe waiting until Training Camps opened and some players had opted out of the 2020 season helped a Dynasty Owner make it into the Top 25 of the Chase?

Training Camp% of Leagues% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
Pre-Camp44%60%39%
Post-Camp56%40%61%

Once again, the answer is No. The results are even more pronounced for the training camp date than for the 53-man roster deadline date. Three-fifths (60%) of the teams who made the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring drafted before training camps opened, but less than half (44%) of all Dynasty Owner leagues drafted before that day.

Since we already know that more Top 25 teams drafted before training camps opened, then the next question is: How early is too early? Is going early not a liability towards the goal of making it into the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring?

The first two Dynasty Owner drafts were on June 14th and the final two drafts were conducted after the first Thursday night game on September 10th, but prior to the first Sunday games on September 13th. There were around equal numbers of leagues that drafted in each month (June, July, August and September), but more Top 25 Chase teams drafted in June (36%) than leagues that drafted in June (23%). The same is true for July, but the difference is less pronounced (28% of Top 25 teams drafted in July vs. 23% of all leagues).

Month% of Leagues% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
June23%36%19%
July23%28%21%
August29%20%33%
September24%16%27%

While waiting to draft clearly was the right strategy for Viktor, it’s not necessarily a strategy that new Dynasty Owners need to copy. The 2020 season shows that drafting early was actually better than drafting late on average.

What Draft Position is the “Best” One to Have in Your Dynasty Owner Draft?

In theory, there should not be a “best” draft position since all Dynasty Owner start-up drafts are snake drafts. In case someone isn’t familiar with the term, a snake draft is a draft that goes in the opposite order each round, so the team with the last pick in the first round has the first pick in the second round and so on. It’s supposed to equalize drafting so no team gets an advantage over another team, but how did that work out in the 2020 Dynasty Owner season? Does the data show that one draft slot produced more league winners than average, while another one produced fewer? Let’s see:

Draft Slot% of League Winners
111%
25%
39%
48%
56%
613%
75%
812%
99%
107%
1111%
123%

Four spots (#6, #8, #1 and #11) appear to have been better to draft from in 2020 as they produced a higher percentage of League winners. Three spots (#12, #7 and #2) were at the opposite end and produced fewer League winners.

Of course, winning your League is the goal, but finishing in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring standings is an even greater achievement. The draft slot with the most Top 25 Chase finishers was #3 as five teams who finished in the Top 25 drafted from that slot, followed by four who drafted from the #4 slot and three who drafted from the #1, #6, #8 and #9 slots. Interestingly, nobody who finished in the Top 25 drafted from either the #5 or #7 slots.

Draft Slot% of League Winners% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
111%12%10%
25%4%6%
39%20%6%
48%16%6%
56%0%9%
613%12%13%
75%0%7%
812%12%11%
99%12%9%
107%4%9%
1111%4%13%
123%4%3%

Of course, our 2020 Ring winning team Barbee Kilgore drafted from the #10 slot, the only Top 25 team to do so. More importantly, Viktor was able to draft Patrick Mahomes and his $4.1 million salary with his first pick, which in the end was probably more important than his draft slot.

Conclusion

So far, there doesn’t appear to be any magic formula associated with your type of league, draft date or draft slot. More Top 25 teams drafted early and played in $50 cash leagues, but no single draft slot was the dominant one that yielded an overwhelming number of League winners or Chase for the Ring Top 25 teams. While the Ring winner played in a $50 cash league and drafted from the #10 slot in a league that drafted after rosters were cut down to 53 players in September, his nearest competitor (Quaranteed for Greatness) had a different path. Quaranteed for Greatness’ path to being the runner-up saw him play in a For the Love of the Game league and drafting from the #6 slot in a late June draft, a month before training camps opened. They even drafted two different players (at different positions), which is a topic that we’ll dive into more in a future article.

The top two teams in Dynasty Owner took different paths to their respective League championships in 2020. Do you have a particular plan for your 2021 start-up team? What about a draft strategy that you think will lead you to a Championship and maybe a spot in the Chase for the Ring? Send those plans and strategies for 2021 Dynasty Owner success to me on Twitter (@SteveVT33) or post them in the comment section on YouTube.

My articles and videos on getting you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team will be out on Fridays throughout the off-season. Keep an eye out for new articles and videos from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owners writers as well. On Mondays, Nate Christian (@NateNFL) will break down rookies in his Prospect Preview. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@dynastyjerk) is back for another year and will do a deep dive into contracts on Wednesdays. Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL) has his articles and videos on how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Thursdays. Read all of their articles, watch and like all of their videos on YouTube (and all of the other available formats, such as Spotify) and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Thanks to everyone for following, reading and watching!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

The Top 10 Players Rebuilding Owners Should Stash

By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)

I am going to make this intro a bit different than usual and take a couple minutes to explain what will be coming in terms of content from me in the future (all will be geared towards rebuilding). In last week’s article we talked about the 10 players I would trade away when rebuilding and it seemed to be an article a lot of you enjoyed judging the views and comments on YouTube. Over the next few weeks,

I’m going to take that theme and run with it, while hopefully giving you guy’s content you will really enjoy and find helpful too. Once we have covered all of the top 10 players rebuild topics, I am hoping to switch gears to my orphan team. I have not gained access to my orphan team just yet but when I do I plan on turning it into a series of articles where we will rebuild this orphan team together. What I mean by building the team together is I will write/make a video on the team once or twice a month and will be taking the readers advice before making any kind of moves.

Once given the team I will do an article covering the roster and moves I think are needed, followed by all of your input before making said moves or the following article. I chose to make these articles twice a month at most giving me plenty of time to gather everyone’s input before releasing the next article, if a move happens to be split amongst everyone, I will be the tiebreaker at that point and will always have the final say.

I am hoping this will be something we can all engage with each other about and help give those who need it a true in depth look on how to rebuild a team step by step. As mentioned earlier I have yet to see this orphan team, but regardless of the roster outlook I will be tearing this team completely apart and rebuilding with all of you, we will also decide together if we want to keep any of our rostered players as building blocks.

This is something I am really looking forward to and I hope you all will enjoy it as well. When rebuilding a fantasy team, you must begin to think differently than you usually would, which means trading players you just don’t want to let go of. I have always said if you go into a rebuild with a closed mind the process is going to be a long one. The points above are the key points I want to emphasize when rebuilding this team with all of you as I feel sometimes the mental side is the toughest. The series will be called, let’s build a championship roster together!

In today’s article I am going to touch on some players that are considered stashes (not buys). In this article you will not find players like Paris Campbell, Aj Dillon, or Cole Kmet as I feel they will cost a decent price to acquire and will cover these players in next week’s article (sneak peek). The players covered in this article should be available in most leagues, if they are not, they will be very cheap to get in a trade. These are also players that may not be ready to consistently contribute for another few seasons but are on the right trajectory.

Stash These Players

1.  Taylor Heinicke- 27 years old, Free Agent

2020 stats- 12-19 137 yards, 1Td.

While Heinicke can definitely fit into next week’s article I feel more comfortable with him as a player you want to stash, making him the number 1 choice. Heinicke has yet to sign a contract for the 2021 season but it seems The Football Team is very interested in bringing the signal caller back. The 27-year-old quarterback only appeared in one game during the 2020 season, and he almost completed a comeback, along with looking fantastic in the postseason against an excellent defense.

Heinicke was thrown into action against Carolina just one week before the playoffs started giving him very little time to prepare for his first ever playoff start. How did Heinicke respond? By completing 26 passes on 46 attempts for 306 yards, 1 pick, and 1 touchdown. Absolutely none of this makes him a lock to return to Washington, especially as a starter, which is why he is a player to stash instead of a player to buy. If Heinicke gets a deal and looks close to the way he did against Tampa he could be the steal of the offseason. I wanted to put my money where my mouth is, so I placed a bid on Heinicke in my league and received his services for just $1 million Dynasty Dollars, an easy price to pay for a gamble.

2. Van Jefferson- 24 years old, 3 years $1,402,784

2020 stats- 19 catches, 220 yards, 1 Td.

Jefferson had a rough rookie season by all accounts in 2020. The Rams invested a 2nd round pick on the Florida product, just as they did with Akers and will certainly be expecting him to take a leap heading into 2021. With Goff leaving town and Stafford coming in, it will boost Jefferson’s outlook easily, but that’s not what attracts me to him.

What I like most about Jefferson’s outlook in the coming years is the fact Cooper Kupp is due a new deal, Reynolds is likely to be gone, and the Rams should throw the ball more than they ever have under McVay with Stafford in town. If even one of Kupp, or Reynolds leaves this offseason that should open up a ton of room for someone like Van Jefferson in this offense. If you are looking for a potential quality Wide out, Jefferson is a good talent to bet on. McVay has looked like an offensive wizard with Goff under center, a Qb like Stafford should give everyone in the system a significant boost in production.

3. Quintez Cephus- 22 years old, 3 years $734,822

2020 stats- 20 catches, 349 yards, 2 Td’s

The wide receiver on the other end of the Stafford-Goff trade is number 3 on my list Quintez Cephus. With the Lions receiver room in flux in 2020 the rookie Cephus stepped up nicely for a late round draft pick. With Golladay out most of the season Marvin Jones had to step up and be the guy, which left the number 2 spot open most of the year. Cephus did not have a clear handle on the role at any point in 2020 but he was able to flash at times, even while seeing more coverage than a typical late round newcomer normally would.

Every time I hear Cephus’ name I instantly think back to the Okudah quote when he was asked who the best receiver he faced in college was, Okudah responded “Quintez Cephus.” The step back the Lions took getting Goff is worrisome but Cephus seems like he is going to be in the league for a while which makes him an easy stash. Cephus is another player on this list that I roster on my own team.

4. Tyler Johnson- 22 years old, 3 years, $737,355

2020 stats- 12 catches, 169 yards, 2 Td’s.

I had an extremely tough time ranking players 3 and 4 for this article. I ended up siding with Johnson here based on what my eye’s saw from each season. While player 4 has better stats Johnson came up huge in big moments when called upon and seemed to make tough contested catches with ease. If not for the talent on Tampa Bay’s roster Johnson would be a firm buy in next week’s article, instead you find him here at number 4 in players, you should stash.

With the uncertainty around Godwin and Antonio Brown returning to the Bucs next season it could open up a ton of playing time for Johnson, but the bad news is I see both returning. If both return Johnson has not shot at obtaining any type of consistency with him being buried so far on the depth chart and so much high-end talent above him. Eventually Johnson will get his chance to shine, and he is someone you will want on your roster when that time comes. If none of this is enough to make you a believer just look at the moments Tom Brady trusted him with and it may change your mind.

5. Donavon Peoples-Jones- 22 years old, 3 years $870,402

2020 stats- 14 catches, 304 yards, 2 Td’s

While there is an easy argument to move Peoples-Jones up this list I have him settled in at number 4 because of the offense he plays in. I do not see Cleveland being a pass first team under Stefanski anytime soon. The Browns finished 2020 with just over 3500 yards passing, which is not enough to have any more than 2 consistent fantasy pass catchers on the roster, especially with a back like Hunt catching the ball out of the backfield.

Peoples-Jones flashed excellent potential in 2020 and has a chance to do more of the same in the years to come. If Beckham, or Higgins happen to leave town this offseason it could mean big things to come for Peoples-Jones, if either one of them leaves he becomes a lock for the wide receiver 3 in Cleveland. My biggest knock-on Jones is the system he plays in which heavily features the running game and utilizing tight ends. With Peoples-Jones looking like he will continue to grow I highly recommend acquiring him now if you wait the price will only continue to go up.

6. Tyron Johnson- 25 years old, Free Agent

2020 stats- 20 catches, 398 yards, 3 Td’s

Our 2nd Ty Johnson on the list! This Johnson went undrafted in 2019 and never really amounted to much in Houston during his rookie campaign. In 2020 the Oklahoma State product flashed some great upside, especially towards the end of the season. If Johnson can resign with the Chargers, it certainly would improve his outlook and chances of becoming a reliable player. Herbert seemed to look for Johnson more as the season went on but that’s something we see often in the NFL.

Johnson is older than everyone on the list which is why he slots in at number 5 instead of being higher, though he has roughly the same amount of service time. With Johnson being a bit older it hurts his chances of finding a permanent home, but he is more than worth a stash from rebuilding owners. The big positive for Johnson aside from his production is that the Chargers need a number 2 receiver they can count on and Mike Williams has shown he just isn’t it. Williams is due for free agency next season, look for Johnson to fill that role if improvements continue.

7. Salvon Ahmed- 22 years old, Free Agent

2020 stats- 75 carries, 319 yards, 3td’s

I am sure many are wondering how Ahmed is on this list instead of the buy category for next week’s article after the rookie season he was able to put up in limited fashion. I have Ahmed on this list because I feel he needs a year or 2 more of getting his body ready to be a starting NFL running back. The Dolphins had one of the thinnest running back rooms in the NFL in 2020 and even after watching Ahmed play well, there are multiple rumors that they will draft an Rb high, or sign someone like A. Jones, they also have Gaskin on the roster.

With that being said I believe the Dolphins are worried about Ahmed’s durability and ability to take the punishment a running back needs to take in the NFL. If Ahmed is able to continue to improve, he could be a very solid Rb2/flex option in a couple of years. Ahmed also seemed to be a dependable receiver out of the backfield which is something that can help him stay on the field.

8. Collin Johnson- 23 years old, 3 years $900,538

2020 stats- 18 catches, 272 yards, 2 Td’s

Collin Johnson, Lavishka Shenault, and James Robinson are the only young playmakers the Jaguars have on offense to look forward too. Shenault was a highly drafted rookie and he nor Robinson are going anywhere with both being owned in all leagues, the same cannot be said for Johnson. Johnson should be easily obtainable, or available here on Dynasty Owner and with Trevor Lawrence and Urban Myer coming to town I recommend throwing a flier on Collin Johnson.

When Mike Glennon was on the field for Jacksonville Johnson seemed to shine which tells me he just needs someone to trust him like Glennon does. With a new coach coming to town Johnson will need to prove himself, but I believe this gives him the fair shot he needs with no one except rookies being tied to the regime. Keelan Cole is likely to leave during free agency this offseason which leaves Johnson competing with Chark and Shenault for targets from Lawrence in 2021.

9. Harrison Bryant- 22 years old, 3 years $1,016,008

2020 stats- 24 catches, 238 yards, 3 Td’s

Harrison Bryant should be the face of dynasty stashing right now! As I have mentioned several times in earlier articles, it takes a long time for tight ends to develop in the NFL, which is why Bryant is so low on the list. While Bryant has the typical length, it takes his tight ends to produce in the NFL to deal with, he also has 2 quality tight ends in front of him on the depth chart in a run heavy offense.

The good news for Bryant is that the Browns system typically features two tight end sets, meaning once Njoku, or Hooper leaves he has a clear path to production. I would not bet on Hooper leaving after signing a massive deal last offseason, but the Browns and Njoku have not seen eye to eye recently. Rebuilding owners should not expect Bryant to be consistent until at least 2023, but if you wait until then to acquire him you will be paying a premium. Get him now while he is easily obtainable.

10. Ke’Shawn Vaughn- 23 years old, 3 years $1,152,681

2020 stats- 26 carries, 109 yards, 3 catches, 34 yards, 1 Td

I could not even imagine being a rookie in the NFL and having a Super Bowl ring after your first season. Ke’Shawn Vaughn knows how it feels and should have a secure spot on the Bucs roster for years to come. The Fournette signing really put a damper on Vaughn’s rookie campaign, as well as playing behind an improved Ronald Jones, which will only make him easy to acquire. In 2021 the Bucs do have some cap space, but they have a ton of quality players to re-sign which may leave Fournette on the outside looking in.

The Bucs invested a high draft pick on Vaughn, if they let Fournette walk it could mean big things for Vaughn in the years to come. The last major positive on Vaughn is that he is not racking up miles on his body and should be fresh come time to step in and produce. My best advice is to target him before the Fournette decision, because in the scenario he does not re-sign, Vaughn’s price will instantly go up.

Conclusion

I am so pleased with the outcome of last week’s video on YouTube that I would like to challenge all of you! Last week’s video is nearing 400 views and counting, but I believe this week’s video can do even better. My challenge to all of you this week is to hit 350 views and 40 likes. If this challenge is met, I will have a random winner selected, with the winner receiving a Dynasty Owner shirt. If we can meet these requirements, I will do this again in the future. The only rules for this contest are view the video, like the video, and comment something on the video. My goal for this is to help get people active and make the orphan team series a lot of fun! Thank you all for your continued support and helping Dynasty Owner grow! I hope you all enjoy the article and good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Contract Speculation and Breakdown: New Orleans Saints

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Once this article has concluded, we will have wrapped up the NFC South, and I’ll be bringing you a brand-new division next week. I think we’ll switch things up and give some love to the AFC next month. Not that it really matters as I’ll be discussing every team and potential free agent prior to kickoff of the 2021 season, but there are a few players in the AFC that I would like to speculate on prior to the opening of free agency. Speaking of the start of free agency…let me first discuss some important dates and times that Dynasty Owners should be aware about if they want to stay “in the know”.

Franchise and Transition Tag Period:

February 23 – March 9

This is the time when all teams must make a decision on whether or not they want to franchise, or transition tag a player. The difference between the two types of franchise tags and the transition tags matter in real life, but it doesn’t much matter for our purposes. I’ll oversimplify today and just lump all three of these tags into one. Regardless, as I said, after this time window, we will know who has been “tagged” in any fashion.

Compensatory Draft Picks:

March 10 – 13

Picking up the day after the franchise window closes is the compensatory draft pick announcement. Compensatory picks are awarded to teams during this period based off of a measured and calculated formula. This formula looks at free agents that certain teams lost throughout the year that they were not “adequately compensated” for. Essentially, the NFL calculates each team’s gained and lost value and then compares this to every other team. Picks are awarded accordingly. This doesn’t affect us as Owners directly, but it has the potential to add picks to some of our favorite teams.

Free Agency Contact Begins:

March 15

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

New League Year and Free Agency Begins:

March 17

Minus the Draft, this has to be the most anticipated date in the NFL offseason. On March 17, free agents will be able to sign with the teams of their choosing. This applies to all free agents except for exclusive-rights free agents. This will be a great day and a great week as some of the contracts we’ve been anticipating will be signed.

These are all the events that are currently on my radar. It’s worth mentioning that the NFL Draft spans April and May as it will take place April 29 – May 1. Okay, let’s talk Saints’ free agents…

Contract Speculation

I currently have three “notable” Saints’ free agents that I feel are worth mentioning. As always, notable means players that I deem to be rosterable in Dynasty Owner leagues. I’m obviously not going to talk about defensive players as Dynasty Owner does not play IDP, and I won’t be talking about players like Michael Burton, Dwayne Washington or Bennie Fowler. These three, while offensive players, are not currently rostered in any DO league. The three I want to talk about are Jared Cook, Jameis Winston and Ty Montgomery.

Jared Cook is 33 years old. He is finishing a $7.5 million per year contract, and he finished the season as TE18. Fun Fact:  there were only two tight ends with higher salaries that finished lower in the rankings than him. Can you name them? Cook had a lackluster season although he did end with seven touchdowns despite a disappointing 58.33 catch percentage in the red zone. I wouldn’t dare declare that Cook has nothing left. It’s expected he’ll return for the 2021 season, but according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett, it’s unlikely it’ll be with the Saints due to “cap restrictions.”  I do agree. Cook is going to demand roughly the same contract that is about to expire. (Think Jimmy Graham’s contract)  This coupled with the fact that the Saints traded their 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th round 2020 draft picks to Minnesota in exchange for their 3rd round pick which they converted into Adam Trautman. I’m not going to break down Trautman in this article, but surely the Saints want to see him on the field at some point given the draft equity they invested in him. Expect Cook to move on.

Up next we have the possible starting quarterback for the 2021 Saints:  Jameis Winston. Winston signed a single year contract worth $1,100,000 last year. According to a lot of analysts, this deal seemed to be much less than he actually deserved. I would have to agree given the fact that he had just come off of a 2019 season where he had career highs in attempts (626), completions (380), yards (5109) and touchdowns (33). Unfortunately, he also had a career high in interceptions (30). Regardless, I believe that Jameis showed enough in 2019 to make him deserving of a contract closer to 10 or 12 million dollars per year. The rest of the NFL did not see it this way and he essentially signed a minimum contract with the Saints. Well, Jameis was unable to show much of anything during the 2020 season. Despite Drew Brees missing four weeks in the middle of the season, Jameis did not attempt a pass during those weeks. Instead, Taysom Hill received the starting quarterback job. In fact, Winston only completed seven passes for 75 yards in 2020. 63 of these yards came in the game where Brees was injured. Now for some speculation…

The expectation is that Brees will be retiring sometime this offseason. The fact that he agreed to cut his pay to the league minimum for the 2021 season paves the way for a retirement. This move drops New Orleans’ cap more than $20 million dollars. Jameis is too cheap not to hold until his contract situation is a little clearer. Hold with confidence, and I would even advocate trading for him if the price is right.

The final player worth mentioning is Ty Montgomery. I’m not going to talk much about him as he has yet to pass 121 touches in any season. In fact, he has averaged only 72 touches per season in his career. He is only owned in 8.25 percent of Dynasty Owner leagues so he’s a borderline player to even mention, but if he is signed by a team expect his salary to be between 2 and 3 million per year. Even though this is a cheap price to pay for a running back, I would still be staying away.

Contract Breakdown

Today I have a single player that I want to talk about for my breakdown section. We’ve already discussed both potential starting quarterbacks in New Orleans and also their tight end situation so let’s now focus on a wide receiver. How about Emmanuel Sanders?

He has a single year left on his current contract that he signed in early 2020. The contract was two years’ worth $8,000,000 per year. There are a few different directions Sanders’ career could go in 2021. First, he could just play out the 2021 season with the Saints and then enter free agency in 2022 as a 34-year-old wide receiver. The second (and more likely scenario in my opinion) is that Sanders is cut by the Saints during this offseason. Even with the sly maneuver to reduce Brees’ cap hit in 2021, the Saints are currently projected to have the worst cap issues. Cutting Sanders would not solve all their problems, but it would free up roughly $4,000,000 in space. Again, I’m not claiming he will be cut, but it’s an option that the Saint’s organization is without a doubt looking into. With that in mind, let’s look at how Sander’s value compares to similar wide receivers…

SalaryYearsDO FPsDD/FPGames Missed% Owned
A. Cooper$20,000,0004236.8$84,459099
J. Crowder$9,500,0001174.6$54,410489.7
E. Sanders$8,000,0001163.8$48,840277.3
D. Parker$7,625,0003165.3$46,128399
M. Gallup$880,0001173.3$5,0781100

So, I have these five players arranged by “value” or Dynasty Dollar per Fantasy Points (DD/FP). We, as Dynasty Owners, know that DD/FP is kind of the general value that a player holds. It is best used to compare players to each other. These five players finished right around each other for the 2020 season. I also included games missed to give you a reference for how their seasons may have looked had they played every game. We can see that Gallup was the player with the most value. This isn’t a surprise given that his salary is a fraction of the other four. His teammate, Amari Cooper, had a fantastic season and finished as the WR15. This is a very healthy season, but as you can see, his value is at the opposite end of the spectrum. The main point from this table was to show the two extremes of value with three “mid-level” salary players in the middle. Every Owner has to answer the question for themselves…

“Would I rather own Cooper or Sanders?”  The answer to this obviously depends on roster construction and where you see your strategy heading in the next few years, but from a value standpoint, Sanders is the answer. It’s not surprising that Cooper is owned in 20 percent more leagues either. People are willing to pay up for a known, rather than taking a cheaper unknown. Here is the final way I’m going to present this point.

Would you rather have 40% of Cooper’s salary with 70% of the fantasy production, or would you rather pay up the other 60% for 100% of his production? Because the former is what you would be getting with Sanders (at least in 2020.)  But wait, there’s more…

Keep in mind that Sanders played in two less games than Cooper as well. Making this argument could lead to someone, rightfully, claiming that Cooper didn’t have Dak throwing to him for an entire season though. All of this is true and worth keeping in mind as we move towards the new NFL season.

Thank you for reading and be sure to watch the video that relates to this article. Next week we’ll be starting a new division. I’ll turn my attention to an AFC team that has quite a few free agents as well as one of the more favorable cap situations. I’ll also be using a couple of new comparison strategies. Please follow us on Twitter @Dynasty_Owner and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

The Importance of Drafting in Dynasty Owner

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

For the past few weeks, these off-season articles on helping to get people ready for their 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up leagues have mainly looked back at the 2020 season. These have included articles on the best players in the regular season and playoffs, players who should be picked in the first round based on their 2020 performance, players to avoid drafting based on their 2020 performance and salaries, second half breakout players and players who faded in the second half of 2020. All of them looked at which players to draft, or not draft, this upcoming season based on last season.

In looking at how the two Chase for the Ring Champions (Eddie Driscoll in 2019 and Viktor Kilgore in 2020) put together their Ring winning teams, it appears that drafting is critically important to Dynasty Owner success. However, there are limits though on just looking back at past performance. Past performance is nice, but is only one part of your overall draft strategy.

There are plenty of ideas on how to construct a winning redraft or “regular” dynasty fantasy football league, but likely none of them can be fully applied to Dynasty Owner because of the inclusion of salaries and the salary cap. Players and analysts can’t even agree on what draft strategy or strategies work in non-Dynasty Owner leagues and with only two years of history, there are no long-standing Dynasty Owner draft strategies that can be evaluated to determine their effectiveness.

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

Standard Dynasty Owner scoring for kickers gives you 1 point for every extra point, while a missed extra point will cost you 1 point. It’s 2 points for a field goal of between 0 and 39 yards, 4 points for a field goal between 40 and 49 yards and 5 points for a field goal of 50 yards or longer. A missed field goal of between 0 and 39 yards will cost you 3 points, while a miss of 40 yards or more is a loss of 2 points.

For the purposes of this article, all Dynasty Owner fantasy points cited are from the full, 16 game 2020 NFL regular season. Salaries listed are current as of February 21st, 2021.

Draft Like a Ring Champion

Our first Chase for the Ring winner Eddie was able to draft the #1 QB (Lamar Jackson), RB (Christian McCaffrey), WR (Michael Thomas) and TE (Travis Kelce) for his team (New York’s Strongest) in his 2019 Dynasty Owner draft. He also traded for Dalvin Cook who finished 2019 as the #6 RB. The 2020 winner Viktor didn’t get all of the top players at each position in his draft, but was pretty close. Here are Viktor’s first six draft picks (in order):

Pick #PositionPlayer2020 Overall Rank2020 Position Rank
10QBPatrick Mahomes33
15RBDalvin Cook183
34WRTyreek Hill202
39TETravis Kelce241
58WRMike Evans4212
63WRDavante Adams171

As you can see, Viktor was able to draft the #1 TE (Travis Kelce) in the fourth round and the #1 WR (Davante Adams) in the sixth round. While they weren’t the best players at their position in 2020, his first three picks were solid as well. His first round pick of Patrick Mahomes finished the 2020 season as the #3 overall player, while his second round pick Dalvin Cook finished as the #3 RB and his third round pick Tyreek Hill was the #2 WR. He also picked up James Robinson (the #7 overall RB) off the Free Agent Auction the day before the season started.

Even though each Ring winner had a key player who they acquired outside of the draft, they both put together the starters for their team in their draft. If you draft like Eddie did in 2019 or Viktor did in 2020, you’ll probably be in good position to be the 2021 Ring winner.

The Limits of Relying Only on Past Season Performance

This is not to say that the way to win in 2021 is to just draft the best players from the 2020 season. Past performance is not an automatic indicator of future success. However, Dynasty Owners should still prepare for a 2021 Dynasty Owner draft by looking back at player performance in previous years. It’s a great way to start the draft process, but just recognized that there are limits to only using past performance.

If you just looked at Eddie’s roster from 2019 in preparation for your 2020 Dynasty Owner draft and in the unlikely event that you were able to draft those players in your 2020 Dynasty Owner draft, you wouldn’t have had nearly the same success. Both McCaffrey and Thomas missed a significant portion of the 2020 season, while Jackson’s scoring dropped significantly from 515.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 to 399.9 points in 2020. Only Kelce was able to improve on his top ranked 2019 performance in 2020 (314.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2020 versus 253.3 points in 2019). A team with Jackson, McCaffrey, Thomas and Kelce would have been good in 2020, but not a Ring winner team.

As previous articles have noted, full season performance is important, but sometimes it can hide what happened during the course of the season. Seeing that Kirk Cousins finished the 2020 season with 406.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (25.4 points per game) is good, but a closer look at his performance will lead Dynasty Owners discover that he only averaged 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the first half of the season, but over 30.8 points per game in the second half. Conversely, Russell Wilson was the #5 QB for the entire 2020 Dynasty Owner season. However, he was the first half MVP with 309.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in his first eight games, an average of 38.7 points per game. In the second half of 2020, his performance dropped considerably as he averaged 20.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.

And for Dynasty Owner purposes, we haven’t even touched on salaries yet, which could make a second half surge seem even better or a second half fade even worse. Deciding that you want to draft David Montgomery based on his improved performance in the second half of the 2020 season is great, but seeing that he’s scheduled to make “only” slightly over $1 million in 2021 makes him even more valuable in Dynasty Owner than other dynasty leagues. On the other hand, Ezekiel Elliott’s decline in performance after Dak Prescott’s season ending injury in Week 5 is a potential warning sign, but his lengthy contract and $15 million annual salary makes it worse if Dynasty Owners draft him and he doesn’t rebound in 2021.

What’s the Best Strategy for Drafting a Winning Team?

There are many ways to construct a winning fantasy football team. For every league with 10 teams, there are going to be 10 different draft and team management strategies. For 12 team leagues, there are 12 different strategies, and so on. It’s not just regular fantasy players though, even fantasy football experts don’t agree on draft strategy. For example, this analyst tells you to not draft waste an early draft pick on a tight end:

“Waiting to draft the tight end position is something that I have done every year and have had solid success with.”

While this analyst contends that grabbing an elite TE is the key to victory:

“Elite tight ends are difference-makers, so it’s perfectly fine to draft a George Kittle or Travis Kelce in Rounds 2-3, depending on your format.”

Those two opinions came from different analysts and represent pretty much opposite viewpoints on the value of when to draft a TE.

It’s not just analysts who disagree. There are other strategies that appear to fall in and out of favor depending on the year. A fantasy analyst can change his mind from season to season, as evidenced by these two headlines from the same analyst from a major newspaper at roughly the same point in the past two seasons:

How to win your fantasy football draft using the Zero RB strategy – August 19, 2019

Don’t waste your time with the Zero RB strategy in fantasy football drafts – August 31, 2020

Somehow the Zero RB strategy was a way to win in 2019, but not in 2020. Not sure what changed so dramatically in the fantasy football landscape between those two seasons to make Zero RB fall out of favor.

Fantasy football analysts and players alike appear to disagree on exactly how to construct your fantasy team through the draft, but everyone should agree on the importance of having a good draft.

Because Dynasty Owner is new and different than other fantasy football leagues and only has two years of history, there aren’t a lot of competing strategies out there on how to construct your Dynasty Owner team. In 2019, I put together a list of a few draft tips to help with the inaugural season of Dynasty Owner in 2019 (https://dynastyowner.com/2019/07/dynasty-owner-draft-tips/) and then revised them last year (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/05/draft-tips-2020/). They are largely the same but with some differences as Dynasty Owner has evolved over the past two seasons and the draft tips needed to evolve as well. What they aren’t yet is tested to see if they have worked. The good news is that the data exists to test those tips (and any others out there) and see if they in fact worked to help Dynasty Owners win in 2020 so Dynasty Owners drafting new teams can utilize them in 2021.

Conclusion

To win the Chase for the Ring in 2021 (or just your Dynasty Owner league), you’re going to have to draft well. It’s not likely that a Dynasty Owner team can survive on trading and Free Agent Auction pickups alone. While it might not be realistic to draft all of the top players at QB, RB, WR and TE like Eddie did in 2019, or even to grab five of the top 25 scoring players in the first six rounds of your Dynasty Owner draft like Viktor did last year, a good draft will go a long way towards lining your team up for success.

In order to draft well, everyone who wants to win needs to have a solid draft strategy. There’s no consensus on exactly how to construct a winning fantasy football team in “regular” fantasy football leagues that have been around for years, so it’s unlikely that there is a magic formula for Dynasty Owner at this early stage in our game’s history.

There might not be a single way to win in Dynasty Owner. In future weeks, we will dive into some data from the 2020 season to discover if there are any strategies or ideas recommended that worked last year. We will look at how 2020 Dynasty Owner league winners as well as those who finished in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring (the best of the best Dynasty Owner teams) drafted their teams. These data may uncover a strategy that you can use to win your league, or even the Ring, in 2021.

As mentioned earlier, there are 12 draft strategies in every Dynasty Owner league. What’s your strategy? Maybe there’s a way to look at the 2020 draft data and see if your strategy was effective last year and should be utilized again in 2020. Send out some of your ideas for Dynasty Owner draft strategies to examine in the future to me on Twitter (@SteveVT33) or post them in the comment section on YouTube.

My articles and videos on getting you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team will be out weekly throughout the off-season. Keep an eye out for new articles and videos from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owners writers as well. On Mondays, Nate Christian (@NateNFL) will break down rookies in his Prospect Preview. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is back for another year and will do a deep dive into contracts on Wednesdays. Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL) has his articles and videos on how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Thursdays. Read all of their articles, watch and like all of their videos on YouTube (and all of the other available formats, such as Spotify) and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Thanks to everyone for following, reading and watching!

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Prospect Preview: Javonte Williams

Position: RBWeight: 220
College: UNCAge: 20
Height: 5′ 10″247 Rating: 3 Stars (0.8344)

By Nate Christian (@NateNFL)

The Rundown:

Part of a historic North Carolina offense, Javonte Williams was half of a nasty 1-2 punch in the backfield with Michael Carter. Williams was the so-called “thunder”, while Carter played the part of “lightning”. The thunder was certainly real, and Williams found the end zone 19 times this past season. With 25 receptions thrown in there as well, Williams has quickly flown up draft boards as a player who can immediately step into a 3-down role at the next level.

College Production:

After a decent sophomore season (933 yards at a 5.6 average), Williams became one of the best college running backs in 2020. With a North Carolina team that at one point was ranked as high as 5th, Williams was able to better play his role in a stronger offense. That led to 1,140 yards on the ground, while averaging 7.3 yards per carry, and 22 total touchdowns. With his strength and speed combination, the highlights have been fun to watch, and everyone is starting to hop on the Williams hype-train. The production was good in his junior year, leading to his early declaration, but now we look forward to his NFL future.

Strengths:

  • NFL-Ready Size
    • At 5’ 10” and 220 pounds, Williams is a thick running back, and it’s somehow surprising that he still plays bigger than his size! His thick base gives him the ability to brush off arm tackles and punish smaller defenders for trying to square him up. He also has the upper body strength to utilize stiff arms and hold off defenders. His frame is set up perfectly for a 3-down role and in a world of specialization, Williams has the physical traits to be elite.
  • Angry Runner
    • Thanks to his size Williams controls a lot of power in his game. He’s an aggressive runner who isn’t scared of contact and sometimes, in fact, goes out of his way to create contact. This violent running style is a throwback to an older NFL, but also is a trend we could see start to come back as NFL defenders get smaller and quicker. He hardly ever goes down at first contact and runs with a good pad level to help create leverage 1v1 against defenders.
  • LOS Burst
    • While Williams is no track-star, his burst around the Line of Scrimmage is impressive. His ability to hit the hole and come out the other side at nearly full speed gives him an advantage that most other backs his size don’t have. This ability helps his versatility as he can not only get to the second level quickly between the tackles, but he also has the acceleration to break it to the outside and beat a linebacker to the edge.

Weaknesses:

  • Average on Passing Downs
    • Maybe it was due to Carter being a passing-down extraordinaire, but Williams seemed average at best when it came to his role in the passing game. He was able to make most of the catches that came his way, but it didn’t seem as natural as some other backs nor did his routes look great. The biggest knock though, is his pass protection. A very important, yet underrated, ability in the NFL, Williams will be limited on NFL passing downs until he shows improvement in this area.
  • Lack of Elusiveness
    • The power and the burst are there, and the yards after contact is impressive, but the actual missed tackles (in the sense of making a defender whiff) are not prevalent on the film. This is certainly not a death sentence for Williams’ profile, that’s not the staple of his game, but it is something to be aware of. In the NFL the defenders are bigger and stronger than in the ACC, so you can’t always rely on simply running over them. His lateral ability is good enough to make some defenders miss, but he isn’t likely to create a ton of yardage when coming up to a defender in open space.

Things to Watch:

I’m very interested in seeing what Williams’ measurables end up looking like, even though usually I think of testing as more trivial in comparison to tape. His athleticism is apparent on film, but I want to see better numbers than David Montgomery ($1,111,577), who is my player comparison but didn’t do so well at the combine. Beating a 4.63 40-Yard Dash and the rest of Montgomery’s numbers, shouldn’t prove too difficult for Williams, but I do believe it is important for his draft stock. He has the thickness and frame that NFL teams want to see, but the athleticism and numbers will have to match what we see on tape. But remember, Pro Days always swing a bit in the prospect’s favor.

Projected Round/Contract:

With the recent trend in devaluing running backs in the NFL, long gone are the days of us seeing four or five RBs go in the first round. Every now and then we get a couple that sneak into the back half of the first round, but with the plug and play ability it’s happening less and less. This means that when Day 2 of the NFL Draft starts, there’s a flurry of moves to get your guy at the position. Last year we saw five running backs picked in the second round (the most of any round in the 2020 NFL Draft), and the talent was there. Williams slides into a similar draft slot as Cam Akers ($1,402,962) in the middle of the second round. This would give him a 4-year contract worth roughly $6,000,000.

Team Fits:

Javonte Williams is a versatile back who could be used on all three downs in the NFL but likely starts off in a more traditional two-down role. He’ll have to work on his transition after the catch as well as the all-important ability to protect his quarterback on passing downs. With that in mind, one team he would fit well with is the Seattle Seahawks (assuming Chris Carson doesn’t re-sign). Javonte Williams would fit that power-run scheme very well, and while he’s learning the intricacies of blitz pickups Deejay Dallas ($903,600) and/or Rashaad Penny ($3,425,367) could play out of the backfield on passing downs. The scheme fits seem near perfect in this instance and is one to watch if Williams is still on the board when the Seahawks pick with the 24th pick in the 2nd round.

Another good landing spot for Williams is the Miami Dolphins. Now whether the Dolphins will draft a RB or not is up in the air, Myles Gaskin ($871,694) played very well as the lead back in 2020 and is a cheap option for the team. Moving on from Gaskin will mean the Dolphins are looking for a top back who can do it all, and Williams could fit that mold for the young team. Landing in Miami would be a big boost for William’s fantasy stock as the team is built to succeed and he would likely see a high volume of opportunities from Day 1.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

The Top 10 Players You Should Trade Away When Rebuilding

By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFLL)

Well now that the 2020 NFL season is finally in the books it’s time for owners to start looking at the future of their roster, instead of the present. My 10-year-old son just finished his first real dynasty experience and the questions he asks me from time to time are quite comical. He was able to make the playoffs in his first year and for the most part his future looks bright, I say for the most part because he drafted Drew Brees in a super flex format and as we all know Brees is likely going to retire. The first question he asked me going into the offseason was why in the world did I draft Drew Brees, or in a more realistic version… Why did you let me draft Drew Brees’ dad? I laughed and told him it’s because you already had L. Jackson, Hill, Kittle, and Metcalf, but even after that he still didn’t fully grasp the why of it all.

I then broke it down in ways he could understand and told him with what your core was projected to do in 2020, Brees was the pick you made in hopes of winning a championship. I bring this little story up because he will be starting Dynasty Owner this season and am sure he will run into a similar situation again, only this time he should fully understand the choice he is making. What’s left for him to try and decide this off season is if he is willing to trade future draft capital to replace Brees with a quality quarterback that has a bright future, does he try to get lucky in free agency in hopes to capitalize on injury or bad player, or does he run the year with just Jackson and play for a higher draft pick (I feel his team is too good for this option).

I have also been trying to explain to him that even though his team looks great right now that making the wrong move this offseason could really hurt his future and even send him into a rebuild. These are the types of situations that make or break most fantasy owner’s seasons and must be handled correctly to stay competitive. My best advice to him or any other owner in this situation is, if you feel you have good enough receivers and backs to not have a 1st round pick for a year or two then make a trade but do not overspend simply because you need a quarterback.

Before we get into the article, I want to touch on one more interesting thing about my son and his team which is how much different he would approach this offseason if he would have drafted a player like Julio Jones instead of Metcalf. If he drafted Julio over Metcalf my advice to him would be to trade everyone listed except for Kittle, and possibly Jackson, though I feel trading Jackson could net the resources to revamp the entire quarterback position. I bring this up because something so small as changing one player with similar production can completely change your way of thinking for the future, meaning everyone’s rebuild is different. That being said if you have read these articles and just don’t feel I’ve hit the topic you need to hear about feel free to contact me on Twitter.

In today’s article I will be breaking down the top 10 players I would trade in a rebuild. This list will go in order with number 1 being who I think will net the most value in a trade while number 10 would bring the least amount of value in a trade. I will also take a deep dive into these players’ 2020 performance’s, salaries, and why a rebuilding owner should trade these players. I will not be listing what I feel each player’s true trade value is, because every owner values players and picks differently. One thing to remember is that these are players rebuilding owners should look to trade, if you are competing for a championship these may be players to help your team. I am sure these are players most wouldn’t even consider trading but in a rebuild you must think differently.

Players to Trade

1. Lamar Jackson- 2 years ($2,367,912), $5,921(DD/PT), 400 fantasy points scored.

I have a feeling most will probably laugh and not take trading Jackson with serious thought. While you may be right there are multiple reasons I have him number 1 on this list. If you were to trade Jackson tomorrow you will receive a massive haul in return and while trading Jackson seems silly it’s much deeper than just, what you’ll get in terms of value for him in return. Jackson had a down year this season, especially in the fantasy world and while he holds massive upside because of his legs they also scare me the most too. Jackson is in line to get a shiny new deal and while that means long term security it also doesn’t ease my future concerns with Jackson.

In 2020 defenses certainly didn’t have an answer for Jackson but they were able to contain him for the most part, especially through the air, and while he is still young the amount of rushing, I feel he’s going to have to handle year in and year out may break his body down quick, fast, and in a hurry…. Just look at Cam Newton. When I break down Lamar Jackson for a team that is rebuilding, I truly think trading him before he signs his new deal is the smart thing to do. The deal Jackson signs should be somewhere near Mahomes territory, and I can only imagine how tough it is going to be to build around a deal like that.

I do not want anyone to take this as me not endorsing Jackson because I would love to have him on any of my teams, I just feel that the risks of Jackson getting injured, taking another step back passing, his new deal that’s coming, and what he can net in a trade that the smart play is to try and move him. If you want to get creative, try to deal Jackson for a Herbert or Burrow plus depending on the owner.

2. Alvin Kamara- 5 years ($15,000,000), $2,539 (DD/PT), 380 fantasy points scored.

You will notice a trend as we move down this list with running backs and 2nd contracts. The most recent memory of Kamara that stands out in owner’s heads is the 6-touchdown performance Kamara put up during championship week and I feel it’s something you should exploit if you own Kamara and are entering a rebuild.

The 2 things I have just mentioned above is exactly why Kamara owners should be looking to deal. The first major red flag is the number of running backs we have seen fail in very recent memory when playing on their 2nd contract. In the NFL running backs generally fall off after their rookie deals and while it’s not always the case it’s not something I don’t like betting against. I am sure many will question this with the fact that Kamara still has some highly productive years ahead of him, and while those people are right, they are only right from certain points of view.

If you have a team that isn’t going to be competitive why keep a talent like Kamara who will more than likely be much more unproductive when your team is ready to win. The 2nd reason is the 6td performance stuck in owner’s head’s which will likely drive up the value. Another reason I would insist on trading Kamara is the fact that Drew Brees is likely going to retire, and the fact Kamara has been somewhat touchdown dependent averaging 14.5 touchdowns per season, something we could see bounce back to reality with a new look offense, especially if that offense stars Taysom Hill.

3. Derrick Henry- 4 year ($12,500,000), $27,922(DD/PT), 368 fantasy points scored.

Yes, the back-to-back rushing champ is 3rd on this list. Derrick Henry has easily been the fiercest, most bruising, abusing, and old school running back we have seen in a long time, and that is exactly why I recommend owners trade him. Running backs like Henry take a ton of abuse and rarely ever leave the field, they’re just too important to be on the sidelines. Which makes him one of my top trade candidates for rebuilding owners.

As mentioned with Kamara Henry is now going into a new contract, which means he has some mileage on his body. In 2020 Henry had a monstrous 2027 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. When you hear Henry’s name you still think of prime Derrick Henry and one of the best backs in the league and is exactly why you should be using that to your advantage to trade him. If there is a running back in the NFL that could buck this trend, we have seen in recent years its Henry but is that a risk you’ll have to be willing to take.

If you have Henry, he will more than likely be a shell of what we know now when it comes time for your team to compete for titles. I also want to touch on the fact that Henry lost his offensive coordinator this off season to the Falcons head coaching job and it’s not something anyone should overlook. Arthur Smith is one of the game’s best up and coming offensive minds and if that causes Tannehill to falter it will affect Henry, and while Tannehill playing bad certainly isn’t the end of Henry it would put a damper on his outlook.

4. Dalvin Cook- 5 year ($12,600,000), $4,502 (DD/PT), 353 fantasy points scored.

Another expensive running back heading into their second deal, another trade candidate. Dalvin Cook was magnificent in 2020 finishing with 1918 total yards and 17 touchdowns. As I mentioned with Henry fantasy owners are very high on Cook and any contending team would be thrilled to have him on their roster so use it to your advantage and make them pay a little extra. Cook has had a somewhat rough injury history missing 2 games in 2020 and it should definitely be taken into consideration here as a rebuilding owner.

The combination of injury history, a 2nd contract, and the salary you will pay him as a rebuilding owner is all I need to hear to put him 4th on this list. You can also use Cook’s deal as a positive outlook to the owner you’re offering him to by preaching security and the fact the Vikings must believe he can stay healthy to pay him what they did. Cool should net a significant haul if traded.

5. Ezekiel Elliot- 5 year ($15,000,000), $67,659 (DD/PT), 222 fantasy points scored.

As much as I hate putting him on this list as a die-hard Ohio State fan, I just have too. If you were a Zeke owner in 2020 you were highly disappointed and probably would have had a tough time trading him if you tried. All of that said Zeke played well until Prescott went down and had a big game late in the year, he also played behind a horrible offensive line compared to what he has grown accustomed to.

When Prescott went down the entire Cowboys offense struggled mightily, and Zeke just never got anything going. I feel trading Zeke now and getting some value and salary relief while you still can is the smart play. Use Prescott coming back as a conversation starter in any Zeke trade. This may be one of the trades mentioned in an earlier article where you trade Zeke and take a bad contract plus your value in return.

6. Tom Brady- 1 year ($25,000,000), $54,981 (DD/PT), 455 fantasy points scored

The amount of crap I talk about Brady he just had to be on this list. Terrific Tom just finished the most unprecedented season we have ever seen. At 43 Brady tossed the pigskin for 4633 yards and 40 touchdowns, in just his first season in Tampa Bay. Brady should only get better next season as he played some of his best ball as the year went on, and that’s exactly what you should be selling to anyone that will buy.

A what should be a top 5-10 quarterback next season for $25 million is what you’re hoping other owners see and, in some cases, you may have to open their eyes a bit because some may only look at 43 years old. Brady could be the perfect quarterback for someone’s championship run which should net solid value. As I’ve mentioned before cheaper quarterbacks in the top 10 don’t grow on trees use that to your advantage in a league where bench points matter.

7. Melvin Gordon- 1 year ($8,000,000), $40,323 (DD/PT), 198 fantasy points scored.

When I sat down to really think about this list, I just kept coming back to Gordon feeling that he should be lower, but then I just kept thinking about how gross the running back position was in 2020 and that thought won. In my personal opinion if I am rebuilding and have a running back that’s starting to age, I’m trading them before the season while memories of owners desperately looking for production at the running back spot are still fresh, Gordon fits right into that category.

Gordon just missed the 1,000-yard mark finishing with 986 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns while sharing carries with Phillip Lindsey, which should bring back good value from contending owners. When trading Gordon try and sell how bad Lindsey was in the 2nd half of the 2020 season before getting hurt and the fact that Lindsay is an inept receiver while Gordon excels catching the ball, all of that combined should lead to a larger Gordon role in 2021. Gordon also finally improved in a category he has typically struggled in at a solid 4.6 yards per carry which can only help in trade talks.

8. Tyler Lockett- 1 year ($10,250,000), $37,879 (DD/PT) 271 fantasy points scored.

Can you find anyone who was more inconsistent than Tyler Lockett in 2020? While that statement has some truth Lockett still posted solid numbers most weeks finishing as the wide receiver 8 in Dynasty Owner in 2020. On the season Lockett broke the 1,000-yard mark and had 10 touchdowns. When trying to trade Lockett, keep the opposite owner focused on the big performances, as well as overall season stats, and try to place the blame of the downs on an inconsistent Seattle offense instead of rough Lockett weeks.

The news of Chris Carson being unlikely to resign with Seattle bodes well for the passing attack and Locket’s outlook. The Seahawks future has dimmed quite a bit in recent weeks with the frustrated Wilson finally voicing his opinion which will certainly hurt the value of Lockett. The best bet in this scenario is to wait out some of the drama with Russ and then trade Lockett.

9. Brandin Cooks- 3 years ($16,200,000), $69,828 (DD/PT), 232 fantasy points scored.

I honestly feel horrible for Cooks, the guy finally seems to have found a home and now the quarterback wants to leave town, thus leaving his future outlook in potential shambles. If Watson was a sure thing to come back, Cooks may not even be on this list, but the reality is Watson does not want anything to do with the Texans.

At 27 years old it is possible to justify keeping a player like Cooks who could have his best days ahead of him, if he has a quarterback. The best bet on trading Cooks would be to find an owner who either doesn’t mind if Watson leaves, or one that doesn’t think Watson will leave town. Cooks finished with solid numbers in 2020 with 1150 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns, despite struggling badly until O’Brien was fired. Cook’s outlook is way too uncertain to not trade him at this point, that is unless you like to gamble.

10. Adam Thielen- 4 years ($16,050,000), $63,189 (DD/PT), 254 fantasy points scored.

Last but not least we have Adam Theilen of the Minnesota Vikings. At 30 years old it may be a little too late to get great trade value in return for Thielen, but you should still be able to get something of value. This will be a trade where you will have to take a bad contract to send Thielen out because of his age and salary other owners will be wary… oh yea and a kid named Jefferson doesn’t help. Thielen was extremely touchdown dependent in 2020 to the point he would have been unstart-able a lot of weeks if it weren’t for his massive touchdown total. Thielen finished the year with 925 yards receiving and a whopping 14 touchdowns in 15 games. When trying to trade Thielen focus solely on his 14 touchdowns and the amount of goal line targets he gets in this offense.

Conclusion

As you can tell there are so many different ways you can rebuild a roster. When rebuilding the best ways to expedite your process are usually the outside of the box ones like trading Lamar Jackson, or Alvin Kamara when no one else expects you too. If you really sit back and think about it, if your roster is weak in several spots why not trade someone who will net you multiple 1st round picks and/or players. I look forward to hearing the differing opinions on these 10 players. As always good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!

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Contract Speculation and Breakdown: Carolina Panthers

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Two teams down and two to go…That’s right, this month is more than halfway over, and we are halfway through the NFC South. Up today we have another team that had a rough season to say the least. The Carolina Panthers finished third in their division at 5-11. I know football is a game that doesn’t rely on a single player. In fact, it is probably the furthest away you can get from a single player sport. That being said, the loss of Christian McCaffrey was clearly an insurmountable problem for the Panthers. CMC played only three games in 2020, and he strung Dynasty Owners along all season. When a player suffers an injury that is season ending it is devastating, no doubt. But I would argue that it’s worse to have a Joe Mixon or CMC type injury where the Owner thinks there is hope of return just to be disappointed in the end. This scenario is true about both Mixon and CMC. They both suffered serious injuries, but there was optimism a return to action was coming. Neither were able to provide any semblance of fantasy production over the second half of the season. In the three games that McCaffrey did play, he averaged 30.1 fantasy points per game. An unreal and seemingly unsustainable production. We look ahead to 2021 where Christian should leave the pain of 2020 behind him.

Contract Speculation

I have noted only two Dynasty Owner rosterable free agents for the Panthers this year. As always, the term “rosterable” is subjective, but I feel these are the only two players worth mentioning from an Owner’s standpoint. The players are Mike Davis and Curtis Samuel. We’ll get to Samuel in a bit, but first I want to talk about a player I was fortunate enough to own last year in both of my DO leagues: Mike Davis

Davis is a 27-year-old running back who has completed six years of service in the NFL. It would be appropriate to consider him a journeyman player as he has played on four different teams in those six years. Davis signed a two-year contract worth $6,000,000 with the Bears in 2019 prior to being released by them in the same year. Carolina claimed Mike off waivers, and he kept his original contract. Well, that contract is expiring, and he looks to continue his career as a backup. It’s hard to imagine that Davis showed enough this season to warrant a lead back opportunity on any team. While he was an effective fantasy asset (he finished the season as RB12) he was also unreliable from week to week as more than half of his games ended in less than 11 fantasy points. Here were the high points from Davis’ season…

  • Massive Opportunity:  Davis ranked 13th in touches for the 2020 season. (224)
  • A Target Hog:  Davis received the fifth most running back targets in 2020. (70)
  • High Touchdown Total:  Davis went for six rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns. He was also a very reliable “goal to go” player as five of his six rushing touchdowns came inside the five-yard line.
  • Sure Hands:  Davis not only ranked sixth in the entire NFL in catch percentage (84.3%), but he also had only a single fumble all season.

Now for the bad…

  • Inefficiency:  Davis constantly underwhelmed in the efficiency category (one that most of you know is my favorite). He rushed 165 times for 642 yards on the season for a mediocre 3.6 yards per carry.
  • No Bonuses:  Despite the extremely healthy workload Davis had all season, he was unable to crack 100 rushing yards in any game. I understand this Dynasty Owner two-point bonus is not the pinnacle of fantasy production, but with a running back of Davis’ caliber, you think he would have accomplished that feat at least once.
  • Lackluster Second Half:  Davis had inconsistent games throughout 2020, but they also seem to be back loaded towards the end of the season. Here are his final nine games played in 2020:  (8.6 – 8.7 – 8.7 – 8.4 – 15.9 – 10.9 – 26.3 – 8.1 – 8.8)  The number of eight-point fantasy games are mind boggling, but even more concerning is the idea that maybe he isn’t used to a full workload for an entire season. I’m not claiming that to be the case, but you better be sure that prospective teams are considering that.

So, what does all this mean? This means that Davis will make a team in 2021. He will be rostered. The extent to which he plays is anyone’s guess. I tend to believe past history doesn’t lie, and it will dictate his 2021 season. He should find his way to a team in need of running back depth and possibly a change of pace/goal line back. This is certainly a valuable player to have if you are an NFL franchise. The problem is that his real-world value is most likely not going to translate over to fantasy value. I predict he’ll sign a contract similar to 2 years for 8 million dollars. This will put him right at $4,000,000 per year and worth rostering in Dynasty Owner in case his lead back goes down with an injury. Continue to roster Davis confidently until we see where he signs.

Up next we have one of my favorite free agents of this offseason and a contract that I can’t wait to see unfold. The player is Curtis Samuel. Before I get into the specifics of Samuel, let me give you a blind player pool to look at. I’ll post a table with five players and their 2020 stats. You tell me who you would rather have…

ReceptionsTotal YardsTouchdowns2020 FP
Alpha661,2154211.5
Bravo771,0515211.1
Charlie911,0013207.3
Delta728504189.6
Echo978319231.1

Okay, who would you rather own? I know this is kind of an impossible question to ask because you’re likely to just take the player with the most total points last year. Without giving much more away, I’ll give you each player’s Dynasty Dollar per Fantasy Point (DD/FP) for last year as well…

DD/FP
Alpha13,205
Bravo7,643
Charlie4,621
Delta79,641
Echo4,539

It’s safe to assume that most of these players were on cheap contracts given the fact that all but one has a low DD/FP. That is a correct assumption. Everyone except for Delta made under $3,000,000 in 2020. So, do you have guesses as to who any of these players are? You know that one of them is probably Curtis Samuel. Any idea who he may be? Well, here it is…

ReceptionsTotal YardsTouchdowns2020 FP
D.J. Moore661,2154211.5
C. Samuel771,0515211.1
C. Kupp911,0013207.3
J. Landry728504189.6
J. Smith-Schuster978319231.1

Any surprises? I suppose the biggest shock is my main point. Samuel was comparable, if not more productive, than his four coworkers on this list. He was arguably the most reliable and consistent wide receiver for the Panthers in 2020 especially over the back half of the season. Once again, I ask, “what does it mean?”  Well, Curtis is only 24 years old and is set to be an unrestricted free agent. Spotrac has his “Calculated Market Value” at 12.4 million dollars per year. The closest contract we’ve seen that is comparable to Samuel’s upcoming contract is probably Stefon Diggs’ when he signed for $14,400,000 per year for five years. Now, I’m not saying that Samuel is on Diggs’ level production wise, but he will command a similar type contract given the fact that “wide receiver money” has been rising consistently.

Contract Breakdown

For my breakdown today I’m going to keep it simple. I’m not going to overthink it. We’re going to just be talking about the best “fantasy” running back in the league:  Christian McCaffrey. Notice how I didn’t say, “the best running back in the league.”  While I think he is clearly amazingly talented and athletic, I think he is well outside the Top 2 for best true running back. So, let’s get talking…

CMC had a season to forget. As I mentioned in the opening, he only played three games, but he provided 30.1 fantasy points per game during those three. That production is not sustainable, and he would have surely dipped below that average had he played an entire season.

Or would he have?

I wanted to find out for myself, so I took a look at his 2019 season. Wouldn’t you know it, he averaged exactly 30.1375 fantasy points per game. UNREAL! Then I started to think, “what would his actual stats have looked like for 2020 if he would have averaged the same production season long? Here is the 2020 projected season compared to his actual 2019 season…

Rush AttRush YdsRecRec YardsTDsFP
2019 Season2871,3871161,00519482.2
2020 Season3141,1949079432481.6

Hopefully this gives a little more of an explanation. We can see that CMC was less efficient in every way for the 2020 season except for touchdown percentage. Yes, it is a small sample size of three games, but it is still data. He was, proveably, less efficient in 2020 than 2019. He was good. There is no doubt about it, but his unsustainable touchdown rate is what inflated his fantasy points per game last year. So yes, I would argue that unless his efficiency made some major improvements, he was on an unsustainable pace. Now, let’s take a look at his comparison to fellow players before we wrap this article up…

2021 SalaryYearsFantasy PointsDD/FP
CMC$16,015,8754481.6$33,256
A. Kamara$15,000,0005379.9$39,484
E. Elliot$15,000,0005221.7$67,659
D. Cook$12,600,0005352.8$35,714
D. Henry$12,500,0004368.1$33,958

Here are the top five highest paid running back in the NFL for 2021 (minus David Johnson. I didn’t include DJ in this comparison as he finished outside the Top 20 for RBs in 2020, and he would be an extreme outlier.)  We can see that CMC is not only the highest paid back in this group, but he is also (according to DD/FP) the biggest value as well. It’s rare to compare five players of any position and find that the most expensive one holds the most value. This is especially true when talking about a 3-million-dollar difference in contract. At any rate, based on 2019 and 2020 data, CMC is still the back to own of any of these five. Now, you could make a case for any of these other running backs for the long term, but I myself would still take CMC. Let me ask you this question…off the top of your head, who do you think is the youngest of these five players?

It’s not a trick question. The answer is McCaffrey. Not only is he the youngest, but it’s not even close. Kamara, Cook and Elliot were all born in the summer of 1995 and Henry was born in the winter of 1994. CMC was born in the spring of 1996. That may not be surprising to you, but it was for me. CMC is still my choice off all these elite running backs. Once we get started talking about Saquon, Taylor or Sanders, then we may have a better conversation, but of these five, he is the pick.

Thank you for reading and be sure to watch the video that relates to this article. Next week I’ll be wrapping up the NFC South as we will discuss the New Orleans Saints and a handful of contracts. Please follow us on Twitter @Dynasty_Owner and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk