Roster Roundup – Round Four: NFC South

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Coronavirus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we’ll take a look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we’ll examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

Atlanta Falcons

HC: Dan Quinn

OC: Dirk Koetter

QB: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Kurt Benkert, Danny Etling

RB: Todd Gurley, Brian Hill, Qadree Ollison, Ito Smith, Craig Reynolds, Mikey Daniel, Keith Smith

WR: Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russel Gage, Laquon Treadwell, Christian Blake, Olamide Zaccheus, Devin Gray, Brandon Powell, Jalen McCleskey, Juwan Green, Chris Rowland

TE: Hayden Hurst, Khari Lee, Jaeden Graham, Carson Meier, Jared Pinkney, Caleb Repp

Matt Ryan is as reliable as they come. He has only missed one game in the last 10 years and unfortunately, is often overlooked. In the last decade, he has only one season where he hasn’t topped 4,000 yards. Ryan has also eclipsed 300+ yards in the 64 games he’s played. That is an insane rate of production for the 35-year-old out of Boston College. Ryan has a ton of targets in the passing game and should find his way back into the top 12 in QB scoring. The rest of the QB depth chart is very underwhelming with veteran Matt Schaub as the #2. Former LSU QB turned WR turned QB, Danny Etling is also present but has an uphill battle to make the team.

Todd Gurley is on a one-year contract valued at $5.5 million. He and his hefty contract were dumped by the Rams and one day later, Atlanta scooped him up to replace Devonta Freeman. Gurley is incredible when healthy and he is a true every down back when healthy. Health is a major concern when considering rostering Gurley. His arthritic right knee coupled with a history of an ACL tear, turf toe, and ankle sprains all are reasons for concern for Gurley. But, when he’s good, he’s really good. He is a natural pass catcher with an average of 9.6 yards per catch during his five-year career, he has also posted gaudy (again, when healthy) yards per carry averages of 4.8, 3.2, 4.7, 4.9, 3.8. Yards per carry is an overblown metric but it does tell a story here that he is elite when his body allows him to be. Still just 25 years old, he is hopeful to put together a solid season that extends his life in his home of Georgia.

Behind Gurley, there is little to be excited about. Ito Smith may be the first one up before Brian Hill, but both had their chance when Freeman went down last year. Smith is the shiftier of the two with better receiving chops and Brian Hill is between the 20’s guy to move the chains. The problem is…neither were effective when given the opportunity last year. Hill left all fantasy owners in the dust that took a chance on him in 2019 with 1.83 YPC in his two starts. Qadree Ollison is their goal line banger but is too one dimensional for much more.

Julio Jones is the best receiver in the NFL. There doesn’t need to be a debate, he wins. Yes, Michael Thomas had an extremely impressive season, but nobody does it better than Julio. He has 57 career TD’s, 55 games with at least 100+ yards and has amassed an incredible 12,125 yards. Just for perspective, Julio Jones’ 12,125 career yards is the equivalent of running from New Jersey to California 5 times over. He’s a beast and he’s primed for another solid campaign in 2020. As good as Jones is, he is the highest priced receiver around at $22 million per year. Calvin Ridley is a special talent and everyone with a voice is comparing his upcoming season to a Chris Godwin-like breakout. Ridley has already made an impact on this team in his first two seasons. So far, he has been targeted over 90 times, has over 60 receptions, went over 800 yards and has 17 touchdowns in two years. Those efficiency numbers are crazy for 90ish targets a year. In order for him to “breakout”, he will have to assume some of the 133 vacated targets from Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu. Russel Gage is an undervalued player in fantasy that could be in for an expanded role from his 69 targets in 2019. He trumps Ridley in reception percentage, drop rate, and yards after catch. That doesn’t mean Gage is in any way a better receiver, it means he operates on different parts of the field and route tree. Keep an eye on him when filling out the end of your bench. The Falcons have brought in former 1st rounder Laquon Treadwell and will attempt to get some value out of him as their 4th/5th receiver.

Austin Hooper was a target vacuum operating as Matt Ryan’s safety valve. He was lost in free agency to Cleveland, so the Falcons went out and traded 2nd and 4th round picks for Hayden Hurst in March. Hurst is a capable athlete and moves well for his size (6’4”/250lbs) and will fill in nicely as the intermediate pass target. A former minor league baseball player in the Pirates organization, Hurst walked on to South Carolina and set school records as a tight end in just his second year. He is 27 years old next month and is set to become a big part of this high-octane passing game. Hurst is a fantastic value at $2.8 with this year and next left on his contract.  Graham and Lee will be his direct backups and barring injury, will have a hard time with fantasy production.

Carolina Panthers

HC: Matt Rhule

OC: Joe Brady

QB: Teddy Bridgewater, Will Grier, PJ Walker

RB: Christian McCaffrey, Reggie Bonnafon, Jordan Scarlett, Mike Davis, Rodney Smith, Alex Armah

WR: DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel, Pharoh Cooper, Seth Roberts, DeAndrew White, Brandon Zylstra, Ishmael Hyman, Omar Bayless, Damion Jeanpeire JR, Keith Kirkwood, TreVontae Hights

TE: Ian Thomas, Chris Manhertz, Temarrick Hemmingway, Colin Thompson, Giovanni Ricci, Cam Sutton

Rookie head coach Matt Rhule is known for turning college programs around. He has his work cut out for him with the team that he inherited in Carolina though. With an abysmal 2019 defensive showing, the Panthers used every one of this year’s draft picks on defensive players. This team is in search of a new identity since the departure of 9-year head coach Ron Rivera, and franchise cornerstones Greg Olsen, Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.

Rhule isn’t alone in the team’s rebuild, they also brought in new OC Joe Brady who served as the passing game coordinator for the National Champions LSU. The Panthers certainly have talent at the skill positions with fantasy star Christian McCaffrey, 2020 breakout WR DJ Moore, and newly acquired Robby Anderson. There should be plenty of opportunities for new QB Teddy Bridgewater to hike the ball in comeback mode. Bridgewater is a competent QB on a team friendly salary ($21 million/3 years) without much competition behind him. Will Grier got thrown into the fire last year as a rookie and did not perform well. It appeared it was too much too soon for the young Grier. Hopefully better days are ahead for him, but he will have to fight off XFL standout P.J. Walker for the NO.2 spot behind Bridgewater. Walker reunites with college coach Rhule after serving as the face of the XFL. He is a dual threat in both the pass and run game and is an intriguing player to add to the watch list especially since Bridgewater has only played a full 16 games once in 5 seasons in the NFL.

Christian McCaffrey is one of those players that you can build a team around in both real life and fantasy football. He is loved by his teammates and coaches for his incredible work ethic and he is just plain fun to watch. With him you get a RB1 and a WR1 in the same package. In his three seasons in the league, his rushing and receiving yards have gone up each year as well as his touchdowns, rush attempts, targets, yards per game and yards per catch. He is a fantasy owner’s dream with these incredible stats, and he is one of the last bellow backs playing over 92% of the snaps over the past two seasons. If you are comfortable with his $16 million per year salary, get this guy on your team. His backup predicts to be Reggie Bonnafon but apparently veteran journeyman, Mike Davis is also in the mix for the role of fantasy’s least used reserve running back.

The receiving group is led by 2019 breakout D.J. Moore. Moore’s target total was good for 10th in the league while having Will Grier and Kyle Allen under center. With what should be a pass heavy offense, Moore is sure to improve on his 87/1,175/4 line from 2020. Moore ($2.8 million/3 years) is a prime example of top talent meets low cost in Dynasty Owner. Joining Moore is former Jet Robby Anderson. Anderson was also coached by Rhule in his days at Temple University. Anderson’s 15 YPC are elite in NFL terms but he doesn’t quite mesh with Bridgewater’s style of play. Teddy B is not known for his downfield throwing prowess but hopefully that all changes this year. The often-overlooked Curtis Samuel rounds out the starting Panthers’ receivers and we can only hope this coaching staff can tap into Samuel’s potential. He is a dynamic playmaker that just seemed to play out of position the last few seasons. He is uniquely capable of being a sure-handed possession type receiver as well as going down field. It is now Ian Thomas time. Greg Olsen had a fantastic career as a Panther. He has since moved on to the Las Vegas Raiders, opening the door for the freakishly athletic Ian Thomas. Thomas was drawing attention as early as his rookie year training camp. Entering his third year, the former fourth round pick is poised to take a big leap as a full time starter after filling in admirably for the oft injured Olsen.

New Orleans Saints

HC: Sean Payton

OC: Pete Carmichael

QB: Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, Jameis Winston, Tommy Stevens

RB: Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, Ty Montgomery, Dwayne Washington, Taquan Mizzell, Ricky Ortiz, Tony Jones Jr, Mike Burton

WR: Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, Austin Carr, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Juwan Johnson, Marquez Callaway, Krishawn Hogan, Emmanuel Butler, Tommylee Lewis, Maurice Harris

TE: Jared Cook, Josh Hill, Adam Trautman, Garrett Griffin, Jason Vander Laan, Cole Wick

The Saints may just have the best overall team on paper. They are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and are a favorite to go deep into the playoffs. Sean Payton has done an incredible job as head coach and play caller in his 13 seasons as head coach. The Saints are perceived to be in win now mode and they just might have the roster to award Payton with his second Lombardi trophy.  The team’s heart and soul reside with the player that wears #9. Drew Brees is iconic and has done more for the Saints organization than any other player in their history. His rapidly declining arm strength is a problem since that was always a big part of his game, but Payton adjusted accordingly the last two years and it has worked out well so far.

Brees is a bit of a Jekyl and Hyde when it comes to home/road splits. When he is home playing in a dome, he’s a must start in fantasy. When they are away is when things get dicey. He scores nearly four less fantasy points when he is away. Things may even out a bit in 2020 considering that he may not be taking so many deep shots by design. Brees’ salary is mid-range at $25 million and is in the range of Brady, Carr, Rivers. A big downer for Brees is Taysom Hill’s presence in Red Zone packages. Used more as a runner/receiver than a passer, Hill is a serious threat when the ball touches his hands. He more closely resembles a TE than a rushing QB, Hill is a gritty player that has a high price tag for a sub package QB. Rounding out the mentionable QBs is Jameis Winston. The former Buccaneer has a notorious 2019 season and was handed his walking papers by Bruce Arians and co. He signed an extremely modest deal to learn under Payton and Brees and hopes to turn his career around in 2021.

The running game again figures to be the focal point of the Saint’s offense. Kamara is a game changer but was hampered by back, knee and ankle injuries last year limiting him to just 14 games. Not only does he get the starter’s share of carries, he also averages 6 catches per game in his career. Expecting a return to form, Kamara is expected to return to top 3-5 RB status and offers a great one-year rental rate of less than $1 million this year. Latavius Murray was the number one back in fantasy when he was covering for Kamara in his 3 missed games last year. When given a chance, he could be a monster back behind this beast of an offensive line. The problem is; this offense hasn’t generated enough touches for Murray to be a viable start with a healthy Kamara in the lineup. Yes, Kamara and Mark Ingram were both top 6 fantasy back in 2017 but they also didn’t have a mature Michael Thomas soaking up 149 receptions. Ty Mongomery expects to be Alvin Kamara’s direct handcuff for 2020. Montgomery is a fun player to watch because he has the natural hands of a receiver but the running ability of a running back. Now liberated from Adam Gase’s rule, Montgomery might just niche himself a nice role in an offense led by a coach that may actually know how to use him.

This passing attack goes through one man. Michael Thomas has set an NFL record for most receptions (470) and receiving yards (5,512) in the first four years of his career. He is a true target monster that hauled in an incredible 149 receptions for 1,725 yards on an insane 80.5% catch rate. All of those metrics were NFL bests in 2019 and his receptions were good for an NFL best all-time! He figures to pick up where he left off last season but now, he has legitimate help across from him. Emmanuel Sanders proved many wrong last year as he quickly rebounded from a 2018 Achilies injury to produce a line of 66/869/5 while kicking in three 100-yard games during his stay with Denver and then San Francisco. Sanders is a spry 33-year-old that is sitting on a 2 year $16 million and is a low ceiling yet viable option in this Saints highly efficient offense. Tre’Quan Smith figures in as their WR 3-4 and the Saints are still holding out hope that he begins to put it together. Once touted as their answer to their WR2 search, Smith is long on athleticism but has yet to find all of the pieces to complete the puzzle. Often appearing lost and running the wrong routes, Smith will need to do more to make an impact in 2020. An intriguing prospect is Juwan Johnson out of Oregon by way of Penn State. At 6’4” and 230lbs, Johnson is a jump ball leaper with crazy good hands but unpolished route running. If he can clean up his game, he is someone to keep one eye on.

Jared Cook is on his 5th team in 11 NFL seasons. He eclipsed his career best 6 TD’s by scoring 9 times last year. He is a much needed big-bodied red zone threat in this offense but is somewhat limited between the 20’s with the chain-moving targets going to Thomas (188) and Kamara (104). Cook will continue his role in 2020 as a reliable red zone target and should see minimal competition from fellow TE’s Josh Hill (35 targets in 2019) and rookie Adam Trautman. Trautman is a future No.1 tight end in the NFL that may not need too long to acclimate to pro football life. PFF has graded him out as the #1 receiving talent in this year’s TE class and 2018’s as well. With training camp restrictions and no pre-season, it may be difficult for Trautman (or any rookie) to see an expanded early season role, especially in the receiving game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

HC: Bruce Arians

OC: Byron Leftwich

QB: Thomas Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin, Reid Sinnett

RB: Ronald Jones II, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Dare Ogunbowale, LeSean McCoy, Raymond Calais, TJ Logan, Aca’Cedric Ware

WR: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scott Miller, Justin Watson, Tyler Johnson, Spencer Schnell, Jaydon Mickens, Travis Jonsen, Codey McElroy, Cyril Grayson, John Hurst, Bryant Mitchell, Josh Pearson

TE: Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, Tanner Hudson, Anthony Auclair, Jordan Leggett

If there is an NFL team that is built to win now, it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the surface, the Buccaneers are racing against father time to win the second Super Bowl in franchise history. Tom Brady appears to have two years (at $25 million) left before hitting the links and Bruce Arians and Rob Gronkowski are sure to be right behind him. The coaching staff appears to have worthy successors but the QB room does not. Ryan Griffin is a locker room favorite that has shined in the preseason over the years, but he has never been elevated to No.2 on the depth chart, except for injury. Blaine Gabbert’s claim to fame was the unseating of Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco right before “the kneel”. He was a former Rivals.com 5-star recruit before landing in Missouri and has since bounced around between five NFL teams while owning a 48-47 TD to INT ratio. Brady is the GOAT and is sure to want to silence critics by winning yet another championship, this time without Bill Belichick. He has an enormous amount of talent surrounding but an even greater source of experience to draw from. As I tweeted back in April:

That is an insane number of trips to the endzone for these starters.

The running back position is a bit murky, but they do have a capable group. Ronald Jones bounced back nicely last year after a forgetful rookie season. He was held to a committee role with Peyton Barber and Dare Ogunbowale last year but that just may be what he is cut out for. When given the chance, he brought the juice to Barber’s molasses and gave the offense a shot in the arm with his big playmaking ability. Coming out of USC in 2018 he was criminally compared by some scouts and tauts to Jamaal Charles. Charles was a natural pass catcher and Jones was not. The breakaway speed is comparable, but the similarities end there. Jones did progress in the passing game last year when given the opportunity but the 3rd down role was owned by Ogunbowale.

Vaughn was most likely not the ideal pick at RB for Arians but it’s who they went with. He was an every down back at Vanderbilt and he can do a fine job in the run, pass and pass protection categories but he is a master of none. He’s not a punisher like Jonathan Taylor nor is he a pass catching specialist like CEH or Swift and he doesn’t have the playmaking ability of Cam Akers. Although, he just might have what it takes for this offense and that’s becoming a role player, not a superstar. This team is full of household names but that might not be needed when lining up behind Brady. Brady loves checking down and passing to his backs but what he loves more is keeping a clean jersey. Late edition, LeSean McCoy may help out here but is no lock to make this team after signing at the vet minimum for 1 year $1 million. Whichever back steps up in that department will certainly get their fair portion of the snaps.

The strength of this offense has been the receivers since Mike Evans ($16.5 million/4 years) came aboard in 2014. The strength continues in 2020 with his fellow Pro Bowl teammate Chris Godwin and up and coming talent like Scotty Miller, Justin Watson and Tyler Johnson. This is very good depth with Evans and Godwin obviously leading the way. Godwin is extremely versatile and can play inside or outside. He is equally tough playing off ball with his blocking as he is with the ball in his hands. He is working on a very attractive salary in 2020 at $821,000 and should be one of the first receivers off the board in drafts. Miller is an electric player with crazy straight-line speed, but he is being typecast as strictly a slot receiver by those outside of the organization. He and big slot Justin Watson figure to duke it out for WR3 honors while possible steal of the draft Tyler Johnson gets up to speed. Johnson was rated with PFF’s highest receiving grade in college football in 2018 and 2019. His college efficiency was off the charts improving every year leading to an impressive senior year where he averaged over 100yds and a TD a game while posting a 71.1 catch rate. He was overlooked in the pre-draft process allegedly for a falling out with a coach(s) but he has proclaimed that he will outperform everyone’s expectations.

On paper, this tight end group just isn’t fair. They have enough talent and experience for two NFL teams. The Bucs like to keep 6 receivers but may be forced to keep 5 if Calais wins the return job, they may not need to keep a sixth WR and instead use the roster spot on another TE. Gronk is the only lock but Howard and Brate don’t look like they are going anywhere anytime soon. Auclair is the long snapper, occasional FB and in-line blocker as well as locker room favorite. Hudson is a coach’s favorite that played very well in preseason last year and the coaching staff already said that he would have a role on this team. That would be five tight ends on the roster making the Chicago Bears very jealous.

That is the NFC South! We hope you enjoyed the read. Check back soon! We will continue with the AFC East next week.

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner

Roster Roundup – Round Three: AFC South

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Corona Virus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we’ll take a look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we’ll examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

Houston Texans

HC: Bill O’Brien OC: Tim Kelly

QB: Deshaun Watson, AJ McCarron, Alex McGough, Nick Tiano

RB: David Johnson, Duke Johnson, Buddy Howell, Karan Higdon, Scottie Phillips, Cullen Gillaspia

WR: Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills, Keke Coutee, Steven Mitchell Jr, DeAndre Carter, Chad Hansen, Isaac Whitney, Isaiah Coulter, Tyler Simmons

TE: Darren Fells, Jordan Thomas, Jordan Akins, Kahale Warring, Dylan Stapleton

With the departure of DeAndre Hopkins, this is now clearly Deshaun Watson’s team. There aren’t too many other NFL QB’s as clutch as Watson. He is a gamer whose leadership will be on center stage this season. He doesn’t have a true Alpha WR this season so it will be up to him to make quicker, more assured choices without Hopkins as his safety valve. McCarron is a competent clipboard holder and is on his 4th NFL team since starring at Alabama. 

David Johnson’s short time as a fantasy stud is nearing an end. He has caught unlucky breaks with seemingly unrelated injuries over the last few years, but he is in a great situation to go out with a bang. The former Cardinal was a top 5 running back in the first 5 games of last season, injuries struck, and he appeared to come back too soon as we all witnessed his horrible performance before being shoved aside for Kenyan Drake. Fast forward to 2020 where Johnson claims to be fully healed and the Carlos Hyde-less Texans have 245 vacated rushing attempts. If the 28-year-old still has any juice left, he could be in for an ample workload.

His receiving skills are a bit redundant with Duke Johnson also in the mix. Duke Johnson did pull down a respectable 52 grabs on 72 targets for 463 yards and 3 TD’s. He was only targeted outside of 10 yards just once on the year, so he clearly operates in the shallow flat/check-down zone. Carlos Hyde only caught 14 catches for 65yds. So, this backfield may be hard pressed to find targets for their RB group even with the 168 vacated targets of Hopkins.

Which brings us to my next point; Bill O’Brien likes opening up the longball by lulling you to sleep with a grinding run game and short passing game. This team has a few guys that will go deep.  The newly acquired Brandon Cooks figures to operate as the #1 option in the passing game. The same Brandon Cooks that is coming off of his worst statistical season as a pro and is on his fourth team since entering the league in 2014. He is a dangerous player with the ball in his hands, but he has an unfriendly contract and is concussion prone. Will Fuller has been the team’s resident deep threat and he is a threat. Tyreek Hill is possibly the only other NFL receiver that absolutely crushes DB’s as well as Fuller can when going deep. Fuller is a gamble every year due to mostly lower body injuries but when he hits, he hits. He is a bonafide week winner, but you have to take the bad with the good and be willing to gamble.

Randall Cobb is another new arrival and is a sneaky good pick if you’re looking for a somewhat affordable short-term option. He is the fourth highest paid receiver on his team, and he will operate in the same area of the field as the departed Hopkins. Coming off a nice season in Dallas, Cobb could be primed for decent usage. Kenny Stills is a good player but will be pushed down the depth chart. The coaching staff seems to absolutely loathe Keke Coutee and his best days as a Texan could be behind him. The tight end group is a moderately skilled one, but it lacks high level talent. Darren Fells put up 7 TD’s, good for third best in the NFL and a 71% catch rate. Jordan Akins could be considered the chain mover of the group. 2018 pick Jordan Thomas was supposed to operate as the starter in 2019 but his season was cut short due to a rib injury. Thomas is an absolute monster of a human being, but he will need more quality playing time to move up the depth chart. Second year TE Kahale Warring is the future of this group but is essentially a rookie again after sitting out his first year due to injuries (concussion, hamstring). He is currently working out with Deshaun Watson during the pandemic along with Cobb, Cooks and Coutee.

Indianapolis Colts

HC: Frank Reich OC: Nick Sirianni

QB: Philip Rivers, Jacobey Brissett, Jacob Eason, Chad Kelly

RB: Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Darius Jackson, Bruce Anderson III, Roosevelt Nix

WR: TY Hilton, Michael Pittman JR, Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Artavis Scott, Daurice Fountain, Dezmon Patmon, Chad Williams, De’Michael Harris, Rodney Adams, Malik Henry, Ashton Dulin

TE: Jack Doyle, Trey Burton, Mo Alie-Cox, Matt Lengel, Xavier Grimble, Farrod Green, Ian Bunting

The Colt’s settled on Philip Rivers after kicking the tires on several other QB’s early in free agency. They knew they had to upgrade from Brisset who admirably performed to his ceiling in 2019.Rivers is as tough and fiery as they come but his arm strength was noticeably declining last year. The Colts will rely more on his experience and leadership than his statuesque athleticism and arm cannon. Rivers is known to be a millisecond slow on his reads, often “after-throwing” his open receiver but he doesn’t care. He will fire it in there anyway which bodes well for bigger targets like Jack Doyle and Michael Pittman JR. His 2019 numbers were ho-hum at best but that was under a ho-hum coaching staff. His 4615 yards were good for fourth in the NFL and his TD/INT ranked 15th (23) and 3rd(20) respectively. He is an upgrade over Brissett but in no way should be relied on to help your fantasy team except for a bye week.

If you are a Colts fan, you had to come away with a smile after this year’s draft. The running back position was a bit of a mess and was a tad underwhelming last year despite having an elite offensive line to block for them. By selecting Wisconsin stud RB Jonathan Taylor in the second round, the offense got really exciting. Marlon Mack is a respectable player and he does run hard, but he will never be a bruiser. Taylor is violent and fun to watch. He and Mack should form a solid committee and Taylor’s presence is sure to make Mack a more efficient runner. Nyhiem Hines is the passing game specialist and is sure to get game scripted out of many contests this year. Talented? Absolutely. But this team does not utilize him as the Bears use Cohen. Hines is used more situationally than rotationally like Cohen. Rivers does love checking down, but I really believe that Mack could be more of a benefactor of those passes this season than in years past.

There is room to grow after a tough season for Colts receivers last year. T.Y. Hilton topped the group with just 45 receptions and 5 TD’s. Zach Pascal led the team in yards with just 607 on the season while also hauling in 5 TD’s. There isn’t much talent on the depth chart but there is cause for excitement with the drafting of Michael Pittman JR and the return of Parris Campbell. T.Y. Hilton has been the de facto #1 receiver for some time now and has performed but we know he’s not the most consistent week-to-week fantasy producer. Hilton’s Base salary is the highest on the team at $14,542,000 and is looking at free agency after the 2020 season. The big bodied Pittman joins the team and is slated for the “X” receiver position in Frank Reich’s offense. At 6’4” 225lbs, he will be a welcome addition and a big target for Rivers. He has drawn numerous comparisons to Vincent Jackson and that is pretty high praise for the rookie from USC.

Parris Campbell returns after seeing mixed playing time in just seven games due to injuries as a rookie. The Ohio State product projects to man the slot while Pittman and Hilton operate the perimeter. There was a lot of excitement going into this crafty route runner a year ago and hopefully the former second round pick is fully healthy for the start of the season. Filling out the rest of the possible depth chart are Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson and Dezmon Patmon if they keep 6 WR’s. Pascal performed above expectations last year and provides quality depth at the position. Johnson is a deep threat that was just re-signed and Patmon is a rookie out of Washington State that is a quick receiver that comes from a pass heavy offense. The tight end position is once again anchored by Jack Doyle. Doyle is one of the most boring picks you can make but he consistently produces. He delivers as a low end TE1 to high end TE2 and shouldn’t be cast off this year especially with the tight end loving Rivers throwing the ball. The athletic but underperforming Trey Burton figures to resume his role in Frank Reich’s offense of a move tight end while the massive man known as Mo Allie-cox will continue his role contributing as the TE3 for the Colts.

Jacksonville Jaguars

HC: Doug Marrone OC: Jay Gruden

QB: Gardner Minshew II, Mike Glennon, Joshua Dobbs, Jake Luton

RB: Leonard Fournette, Chris Thompson, Devine Ozingbo, Ryquell Armstead, Tavien Feaster, James Robinson, Nathan Cottrell

WR: DJ Chark, Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, Laviska Shenault Jr, CJ Board, Keelan Cole, Collin Johnson, Josh Hammond, Terry Godwin, Michael Walker, Marvelle Ross

TE: Tyler Eifert, Josh Oliver, Charles Jones II, James O’Shaughnessy, Tyler Davis, Ben Ellefson

The legend of Gardner Minshew got a boost when the Jaguars traded away Nick Foles. New OC Jay Gruden seems pleased with his new QB stating “(Minshew) has got the intangibles you want in a quarterback”. Minshew was a 6th round pick and was thrown into the fire week one when Foles left with a broken clavicle and the mustached legend was born. He finished with a 6-6 record while proving that he was capable of putting a team on his back and showed his toughness and grit. He was the 10th ranked QB under pressure and had the highest QB rating in the NFL when throwing deep. He appears to be safe at the moment with not much of a starting threat behind him on the depth chart. But when the Jags are picking in the top 10 (or higher) range in next year’s draft, they may find it incredibly difficult to pass on one of the big three QB prospects.

Fournette is coming off of one his best years as a pro. Keeping the injuries at bay, he played in 15 games, running for 1152 yards while catching 76 passes for an additional 522 yards. The only bad part of his 2019 campaign was the lack of TD’s (3). He was the centerpiece of this offense but was supposedly being shopped last spring. If he remains on the team, the receptions are sure to take a hit with pass specialist Chris Thompson joining the team. Thompson reunites with Gruden and like Fournette, has struggled with injuries. Ryquell Armstead is someone who the dynasty world was keeping an eye on during the Fournette trade talk and he should be kept on watch lists. He didn’t offer much as a rookie, but he also didn’t get much of an opportunity with Fournette commanding the bulk of the snaps. Ozigbo, like Armstead, has the frame to handle a heavier workload if anything were to happen to Fournette. Additionally, at 225lbs he turned in a 4.54 forty at his Nebraska Pro Day prior to last season.

DJ Chark became the go-to receiver in his second year in Jacksonville. After boasting only 14 receptions as a rookie in 2018, he came down with 73 grabs for 1008 yards and 8 touchdowns.   It was a true breakout year for the young receiver and Gruden has already said that he’ll be used in every position in the receiving game. Dede Westbrook was the next receiver in line with 66 catches for 660 yards and 3 touchdowns. He figures to maintain a similar role in 2020 as the longest termed Jag in the receiving corps. The #3 receiver is Chris Conley who quietly had a career year with high in both receptions (47) and yards (775).  He offers big play potential while also showing his reliability as a route runner.

Laviska Shenault is an excellent athlete and could prove to be a very dangerous weapon in the NFL if used right. Coach Doug Marrone promised to line him up all over the field which always sounds good. Shenault’s versatility was showcased in college albeit in limited fashion. Nearly ¾ of his receptions were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage with many coming from bubble screens. His injury history is a bit concerning due to the pummeling he received in his quick pass role while at Colorado. If given touches in space, allowing him to use his athleticism, he could be a wildcard for fantasy position eligibility in the next few years. Tyler Eifert and Josh Oliver are the notable tight ends for Jacksonville. Eifert was a former scoring machine when he was with Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. He offers a good, reliable veteran presence with a nose for the endzone. Oliver is the more athletic of the two and should be the future TE1 on this team. He is a natural pass catcher with upper-end athletic talent. Although he missed much of 2019 due to a back fracture, the coaching staff has been quick to point out that he will be a big part in this year’s passing game.

Tennessee Titans

HC: Mike Vrabel OC: Arthur Smith

QB: Ryan Tannehill, Logan Woodside, Cole McDonald

RB: Derrick Henry, Darrynton Evans, Dalyn Dawkins, Khari Blasingame, Shaun Wilson, Senorise Perry, Cameron Scarlett

WR: AJ Brown, Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, Trevion Thompson, Cody Hollister, Kalif Raymond, Nick Westbrook, Kyle Williams, Cameron Batson, Kristian Wilkerson, Rashard Davis, Mason Kinsey

TE: Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firsker, MyCole Pruitt, Cole Herdman, Parker Hesse, Tommy Hudson

Ryan Tannehill capped off his impressive season from backup to leading the team to the AFC championship game with a four-year $118 million salary and $62 million guaranteed. That was a huge payday from the Titans for a position of uncertainty the last few years. Marcus Mariota was to be their future but never really put it together in Tennessee. Tannehill delivered when he got the call off the bench. More than just a game manager, he did well under pressure and pushed the ball down the field when needed. He was PFF’s #1 rated QB with a 91.0 passing grade while throwing for 22 TD’s and rushing for another four.

Derrick Henry’s contract was the talk of the early offseason. He is set to perform under a $10.2 franchise tender in 2020 but both sides are looking to get a contract done sooner rather than later. Henry is an absolute monster and has the build to take a beating as the NFL’s premier grinder. He led the league in attempts (303), yards (1,539), and tied for 1st in touchdowns with 16. He also chipped in 18 catches for 206 yards and 2 TD’s. Undervalued as a passer, the Titans have been looking elsewhere for backfield pass catchers. Pairing Henry with former Titan Dion Lewis made for an interesting duo but Lewis never seemed to fit in Tennessee’s scheme.

In the 2020 draft, the Titans went out and selected Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans in the third round. Evans offers versatility in the run, receiving, and return game. He is a decisive runner and will lower his pads but lacks the wiggle and big play threat ability. What he does offer is reliability. With just 2 fumbles in nearly 600 touches, he is a sure runner that avoids big hits but doesn’t avoid contact. He is a fantastic complement to Henry since he is accomplished in different facets of the RB game.

The 2019 Titans were not exactly a passing juggernaut, but they were fairly efficient. Rookie standout AJ Brown led the way with 1051yds on only 52 receptions. He sported an outstanding YAC total of 462yds, good for 6th best in the NFL as well totaling 8TD’s tied for 7th best. Brown’s yards per reception were equally impressive at 20.2yds per clip and his 38 first downs on 52 receptions equals a stud in the making. Brown’s production was what the Titans had hoped for when they drafted Corey Davis in round 1 (5th overall) in 2017. Davis has been just eh so far but has the skills and athleticism to put it together if he can just find that missing ingredient. So basically, he is the Mitch Trubisky of wide receivers. In the three years Davis has been with the Titans, he has amassed 157 receptions, 2,033 yards and just 9 TD’s. After declining his fifth-year option, the Titans are forcing Davis to prove he is worth keeping beyond 2020.

Adam Humphries is the elder of the Titans receivers at 27 years old. He was a coveted free agent after the 2018 season when he departed Tampa to join Tennessee. The former Clemson product was third in the team in receiving snaps while operating almost exclusively in the slot. Tied with Jonnu Smith for third on the team with 41 receptions, Humphries is a good NFL receiver shackled in a run-first offense. Speaking of Jonnu Smith, many are excited about his potential for this year after his mini breakout in 2019. He set career highs in receptions (41), yards (498), TD’s (4) and first downs (18). You would like to see your #1 TE with a slightly higher 1st down to reception ratio but this will be his first year as the true #1 and he certainly has the talent to fit the bill. Anthony Firkser is the #2 TE and showcased his red zone ability by bringing in two touchdowns in this year’s playoffs while averaging 8.5 yards per target. He won’t see much volume in the passing game but will receive his fair share of snaps along with H-Back MyCole Pruitt in the run heavy scheme of Mike Vrabel’s Tennessee Titans.

That is the AFC South! We hope you enjoyed the read. Check back soon! We will continue with the NFC South next week.

Chris Wolf is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner

2020 Wide Receivers Draft Class – Day One Picks

Author: Milos Ljubic

As I mentioned in the previous article, I will write about this year wide receivers draft class. In today’s article, I talk about day one draft picks, and in the next one, I will cover day the two picks.

The Las Vegas Raiders were the first team that takes WR on this year’s draft. From the 12th position, they selected Henry Ruggs. Ruggs was expected to be among the top three WR in the class, but this was a little surprise. The Raiders had an above-average offense this past season. They were 9th in the passing attack and 13th in the rushing attack. Derek Carr is a solid starter, but Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock didn’t ensure who is their starting QB would be for the future.

Carr will begin this season as a starter, but now the team has a backup option in Marcus Mariota. Josh Jacobs was great as a rookie, and there isn’t any reason not to repeat the good games in the next. TE Darren Waller played on a Pro Bowl level last season and will be the first passing option in next also. Despite the 9th passing attack, the Riders didn’t have any WRs with more than 50 catches and 650 yards. Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow are very good for the 2nd and 3rd WR on the depth chart. In free agency, the Raiders signed Jason Witten and Nelson Agholor, and they will take some amount of snaps. What can we expect from Henry Ruggs? The Raiders are planning Ruggs to play WR no. 1 in this attack and to play a similar role as Tyreek Hill in KC. When we compare Ruggs with the 2014 class, three players from the first-round draft were no. 1 WRs for their teams and Ruggs is to be considered worse than all of them. Ruggs will play for an annual salary of $4,167,907. On day two of the NFL draft day, the Raiders selected one more WR, but about him in the next article.

The Denver Broncos were the second team to draft a WR in the draft. The Broncos defense was average this past season, while the offense was below average, especially their passing offense. That’s the main reason why they took a WR in the first two spots. (Also, in the third round, they added a Center to improve the offensive line). Jerry Jeudy was drafted from position no. 15. He was expected to be one of the first two choices at the WR position, so this wasn’t surprising. The Broncos offense is the youngest in the entire NFL. They don’t have a player older than 27 starting in the lineup. The biggest question for the next season will be the QB. John Elway has a lot of confidence in Drew Lock. He is in his second year and will be a starter without any reliable veteran on the bench. Their offense will be the run first. Three RBs, Phillip Lindsay, newcomer Melvin Gordon, and Royce Freeman, in their careers, they have, 1000, 850, and 500 yards per year, respectively. They will play a lot of snaps with two RBs in the field. WR no. 1, Courtland Sutton, had over 1100 yards last season. Jerry Jeudy is coming as a replacement for Emmanuel Sanders. Before he was traded last season, Sanders was on pace for 850 yards. Expectations are that Jeudy will be near that numbers. Jeudy’s annual salary will be $3,798,244. The second Broncos’ WR choice will be featured in the next article.

CeeDee Lamb was considered as the best WR prospects on this draft. Falling to the 17th position was unexpected, but Jerry Jones has no doubts about a pick in that situation. The Dallas Cowboys had a great attack game through the air last season. Only the Buccaneers were better. Dak Prescott threw for nearly 5,000 yards. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, both had 1,000 caught yards. They lost Randall Cobb and Jason Witten in the free agency, and the only big addition is Lamb. Dallas’s playing style won’t be changed despite head coach changes. The biggest question, probably in the entire NFL at this moment, is a situation about Prescott’s new contract. Prescott was tagged, but there are problems with the contract extension. If Prescott plays next season for the Cowboys, this easily can be a WRs trio with 1,000 yards. Lamb’s annual salary will be $3,502,503 for the next four years.

The fourth WR in a draft, from the 21st position, was Jalen Reagor, selected by the Philadelphia Eagles. Reagor wasn’t among the top 5 prospects by all pre-draft predictions. He was in the top 10 usually, but closer to 10 than to 5. Why did the Eagles take him? DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are the duos of very good WRs but from the wrong side of the ’30s. But they weren’t too healthy last year. They finished the season with WRs from the practice squad. The second TE Dallas Goedert played over 70% of snaps, and personnel with two TEs may be a concern for the number of snaps which will Reagor take. If the Eagles play more with 3 WRs, Jalen Reagor will have a similar role as Brandin Cooks had in the Saints in his rookie career. He is expected to bring the speed in this a bit older offense and will play from the slot usually. The Eagles currently have future cap problems. They are projected to be 50M dollars over the cap for the next season, and Jackson and Jeffery will be the first cap casualties after the season. Reagor’s annual salary is very friendly for the next four years at an annual salary of $3,317,669 with a lot of upside potential.

The Minnesota Vikings didn’t skip on Justin Jefferson, and they picked him right after the Eagles picked up Reagor. The Vikings were an average team last year in terms of statistics on both sides of the ball. They were great at the run game, but they had problems with the O-line and Passing game. They also had problems with the cap, and because of that, they sent the only reliable receiver from last season, Stefon Diggs, to the Buffalo. The first-round pick from this transaction was used to select Jefferson. Jefferson will be the second WR, next to Adam Thielen, who missed the middle part of the last season due to injury. The Vikings are usually playing 12 or 21 personnel, and that is one interesting fact for Dynasty Owner’s.

The San Francisco 49ers selected the last WR on day one of the draft, Brandon Aiyuk. He was drafted from the 25th position. They gave two picks to the Vikings, to move up for 6 positions, one pick in the fourth round, and the second one in the fifth round. The 49ers were great last year. They lost in the Super Bowl, as all we know, but they were the second-best defense in the league, just behind the New England Patriots. Their run game was also second in the league, behind the Baltimore Ravens. The game plan for this year will be the same. They will primarily be a run-oriented team. Besides that, the first option through the air will be George Kittle. The main formation will be with two RBs in the field, and Kyle Juszczyk will be the only fullback who is still a starter in the NFL. Brandon Aiyuk will be WR no. 2 next to Deebo Samuel, and he will have about 500 caught yards by projections.

Milos Ljubic is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @LjubicMilos and @Dynasty_Owner

2014 Wide Receivers Draft Class and Their Rookie Season

Author: Milos Ljubic

Wide Receivers from this year’s NFL draft are expected to be one of the best WR classes in the NFL history…maybe the best in this century, at least. The previous best WR’s class in the last 20 years was the 2014 NFL draft class. This article is about their rookie seasons and the impact they had had on their teams.

The first WR drafted was Sammy Watkins. The Buffalo Bills drafted him from the 4th position. The Bills gave the 2015 first-round pick to Browns to move up five positions. Watkins has had a solid career, but he didn’t meet expectations for a player drafted that high. Buffalo was an average team. They had a problem with QBs. Their starter was E.J. Manuel, probably the worst starter in the entire league. Manuel was benched after the 4th week and was replaced with Kyle Orton. Also, the Bills didn’t run as they expected. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller regressed a lot. They had three solid young WRs with Woods and Hogan. Watkins’s rookie season was very good. He immediately became the number one WR on the team. He was Buffalo’s best offensive player that year. Watkins finished his rookie season with 65 receptions for 982 yards and 6 TDs with one fumble. The Bills finished with a 9-7 record as a 10th team in AFC. Sammy Watkins now plays for Kansas City, on a one year contract for $9M.

From the 7th position, the second drafted WR was Mike Evans. Tampa was awful that year (a 2-14 record), but Evans was a fantastic choice. The Buccaneers didn’t have anything that year. They didn’t have a decent QB (their starters were Josh McCown and Mike Glennon). They didn’t have a running game. TEs were awful, too. The only good player was a 31-year-old Vincent Jackson. This was Jackson’s last season with 1000 yards. Playing with him was great for Evans – he had a great receiver to play with and played the number two WR in his first season. Evans finished the season with 68 catches for 1051 yards, and 12 TDs without a fumble. Mike Evans signed an extension with Tampa until 2024 on an annual contract of $16.5M.

Odell Beckham Jr. was the 3rd WR selected on the draft. The Giants were above average offensively, but overall a below-average team. They finished the season with a 6-10 record. Manning played one of the best seasons in his (HOF) career. The running game was solid with a rookie Andre Williams and a veteran Rashad Jennings. Ruben Randle (WR) and Larry Donnell (TE) played well. Even though Beckham had missed the first 4 games due to an injury, he was the best Giants’ player that season. He recorded 91 catches for 1305 yards and 12 TDs with only one fumble in twelve games. Giants traded Odell to Cleveland Browns. He has a contract until 2024 for $18M per year.

The fourth WR drafted in the first round was Brandin Cooks. The Saints sent their 3rd-round pick to Arizona to move up seven places. Cooks was viewed as a slot receiver at that time. The Saints were loaded on the offensive side of a ball, but they decided to add more speed with this selection. They were the best offensive team in the league, but at the same time, they were the second-worst defensive team. Cooks played the first 10 games of the season but missed the rest of it due to an injury. He had 53 catches for 550 yards and 3 TDs with one saved fumble. If we compare Cooks with his teammates, he was the most targeted WR in those ten games, but far less productive. Marques Colston had 15.4 yards per catch, while Kenny Stills had 14.8. With 10.4 Cooks was even worse than TE Jimmy Graham, who had 10.5 yards per catch. After his rookie campaign, Cooks had four consecutive 1000+ yards seasons. The Saints finished the 2014 season with a 7-9 record. Cooks changed a few teams in a meanwhile. Hi is currently in Houston. He has a contract until 2024 for $16.2M annually.

Kelvin Benjamin was the last WR drafted in the first round and the first one to play in a playoff game. Being selected at the 28th position, he immediately became WR number one for Carolina. Carolina’s number two receiver that year was a veteran Jerricho Cotchery, who was in his 11th NFL season. Carolina was among the top 10 defensive teams and the top 10 running teams. Also, TE Greg Olsen had 1000+ yards season. Even if Benjamin could have been considered as a bust, his rookie season was great. He had 73 catches for 1008 yards with 9 TDs and one lost fumble. Benjamin tore his ACL after a rookie year. After his ACL injury he was never able to come back and play at the level of his rookie season and his been out of the league since 2018.

The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted three WRs on this draft. The Jaguars were a bad team. Rookie Blake Bortles was QB, so the passing offense was also bad. The defense was poor to say the least. The running game was below average. WRs’ corps were made from three rookies plus Cecile Shorts in his 4th year. The first drafted WR by the Jaguars was Marqise Lee, from the 39th position. He had 37 catches for 422 yards and only one TD in 13 games. The second Jaguars’ selection was Allen Robinson from the 61st position (the 11th WR on draft). In the 10 games he played, he had 48 catches for 548 yards and 2 TDs. Allen Hurns was third in that group. He was undrafted, and the only WR who wasn’t selected in the first three rounds but had some impact on his team in the rookie season. Hurns was the best Jaguars’ WR that season and the only one who played all 16 games. He caught ball 51 times for 677 yards and 6 TDs. None of them are in Jacksonville anymore. Lee will play this season for the New England Patriots for $1M. Robinson is the number one WR for the Chicago Bears and has one more year with an annual salary of $14M. Hurns signed a two-year extension with the Miami Dolphins this year, for $3.5M per year.

The Philadelphia Eagles also moved up in the draft to get a WR. They gave 5th-round pick to the Titans to move up 12 positions. They drafted Jordan Matthews from the 42nd position. Chip Kelly’s Eagle’s had a very good roster, especially on the offense. Despite 9 Pro Bowlers (the most in the NFC) and a 10-6 record, Eagles finished the season as the 7th team in the conference. Matthews was the number two WR, behind Jeremy Macklin for the team. He finished the season with 67 catches for 872 yards and 8 TDs. The Eagles had one more WR in the third round. That was Josh Huff from the 86th position, 13th WR overall. He was 4th WR on the depth chart, but his impact was negligible. Jordan Matthews is a free agent at the moment, while Huff is playing at CFL.

The Seattle Seahawks picked up the 8th WR from the draft, Paul Richardson. The Seahawks were great that year. They finished first in the conference, but their game was based on the defense and the rushing, being first in the whole league in both categories. Their passing game was among the five worst in the league. And in that offense, Richardson was the 4th option (the 3rd WR). Richardson played 15 games and collected 29 catches for 271 yards and only one TD. Richardson is a free agent currently.

Green Bay drafted Davante Adams from the 53rd position which was, from today’s perspective, a great pick. The Packers were a great team that year, finishing in second place in the conference, right behind Seahawks. They had an average defense but their offense was great. This was the Aaron Rogers’ second-best season and the second MVP award. Eddie Lacy played at his best that season, along with Jordy Nelson. Randall Cobb had a 1000+ yards season, the first and the last time in his career. In those circumstances, Adams didn’t have many chances, finishing the season with 38 catches for 446 yards and 3 TDs. Adams is the first WR option in the Green Bay offense. He has a contract for $14.5M per year until the 2022 season.

Cody Latimer was the 10th WR selected on this draft and the biggest bust. He was selected by the Denver Broncos, who were great that season, finishing in second place in AFC. They had most Pro Bowlers that season with 11 being selected. Latimer was the 6th WR on the depth chart: only 2 catches for 23 yards and yet…somehow, Latimer is still in the business. He has on year contract with Washington Redskins for $1M.

The twelfth WR was Jarvis Landry. He played for the Miami Dolphins. Miami was an average team in every statistical category and finished the season with 8-8 records. Landry had a solid season, playing all 16 games. He had the most receptions on the team with 84 and was second at receiving yards, 758, as well as TDs, 5, in both cases behind Mike Wallace. Miami traded Landry to the Browns and still has three more years for $15.1M annually.

The 14th selected WR was Donte Moncrief, having been picked by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts had a great offense. Their running game was below average, but their passing offense was the best in the entire league. Andrew Luck was great and healthy too. Moncrief was the 6th most targeted player, 4th among WRs. He finished the season with 32 catches for 444 yards (4th on the team, 3rd among WR) and 3 TDs (6th on the team, 3rd among WRs). Moncrief currently a free agent.

The last WR selected on the second draft day was John Brown. The Arizona Cardinals were a solid team. Carson Palmer had finished the season after the sixth game. WRs corps were the only reliable part of the Cardinals’ offense. Brown was third amongst WRs on the depth chart, but his production was similar to the production of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Brown finished the season with 48 catches for 696 yards and 5 TDs. Brown is now in Buffalo. He has two more years for $9M per year.

In the next article, I will analyze this year’s WRs corps, trying to compare these two groups and make some predictions about what we can expect from this years’ rookies.

Milos Ljubic is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

A Tale of Three Mock Drafts

Author: Steven Van Tassell

With the NFL draft coming up tonight, it seems like the current players are being somewhat forgotten by many dynasty players and analysts alike as everyone salivates over potential future studs like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. Everyone is also looking for affordable players they can add to their roster who might match the 2019 production of second and third round picks like D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Devin Singletary. Still others are focused on late rounders who might turn into the next Dak Prescott or George Kittle. For some possible future Prescott’s and Kittle’s, everyone should check out the article by our new writer Chris Wolf (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/04/late-round-dart-throws/).

It’s like people are forgetting about established young (and old) stars who are likely to be high draft picks in the new 12-man Dynasty Owner leagues coming soon. To give those established players the recognition they deserve, let’s look at the results of three mock drafts conducted last week to see what your fellow Dynasty Owners think of the current crop of players before the rookies are available to draft. We’ll also look at some interesting observations from those three drafts that may help you with your real Dynasty Owner draft later on this year.

All three of these mock drafts consisted of 25 rounds and had at least a majority of actual Dynasty Owners making their selections, including one draft that had 11 out of 12 slots filled by real Dynasty Owners. The names of the Dynasty Owners are not included to protect them from potential ridicule for poor selections and to also not give away any of their draft secrets in case you get matched up in the same league as them.

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 .25 points for every 10 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.

First Round Consensus

There was a consensus of eight first round draft picks in all three mock drafts. Five out of the eight players were RBs (Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook) and two were WRs (Michael Thomas and Chris Godwin). Finally, we had the top scorer in Dynasty Owner from 2019 and consensus #1 pick – QB Lamar Jackson.

This finding is right in line with traditional year-to-year redraft leagues where most owners take a RB in the first round, but it might be somewhat surprising to Dynasty Owners since 10 of the 12 top scoring players in Dynasty Owner last year were QBs. The only exceptions were the top #1 players at their respective positions in 2019: RB Christian McCaffrey (#2 overall) and WR Michael Thomas (#8 overall).

Even though he carries a salary of only $4.1 million annually for 2020 right now, won the Super Bowl and finished the 2019 season as the #7 overall scorer in Dynasty Owner despite missing two games, Patrick Mahomes was only taken in the first round once. In the other two drafts, he was taken in the second round. This is after having the best ADP in 2018 (ADP 4). It appears that some owners are scared off drafting Mahomes first because of the potential of a big contract that he’s likely getting sometime soon.

With seemingly all of the commonality in these three mock drafts, it was also surprising that only one other player was drafted in the same spot in the first round in two out of the three mock drafts (Alvin Kamara with the #6 pick). This shows that Dynasty Owners who don’t get one of the top two picks in their 2020 drafts may be able to get their favorite player not named Lamar Jackson or Christian McCaffrey.

The Draft Status of the High Priced QBs Varies Widely

Out of the eight high-priced QBs making $30 million or more, only three of them (Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers) were selected in all three Dynasty Owner mock drafts. And it was Seattle QB Russell Wilson, the $35 million man and the highest paid player in Dynasty Owner right now, who was picked first in all three mock drafts.

It’s understandable since Wilson finished the 2019 season as the #3 QB in Dynasty Owner with 428.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. However, he did finish behind another $30 million plus QB in Dak Prescott (445.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). Wilson was selected ahead of Prescott in all three drafts despite costing $4.856 million more ($35 million versus $30.114 million). Wilson’s ADP in the three mock drafts was 57, while Prescott’s was selected almost two full rounds later on average with an ADP of 79. Rodgers was the last of the three QBs picked in each of the three mock drafts and his ADP was significantly behind both Wilson and Prescott at 135.

Maybe Dynasty Owners are worried about Prescott because he’s playing under the franchise tag in 2020 and is bound to earn more in 2021 while Wilson’s salary is high, but stable for the next four years. Either way, it appears if you prefer Prescott over Wilson, you shouldn’t panic when Wilson gets drafted because you’ll likely be able to get Prescott before your next pick.

Stacking Arizona

One interesting strategy employed in two of the three mock drafts was the stacking of the Arizona Cardinals new dynamic duo of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins with a team’s first two picks. In one draft, the Dynasty Owner was drafting in the #11 spot and took Murray with his first pick, then drafted Hopkins with the 14th pick in the second round. In the other draft, the Dynasty Owner took Hopkins with the 5th pick and was lucky to have Murray available with the 20th pick when his turn came up again. Two stacks, but two completely different methods to obtain the same result.

The cost for this stack is a shade under $25 million. Not a bad strategy if you have a late draft slot and believe the hype about the Cardinals offense in 2020 and beyond. It’s unlikely that Murray makes it to the 20th pick in too many drafts so I wouldn’t advocate this stack if you have an early first round pick. If you wanted to employ this strategy but don’t have the right draft slot and can’t deal your way into a position to do it, there are a few other stacks that might be worth investing your top two picks in for 2020.

Dynasty Owners could draft the Kansas City duo of Patrick Mahomes and either Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill for less than the Murray-Hopkins duo. The Mahomes-Kelce stack would cost less than $13.5 million in salary ($4.11 million for Mahomes and $9.37 million for Kelce), while the Mahomes-Hill stack would be slightly more expensive at just over $22.1 million due to Hill’s $18 million annual salary. Bear in mind that you’ll only likely have either one of these duos at those salaries for one year before Mahomes gets paid a lot more money. You’ll also be drafting Hill and Kelce a bit early as they went in the third or fourth round on average (Hill was ADP 35 and Kelce was ADP 39).

Another interesting stack and very cost efficient stack could be selecting Lamar Jackson with the first pick and then reach for Mark Andrews in the third round (#25 pick) or hope that he falls to the end of the fourth round (#48 pick). With an ADP of 37 in the three mock drafts being analyzed and salary of just $863,290, Andrews doesn’t appear likely to fall down to the fourth round too often so if you get Jackson with the first pick and want Andrews, you’ll need to reach and take him in the third round. This stack will only cost Dynasty Owners a total of $3.23 million and you might get one more year out of both of them at these salary figures.

Two Brown Tigers

Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry have a lot in common. Both are WRs, played in every game in 2019 as members of the Cleveland Browns, attended college at LSU, were born in November of 1992 and make over $15 million per season in salary. They are different in that one of these two players has never missed a game in his NFL career, outscored the other player by 38.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 (an average of 2.4 more points per game) and costs $2.9 million less in salary for one less year.

Those of you in the know are aware that player is Jarvis Landry. However, if you were to guess which player was selected first in all three mock drafts and had a higher ADP (52 vs. 68), would you guess Landry or OBJ? Believe it or not, the correct answer is OBJ. So, if you want Landry over Beckham, it appears you can wait to draft Landry until Beckham is off your draft board.

Kicking It with an Early Draft Pick (or Maybe Not)

There are only three kickers who are being taken inside the Top 200 players in the three Dynasty Owner mock drafts. Three more were taken just outside of that range. This means that almost all Dynasty Owners are drafting players to stash on their Practice Squad before picking up their starting kicker.

The top kicker off the board in mock drafts was Matt Gay of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gay was only the fourth best kicker in 2019 with a total of 114 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for the season, but has a low salary of $711,443 for each of the next three seasons. In the three mock drafts available for analysis, Gay was ADP 160, making him a middle 13th round draft pick on average.

In the mock draft with 11 real Dynasty Owners, only three out of the 11 Owners selected three kickers, 7 selected two and one Owner drafted only one, the minimum required. We see two different kicker strategies emerging as out of the 24 kickers selected in that mock draft, half were taken before Round 20, while the other half were taken in Rounds 20-25 (including 7 chosen in the final two rounds alone). Two teams decided to only draft kickers as a last resort by taking them in the last two rounds, while five had the opposite strategy and took two kickers before the onset of Round 20.

Conclusions

What have we learned from looking at these three mock drafts? First, if you want either Lamar Jackson or Christian McCaffrey, you’ll need to have one of the top two draft picks. After that, only Alvin Kamara with the #6 pick was selected in the same spot in the first round in more than one draft, so you might be able to get a player you really want at any other spot in the draft. Second, Russell Wilson is more desirable at $35 million per year for four years than Dak Prescott is at $30.1 million for 2020 and a to be determined salary for 2021 and beyond. Third, if you fancy a stack of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, then get yourself a late first round draft pick and see if it falls into your lap. Fourth, Jarvis Landry is criminally underrated compared to his teammate OBJ. And last, but certainly not least, is that there is no consensus strategy when it comes to picking your Dynasty Owner kickers.

There is lots of activity coming up in the Dynasty Owner universe. The NFL draft is coming later today, and the next Dynasty Owner live stream is on Friday at 10 AM (Eastern). If you haven’t seen them yet, don’t forget about all of the great podcasts from the past couple of months, including two highly recommended archived YouTube Live podcasts.

We also have message board debates, a couple of articles by our new writer Chris Wolf (follow him on Twitter – @ckwolf21) and Twitter posts that you can check out. All of this great content is available to help you win your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!

Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Best Fit for Players in the 2020 Draft

Photo Credit: SKYSPORTS.COM

Author: Chris Wolf

If we can expect anything from this week’s draft, it is to expect the unexpected. This year’s rookie selection event projects to be the most watched draft in NFL history. This historic function is sure to be loaded with plenty of fireworks involving trades for both picks and current players.

We will witness real life NFL GM’s doing their best impression of drafting like us fantasy sports enthusiasts; at home, on a laptop. Our guess is as good as anyone’s as to who will go where. Without visits, medicals, and agents middling in the process…this draft can go in any direction.

Instead of providing you with yet another mock draft, let’s take a look at the best team fits for some skill position players that will be selected this weekend.

***Their projected team salary for 2020 in parenthesis***

Tua Tagovailoa QB – Los Angeles Chargers ($4,832,502)

This could be the best case scenario for Tua. A red-shirt year would be optimal for this high-profile QB for not only medical reasons, but also the lack of preparation due to the pandemic.

CeeDee Lamb WR – Las Vegas Raiders ($3,031,205)

An advanced prospect that is just 21 years old. Incredible hands and an absolute beast after the catch. Known for his competitive fire, he would be a great fit in Jon Gruden’s receiver friendly scheme.

Jerry Jeudy WR – San Francisco 49ers ($2,950,550)

This route technician would be an incredible addition to any team. His landing spot with the Super Bowl runners up would be much needed to line up across from budding star Deebo Samuel and overlooked Jalen Hurd. The Alabama product is also reportedly coveted by Philadelphia as well.

Justin Jefferson WR – Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2,816,127- $2,480,064)

Jefferson’s selection would be best as a result of Tampa trading down after the top 4 tackles are taken. If there is one thing that Tom Brady always had it was a sure handed slot technician. Although All Pro Chris Godwin ran 518 routes in the slot last year, his 4.42 wheels could be utilized on the outside with the addition of Jefferson.

Jordan Love QB – Miami Dolphins ($2,816,127- $2,480,064)

Miami has acquired an NFL leading 14 picks for the 2020 draft and is primed to reload it’s roster. Jordan Love just may be the 3rd QB selected this weekend and it would be a great fit for the Fins. His ultra competitive attitude and play making ability could just be what Dolphins have needed for a long time.

Henry Ruggs WR – Denver Broncos ($2,762,356)

This just makes too much sense, but he might not last to Denver’s pick at 15. Any team could use the talents of this speed demon. Although he had limited career production as Jerry Jeudy’s running mate at Alabama, Ruggs is a complete receiver. He is a precise route runner with sure hands (only 1 drop in 2019).

Jalen Reagor WR – New Orleans Saints ($2,305,310)

With the door closing on the career of Drew Brees, Jalen Reagor would be a fantastic addition for what could be a playoff bound team. With the ability to play in the backfield and be used as a gadget-type player, Sean Payton could have fun with this one.

Tee Higgins WR – Green Bay Packers ($2,046,218)

The Packers have been searching the last few drafts for someone to occupy the field across from Davante Adams. Tee Higgins just may be their guy. Size, speed, contested-catch ability are the reasons Aaron Rodgers will love this weapon.

Brandon Aiyuk WR – Kansas City Chiefs ($1,967,559)

The world champs may be better suited adding a CB in round 1 but a WR makes sense as well. They are wearing championship rings because they continue to add speed to their WR corps.

Aiyuk is a big play threat with solid hands and excellent after the catch ability. Probably not happening but it’s a nice fit.

Denzel Mims WR – Washington Redskins ($1,565,972)

Mims is raw but is a physical freak. He demonstrates fantastic body control and produced an explosive body of work at Baylor. He would add to the young receiving group of Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon, and Trey Quinn.

Jonathan Taylor RB – Detroit Lions ($1,552,530)

Size, speed, and toughness is what Taylor would bring to the underwhelming running back group led by Kerryon Johnson. Taylor would bring the much needed hammer to Detroit’s rushing attack.

D’Andre Swift RB – Miami Dolphins ($1,514,891)

Possibly the best RB prospect in this class. Explosive, with superb vision and solid receiving ability would make a lot of sense for the rebuilding Dolphins. He and Jordan Howard would make good complimentary pieces in the backfield.

J.K. Dobbins RB – Jacksonville Jaguars ($1,423, 482)

An elite runner with good size and great hands. He would be a perfect fit for Jacksonville after they move on from the limited Leonard Fournette.

Clyde Edwards – Helaire RB- Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($1,297,661)

CEH is an elusive runner with gifted catching ability. He is extremely elusive and could become Tom Brady’s prefered weapon out of the backfield.

Jalen Hurts QB – Atlanta Falcons ($856,257)

Atlanta had a front row seat to the Taysom Hill show. The Falcons also need to add to their dynamic playmakers. They could kill two birds with one stone by selecting the incredibly athletic Hurts in round 3. It would benefit the team to upgrade the backup QB position and benefit Hurts to learn from Matt Ryan.

Zack Moss RB – Pittsburgh Steelers ($850,989)

The Steelers will need to add a dynamic playmaker to this workmanlike backfield in this year’s draft. Pittsburgh’s running back room could have doubled as the trainer’s room in 2019 with all of the nagging injuries. Coincidently, Moss reminds many of Le’veon Bell with his elusiveness and glide ability.

Cole McDonald QB – Buffalo Bills ($784,843)

This one is just fun. McDonald is an absolute clone of Josh Allen. The backup QB position candidates aren’t exactly intimidating with the likes of Matt Barkley and Davis Webb. McDonald is a draftable prospect that should go somewhere in rounds 4-6.

This list does not necessarily encompass team needs or what they will do come draft weekend. It’s simply a compilation of players that would benefit from a team’s scheme. This draft has the sense of “anything can happen” and it will provide some much needed entertainment for all of us.

Late Round Dart Throws for the 2020 NFL Draft

Author: Chris Wolf

With draft season upon us there are more uncertainties than usual. Due to COVID-19, NFL teams are in uncharted territory when it comes to the rookie draft. The NFL mandates that team Owners, General Managers, Head Coaches, and Directors of Scouting must be separate during the draft and are allowed one IT person to be present during the draft. You can view an inside look as to the world we live in ​here​.

A big issue, according to several NFL executives, is the 2nd phase of the draft. The second phase begins when the draft is complete and non-drafted players are able to sign with NFL teams. These undrafted free agents are free to sign with the team of their choice when they come calling.

The problem that teams face is the unusual lack of information when it comes to draft eligible players. Normally, NFL teams are permitted to transport up to 30 draft prospects to their facility for medical exams, interviews, and additional testing during the pre-draft process. Many players and teams were shorted this experience in 2020. Instead, teams must rely on private pro-days without a team representative present. The workouts have been awash with sketchy editing, weird camera angles and it seems everyone runs the 40 in the 4.2’s during the pandemic.

Listed here are five future NFL players with an estimated 2020 cap value. So, let’s take a look at some players that may be late round draft picks or UDFA’s that you might want to keep your eye on during your fantasy draft or free agency period.

QB Jake Luton – Oregon State

Luton is considered to be one of the top 10 QB prospects in this year’s draft class. With three years starting experience at Oregon State, Luton has put together an impressive resume in his tenure with the Beavers. Luton improved every year in passer grading including going for 28 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions in his senior campaign. As a two star recruit coming out of Washington, Luton accepted an offer to play at Idaho. He redshirted there and then transferred to Ventura Community College. During his lone season at Ventura, he posted a 3,551 yd/40 TD line white adding 175 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground.

Sporting a 6’ 7” and 230lb frame, Luton offers above average pocket presence and escapability. He is absurdly accurate when given a clean pocket and is very proficient in the play action game, whether under center or in shotgun.

Playing in a limited offense for Jonathan Smith at Oregon State, we may not have seen what Luton was capable of. Luton should be a day 3 pick and does not project to be a year one starter but he offers potential in the right system and just might be a good stash on your practice squad.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $650,000-$800,000

WR John Hightower – Boise State

If it were any other year and the 2020 wide receiver class wasn’t so inslanely loaded, we would be talking about John Hightower being drafted in the 2nd round. A deep threat out of Boise State, by way of Hinds Community College in Mississippi, Hightower is a speed demon with above average ball-tracking ability.

His 2019 season saw him catching 51 balls for 943 yards and 8 scores. His impressive 18.5 yards per reception ranked him 5th in the nation (of those with more than 50 receptions) albeit playing against lesser competition in the Mountain West division. Hightower is not a tackle-breaker by any means. In fact, he is more of a catch and get tackled or catch and score type of player.

Evans is a vision runner that would excel with better blocking in a zone themed rushing attack. NFL teams will love the fact that he rarely fumbles and has some receiving chops. In 2019 he was able to carry the load for Appalachian St turning 256 attempts into 1484 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding 198 yds through the air.

What he lacks in elusiveness, he makes up for in vision and big play ability. Evans was able to bust out 28, 20+yd runs ranking him 3rd in the nation. At 5’10” and 203lbs soaking wet, Evans projects as a speed back in a complimentary role at the next level. Because the NFL is finally realizing that you can find quality running backs in the later rounds, expect Evans to go late in the draft or be signed quickly as an UDFA.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $630,000

RB/WR Antonio Gibson – Memphis

With fresh legs and insane explosiveness, Antonio Gibson is going to make some NFL team very happy. Gibson is undoubtedly the most talented yet anomalous selection on this list. His limited use at Memphis was a head scratcher with only 307 career offensive snaps.

He appears to be built in a lab with a solid base and supreme athleticism, his game oozes with quickness, bounce, and crazy tackle breaking ability. With an insanely limited 77 career touches; Gibson broke 16 tackles on 33 rushing attempts and 17 tackles on 38 receptions. That is enough to make any NFL GM drool over the possibilities. He is listed on several draft boards as either a WR or RB but should find work somewhere in between with his new employer.

He does not run the most polished routes and could do a better job of catching the ball away from his body, his incredible athleticism will translate well to catching balls coming out of the backfield or close to the line of scrimmage. The NFL seems to be finally coming around to the usage of athletes like Gibson (RIP Tavon Austin and Corradele Patterson fantasy owners). He should be a round 2-4 selection in the NFL draft and an early to mid round 3 pick in Dynasty Rookie drafts.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $860,000

TE Harrison Bryant – Florida Atlantic University

The list would not be complete without a tight end in what appears to be an underwhelming draft class for the position. Typically, tight ends outside the top three taken don’t get love in the fantasy community but Harrison Bryant is a name you may want to be familiar with. With a 6’5” 240lb frame, Bryant is a solid route runner that brings physicality to his game.

Bryant will not be confused as a good or even competent in-line blocker, his fantasy relevant abilities are why we’re here. In three seasons of work at FAU, he has compiled a resume consisting of 142 receptions on 197 targets for 2,076 yards while hauling in 18 TD’s. While he’s not a seperator like George Kittle or Noah Fant, he is a good seam stretcher that has a knack for finding openings in coverage. He reminds you more of a Cam Brate or Hunter Henry type player that bails out his QB with his smarts.

Smooth enough to create missed tackles and strong enough to gain some yards after the catch, he became a drop monster in 2019 totaling an alarming 8 drops. These drops appear to be fixable since they are mostly concentration drops and not ones that seem to be technique issues. That being said, his toughness with the ball in his hands and his contested catch prowess, he should be the 5th to 8th TE taken somewhere in rounds 5-7 at the end of April.

Although the players on this list may not and probably won’t be much more than year 1 bench stashes, they are still worthy of consideration for dynasty fantasy football purposes. These players are the ones you want to keep in mind if your rookie drafts get into the 3rd, 4th, or 5th rounds when the notable players are scooped up and you’re at a loss. With all of the uncertainty in this year’s pandemic influenced draft, you just might be able to find a gem in the late rounds.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $650,000

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