Breaking Down A Real Dynasty Owner Draft Strategy by Round

Author: Jay Poundsee

Heading into my first dynasty owner draft, I felt nervous even being what most consider a pretty avid Fantasy Football player/nerd depending on who you have the pleasure of speaking too. I can sit and talk football or even better fantasy football all day every day, just ask my fiancée shell surely to agree. I had done plenty of mocks heading up to my first ever draft and felt I was as prepared as I could be heading into a format like this. After all, I have read every article Steve Van Tassel has written as well as listened to every podcast I could find with Steve and Tim. I brought my assistant fantasy manager (my 9-year-old son Bentley) up to speed and we were ready to find out our draft position. After hours of anxiously waiting, we finally get word from the guys at dynasty owner 3rd overall it is.

I was not thrilled with 3rd as I knew I would more than likely face the daunting task of drafting or passing on Patrick Mahomes, whose salary skyrockets to around $45 million next season. The thought of trying to build a team with his salary still gives me nightmares but at the end of the day someone must do it, luckily it was not me as the team before me took him. Though it would be a fascinating challenge to try to build around and win with Mahomes on my roster I was thankful the opportunity did not present itself. In Dynasty Owner it seems the draft can go many ways and it is a format where it is imperative to let the draft come to you. I thought I went in with a plan and that plan was in shreds before I even had the chance to pick.

ROUNDS 1-3

Rounds 1-3 are where you set the tone for your team going forward, meaning if you take Michael Thomas ($19,250,000) or Zeke ($15,000,000) you need to start thinking younger and cheaper moving forward. The first 2 picks went Lamar Jackson and Mahomes leaving me non-other than Christian McCaffery at ($4,000,000) with a new contract looming. The thought of having to budget after taking my first player was one, I was not fond of, but when its CMC you take him and let him carry you to a championship. The rest of round one was a good mix of Quarterbacks and Running backs with no Receivers or tight ends taken. Interestingly, only one team spent over 9 million in the first. We started out round two with a nice mix of younger cheap players, as well as a few expensive veterans. Michael Thomas ($19,250,000) went at 13, followed by Joe Burrow ($9,047,543) and Miles Sanders at ($1,337,544).

The end of the second round I watched Deandre Hopkins ($16,200,000) go the pick just ahead of me. At this point my plan was just draft well enough to be able to compete while McCaffery is in his prime, as well as keep him and resign my rookies next year. Staring me in the face was Joe Mixon ($1,362,544) with only one year left or the love of Tim’s life D.J. Moore ($2,792,829). It was my first tough decision of the draft and being a firm believer in Running backs win championships, I went with Mixon. Joe Mixon worries me as well with this being the final year of his contract, in what is sure to be an improved offense he is a sure bet to get paid. Cincinnati also gets last years, their 2019 first round left tackle, Jonah Williams back, which can only help Mixon produce this season. I took my first quarterback, New York Giants Quarterback Daniel Jones ($6,416,014) in the third round. Jones flashed real potential last season as a rookie on a pretty bad football team, so I was okay with him being my QB1 needing as much flexibility as possible to retain Mixon and CMC next season. 

I knew from all my mock drafts not getting at least one Quarterback on a rookie deal would put me into a cap nightmare moving forward. I would, no doubt, must amnesty one to have any type of flexibility going into next season. At this point I had no clue where to go next with 2 of my 3 most important pieces going into a contract year. I decided to try to just let the draft come to me as best as I could.

Rounds 4-7

I knew my 4th round pick was going to be crucial to how the rest of this draft would play out for me. I watched the 2 players I was hoping would fall to me Deandre Swift ($2,124,728) and Calvin Ridley ($2,725,178) get sniped just picks ahead of me. As it becomes my selection, I look at my screen and laugh as I see another potential top 5 running back staring me in the face, Kareem Hunt at ($3,259,000) and the kicker 1 year left on his contract just like my other guys. I looked over at my son, who I knew would have no idea what I was talking about, I said “Son I think I found an odd strategy that just might work.” He got excited and said, “let’s try it Dad.” I smashed draft on Kareem Hunt and had a somewhat clear plan.

The rest of the draft I was going to spend good money to lock down a few solid wide receivers and target players on 1-year deals with high upside. This will free up cap space for next season and give me options of who to keep and who to let go based on performance and outlook this off season in my running back room. Example, if Pittsburgh lets James Connor walk at the end of the year and signs Hunt, then Hunt becomes a no brainier to keep next season. If he flops this year or stays behind Chubb, I just opened cap space for CMC or Mixon’s new deals. When it came time to pick again, I felt like a kindergartner at snack time I was so excited. Julio Jones at a hefty$22,000,000 fell right into my lap. I had zero issue spending big to pair Julio with the CMC, Mixon, Jones, and Hunt, giving me a great core to compete this year. The 6th was what seemed another no brainer for me with Leonard Fournette ($6,787,711) and 1 year remaining (see a trend?). Taking Fournette at this pick was simple because it gave me potentially 4 stud Running backs this season as well as my pick of the litter with these four going into next season with them all on expiring contracts. As my 7th pick was approaching quickly, I noticed almost all the young cheap signal callers were gone, so I decided to reach and go with Sam Darnold ($7,561,929).

I know Darnold is not an attractive pick here, but he has flashed some positive potential and the Jets played considerably better when Darnold was on the field last season vs. when he was out with mono. Pair that with an upgraded line and receiving core it may lead to a solid year from the Jets QB. At this point I am feeling good with where my team is but knew I would need another wide-out plus some younger depth due to Julio’s age and huge contract (amnesty candidate). Also, if I have learned one sneaky good piece of advice it’s don’t be scared of an aging contract who can help win now like Julio Jones, because the amnesty provision is there when needed.

Rounds 8-13

I have to say, I have never gone into the 8th round of a fantasy football draft as anxious as I was in my Dynasty Owner draft. I watched Tyler Lockett ($10,250,000), CeeDee Lamb ($3,502,503), and Justin Jefferson $3,280,701 come off the draft board praying it was not the start of a receiver run before my next selection. Luckily, Devante Parker ($7,625,000), who I am extremely high on, was available and I do not think I could have hit draft fast enough. This gave me what I feel is a very solid floor at the two premier positions in Fantasy Football with CMC, Mixon, Julio, and Parker on top of a ton of cap space still available if I really wanted to spice things up. In the following rounds I really wanted to start adding some young talent with promising careers to my roster, so I went with one of my favorite rookies in Michael Pittman Jr. ($2,153,212). I love Pittman’s situation in Indy with him set to take on a big role this year and replace the oft-injured T.Y. Hilton full time as soon as next season. On the clock with the 118th pick, I selected the man with tree trunks for legs, A.J. Dillion ($1,321,458) running back for the Green Bay Packers. While Aaron Rodgers may not be a fan of the pick, I absolutely love Dillion as a prospect, as a pure between the tackles, old school goal line runner and feel he will have long term success in his career. Dillon has the chance to be a successful Ron Dayne.

In most fantasy drafts as well as this one, I almost always find myself waiting until later in the draft to shoot for the typical breakout tight end season we tend to see every year. One of my breakout candidates this year is Dallas Goedert ($1,406,068) with the horrible injury luck of the Eagles, it seems Philly’s tight ends are due for an even bigger year than originally expected. Alshon Jeffery seems to be starting this season on the PUP list and Desean Jackson may want to consider signing on with bubble wrap at this point; he is so fragile. I see Philly running a ton of 12 personal this season with their number 1 wide-out being a rookie in a shortened off season. This spells big things to come for Dallas Goedert and Philly’s tight end room. At pick number 142 sat The Running Back One for 3 weeks of last season (when Kamara went down) none other than Latavius Murray ($3,600,000). I find Murray to be a great upside piece for my roster especially if Alvin Kamara goes down. He is also someone who will always help with the 20% bench scoring feature here on Dynasty Owner with some standalone value. Round 13 came and I had two things on my mind Talent and cap flexibility. Anthony Miller ($1,338,425) was the selection, I have heard reports on how Miller relied heavily on pure talent in college and his rookie season, and that last year was a bit of a wake up call for him on how important attention to detail and putting in work off the field is. Needless to say it sounds like it’s a make it or break it year for Miller and those are pieces I love on my team, especially with only one year remaining giving me the ability to cut ties freely if needed this off season.

Rounds 14-18

Once you get to this point in most drafts, you are simply looking for two things, depth, and upside. The thing is this is not most drafts. There are so many ways your draft can go at this point from needing to find no-name super cheap players to even out your top-heavy cap or having plenty of room and zero worries. I was here thinking I need to find guys on 1 or 2-year deals who can produce now giving me the flexibility I need going forward. With pick number 166 I took a flier on Justin Jackson ($5,700,000). The kid has seemed to flash greatness at times averaging 6.9 yards per carry last season. I followed that up with Sammy Watkins ($9,000,000) for bench scoring, bye weeks, and cap space next season. Watkins happens to play with a quarterback named Mahomes, so I had no issue taking a chance this late on a piece of Andy Reid’s offense. This is where things started to dry up in the draft knowing I could not spend big unless they were on a one-year deal because of the need to keep as many running backs as possible next season.

My plan was to look for a few handcuffs for my players in the next few rounds. I am not typically a fan of my own handcuffs, but with Covid-19 going nowhere I feel it is necessary this season and possibly next. I took Russel Gauge ($654,049) as a potential handcuff for Julio Jones. I know Gauge would not be the direct beneficiary as that goes to Calvin Ridley, but Gauge would become an easy start each week in Dirk Koetter’s pass happy offense with Julio or Ridley going down. Ryquell Armstead was my next selection as Fournette’s handcuff. I felt he was an easy choice here as there seems to be little competition for Armstead as the Jaguars backup. Chris Thompson is there but outside of a few passing situations he does not worry me even having the shower narrative with his old coach Jay Gruden. In the 18th round I selected rookie running back for the Miami Dolphins Malcom Perry ($842,622). Perry is nothing more than a practice squad player that I hope will pan out over his rookie deal in a young talented offense.

Rounds 18-25

I will do my best not to bore you with the bottom rounds as there is not a whole lot of strategy involved, aside from finding players you feel are talented. There are a few curve balls in this format if you have cap space as players like Marvin Jones ($8,000,000), Carson Wentz ($32,000,000) and Matt Ryan ($30,000,000) were never even drafted. Quintez Cephus ($734,822) was the player I took next. I find Cephus extremely intriguing over a singular statement. The statement came from Detroit Lions corner back Jeff Okudah where Okudah was asked who the best receiver he has ever faced, Okudah replied “Quintez Cephus” being a Buckeyes fan that is enough for me to take a flier.  I selected tight end Will Dissly ($777,568) at my next spot. Dissly has had a few disappointing injuries the past 2 seasons but when healthy he has showed promise and Russel Wilson seems to love the guy. He also seems to be superhuman with how quickly he recovers from significant injuries. Famous Jameis Winston was the next pick for me. I love the thought of Winston working with Sean Payton and Drew Brees and potentially taking over. He also had Lasik eye surgery this season which may be the cause of some of the mind-numbing interceptions he has thrown throughout his career.

I wanted to take a kicker earlier than normal in this format because I wanted to make sure I got solid production without having to spend a few million. Greg Joseph ($660,000) was the pick. I am a big fan of the Titans offense going into this season. The Titans were one of the most efficient teams in NFL history on offense last season when Tannehill took over which will hopefully lead to easy freebies for my kicker with him at the helm for the foreseeable future. Jared Cook ($7,500,000) was still on the board at pick number 267 which was extremely surprising to me. With only 1 year left on his contract in a particularly good offense, I figured it was a win win with production and free cap space next year. With my final two selections of my very first Dynasty Owner draft, I took two more kickers. Brett Maher ($750,000) for the New York Jets and Matt Prater ($3,800,000). Prater was a bit more than I planned to spend on a kicker, but he plays for a good offense. I remember reading an article by Steve Van Tassel, who mentioned how important having 3 kickers was in Dynasty Owner. The reason for this is because of the 20 percent bench scoring each week, if you only have 2 kickers you will take 2 big fat ZEROs on your bench for bye weeks.

Summary and Free Agent Pickups

After the draft I was looking over my team, deciding how to spend the rest of my cap space in a responsible manner. I knew anyone I picked up had to be on a one-year deal, so I am not on the hook past this season, after all they were not drafted. Corey Davis ($6,348,672) was available and I needed more potential production at receiver, so I placed a bid and got him. Shortly after the guys from Dynasty Owner announced $2 Million in extra cap space so I placed a bid for Marvin Jones and his 1 year $8,000,000 salary. I knew Jones if healthy would offer me that extra upside and depth I need at wide out. I was surprised that I was able to pick up a player with the upside of Marvin Jones in a potential top 10 offense with the Detroit Lions for the minimum bid of 1,000,000 Dynasty Dollars. My overall draft experience here on dynasty owner was nothing short of phenomenal and addicting. There are so many different strategies to go with and most happen on the fly while drafting which makes it a lot of fun.

The strategy I went with in my draft was too get uber talented players with 1 year left on their deals in return my team only has $53,000,000 in cap space committed next season giving me plenty of freedom to do what I want next off season on top of signing my rookies. Overall, I have to say I am hooked on the in-depth year-round strategy this format takes to succeed and cannot wait for future seasons to see how my team performs, as well as running a few more teams. I hope this article helps you get a sense of what the draft process is like and gives you a somewhat in-depth look at the problems and thought process you will face in your upcoming drafts. One last takeaway from my draft and the research I have done recently for articles is that I have never seen such differences in where players are drafted as well as surprises on a draft-by-draft basis than you will find here at Dynasty Owner.  As always good luck on your Chase for The Ring!

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Roster Roundup: Part Two: NFC North

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.

This week, we start in the NFC North and will follow with NFC South next week:

Chicago Bears

HC: Matt Nagy OC: Bill Lazor

QB: Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, Tyler Bray

RB: David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce, Napoleon Maxwell

WR: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Coradelle Patterson, Riley Ridley, Ted Ginn, Javon Wims, Darnell Mooney, Alex Wesley, Reggie Davis, Trevor Davis, Thomas Ives, Ahmad Wagner

TE: Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet, Demetrius Harris, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker, JP Holtz, Jesper Horsted, Eric Saubert, Darion Clark

This QB position is one of the few in the league that might not be settled until after training camp. Trubisky is the incumbent starter since 2017 but will have competition from veteran Nick Foles. Foles has been a career backup that shined in the playoffs and won the Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2018. He was traded from Jacksonville this offseason for a fourth-round pick after starting only 4 games. Trubisky is at times, fun to watch but also cringe worthy. He’s a strong-arm talent with under-utilized wheels that plays better on the move. Foles, is a heady decision maker that might lack top arm strength but makes up for it with his wit and grit.

Montgomery and Cohen could be considered co-starters at the running back position. GM Ryan Pace said that Montgomery could be “the team’s feature back” and “could carry a heavier workload” this season. Montgomery out carried the diminutive Cohen 242-64, but Cohen earned his paycheck in the receiving game. While Cohen had his worst statistical year as a ball carrier, he had his best year catching the ball out of the backfield and from the slot. While his 79 catches on 104 targets were his career best, it came in check down territory dropping his 2018 YPC from 10.2 to 5.8 in 2019.

Allen Robinson is a damn good football player. You really do feel for this guy. He is a WR1 talent that has suffered from sub-par QB play his entire career. He led the team in every receiving category but that wasn’t saying much for the 2019 Chicago Bears that went 8-8 thanks to their elite defense and 28th ranked offense. While Robinson is an over-achiever, the rest of the WR’s just need to put up mediocre numbers. With the departure of cap casualty Taylor Gabriel, the path is clear for Anthony Miller to take a leap forward this year. Miller is a solid football talent that has been slowed by legitimate injuries the past two years. He finished the last six games of the year on fire while averaging 5.7 catches and 72 yards during that time. Miller is the unquestioned WR2 on this team that could return strong WR3 value on your fantasy team.

The rest of the WR’s won’t hold much fantasy value unless something unfortunate happens. Coradelle Patterson, Riley Ridley and the immortal Ted Ginn round out this receiving corps. We really don’t have to spend much time talking about the TE position. Jimmy Graham was dug up to play for yet another NFL team that obviously doesn’t watch his film. Cole Kmet was drafted with the 43rd pick in the 2020 draft and is an inexperienced, yet promising talent with a large catch radius. He may take a bit longer to develop but has plenty of tutors with a whopping 10 TE’s on the roster. Harris and Shaheen will get theirs but this TE group is not very inspiring for 2020.

Detroit Lions

HC: Matt Patricia OC: Darrell Bevell

QB: Matthew Stafford, Chase Daniel, David Blough

RB: Kerryon Johnson, D’Andre Swift, Bo Scarbrough, Ty Johnson, Wes Hills, Jason Huntley

WR: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, Geronimo Allison, Quintez Cephus, Travis Fulgham, Victor Bolden Jr, Marvin Hall, Tom Kennedy, Chris Lacy, Geremy Davis

TE: TJ Hockenson, Jesse James, Isaac Nauta, Matt Sokol, Hunter Bryant, Luke Sellers

Coming off of a 3-12-1 record the Detroit Lions have a lot to improve on. The defense was absolutely abysmal grading out as the #31 defense per PFF. Their offense has lots to look forward to with the likes of Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, TJ Hockenson and newly drafted D’Andre Swift.

Stafford was in the midst of his most efficient season before succumbing to injuries related to his back and ankle. There is plenty to get excited about for Stafford’s 2020 outlook if healthy.

In his limited 9 full games from 2019, Stafford posted three or more touchdowns and over 290 yards in 5 of those games. Still just 32 years old, Stafford often returns numbers warranting him as a QB1 on your fantasy team. He is a great QB to rely on if you decide to draft a rookie and need a few years to plug him in as a viable starter.

The running back group has received an injection of speed with the drafting of D’Andre Swift. Swift was a dynamic back at Georgia excelling in both the run and passing game. His skill set was desperately needed in the lackluster run game of the 2019 Lions. While Kerryon Johnson carried a respectable 2019 2nd round ADP in dynasty drafts, his on the field play hasn’t quite translated to his draft status. He is an able runner who can be trusted in pass protection, his skill set best suits him in a rotational role with Swift and not as the bell-cow back that he was being drafted as. 2019 waiver wire disappointment Ty Johnson is still in the mix while plodder Bo Scarbrough looks to keep his role in the short yardage game.

This group of receivers, led by Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, is sure to get back on track with their efficiency. It’s been a bit of feast or famine for the two and you really can’t blame it all on the team executing the unimaginative play calling. When they are good, they are good. When they are not-so-good, they are horrible. Golladay recorded 5 games with over 100 yards last year with TD’s in all but one of them. Then he had five games that looked like this; 2/17/0, 1/21/0, 1/34/0, 3/44/0, 4/61/0. His touchdowns were certainly up last year(11), but his targets, receptions, and drops all took a bit of a hit.

Marvin Jones is admittedly not as dynamic as Golladay and is four years his senior. His touchdowns were comparable (Golladay-11, Jones-9) and his payroll is significantly higher (Jones- 4.29%, Golladay-1.08% of the team’s cap) but Jones may come way cheaper at a WR4-5 ADP range than his running mate Golladay is being drafted as a low end WR1, high end WR2. Entering his fourth season, Golladay is sure to rake in a big payday with a calculated market value of $18.9 million. Rounding out the WR position is the veteran Danny Amendola and Geronimo Allison. Amendola (642) and Alison (689) both saw significant snaps in 3Wr & 4WR sets last year but intriguing 5th round selection Quintez Cephus is one that may press for playing time.

The tight end position is anchored by sophomore T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James. Hockenson got more snaps running receiving routes and graded out better than James while runblocking. Hockenson had a solid rookie year and was thrown right into the fire early in the season. He is sure to be a staple of this offense for years to come. He, like the rest of his offensive teammates, is talented and would do far better with more imaginative and bold play calling.

Source: packers.com

Green Bay Packers

HC: Matt LaFleur OC: Nathaniel Hackett

QB: Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, Tim Boyle, Jalen Morton

RB: Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Jamaal Williams, Dexter Williams, Patrick Taylor Jr, Damarea Crockett, Tyler Ervin

WR: Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Devin funchess, Jake Kumerow, Equanimeous St Brown, Darrius Shepherd, Reggie Begelton, Darrel Stewart Jr, Kabion Ento

TE: Marcedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger, Josiah Deguara, Robert Tonyan Jr, Evan Baylis, James Looney, Jordan Jones

The 2019 season for the Green Bay Packers told us three things; 1.) As great as he is…Aaron Rodgers had more friction with another coaching staff 2.) Rodgers desperately needed a complimentary weapon in the passing game to Davante Adams 3.) The Packers got absolutely whopped by the 49ers run game twice. The Packers 2020 draft was very entertaining and definitely told a story for those paying attention.

Instead of providing Rodgers with a weapon in a loaded wide receiver draft class, they made a statement by drafting a QB in round 1. 

Whether or not Rodgers is in the declining stages of his career is debatable. In 2019 he led first year head coach Matt LaFleur’s team to a 13-3 record while throwing for over 4,000 yards and 26 TD’s to just 4 INT’s.  He definitely took a step back in the rushing department posting his lowest yards per rush average in 11 years. But do the Packers think that Rodgers is at the end of his career or just nearing the end of their time together? Typically, you don’t find NFL teams spending a 1st round pick on a player they project to be a back-up, especially at the QB position. So, you have to assume that Jordan Love is in the Packers very near future plans.

Aaron Jones won lots of team’s fantasy championships last year. In fact, he was downright studly. While rushing for 1084 yards and 16 TD’s, he also caught 3 TD’s on 49 catches for 474 yards. Still only 25 years old, the 2017 5th rounder is in the last year of his contract and hopes to be a Packer for life. But the Packers are not known to sign their running back to second contracts so we might have some insight to why they used a second-round pick on A.J. Dillion.

Dillon is a massive man weighing in around 250lbs. He walks around on tree trunks and shows some top end speed when given the chance. He does tend to need a full head of steam to get going and is not very talented when he has to make quick decisions. He has the build to carry a full workload but will likely find himself in a committee with walk year running backs Jones and Jamaal Williams. Although there is only one ball to share, the Packers are also very high on Tyler Ervin.

As for wide receivers, you have Davante Adams…the End. Green Bay has struggled to find a consistent compliment to Davante Adams and shame on them for not drafting appropriately. Instead, they opted to build a power run game through the draft and ignore a glaring need. Although Allen Lazard rose to the top of the trash heap in 2019, Green Bay WR’s showcased very inconsistent play evidenced by the team’s 24 dropped passes. They did sign the big-bodied Devin Funchess to a $2.2 million salary, but he more or less will help replace the evacuated red zone presence of Jimmy Graham. Valdez-Scantling and St.Brown are still very young and raw and could surprise with some much needed reps. Finally, Jake Kumerow rounds out the list of notable receivers. The tight end group is led by an unaccomplished Jace Sternberger and veteran Marcedes Lewis. Sternberger was the 3rd selection in 2019 and is poised to take a leap in 2020. He is a seam stretcher with so-so blocking skills and should be good to go to replace Graham after missing half of his rookie year due to an ankle injury. He could be the most over hyped dynasty prospect to never catch a pass in the regular season. Mercedes Lewis will siphon some in the passing game while 2020 3rd rounder Josiah Deguara is a Dan Vitale clone who projects more as an H-Back.

Minnesota Vikings

OC: Mike Zimmer OC: Gary Kubiak

QB: Kirk Cousins, Sean Mannion, Nate Stanley, Jake Browning

RB: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Michael Boone, Ameer Abdullah, Tony James-Brooks, CJ Ham, Jake Bargas

WR: Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, Olabisi Johnson, Chad Beebe, Tajae Sharpe, KJ Osborn, Alexander Hollins, Dillon Mitchell, Quartney Davis, Dan Chisena, Davion Davis

TE: Kyle Rudoplh, Irv Smith Jr, Tyler Conklin, Brandon Dillon, Nakia Griffin-Stewart

Captain Kirk’s contract has caused this team to lose talent. His two-year $66 million extension is near the top of the league and will impact the team’s roster for years to come. Luckily, they kicked butt in the draft. With the early addition of Justin Jefferson falling into their laps, promising tackle Ezra Clevland and some much-needed secondary help, Minnesota had one of the best drafts based on talent alone.

Cousins isn’t considered a top talent in industry circles, but he is a fine player. In 2019 he ranked fourth in efficiency rating, 7th in yards per attempt, and 5th in completion percentage. He does not put up gaudy numbers that will make you jump out of your chair, but he does offer that even keel consistency that you look for on your fantasy team. Behind him you have the reliable but not-so-talented Sean Mannion and the 7th rounder out of Iowa, Nate Stanley.

This backfield is very talented. Dalvin Cook is in early season holdout mode but is incredible with the ball in his hands as well as off-ball play. Cook returned value for those that drafted him last year, but will we take the gamble again this year? He carries uncertainty with his holdout as well as his injury history. Cook has a problematic shoulder which resulted in two torn labrums as well has several lower body issues. He seems to be fully recovered from the 2017 grade 3 ACL tear, but he chronically has hamstring issues. Cook has all of the talent in the world, but you cannot ignore the potential holdout and injury concerns.

Next on the RB depth chart are Alexander Mattison, Mike Boone, and Ameer Abdullah. Mattison was the top backup posting 462 yards with 1 TD in 13 games. Boone is much more comparable to Cook than Mattison is and enjoyed his week 17 “breakout” with 160 total yards and 1 touchdown. Boone is a talented player and deserves a look in the late rounds of dynasty drafts.

At wide receiver we witnessed the social media outbursts of Steffon Diggs lead to his departure to Buffalo. Surviving on the roster is his former running mate Adam Thielen. Thielen has enjoyed a rather clean injury history aside from a 2016 concussion until he slid into a wall outside of the endzone in the first quarter against the Lions. Injuring his hamstring, he missed one game and attempted a comeback against KC two weeks later and re-injured the leg resulting in a 4-game hiatus. He is undervalued due to injury recency bias and is a strong bounce back candidate that should dominate the target share on his team.

To replace Diggs, the Vikings scooped up Justin Jefferson from LSU in the first round. Running nearly 80% of his routes in the slot in his final year at LSU, Jefferson figures to kick inside in 3WR sets. Jefferson offers fantastic straight-line speed (4.41) and is a nuanced route runner. This is a great example where opportunity marries talent. Olibisi Johnson has the leg up on Tajae Sharpe for the 3rd WR spot while Chad Beebe offers more talent in the slot with his short area quickness.

Kyle Rudolph seems like he has played tight end for the Vikings forever. Still just 30yrs old, he operates on third downs and in the red zone evidenced by his 367 yards for 6 TD’s last season. Meanwhile Irv Smith is a candidate for more looks following Diggs departure. Smith played 60% of the snaps as a 20-year-old rookie out of Alabama in 2019. His yards per catch (8.6) are sure to increase, he had a respectable 36/311/2 rookie campaign in a talented offense. Former basketball player, Tyler Conklin sits third on the depth chart offering plus run-blocking ability with decent hands.

That is the NFC North! 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