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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Players to Pick Up with the Extra $2 Million in Salary Cap in 2020

Author: Steven Van Tassell

The announcement about the increase of $2 million in the 2020 Dynasty Owner salary cap is great news for Dynasty Owners. In case you miss it, due to players opting out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19, the Dynasty Owner salary cap for 2020 has been increased by $2 million. All Dynasty Owners can draft up to the $110 million salary cap, but then after the draft, everyone gets $2 million in extra cap room. That’s a second chance for everyone who drafted right up to the limit to pick up additional players. They will have to spend some Dynasty Dollars in the Free Agent Auction, but will at least be able to pick up some additional players to add to their rosters, up to the 30 player limit.

It’s time to head over to the Free Agent Auction page on the Dynasty Owner app or on the desktop and see who’s available. You’re not going to go out and get Aaron Rodgers and his $33.5 million contract with that extra salary cap room, but there are plenty of players who Dynasty Owners can pick up for their team for under $2 million who might help you out this season and maybe even beyond. Some especially savvy Dynasty Owners might even be able to add two or three players with their extra $2 million. We’re not talking about sure-fire starters or even guys who will be on your Dynasty Owner Bench at the beginning of the season. Looking closely at the Free Agent Auction, Dynasty Owners can find players who might be worth stashing on their Practice Squad in the hopes that they work their way into the starting lineup via strong performances on the field, or other players getting injured or contracting COVID-19.

For the purposes of this article, ADP and Dynasty Owner ownership statistics were current as of August 17th. All players recommended have salaries of $2 million or less for 2020 and are currently owned in less than 50% of Dynasty Owner leagues.

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

Quarterback Handcuffs, Get Your Quarterback Handcuffs Here!

Did you draft a top QB for your Dynasty Owner team, but not his backup? Now might be the time to grab that handcuff if he’s still available in your league. Here’s a list of handcuff QBs to some top draft Dynasty Owner draft picks who likely can be added with the extra $2 million in salary cap room.

  • For everyone who picked from the #1 spot and drafted Lamar Jackson (or even #2 if he slipped to you), now is your opportunity to get RGIII as the handcuff. His $2 million salary will take up all of your extra cap space. This is only good for those of you in the 53% of leagues in which he’s available. Dynasty Owners without Lamar on their team can also go out and grab RGIII, but this is probably most urgent for Dynasty Owners with Lamar on their team. If he goes down to injury or even tests positive for COVID-19 and has to sit a couple of games, having RGIII might be worth the price.
  • If you had a top 5 pick and enough faith in the offense that Kliff Kingsbury is putting together in Arizona, then you might be a Kyler Murray owner. What happens if Murray gets injured or tests positive for COVID-19 and has to sit out a couple of weeks? Do you have a third quarterback on your roster to take Murray’s spot and be on your Bench for a couple of weeks or do you need another QB? Either way, you could always pick up his backup, Brett Hundley, who signed a one-year, $1,047,500 contract back in March to back up Murray for another year. Hundley only played in three games in 2019, but did play 11 games for the Packers back in 2017 and had 1,836 yards passing with 9 passing TDs along with 270 yards rushing and 2 rushing TDs (no Dynasty Owner fantasy points available for 2017). He’s only owned in 2% of Dynasty Owner leagues so he’s definitely widely available and maybe worth a flyer for Murray owners in particular.
  • Who’s going to be the backup to the $45 million Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City? If Andy Reid is to be believed, then it’s Chad Henne who was 2 for 3 passing for 29 yards as the backup in 2018, but is pretty expensive at $1.625 million per year for two years. Hopefully, you’re not in one of the 7% of leagues that he’s owned in or you’re out of luck. Last year’s backup Matt Moore is still there, available in 98% of Dynasty Owner leagues and he’ll cost a little over half of the extra $2 million with his $1.05 million salary. Finally, you can take XFL sensation Jordan Ta’amu who signed a one-year, $680,000 contract with the team back in March. He’s owned in 10% of leagues – most of the Mahomes’ backups. You could grab two of them (Henne and Ta’amu) if you just have $2 million or go hog wild and get all three for $3.335 million in salary cap room and want to protect your top draft pick that badly and have three spare roster spots.

Don’t Skip Running Backs, There Are Some Available

Running back is a difficult position to find Dynasty Owner value during the draft and even harder afterwards. Surprisingly, there are a few players making less than $2 million who Dynasty Owners could pick up and stash on their roster with that extra salary cap room. Of course, none of them are guaranteed starters or guaranteed to play much, but a few of them have the chance to produce.

  • What if I told you there was a 26 year old player available in 61% of Dynasty Owner leagues who scored 118.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points with over 10.0 points in four games last year? Well, there is, and his name is Peyton Barber. Barber is part of the running back mix in Washington along with Adrian Peterson, Bryce Love and Antonio Gibson. Coach Ron Rivera has warned people not to forget about Barber and many Dynasty Owner have heeded those words as his ownership jumped from 17% to 39% after that comment. He’s still available to most Dynasty Owners, unlike the rest of his competition, and only costs $1.5 million per year for the next two years. He might be the starter on Opening Day. Anything is possible in Washington these days.
  • We looked at handcuffs in our last article and one handcuff to a top 10 RB who is barely owned is Dontrell Hilliard of Cleveland. He’s technically backing up both Nick Chubb (ADP 9.5) and Kareem Hunt (ADP 51.1) and has competition for the #3 spot since he just came off the COVID-19 reserve list, but should probably still be owned in more than 2% of Dynasty Owner leagues since he only costs $750,000 in salary cap space. Other players in similar positions, such as Darwin Thompson, Mike Boone, are owned in over 80% of leagues. Even the three potential backups to Joe Mixon in Cincinnati are in the 40-60% ownership range. If Chubb goes down to injury, it’ll likely be Hunt to the rescue, but if both Chubb and Hunt can’t play, it’ll likely be Hilliard’s job with a new Head Coach in Kevin Stefanski who likes to run the ball. Not bad for a spot on your Practice Squad with some of your extra salary cap.
  • Last year, Wayne Gallman had a game with 26.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points versus Washington when Saquon Barkley was out with injury. Now, he might not be the backup for the Giants, but third in line behind Barkley and Dion Lewis. However, Gallman only carries a salary of $704,912 for one year and is only owned in 24% of Dynasty Owner leagues. He might be worth a flyer and spot on your Practice Squad if you spent a first round pick on Barkley.

Who Wants (Maybe) the Next Wes Welker or Julian Edelman?

There is quite the competition to be the #3 WR in Tampa Bay behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Rookie Tyler Johnson is the favorite in the competition among Dynasty Owners since he is owned in 100% of leagues. Scotty Miller is owned in 56%, an increase over late July/early August when his ownership was under 50%.  Both of them cost less than $750,000 in salary for 2020 ($737,355 for Johnson and $661,960 for Miller). However, you have to pay both of them for a couple of more years (3 for Johnson and 2 more for Miller). There’s another option for Dynasty Owners who want to own a guy who might be a favorite Brady target in Justin Watson.

Watson got the opportunity to play in Weeks 14-17 last year and averaged 10.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in those four games. Not bad for only $690,435 in salary for the next two years. Dynasty Owners can grab Miller along with some other players at that low salary and hope he turns out to be the #3 guy in Tampa since he’s only rostered in 15% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Watson is making an impression with Coach Bruce Arians’ according to a recent article – https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/football/news/buccaneers-justin-watson-catches-coachs-eye/ – so if he catches Brady’s eye as well, he could be someone to stash on your Practice Squad.

With the word from training camp that 49ers WR Jalen Hurd may have torn an ACL, other WRs could get a look at some additional work in the 49ers offense. There are plenty of them to choose from ranging from new signees J.J. Nelson and Tavon Austin to Trent Taylor returning from an injury that cost him the 2019 season to one player who has experience with the team, is still only 24 years old, and has one year left on a contract that will pay him only $1.6 million in 2020. That WR is Dante Pettis who had only 37.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points just a year after putting up 122.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in his rookie season in 2018. Pettis is currently only owned in 14% of Dynasty Owner leagues, which will probably increase overnight after this article is finished with Hurd owners rushing to the Free Agent Auction to pick up Pettis. If no Dynasty Owner in your league went out and grabbed Pettis yet, stop reading, go out and bid on him.

The Tight End Position Is Tight on Talent to Pick Up

The talent available at TE in the Free Agent Auction that could help your Dynasty Owner team in 2020 and fit under the $2 million in extra salary cap is hard to find. Just like every other position. At just over $3 million per year, Dynasty Owners can pick up either Darren Fells ($3.15 million; 110.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019; 14% ownership) or Jacob Hollister ($3.26 million; 96.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019; 8% ownership). Veteran Jason Witten is available in 98% of Dynasty Owner leagues for $4 million in 2020, but he plays behind Darren Waller in Las Vegas, thus explaining his low ownership. However, there are two TEs who fit the bill for inclusion in this article.

The first one is second year Bengals TE Drew Sample. Sample was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft, but only scored 8.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points before suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 10. Still, the Bengals are bound to improve in 2020 and invested a high pick in Sample so he could be part of their offensive mix this year with new QB Joe Burrow. Last year’s starter Tyler Eifert is now in Jacksonville and that leaves just C.J. Uzomah ahead of Sample on the Bengals TE depth chart. Since he’s only owned in 19% of Dynasty Owner leagues and his 2020 salary is just shy of $1.38 million. He does have has 3 years left on his contract, but Dynasty Owners won’t mind paying it if he plays and produces this year.

Since rookie TEs like Cole Kmet, Adam Trautman, Devin Asiasi were all drafted in the second round or later, all of them are scheduled to make less than $2 million this season. They aren’t available as both Kmet and Asiasi are owned in 100% of leagues, while Trautman is owned in 98% (check your league’s Free Agent Auction if you’re in a league in which Trautman is available, go grab him ASAP). After that, it’s time to start looking at later draft picks who might make an impact. Out of those guys, the one who looks best positioned to help Dynasty Owners in 2020 and beyond might be Brycen Hopkins of the Rams. Hopkins was a fourth round pick and slated to be third on the Rams depth chart behind Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett. The Rams didn’t pass much out of two or more TE formations in the past two seasons (26th in 2019 and last in 2018 according to data available at Sharp Football Stats – https://www.sharpfootballstats.com/personnel-grouping-frequency.html). However, the loss of Brandin Cooks could mean more TE usage by the Rams in 2020 which is Hopkins’ most likely path to playing time since both Higbee and Everett have been remarkably healthy in their careers (Higbee only missed one game in four seasons and Everett has missed just three in three seasons, with all of those missed games coming last year). If you need another TE and want to spend some of your extra salary cap room, Hopkins might be worth the $822,032 in salary for the next four years.

Kicking Away Some Salary Cap Room

If you are like some Dynasty Owners and hate the fact that you need to have a kicker on your roster, maybe you didn’t go out and draft three of them. Now you have $2 million more in salary cap room, but are there any kickers still left in your league’s Free Agent Auction who you can get for that extra salary?

Not really. Most of the kickers available in a majority of Dynasty Owner leagues right now are veterans with multi-year contracts making just north of $4 million in salary in 2020. Dynasty Owners who spent up close to the $110 million salary cap are going to have to clear some space on their roster to fit any of those guys. However, there is one rookie competing for a roster spot who is owned in less than 50% of Dynasty Owner leagues right now – rookie seventh round draft pick Sam Sloman of the Los Angeles Rams. Sloman is owned in 29% of Dynasty Owner leagues, but is competing with fellow 30-year old rookie (but CFL veteran) Lirim Hajrullahu. Feel free to look for Hajrullahu in the Free Agent Auction, but you’re likely not finding him there since he’s rostered in 90% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Sloman carries just a salary of $677,622, but it’s a 4-year deal, so if he doesn’t win the starting job in L.A., then you might have to cut him and pay $677,622 (25% of his total contract) in Dynasty Dollars to get him off your roster.

The only other option might be to pick up a Jets kicker. That’s really bad as the Jets haven’t had a good kicker since Pat Leahy retired back in 1991 and Leahy’s career FG percentage was just 71.4% so he wasn’t really very good – he just happened to kick for them for 18 seasons.

Both Jets kickers are owned in just over 50% of Dynasty Owner leagues with Sam Ficken and his one-year, $675,000 contract owned in 56% while former Cowboys kicker Brett Maher is owned in 51% of Dynasty Owner leagues, but carries a slightly higher salary ($750,000). Neither had a great year in 2019 as Maher missed 10 FGs in 13 games (20 for 30 on FG attempts) while making all 36 PAT attempts for 68.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (5.2 points per game). Ficken was slightly worse as he went 19 of 27 in FG attempts (70.4%), but missed 3 PATs (23 for 26) to score just 67 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 15 games as the Jets kicker in 2019 (4.5 points per game). Neither is a great option, but if you get both, you’re guaranteed to own the Jets kicker. Ain’t that great?

Conclusions

Training camps have opened now, and we are less than one month out from the 2020 NFL season. It’s time to start filling out your Dynasty Owner roster after the draft with those five extra Practice Squad slots and for this year, the extra $2 million in salary cap room provided due to COVID-19.

There are lots of players available who make less than that $2 million in salary cap room, but only some are widely available and likely to help your Dynasty Owner team in the 2020 season. Hopefully, some of the ones highlighted here are available in your league and you’re able to grab them in the Free Agent Auction to help build your Dynasty.

You could also hang on to that $2 million, but that would have been a pretty short article. Speaking of articles, there are more of them coming from myself and Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter). The podcast series with myself and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer will continue to be posted on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube and other places (iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker) as well. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. We have over 400 subscribers on YouTube now and thank you all for watching and listening. 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!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Are Dynasty Owners’ Utilizing Handcuffs for Their Star Players?

Author: Steven Van Tassell

Surely everyone is aware of the terminology and know that a handcuff is a backup player who will likely take over for a team’s starter in the event of an injury. In addition to “regular” injuries that happen all of the time to NFL players, Dynasty Owners in 2020 also have to worry about players testing positive for COVID-19 and going on the new Reverse/COVID-19 list. This new list is defined as being for players who have tested positive, or players who are quarantining because they came into close contact with someone who tested positive.

One of my fellow Beta Users (Nick – Quaranteam) suggested that I look at whether Dynasty Owners were valuing handcuffs for their star players enough in 2020 due to COVID-19. The possibility is out there that some star players will contract the contagious disease and have to sit out games at some point this season. It’s not a minimum of three games as previously expected, but more flexible than that as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explains in the following article: https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2020/07/18/clarifying-the-2020-injured-reserve-covid-19-rules/.

Since 12-team leagues are new to Dynasty Owner for 2020, we don’t have historical data to see whether handcuffs are being utilized more or less this season than last year, but we can still look at what’s going on this year. This analysis of handcuffs is based on a review of 43 Dynasty Owner drafts for the 2020 season. All of the drafts were conducted between June 14th and July 26th. There were 5 drafts by Beta users, 15 For the Love of the Game drafts by players only paying the $29 entry fee, 11 drafts in the $600 prize pool leagues ($50 entry fee per team) and 12 drafts in the $1,200 prize pool leagues ($100 entry fee per team).

For the purposes of this analysis, I’m looking at situations where there is a clear starter (Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey, etc.) and then a backup who will likely only play if their team is winning or losing by a lot or if the starter gets hurt or is placed on the COVID-19 list. I purposely left out players on teams and positions in which the starting position is up for grabs, which is more of a hedging your bet on a certain position. Examples of that include starting QB for the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers as it’s reasonable to think either Justin Herbert or Tyrod Taylor could be the starter in Week 1, the Ravens’ RB situation with Mark Ingram and rookie J.K. Dobbins or the Rams who have a quartet of RBs (Cam Akers, Darrel Henderson, Malcolm Brown and John Kelly) who coach Sean McVay has identified as “NFL-legitimate starting-caliber backs”. There are other examples but that should give everyone an idea of what qualified as a handcuff versus hedging your bets.

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

Handcuffing by Position and League Type

Overall, there were 300 identified handcuff situations over the 43 leagues analyzed, or an average of 6.98 per league. Teams could draft more than one handcuff for their players, and we’ve identified several interesting ones later on in this article. Since we are all in 12-team leagues now, that means only about half of the teams in each league drafted a handcuff for one of their players. There are multiple situations in which a team drafted more than one handcuff, so the average number of teams drafting a handcuff is lower than the number of situations.

By league type, there were more handcuffs per league in the $100 entry fee leagues (8.00 per league) than any other type by a significant margin (6.64 for $50 entry fee leagues, 6.60 for the $29 Love of the Game leagues and a low of 6.40 for the five Beta user leagues). The more cash people have invested in their Dynasty Owner team, the more likely they are to handcuff – very interesting. For newer players, Beta users are free for life and don’t pay anything in return for spending last year and this off-season spotting bugs in mock drafts and on the website and app.

By position, it’s not surprising that more people are drafting a handcuff at the running back position than any other position (141 in total, or 47% of all handcuffs are RBs). There were 104 WR handcuffs, or about one-third (35%). There were 38 handcuff QBs, or 13% of the 300 handcuffs, while only 17 handcuffs (6%) were TEs.

In terms of players, 74 individual star players were handcuffed with a lesser player. Thirty-one WRs were handcuffed, or over two-fifths (42%) of players handcuffed were WRs, followed by 19 RBs (26%), 16 QBs (22%) and a mere 8 TEs (11%). Let’s find out more about who was handcuffed most frequently and wasn’t frequently enough.

Running While Handcuffed

The position in which most fantasy football players utilize handcuffs is usually running backs based on their higher rate of injury and the current preference of many NFL coaches for running back by committee (RBBC). Dynasty Owner is no different in this regard as nearly half of the handcuffs in the early drafts were RB handcuffs with 19 starting RBs being handcuffed by 37 backups. Remember that we are looking only at handcuffs and not situations like those identified earlier where the starting job is “up for grabs”.

So, which RB was handcuffed the most in Dynasty Owner drafts? Was it the RB with the highest salary in Dynasty Owner, Ezekiel Elliott at $15 million in salary cap room, or was it one of the top two RBs drafted in Christian McCaffrey (ADP 2.6) or Saquon Barkley (ADP 3.8)?

The answer is: None of those guys. There was a tie as the most handcuffed RBs were in fact Dalvin Cook of the Vikings and James Conner of the Steelers, both of whom were handcuffed in 15 Dynasty Owner drafts. While both were handcuffed the same number of times, the most common handcuff was picking Conner and his $790,381 one-year contract along with Jaylen Samuels and his equally affordable $679,517 salary for the next two years.

Dalvin Cook and his threatened training camp holdout was big news back in early June when he announced it (Spoiler alert: He didn’t hold out and reported to training camp on time) and likely caused many of his Dynasty Owners to handcuff him with either Alexander Mattison (8 times) or Mike Boone (6 times). There was at least one team (Wasabi) who handcuffed Cook with both of those guys.

There was also one team (The Team) who handcuffed Cook, who they drafted with the #12 overall pick, with fullback C.J. Ham and his 4-year, $12 million salary. Ham was drafted with the first pick in the 20th round by The Team in their For the Love of the Game league. This wasn’t a wise pick for The Team since Mike Boone was still available if they wanted a handcuff. Ham is so lightly regarded by other Dynasty Owners that no other team has Ham on their roster. Probably because he’s a blocking fullback and had just 37.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points last year.

Two players on one-year contracts were also handcuffed nearly as often (14 times each). Kenyan Drake and his $8.483 million contract was handcuffed equally by Chase Edmonds and rookie Eno Benjamin. Joe Mixon was also handcuffed 14 times, but was handcuffed by four separate players (Giovani Bernard – 7 times; Trayveon Williams – 4 times; Rodney Anderson – 2 times; Jacques Patrick – 1 time). The four handcuff players were the most for any single starter. Congratulations!?!

Handcuffing the Top Picks at QB

In contrast, the most obvious handcuff at QB is drafting Robert Griffin III to pair with Lamar Jackson, who many Dynasty Owners have been taking with the #1 pick (ADP 1.3). Dynasty Owners who have chosen Lamar are handcuffing him with RGIII more than any other QB combo with 7 Dynasty Owners having done this. Interestingly, even though there were 15 For the Love of the Game drafts analyzed, none of the Lamar-RGIII handcuffs occurred in one of those leagues. For those Dynasty Owners who have Lamar and $2 million in salary cap room, RGIII is currently available in 50% of Dynasty Owner leagues.

That’s three more handcuffs than the trio of starting QBs who are next most likely to be handcuffs (Patrick Mahomes, Cam Newton and Carson Wentz). Mahomes is has the second best ADP (1.8) with 4 handcuffs (3 times by Chad Henne and 1 time by Jordan Ta’amu). All three of the potential Kansas City backup QBs are highly available for Mahomes’ owners who have salary cap room to protect their investment in the $450 million Super Bowl MVP.  Ta’amu is owned by the highest percentage (11%), followed by Henne at 7% and Matt Moore at only 2% ownership.

Despite not being signed by the Patriots until late June and only being selected at his new salary in the July drafts, Cam Newton was also handcuffed four times by backups in New England. Three Dynasty Owners chose Jarrett Stidham as Newton’s backup, while one chose Brian Hoyer. Even though Coach Bill Belichick has said that Newton won’t be handed the starting job, he’s the starter in New England barring an injury. For Newton’s Dynasty Owners who didn’t handcuff in the draft, but are thinking about it doing it now, sorry to inform you but Stidham and his $788,423 contract isn’t available in any Dynasty Owner leagues right now.

Finally, we have four Dynasty Owners who handcuffed Carson Wentz and his $32 million annual salary with rookie QB and 2nd round draft pick Jalen Hurts. Even though only a few Wentz owners chose Hurts as well, Hurts and his $1.5 million salary is 100% owned, compared to 78% ownership for Wentz. Wentz does have a better ADP (80.7) than Hurts (152.9). Nate Sudfeld, who might end up being the true backup in 2020 if media reports are true, is only owned in 2% of leagues. You’ll need $2 million in salary cap room to go get Sudfeld if you have Wentz but not Hurts, are concerned about Wentz’s injury history and want to ensure you have a stake in the Eagles’ offense this year.

The only other two first round QB draft picks – Kyler Murray (ADP 4.3) and Deshaun Watson (ADP 5.0) – were lightly handcuffed with only one Dynasty Owner handcuffing Murray with his likely backup in Brett Hundley and none of the Dynasty Owners who drafted through July 26th handcuffing Deshaun Watson. The owner who drafted Hundley (The Guns of Hochuli – great team name!) is the only one right now with Hundley on their roster.

Not a Lot of Handcuffing of Tight Ends

At the other end of the handcuff spectrum from RBs and QBs are TEs who are rarely being handcuffed in the early Dynasty Owner drafts. Only 8 starting TEs had their backup drafted by the same Dynasty Owner and it only occurred a total of 17 times, accounting for just 6% of all handcuffs drafted.

The consensus top three Dynasty Owner TEs (George Kittle, Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews) were rarely handcuffed by their Dynasty Owners even though they had clear backups at the time (Ross Dwelley for Kittle, Ricky Seals-Jones for Kelce and Nick Boyle for Andrews). Nobody handcuffed Mark Andrews and only one Dynasty Owner handcuffed Kelce or Kittle. Steveo FC was the only Dynasty Owner to draft both George Kittle and Ross Dwelley, in case Kittle can’t play, even though Dwelley performed pretty well in the two games (22.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) that Kittle missed in 2019. Dwelley only cost Steveo FC a last round draft pick (#291 overall) and $750,000 in salary cap room. In case Kittle owners are thinking that having Dwelley on the roster is a good idea (even with the recent signing of Jordan Reed by the 49ers), he’s currently available in 96% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Kelce was also only handcuffed in one league by Kilmer’s Coyotes with Ricky Seals-Jones. Seals-Jones doesn’t cost much ($925,000) and is only signed to a one-year deal so Kelce owners in the three-quarters (78%) of Dynasty Owner leagues in which Seals-Jones isn’t owned could go out and grab him if they have cap room.

The most handcuffed starting TE is the eighth TE being drafted, on average, in Dynasty Owner – Evan Engram of the Giants. His backup Kaden Smith is being drafted well over 100 spots later than Engram (ADP of 79 vs. 201.8 for Smith). His cost is minimal as he has 3 years left on his contract at just $680,002 per year and his production was high in place of Engram last year, when he averaged just under 11.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy point per game and had four double-digit point games in just seven contests after Engram got injured last year.

The Single Most Handcuffed WR Is Also the Highest Drafted One

Michael Thomas is being drafted a full round ahead of any other WR with an ADP of 7.6. The next highest drafted WR by ADP right now is Chris Godwin with a current ADP of 20.3. Thomas has the third highest salary of any WR at $19.25 million and some of his Dynasty Owners are backing up their investment in the Ferrari of WRs (373.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019). The handcuff of choice for Thomas’ Dynasty Owners, like The Jerk, is Deonte Harris who only had 34.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 – with twice as many coming from returns (23.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) than rushing and receiving combined (11.5). Six Dynasty Owners have both Michael Thomas and Deonte Harris on their roster, the most of any single WR starter and backup. Since Taysom Hill is listed as a QB, I didn’t consider him as a handcuff for Thomas even though he does play WR fairly frequently.

While the Thomas-Harris handcuff was the single, most frequently drafted one, Thomas was not the most frequently handcuffed WR in Dynasty Owner drafts. That honor goes to Eagles rookie WR Jalen Reagor who was handcuffed 9 times by three different players (Quez Watkins – 4 times; Greg Ward – 4 times; John Hightower – 1 time), followed closely by Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills. Three backup WRs (Gabriel Davis – 4 times; Duke Williams – 3 times; Isaiah Hodgins – 1 times) were also selected by the Diggs’ Dynasty Owner a total of 8 times, just one fewer time than Reagor. However, if you add in Diggs’ fellow starting WRs in Buffalo (John Brown and Cole Beasley), there were a total of 11 backup WRs selected as handcuffs to starting Buffalo WRs.

Eleven handcuffs for Buffalo WRs was the highest for any team, but there were three WRs being handcuffed. There are a lot of top WR pairing out there for the handcuffing, such as Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in Tampa Bay or A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd in Cincinnati, among others. Interestingly, there was a wide divergence in handcuffing for those two pairs with Green and Boyd being handcuffed twice as frequently as Evans and Godwin (10 times versus 5 times). There was an even split by Dynasty Owners handcuffing Green (and his $17.97 million salary) and Tyler Boyd (who has a $10.75 million salary). The much more expensive WR in Tampa Bay, Mike Evans, was handcuffed four out of the five times that a Dynasty Owner handcuffed one. Just only Dynasty Owner (WKFLD Jags) handcuffed Chris Godwin with Tyler Johnson.

Interesting Handcuffs

After looking at over 500 Dynasty Owner rosters, you see some “interesting” handcuff situations. Here are a few that stood out to me as I was looking at all of those rosters:

  • The Cincinnati Sizzlers drafted five Green Bay WRs, pretty much every WR on the Packers roster, except Davante Adams. That’s right they have Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, Reggie Begelton and Jake Kumerow (in draft order). That’s the most players from any one team at a single position. Fortunately for them, they didn’t draft Devin Funchess even though they could have since they drafted in June before he opted out for the 2020 season.
  • Stacking three Bengals on one team was not an isolated phenomenon. Two teams in $100 entry fee leagues (Flex and SBB) drafted the same three Bengals RBs (Joe Mixon, Trayveon Williams and Giovani Bernard). They both even got Williams and Bernard with the same picks (#249 and #273 respectively). Another two teams (Toronto Squad and Young & Dumb) had three Bengals WRs. Toronto Squad drafted A.J. Green, Tee Higgins and Auden Tate, while Young & Dumb went with Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and John Ross. Young & Dumb loves Bengals since they have those three WRs, two RBs (Mixon and Bernard) and rookie QB Joe Burrow.
  • TFFO figured that he wanted a piece of the New England running game, so they went out and drafted Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris and J.J. Taylor. Rex Burkhead went undrafted in that league and at the end of the draft, TFFO had a little over $7 million in cap room. To avoid Rex having hurt feelings about this situation, TFFO should spend part on their leftover cap room if they still have it. Might as well go get Lamar Miller while you’re at it.
  • Not to be outdone, Boomer2377 drafted four Eagles WRs. They avoided both DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey for good reason and went with Jalen Reagor, Hightower, Ward and Watkins in that order. I’m guessing Boomer2377 is an Eagles fan because they also have both Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts on their team as well.
  • Only four TEs had their backup drafted by the same team in more than one Dynasty Owner league. In addition to Engram, they were Darren Waller (handcuffed by Foster Moreau), Tyler Higbee (handcuffed by rookie Brycen Hopkins) and Austin Hooper (handcuffed by David Njoku). All these handcuffs were drafted twice.
  • The Clown Punchers took my recommendation of drafting three QBs (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/05/draft-tips-2020/), but possibly didn’t read the part about having them on different teams since they decided to draft three Kansas City QBs (Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne and Jordan Ta’amu). Hopefully, Mahomes stays healthy and Matt Moore isn’t the backup, or The Clown Punchers will be in trouble.
  • Many Dynasty Owners like a good handcuff, but Pohlcat, a $100 entry fee league Dynasty Owner, really, really likes to handcuff backfield players. Pohlcat drafted Lamar Jackson and RGIII, Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley, Todd Gurley and Ito Smith, plus two potential Giants backups to Saquon Barkley in Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman. No word on why Pohlcat didn’t handcuff any WRs or TEs.
  • Does it count as a handcuff if you draft the backup before the starter?  Asking for Ball Busters who drafted Quintez Cephus of the Lions with the #153 pick then took the starter in Detroit, Marvin Jones, over 100 picks later on with the #256 pick.
  • Finally, the Midwest Tradesman spent only $34 shy of $33 million, or 30% of their salary cap, on Bengals WRs when they drafted Tyler Boyd ($10.75 million), A.J. Green ($17.971 million) and John Ross ($4,278,966).

Conclusions

There are a lot of ways to handcuff your starters in Dynasty Owner, but really no consensus on which one is best or which starters are most worth a handcuff. It’s your Dynasty, handcuff your guys if you want to and with who you want. This analysis covered 43 Dynasty Owner leagues with over 500 teams that had 300 identified handcuffs of 74 different players. That’s a lot of variety, but also indicates that there are a lot of Dynasty Owners who, even in this era of COVID-19, aren’t handcuffing.

In terms of position, running back was the most handcuffed position and by league, Dynasty Owners in $100 leagues were most likely to utilize handcuffs. We had a surprise RB (James Conner) be the most handcuffed player overall, even though he has an ADP of 49.8 and is the 26th RB off the draft board on average. The top QB (Lamar Jackson) and WR (Michael Thomas) were more heavily handcuffed than other players at their position, but in line with other high draft picks like RBs Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley. And if you handcuffed a TE, you are a rare breed indeed as I only identified 17 TE handcuffs in total, or half of leagues has a team with a handcuffed TE.

We are less than a month out from the 2020 NFL season and three are more articles coming from myself and Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter). The podcast series with myself and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer will continue to be posted on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube and other places (iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker) as well. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. We have over 400 subscribers on YouTube now and thank you all for watching and listening. 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!

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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

Who Wants to Draft a Non-Millionaire Player? – Part 2

Author: Steven Van Tassell

It is time for Part 2 of our series on non-millionaire players who are likely to help you win your 2020 Dynasty Owner League Championship. There were so many WRs that we could have just written an article on them and there are enough TEs to warrant a separate article as well, but let’s throw in a few kickers for good measure.

While the first TE wasn’t drafted until the second round of the 2020 NFL draft (Cole Kmet by the Bears), there were four taken in the third round who might be productive in 2020 as well as the Broncos fourth round pick Albert Okwuegbunam who was taken with the 118th pick. However, none of these players are ranked here, as they all miss the cut. Each one of them will likely make over $1 million in salary (based on the rookie wage scale) with Albert O missing the cut by only $11,011.

We also won’t mention the second best TE in 2019, George Kittle, who earned that spot behind Travis Kelce despite missing two games. Kittle only costs $674,572 against your Dynasty Owner salary cap for 2020, which is a lot of talent for very little salary cap money. However, his deal has just one year left and it’s possible that the 49ers sign him to a new deal in the off-season to keep him off the free agent market. That’s not a guarantee as a few days ago, NFL Network reporter Mike Silver is saying that the 49ers and Kittle’s agent haven’t spoken since February and Kittle wants to be paid like a wide receiver  instead of a tight end (https://www.si.com/nfl/49ers/news/49ers-and-george-kittle-not-close-at-all-to-contract-extension).

We’ll also rank kickers since you need to have a couple of them on your Dynasty Owner roster. The top three kickers (Justin Tucker, Harrison Butker and Wil Lutz) in projected 2020 Dynasty Owner fantasy points are all signed long-term (4 or 5 years) with average salaries north of $4 million per year. None of them will be listed here, but four others will for those of you who don’t want to spend that much on a kicker.

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

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

These Tight Ends Are Like Donuts

Why are tight ends like donuts? Because a good one is so good and wonderful, while a bad one makes the owner of the donut sad. The beauty of the donut is in the eye of the beholder, just ask Homer Simpson.  Also, donuts come in dozens and we’ve identified a dozen tight ends who meet our criteria and are worth taking a longer look at and rank. This list is pretty exhaustive and even includes an undrafted rookie free agent who might end up as the Opening Game starter for his team.

  1. Mark Andrews (BAL – $863,290 thru 2021): Andrews is projected to be the third highest scoring TE in Dynasty Owner this year with 244.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. That’s just 11.9 points less than the projected points for Travis Kelce for $8.5 million less in salary. Think of the players you could draft with an extra $8.5 million! Andrews finished fifth among all TEs in Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 with 205.2 points and he had to share some of the TE load with Hayden Hurst, who was traded to Atlanta in the off-season. Two more full seasons of Andrews at his salary with Lamar Jackson throwing him passes easily makes his the top TE on this list and maybe even a first round Dynasty Owner draft pick this year.
  2. Will Dissly (SEA – $777,658 thru 2021): Despite injuries and the Seahawks’ signing of veteran TE Greg Olsen this off-season, Dissly captures the number two spot on this list. He’s only played 10 games over two NFL seasons due to a torn patellar tendon in his right knee that ended his rookie season in 2018 after just four games. Then he followed that with a torn Achilles injury in Week 6 last year. In those 10 games, Dissly has scored six TDs and recorded 31 receptions for 418 receiving yards. In Dynasty Owner fantasy points, he has scored 108.5 points in just 10 games, or an average of 10.85 per game, which projects to 173.6 points if he could play in all 16 games. That would have made him the seventh overall TE in Dynasty Owner last year. Hopefully, he stays injury free and earns his high ranking on this list for Dynasty Owners who have faith in him.
  3. Ian Thomas (CAR – $801,999 thru 2021): Greg Olsen is gone from Carolina and has moved on to Seattle, leaving Thomas as the top TE for the Panthers. There are plenty of offensive players in Carolina to catch the ball from new QB Teddy Bridgewater – you may have heard of one of them, last name McCaffrey. Even with Kyle Allen and Will Grier at QB for Carolina for almost all of last season, Carolina TEs still produced 69 receptions for 744 yards and 3 TDs – good for 161.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Thomas should get the bulk of the TE targets and receptions, especially since Carolina just released veteran TE Seth Devalve, and with better QB play from Bridgewater this year, he should either match or exceed the 2019 Carolina TE production.
  4. Jace Sternberger (GB – $966,832 thru 2022): Sternberger is in a similar position as Ian Thomas, so they are more like 3a and 3b. Both are the anointed starter at the TE position despite limited production in 2019 because of the departure of a veteran University of Miami graduate (Jimmy Graham for Green Bay). Limited probably isn’t the right word for Sternberger’s production in 2019 since he had a season long Blutarsky (0.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points all season). He did produce some in the playoffs for the Packers (3 receptions, 15 yards receiving and a receiving TD) so he’s got momentum coming into 2020. Thomas gets the nod ahead of Sternberger based on the fact that he actually has produced at the NFL level and is over $150,000 less expensive. Sternberger probably is in a better situation offensively to contribute and has an extra year on his non-millionaire contract, but that’s not enough to overtake Thomas.
  5. Kaden Smith (NYG – $680,002 thru 2022): As the main TE replacement for an injured Evan Engram in the final six games of the 2019 season, Smith had a good run. In those six games after the Giants’ bye week, Smith had 75.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, or 12.6 points per game. However, don’t forget that Eli Manning started two of those games and in those games, Smith didn’t do so well. In the four games with Daniel Jones at QB, he had double-digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points and averaged 16.75 points per game. If Giants’ starter Evan Engram gets hurt, the Giants will likely just plug Smith in and keep moving on. Even if Engram is healthy, there should be room for Smith to carve out a role with the Giants and be worth owning at only $680,002 in Dynasty Owner salary.
  6. Thaddeus Moss (WAS – $768,333 thru 2022): How does an undrafted rookie free agent get to be the #6 guy on this list? Three reasons: 1. Opportunity; 2. College Production; and 3. Genetics. Let’s take them in order. First, the Washington TE situation is ripe for Moss to go out and be the starter in Week #1. Their top TE in 2015, 2016 and 2018 was Jordan Reed who was released, their top TE in 2017 was Vernon Davis who retired and their top TE from last year was Jeremy Sprinkle who only managed 55.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points despite playing all 16 games. Secondly, Moss produced for LSU last year with 44 receptions for 494 yards and 4 TDs in his last 10 games, including 9 receptions for 135 yards and 3 TDs in the two College Football Playoff games. Finally, he’s the son of Hall of Fame WR Randy Moss. What’s not to like here?
  7. Christopher Herndon (NYJ – $792,841 thru 2021): Herndon is projected as the #23 TE in Dynasty Owner in 2020, ahead of all the players on this list except Mark Andrews. It pains me to be not as high on a fellow Miami grad like Herndon as others are, but here are my reasons. Injuries – he missed the final two games of his senior season in college with a knee injury, then fractured a rib and pulled a hamstring last year, which limited him to one game played in 2019 (he also missed four games due to a violation of the NFL substance abuse policy). In his place, Jets TE Ryan Griffin played well and was rewarded with a three-year, $10.8 million contract. Even though Griffin is 30 years old, why give him so much money if you are convinced Herndon is your TE of the future? Seems curious. Finally, Adam Gase is a terrible head coach, so we need to downgrade Herndon for that this year.
  8. Dawson Knox (BUF – $880,400 thru 2022): As a rookie last year, Knox was a decent player for your Dynasty Owner practice squad. He had two productive games in which he had a TD and double-digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points, so he could have been a Starter or Bench player those weeks. On the other hand, the Bills added WR Stefon Diggs in the off-season, possibly meaning fewer targets for Knox. He also didn’t convert his targets into receptions last year, catching just 56% of his passes, although that was right in line with the overall Buffalo QB completion percentage of 58.3% and starter Josh Allen’s percentage of 58.8%. Knox is worth drafting late in your Dynasty Owner draft, but don’t count on using him in your lineup unless he proves himself early in the 2020 season.
  9. Jordan Akins (HOU – $831,271 thru 2021): One of three Houston Texans TEs to make this list is Jordan Akins. He’s a third-year, 28-year old who went to college at the University of Central Florida. Akins got the chance to shine in 2019 with the injury to his teammate Jordan Thomas (more on him later) and ended up the season with 89.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. He was consistently steady, but unspectacular all season with one big game (22.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 3 versus the Chargers). He finished with 5.0 or fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 8 out of the 15 games he played in, but that was still good enough to be the #25 ranked TE in Dynasty Owner in 2019. Still, there’s a lot of competition for receptions in Houston so Akins might not perform at his 2019 level in 2020.
  10. Foster Moreau (LV – $752,098 thru 2022): Being the backup to a top 5 TE (Darren Waller) probably isn’t the best place to find a good value, unless you’re a TE playing under Jon Gruden in Oakland (correction, Las Vegas – man is that going to take some getting used to). Even worse for Moreau is that he’s probably now the third string TE with the arrival of former Monday Night Football color commentator Jason Witten. So why does Moreau make this list? It’s all about the touchdowns, baby!  Raiders TEs have scored almost half of the team’s receiving TDs (19 of 41) since Gruden’s return to coaching in 2018 with backup TEs scoring over half (10 of 19) of those TDs. The Raiders also ran 52 pass plays in 2019 with three TEs on the field – the highest in the league according to the nice folks at Sharp Football Stats (https://www.sharpfootballstats.com/personnel-grouping-frequency.html). Dynasty Owners might not get a lot of production from Moreau in 2020 except in those situations barring injury, so he’s extremely doubtful to catch another 5 TDs this year. But be patient and wait for 2021 when Witten will likely be retired (again) and Moreau can get all of the backup TE work in Vegas.
  11. Jordan Thomas (HOU – $644,602 thru 2021): Don’t confuse him with Jordan Akins. This is Jordan Thomas, a third year, soon to be 24-year old who went to college at Mississippi and caught one pass in 2019 for 8 yards after spending most of the season on injured reserve. However, he did have 65.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2018 with four TDs before his injury plagued 2019 season. Even though Thomas is over $185,000 cheaper and almost four years younger than Akins with the same number of years left on his contract, he’s behind his teammate because of how Akins’ produced in his absence in 2019.
  12. Kahale Warring (HOU – $910,114 thru 2022): The third and final Houston TE on this list is Kahale Warring. The only one missing is the team’s top TE (Darren Fells) who makes $3.15 million per year. Warring was a third-round pick by the Texans in the 2019 draft from San Diego State, so he has one more year left on his contract than the Jordans. However, he didn’t play a down in 2019 which is the main reason he’s last on this list and last on the depth chart among the four Texans TEs. Indications are that the Texans may keep all four TEs on their roster if all of them are healthy since Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien ran 187 plays last year with at least two TEs on the field (ranked third behind Philadelphia and Minnesota and just ahead of Baltimore and Kansas City). Shout out again to Sharp Football Stats (https://www.sharpfootballstats.com/personnel-grouping-frequency.html) for the data. This will give Warring a chance to prove that he was worth his 2019 draft selection spot and higher salary than either of the Jordans.

The Four Horsemen of the Kicking Game

First, the Four Horsemen were the 1924 Notre Dame backfield under Coach Knute Rockne, then it was the wrestling group consisting of Nature Boy Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard and the Minnesota Wrecking Crew tag team of Ole and Arn Anderson (this is the original group and the only one that matters; no apologies to future “Horsemen” like Steve “Mongo” McMichael – who didn’t deserve the honor). Now, the most recent group are the four kickers who have more than one year left on their contracts for less than $1 million in Dynasty Owner salary. Even though the Four Horsemen travel as a group, let’s rank the four of these kickers individually:

  1. Matt Gay (TB – $711,443 thru 2022): Even though he has the highest salary of the group, although by a small margin, Gay ranks first here for a couple of reasons. First, he projected to score the most points of the group in 2020 (106.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). Second, he has produced before for his Dynasty Owners as he scored the most Dynasty Owner fantasy points among the four in 2019 (114.0). Third, the Tampa Bay offense is the best of the four teams represented so Gay should have more chances than the others. And finally, his Dynasty Owners will have him on contract for three years, unless he gets a new contract sometime soon.
  2. Austin Seibert (CLE – $695,114 thru 2022): It’s a bit of a drop-off after Gay on this list. Gay is projected to score 106.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points compared to just 93.0 points for Browns kicker Austin Seibert, or nearly a full point less per game. Not a lot, but every point counts in Dynasty Owner! With two new offensive linemen and a new Head Coach Kevin Stefanski replacing the clearly over his head Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland, the Browns offense should be better in 2020. This will give Seibert more extra point chances and likely more FG chances and maybe more than the two chances from 50+ yards that he had last season.
  3. Jason Sanders (MIA – $637,800 thru 2021): Even though Sanders scored more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 than Austin Seibert (91.1 vs. 88.0 for Seibert), savvy Dynasty Owners recall that Sanders caught a one-yard TD pass in Week 13 versus the Eagles to give him 7.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Without that TD reception, he would have finished the year behind Seibert with only 84.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. He is also projected to score fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points than Seibert this year, only 88.0 points. And it’s unlikely that he’ll catch another TD pass this year since his catch last year was the first one by a kicker since 1977. Those factors plus the one year less year left on his contract weigh more heavily than the $57,314 in salary cap savings, so Sanders ranks third.
  4. Greg Joseph (TEN – $660,000 thru 2021): Joseph is fourth simply because he is in no way guaranteed to be the Titans kicker in 2020. The team has already signed undrafted rookie free agent Tucker McCann (who will actually cost you more in Dynasty Owner at $763,333) and rumors are out there that they are interested in bringing a veteran kicker to training camp to compete. Hopefully, you’re not diving this deep for a backup kicker in your Dynasty Owner draft or you might spend $660,000 on Joseph and still need to pick up a kicker in the Free Agent Auction during the season if he’s released.

Conclusions

Just like at WR, there are plenty of lower paid TEs with multiple seasons left on their rookie contract who could make their way on to Dynasty Owner rosters in 2020. As mentioned in the first part of our series, mixing in some of these non-millionaire players is necessary to be able to afford the talent that can help you win your League Championship this year. And isn’t that what it’s all about.

Even if you have Travis Kelce, grabbing one of the guys on this list will be necessary to offset his $9.37 million salary. Dynasty Owners can’t afford to have two high-priced TEs on their roster unless they are willing to sacrifice at other positions, since everyone has to stay below the $110 million hard salary cap. Having one (or more) of these players will help out with that problem.

There has been plenty of activity in the Dynasty Owner universe over the past two weeks and more to come soon. Beta users have signed up for spots in the new 12-team leagues and live drafts start this coming weekend.

If you missed Part 1 on QBs, RBs and WRs, here’s the link to the article (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/06/draft-a-non-millionaire-player-part-1/). And if you didn’t watch it already, everyone should check out the live mock draft on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m6ELEZQcQE).

There are also mock drafts going on constantly with some beta users setting up specific times to join that are helping to calculate ADP for the 2020 early drafts. We also had recent articles from the rest of the Dynasty Owner writing team – Milos Ljubic (@LjubicMilos on Twitter) and Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter). 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

Who Wants to Draft a Non-Millionaire Player? – Part 1

Author: Steven Van Tassell

In the draft tips article from last week, finding value was the top recommendation. So, the next question is what players are going to give you enough value and help you win your Dynasty Owner league championship in 2020 and beyond. If you’re like Ricky Bobby and just focus on 2020 (“If you’re not first, you’re last”), then there are a lot of players who you can draft this year who have low salaries and will likely produce enough Dynasty Owner fantasy points to help you win now.

If you want to be competitive in both 2020 and beyond, there are still plenty of  players with contracts of under $1 million per year who are signed now for more than just the 2020 season. In fact, there are too many players to include in just one article. We’ll look at QBs, RBs and WRs first, then focus on TEs and kickers in the next article.

At RB, Phillip Lindsay only earns $575,000 and both Aaron Jones and Chris Carson make less than $651,000 per year, but all three of them only have one year left on their rookie deals. Alvin Kamara is a first round pick who also just fits under the $1 million figure with his 2020 salary of $964,443. Chris Godwin ($821,041 salary) was the #3 overall WR in Dynasty Owner in 2019 and a legitimate first round 2020 pick, but he’s only under contract for that salary for one more year. Cooper Kupp and Kenny Golladay are expected to be early round selections as well and also make less than $1 million, but both are only signed for 2020.

We won’t mention any of those players in this article, or players who just miss the $1 million cutoff, such as Bears RB David Montgomery who was picked in the third round of the 2019 draft and has a Dynasty Owner salary of just north of $1 million ($1,003,845 to be exact). Same with two Pittsburgh WRs (Diontae Johnson and James Washington) who should benefit from the return of Ben Roethlisberger both of whom make slightly over $1 million per year.

These non-millionaire guys with multiple years left on their rookie contracts may not be the ones who, by themselves, win you your 2020 Dynasty Owner league championship. To win, you’ll need them to contribute enough to provide some help at the minimum from your Bench or as a Bye Week Starter. Their contribution could also be more subtle as a guy who provides depth, but more importantly, saves your Dynasty Owner team some salary cap room to be able to afford those expensive, impact players who will help you win.

All stats are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the updated Dynasty Owner Constitution.

Backfield Limitations

If you are looking for one of these non-millionaire guys at either QB or RB, you’ll need to grab him earlier in your Dynasty Owner draft than you might think he’s worthy of being drafted as there are only four of them. Here’s how they rank in order (with salary figures):

  1. Devin Singletary (RB – BUF – $974,500 thru 2022): Now that Frank Gore has moved on to the Jets (why Frank?!? – just retire gracefully instead of as a backup for the Jets), Singletary is the starter in Buffalo for a team that ranked seventh overall in rushing yards in 2019. Sure, the Bills might pass more this year after adding Stefon Diggs or rookie Zack Moss might vulture some yards and TDs. However, unless you think Moss will overtake Singletary sometime this year, Singletary’s the first non-millionaire backfield guy to grab.
  2. Gardner Minshew II (QB – JAX – $677,721 thru 2022): Minshew is the Man in Jacksonville after being the backup last year and taking over when Nick Foles got injured. The Jaguars traded Foles and his $22 million per year contract to Chicago, so Mike Glennon is the backup to Minshew and unlikely to overtake him in training camp. Maybe the Jaguars sign Cam Newton, but if not, Minshew’s the starter and could be a valuable Bench QB or bye week starter. That’s really good for under $700,000.
  3. Tony Pollard (RB – DAL – $796,945 thru 2022): Pollard might be the backup to Ezekiel Elliott, but he’ll get the ball enough to keep on your Bench weekly in the hopes that he has a great game or two when the Cowboys are leading (or losing) by a lot and want to save Elliott. He had three of those games in 2019 in which he averaged 22.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. And if Elliott does get injured, Pollard becomes the starter in Dallas and gets inserted into a lot of Dynasty Owner lineups as either a RB or FLEX. He’s worth a spot on your roster even if you don’t own Elliott.
  4. Jarrett Stidham (QB – NE – $788,423 thru 2022): The G.O.A.T. is gone from New England and Bill Belichick appears committed to Stidham since he didn’t take a QB at all in the 2020 draft. The Patriots come into the 2020 season with Stidham, Brian Hoyer (only $1.05 million in Dynasty Owner salary) and two undrafted rookie free agents fighting for the third string spot. That’s it unless the Patriots suddenly have a change of heart and sign Cam Newton. Here’s hoping Stidham is the Steve Young of the Patriots (a Hall of Fame QB replacing another Hall of Fame QB) and not Hugh Millen, Tommy Hodson, or Marc Wilson (yes, those are the names of actual Patriots starting QBs in the early 1990s before they drafted Drew Bledsoe).

The rest of the non-millionaire QBs are expected to be backups in 2020, barring an injury, so we aren’t going to rank them. However, there are a few additional RBs who are lower-ranked backups or maybe third down, pass catching RBs who might be worth a Practice Squad spot as they are unlikely to contribute as a Starter or Bench player in 2020 unless the starting RB or RBs for their team gets injured. Several of them (Ito Smith in Atlanta, Alexander Mattison in Minnesota to name two) will find their way onto Dynasty Owner rosters as a handcuff to the starter, but they likely have limited value in 2020 barring injuries.

Receivers

There is a lot more value available at WR than QB and RB combined as 20 players meet our qualifications for inclusion on this list and we could have added more if we wanted. Let’s just limit ourselves to analyzing the top 12 of them (and list the other 8 in order) who should help your Dynasty Owner team in 2020 and beyond.

  1. Darius Slayton (NYG – $688,497 thru 2022): Finished the 2019 Dynasty Owner season as the #36 WR, which would make him a fringe starter in 12-team Dynasty Owner leagues for less than $700,000. Grabbing Slayton early will give you salary cap room to get productive veterans later on in the draft. Slayton had three games with 2 TDs in 2019 and more than 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. He might be the Giants #1 WR this year and if so, could be in for a bigger year than projected (216.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points).
  2. Michael Gallup (DAL – $880,995 thru 2021): Despite the presence of rookie first round pick CeeDee Lamb, Gallup is projected to have more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2020 than 2019 (238.1 vs. 212.7). He had nine games with 10.0 or more Dynasty Owner fantasy points last season, up from three in 2018, and two more 2019 games that just fell short (9.5 and 9.3 respectively). Gallup takes a hit here down to the #2 slot because of the presence of Lamb and Amari Cooper, but he’s still worthy of a high Dynasty Owner draft pick in 2020.
  3. Terry McLaurin (WAS – $961,918 thru 2022): McLaurin just comes in under the $1 million salary necessary to be included here. He may be the top WR and is projected to be the #15 WR overall in Dynasty Owner, but costs a little bit over $80,000 more than Gallup and nearly $275,000 more than Slayton. Plus, he has the worst QB situation of the top three with second year QB Dwayne Haskins likely under center in Washington, or Kyle Allen if Coach Ron Rivera wants to go with a guy he coached last year in Carolina. McLaurin averaged 12.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in seven games with Haskins at QB, lower than the 14.8 points per game in seven games with the other Redskins starting QBs (Case Keenum and Colt McCoy).
  4. Preston Williams (MIA – $588,333 thru 2021): Williams averaged 11.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game before a season-ending ACL tear in Week 9 versus the Jets. Did you know he had 24.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in that game and four other games with 10.0+ points in just eight games as an undrafted rookie free agent? He’s projected as the #66 WR in 2020 so he’s a fifth or sixth WR on your Dynasty Owner team, but one who could produce if needed for a couple of weeks based on what he did in half a season in 2019. All that production for just $583,333. Don’t wait too long to draft him or he’ll be gone.
  5. Russell Gage (ATL – $654,049 thru 2021): After the Falcons traded Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots, Gage became a bigger part of the Falcons offense. He averaged 10.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in the last nine games of the season, flashing his potential for 2020. The Falcons appear to be happy with their WRs as they didn’t draft any, so Gage should be locked in as the #3 WR in Atlanta behind Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. The Falcons did pick up Hayden Hurst to replace Austin Hooper at TE, but there should be plenty of receptions to go around with the passing offense ranked first in completions and third in yards in 2019.
  6. Steven Sims Jr. (WAS – $590,000 thru 2021): If you’ve read any of my off-season articles such as (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/02/available-players-2020/), then you know that I’m a big fan of Steven Sims Jr. It started when I saw him take a reverse 65 yards for a TD against the stout New England defense in Week 5 (a 33-7 New England victory in Washington that I attended. The Patriots defense held the Redskins to 223 yards of total offense). He also averaged 20.8 in the final three games of the 2019 season. Sims would be higher on this list if the Redskins hadn’t drafted both Antonio Gibson and Antonio Gandy-Golden in the 2020 NFL draft to compete with him for targets. Dirt cheap at just $590,000 for two more years.
  7. Hunter Renfrow (LV – $708,987 thru 2022): Another guy who emerged at the end of the 2019 season and would be ranked higher except for the fact that the Raiders took three WRs in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. He had 45.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Weeks 16 and 17 combined, but also had three other games with 10.0 or more points. Projected as the #45 WR in Dynasty Owner 2020 even after the Raiders drafted Henry Ruggs, Lynn Bowden and Bryan Edwards and will cost you less than each one of them, so he still has some value for Dynasty Owners.
  8. Tre’Quan Smith (NO – $855,131 thru 2021): The Saints passing offense had the second most completions and seventh most yards in 2019 despite having QB Drew Brees miss five complete games and most of a sixth game. Smith didn’t have great overall stats in 2019, but produced five receiving TDs (all from Brees) and almost all of his 74.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points with Brees at QB, so it appears that he has his QB’s trust. He’s listed as a starting WR on the current Saints depth chart along with Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. If Smith can step up and be a reliable #3 WR for the high-powered Saints passing offense, his Dynasty Owners will gladly pay $855,131 for his services in 2020 and 2021.
  9. Scott Miller (TB – $661,960 thru 2022): Miller is one of the three leading candidates for the third receiver spot in Tampa Bay, along with Justin Watson and rookie fifth round draft pick Tyler Johnson. Miller had two double digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 and could have had two more but he wasn’t able to play in the final two games of the season. Both Tampa Bay starting WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were out for the final two games as well, so big performances from Miller were possible in those games if he hadn’t gotten injured.
  10. Justin Watson (TB – $690,435 thru 2021): Watson is really the 9B to Miller’s 9A as Dynasty Owners who are bullish on the Tampa Bay passing game in 2020 with the G.O.A.T. under center might want to own both of these candidates for the #3 WR position in Tampa. Watson had two games with 15.0+ Dynasty Owner fantasy points at the end of the season when Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Scott Miller were all out with injuries. However, he loses out to Miller for the 9 spot here simply because he has one less year on his contract and is almost $30,000 more in salary. That’s not a lot, but every dollar matters in Dynasty Owner.
  11. Olabisi Johnson (MIN – $648,572 thru 2022): No Stefon Diggs in Minnesota means the Vikings passing offense needs to replace a player who had 63 receptions, 1,130 receiving yards and 6 receiving TDs in 2019. They did pick up Tajae Sharpe in free agency and drafted Justin Jefferson in the first round of the 2020 draft and K.J. Osborn in the fifth round (it’s all about the U), so there’s plenty of competition for Johnson to replace Diggs. Johnson isn’t a dart throw, but for under $650,000 a year, he might be worth adding to your Dynasty Owner draft queue as a late round selection.
  12. Jakobi Meyers (NE – $588,333 thru 2021): There’s not a lot of depth at WR in New England after Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry, so Meyers could be in for a big role in 2020. He scored Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 11 of 16 regular season games in 2019. In addition, Meyers had a great connection with new Patriots QB Jarrett Stidham during the 2019 pre-season with 16 receptions for 216 receiving yards and a touchdown. Hopes are high in New England that this carries over into the 2020 regular season.

If this were college football or college basketball rankings, we’d have a section called “Others Receiving Votes”. Here are a few additional names to round out a Top 20 of WRs, who just missed out on making it into our Top 12:

13. Miles Boykin (BAL – $893,732 thru 2022)

14. DeSean Hamilton (DEN – $785,660 thru 2021)

15. Kelvin Harmon (WAS – $661,960 thru 2022)

16. Keke Coutee (HOU – $797,257 thru 2021)

17. KeeSean Johnson (ARI – $682,328 thru 2022)

18. Javon Wims (CHI – $638,978 thru 2021)

19. Damion Ratley (CLE – $663,467 thru 2021)

20. John Ursua (SEA – $650,668 thru 2022)

Conclusions

There are plenty of lower paid, productive WRs with multiple seasons left on their rookie contract, more than QBs and RBs. With 12 team leagues and 30-man rosters, all of these players should find their way into a Dynasty Owner roster this season. Every Dynasty Owner will have to mix in some of these players to be able to afford higher priced talent. The key is getting value out of these non-millionaire players, not just filling out roster space with minimum salary players who aren’t playing and are just occupying space on your Practice Squad.

In a “regular” dynasty league, these young players are important to own, but their importance is amplified in Dynasty Owner because of the $110 million salary cap. You can’t just have Russell Wilson ($35 million), Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million), Julio Jones ($22 million) and Travis Kelce ($9.4 million) on your Dynasty Owner roster and win unless you find some value players to fill out your starting lineup and Bench.

There was plenty of activity in the Dynasty Owner universe last week. If you didn’t watch it already, everyone should check out the YouTube Livestream mock draft from Friday morning (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m6ELEZQcQE). There are mock drafts going on constantly with some beta users setting up specific times to join and help calculate ADP for the 2020 drafts. We also two new articles recently from Milos Ljubic (@LjubicMilos on Twitter) and one from Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter) on Friday. 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

2020 Wide Receivers Draft Class – Day Two Picks

Author: Milos Ljubic

As mentioned in the title, this will be an article about wide receivers selected on day two of this year’s draft.

The very first WR selected on day two was Tee Higgins by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals were the worst team last season by the record. They were a little better by statistics, but that is minor. In this season they will enter with new QB Joe Burrow. RBs, WRs, and TEs will be the same as the previous year. The biggest difference is A.J. Green, who is franchise tagged, and everyone in the organization expects he will remain healthy throughout the season. He missed a season and a half due to injury. Green and Tyler Boyd will be starting duo of WR’s for the Bengals. The last season Boyd had over 1,000 yards caught. Higgins is expected to be 3rd WR on the Bengals depth chart, but he will have strong competitors. Auden Tate, Alex Erickson, and John Ross, all of them having over 500 caught yards last season, and they will try to repeat that success. That won’t be an easy job for a rookie probably. His salary for the next four years will be $2,171,696 per year.

Michael Pittman Jr. was the second player selected on day two of the draft. He was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were an average team last season with a great offensive line. They selected an RB in the second round, so they further improve their RBs’ depth. The worst part of the team was attacking through the air. The Colts signed Philip Rivers to be QB for the next year. The Colts will have over 20 interceptions next year, probably, but they will also have near 4,000 passing yards. How will those yards be distributed? The undrafted Zach Pascal was the most productive Colts’ WR last season. T.Y. Hilton will be WR no.1. There are some concerns about Hilton however. He has eight seasons behind him, and he was having problems with injuries this past season. Parris Campbell, second-rounder from the previous draft, was having problems with injuries almost the whole season. He played less than 20% of the Colts snaps. If everything goes regularly, Pittman is expected to be WR no.2 and to catch over 600 yards. His annual salary will be $2,153,212.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were the third team that selected WR on day two of the draft. From the 42nd position, the Jaguars selected Laviska Shenault. By all projections, Jacksonville will be the worst team in NFL this season. The Jaguars weren’t bad last year. In fact, they were average on offense and below average on defense, but now they are in rebuilding mode. They will have a similar attack, but their defense will be worse than last year, sure. What we can expect from Shenault? The Jaguars traded Nick Foles to the Bears, but there are a lot of doubts in Gardner Minshew as a capable QB who will run one team. The four best WRs will be back, and as I already said, they are solid. Laviska Shenault will be 3rd WR probably, in a team that was projected for tanking. His annual salary will be $1,924,017 for the next four years.

K.J. Hamler was selected from the 46th position by the Denver Broncos. I wrote in a previous article about the Broncos. Hamler will be the third WR in a run-first team, and unlike Shenault, he can’t move nither up nither down on a depth chart. His salary will be $1,784,282 per year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers from the 49th position selected Chase Claypool. The Steelers were one of the best defenses last year, but post-Le’Veon Bell-Antonio Brown Steelers aren’t even close to what they should be on offense. In fact, they were awful last year. The only good part of the offense was O-line. We don’t know what to expect from Big Ben as he missed almost the whole season last year. Their receiving corps isn’t so bad, but it isn’t great either. They have three solid young WRs on the depth chart and all of them are still on rookie deals. That is the main reason why receiving corps were 31st last season and is projected to have two WRs among first 16, and third as a 38th WR on fantasy draft. What can we expect from Chase Claypool? With his big body, he brings strength to the Steelers. Three mentioned WRs are all below 220 pounds. And only JuJu is barely over 6 feet high. If we compare Claypool with the 2014 draft class, we can say that he is very similar to Kelvin Benjamin. He is projected to be the 4th WR on the depth chart, but in these circumstances, he can easily be the best Steelers’ WR next season. His annual salary will be $1,654,156.

Los Angeles Rams selected Van Jefferson from the 57th position. What can we expect from the Rams this season? They had been built in the win-now mode in the previous two seasons. They lost in the Super Bowl a year ago, and they missed playoffs last season, as the 7th team in the conference. Their division is getting stronger now. We can say that they are in some light variant of a rebuild. In this team, Jefferson is projected to be 4th WR on the depth chart, and no-one expects from him, to make big numbers in a season in front of us. His annual salary will be $1,402,784.

Denzel Mims was the last WR selected in the second round of the draft. The New York Jets picked up Mims from the 59th position. The Jets had above-average defense last season, but their offense was in dead-last. From last season’s WR corps, they only kept Jamison Crowder and he is expected to be their best WR. Crowder will take the most number of snaps, from the slot. The outside WRs will be Mims and newcomer Breshad Perriman. Perriman is a former first-rounder, who is on his way to avoid the bust tag. What we can expect from the Jets and Mims? The good thing is that the AFC East will be soft, but the Jets are projected to be the worst team in the division, again. Those facts are actually not so bad for one rookie WR. The Jets invested the first-round pick in a left tackle, and Sam Darnold is probably the best passing QB in the division, as weird as it may sound. They also expect Le’Veon Bell to play a much better this season than last season. They don’t have some reliable TEs on the roster, and that means more targets for Mims. He will play the next four seasons for $1,358,425 per year.

Two wide receivers were selected in the third round of the draft. Bryan Edwards was picked up from the 81st position. We already discussed the situation in the Raiders. Expectations are low for Edwards to be a big impact in his rookie season. His salary will be $1,065,358 per year.

The last WR selected on day three of the draft was Devin Duvernay. The Baltimore Ravens picked up him from the 92nd position. The Ravens are run-first team, with great defense, and they further improved in both of those segments. Besides that, they have a very good TEs group. Duvernay is projected to be the 4th WR on the depth chart with an annual salary will be $1,064,084.

Milos Ljubic is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @LjubicMilos and @Dynasty_Owner

Assessing Undervalued Players for the 2020 Season

Author: Chris Wolf

Now that the dust has settled after a truly unique draft experience, rookie contracts are beginning to take shape and we now have the initial set of data for projections. Evaluation is a crucial part of fantasy projection and since we will be cheated out of mini-camps (thanks COVID-19), we have to use what information is available to us.

Taking a look at both rookies and “veterans” value predictions for the upcoming season, there are a few points to consider. We now have a player’s college and for some, early NFL production. We have testing scores from the NFL Combine and of course, the “YouTube pro days” for many of the draft prospects. There is a player’s draft position to consider, which is widely overlooked in evaluation. I also think it’s important to see the organization’s take on the players they drafted or recently signed. The initial draft reaction, the coaches’ and GM’s press conferences are fantastic points of intelligence gathering to determine how a player may be utilized and how they envision their role in the organization.

In this article we are focusing on drafting from the vantage point of Value Based Drafting (VBD). In dynasty leagues, we want value at draft cost. In Dynasty Owner we really want value at salary cost as well. Ultimately, we need to make a clear distinction between value and opportunity.

Value can be defined as – “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something”. Whereas, Opportunity is – “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something”. We know that opportunity trumps talent in the NFL. How many times have we seen replacement level players come through when the guy in front of them on the depth chart goes down? The newly available touches and/or targets creates an opportunity for the new starter.

Value is where cost and opportunity meet. We want to look at a player’s salary while assessing the opportunity for touches. For example; David Johnson went from a crowded backfield in Arizona to a great opportunity in Houston. Houston has a league leading 254 unaccounted for carries since the RB position was vacated by Carlos Hyde. David Johnson’s ridiculous $39,000,000 contract was sent to Houston soaking up 7.34% of the team’s cap. While Carlos Hyde’s 2019 $2,800,000 contract went from the Chiefs to the Texans. Carlos Hyde was an example of Value where David Johnston provides opportunity.

Keeping in mind; Value = Opportunity + Cost, we will take a look at some undervalued players that may provide good return for you in 2020 and beyond.

The Rookies

As Dynasty Fantasy Football players, we have been waiting for this draft class. It absolutely oozes with talent and there is value to be had if you look for it.

Cam Akers – At just 20 years old with a projected total contract value of $6,173,042; this second round pick is set up to contribute in a big way. The L.A. Rams have the second most vacated carries with the Todd Gurley departure and they may be less of a committee than we would think. With the insane contract of Gurley still eating up $17.25 million of the league leading $21.3 million of RB positional spending, Malcolm Brown and Darrel Henderson make up for $2,097,080 combined. With Akers yet to sign, he clearly carries the most draft equity and projected cap of the three Rams. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Florida State product at +2000 to win Rookie of the Year and with the opportunity given, that might be a good bet.

Devin Asiasi – The Patriots traded the 100th, 139th and 172 pick to go up and snare Asiasi with the 92nd pick this year. The Patriots appeared to value the TE position in the draft by also selecting Dalton Keene just 9 picks later. Keene offers more in the terms of athleticism, Asiasi profiles to be the more productive of the two. There are 124 vacated targets from 2019 to be had and an emphasis on Tight End production is evident with the 2020 draft capital. With a salary of $4,582,820, Asiasi could provide early career return in this new look offense.

Bryan Edwards – Edwards just might lead the Raiders wide receiver group in targets this season. The former Gamecock was a four year starter and brings a much needed workman-like quality with ideal size (6”2” 212 lbs) to this offense. He offers fantastic potential fantasy value as a sure-handed receiver in Gruden’s offense at the estimated total contract price of just $4,692,460. The eternally injured Tyrell Williams has a total contract value of $11,100,000 (by far more than all of the other WR’s combined) and is reportedly not a lock to make the final roster. Edwards has a real chance at 2020 production if he can stave off the uninspiring Zay Jones.

The Veterans

Jamison Crowder – At a $10,000,000 salary Crowder is sure to command the team lead in targets for the Jets. Compare him to other #1 WR’s in the league and he is a PPR bargain. He’s not flashy, but he’ll get the job done. Still just 27 years old; his targets, receptions, yards, and TD’s led the team last year and should repeat in 2020. Yes, they drafted the athletic Denzel Mims and signed Breshad Perriman but Crowder has Darnold’s trust and is sure to return value as a WR2-3.

Jace Sternberger – He is trending to be everyone’s offseason TE darling for good reason. This is another perfect storm where opportunity meets cost. Aaron Rodgers had a tough going trying to find consistency outside of Davante Adams and his WR2-by-committee wasn’t exactly a success. The zombie formerly known as Jimmy Graham is gone and not much is standing in Sternberger’s way of TE targets. At $956,632 salary, Sternberger is a great TE2 with low end TE1 upside.

Jordan Howard – This is not a sexy choice but Howard is vastly undervalued. In fact, Fantasy Pros has him so undervalued that he comes in at #RB48 in their dynasty rankings. At a conservative $4,750,000 cap hit, he is sure to be a valuable depth piece for your dynasty team. The addition of Matt Brieda to this run-first team shouldn’t scare you away from Howard’s projected volume. 225-250 touches is well within the realm of possibility for the 25 year old power back.

Kenyan Drake – Drake is not under the radar but he is surely undervalued. At 26 years old he is in a unique position to offer short term value without the hefty contract commitment. Arizona signed Drake to a one year, $8.483 million contract in March and he has a clear path to elite volume. He is the absolute poster child for “undervalued”. Take a look at his 2019 stats:

Add in 50 receptions for 345 yards and you have the makings of an RB1 at a bargain price.

The Takeaway

While many dynasty owners are focusing on the shiny new rookies this time of year, there is fantastic profit to be found in those that are overlooked or forgotten. Fantasy football is a finicky game that accentuates recent achievements but remains short-sighted and unforgiving for some players. Be different from the masses and take a look at data such as vacated targets/carries that lead to opportunity while weighing salary expenditure.

Chris Wolf is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner

Dynasty Owner Draft Tips – Updated for 2020

Author: Steven Van Tassell

Now that the reorganization of the 2019 beta leagues into brand new 12-team leagues has been officially announced, everyone who plays Dynasty Owner, both beta users and new players, will now be drafting entirely new teams. As a result, our initial Draft Tips article from 2019 needs to be revised.

For beta users, your second Dynasty Owner Fantasy Football Draft Day is coming sometime in June, while they will start in June and continue into July and August for new players. Regardless of whether you are a beta user or new player, it’s one of the best days of the year – better than Christmas, the Fourth of July, your birthday, or even the start of the football season.

Even though mock drafting with 12-team leagues has been going for a while now using the new Dynasty Owner app – go download it now if you haven’t done so already and start to mock draft – nothing compares to a real draft. Since Dynasty Owner is a new and innovative concept for new players and 12-team leagues are different than last year for the beta users, there are sure to be lots of ideas floating around about how to draft. For this article, we’re going to avoid “regular” fantasy football tips and offer up some ideas to help you on Draft Day that are unique to the Dynasty Owner concept.

With the preamble out of the way, let’s get to the draft tips that are going to help you win your 2020 Dynasty Owner league championship and maybe be the next Chase for the Ring winner.

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.

Value, Value, Value

The old adage about real estate is that the three most important things are Location, Location and Location. The same is true for Dynasty Owner.  For those of you that are new to Dynasty Owner, the three most important things for Dynasty Owners should be Value, Value and Value. Hopefully, experienced Dynasty Owners already knew that and if you didn’t then, everyone wants you to be in their new 12-team league.  

But why is value so important? Let’s examine two top WRs and look at the relevant stats from a “regular” fantasy football perspective. In the 2019 version of this article, the two players analyzed as being close to value to each other were Michael Thomas and Antonio Brown. They were remarkably similar in 2018, but had dramatically different seasons in 2019 to say the least. For this year, we’ll pick two different WRs who had virtually identically 2019 seasons (same number of Dynasty Owner fantasy points, but Godwin missed two games while Jones only missed one).

  • Chris Godwin: 276.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (2019)
  • Julio Jones: 276.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (2019)

No difference there at all. Both players had the exact same number of Dynasty Owner fantasy points last year and finished tied for second best WR behind Michael Thomas. A look at 2019 PPR-league ADP from Fantasy Pros (www.fantasypros.com) shows that Jones was drafted as the third or fourth WR overall, while Godwin was generally selected on average  anywhere between the 15th to 21st WR off the board in PPR drafts (https://www.fantasypros.com/nfl/adp/ppr-wr.php). Therefore, in “regular” fantasy football, Godwin was clearly a better “value” than Jones as Godwin’s owners got the same production from a later draft pick.

In Dynasty Owner, Godwin is even more of a value than Jones because of the difference in salary between the two of them. Godwin’s salary for 2019 and 2020 is only $821,041 while Jones is currently the highest paid WR in the NFL at $22 million per year for 2020 through 2023. Breaking it down based on their 2019 performance, we find that Godwin is projected to cost Dynasty Owners about 27 times more than Jones in 2020.

  • Chris Godwin: 276.1 points, $821,041 salary, $2,974 cost per point
  • Julio Jones: 276.1 points, $22,000,000 salary, $79,681 cost per point

Both are predicted to have similar valuable in 2020 “regular” fantasy football (282.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for Godwin and 271.9 for Jones), but Godwin is going to be so much more valuable in Dynasty Owner in 2020 than Jones. Godwin is a likely first round draft pick (or possibly early second round), whereas you should be able to pick up Jones a lot later if you think he will remain productive and are willing to be saddled with his salary for the next four years. For 2020, Godwin is a clear better value than Jones in Dynasty Owner.

QB Scoring is Higher Than Most Leagues, but Some QBs Will Benefit More

In looking at the Player Rankings, the high number of points scored by QBs in 2019 and projected for 2020 using the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system stands out. This pattern was evident before last year’s drafts and remains in effect for 2020. In 2019, a total of only four QBs scored over 400 Dynasty Owner fantasy points using the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system with an additional two scoring over 370 points:

  1. Lamar Jackson – 515.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points
  2. Dak Prescott – 445.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points
  3. Russell Wilson – 428.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points
  4. Jameis Winston – 403.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points
  5. DeShaun Watson – 398.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points
  6. Patrick Mahomes – 384.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points

The number of RBs, WRs and TEs who scored over 400 points in 2019 under the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system: One – Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey

The number of RBs, WRs, and TEs projected to score over 400 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2020 under the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system: Zero

Why? It’s all about the scoring system. The Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system gives you .1 point for every two yards passing and 6 points for a passing TD. Most other fantasy leagues give you 1 point for every 25 yards (or .04 points per yard) and just 4 points for a passing TD. This creates a lot more points for the QBs in Dynasty Owner than most other fantasy leagues. This is especially true for the traditional pocket QBs than QBs who run a lot.

Let’s take the Super Bowl Champion QB and the sixth ranked QB on this list – Patrick Mahomes – and compare his scoring in Dynasty Owner vs. most other fantasy leagues. Mahomes passed for 4,031 yards and had 26 passing TDs last season. He was 10th in passing yards and tied for 8th in TDs. He also added in a modest 218 yards rushing and 2 rushing TDs plus 5 INTs, 3 fumbles (2 lost), 1 2-pt conversion and some other bonus points.

  • Dynasty Owner: 384.4 points
  • Most Fantasy Leagues: 292.04 points

That’s a difference of 92.36 fantasy points over the course of a season, or 5.8 fantasy points per game. While the scoring will be higher for all QBs, those who throw for a lot of yards and a lot of TDs will benefit more than other QBs, like Deshaun Watson, who also score points with their legs. In 2019, Watson was in 5th overall in Dynasty Owner QB scoring, but just 13th in passing yards with 3,852 yards and his 26 passing TDs were tied with Mahomes for 8th place. However, he had nearly 200 more rushing yards and 5 more rushing TDs than Mahomes (413 rushing yards, 7 rushing TDs). He had just 11 more total points than Mahomes in Dynasty Owner but didn’t get nearly the bump that Mahomes got from the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system.

  • Dynasty Owner: 398.5 points
  • Most Fantasy Leagues: 331.98 points

Despite having more Dynasty Owner fantasy points than Mahomes, Watson’s scoring bump from the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system is over twenty-five points less than Mahomes’ at 66.52 Dynasty Owner fantasy points.

Therefore, a more traditional pocket passer is more valuable for your Dynasty Owner roster because of the scoring system. In a game that is all about value, this is important information to know and use on Draft Day.

Draft at Least Three Starting Quarterbacks and Do It Sooner Rather than Later

There are 32 NFL teams and 12 teams in each Dynasty Owner league.  That means that at least four Dynasty Owner teams won’t have three starting QBs on their roster. Do you want to be one of those teams?  The answer should be “No” and so you need to draft three starting QBs and draft those QBs early on in the draft. Dynasty Owner teams need a starting QB and a Bench QB, plus a practice squad QB to put into your lineup for the bye weeks.

Drafting three QBs will cover your team for bye weeks (or an injury). Bench players accumulate points and 20% of your Bench scoring will be added to your final score. Bench points could be the difference in Dynasty Owner between winning and losing. Possibly getting zero points from your Bench QB because you don’t have three NFL starters at the highest scoring position in Dynasty Owner is a recipe for possibly losing a game or two.

Drafting at least three QBs is recommended and possibly having a handcuff (taking the backup to a starter) on the player you plan on using as your starting QB so that you are more likely than not to always have two available QBs on your Dynasty Owner roster.

Dynasty Owners should also probably not wait until the late rounds to get that third starting QB since one-third of the teams in your league aren’t going to have a one on their roster. You may have to grab that third QB sooner than you want to because of your draft position if you are picking at the beginning or end of your draft, since it could be a long time between picks and all of the remaining QBs could be selected in a run while you’re waiting to make a pick. Dynasty Owners will need to have a draft and salary strategy to make sure they get at least three starting QBs without sacrificing their ability to fill out the rest of their roster with quality players.

Draft Three Kickers

You’re probably reading this and saying to yourself – “Are you crazy? First, I need to draft at least three quarterbacks and now you’re saying to draft three kickers?!? I don’t even want two of them, why should I waste three draft picks on kickers?”

That reaction is completely understandable, but the reasoning for this tip is the same as the QB tip – that you need a starter and bench kicker, plus a practice squad kicker for the bye weeks. Do you really want to have your second kicker on bye, but still on your bench and lose by a point or two?

That’s why you should strongly consider getting three kickers to cover for your bye weeks (or an injury). Remember, even your Bench kicker accumulates points and 20% of your Bench scoring will be added to your final score. Automatically committing to zero points from your bench kicker twice just to have a wide receiver or running back who might never play this season could cost you a victory at some point in the 2020 Dynasty Owner season.

Returning Some Value

Another potentially overlooked scoring opportunity in Dynasty Owner comes from kickoff and punt returns. In regular fantasy football, you generally only get points if your kickoff or punt returner scores a touchdown. Not in Dynasty Owner!

We have points for kickoff and punt return yards. It’s .25 points for every 10 yards. Not much, but how many times have you won or lost a fantasy game by a point or two? Probably enough to know that every point counts in fantasy.

A player who doubles as a kickoff or punt returner makes that player more valuable in Dynasty Owner than “regular” fantasy football. To demonstrate my point, let’s take the top return man in the NFL in 2019, Kansas City WR Mecole Hardman, and compare him with another player who put up similar “regular” fantasy football stats in 2019.

In terms of receiving (and rushing) stats in 2019, Hardman had the same number of points in total as Brandin Cooks. Both had a total of 117.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points from rushing and receiving, or an average of 7.3 points per game. That’s would have been good for being the #63 ranked WR in Dynasty Owner last year.

However, when you take Hardman’s return yardage into account as we do in Dynasty Owner, but most “regular” fantasy football leagues don’t, Hardman scored an extra 19.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points over the course of the season. That’s good enough to move him up ten spots from a tie for #63 WR to the #53 WR in Dynasty Owner with 137.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. His average points per game increases to 8.6 per game, or an additional 1.3 points per game.

In a close game, starting Hardman over Cooks and getting those extra 1.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points could be the difference between winning and losing your Dynasty Owner game. Even having Hardman on your Bench and getting an extra .3 points could be the difference between winning and losing. Don’t think we have games that close in Dynasty Owner? See the results of the League 51 Championship game between Ctown Beatdown and Girthquake from last season.

Conclusions

Dynasty Owner is different than “regular” fantasy football and for new users, your draft strategy is going to have to change from what you’re used to doing. Beta users should already be familiar with these differences, but since all of them are in new 12-team leagues with a 2020 redraft, reviewing these tips is a good refresher. No more are you merely looking for the top performer at each position because you might not be able to fit them under the $110 million Dynasty Owner salary cap. You’d have to struggle to find good players to fill out your bench and practice squad. Dynasty Owner is all about value. Finding value with your draft picks will be a key to winning.

Including salaries and a hard $110 million salary cap means, there’s a lot more to think about in Dynasty Owner than a regular fantasy football league. You’ve got a different scoring system than most leagues that is weighted slightly in favor of QBs, particularly those QBs who throw for a lot of yards and touchdowns rather than more mobile QBs who also get you fantasy points with their legs.

Another key to victory in Dynasty Owner are Bench points. The 20% bonus you get for the points scored by players on your Bench is an incentive to have players in reserve who are also high scoring or at the very least, not on bye.

That’s why having three kickers is recommended in Dynasty Owner. You never know if those backup kicker points are going to be the difference between winning and losing. Don’t be the Dynasty Owner who has a backup kicker on bye, getting you zero points and lose your matchup by one or two points.

Also, don’t forget to factor in those return points when drafting. A player who returns punts and kicks is more valuable in Dynasty Owner than a player who doesn’t. You just might squeeze out a victory because of those return yardage points.

There is lots of activity coming up in the Dynasty Owner universe as Tim outlined recently. There was another Live Dynasty Owner podcast last Thursday that everyone can view on YouTube if you haven’t seen it yet. We also a new article by our newest writer, Milos Ljubic (follow him on Twitter – @LjubicMilos) that was published last Friday and a new article about under the radar players coming soon from our other new writer Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter). 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