By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)
Everybody who plays fantasy football is talking about the fact that six NFL teams are on bye this week and how tough it is to field a team this week. Most of these people are likely playing in traditional dynasty league, or redraft leagues, and maybe have to set a lineup with ten starting lineup spots at most. In some dynasty leagues, teams can have up to 30 players on their roster and don’t have to worry about managing a salary cap. In reality, it shouldn’t be too hard to find ten active and healthy players when you have thirty players to choose from on your roster and 26 active NFL teams. They may not be the “best” players or guys who would ever grace your lineup in a normal, bye-free week, but at least they should play and possibly score some points for your team.
In addition, it’s not like you’re the only team in this situation. Everybody in your league has the same problem. With the Bills, Chargers, Cowboys, Jaguars, Steelers and Vikings on bye, it’s inevitable that both you and your opponent will have a few players on bye this week. The important thing is that you do your best to field a full lineup and try to win your Week 7 games.
Dynasty Owners have to do more than most fantasy football managers every week. We have to set lineups with eight players in our Starting lineups, plus seven players on the Bench who get 25% of the points that they score added to your final score. Having a full lineup of 15 players might give you the small advantage that your team needs to win. Sometimes, that’s what it takes to win. Last week, a team in my beta league (Beta League 3 – #27483) lost by just 0.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. That’s only 2.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points from a player on your Bench. Last week, Patriots kicker Nick Folk was 3 for 3 on PAT attempts and scored 3.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. If the team that lost by 0.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points didn’t have a Bench kicker, but had at least $1.075 million in salary cap room to take on Folk’s salary, they could have picked up Folk and been victorious.
That wasn’t the case as the team had a full lineup and Folk is rostered in 97% of Dynasty Owner leagues, so it wasn’t likely that he was available to add last minute to many teams. However, here is a list of players (with at least one player per position). All but one of these players makes $1 million or less in salary for the 2021 season,. All of them are widely available in Dynasty Owner leagues and would have provided more than 2.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points last week.
|Player||Team||Position||Years Left/Salary||DOFP||Roster %|
|Brandon Allen||CIN||QB||1 year/$1.5 million||6.0||5.3%|
|Travis Homer||SEA||RB||2 years/$665,704||6.4||44.4%|
|Ray-Ray McCloud||PIT||WR||1 year/$1 million||6.3||1.8%|
|Nick Westbrook-Ikhine||TEN||WR||1 year/$610,000||5.7||33.7%|
|Luke Farrell||JAC||TE||4 years/$959,505||3.1||3.6%|
|Jody Fortson||KC||TE||1 year/$660,000||3.7||9.5%|
|Matthew Wright||JAC||K||1 year/$780,000||19.0||40.2%|
It’s not easy to do, but it’s doable if you want to have a full lineup every week, keep some salary cap room, and look hard enough at the Free Agent Auction. For example, I didn’t have a Bench QB or Bench kicker for a team in one of my Dynasty Owner leagues for Week 7. I had drafted three starting QBs and three kickers at the beginning of the year, but Ryan Fitzpatrick and Rodrigo Blankenship are currently on IR and Justin Herbert and Tristan Vizcaino are on bye. The news that Baker Mayfield wouldn’t play on Thursday night opened up the possibility of picking up Case Keenum who has two years left on his contract at $6 million per year. Not a shrewd pickup by any means, but I didn’t want to miss out on those Bench QB points, so I bid the minimum of $1 million Dynasty Dollars on Keenum and won the bid. Keenum played ok last night and scored 16.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, meaning my team will get an extra 4.15 points added to its final score. Whether I win because of those points is another matter, but at least I feel like I did my best to win this week.
If you were in a similar situation and did the same thing by picking up Keenum or even did another move like bidding on Chris Blewitt, the new kicker for the Washington Football Team (1 year/$780,000) who is now rostered in 27.2% of Dynasty Owner leagues, I applaud your desire to compete every week and do your best to win. In fact, I got outbid for Blewitt’s services as I bid $2 million Dynasty Dollars and he went for $3 million. Imagine getting outbid for a kicker who has never kicked in a NFL game or in a meaningful game since 2016 when he was in college at Pittsburgh. He was working at Home Depot and Planet Fitness and lives in Northern Virginia. I also live in Northern Virginia near where he went to school, so I might have run into him at the Jersey Mike’s near both of his workplaces one day. Only in Dynasty Owner can you get outbid for a kicker with that kind of resume!
If you read this whole introduction, you’re getting a full dose of Dynasty Owner analysis, which is kind of like having a full lineup. It won’t get you any Dynasty Owner fantasy points to help you win your game this week, unless my analysis is helpful, and you follow it. Every week of the 14-game Dynasty Owner regular season and three game playoffs, I’ll present a player at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) who you should have as a Starter in your Dynasty Owner lineup. After that, I’ll name one player per position who should be on your Bench or Practice Squad. With six teams on bye, it’s going to be tougher than ever to find players to Start who were clearly drafted to be on your Bench or Practice Squad, or who currently rank outside the Top 12 QBs, Top 24 RBs, Top 24 WRs and Top 12 TEs. For the Bench recommendations, I’ll suggest players drafted to be Starters or who should be in your Starting lineup based on their play so far this season, but who shouldn’t be in there this week based on matchups, past performance against a team or something else. That’s also tougher to find with six teams on bye.
Finally, I will look at one Dynasty Owner game, our Match-up of the Week. For this week, both teams have full lineups ready to go already and neither one had to pick up Case Keenum or Chris Blewitt to do it. Can’t blame either team if they had picked up those players as both are in the Top 150 of the Chase for the Ring and playoff contenders in their league. If you’d like to see your team featured next week, then send me a tweet (@SteveVT33). The other way is to like my tweets and have an undefeated team just outside of the Top 100 in the Chase for the Ring standings, like how I chose this week’s teams. That’ll do it as well.
All stats cited 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.
For the purposes of this article, ADP and Dynasty Owner rostered percentage statistics were current as of the morning of October 22nd.
These Guys Should be Starters This Week
First, let’s look at how my recommendations from the previous week fared (Good, Bad or Just Ok). I predicted performances worthy of being in your Dynasty Owner Starting lineup for these four players. Here’s how they all did in Week 6.
QB: Taylor Heinicke – 12.1 (Bad recommendation)
RB: Brandon Bolden – 1.2 (Bad recommendation)
WR: Tim Patrick – 13.2 (Just Ok recommendation)
TE: Ricky Seals-Jones – 15.8 (Good recommendation)
Ricky Seals-Jones was the best recommendation as he finished with the most points and was TE6 in Dynasty Owner for Week 6. Patrick was just outside of the Top 24 WRs and could have been in the FLEX position for your team, so that recommendation was Just Ok. However, both Heinicke and Bolden weren’t even close to being Good choices. Bolden continues a streak of six consecutive Bad RB recommendations and two straight Bad recommendations who play for New England, so despite thinking about it, I’m not recommending that Dynasty Owners start Rhamondre Stevenson this week.
It was a slightly below average week with four teams on bye, so let’s see how I do in Week 7 with six teams resting.
Matt Ryan (QB – ATL): The Dolphins are allowing opposing QBs to score an average of 26.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game against them. What’s interesting is that almost all of those points have come via the pass. Very few points (just under 1.0 per game) have been from QBs running the ball. Almost all (96.2% of points) have come from QBs throwing the ball. Even Bills QB Josh Allen had only 35 rushing yards against the Dolphins defense. At the same time, Matt Ryan has scored 96.2% of his Dynasty Owner fantasy points by throwing the football. Both starting Dolphins CBs (Xavien Rhodes and Byron Jones) missed last week’s game versus Jacksonville and have been limited in practice so far this week. If they aren’t able to play at full strength, the Dolphins pass defense becomes even weaker. Ryan is averaging 24.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points this season (120.1 points in five games), but scored 39.8 points in Week 4 versus Washington and 30.0 points in Week 5 versus the Jets. He’s getting better as the season rolls along and against a Miami defense that has allowed 13 passing TDs and 307.5 yards passing per game, there’s no reason to think his good play won’t continue. Start Ryan this week against the Dolphins.
Devonta Freeman (RB – BAL): In the Ravens’ Week 5 comeback against Indianapolis, Devonta Freeman was the team’s top receiving RB (3 receptions for 34 yards good for 6.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). In Week 6, all three of the Ravens’ active RBs (Latavius Murray, Le’Veon Bell and Freeman) scored rushing TDs and Murray sprained his ankle, so Freeman ended up as the team’s leading rusher (53 yards vs. 44 for Murray and 18 for Bell). With Murray likely out this week, Freeman should be the Ravens’ lead ball carrier and pass catcher out of the backfield. Opposing RBs are averaging 7.8 receptions and 48.5 receiving yards per game against Cincinnati. Even if Freeman only gets half of those points, that’s 4 receptions for 24 receiving yards (6.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). Add in some rushing yards and Freeman should be able to score double-digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points this week and be worth a spot in your Starting lineup.
Marquez Callaway (WR – NO): Everyone who drafted Marquez Callaway thinking that he’d be the replacement for WR Michael Thomas while Thomas was on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list weren’t too happy after the first four weeks of the 2021 season. At that point, Callaway had scored only 28.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (9 receptions, 137 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD). He nearly matched that production in Week 5 with 24.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (4 receptions, 85 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs). At this point, he’s still WR54 after six weeks. The Saints had their bye in Week 6, but even if you project his average of 10.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (53.2 points in five games) over six games, he’d still only be WR42. If you went further and removed all of the players on bye in Week 7, he’d still be WR30 and outside of Starting WR range. With Thomas’ return on the horizon, it may be Callaway’s last chance to be the top Saints WR. Fortunately for him and his Dynasty Owners, he’s playing against a Seattle defense that is ranked 21st in fantasy points allowed to WRs and allowed Pittsburgh WR Diontae Johnson to garner 9 receptions for 71 receiving yards, plus 25 rushing yards (18.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) last week. Use Callaway in your Starting lineup this week then keep him around for the rest of the season because of his inexpensive salary (2 years/$765,000 per year).
Robert Tonyan (TE – GB): Last year, Tonyan had 11 TDs, nine games with more than 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, and averaged 11.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. This year, it’s a completely different story as he has only scored 1 TD with one game of more than 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (14.2 points in Week 2) and has scored 26.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points scored (4.4 points per game). Fortunately for Tonyan, he gets to face a Washington Football Team defense that has been bad all year and doesn’t appear to be getting any better. They have been allowing an average of 10.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game to their opponent’s top TE. Granted that includes Travis Kelce (17.9 points), Dawson Knox (14.9 points) and Kyle Pitts (9.0 points), but it also includes Jared Cook (10.6 points), Adam Trautman (a season high 6.3 points) and Kyle Rudolph (a season high 4.5 points). Even the bad TEs are going for season high Dynasty Owner fantasy points against the Football Team and the good to decent ones are getting double digit points, or close to it. That’s because while they have only allowed one TD to a TE all season (Knox in Week 3), they are in the Top 10 in receptions and receiving yards allowed to TEs. Three Top 12 TEs are on bye this week (Knox, Dalton Schultz, and Cook who is TE12) plus TE14 Tyler Conklin is on bye too. All Tonyan should need is to be a Starting TE is match the average number of Dynasty Owner fantasy points being allowed by the Football Team. Tonyan will be at least average this week, so insert him in your Starting lineup.
These Guys Should Be on the Bench (or Practice Squad) This Week
Now it’s the time to look at how my Bench recommendations from Week 6 worked out (Good, Bad or Just Ok). It was another week with at least two Good Bench recommendations. That’s four out of six weeks with that many. I also had two Bad recommendations to go along with the two Good ones.
QB: Derek Carr – 28.9 (Bad recommendation)
RB: Dalvin Cook – 23.3 (Bad recommendation)
WR: Tyler Lockett – 5.6 (Good recommendation)
TE: Dawson Knox – 7.5 (Good recommendation)
Derek Carr was QB8 in Dynasty Owner for Week 6 and Dalvin Cook was a Top 10 RB. Both of those recommendations were Bad, and they should have been in your Starting lineup. However, I was correct that Tyler Lockett would struggle in Pittsburgh with Geno Smith at QB. Dawson Knox broke his hand in Week 6, but still threw for a 2-point conversion, but only had 7.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and was a low-end Bench TE as a result.
The good news with six teams on bye is that players who might not be normally in your Starting lineup are suddenly there because of all of the good players out, so the pool of available players for Bench recommendations has improved. However, the bad news is that it will take fewer points to be a Starter than previous weeks. Good and bad, just like my Week 6 recommendations. The Week 7 Bench list starts with…
Sam Darnold (QB – CAR): After four good weeks to start the season, Sam Darnold has seemingly returned back to his old ways and played poorly the past two weeks. In the first four weeks, Darnold averaged 28.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game, while in the past two games, he has scored a combined 26.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (6.8 points in Week 5 and 20.1 points in Week 6). So why is he listed here? Even with those two poor recent games, he is still QB14 on the season and with four Top 12 QBs are on bye this week (Josh Allen – QB3, Dak Prescott – QB6, Justin Herbert – QB7, Kirk Cousins – QB10), Darnold is the 10th ranked QB playing in Week 7. He may be the best option that some Dynasty Owners have this week, but I’m here to remind you that Darnold has to go back to New York. He’s playing the 1-5 Giants, but a return to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey isn’t likely at the top of his favorite things to do list. The Giants have played decently against QBs this season as they have given up 155.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to QBs in six games. While that QB would be ranked QB11 in Dynasty Owner, if you take out the past two games when they faced QBs much better than Darnold (Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott), their average QB drops to 23.2 points per game. Start Darnold if you have to, but I’d suggest leaving him on the Bench if you have another option.
Darrell Henderson (RB – LAR): This is somewhat of a hunch, but I think Rams Head Coach Sean McVay will throw the ball more than normal with QB Matthew Stafford playing against his old team (Detroit Lions) this week. Stafford is averaging 33.3 pass attempts per game, which is lower than the 36.8 passing attempts that Jared Goff averaged in 2020. Even Rams backup QB John Wolford threw the ball 38 times in his Week 17 start last year. More passing this week than normal equals less running for Darrell Henderson and running the ball is how Henderson scores Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Two-thirds (67.2%) of Henderson’s points come on running plays as he has just 12 receptions for 119 receiving yards and 1 receiving TD in five games played so far in 2021. Once the Rams get up big by throwing the ball, they will probably rest Henderson and use Sony Michel more in the fourth quarter. Henderson had 21 carries in last week’s 38-11 blowout of the New York Giants compared to 9 for Michel, but in the fourth quarter, Michel had five carries versus four for Henderson. It’s tough to recommend putting the RB13 on the season who is averaging 18.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game on the Bench, but that’s what I’m doing. We’ll see what happens.
Corey Davis (WR – NYJ): The Patriots defense held Davis to only 2.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (2 receptions for 8 yards) back in Week 2 against the New York Jets. I see no reason why they won’t do it again. While it’s true that Zach Wilson has three more NFL games of experience and a bye week to prepare for the New England defense this time, I don’t think the results will change much for Davis. He may get more than 2.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points this week, but he won’t have enough to be in your Starting lineup. Bench Davis again like his Dynasty Owners should have done in Week 2.
Mike Gesicki (TE – MIA): For some reason, the Dolphins aren’t on bye this week. With the NFL giving six teams the week off, you’d think both teams who played in London last week would be resting. Jacksonville is, and Atlanta and the Jets were off Week 6 after playing there in Week 5. The last time a Dolphins team played the week immediately after playing in London was 2017 when their bye week was shifted to Week 1 due to a hurricane. In the game after playing in London, the Dolphins beat Tennessee 17-10, but only had 178 yards of total offense under QB Jay Cutler. In addition to thinking the Dolphins’ offense will be off after playing overseas, the Falcons defense has gotten better against TEs in their last three games (6 receptions for 53 yards on 13 targets). Is the Tua-Gesicki combination that much better than Daniel Jones-Evan Engram, Taylor Heinicke-Ricky Seals-Jones, or Zach Wilson-Ryan Griffin? Ok, they are definitely better than Wilson and Griffin, but not a lot better than the other pairs. And I know that Gesicki just had 19.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points against Jacksonville with Tua back at QB. However, I also remember Gesicki getting a Blutarsky (0.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) in Week 1 against New England with Tua at QB. I also remember that one week after exploding for 31.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points against Tampa Bay in Week 5, Dolphins RB Myles Gaskin disappeared for Miami in Week 6 with just 2.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. It’ll happen again this week, so put Gesicki on your Bench.
Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week – TPC Murder Hornets vs. Wheelwoody
It’s time for the seventh Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week of the 2021 season. Despite the fact that six NFL teams are on bye, both teams featured this week will be fielding full lineups. That’s right, all eight Starting lineup positions and seven Bench spots for both the TPC Murder Hornets and Wheelwoody are filled with players playing games this week. That’s good as both teams are looking to make it back to the playoffs in League #27466 where they faced off in the third place game last year (a game won by TPC Murder Hornets by a score of 200.7-154.6).
For the most part, TPC Murder Hornets are injury free, although Antonio Brown has missed practices and is listed as questionable. They are also using every available, healthy WR and TE on their roster including Free Agent Auction pickup Dante Pettis as a Bench WR and Rams TE Tyler Higbee in their FLEX position. On the other side, Wheelwoody has Tyreek Hill in his Starting lineup and both Jeremy McNichols and Tyler Kroft on his Bench. All of them are listed on the injury report as questionable right now. They can substitute Dallas Goedert, fresh off the COVID-19 list, into their lineup to replace Kroft, but don’t have a next man up if McNichols sits out this week. However, both teams are, as NBC golf announcer Gary Koch famously said about this Tiger Woods putt, “Better than most!”
TPC Murder Hornets sit at the top of the League #27466 standings with a 6-0 record and were in 112nd place in the Chase for the Ring standings before Thursday night’s Browns-Broncos game with 959.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Wheelwoody is behind by two games in the league standings at 4-2, but have scored only 10.7 fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points than TPC Murder Hornets and were in 148th place in the Chase standings before Thursday night.
Interestingly, TPC Murder Hornets are projected to win this week’s Match-up of the Week by more Dynasty Owner fantasy points (21.62) than their advantage from the previous six weeks of games.
The entire advantage for TPC Murder Hornets comes from their Starting lineup and more specifically their Starting RBs. Alvin Kamara and Darrell Henderson of TPC Murder Hornets are projected to score 41.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, while the Wheelwoody Starting RB combo of Mark Ingram and Michael Carter are projected for just 16.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. That’s what is happening to Wheelwoody as both of their usual Starting RBs (Dalvin Cook and James Robinson) are on bye.
TPC Murder Hornets made a huge move earlier this season that may help keep them at the top of their League standings and in contention for the Ring. They ended up using an Amnesty Provision on Russell Wilson after he was injured and replaced him with Kirk Cousins and Geno Smith. They had bid $12 million Dynasty Dollars back in March for Wilson in the Free Agent Auction and then spent $1 million Dynasty Dollars for Cousins and $6 million Dynasty Dollars for Smith after Wilson went down. Those are some bold in-season moves by TPC Murder Hornets in their quest for the Ring.
If your Dynasty Owner team, or teams, are heading out this week with a full lineup, you deserve a round of applause. Either you were extra sharp in paying attention to the bye weeks while drafting your team, or got lucky with the players you drafted in 2020 and held on to during the off-season. It probably wasn’t easy to make it happen, regardless of how you drafted with all of the injuries so far this season. In most cases, multiple Free Agent Auction bids probably helped get your team to full lineup status as well. Hopefully the full lineup strategy works out for your Dynasty Owner team with a victory this week (unless you’re playing one of my teams) and you can continue to fill out a full lineup in the remaining seven weeks of the Dynasty Owner regular season. That’s correct! After this week is finished, we will be officially halfway through the 2021 Dynasty Owner regular season.
Please read my weekly preview article each and every week to see who should be in your Dynasty Owner Starting lineup and who should be on your Bench. If you have one of the players mentioned, hopefully it will assist you with your lineup decisions. While some Dynasty Owners may heed my advice, others might disagree, or not have a better option for their Starting lineup and choose to ignore a Bench recommendation. Other Dynasty Owners may not need Starting lineup help as they have a stud player at a position who isn’t moving to the Bench unless he’s injured or on bye. Hopefully, the choices for your Starting lineup and Bench are solid, your team wins its game, and you stay in contention for the playoffs and even the Chase for the Ring.
In addition to this weekly preview article, Dynasty Owner has plenty of other great content to help you win your League Championship and maybe the Chase for the Ring. Our in-season publication schedule is as follows. On Monday, Jay Pounds will preview the Monday Night Football matchup from the Dynasty Owner perspective. Tuesday has a double shot of Dynasty Owner content with my Week 7 recap article and Jay’s Free Agent Auction targets article and video. Wednesdays is when Matt Morrison – The Jerk will dive into a topic of his choosing with an article and a video. Since his Incredibly True Statistics series is over. You’ll have to check and see what topic is on tap for Wednesday. The next day, he’ll have an article previewing the Thursday Night Football game to start the second half of the Dynasty Owner regular season (aka NFL Week 8).
Don’t forget about the two weekly Dynasty Owner livestreams. On Wednesday, it’s myself, Tim Peffer and Cousin Justin (who is an injury expert and a real actual Doctor of Physical Therapy) recapping the past week. There is also the free flowing fun that is Seth and Tim chatting together live on Thursdays at 1 PM, interviewing some Chase for the Ring contenders and setting up the Dynasty Owner week. Set those timers on YouTube so you don’t miss either one of those broadcasts.
Please read all of our articles, watch our videos on YouTube if you can’t make it live or listen to them wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t forget follow all three of the Dynasty Owner team of writers plus Dynasty Owner on Twitter as well. Thanks, and have a great day!
Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner