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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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!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Gimme Five: An Analysis of the Five Beta League Drafts

Author: Steven Van Tassell

For the past couple of weeks, new and returning Dynasty Owners have been drafting their teams for the upcoming 2020 season. We highlighted the results of the first league to draft (Beta League 3) in an earlier article, but that was just one draft. In total, there are 6 beta leagues with 72 of the most passionate returning owners from the 2019 Dynasty Owner season competing to win. Five of those leagues have drafted (all but League 5) and new Dynasty Owners can learn a lot by looking at the results of these beta user drafts.

All five of these beta user leagues drafted in June with the first league (League 3) picking on June 14th and the last of the beta leagues (League 6) drafting back on June 26th. As a result, these Dynasty Owners didn’t have the benefit of more recent information, such as the signing of QB Cam Newton on a 1-year, $1.75 million contract by New England or the Patrick Mahomes 10-year, $450 million mega-extension.

High Five

In the first 12-team Dynasty Owner beta user drafts, we saw five players consistently be drafted at the top of the first round. Those players are, in order, Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes. Each one of them has an ADP of 4.0 or lower and were drafted in the top five players in every beta user draft, except Kyler Murray who was drafted with the #7 pick in League 1 and Patrick Mahomes who was drafted with the #7 pick in League 2.

The two players not listed above who ended up as the 5th pick in the League 1 and League 2 drafts respectively, were Michael Thomas and Daniel Jones. Jones is an interesting situation and there will be more on him later in the article.

First Round Draft Selections

Out of five beta user leagues, we had a total of 18 different players drafted in the first round. Most of the first round draft picks were RBs (11), with 5 QBs and 2 WRs rounding out the rest of the first round picks. No TEs were drafted in the first round in any 2020 beta user draft. The average salary of these first round picks was just over $5 million ($5,068,669), which was driven up by the double-digit salaries of Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million) and Michael Thomas ($19.25 million) and driven down by the salaries of two players who make less than $1 million (Alvin Kamara at $964,443 and Chris Godwin at $821,041).

In contrast, a quick look at the Dynasty ADP rankings on Fantasy Football Calculator (https://fantasyfootballcalculator.com/adp/dynasty) shows a total of 23 players selected with a first round pick in 471 dynasty league drafts between April 11th and July 9th of this year. Out of those players, less than half (11) were RBs, while nearly as many were WRs (9). Only two QBs (Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes) and one TE (Travis Kelce) were selected in the first round in any of these 471 leagues.

As mentioned earlier, there are more QBs selected with a first round pick in Dynasty Owner than a regular dynasty league because of the unique Dynasty Owner scoring system. The increase in the number of QBs drafted in the first round in Dynasty Owner comes at the expense of WRs, with fewer of them drafted in the first round in Dynasty Owner. While there were the same number of RBs drafted in the first round, there were two drafted in the first round in Dynasty Owner (Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Austin Ekeler) who were not drafted in the first round in any of the 471 regular dynasty leagues. Both Derrick Henry and Leonard Fournette went in the first round of at least one regular dynasty league, but not in any of the five Dynasty Owner beta user leagues.

Fan Club Presidents Meeting

The running joke on dynasty fantasy football Twitter is that if you really like a guy and draft him early, you are President of his Fan Club. Last year, I was the President of the Jimmy Garoppolo Fan Club since I was in four leagues (two redraft, one regular dynasty and Dynasty Owner) and had him in all four. I wasn’t able to draft him in the beta users draft so my reign is over, but think Hillbilly Trash Trucks (Matthew Montgomery) got himself a heck of a starting QB with the last pick in the 13th round.

In the same spirit, I would like to nominate the following Dynasty Owners as President of the Fan Club of the following players. To be nominated, you had to draft a player at least one full round before he was drafted in any other beta user league. You also had to draft him a full round ahead of his ADP. For example, if you took Player A in the first round with the #10 pick and based on the other beta user league drafts, he would have been available with your #34 pick and his ADP was 22.0 or higher, then you’re nominated for President of that guy’s Fan Club. Without further delay, here are a few of the nominees:

  • New Mexico Mountain (League 2) – Daniel Jones
  • The Jerk (League 3) – Ke’Shawn Vaughn
  • Kralj_Smeca (League 2) – Robert Woods
  • Fumbled Dreams (League 4) – Ronald Jones
  • TE Ertz when Eifert (League 6) – Julio Jones
  • Hillbilly Trash Trucks (League 3) – Stefon Diggs
  • CyberFire (League 2) – Carson Wentz

It might have something to do with having Jones as your last name as three of the six guys picked “too early” by one Dynasty Owner are Jones’s (Daniel, Ronald and Julio).

New Mexico Mountain won the Daniel Jones presidency in a landslide as he selected Daniel Jones in the first round with the 5th pick in the League 2 draft when he wasn’t selected until at least the third round in any of the other four beta user drafts.

In the same League, Kralj_Smeca took Robert Woods with the 40th overall pick. That’s a fourth round pick for Woods when he was drafted at the end of the sixth round or in the seventh round in the other beta user drafts. Even with the high pick in League 2, Woods still has an ADP of 66.0.

Fumbled Dreams loves the Tampa Bay backfield. He drafted Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn back to back with the 48th and 49th picks in the League 4 draft. For Vaughn, that was right on his beta users draft ADP of 49.4, but for Jones, it was way earlier than in any other beta users draft. Jones went at the end of the sixth round (#69), top of the seventh round (#73), middle of the seventh round (#78) and middle of the eighth round (#91) in the other drafts. Even though his next pick wasn’t until the 72nd pick, Fumbled Dreams probably could have waited and gotten Jones at that time.

Fumbled Dreams was lucky that he’s not in League 3 or he would have completely missed out on Ke’Shawn Vaughn since The Jerk took Vaughn with his third round pick (#31 overall). He could have had him a round later in every other beta user league since the next highest spot that Vaughn was selected was with the #46 pick.

TE Ertz when Eifert might want to rename his team to I Love Julio Jones. He drafted Julio with the #45 pick in the 4th round of the League 6 draft, while no one else grabbed Julio before the start of the 7th round (#76). At the other extreme was League 2, as Julio wasn’t drafted until the 10th round (#117) in that league.

Stefon Diggs was drafted by Hillbilly Trash Trucks with the second pick in the 8th round (#85 overall). Matthew Montgomery might not have picked Diggs so early if League 3 hadn’t drafted first since the earliest Diggs was chosen in any other beta user league was with the #115 pick in League 2.

However, the undisputed #1 Fan Club President has to be CyberFire who drafted Carson Wentz and his $32 million salary with his 4th round pick (#47 overall). Wentz went undrafted in League 4 and has an ADP of 118.0 in the four leagues he was selected in. Wentz was drafted in the 10th round (#115), 13th round (#151) and 14th round (#159) in the other three beta leagues.

Salaries

Dynasty Owner is using real NFL contracts as part of the game, unlike any other fantasy football game out there. Just like an NFL General Manager, Dynasty Owners need to build a team using real NFL salaries (average salaries based on the total contract value divided by number of years on the contract) and stay under a hard salary cap ($110 million for the 2020 season). So, how do the five beta league rosters look in comparison to all NFL skill position players in terms of salaries?  The surprising answer is that Dynasty Owner rosters are a little top heavy.

Just over three-fifths (61%) of players drafted in the five beta user leagues have salaries of $1 million or more (Vikings WR Tajae Sharpe and Browns WR JoJo Natson both make exactly $1 million), but less than one-quarter (22%) make $5 million or more and only one in ten (11%) make $10 million or more.

In comparison, an analysis of Spotrac salaries for 914 skill position players (available at https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/rankings/average/offense/) finds that just over one-third (35%) of skill position players (QB, RB, WR, TE, K) make $1 million or more, while one in eight (12%) make $5 million or more and just 5% make $10 million or more.

This is probably not too surprisingly as Spotrac includes all skill position players under contract right now, even if many of them will eventually be waived or placed on the practice squad. Dynasty Owners are likely not picking too many of these low-paid, undrafted rookie free agents who aren’t going to make their NFL team’s roster.

Solitary Men

Raise your hand if you’re a Neil Diamond fan and got the headline reference to his 1966 song Solitary Man. I prefer Sweet Caroline myself, but nobody with the name Caroline is currently on an active NFL roster so I couldn’t use that. Shout out to my friends Scott and Kerri Bernstein who are huge Neil Diamond (and fans of the Neil Diamond cover band Super Diamond as well) for being the people who introduced me to Neil and Surreal Neil.

Not every good NFL player will be on a Dynasty Owner roster in every league. There are many guys out there who were only drafted in one of the five beta leagues that have drafted already and probably won’t be highly owned when new players start drafting as well. Here are some guys drafted in the Top 200 or higher who only were selected in one beta user league out of five.

  • Rams QB Jared Goff – #110 pick in League 3
  • 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo – #156 pick in League 3
  • Raiders QB Derek Carr – #169 pick in League 6
  • Jaguars TE Tyler Eifert – #193 pick in League 4
  • 49ers RB Salvon Ahmed – #191 pick in League 6. Admit it, most of you had to go look to see who he is. Congrats to The Replacements for making this bold selection.
  • Samaje Perine – #182 pick in League 3 and big brother to La’Mical Perine, who was drafted in all five beta leagues, but a few rounds higher than Samaje. Through extensive investigative reporting, I can confirm that this was a mistake by the team who drafted him. (Editor’s note: The team who drafted Samaje admitted he goofed up and said so, no investigative reporting was done for this article).

Both Golden Tate and Brandin Cooks were taken with the 203rd pick of the League 1 and League 4 drafts, respectively, and just missed inclusion in this list.

Random Facts

Finally, here are some random facts about the five beta user league drafts that seem interesting to me.

  • Player with highest ADP drafted in all five drafts – Gus Edwards (ADP 274.2)
  • Kicker with the lowest ADP – Matt Gay (ADP 179.4)
  • First kicker drafted in any beta user league – Greg Zuerlein (#162 pick in League 1 by Young Gunz)
  • Number of kickers with ADP below 200 – 7 (Matt Gay, Younghoe Koo, Greg Zuerlein, Justin Rohrwasser, Harrison Butker, Austin Seibert and Michael Badgley)
  • Total number of players drafted in all five beta user drafts – 366
  • Number of players drafted in all five beta user drafts – 239

Conclusions

What did we learn, if anything, from this analysis of the five beta user leagues?  

The first lesson learned is that no two leagues are the same. No player was drafted in the same draft slot in all five beta leagues. While Lamar Jackson is the top rated player in the initial Dynasty Owner Top 300 and had the lowest ADP in the five beta user drafts, his ADP is still 1.2 – meaning he was drafted first in four leagues and second in the fifth league (League 4). Fumbled Dreams had the first pick in League 4 and took Patrick Mahomes with it. With 72 Dynasty Owners, you’re likely to have 72 opinions on what to do at any single draft slot.

Second, if you want Lamar, CMC, Saquon, Kyler, or Mahomes, you better trade up into the Top 5 if you don’t get one of those top five draft slots since they will all be likely gone by the fifth pick. I saw a new Dynasty Owner on Twitter (@tommysavs) who drafted Kyler Murray with the eighth pick, but that is likely an outlier like League 1 where he was drafted seventh. By the way, congrats to him and his team (WLN Savages) on stealing Murray and “what were you thinking?!?” to the seven owners in his league who let Murray fall down to that pick.

With that said, there’s still some consensus surrounding certain things, like QBs get drafted earlier in Dynasty Owner than your regular year-to-year redraft league and most regular dynasty leagues. If you don’t know why, then look at the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system information that appears at the beginning of most of my articles. Or you can read the Dynasty Owner Constitution posted in the app or online at https://dynastyowner.com/how-it-works/ under “Read Constitution” to figure out why QBs are drafted earlier.

No surprise here, but almost nobody loves kickers in Dynasty Owner. The first one wasn’t drafted until the 14th round in any of the beta user leagues and many Dynasty Owners leave them to the end of the draft, just like your regular non-Dynasty Owner league.

For some of you, this article was too late, but others reading this haven’t drafted yet. Hopefully, this article helps you prepare for your initial Dynasty Owner season. If you want more preparation, you still have time to get yourself into one of the mock drafts going on every 15 minutes.

We have more articles coming on a regular basis from Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter) and I. The first of the monthly Dynasty Owner Top 300 is also coming very soon. The podcast series with myself and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer will continue to be posted on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube as well to help you get prepared. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. 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

A History Making Afternoon

Author: Steven Van Tassell

It was exactly 3:20 PM (EDT) on Sunday, June 14th, 2020 when Belichick’s Hoodies (Sean Fournier) made the historical first pick in Dynasty Owner history by taking Lamar Jackson in the first all 12-team Dynasty Owner leagues. It ended about three hours and fifteen minutes later with the selection of Dante Pettis as the first Dynasty Owner Mr. Irrelevant with the last pick (#300 overall) by Hillbilly Trash Trucks (Matt Montgomery). I was honored to be a part of this historic event which will take its place in history between the first moon walk by Neil Armstrong in 1969 and the creation of toilet paper by Joseph Gayetty in 1857.

In addition to being the first league to draft, Beta League 3 is composed of some pretty heavy hitters from the 2019 Dynasty Owner beta season. The league is highlighted by New York’s Strongest (Eddie Driscoll), who finished the regular season at 14-0 and at the top of the Chase for the Ring leaderboard. For those of you new to Dynasty Owner, Eddie finished off his perfect season with two victories in his league playoffs to become the only player to finish the season undefeated (16-0) and win the Ring.

We also have Yorkshire Roses (Dan Clarke) who went 9-5 in his regular season, but had the most points in his league. Dan proceeded to win his league playoffs, had the most points of any team in the final week and finished in 4th place in the final Chase standings – moving up from 10th place after the semi-finals and 18th place after the regular season.

Overall, the league has eight owners who won 10 or more regular season games, five league Champions from 2019 (all of whom finished in the Top 25 in the final Chase for the Ring standings), and two owners who lost in their league finals (including myself – damn you Teddy MF’in Ruxpin). Everyone played in 2019 and all but one drafted last year. Not a lot of slouches in Beta League 3.

We will be citing mock draft ADP in this article. Please note that all mock draft ADPs listed were current as of Noon (Eastern) on Thursday, June 18, 2020.

An Early Run on Running Backs

How many times have you done a fantasy draft – either redraft or dynasty – and there’s been a pretty long run on one position? For me, it’s probably every draft when this happens where six or seven people in a row grab players at a certain position and the draft board starts lighting up with one color in a long row. Back in the day, it was colored stickers that CBS Sportsline sent the Commissioner of my redraft league. We would have one of the spouses of a league owner putting up stickers on the board like Vanna White turning the letters on Wheel of Fortune. Now, it’s on the Live Draft Board that will appear on your Dynasty Owner league draft page.

Well, this draft had probably the longest run that I’ve even seen at one position and possibly the longest run that any Dynasty Owner league will have in 2020. That’s because we saw 13 running backs taken in a row in the first and second round of this draft. Starting with Saquon Barkley with the 5th pick and ending with Dalvin Cook with the 17th pick, we had an epic early run on running backs. Congratulations to The Jerk (Matt Morrison) for stopping the madness by drafting Michael Thomas with his second round pick. As you can see from the draft board, there was a lot of green (RBs) selected in the first two rounds.

Not only was it 13 RBs in a row, but 15 out of 16 RBs selected by the last eight teams in the draft order. As we would say back in the redraft league, “Vanna’s putting up a lot of green stickers”.

The next longest runs on a single position were two separate runs of five WRs, one at the end of the fifth round and beginning of the sixth round and another near the end of the draft in the 24th round.  There was also a spot in the middle of the 12th round when seven out of nine picks were TEs.

The List of Firsts

Since this was the first 12-team Dynasty Owner draft, there were many firsts. Here’s a list of some of the most “important” ones:

  • First Pick: Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)
  • First QB Taken – Lamar Jackson (#1 – Belichick’s Hoodies)
  • First RB Taken – Christian McCaffrey (#2 – Vantastics)
  • First WR Taken – Michael Thomas (#18 – The Jerk)
  • First TE Taken – Travis Kelce (#27 – VIP Club Dub)
  • First K Taken – Justin Tucker (#166 – VIP Club Dub)
  • First Comment about Someone Going Too Slow – Belichick’s Hoodies with the comment “Steve OTC” at 3:21:33 after selecting Lamar Jackson and it took a few seconds for my selection of Christian McCaffrey to register. It’s disputable if that was a comment to draft faster, so if not then it came less than four minutes later when Mafia Power 83 (Bruno Carina-Goncalves) posted “Come on Jerk really” at 3:25:29 while waiting for The Jerk to make his first pick. It was later discovered that he was drafting on his phone using the app, thus making him draft slower than everyone else who was on a desktop.
  • First Happy Dynasty Owner about a Player Slipping to His Selection – Eddie typed “God Bless You Yorkshire!!!!” after Yorkshire Roses picked Kyler Murray with the #4 pick, leaving Saquon Barkley available for Eddie to grab with the #5 pick. And for the record, Eddie really did use four exclamation points like a teenage girl chatting with her friend about some cute boy looking at her in algebra class.
  • First Mention of Regret for Picking Someone – After 13 RBs were drafted in a row, Yorkshire Roses typed in the chat “If I’d known every single running back would have been taken, I probably wouldn’t have had Kyler at #4”. For the record, he ended up picking his first RB (Devin Singletary) with the #21 pick.
  • First Compliment – These were few and far between with this group, but Bruno gave props to Eddie after he drafted J.K. Dobbins with the #20 pick in the draft. He also invited him to join him on his “boat”. Since I’m not from the New York area, I’m not sure if that’s code for something.
  • First Snipe – It may not have been first, but the first snipe comment in the chat was at 3:39 by Bruno when he commented about Kraft Yankaroni & Cheats (Patrick Wood) when Patrick selected David Montgomery in the 3rd round with the #30 pick. In case you aren’t seeing the pattern, Bruno was exceptionally chatty during the draft (not a criticism, I was pretty chatty too since I was drafting in the #2 spot and had lots of time between selections).

The Rise and the Fall of a Pair of TEs Playing in Florida

The ADP listed in the mock draft rooms is the live ADP from all of the mock drafts that have been taking place. Since a lot of the guys in this league have been doing a lot of mock drafts and I mean A LOT of mock drafts, it would stand to reason that this first draft would trend closely with the mock draft ADP. That didn’t happen. There were a few players who got drafted earlier than they have been going in the mock drafts and more who went later.

Here are some of the biggest risers in the first 2020 Dynasty Owner draft:

  • Melvin Gordon: On average, Gordon’s been a mid-4th round mock draft selection with an ADP of 43.2, but New York’s Strongest decided that he couldn’t wait and took him with the 5th pick in Round 3 (#29 overall).
  • Ke’Shawn Vaughn: The Tampa Bay rookie RB went two full rounds earlier than his ADP dictated. The Jerk must have really wanted him as he was the #31 overall selection, even though his mock draft ADP was 55.7.
  • Zack Moss: Dirty Hippy Farmer (Andrew Gilkin) must really like Moss. Why else would he take him with the #82 pick in the real draft when his mock draft ADP was 114.4?
  • Mike Gesicki: Gesicki was drafted with the #66 overall selection (5th TE – after Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Mark Andrews and Zach Ertz), but his ADP in mock drafts was 102.4, good for being the 11th TE in mocks. The Jerk must feel strongly about Gesicki getting a lot of throws from rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa as he was the one who made the early move on him.

There were more players who fell significantly than rose significantly. Here are some of the biggest fallers in the first 2020 Dynasty Owner draft:

  • Deshaun Watson: The Texans QB was the first victim of the wild 13 RB run and fell from ADP 7.2 in mock drafts to the #23 selection – a difference of 15.8 positions. The Vantastics, that’s me, were ecstatic to get him with their 2nd pick.
  • Dak Prescott: New York’s Strongest pulled the trigger on drafting Dak with the #77 pick in the seventh round. His mock draft ADP of 47.4 had him taken near the end of the 4th round on average.
  • The G.O.A.T.: His ADP of 94.7 in mock drafts seems high for a dynasty league, but his $25 million salary is lower than a lot of other QBs, so it’s understandable. However, in this first draft, Tom was the first selection of the 15th round by Belichick’s Hoodies, or six full rounds later than his average mock draft position.
  • James White: A favorite of the G.O.A.T. out of the backfield, White got a similar downgrade as Tom in the first Dynasty Owner draft. The Vantastics scooped him up with the #143 pick, three full rounds lower than his 107.1 mock draft ADP.
  • Lynn Bowden: One of the few rookies to fall. Drafted by the Vantastics with the #215 pick, Bowden has a mock draft ADP of 167.3.
  • DeAndre Hopkins: It took twice as long for someone (Mafia Power 83) to draft Hopkins in the real Dynasty Owner draft (#40 overall) than he usually went in mock drafts (ADP 19.4).
  • T.Y. Hilton: Did everyone but Yorkshire Roses forget about T.Y. or did salary cap restraints cause his plunge to the 18th round? Hilton was skipped in plenty of rounds before Dan took him with the #213 pick. His average ADP was almost nine full rounds earlier at 105.3.
  • Darren Waller: Waller was one of the three anti-Gesicki TEs. He was 5th TE taken in mock drafts on average with an ADP of 73.4, but in our draft, he fell sharply and was chosen with the #117 selection, the 12th TE taken overall. Yorkshire Roses was the beneficiary of this drop.
  • Hunter Henry: Henry also dropped pretty significantly – down to the #207 pick by Quaranteam (Nick Larmore) from his ADP of 113.9.
  • Rob Gronkowski: Another former Patriot turned Buccaneer who dropped in the first real Dynasty Owner draft. Gronk was being selected at the end of the 10th round in the average mock draft (ADP 119.6). However, Wannabees  (David Brady) grabbed him with the #233 pick in the 20th round in our draft.

Why Dynasty Owner is Different than a Regular Dynasty League?

For everyone new to Dynasty Owner, you will read and hear a lot about how Dynasty Owner is different than a “regular” dynasty league. At first, you may not believe it, but once you start mock drafting or get in your first live draft, you’ll soon discover that it’s impossible to fit all of the players you want under the $110 million salary cap. In a “regular” dynasty league, you can draft Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million), Julio Jones ($22 million), Travis Kelce ($9.4 million) and Russell Wilson ($35 million) in the first four rounds. Probably not so in Dynasty Owner as the rest of your team will be made up of low-cost players since you’ll only have around $28.6 million left under the salary cap for 21 more selections. Good luck with that!

As a result, players who would normally be high or middle round draft picks in a “regular” dynasty league might even go undrafted in Dynasty Owner. If you don’t believe me, here’s a list of undrafted players the first 12-team Dynasty Owner draft in history. They are ranked here by average ADP from the Fantasy Pros (https://www.fantasypros.com/nfl/rankings/dynasty-overall.php). Their Dynasty Owner salary is listed in parentheses.

  • WR Adam Thielen ($16,050,000) – ADP 67.5
  • WR Brandin Cooks ($16,200,000) – ADP 96.2
  • TE Austin Hooper ($10,500,000) – ADP 102.2
  • WR A.J. Green ($17,971,000) – ADP 104.3
  • QB Matt Ryan ($30,000,000) – ADP 115.4
  • QB Aaron Rodgers ($33,500,000) – ADP 123.6
  • QB Kirk Cousins ($33,000,000) – ADP 145.8
  • WR Julian Edelman ($7,750,000) – ADP 146.2
  • QB Ryan Tannehill ($29,500,000) – ADP152.8
  • WR Sammy Watkins ($9,000,000) – ADP 153.2
  • WR Golden Tate ($9,375,000) – ADP 160.2
  • TE Eric Ebron ($6,000,000) – ADP 186.1
  • RB Chris Thompson ($1,400,000) – ADP 267.1
  • RB Rex Burkhead ($3,250,000) – ADP 293.0
  • K Ka’imi Fairbairn ($4,412,500) – ADP 307.2 (sixth highest among kickers)
  • K Mason Crosby ($4,300,000) – ADP 310.6 (tenth highest among kickers)

Thielen is on average a mid-5th round pick in a 12-team “regular” dynasty league, but nobody had the salary cap room for him in the first 12-team Dynasty Owner draft, while Cooks is a late 8th round/early 9th round pick on average. However, because of their relative high salaries (over $16 million each), they went undrafted. Thielen was picked up in the Free Agent Auction after the draft, but VIP Club Dub (Anthony Huether) had to drop Robby Anderson and his $10 million salary to pick him up and fit him under the salary cap.

Not a terrible team of undrafted players. Ryan, Rodgers and Cousins make up a good trio of QBs and there are some quality starting WRs plus a fine TE in Hooper and a decent backup in Ebron. The only questionable spot is RB with Chris Thompson and Rex Burkhead as the best available. Remember, all of these players are still available in this Dynasty Owner league and will likely be so for most, if not all of the 2020 season even though all of them are easily worthy of a spot on your “regular” dynasty league roster.

Who Took My Advice?

In my 2020 draft tips article (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/05/draft-tips-2020/), two suggestions for Dynasty Owners were to draft three QBs and three kickers so you have a Starter and Bench QB and kicker for bye weeks. With 12-teams per Dynasty Owner league and only 32 starting QBs and kickers, a few teams would be left out and need to pick up a backup QB or kicker who surprisingly makes an NFL roster in training camp. To show you how much people in my own league value my “advice”, only two other teams drafted three kickers as recommended. Thanks to Dirty Hippy Farmer and VIP Club Dub for the vote of confidence!

Not only did three-quarters of the league not follow my draft three kickers advice, two teams – Wannabees and New York’s Strongest – only drafted one kicker. Wannabees only drafted Brandon McManus and has a mere $517,518 left in salary cap room to add another kicker in the Free Agent Auction. Unfortunately for him, the rookie salary minimum for 2020 is $610,000 so he can’t even pick up a second kicker without dropping another player. At least New York’s Strongest has enough cap room ($1,755,208 at the end of the draft) to pick up another kicker, or maybe two.

Three teams will be braving the 2020 Dynasty Owner season with only two QBs right now. Belichick’s Hoodies feels comfortable enough with the #1 overall pick in Lamar Jackson that he took the 42-year old G.O.A.T. Tom Brady as his only backup QB. Quaranteam has Sam Darnold as his starter and rookie Jordan Love as his backup. Fortunately for Nick, he drafted wisely and has almost $28.5 million in salary cap room available right now. That’s not enough to pick up Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan or even Kirk Cousins without dropping another player, but he could fit Derek Carr for $25 million on his roster as presently constructed. Either that, or he’ll have to clear some salary cap space via trade or by dropping a player.

Drafting Philosophy – Everyone’s Got One, Here’s Two of Them

In every 12-team fantasy football draft, regardless of the format, you are likely to have 12 people with 12 different draft strategies. Some are well crafted in advance with hours of thought and time spent pouring over mock draft data. Other strategies come up on the fly after a few rounds or with the selection of a specific player or players. For example, because I drafted Derrick Henry and he might sign a long-term deal before the season starts, I wanted to leave the draft with at least $5 million in salary cap room as a buffer. Henry and the Titans have until July 15th to sign a new long-term deal since he was franchise tagged early in the off-season (https://www.nfl.com/news/titans-gm-contract-talks-with-derrick-henry-have-been-positive). If that happens, I will need room to pay him this season and didn’t want to have to fit his new salary in under the Dynasty Owner salary cap without cutting anyone already on my roster. That wasn’t my plan initially, but when Henry was available in the 3rd round and I decided to take him, I figured that I needed some cap room available in case he gets a new contract.

My team, Vantastics, spent the just barely over $2 million ($2.01 million) on three kickers. Only three teams spent less on kickers than me and all three of them have just two kickers. My kicker spending was also below both teams who only drafted one kicker. My reasoning for this is that there was very little separation between kickers in 2019 Dynasty Owner season and probably will remain as so due to the Dynasty Owner scoring system. As a result, I didn’t want to spend millions on kickers when they appear to be pretty interchangeable and preferred to use the millions that I saved by getting three cheap kickers on other positions. The downside to this strategy is that I had to draft those kickers earlier than most people did. I spent picks in Rounds 15, 17 and 20 on kickers, which was earlier than most owners, including Bruno who drafted his first kicker after I had three of them.

We also had one team (Quaranteam) who “only” spent $81.55 million out of a $110 million salary cap on Draft Day. Some of you might be asking, “Why in the heck did he do that?” Well, I asked Nick and here’s what he had to say in response to my question:

  • At first I was calculating for next year with re-signing my RBs and Kittle as the draft was going on. By round 6, I figured I had the absolute highest salary even though the numbers didn’t show it. Then as the draft went on I was trying to pick players so at the end I can afford Aaron Rodgers. Then realized I didn’t need him and since it’s a 6 team playoff versus a 4, I can wait and go all in if I need to at positions when it’s playoff time. Whether it be WR or QB, I have time to determine that. Or take advantage of anyone else with salary cap issues as the year goes on.

There are other people who appear to have a strategy as well based on their draft. Hillbilly Trash Trucks only has one player (Adrian Peterson) playing on a one-year deal. The Jerk is apparently bullish on the return of Ben Roethlisberger since he drafted five Steelers, but not Big Ben himself. New York’s Strongest appears to like this year’s rookie class as he drafted 11 players from it – the most of any team and three more than anybody else. Yorkshire Roses must have a trip to Vegas planned or some quid bet on them (he’s British and can do that legally). Why else would he draft three Raiders pass catchers in a row (Henry Ruggs, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow) and four overall when you add in Foster Moreau. Finally, I assuming that Bruno and Sean like WRs. How do I know that? Both drafted 11 of them!

Will any of these strategies pay dividends during the 2020 Dynasty Owner season?  That’s why we play the game, so check back in at the end of the season and see whose strategy was the best.

Conclusions

Being part of Dynasty Owner history on Sunday afternoon was great. We weren’t supposed to be the first newly constructed beta league to draft, but the four scheduled before us got postponed and we lucked into the spot. For me and hopefully others, it was a lot of fun with some good back and forth in the chat. I had my laptop and phone fully charges plus paper and pen ready to manually log all of the picks. Some guys reported using multiple devices and didn’t participate much in the chat. Others are old-school and mentioned using paper and pencil and even magazines. And one other league owner called it “the hardest draft I have ever been in. I was exhausted after it was done.” Hopefully, he got a nap afterwards.

There were a lot of firsts to go along with a lot of surprises. It’s doubtful that anyone would have predicted that 13 RBs would be drafted in a row or that Adam Thielen would go undrafted. For me, I didn’t think I had a chance at drafting my QB from last year (Deshaun Watson) since I had the #2 pick, but when the big run on RBs kept going and going, I was able to get him. Maybe Watson wasn’t part of anyone’s draft strategy but mine. That could be so since it appears most everyone in this league didn’t pay attention to my quality article “advice”. Most of you reading this probably haven’t drafted yet, so you still have time to get yourself into one of the mock drafts going on every 15 minutes. We will have new articles soon from the rest of the Dynasty Owner writing team – Milos Ljubic (@LjubicMilos on Twitter) and Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter) as well as the first of the monthly Dynasty Owner Top 300 coming very soon. 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