Contract Speculation and Breakdown: Arizona Cardinals

By: Matt TheJerk (@dynastyjerk)

Good afternoon Dynasty Owners and Happy New Year. I can honestly say that the 2020 season is the most fun I’ve ever had playing fantasy football. I’m not sure if it was the large void that other professional sports left in my soul after shortened seasons, or if it was the constant fear that the season could be postponed or cancelled. The NFL persevered, though, with only minor setbacks.

Throughout last season, I thought of myself as a “float writer.”  When I say float writer, I mean to say that I didn’t necessarily have a structured format to what I was going to write from week to week. Well, I and the rest of the Dynasty Owner team, have decided to settle down and focus on specific topics for this offseason. I’ll let my co writers explain their assignments, but I can tell you that I will mainly be writing about contracts. Now, I know that’s a broad topic so I will try to keep the content centered around future contract speculation and also breaking down current contracts in order to find value that otherwise may be missed.

In order to accomplish this in an efficient way, I am going to write each week about one team. In each article, I will lead off by recapping any breaking news about updated or new contracts. After that, I will discuss all the (rosterable) players on that NFL team that have expiring contracts. As many of you know, free agency is a very nuanced process and the number of free agents a team will have in any given year is variable. I am not an expert about all the rules of free agency (for that I would turn to Spotrac), but I do my research, and I feel like these articles will be a great place to provide help for difficult contracts.

In addition to a weekly article, I will be releasing a short video each week that will heavily relate to the write-up. These videos will allow me to better explain my more important points. Text just seems so impersonal sometimes, and I think putting a face with an article is a great way to convey a message.

Well, I think I’ve gotten all the info out that I needed to. How about we jump into our first official contract speculation and breakdown…

Contract Speculation

My first month of articles will be about the NFC West, and up first we have the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has three noteworthy players that will be free agents in 2021. The process that I’m using to select free agents is subjective, but I feel like these three players will be the most asked about.

Larry Fitzgerald

First up we have the legend, Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz has been in the league since 2004, and it’s very possible he is about to complete his final contract and retire in the offseason. I’m not going to speculate on Fitzgerald’s chances of retiring, but rather, I’ll speculate on what a new contract could mean. I believe the 2004 #3 overall pick would have a tough time signing in a new city. We know that Larry was drafted by the Cardinals and has played his entire career with them. That is a special accomplishment and one that doesn’t happen often. There is, however, no doubt in my mind that he will command much less money than he currently makes. A one year $11,500,000 salary is just too much to pay a 37-year-old wide receiver, even one that leads a locker room as well as Fitz does. I’ll keep an eye on contract discussions, but I can’t imagine many Owners will roster Larry in 2021 given that he is currently owned in only 7.22 percent of DO leagues.

Kenyan Drake

Next, we have a much more interesting free agent:  Kenyan Drake. Drake is finishing up a single year contract that is worth a little less than 8.5 million dollars. (More accurately, Drake is finishing up a one-year transition tag) Drake has completed four years of service in the NFL so he will be an unrestricted free agent. There are quite a few possibilities for Drake in the offseason. First, he could be slapped with a franchise tag. A franchise tag would place him somewhere in the ballpark of $11,000,000 for one year. Drake could also sign a new contract with Arizona or a new team. I would anticipate a new contract to be worth around the same price point as a franchise tag (possibly a little bit less). If I had to commit to a number right now, I’d say Drake will sign something like a three-year contract worth 24 million dollars. This would put his Dynasty Owner salary at 8 million dollars per year. Once again this is just speculation, but Drake owners need to start thinking ahead.

Dan Arnold

The final Cardinals’ free agent I want to mention is Dan Arnold. Arnold is about to wrap up a two year – 1.23-million-dollar contract. Arnold has not completed four years in the NFL, so he hasn’t reached the benchmark in order to become an unrestricted free agent. There isn’t much else to say about him at this point. Again, I’ll keep you updated when Arnold is extended or signed.

Contract Breakdowns

Kyler Murray

I’m going to delve into two more contracts, and this breakdown will hopefully help you make a decision on what value these players have in the offseason. The first player I’m going to discuss has a contract that is top three in terms of value in all of Dynasty Owner. The player is, of course, Kyler Murray. Kyler is 23 years old, and he comes into the 2021 offseason with two years remaining on his rookie contract. In 2019, he signed a four-year contract that was worth $35,158,645 or $8,789,661 per year. That contract (per year) ranks 21st among active quarterbacks in terms of dollars per year. Let’s look at the numbers a little closer and see why Murray is such a steal. Over the past two seasons, he has put up a total of 814.6 fantasy points.

He produced 353.5 points in 2019 and 461.1 points in 2020. I’m first going to look at dynasty dollars per fantasy point (DD/FP). As I’ve mentioned in the past, Dynasty Owner did a great job of creating this statistic, and it’s something that I will be using quite a bit this offseason to look at contracts. First, I’m going to compare Kyler to every other top tier DD/FP quarterback that played the entire season. ***(Minshew, Mullens, and Glennon all have better DD/FP than Murray, but I won’t compare them as they are not the current starters on their teams).

Player2020 SalaryYears Remaining2021 Salary2020 DD/FP
L. Jackson$2,367,9121$2,367,912$5,921
D. Watson$3,463,570Resigned$39,000,000$7,246
D. Lock$1,752,7042$1,752,704$7,811
P. Mahomes$4,106,447Resigned$45,000,000$8,148
J. Allen$5,295,7601$5,295,760$10,261
J. Herbert$6,644,6883$6,644,688$15,392
K. Murray$8,789,6612$8,789,661$19,062
Swipe for more on mobile

This is a long list, and it is pretty loaded so I’m going to break it down. As I said, this is a list of quarterbacks with the best DD/FP for the 2020 season. The way the quarterbacks qualify is if they were the starter in 2020 and project to be their team’s starter in 2021 as well. It’s obviously not surprising that the players with the best DD/FP rating are all low salary players. You may also be concerned that Kyler Murray is so far down. Well, don’t be. Kyler is the most expensive quarterback on this list which will skew his DD/FP when compared to players like Lamar or Lock. We already know that a high salary quarterback will never lead the league in DD/FP. It’s just not possible for Russell Wilson to be productive enough to lead DO in DD/FP.

Let’s do a what if. What if each one of these quarterbacks kept the exact same fantasy production over the next two years?  What would happen to their DD/FP?  I’ll show you…

Using these quarterbacks’ 2020 season as a benchmark, this is how their DD/FP would finish over the next two seasons with projected salaries.

Player2021 Salary2022 Projected Salary2021 Proj DD/FP2022 Proj DD/FP
L. Jackson$2,367,912$37,000,000$5,920$92,500
D. Watson$39,000,000$39,000,000$81,590$81,590
D. Lock$1,752,704$1,752,704$7,825$7,825
P. Mahomes$45,000,000$45,000,000$89,286$89,286
J. Allen$5,295,760$40,000,000$10,263$77,519
J. Herbert$6,644,688$6,644,688$15,381$15,381
K. Murray$8,789,661$8,789,661$19,067$19,067
Swipe for more on mobile.

We can project/know that between the 2020 season and the 2022 season four of these quarterbacks will receive large contract increases. For this reason, Kyler becomes much more valuable over that time frame. In 2021, Kyler is expected to finish 5th among these seven players. In 2022, Kyler is expected to finish 3rd among these seven players. This is a long way of saying that Kyler is and will continue to be a value.

I did learn something else while doing this exercise. Maybe there is another way to determine value using DD/FP. What if we could make educated guesses on what we expect a player’s contract will be in the next three seasons and combine that with the player’s fantasy point projections over the next three seasons?  We would have a better gauge on a player’s long term value and not just season long value.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to start projecting players DD/FP through the 2023 season. This should help us get closer to a standardized formula for comparing players. (Something I’ve been working on for over a year.)

Christian Kirk

The second player I want to break down today is Christian Kirk. Kirk finished the season as WR44. He missed two games in 2020. The first was in Week 3 with a groin injury, and the second was Week 17 when he was placed on the COVID-19 list. Kirk had a disappointing year. There’s no sugar coating it. If you drafted him, you had to (on average) take him in the 8th round. So, the question I ask is…what do we do with Kirk for next year?  He comes into the 2021 season on the final year of his rookie deal that is worth a little less than 1.5 million dollars. There is no doubt that Kirk will be 100 percent owned in 2021 as his salary is very cheap, but the trust to start him each week is just not going to be there. The possible retirement of Larry Fitzgerald could open the door for more touches, but the acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins last year really put a damper on Kirk’s career outlook. Let’s break down his DD/FP and see where he ranks among his peers…

Kirk is 40th in DD/FP for wide receivers, and he sits at $9,871. This seems like a fairly decent value on paper, and in some ways it is. However, when you look at some of the players around him, the value starts to fade.

Sitting just two spots ahead of Kirk is Calvin Ridley. Is this surprising to you?  Ridley at 38th in DD/FP?  I’ll be honest, it’s surprising to me, but let me explain why it actually makes sense. Ridley has the highest salary of any wide receiver inside of the top 50 for DD/FP. In fact, the only players close to him in terms of contract are Justin Jefferson ($3,280,701) at 51st and D.J. Moore ($2,792,829) at 58th. So that means the 6th (Ridley), 8th (Jefferson) and 23rd (Moore) ranked wide receivers in 2020 are all outside the top 38th in DD/FP?  The truth of the matter is that if a receiver has a salary over $1,000,000, it is very difficult for them to crack the top tier of DD/FP. Of all the wide receivers in the top 20 for DD/FP, only five of them have contracts over $1,000,000, and the highest salary of any of them is A.J. Brown at $1,413,092. This is obviously one of the limitations for the statistic itself. The fact that Russell Gage, Greg Ward and Jacoby Meyers lead this statistic should tell you everything you need to know.

What I propose (and plan on doing over the offseason) is to create more of a tiered approach to DD/FP as opposed to a strict salary compared to fantasy points. For example, I could take every wide receiver under $2,000,000 per year and assign them the same, fixed value. Doing this will eliminate the skewed data that would have given twice as much value to a player that makes $600,000 compared to a player that makes $1,200,000. We would obviously rather own the $600,000 salary, but is it worth assigning double value for that contract given that they are both “cheap” salaries?  In the same way, I could make a tier of $2,000,000 – $5,000,000.

Regardless, I will get all of my data together and begin to work in this new tiered approach to value in the upcoming articles.

As always, thank you for reading and look out for my video that pairs with this article. I know I can get a little long winded so hopefully the video series we’re doing will help give a more personal touch to the content. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Week 14 Preview – Tough Decisions

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

Start and Bench decisions are always tough to make in fantasy football. You really have no control over what’s going to happen on Sunday (or Thursday, Monday and even Tuesday or Wednesday this year) and the uncertainty about who’s going to play and how much just makes it worse. It’s like NFL coaches don’t understand how important their decisions are to millions of us fantasy football players.

Last year, there was a big outcry in the fantasy community when the Cardinals had David Johnson activated for a Week 7 game versus the Giants but played only three snaps while his backup at the time (Chase Edmonds) ended up with 37.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. It happened again in Week 13 this year with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Both times, the team’s coach said the active player was available, but only in “an emergency”.  Unfortunately, those announcements were made after the game was played and fantasy managers made the tough and ultimately incorrect decision to start Johnson (or Edwards-Helaire) instead of Edmonds or someone else who could help them win.

Start or Bench decisions are even tougher when you’re in the playoffs or trying to win that extra first round draft pick in the Loser’s Bracket tournament. A loss in Week 7 when David Johnson is a Starter for your Dynasty Owner team but barely plays hurts, but can be overcome. A loss in the first round of the playoffs or draft pick tournament is permanent, you’re out!

This week’s decisions have more weight and also seemed more difficult to make. There are players out with COVID who might be cleared in time to play on Sunday, lots of guys are “limited” in practice on Thursday, but end up playing on Sunday while others don’t. There was a Thursday night game that might have caused you to decide earlier than you would have like to do it. The decision between two similar players is already tough enough, but the added layer of being in a must-win situation just amplifies everything.

Everyone has tough decisions if they have a game this week or are in the Chase for the Ring standings and need to keep scoring points. And we have a Match-up of the Week featuring someone who has publicly agonized with the tough decisions about who to pick up and start for his team at the end of the season. Now, he ended up making the playoffs, so the tough decisions continue. We’ll look at his playoff game, check out the overall projected score and then the Starters and Bench for both teams to see how their current lineups are projected to produce.

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

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

For the purposes of this article, ADP and Dynasty Owner ownership statistics were current as of December 11th.

These Guys Should be Starters This Week

First, let’s take a look at how my Week 13 Starter recommendations fared (Good, Bad or Just Ok):

  • QB: Mitchell Trubisky – 16.9 (Bad recommendation)
  • RB: J.K. Dobbins – 13.1 (Just Ok recommendation)
  • WR: Sterling Shepard – 5.2 (Bad recommendation)
  • TE: Mike Gesicki – 23.8 (Good recommendation)

A slightly below average Week 13 with only one Good recommendation and one Just Ok plus two Bad recommendations. Both Trubisky and Shepard were well outside of the top players for Week 13. In the middle was J.K. Dobbins who finished just outside of the Top 20 RBs with his 13.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy point week. The choice of Mike Gesicki at TE was the first Good TE recommendation since back in Week 4. Even though we had more Bad than Good recommendations during the regular season, we still get to make more tough decisions about who should be in your Starting lineup in Week 14:

Taysom Hill (QB – NO):  So far, Taysom Hill has been pretty good as the starting QB for the New Orleans Saints, scoring just under 23.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in his three starts. His passing hasn’t been off the charts with just 543 passing yards as a starter (181 per game). However, much to the annoyance of Alvin Kamara’s Dynasty Owner, he’s made up for it by averaging 59.3 rushing yards per game and scoring 4 rushing TDs. In Week 14, the Saints get to play the Eagles, who have given up 17 rushing TDs this year (third most in the NFL) and a rushing TD in nine games. It’s highly likely that the Saints have a rushing TD this week and that the ball stays in Hill’s hands for that TD. Lamar Jackson had his best rushing game of the year back in Week 6 against the Eagles with 9 rushes for 108 yards and a rushing TD. Hill could duplicate the 34.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points that Jackson scored that week, making him someone you want in your Starting lineup.

Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA): Cam Akers would have been perfect in this spot as he was the #57 ranked RB in Dynasty Owner before last night’s Rams-Patriots game, but slated to be the lead RB. Akers didn’t disappoint the Dynasty Owners who started him as he got them 23.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. The next best choice is tough, but the nod goes to Myles Gaskin. With the return of Tua Tagovailoa, the return of Gaskin to the Miami lineup may have been overshadowed a little, but his return was important for the Dolphins who have been hit with the injury bug at RB. Gaskin came in last week and returned to form with 13.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points – right on his season long average of 13.8 points per game. Since he’s missed four games, he’s only the overall #33 RB in Dynasty Owner and since his Dynasty Owners didn’t draft him (ADP 258.8) with the intent of starting him in the playoffs, he fits here. He seems like a good play for your Starting lineup in the playoffs because he’s been very consistent – no real highs (season high of 20.1), but no lows either (season low of 9.2). If you forgot to get him in your Starting lineup last week, there’s plenty of time to make the decision to get him in it this week.

Michael Gallup (WR – DAL): Out of the five Dallas Cowboys’ starting skill position players (RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Amari Cooper, WR CeeDee Lamb, WR Michael Gallup and TE Dalton Schultz), Gallup is the only one not to have experienced a drop in production after the injury to starting QB Dak Prescott. Gallup has averaged 7.3 targets per game without Dak after averaging 5.6 targets per game with him. He averaged 11.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the five games that Dak started, but has gone up slightly to 12.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the seven games without him. Last week against the Ravens, Andy Dalton targeted him 11 times (more than either Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb) and he scored 21.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. As the #44 WR in Dynasty Owner on the season, Gallup is just outside of being a Starter in your Dynasty Owner lineup, but put him in there this week against Cincinnati.

Noah Fant (TE – DEN): After the first two weeks of the season, the idea of Fant not being in the Top 12 TEs seemed ridiculous as he had 19.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 1 versus Tennessee and 17.7 points in Week 2 versus Pittsburgh. Since then, he’s gone without a TD catch and now sits as the #14 TE overall. It hasn’t been all terrible as he has still averaged 7.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game since Week 3. In the 10 games he’s played this season with a real QB, he’s averaging 6.5 targets per game and now gets to face the Carolina defense that is in the bottom five in targets, receptions and receiving yards allowed to TEs. Fant is unlikely to produce a huge number of Dynasty Owner fantasy points, but should get enough to be worth having in your Starting lineup.

These Guys Should Be on the Bench (or Practice Squad) This Week

Next up is reviewing the Week 13 Bench or Practice Squad recommendations to see how those did.

  • QB: Josh Allen – 40.8 (Bad recommendation)
  • RB: Kenyan Drake – 13.8 (Just Ok recommendation)
  • WR: Terry McLaurin – 3.4 (Good recommendation)
  • TE: Hunter Henry – 1.5 (Good recommendation)

Two weeks in a row with two Good recommendations. That’s better than most of the season and better than the Starting lineup recommendations. My Bench recommendations have been the best for WRs and TEs and these are the positions that were spot on this week. Terry McLaurin and Hunter Henry had less than 5.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points combined. Kenyan Drake was trending towards a Good recommendation, but had a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to give him double-digit points and a Just Ok mark. Finally, the choice for QB was terrible for the fourth week in a row. Time to make our first set of playoff Starting lineup recommendations and hope that we keep on track with the WRs and TEs and finally give a good Bench recommendation at QB in Week 14:

Kyler Murray (QB – ARI):  Murray injured his shoulder against Seattle back in Week 11 and has only scored an average of 18.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in that game and the two games since the injury. More distressing for his Dynasty Owners is that he’s only had 15 rushing attempts for 61 rushing yards (4.1 yards per carry) in those three games after starting the season averaging 6.9 yards per carry (87 rushing attempts for 604 rushing yards). The Giants defense has only allowed opposing QBs to run for a total of 107 yards all season. Admittedly, outside of Russell Wilson, they haven’t faced any really good running QBs, but Murray hasn’t run much since his injury. The teams are heading in opposite directions with the Giants on a four game winning streak and the Cardinals having lost three in a row. Each of the Giants’ opponents during their winning streak have scored 20 points or less per game. An injured Murray against a defense playing well seems like a bad combination so keep Murray on your Bench this week.

Giovani Bernard (RB – DAL): Bernard and the Bengals face off against the Dallas Cowboys defense that has allowed the second most rushing yards to RBs and had a 100 yard rusher against them in each of the past three weeks. However, Bernard isn’t a traditional between the tackles RB because he gets two-thirds of his fantasy points in the passing game. In that aspect of the game, Dallas is the best, allowing the fewest receptions and receiving yards by RBs (42 receptions for only 240 receiving yards). To top it off, Bernard has faded since the Bengals bye week, scoring just an average of 7.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game after having 24.2 and 22.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the first two games replacing Joe Mixon as the lead RB for the Bengals. He’s just the #28 ranked RB in Dynasty Owner, but would slot as a RB2 or FLEX after factoring in injures. Don’t do it. Leave Bernard on your Bench this week.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT): There are a lot of pass catchers in the Pittsburgh offense. You’ve got JuJu, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Eric Ebron and even James Washington showed up last week with 2 receptions for 80 yards and a receiving TD. Smith-Schuster, Claypool and Johnson are all similarly ranked in Dynasty Owner at #22, #23 and #25 among WRs. However, Smith-Schuster is the one has been relying on volume more than the others recently as he’s scored 32.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the past three weeks, but needed 19 receptions to do it. His longest reception on the season is just 31 yards and he’s only averaging 8.2 yards per reception for the season and 4.4 yards per reception over the past three weeks. If the volume stops, then so does Smith-Schuster’s fantasy value. That’s concerning so Bench him this week.

Robert Tonyan (TE – GB): Tonyan is in his second stretch of three consecutive games with a TD reception this season and has moved up to be the #4 TE in Dynasty Owner on the season. Back in Week 2, Detroit held Tonyan to 2 receptions for 25 yards, but did allow him to score his first TD of the season. What Detroit didn’t do was stop Aaron Jones and the Green Bay running game as the Packers ran for 259 yards in total with Jones getting 168 yards all by himself. If that happens again and Aaron Rodgers only throws the ball 30 times like he did in Week 2, there won’t be a lot of passes for Tonyan to catch since it seems like every Rodgers’ pass attempt goes to Davante Adams. That doesn’t leave a lot of chances for Tonyan. In fact, he’s only been targeted 36 times in the 9 games he’s played with Adams (4 targets per game). That’s not a lot of opportunities to produce for Tonyan, so be wary about putting him in your Starting lineup and consider having him on your Bench.

Dynasty Owner Matchup of the Week –

Girthquake vs. CLE Piggy Pauls

It’s the Dynasty Owner playoffs and time to start looking at some must-win games for everyone involved. The first playoff Dynasty Owner Matchup of the Week features a team that everyone who listens to the Tuesday podcast should be familiar with, it’s our podcast host and the Voice of Dynasty Owner Seth Kerechanin, Ph.D. and his team CLE Piggy Pauls facing off for the second week in a row against Girthquake. Seth’s road to the playoffs has been rocky, but he made it and his reward is a rematch with the team he defeated just last week by a score of 134.9 to 119.8. The CLE Piggy Pauls are the #4 seed, but were actually outscored over the course of the Dynasty Owner regular season to the tune of nearly 200 points by Girthquake.

Based on the exclusive Dynasty Owner scoring projections for each team’s current lineup, it’s bad news for Girthquake as he’s projected to lose by a score of 120.3-119.7. Let’s check out each team’s Starters and see who’s in there now and if there are any tough decisions that might need to be made over the weekend.

Advantage Girthquake! Girthquake has a 5 point lead from their Starting lineup over Seth’s team. Seth is rolling with his late season pickup QB Taysom Hill this week and has a solid lineup. Girthquake isn’t dominating at any single position, but still has the overall advantage.

The Bench situation is pretty similar, but Girthquake has Christian McCaffrey on his Bench right now, while Seth has Denzel Mims on his Bench. The news that McCaffrey and Mims are out this week should make both of them pull someone off their Practice Squad. That’s not a tough decision, but choosing the right player from the Practice Squad could be. Both teams need to make that decision so they don’t end up costing themselves a playoff victory by taking a zero when they could have someone in there scoring points.

I’m sure this will be a major discussion topic on the Tuesday afternoon live podcast so tune in to find out who wins and advances in the playoffs.

Conclusion

The decisions were tough this week and if you make the correct ones (or had a bye), you get another chance to make those decisions again next week. This week was exceptionally difficult, and things will likely get more difficult as the stakes get higher and higher.

We will feature another playoff Matchup next week so if you want your team to be featured, then just tweet me (@SteveVT33). You might see your Dynasty Owner playoff team highlighted as the Matchup of the Week. Because of the frozen rosters, there’s no need for the usual weekly free agent article from Jay Poundsee (@jaypoundsnfl), but Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) put together an article on League Winners and Playoff Predictions that everyone should go check out. Follow all of us as well as Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter.

There will also be the weekly Tuesday Live podcast at 3 PM (Eastern) / Noon (Pacific) with Seth and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer and the weekly podcast series with myself and Tim on Wednesday at 1 PM (Eastern) / 10 AM (Pacific). Both will be streaming live on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube. Tune in to learn more about Dynasty Owner, see how our predictions did and help you set your weekly lineup. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. Dynasty Owner has 571 subscribers on YouTube now and thank you all for watching and listening. All of this great content is available to help you win your weekly matchup, your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!

Follow us on Twitter: @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