Free Agent Market Values: High Salary TEs

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

The start of the 2022 NFL season is getting closer. We are in the first stage of the off-season, the two-week period in which NFL teams can place franchise or transition tags on their own free agents. No tags have been placed yet as teams generally wait until closer to the end of the two-week period (March 8th) to make those decisions.

However, there have been several players who have restructured their contracts in the past few days by converting 2022 base salary and roster bonuses into signing bonuses. This helps their NFL teams free up cap space for the 2022 season. The two position players who have done so in the past few days are Packers RB Aaron Jones and Saints WR Michael Thomas. However, while those restructurings will help their NFL teams with the anticipated $208.2 million NFL salary cap, they won’t help Dynasty Owners with the anticipated $145.74 million Dynasty Owner salary cap (70% of the NFL cap). Salaries in Dynasty Owner are based on the average annual value of the entire contract, so their Dynasty Owner salaries won’t change.

The one signing of note came on Friday when the Carolina Panthers re-signed TE Ian Thomas to a 3-year deal worth $16.5 million ($5.5 million for Dynasty Owner salary purposes). Other than that, it’s been mostly fringe players signing reserve/futures contracts since the Super Bowl.

Any 2022 signed contracts will be listed under Yearly Salary Breakdown or posted in the Contract section on the player’s profile if it’s like Thomas’ and hasn’t taken effect yet. Dynasty Owners can start planning for the remaining free agent contracts using the anticipated free agent market values from Spotrac (https://www.spotrac.com/).

Now that the discussion of free agent QBs, RBs and WRs and their market values is finished, our attention turns to TEs. This article will review the five high salary TEs, those players who have market values of $8 million or more per season. That’s fewer high salary TEs than WRs and also a lower salary figure for the TEs than the high salary WRs who had market values of over $10 million per season. However, before we can get to the players, let’s review how players score Dynasty Owner fantasy points.

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

For the purposes of this article, all statistics and 2021 position ranks were current as of the morning of February 28th. Spotrac has market values available for select players at https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/.

TEs Who Are Going to Get Paid Over $10 Million Per Year

There are three free agent TEs with market values of $10 million or more per year. If they end up getting contracts with an annual value of over $10 million, it will increase the number of TEs in that salary range to 10. In 2021, only five TEs had average salaries in that range (George Kittle – $15 million, Travis Kelce – $14.3 million, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith – $12.5 million, and Austin Hooper – $10.5 million). They will be joined by Dallas Goedert and Mark Andrews who signed new contracts during the 2021 season with average annual salaries of $14.25 million and $14 million respectively.

The free agent TE with the highest market value out of the three is Dalton Schultz.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE325$728,090$12,680,722+ $11,952,632

Schultz’s market value is projected at 4 years and $50,722,888, or $12,680,722 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Schultz on their roster currently should expect to have to pay nearly $12 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Keep him

Schultz was able to thrive in each of the past two seasons in Dallas under different circumstances. In 2020, he was the TE10 and had five games with 10.0 or more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in total from three different QBs (Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci). The only Dallas QB who he didn’t team up with for over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in a game was Garrett Gilbert. He had 8.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the one game Gilbert started against Pittsburgh. In 2021 with Dak Prescott at the helm for 16 out of the Cowboys’ 17 regular season games, Schultz had 11 games with over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Overall, he was the TE3 with 208.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (12.3 points per game). All of this production comes in a Dallas offense featuring several other high-profile offensive weapons.

If Schultz stays in Dallas, he should be fine. He’s proven that he can produce in this offense. If he leaves, the team that signs him should have plans to make him an even higher profile part of their offense. Paying $12.5 million for a TE is a lot, but good tight ends are hard to find. Especially 25-year old ones who have finished in the top 10 in TE scoring in each of the past two seasons.

Mike Gesicki is next and has a market value of just over $11 million per year.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE826$1,652,981$11,003,330+ $9,350,349

Gesicki’s market value is projected at 4 years and $44,013,320, or $11,003,330 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Gesicki on their roster currently should expect to have to pay just over $9.35 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Trade him

This may seem contradictory after I just wrote that Dynasty Owners should keep Dalton Schultz because “…good tight ends are hard to find. Especially 25-year old ones who have finished in the top 10 in TE scoring in each of the past two seasons.” That definition fits Gesicki as well, except that he’s a year older (26). It can’t be just the extra year that makes me change my recommendation, especially since Gesicki’s salary is projected to be less than Schultz’s at $11 million per season. So, why the trade recommendation for Gesicki?

It comes down to steady production that is lacking from Gesicki and not likely to get better with Tua Tagovailoa as his QB in Miami. Gesicki had only five games in each of the 2020 and 2021 seasons with over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. That’s my baseline for being a Top 12 TE in Dynasty Owner on a weekly basis. He also had ten games in those two seasons with between 8.0 and 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, making him a very low-end Starter or a high-end Bench TE option. If my Dynasty Owner team is spending $11 million in salary on one of the few TEs making that much, I want him in my Starting lineup every single week. I feel like Schultz is that type of player, but Gesicki is not.

Can new Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel turn Gesicki into the next George Kittle? Maybe, but I don’t think Gesicki is as good as either Kittle ($15 million) or Schultz. However, there’s a Dynasty Owner in your league who probably does and is willing to pay Gesicki’s contract. Find out who that is and trade him to that team.

The final TE with a market value of over $10 million per season is Robert Tonyan.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE5127$3,384,000$10,803,009+ $7,419,909

Tonyan’s market value is projected at 4 years and $43,212,036, or $10,803,009 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Tonyan on their roster currently should expect to have to pay just under $7.42 million more in salary to keep him on their team. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Trade him during the free drop period and if you can’t get a deal, then drop him for free

Tonyan was the TE51 in 2021, but he got injured in Week 8 and missed the rest of the season. However, he only had 50.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in eight games, an average of just 6.3 points per game. At that pace, he would have been the TE23 if he played all 17 games with 107.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and slotted in between David Njoku and Evan Engram.

In 2020, he was the TE5 in Dynasty Owner with 176.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 16 games played (11.0 points per game). He was just 0.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points away from being the TE3. He caught 11 TD passes in 2020, tied with Travis Kelce for the most by a TE. His standing was improved greatly by the TDs. If you remove five of those TDs, he’s the TE12 and not looking as great.

Trade Tonyan regardless of whether the Packers figure out how to pay him that salary and keep Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. Even if that happens, Rodgers is still going to throw to Adams all of the time and Tonyan will be at best their third option behind Adams and Aaron Jones/A.J. Dillon. Anywhere else, he’s likely to not be worth that salary (think Austin Hooper in Cleveland). Hype up the TE5 finish in 2020 when making your trade offers and see what you can get.

TEs Who Are Going to Get Around $8 Million per Year

Right now, there are two TEs slated to make around $8 million in salary for the 2022 Dynasty Owner season. The first is Kyle Pitts who is on his rookie contract as the #4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft for $8,227,624 per season. The second is Logan Thomas who signed an extension with the Washington Commanders for three years and $24.065 million ($8,021,667 per season) during the season. Three other TEs made that much in 2021 (Zach Ertz at $8.5 million plus Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham at $8 million) and all three are free agents. However, only one out of the three is expected to return and play with a contract in that range for 2022. It’s Rob Gronkowski.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE732$8,000,000$8,387,909+ $387,909

Gronkowski’s market value is projected at 1 year and $8,387,909 for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Gronk on their roster currently should expect to have to find only $387,909 more to keep him on their team. Don’t be surprised if he signs again for the same $8 million figure as last year. What should his Dynasty Owners do?

Current Recommendation: Hold if you plan on being a contender. Trade if you’re rebuilding.

Last year, Gronk missed five games, but still scored 171.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 12 games for an average of 14.3 points per game. He managed eight games with over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points despite only scoring a TD in three games (he scored 2 TDs in all three of those games). He improved to be the TE7 in 2021 after finishing as the TE11 in 2020. Even at 32 years of age, he’s Gronk and one of the best TEs to ever play in the NFL.

However, with four Super Bowl rings, one retirement in the books and plenty of injuries, it seems pretty likely that this is Gronk’s final NFL season. If you think you have a Dynasty Owner team that can contend for a League Championship in 2022, he’s worth holding. If your team is rebuilding, he’s pretty worthless if he retires next year so you need to trade him. Either way, it’s going to be his first season without Tom Brady as his QB, so you’re hoping that he lands in a good playing spot with a quality QB to maximize his value.

C.J. Uzomah is the other TE with a market value in the $8 million range.

Position RankAge2021 SalaryMarket ValueSalary Change
TE1929$6,100,000$8,229,563+ $2,129,563

Uzomah’s market value is projected at 3 years and $24,688,689, or $8,229,563 per year for Dynasty Owner salary purposes. Dynasty Owners with Uzomah on their roster currently should expect to have to find $2.13 million more in salary cap to keep him on their team. What should they do?

Current Recommendation: Drop him for free after trying to trade him, but not having any success

At his current $6.1 million salary, Uzomah is only rostered in 52.7% of Dynasty Owner leagues. He finished the 2021 season as TE19 and has the lowest roster percentage of any Top 20 TE. A raise of over $2 million per season isn’t going to help his roster percentage or the ability for his Dynasty Owners to find a trade partner. Uzomah had career highs in receptions (49), receiving yards (493) and TDs (5) in 2021. Did he finally find his groove in his seventh NFL season or benefit from being on a team with a great young QB in Joe Burrow and multiple weapons drawing attention away from him?

Bet on the latter and Uzomah not being able to duplicate his breakdown season, either in Cincinnati or with another NFL team. Try and shop him now and even after he signs a new contract, but don’t expect to get much for him. Rejected trade offers will be the norm, so you’ll likely just have to drop him or add him as a throw-in to make salaries work in a larger deal.

Conclusion

Those are the five free agent TEs who are expected to sign contracts of more than $8 million per season in free agency. The free agent TE market is more robust than the QB or RB market, but not quite as plentiful as the WRs. There are five more TEs with market values of under $8 million to discuss next week. After that, it’s time to start writing about other topics as NFL free agency starts and the 2022 Dynasty Owner off-season heats up.

The weekly Dynasty Owner livestream with myself and Tim Peffer is back at its regular day and time – Wednesday at 4 PM (Eastern). Set the timer on YouTube so you don’t miss it live, or make sure to watch it afterwards. Either way, don’t forget to smash the Like button. You can also listen to it afterwards wherever you get your podcasts.

Please read all of the off-season articles from our Dynasty Owner team as well. On Mondays, I write about players, salaries and contracts to help new and returning Dynasty Owners navigate how to play our unique game. Jay Pounds is writing about everything on rebuilding your Dynasty Owner roster on Tuesday. Nate Christian is back for 2022 and will do prospect previews every Thursday. Finally, Friday is Free Agent Friday right now as Matt Morrison – The Jerk breaks down the free agents on every NFL team by division.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Ow

Tight End Top 10 Rankings

Broncos & Raiders’ Breakdown

By Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Today I will be presenting a double dose of team breakdowns.  As I mentioned in my previous article, I had skipped a team breakdown two weeks ago.  In an attempt to make up for that, I will be breaking down a tight end from both the Broncos and Raiders.  We have a lot to talk about today so I’m going to move right into the meat of the article.

Tight End Rankings

I approached the tight end position the same way I approached every other position.  I’m ranking based on Dynasty Owner value and not based on a single year’s projections.  There is little doubt in my mind that this Top 10 list will not reflect the Top 10 point scorers for tight ends at the end of the 2021 season.  Rather, this hopes to give you a good understanding on where to value certain players, especially the high-salary ones.  For example, Travis Kelce would be my number one tight end for 2021 if we were not playing dynasty or had a salary cap to worry about.  With that being said, here are my early tight end rankings…

RankPlayer2020 DO Finish2021 DO Proj FinishYears RemainingSalary
TE1Darren Waller223$7,450,000
TE2Travis Kelce115$14,312,500
TE3George Kittle1935$15,000,000
TE4Kyle PittsN/A54$8,227,623
TE5Mark Andrews641$863,290
TE6T.J. Hockenson362$4,955,306
TE7Noah Fant882$3,147,680
TE8Irv Smith Jr.22122$1,449,609
TE9Mike Gesicki7111$1,652,981
TE10Dallas Goedert2071$1,406,068

Darren Waller is my Dynasty Owner TE1.  As I stated above, I don’t project him to produce the most fantasy points this year, but long term, he is a better value than Kelce or Kittle.  It’s also interesting to note that he is cheaper to own than Kyle Pitts (my TE4).  This is a strange occurrence.  Rarely does an established player make less than a rookie.  This happened in part because Pitts was drafted as the 4th overall pick in the 2021 Draft.  (By the way, this makes him the highest drafted tight end in the history of the NFL).  The other part is the fact that Waller played in only 22 games over his first three NFL seasons.  Waller was a late bloomer and therefore, received a smaller contract than he would qualify for now.  The point is that Waller is in the “sweet spot” of contracts.  Here is what I wrote about contract “sweet spots” back in January.

“Woods is in what I would call “the second contract sweet spot.”  He is old enough to have made it past his first contract, but he was not so productive in that first contract that he demanded top tier wide receiver money.  And much like Devante Parker, he broke out late.”  This was true of Robert Woods and Devante Parker.  It is also true of Darren Waller.  Waller should be making Kittle and Kelce money (right around $15,000,000 per year), but unfortunately for him, the cycle of his contracts worked out so that a top tier contract will have to wait another three years.  (There is always a chance the Raiders sign Waller to a contract extension, but I wouldn’t expect that to happen any time soon).  Suffice to say, if I’m drafting in a DO start up draft, I’m taking Waller as my first tight end if he is available.

Travis Kelce finished 2020 as the TE1, and I expect the same result in 2021.  While I think it is possible that Kittle or Waller takes over as number one, I would put my money on Kelce.  What’s interesting about tight ends is the idea that they have a very defined tier.  The top three tight ends are in a tier above the rest.  Some may argue that Kelce is in a tier of his own.  I don’t think I agree with that (especially when it comes to Dynasty Owner), but Waller, Kelce and Kittle are clearly the top three.  I think that my TE4 has a chance to break into that top tier, but I’m unable to make that claim so early in the offseason.

George Kittle had several speed bumps in his 2020 season.  He suffered a knee injury in Week 1 which caused him to miss two games.  He then missed six games from Week 9 through Week 15 with a broken bone in his foot.  It’s tough to analyze someone’s season when they miss half of it, but I will try anyway.  Kittle finished 2020 with 15.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.  There were only two tight ends that produced more…I’m sure you can guess they were Waller and Kelce.  Yes, I know that fantasy points per game may still be a little skewed due to the fact that Kittle was most likely playing through injury and pain during those games.  While that is probably true, I’m sure that’s also true for the majority of NFL players.  If healthy, Kittle is a lock for Top 5 fantasy points for a tight end.  If Waller and Kelce are drafted, I would feel comfortable taking Kittle as the third tight end off the board.

Kyle Pitts ranks as my fourth tight end.  I was reluctant to put him at the four spot.  The reluctance comes not from his lack of talent, but at the fact that tight ends typically have the hardest and longest time developing compared to other position players.  As I mentioned above, Pitts is the highest drafted tight end in NFL history, and he will have a fantasy productive career, but I’m a little worried that it may be slow going in the first year.  There are two reasons I placed him at TE4.  First, the tight end landscape is shallow and mediocre (fantasy wise) after the Top 3.  A player with as much potential as Pitts almost requires me to place him in the Top 5.  Second, he will retain his rookie contract for the next four years.  While a little over 8.2 million dollar per year isn’t the cheapest tight end salary, it does look better when you think about the fact that everyone else below him in my rankings will be receiving a contract increase within the next two years.

I really wanted to rank Mark Andrews higher than I did.  I would have ranked him higher had he not come into 2021 with a single year left on his contract.  He is on, by far, the cheapest contract of any Top 10 tight end, but he will look to make at least 10 times that number next year.  I am also discouraged about the low volume he received last year.  He finished 2020 with 58 receptions while missing two games.  It’s sad to say, but I predict every other tight end on this list will have more than 58 receptions.  I would be happy to roster and/or draft Andrews, but just know he is not going to be a 100 reception player.  Chances are he won’t even reach 80 receptions.

T.J. Hockenson finished as the TE3 in DO last year.  That may be tough to believe.  I had to double check that stat for myself, but it is indeed true.  It is worth noting that TE3 (177.3) had over 100 points less than TE2 (282.6) though.  (Remember what I said about the large tier gap between tight ends.)

The second part of my team breakdown today is discussing Noah Fant.  Fant ranks at TE7 for me and a lot of it has to do with his salary.  Would I trust Fant to be my starting tight end this year?  Probably not.  Hopefully if you draft Fant, you draft him as your second tight end.  If you don’t, know that you are still getting a value of a tight end.  Saving on him early may allow you to take a chance on a more risky, expensive tight end later on.  Rob Gronkowski, Tyler Higbee and Hunter Henry all come to mind when I think of late tight ends.  None of these three will lead tight ends or jump anywhere close to the top tier, but they should provide enough production throughout 2021 so that you can piece together an above average tight end squad.  I love Fant as a value, but temper expectations.  Know that you are going to have an uphill battle if you intend on winning your league with him as your number one producer for the position.  Fant should finish as a Top 10 tight end in terms of 2021 fantasy points, but as I showed earlier, the difference between TE2 and TE10 is further than you would like.

Rounding out my rankings are Irv Smith Jr., Mike Gesicki and Dallas Goedert (in that order).  All three of them could be interchanged as you please.  I’m not going to argue with you if you like Goedert over Smith Jr.  I will note that Irv Smith Jr. has one more year on his rookie contract than Gesicki and Goedert which is what makes him more appealing to me.  He is also three years younger.  I’m very interested to see how Smith Jr. produces this year as the number one tight end on his team.  We saw bursts of excellence last year as he had two games with two touchdowns.  Yes, touchdowns are fluky, but the willingness to trust him with the ball in the Red Zone is certainly encouraging.

Before we wrap up, I wanted to drop three names of tight ends that I was unable to rank in my Top 10, but deserve to be mentioned.  These are players that I would not be surprised to see in my Top 10 starting in the 2022 off-season.  All three of them are talented enough to be Top 10 tight ends, but for one reason or another, have not had the opportunity.  The three players are…

  • Blake Jarwin
  • Adam Trautman
  • Cole Kmet

That finishes up my tight end rankings, and it also concludes my rankings theme that I’ve been doing over the past month.  Next month I’m going to get back into more traditional team/player breakdowns.  I’ve had fun with the blind comparisons and rankings, but as we approach the “fourth quarter” of my offseason articles, we will start to settle down and focus more on individual players.  It’s hard to believe we’ve gone through 24 teams already.  Message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know what you agree with or disagree with as far as my rankings go.  I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Thank you all.  Take care and be safe. TheJerk

League Winners and Playoff Predictions

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

This is what we’ve all been waiting for.  The time has finally come.  We are officially in the Dynasty Owner Playoffs.  Some of you that are reading this have been eliminated from the playoffs and the Chase for the Ring, but there are also many teams who have grinded their way to a shot at the title.  If you have been eliminated, this article may still help you in the short term and here is why…

Don’t forget that the winner and runner up of the Loser’s Bracket receive a prize.  If you are victorious from the loser’s side of the bracket, you will receive a bonus draft pick that will be at the end of the 1st round of the 2021 rookie draft (Pick #13), and one Amnesty Provision.  The runner up in the Loser’s Bracket receives one Amnesty Provision.  The point is that if you have been eliminated from the overall top prize, don’t give up on the season until you have been eliminated from all prizes.

With the Dynasty Owner postseason starting, that means all trades and Free Agent Auction transactions have halted.  You are no longer able to improve your team through outside sources.  Everything that you do to change your team for the rest of the season will have to be internal.  For this reason, I will no longer be talking about trade targets, free agent finds, or under/over owned players.  All of these topics still matter for Dynasty Owner, but they won’t affect how you play for the remainder of the season.  Think about it this way…

We know that Dynasty Owner is the most realistic fantasy platform ever created.  We marry players to their real-life salaries and through that marriage, we can find value that otherwise doesn’t exist on other fantasy sites.  However, once our rosters are locked and we start the postseason, the salaries tend to matter less.  Now that we are entrenched in the playoffs, the best team is going to win their league.  The team with the best players that score the most points is going to win leagues.  It’s actually a very refreshing feeling (at least for me).  We spend all season trying to figure out value and which player’s salary can be moved or traded, but in the playoffs, all we have to worry about is setting our best lineup regardless of the salaries.  So today I present to you…

TheJerk’s League Winners

The League Winners are an assortment of five players that, in my opinion, are going to win Dynasty Owner’s their championship.  As I stated before, your roster is locked so there is no use in looking to trade for any of these players, but if you happen to find them on your roster, they should be started for the duration of your postseason run.

Justin Herbert (4-Years – $6,644,688/YR)

Herbert makes this list as somewhat of a “chalky” pick.  He is currently ranked QB9 on the season in Dynasty Owner, and he is on pace to smash Baker Mayfield’s rookie record of 27 touchdown passes.  He will also, no doubt, make a run for Andrew Luck’s rookie record of 4,374 passing yards.  (Herbert is on pace for 31 touchdown passes and 4,298 passing yards.)  Whether Justin ultimately takes down these records is still to be seen, but, as I stated, he has been just as impressive for Dynasty Owner managers who took a shot on him in the draft.  It’s not a secret that you are starting Herbert every week despite the matchup, but it is nice to know that he (statistically) has the easiest next three weeks of any quarterback in the league.  Let me break it down…

Herbert finishes his fantasy season by playing Atlanta (Week 14), Las Vegas (Week 15) and Denver (Week 16).  All three of these teams have been generous to opposing game managers throughout the season as they all rank bottom third in the NFL for fantasy points given up to quarterbacks.  Denver and Atlanta have been playing better defense as of late, but they are still able to be exploited by this rising young quarterback.  In addition, the game scripts for all three of these games should be in favor of Herbert.  Aside from last week, the Chargers have been very good at keeping games close.  In ten of their twelve games played, they have won or been within one score.  They do not get blown out very often.  In addition, the Falcons and Raiders have won or lost within one score in nine out out of their twelve games.  The Broncos have either won or lost within one score in eight out of their twelve games.  The point is…these next three games for the Chargers should be competitive, and they should be conducive to fantasy production by Herbert.

This is how confident I am in Herbert for your Championship run.  If you told me that I had to pick a single quarterback to start for the next three weeks, (I couldn’t switch him out with a bench quarterback) these are the only players I’d pick over Herbert…

  • Mahomes
  • Wilson
  • Rodgers

That’s the list.

There are quarterbacks I like over Herbert for individual matchups (D. Watson vs Cincinnati in Week 16 for example), but only three that I would take for the remainder of the season.  Despite his last two weeks being two of the worst three weeks of his season, he needs to be started in almost all playoff matchups.  The bold prediction for Herbert is…

Justin Herbert’s Final Three Games:

  • 967 passing yards – 2 INT – 8 passing touchdowns
  • 60 rushing yards – 1 rushing touchdown

Derrick Henry (1-Year – $10,278,000)

Okay, yes, I know that this is an absolute no brainer, but hear me out.  Derrick Henry is going to win a lot of people fantasy championships this year, but he’s also going to do a lot more than that.  Henry is going to be the #1 running back over the next three weeks by a good amount.  Here is where King Henry sits after Week 13…

He is the RB3 on the season for Dynasty Owner.  He trails only Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara.  Henry has 286 touches for 1,419 total yards with 12 touchdowns.  He has four multi score games this season, and I expect that number to rise.  First, I’ll give you Henry’s next three matchups, and then I’ll drop a bold prediction about how he’s going to finish the season.  Henry has the “easiest” next three weeks of any player in the NFL.  When I say easiest, I don’t presume to say that what Henry does is easy.  What I’m saying is that the next three teams he’s playing are all in the bottom fourth of fantasy points given up to opposing running backs.  Henry is about to play Jacksonville (Week 14), Detroit (Week 15), and Green Bay (Week 16).  That is as good as it gets.  For reference, here is what each team has given up on the ground over the past three weeks.

  • Jacksonville: 153 rushing yards/game
  • Detroit: 111 rushing yards/game
  • Green Bay:  126 rushing yards/game

There will be many opportunities for long runs for Henry during these playoffs.  The Titans rank fourth in the NFL in rushing percentage per play at 48.39%.  Henry is an absolute smash play for the rest of the season, and here is my bold prediction on his stat line.

Derrick Henry’s Final Three Games:

  • 68 rushes – 399 total yards – 7 touchdowns

That prediction puts him at 27.3 fantasy points per game, and I think it’s very possible.  Start Henry with confidence and pray that you don’t face the owner that has him.

David Montgomery (4-Years – $1,003,845/YR)

Montgomery has had a high floor, low ceiling season up until Week 12 and 13.  Through his first nine games he averaged 12.2 fantasy points per game.  In those nine games, his lowest performance was 4.2 points, and his highest was 21.7.  Every other game he played in he was somewhere between 7.4 and 18.9 fantasy points.  He has been very reliable.  Well, following Chicago’s Week 11 bye, Montgomery has come out and put up back-to-back 27-point performances.  He is peaking at the perfect time if you own him, and his schedule remains easy throughout Week 17.  Montgomery does not have a “Derrick Henry Cake Walk Schedule”, but he is facing a couple of the most favorable matchups possible.  He is slated to face Houston (Week 14), Minnesota (Week 15), and Jacksonville (Week 16).  I’m not going to go through the whole breakdown like I did with Henry, but none of these three matchups should scare Montgomery owners.  Houston and Jacksonville should be extremely comfortable for Montgomery owners.  Minnesota has been better lately, but they are still a bottom half rush defense.  Montgomery’s production isn’t what worries me.  What I’m concerned about is the chance that Chicago gets down early in a least a couple of these games and abandons the rush.  Even with that possibility, Montgomery has pulled in nine receptions over the past two games.  He should without a doubt be started in all leagues.  Bold predictions for Montgomery…

David Montgomery’s Final Three Games:

  • 52 rushes – 285 total yards – 4 touchdowns

Tee Higgins (4-Years – $2,171,696/YR)

Finally, we have made it to a little deeper of a pick.  Higgins is probably not the first player you would think of when considering a league winning wide receiver.  And let me be clear, I’m not claiming that Higgins is going to jump to Hill or Adams’ type production.  He is on a much less powerful offense than those two players, and he has lost his starting quarterback (Joe Burrow) for the season.  The knee injury that Burrow sustained in Week 12 was very unfortunate to not only the Bengals as a whole, but also to Higgins.  The type of quarterback play that Burrow was displaying is unable to be matched by Brandon Allen, but that’s not to say his receivers can’t be valuable.

Tee Higgins is the WR 28 on the season.  He is averaging just under five receptions and 66 yards per game.  He has also added five touchdowns.  This is a modest stat line for sure, but he has averaged 13.9 fantasy points per game.  This is a very respectable total for a rookie and one that is, frankly, getting overlooked.  Higgins now enters the last three games of the fantasy season with three very tempting matchups.  The Bengals will face Dallas (Week 14), Pittsburgh (Week 15) and Houston (Week 16).  Not only are each of these matchups above average for wide receiver fantasy points (maybe excluding the Steelers), but the game scripts for each game should be equally as good.  My prediction is that Cincinnati finds themselves trailing in all three games, and they may be trailing by quite a bit.  The Bengals are going to have to pass, and they are going to do it a lot.  While I don’t see Higgins as a better receiver than Tyler Boyd (yet), Higgins has kept pace with Boyd’s receptions over the past two weeks.  If you are looking for a rock bottom floor of 10 fantasy points and a ceiling of 25 fantasy points, Higgins is as reliable as you’ll find.  Bold prediction time…

Tee Higgins’ Final Three Games:

  • 17 receptions – 220 total yards – 2 touchdowns

Mike Gesicki (4-Years – $1,652,981/YR)

And now for the final player in our League Winners.  Here is a tight end that I touted all throughout the off season.  I targeted him in every league that I drafted in (including Dynasty Owner), and I was actually able to acquire him in my BETA league draft.  Mike Gesicki is one of the top three most athletic tight ends in the league, but he hasn’t received the volume that fantasy managers would have liked to see.  I don’t think it’s too harsh to say that Gesicki has had a disappointing season so far.  39 receptions through Week 13 is not what Owners expected.  Regardless, he has shown the ability to have league winning games.  In Week 2, Gesicki put up 8-130-1.  In Week 13, he put up 9-88-1.  As I said, Gesicki has shown that he is able to produce dominant fantasy weeks when given the right opportunity, and I think he will be relied on more throughout the next three games.  While none of Gesicki’s remaining matches is particularly favorable for tight end production, I do believe he will have a positive game script in those games.  Miami plays Kansas City (Week 14), New England (Week 15) and Las Vegas (Week 16).  Miami is expected to be losing or, at the very least, keep the game close in all three.  I look for Gesicki to lead the Dolphins in receptions and receiving yards over the fantasy playoffs.  Bold Prediction:

Mike Gesicki’s Final Three Games:

  • 19 receptions – 202 receiving yards – 2 touchdowns

If Mike is able to put up this stat line, he would be averaging 17 fantasy points per game, and would be well above the average tight end production for the season.

Final Thoughts

I want to finish by saying good luck to everyone this week.  Remember, no one has been eliminated from a prize yet.  You may want to give up because you are no longer competing for the Championship, but there is still work to be done.  An extra pick or an Amnesty Provision will go a long way towards rebuilding for next year.  As always, take care and be safe.

-TheJerk

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Roster Roundup – Round Five: AFC East

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Coronavirus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we will look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we will examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

Buffalo Bills

HC: Sean McDermott

OC: Brian Daboll

QB: Josh Allen, Matt Barkley, Davis Webb, Jake Fromm

RB: Devin Singletary, TJ Yeldon, Zack Moss, Taiwan Jones, Christian Wade, Antonio Williams, Patrick Demarco, Reggie Gilliam

WR: Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, Robert Foster, Andre Roberts, Isaiah Hodgins, Nick Easley

TE:Dawson Knox, Tyler Kroft, Lee Smith, Tommy Sweeney, Jason Croom, Nate Becker

Sean McDermott returns for his fourth season at the helm after leading the team to the playoffs in two of his first three years. There is talent on both sides of the ball, especially on the defense. OC Brian Daboll has generally called a well-balanced game with a definite emphasis on the run. Josh Allen returns under center with more optimism this year than his last two years. He now welcomes more weapons and a better offensive line. Allen is a unique talent utilizing both his cannon of an arm with a steady diet of his capable legs. In his 28 career games played, he has thrown for 30 TD’s to 21 INT’s. He’s not going to throw for a ton of yards, but he will make up for it on the ground. He has amassed 17 rushing scores and at least 510 yards in both of his seasons played. In 2019 Allen had 22 Red Zone rush attempts resulting in 9 TD’s including 5 TD’s within the 5-yard line. Like his popular comparison, that is truly Newton-esque. Allen makes for a fine QB1 or a great QB2 at a very affordable price tag of $5.3 million. Matt Barkley is a career back-up and presently has the no.2 job while the future Matt Barkley is Jake Fromm and he should beat out Davis Webb for the 3rd QB spot.

The RB position returns Devin Singletary and TJ Yeldon from last season’s middling run game. Frank Gore is gone, and his 173 attempts are now up for grabs but are expected to go to pre-draft darling Zack Moss. Singletary ($974,500) showed some promise in his rookie campaign but was often stifled behind a run blocking unit that graded out in the middle of the pack. Not only was he handicapped by a so-so offensive line, inside the 20 the snaps went to Gore and Allen. Gore and Singletary scored just 4 TD’s between them to Allen’s 9. Moss ($1.15 million) figures to come in to add some juice to the position after the departure of Gore. Moss was the all-time leading rusher and scorer at Utah and profiles as a solid runner with power and good hands. Singletary should lead the backfield in touches with Moss right behind him.

The Wide Receiver group got an upgrade this off-season with a big trade for former Viking Stefon Diggs. Diggs ($14.4 million) immediately figures to slot in as the #1 receiver and will be a fine complement to John Brown ($9 million) and Cole Beasley ($7.25 million). Diggs is a dynamic route runner that always seemed like he just needed the chains to come off. He will be hard pressed to find a ton of volume in this offense, but he should dominate the targets. Due to landing spot alone, he figures to post mid to low end WR2 numbers, but he has the makings of a top 12 receiver if this offense was to drastically change. Brown is a burner with fantastic ball tracking ability but is sure to take a hit in almost all categories with Diggs in town. Brown led the team in targets, receptions, yards and tied Beasley for 1st in scoring with 6 TD’s. Capable of lining up all over the field, Diggs arrival might just free Brown up from the opposing team’s top defenders allowing him to do what he does best…make plays in the open field. Beasley was a particularly good addition last year for Allen’s growth and his QB bail-out-ability provided a fantastic security blanket for the young Allen. He was second on the team in targets, receptions, and yards and should continue to occupy the slot much like he did in 2019. As Diggs enters his prime (age 27), Beasley (31) and Brown (30) will most likely be on the downward trajectory of Buffalo’s plans. The Bill’s selected both Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins in the 2020 draft to begin framing out their future at the position. Davis should settle into the WR4 role on the team, passing the forgotten speedster Robert Foster.

Dawson Knox was a rookie in 2019 and did not have the advantage to sit and learn behind veteran TE’s like the majority of rookie TE’s get to. The former 3rd rounder is highly athletic but is in a very crowded target situation with all those receivers and Singletary competing for grabs. Knox drew 51 targets for 28 catches, 388 yards and 2 touchdowns last year and that might be the range he stays in for 2020. Veteran Tyler Kroft was added to the mix but won’t be on any fantasy radar barring several injuries.

Miami Dolphins

HC: Brian Flores

OC: Chan Gailey

QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Rosen

RB: Jordan Howard, Matt Breida, Kalen Ballage, Myles Gaskin, Patrick Laird, Chandler Cox

WR: DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Gary Jennings, Isaiah Ford, Jakeem Grant, Mack Hollins, Matt Cole, Kirk Merritt

TE: Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Adam Shaheen, Chris Myarick

The Dolphins were in the media dubbed “Tank for Tua” mode early in the season before the scrappy overachievers made the mistake of starting the poster boy for gritty- Ryan Fitzpatrick. HC Brian Flores obviously did not like the way the offense was heading (Fitzpatrick was their leading rusher) so he went and sprung the 68-year-old Chan Gailey from Shady Acres retirement home to shake things up. The Fins still wound up getting Tua and he will reportedly compete early for the starting gig even after being just a year removed from a horrible hip dislocation and ankle injury. Tua’s will to win and his insane accuracy will make it hard for the coaching staff to keep him off the field, pandemic or not. His mobility will be in question coming off hip and ankle injuries, but he is such a competitor, he will find a way to adjust his play. It will be fun to see who wins the starting job between these QB’s not named Josh Rosen.

The aforementioned run game was severely laughable in 2019 and can only get better. New additions Jordan Howard and Matt Brieda bring a bit of low-level thunder and lightning to the mix. Neither will win you a championship but offer good plug and play options at affordable salaries (Howard $4.88 million and Brieda at $3.26 million). Howard will be the “starter” but Brieda offers more dynamic upside through the air and ground. Both are upgrades but are far from ideal to rely on other than depth for your team.

DeVante Parker finally had the breakout season that everyone was waiting for in 2019. Ranking an NFL fifth in yards (1,202) and fourth (9) in touchdowns last year, Parker finally lived up to the previous expectations of being a team’s number one receiver. He has above average separation skills with high end body control but is not a burner. Parker wasn’t seeing the lion’s share of the targets until after rookie Preston Williams went down with a torn ACL in week 9. Williams was a pre-draft villain but a preseason hero and had ample success in the first half of the season posting a 32/428/3 line. This was done on 60 targets with many of them coming from Josh Rosen. Williams is a great bench stash at just $588,000 and is expected to be on track to start week 1. As of now the rest of the depth chart is up for grabs. Keep an eye on super athlete UDFA Kirk Merritt if he makes the team. Mike Gesicki figures to have a nice role in the passing game as the big slot and should command relative usage to last year. Entering his third year, he hopes to continue to improve on his 51/570/5 on 89 targets line. He has no competition from tight ends and is the favorite to take over in 3 WR sets now that Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson have chosen to opt out for 2020. Gesicki carries a nice price tag of just $1.6 million this year and next and should make for a fine low end TE1 or high end TE2.

New England Patriots

HC: Bill Belichick

OC: Josh McDaniels

QB: Cam Newton, Jarret Stidham, Brian Hoyer, Brian Lewerke

RB: Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, Lamar Miller, JJ Taylor

WR: Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu, Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Matthew Slater, Quincy Adeboyejo, Gunner Olszewski, Jeff Thomas, Devin Ross, Will Hastings

TE: Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene, Ryan Izzo, Rashod Berry, Jakob Johnson, Jake Burt

Brady is gone, an NFL high 8 players have decided to opt out due to COVID concerns, the enigmatic Cam Newton comes to town, but Bill Belichick is still in charge. Forget the narrative of can Brady win without Belichick and vice versa. That was so 2020 spring. It’s now into training camp and Mr. Bill has his hands absolutely full. Jarret Stidham was to be the heir apparent after Brady left for free agency. The organization threw a bunch of praise and confidence behind the young signal caller until they were able to get a read on Newton’s health. Now it appears that Newton is the next in line, not Stidham. Newton has been incredible when he is fully healthy. His legs may actually have been more of an asset than his arm at times. Not short on arm strength but at times waning in accuracy, nobody would ever accuse Newton of having Manning-like accuracy (Peyton, not Eli). At a mere $1.75 million, it’s a worthwhile “risk” to roster Newton and hope that he is fully healthy and grasps McDaniel’s offense quickly.

Sony Michel has landed on the PUP and is a serious candidate to not begin the season on the active roster. He has buyer beware written all over him with his lengthy injury history and uncertain usage in 2020. Carrying the ball 247 times with a meager 3.7 YPC and just 2.56 yards after contact, Michel’s injuries slowed him considerably and the fact that he is not at all a receiving threat (19 catches in 2 years) you would be best to look away this year. White on the other hand, has been dynamic. Entering his 7th season after being selected in the 4th round by NE, White is an ideal player to utilize as a first up off the bench RB for your Dynasty Owner squad. At $4 million, he is at a reasonable price for expected production while averaging 13.2 fantasy points the past two years which is ideal for a mid-round fantasy contributor. Rex Burkhead (1 yr./$3 million) is a better real-life football player and will siphon touches from fantasy relevant players such as Damian Harris. Harris is a name to watch to ascend the depth chart especially with Michel’s recovery from surgery. The 2019 3rd rounder from Alabama is in a great position to contribute as the early down back and at a $907,00 price tag, he could be a valuable addition to your team. Late edition Lamar Miller is an indication that Michel is possibly not as far along in his rehab that most believed. Coming off an ACL tear from a year ago, Miller has the three down skill set to once again muddy the waters of a Patriots backfield depth chart.

Julian Edelman is the accomplished veteran of the wide receiver group, but he comes with a big ole’ caution tag. He will be 34 years old and recovering from shoulder surgery going into this season. He has had fantastic fantasy years on his resume, but the 2020 season just might not be one of them. His production absolutely fell off a cliff at the end of last season and will be entering training camp for the first time without Tom Brady since 2009. He was on an incredible pace last year and did see 154 targets, but he took a beating as the only reliable receiver for Brady. At $7.75 million and with his career coming to a close, your draft capital would be wisely spent elsewhere. N’Keal Harry ($2.5 million) hopes to become the true #1 receiver for NE and his 1st round pedigree should be put to the challenge. Harry is a big bodied (6’2”/228lbs) receiver that was targeted heavily in the red zone in his 5 starts last year and projects to fulfill the same role in 2020 due to the lack of competition at the position. His upside is tremendous, and the opportunity is there, if he can take a step forward in his sophomore campaign, he could be a steal in this year’s drafts. Mohamed Sanu is another veteran presence that should start outside opposite Harry with Edelman in the slot. New England traded a 2nd round pick last year to get Brady another weapon in the passing game but it never quite panned out for Sanu. He battled injuries and was cast out to the perimeter after seeing the slot for most of his career. He too is recovering from surgery (ankle) and hopes his time spent playing catch this offseason with Newton will pay dividends this season.

Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd are two names to monitor and both have shown flashes in pre-season play. Meyers was a part time player in 2019 pulling in 26 receptions for 359 scoreless yards. He figures to return to his role as the 4th or 5th receiver if the top 3 are ready to go. The Tight End position is as murky as ever with the probable top two tight ends being rookies Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene now that Matt LaCosse has opted out. Asiasi is the probable starting traditional tight end where Keene will serve in the H-Back role. You won’t be breaking the bank with either of the 3rd round selections at $1.1 million a year and it could be a good time to get in while their stock is low.

New York Jets

HC: Adam Gase

OC: Dowell Loggains

QB: Sam Darnold, Joe Flacco, David Fales, James Morgan, Mike White

RB: Le’Veon Bell, Frank Gore, Lamical Perine, Kenneth Dixon, Josh Adams, Trevon Wesco

WR: Breshard Perriman, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Braxton Berrios, Josh Malone, Vyncint Smith, Jeff Smith, Jehu Chesson, Lawrence Cager, George Campbell

TE: Chris Herndon IV, Ryan Griffin, Daniel Brown, Ross Travis

Sam Darnold enters the pivotal year three for a QB this season. The third year is often the time teams will plan to draft a QB’s replacement before year four or to commit to the QB for a contract extension. Held to 13 games last year due to illness, Darnold improved on nearly every category from his rookie year where he also played 13 games. He did not have a stellar 2019. He averaged one interception and 2.5 sacks per game while throwing 19 TD’s. Darnold has not had the best supporting cast in his two years with the Jets so you really can’t blame him entirely but his draft pedigree (2018 3rd overall) should warrant a more stable outcome. His O-Line is completely different, and he has a new wide receiver in Breshard Perriman to work with after losing Robby Anderson to free agency. His $7.5 million salary is digestible but hopefully he would not be needed to win you any weeks. Joe Flacco was brought in to replace Luke Falk after last year’s stretch of embarrassment when Falk filled in for Darnold when he had Mono.

Adam Gase was not particularly good at hiding his displeasure for the signing of Le’Veon Bell last offseason. This year, Gase has talked him up saying “He’s been working extremely hard and looks good.” Thanks coach, we appreciate the news flash. Gase’s history shows that he prefers a committee backfield which is apparent going back to his Denver, Chicago, and Miami days as the OC and then HC. This backfield may be a bit rough to put a committee together though with Frank Gore, Lamichael Perine and possibly Kenneth Dixon. Bell should once again see most snaps and he possesses the three down talent that is coveted in fantasy football. At a hefty $13 million price tag, he carries the salary of a RB1, but you would be much more comfortable with him as your RB2. Gore may have been brought in for veteran leadership or a specific role, but he should not receive volume work at this point of his career if anything was to happen to Bell. Rookie Lamichael Perine is worth a stash due to his three down ability as well as two fading running backs in front of him on the depth chart. At just $1 million, those are the types of players that you can hold onto and hopefully they pop while at that salary.

Gase likes rolling out three receivers more than most play callers in the NFL. The problem is his starters in these 3WR sets are some of the weakest in the NFL. Crowder is the most talented and was a favorite of Darnolds while operating mainly out of the slot. He is a good route runner and helps his QB by always working back to the ball and finding soft spots in coverage. Perriman showed that he could operate as a WR1 when he filled in for Mike Evans and Chris Godwin missed time last year for the Bucs. But his small sample size as a starter is eclipsed by his disappointing years with Cleveland and Baltimore after being selected 26th overall in 2015. Only time will tell if he will be asked to shoulder the load of a WR1 or is he to be a deep threat compliment opposite Rookie Denzel Mims. Mims is a deep threat himself as well as being an accomplished contested catch receiver. His senior bowl practices turned enough heads to get him on team’s boards, but it was his explosive combine that led him to being drafted in the second round. At $1.35 million, he is one of the rookie receivers that could garner you an early return.

Chris Herndon returns after a forgetful sophomore campaign marred by a suspension and injuries. He figures to be a key piece of this offense with the ability to challenge for top two or three in targets for the Jets. He was a breakout candidate last year after posting 39/205/4 as a rookie in 2018. Now fully healed, he looks to bounce back as a post-hype fantasy player that is a solid TE2 for your team at just $793,000.  Veteran Ryan Griffin filled in for Herndon last year and nobody was brought in to compete for the job making Herndon an intriguing player to watch as he has been flying under the radar in drafts this summer.

That is the AFC East! We hope you enjoyed the read. Check back soon! We will continue with the NFC East next week.

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner