Week 7 Preview – Key Matchups

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

Week 7 started on Thursday with a key matchup that might help determine who wins the NFC East division this year. Of course, both teams had one win coming into the game because nobody in the NFC East is any good so every time a NFC East team can win a game, it’s a huge step towards winning the division. At the end of the week, the two night games are both key matchups between likely playoff bound teams. On Sunday night, undefeated 5-0 Seattle takes on 4-2 Arizona, while on Monday night, the surprising 5-1 Bears play against the 4-2 Rams. Both of those games will help determine who might win the NFC West and earn the only bye in the conference playoffs. Remember, seven teams from each conference make the playoffs this year, so only the top team per conference gets a bye.

In Dynasty Owner, there are key matchups all over. There are ones between teams in the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring (Quaranteed for Greatness vs. Oh God Dalvins Cookin) and others between a team in the Chase who is facing a team with the same record (Hyenas vs. The Replacements). In the Experts League, Tim and I face off to see who has bragging rights on the podcast for the rest of the year. And finally, we have a Matchup of the Week between two teams at the top of their league.

Your matchup may not be featured here, but it could be just as important to getting you into the Dynasty Owner playoffs. To help you in your quest to win your League, every week of the regular season and playoffs, there will be a set of players presented at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) who you should have as a Starter in your Dynasty Owner lineup as well as one player per position who should be on your Bench or Practice Squad. We won’t recommend a kicker to Start or Bench though and these won’t be the obvious choices for Starters, like go ahead and start Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce (as if you weren’t going to do that already if you have them). Instead, these will be guys to Start who might be ranked outside the top players at their position, not be highly owned or who were drafted to be a backup. For the Bench or Practice Squad choices, we’ll find typical Starters who shouldn’t be in your Starting lineup for the week based on matchups or past performance against a team. We’ll also review my Week 6 recommendations and see how those players fared.

Finally, we will look at one Dynasty Owner game, our Match-up of the Week. For the Match-up of the Week, we will look at the overall projected score and then each team’s Starters and Bench to see how their current lineups are projected to produce. If you want your Dynasty Owner team to be featured as the Match-up of the Week in the future, just tweet me (@SteveVT33).

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 October 23rd.

These Guys Should be Starters This Week

First, let’s take a look at how my Week 6 Starter recommendations fared (Good, Bad or Just Ok):

  • QB: Kyle Allen – 20.8 (Just Ok recommendation)
  • RB: J.K. Dobbins – 4.9 (Bad recommendation)
  • WR: Christian Kirk – 22.6 (Good recommendation)
  • TE: Cameron Brate – 1.3 (Bad recommendation)

Two consecutive weeks with two Bad recommendations, one Just Ok recommendation and one Good recommendation. The Bad recommendations were once again at RB and TE as neither J.K. Dobbins nor Cameron Brate got enough touches to be productive. Rob Gronkowski hogged all of the TE targets in Tampa this week, leaving Brate to just one catch for three yards. And Gus Edwards got the rushing TD and had more carries than Dobbins (14 to 9), but fewer yards (26 to 28 for Dobbins). Kyle Allen was the #12 QB this week, better than lots of bigger names, and so that pick was Just Ok. Finally, Christian Kirk made the most of his two targets with two catches for 86 yards and two TDs to finish as the #5 WR for the week. That’s a good recommendation! It’s time to duplicate that Good recommendation at WR and get more at the other positions in Week 7.

Joe Burrow (QB – CIN): The Browns are one of the few teams who we can look at how Joe Burrow did against them in trying to find a weekly Starter who might be on your Dynasty Owner Bench right now. Back in Week 2, Burrow put up 32.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points against Cleveland. The Bengals trailed by two scores for most of the second half, so Burrow ended up throwing 61 passes. He’s probably not going to throw that many times this week and the Cleveland defense has been much improved recently, allowing only 31.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points combined in the last three games. However, Burrow has thrown the ball a league high 246 times, an average of 41 times per game, and stands to throw it a lot on Sunday afternoon at home. With that kind of volume, it’s surprising that Burrow is the #19 QB in Dynasty Owner. Bet on Burrow airing it out again against the Browns and putting up enough points to be worth having in your Starting lineup.

Justin Jackson (RB – LAC): Dynasty Owners may have forgotten that Chargers RB Justin Jackson had himself a pretty good game back in Week 5 versus New Orleans with 14.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (71 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 23 receiving yards). He has outperformed fellow Chargers RB Joshua Kelley the past two weeks and stands to do so again this week against Jacksonville. The Jaguars allow an average of 25.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to RBs per game and the fifth most rushing yards in the NFL per game so far this season. Jackson is ranked as the #67 RB for the year right now, but was a RB2 in Week 5. At only $570,000, he’s a great value and should be good for at least that this week. Go ahead and put him in your Starting lineup if he’s on your roster.

Tim Patrick (WR – DEN): When Courtland Sutton got injured, it was an open question of who the top receiver would be in Denver. After five games, it’s been Tim Patrick and Noah Fant with Patrick having more receptions (20 to 19) and yards (310 to 219) and tied with Fant in TDs (2 each). Most importantly, Patrick has more Dynasty Owner fantasy points (63 to 54.9). Of course, Fant missed last week’s game while Patrick played and had 14.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to go ahead. Even though he’s the top WR in Denver, he’s still ranked as the #37 WR in Dynasty Owner so he’s not a definite Starter. He should start this week against Kansas City after three consecutive weeks of double digit Dynasty Owner fantasy points (14.3 points in Week 3 versus Tampa Bay; 23.3 points in Week 4 versus the New York Jets; and 14.1 points in Week 6 versus New England). Last year, Sutton averaged 13.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in two games versus Kansas City without scoring a TD. Patrick should equal or exceed that this week and be in your Starting lineup.

Darrell Daniels (TE – ARI): Daniels is the top TE in Arizona, but has only scored 11.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points all year and ranks as the #58 TE in Dynasty Owner. He has played a majority of the snaps for the Cardinals in each of the past four games and this week gets to the face the worst defense in the NFL against TEs in the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have let five opposing TEs have their best game against them over the first six games of the season (Greg Olsen – 12.4 points in Week 1; Dalton Schultz – 20.8 points in Week 2; Jimmy Graham – 23.0 points in Week 3; Robert Tonyan – 33.8 points in Week 4; Irv Smith Jr. – 11.5 points in Week 6). Daniels’ best week so far this year is 5.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 5 versus the Jets, so it’s not a high bar to clear for him to have his best week of 2020 this week. Daniels is only owned in 1% of Dynasty Owner leagues even though his salary is only $690,000. If you need a TE for Week 7, go out and get Daniels in the Free Agent Auction and put him in your Starting lineup. It worked last week with Anthony Firkser and can work again this week.

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

Next up is reviewing the Week 6 Bench or Practice Squad recommendations to see how those did.

  • QB: Tom Brady – 20.3 (Just Ok recommendation)
  • RB: Aaron Jones – 13.1 (Bad recommendation)
  • WR: Cooper Kupp – 4.2 (Good recommendation)
  • TE: Noah Fant – DNP

An average week with one Good, one Just Ok and one Bad recommendation. Noah Fant didn’t play so we won’t count him. The G.O.A.T. Tom Brady finished a little bit behind our Starter recommendation Kyle Allen with 20.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to finish just outside the Top 12 QBs at #14. That counts as Just Ok. Aaron Jones didn’t have a great week, but his 13.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points was a Top 20 RB performance which means he should have been a Starter and thus, recommending him for the Bench was Bad. For the second week in a row, the WR Bench recommendation was Good as Cooper Kupp managed just 4.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. So far this year, it’s been at least one Good Bench recommendation per week, but only two of them one time. It’s time for a second week with two (or more) Good Bench recommendations in Week 7.

Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN): Tannehill has played very well this season with only one poor game (14.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 3 versus Minnesota). The Pittsburgh defense is allowing a mere 19.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game to the opposition’s starting QB through their first five games. They haven’t exactly faced the best QBs in the NFL in that time (Daniel Jones, Jeff Driskel, Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz and Baker Mayfield), but have not allowed more than 24.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points to any of them. They had their bye in Week 4 unexpectedly because of a COVID-19 outbreak involving their Week 7 opponent, the Tennessee Titans. Will the Pittsburgh defense be fired up to play Tennessee finally and keep their unbeaten record or will Tannehill show he’s a better QB than all the QBs who have played Pittsburgh already and expose the Pittsburgh defense as not that good? Bet on the former and Bench Tannehill this week.

James Robinson (RB – JAX): While he’s still the overall #8 RB in Dynasty Owner right now, James Robinson has been pretty average the past three weeks, scoring 12.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per week in that time. In the first three games of the season, he averaged 21.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. In the two weeks he hasn’t scored a TD, he’s only produced 10.0 and 9.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. This week, he faces a Chargers defense that has yet to allow a rushing TD to a RB this season and averages only allowing 16.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per week despite facing off against Top 12 RBs every week (Joe Mixon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Mike Davis, Ronald Jones and Alvin Kamara). Even though Dynasty Owners probably will start him anyway since RBs are so hard to find, Robinson probably isn’t worth putting in your Starting lineup this week.

CeeDee Lamb (WR – DAL): This would be Michael Gallup, but he’s ranked as the #39 WR in Dynasty Owner right now, so he shouldn’t be a Starter. Both CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are in the Top 10, but that was largely built off the work they did with Dak Prescott at QB. Both had good performances last week against Arizona (Cooper had 20.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and Lamb had 12.4 points). However, most of Lamb’s points (11.0) came in garbage time late in the third quarter and the fourth quarter when the Cowboys trailed by more than 20 points and did almost nothing but throw the ball. It’ll be tougher for Dalton and the Cowboys to throw against the Football Team as the team ranks second in passing yards allowed with 207 yards per game and ninth in sacks with 16 total. This choice could easily have been Amari Cooper as he has tended to not perform well in road games as a Cowboy, but that’s been less true this year – maybe because of the lack of crowds. Therefore, Lamb is the pick so put him on the Bench this week.

Hayden Hurst (TE – ATL):  Surprisingly, Hayden Hurst is the #9 ranked TE in Dynasty Owner right now. He was drafted on average as the #9 TE with an ADP of 93.8. He has scored 3 TDs, but is only averaging 3.2 receptions and 37.8 receiving yards per game. That’s what happens when you have Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage on your team, you become the fourth option. Now, he faces a Lions defense that has allowed only 10 receptions to TEs this season. Something tells me that Matt Ryan is going to look more towards Julio, Ridley and Gage this week against the Lions or maybe run the ball with Todd Gurley and Brian Hill against a Lions defense that gives up 123.8 yards per game to RBs on the ground. Hopefully your Dynasty Owner team has a better option so you can Bench Hurst.

Dynasty Owner Matchup of the Week – Prince of Helaire vs. Beaumont Riders

It’s time for our seventh Dynasty Owner Matchup of the Week for the 2020 season. This week, we have a battle for first place in League #37205 between the 5-1 Prince of Helaire vs. the 4-2 Beaumont Riders. Not only are they in first and second place but they just pulled off a trade with the Prince of Helaire getting Kareem Hunt in return for sending Jonathan Taylor to the Beaumont Riders. Thanks to Prince of Helaire owner Stuart Spackman (@stuspackman) for sending me the details of the trade and this matchup. The projections are close so let’s dive in.

Based on the exclusive Dynasty Owner scoring projections for each team’s current lineup, the Beaumont Riders should pull the mild upset and move into a tie at 5-2 with the Prince of Helaire. Beaumont Riders are projected to win by only 4.1 points (137.0 to 132.9). Stu must be confident in his team and that the projections are wrong if he’s sending the details of this game, so let’s look each team’s current Starting lineup:

The Starting lineups projected scores (not pictured here) are super close with Beaumont Riders holding a slight advantage (123.5 to 122.4). Both teams have outstanding WRs with Beaumont Riders spending a significant portion of their salary cap ($51 million) on three players, their Starters at WR and FLEX (Davante Adams, Mike Evans and Amari Cooper). Of course, those three guys are projected to score 58.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and if they do, it’ll be money well spent.

Let’s look at both Benches next to check out where Beaumont Riders are gaining their advantage.

The Bench QB competition between Nick Foles and Andy Dalton is projected to be a blowout for Dalton (23.6 to 15.2), which provides quite a bit of the overall Beaumont Riders advantage from Bench scoring (67.6 to 52.3). Not sure if that will turn out to happen, but we’ll find out on Tuesday.

Bravo to both owners for being able to field full Starting lineups and Benches this week. Good drafting and team management there, not surprising since both teams are fighting for the top spot and a first round bye in their league.

Conclusion

Is the Matchup of the Week going to be as close as the Giants-Eagles game? More importantly, what about your weekly Dynasty Owner matchup? Hopefully, yours is a battle for first place or at least an important one on your road to the Playoffs. For those of you in the Chase for the Ring, every matchup is important as you need victories in order to win your League, so you have a chance to win the Ring.

Please read the preview article each and every week. Maybe your team will be featured in a future Match-Up of the Week. If you want your team featured, then just tweet me (@SteveVT33) and check out next week’s preview to see if your matchup was chosen. Remember that there will be a recap article coming out every Tuesday and a preview article posted every Friday throughout the Dynasty Owner season. We will also have articles from Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21), Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) and Jay Poundsee (@jaypoundsnfl) during the season as well.

There will also be a weekly Tuesday Live YouTube podcast at 3 PM (Eastern) / Noon (Pacific). The podcast series with myself and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer will continue with weekly live videos on Wednesdays and Fridays on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube. You can watch them live or catch a replay anytime and find older videos and tutorials there as well. 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 539 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

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.

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