Blind QB and WR Comparisons

Author: Matt “The Jerk” Morrison

Hey y’all. It’s The Jerk here with my inaugural article. Today I’ll discuss some blind player comparisons and how the biased impressions we may have of players should not interfere with the statistics. In the same way, the total points a player has at the end of the season should not interfere with how the player arrived at that number.  (i.e. not all 1000-yard seasons are created equal) Let’s jump into some comps…

Wide Receivers

COMP 1

Who would you rather have between these two WRs?

Player A (Alpha):

  • 30 years old
  • 2019 stats
  • 14.3 points/game for the games played (222.8 for 16 game season)
  • 60 rec / 836 yards / 12 TD (for 16 game season)
  • He missed 8 games in 2019

Player B (Bravo):

  • 27 years old
  • 2019 stats
  • 14.9 points/game (238.4 total)
  • 83 rec / 1,174 yards / 6 TD
  • He played all 16 games in 2019

Alpha and Bravo’s salaries are within 1 million dollars of each other and the length of their contact is the same.

So, skim through that and (based on this limited data) decide which receiver you would prefer to draft…Have your answer?  I’m assuming it’s Bravo. That’s not to say that if you picked Alpha you are wrong, but people (in dynasty especially) tend to draft the younger, less injury prone player. This isn’t even mentioning the fact that Bravo outscored Alpha’s assumed point total if he’d been healthy.  Some may not be able to pass on the possibility of 12 touchdowns and that’s understandable. If you infer from Alpha’s numbers, you can see that he had 6 TD’s in 8 games in 2019. One hell of an 8-game stretch. While his reception total may not be the type of volume you’d like, it appears his efficiency made up for it. 

In the end, I would take Bravo.

  • Younger
  • Better average 16 game season
  • Seemingly healthier (at least last season)

Let me give out a little more info and see if it changes your mind…

Coming into 2020, Alpha is the clear WR1 on his team.  I would argue that his target share will be top 10 among all receivers this year.  His team is a run first offence, which explains some of the lack of volume he received for the half of the year he played.  In 2019, his team chose to pass on only 51.7% of plays.  That ranked 29th.

There’s not much to say about Bravo coming into 2020.  His offensive unit from 2019 has stayed intact (QB, WRs, RBs).  There is debate among analysts on whether he is the WR1 on the team or WR2.  To me, it doesn’t much matter.  Both are very talented receivers and either one could end 2020 with the better stats.  I’d call it a WR1A and WR1B situation with Bravo (fittingly) being the WR1B.  Bravo’s team passed on 59.6% of their plays.  That ranked 18th.

Has your opinion changed?  Maybe the fact that Alpha is primed for a high-volume season has swayed you to pick him?  Maybe the fact that you found out Bravo is going to be fighting for targets against a likely superior receiver has caused you to fade him?  Not me…I’m sticking with Bravo for now.  Let’s throw out some quick stats and see if you can guess the players, if you haven’t already. 

  • If you go back to 2018, Alpha was WR7 overall while Bravo was WR18.
  • For 2020, Alpha is projected to outscore Bravo by 21 points in DO.
  • Alpha makes 16,050,000 for 5 years, while Bravo makes 15,100,00 also for 5 years.
  • Alpha’s Offensive Coordinator in 2019 became Bravo’s Head Coach for 2020.

There’s a lot to unpack here. First, Alpha was far superior in 2018. WR7 doesn’t happen by accident or without elite receiver talent. Alpha is projected to be the more productive WR once again in 2020. As I stated in the opening, their contracts are very similar, but now we know the actual cap hit one or both of these guys will make.  They are each hovering around 15% of the cap. Also, remember what I said earlier about Alpha’s team having the 29th lowest passing percentage among NFL teams in 2019? Well, the Offensive Coordinator of Alphas team is now the head coach of Bravo’s team and it would stand to reason he will bring that low passing volume philosophy with him.

My point of this comp wasn’t necessarily to get you to contradict yourself although that may have happened. I was attempting to show how nuanced certain statistics can be and how no one stat or a group of stats can tell the entire picture. I’m sure many of you know who these two players are by now, but consider this idea…

These players are much closer together than they originally appeared based on the raw stats. Of course, everyone will still favor one player over the other, but it’s hard to argue a large gap in where they should be drafted or even where they will end up at the end of the season. It’s hard to argue until we get the final reveal…

Each player’s Dynasty Owner ADP at the time of writing…

  • Adam Thielen (Alpha):            56.3
  • Jarvis Landry (Bravo):            97.3

The gap of 41.0 between Thielen and Landry is, personally, surprising to see. I chalk it up to a couple of facts. First, Thielen’s target share is sure to take off this year barring another injury.  The departure of Diggs to Buffalo opens up 63 receptions and over 1,100 yards. Obviously, I don’t anticipate all of those targets or receptions to go to Thielen especially after drafting an exciting and talented WR in Justin Jefferson, but he will no doubt shoulder more of the passing volume. I would actually counter that point by bringing up Olabisi Johnson. The second year, seventh round draft pick comes into 2020 poised for a breakout. It would not be surprising to see Bisi start the season opposite Thielen and finish with 60 plus receptions. Second, it’s hard for drafters to justify taking a player like Jarvis in one of the first 8 rounds that is once again assumed to play second fiddle to Odell Beckham Jr. As I said earlier, I predict it to be more of a 1A, 1B situation similar to last year, but I can understand the hesitancy when OBJ carries as much upside as he does. Third, (and I think the more overarching point of this exercise) Jarvis is just an unsexy pick. He is a steady player who doesn’t “pop off” like other high upside players being drafted around him. He is reliable to sit between the 12-16 fantasy points most weeks with a slim chance of “week winning performances.”

For me, these stats show that Thielen and Landry should be drafted much closer than ADP currently has them. Ironically, the spot I think they should be drafted is much closer to Jarvis’ current ADP than Thielen’s. I have Thielen currently at 90 and Landry at 108.  The reason for that is simply their contracts. I prefer many younger (even rookie) receivers over both of them. I don’t see either one of them as a value where they’re currently being drafted, but I see Landry at 97.3 as much less of a reach than Thielen at 56.3. The second blind comp I have today is a little closer ADP wise, but we’ll get to that later.

COMP 2

Player C (Charlie):

  • 27 years old
  • 2019 stats
  • 16.1 points/game for games played (257.6 for 16 game season)
  • 87 rec / 1,127 yards / 8 TD for 16 game season.
  • He (miraculously) only missed one game last year.

Player D (Delta):

  • 25 years old
  • 2019 stats
  • 13.8 points/game for games played (220.7 for 16 game season)
  • 90 rec / 1,046 yards, 5 TD for 16 game season.
  • He did not miss a game in 2019.

Charlie and Delta’s salaries are within half a million dollars of each other. Admittedly, there isn’t much to go on that distinguishes these two players yet…Charlie had a 22.3 target percentage and a 24.0 reception percentage for his team.  Delta had a 25.0 target percentage and a 25.4 reception percentage for his team.

Charlie had 24 red zone targets and 17 red zone receptions.  24 and 17 is second only to Michael Thomas’ 26 and 20, respectively.  Delta had 12 red zone targets and 7 red zone receptions.  As you can probably guess based on final stats, Charlie converted more red zone receptions into touchdowns than Delta, to the tune of 7 (C) to 3 (D).

Charlie’s offensive unit remains intact from 2019.  His QB is hyper-efficient and finished as QB 3 last year.  Charlie is the WR 1 on his team, but alongside him is a second year WR who was flirting with a 1,000-yard season himself in 2019.  Delta is working with a rookie QB who will be the Week 1 starter and a veteran WR who “should” be healthy this year after missing all of last season with multiple injuries.  (I know this just gave away Player D, but this is important info I had to include) there’s no doubt that Delta will bump down to the WR 2 on the team.

Who would you rather have?

If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m talking about two Tyler’s here.  Lockett (C) and Boyd (D). Tyler Lockett is making $10,250,000 for two years.  Tyler Boyd is making $10,750,000 for the next four years. At the time of this writing, Lockett’s ADP is 79.0 and Boyd’s is 76.4.

I’ll give you my opinion…I want Lockett. I concede that Seattle is stingy when it comes to passing and are a run heavy offence, (In fact, Seattle was 27th last year in passing play percentage) but Russell and Lockett have proven to be the one of the most efficient QB/WR duo in the league. I don’t like to listen to coach talk or listen to narratives, (especially when it comes from the most optimistic Head Coach in the league, Pete Carroll) but I believe Pete when he says, “we want him to have more opportunity to be the factor of the game and control the game.” I don’t expect a full #LetRussCook season is coming, but I do believe Russell will have more passing opportunities this year which, in turn, would give more opportunity to Lockett.  Lockett is obviously well trusted in the red zone and the ten-zone. While touchdowns are notoriously unpredictable, it is refreshing to see that Russell trusts Lockett in the end zone, and I don’t expect that volume to vanish. 

This is not to say that I hate Boyd or wouldn’t draft him.  I do like him and would be happy to take him if he fell to a value.  The problem I see is twofold.  First, Joe Burrow coming in may not be as smooth a transition as most predict.  Obviously, the talent is there, and I’m predicting a successful career for Joe, but with this unprecedented pre-season, I see some growing pains.  Second, the “return” of AJ Green gives me pause.  I get it.  I get it.  As soon as AJ is mentioned people immediately start rolling their eyes and tune out.  AJ has played 35 games in the last four seasons.  That’s less than nine games a season.  So, I understand if you want to make the argument, “AJ will get hurt at some point this season, and when he does, Boyd will be catapulted into a top 15 WR.”  It’s an understandable argument, but I personally don’t like to bet on injury.  I factor injury risk into my rankings like most, but I’m not going to use another player’s injury potential to indirectly affect his teammate’s ranking.  Suffice it to say, I believe AJ will play at least 10 games this season.  If he does, Boyd is being drafted slightly too high, and he definitely shouldn’t be taken over Lockett.  If AJ plays all 16 games healthy (I admit it’s a longshot), then Boyd is being drafted way too high.  I have Tee Higgins and Auden Tate also competing for an impactful amount of targets this year.  Again, Cincinnati doesn’t have the most crowded offence in the league, but it is deceptive how many mouths there are to feed.

Boyd deserves to be drafted, but with his nearly 11-million-dollar salary, the middle of the sixth round is a little too early for my comfort.  In my updated rankings, I have Lockett at WR 30 (81 Overall) and Boyd at WR 36 (93 Overall).  In addition, I would rather take these WR’s that are currently being drafted after Boyd…

  • Keenan Allen: $11,250,00 for 1 year (81.4)
  • Darius Slayton: $688,497 for 3 years (84.1)
  • Dionte Johnson: $1,070,241 for 3 years (88.1)

Slayton and Johnson are obvious picks for me.  The 10-million-dollar cap saving you’re getting with either of these guys far outweighs the increase in points that Boyd will provide.  Allen has a comparable salary, but I see his role being much more defined and unaffected than Boyd’s, even given the probable QB turnover in LA.

Now, let’s jump to some QB comps…

Quarterbacks

COMP 1

In a vacuum, who would you rather draft?

Player A (Alpha):

  • 24 years old
  • 2019 stats
  • 20.7 points/game average (331.2 points for 16 game season)
  • 3,738 yards / 24 TD / 7 INT (for 16 game season)
  • 2020 Projected: 324 points
  • Salary is $677,721 for 3 years

Player B (Bravo):

  • 27 years old
  • 2019 stats
  • 22.6 points/game (361.2 points)
  • 4,039 yards / 27 TD / 7 INT
  • 2020 Projected:  399 points
  • Salary is $32,000,000 for 5 years

Clearly, Bravo is projected to outscore Alpha, and I would agree that is likely to happen this year. The question becomes…is the (projected) 75-point difference enough to justify a more than 31-million-dollar upcharge? I would emphatically say no. 31 million is 27% of your cap. In other words, you would be using 27% of your cap for a 75-point increase.  I know what you’re saying…” But projections aren’t always accurate.” I completely agree.  Let’s say for argument’s sake that we believe Player B will outscore Player A by 120 points.  Would the 31-million-dollar upcharge now be worth it?  Possibly.  Maybe. I don’t think I would pay it, but there are certainly people that would.  At the time of this writing, Gardner Minshew (A) and Carson Wentz (B) are being drafted at 69.5 and 48.8 respectively. On average, Wentz is being drafted 21 spots before Minshew.  Baffling… Obviously, there are many more factors that I’m leaving out involving these two QB’s, but I think I’ve made my point. Young, cheap starting QB’s are few and far between in this game and they should be valued that way. I could make this same argument for Drew Lock, Sam Darnold, and even Dwayne Haskins.  Give me all three of those earlier than Wentz. Please please please, don’t draft Wentz over Minshew. For reference, Steve Van Tassel and I have a consensus ranking of QB 11 for Minshew and QB 18 for Wentz.

COMP 2

Let’s compare a couple hypothetical QB situations next…

Player C (Charlie):

  • 25 years old
  • Previous years stats
  • 30.4 points/game (486.7 points)
  • 4,900 yards / 36 TDs / 10 INT
  • 400 rush yards / 3 rush TDs

Player D (Delta):

  • 31 years old
  • Previous years stats
  • 27.7 points/game (442.4 points)
  • 4,300 yards / 33 TDs / 8 INT
  • 330 rush yards / 3 rush TDs

Who would you rather have? The clear answer is Charlie. He is younger, put up more points last year, and (I didn’t include it) will be projected to score more points this coming year. Would your mind change if Charlie cost (let’s say) 10 million more than Player D?

Maybe? Probably? It makes the decision a lot tougher, no doubt. 

Well this is actually not a hypothetical scenario. This is the decision that Dynasty Owners will be making next year between Patrick Mahomes (C) and Russell Wilson (D) in Dynasty Owner start up drafts. The “previous years stats” are the projected finish for each of them for 2020. Obviously, neither of them will finish with those exact stats, but I think it’s reasonable to believe those are close. 

At any rate, who do you want going into 2021? I, personally, would still take Mahomes and find a way to save the extra 10 million each year, but it’s very close. I could make an argument for Wilson and my main point would be the fact that you are only tied to him for a third of the years you are tied to Mahomes. My point is that next year (after Mahomes is no longer 4.1 million a year to own), he and Wilson should be much closer in ADP, if not back to back. This means that Mahomes’ current ADP of 2.0 is that high, mainly for this year. Let me ask this a different way…

If Mahomes’ contract was 45 million this year, where would you have drafted him? My honest answer is QB 11 or around 75 overall and right before Wilson. This is the reason I am so much lower on Mahomes’ than almost everyone I have talked to.  I understand how important this year is. I understand the “win now” mentality and if you have Mahomes for 4.1 million, you have a great chance to win, but I can’t justify taking a 45 million-dollar QB next year first or second overall.  I like Mahomes. Scratch that. I love Mahomes, but there is no value (Dynasty Owner wise) to take him in the first half of the first round.

I’ll sum it up in this way…Dynasty Owner Tim stated a few weeks ago that there will be a time in this game where Russell Wilson is a value.  I couldn’t agree with him more. That time will start next year when Mahomes gets paid and it will peak in two years when Lamar, Watson and most likely Dak are making more than him. If Russell starts to slide in drafts to a point of value and you’ve been diligent with your cap, don’t be afraid to grab him. You’ll thank yourself in two years.

Thanks everyone for sticking with me. Take care and be safe. Cheers!

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Players to Pick Up with the Extra $2 Million in Salary Cap in 2020

Author: Steven Van Tassell

The announcement about the increase of $2 million in the 2020 Dynasty Owner salary cap is great news for Dynasty Owners. In case you miss it, due to players opting out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19, the Dynasty Owner salary cap for 2020 has been increased by $2 million. All Dynasty Owners can draft up to the $110 million salary cap, but then after the draft, everyone gets $2 million in extra cap room. That’s a second chance for everyone who drafted right up to the limit to pick up additional players. They will have to spend some Dynasty Dollars in the Free Agent Auction, but will at least be able to pick up some additional players to add to their rosters, up to the 30 player limit.

It’s time to head over to the Free Agent Auction page on the Dynasty Owner app or on the desktop and see who’s available. You’re not going to go out and get Aaron Rodgers and his $33.5 million contract with that extra salary cap room, but there are plenty of players who Dynasty Owners can pick up for their team for under $2 million who might help you out this season and maybe even beyond. Some especially savvy Dynasty Owners might even be able to add two or three players with their extra $2 million. We’re not talking about sure-fire starters or even guys who will be on your Dynasty Owner Bench at the beginning of the season. Looking closely at the Free Agent Auction, Dynasty Owners can find players who might be worth stashing on their Practice Squad in the hopes that they work their way into the starting lineup via strong performances on the field, or other players getting injured or contracting COVID-19.

For the purposes of this article, ADP and Dynasty Owner ownership statistics were current as of August 17th. All players recommended have salaries of $2 million or less for 2020 and are currently owned in less than 50% of Dynasty Owner leagues.

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.

Quarterback Handcuffs, Get Your Quarterback Handcuffs Here!

Did you draft a top QB for your Dynasty Owner team, but not his backup? Now might be the time to grab that handcuff if he’s still available in your league. Here’s a list of handcuff QBs to some top draft Dynasty Owner draft picks who likely can be added with the extra $2 million in salary cap room.

  • For everyone who picked from the #1 spot and drafted Lamar Jackson (or even #2 if he slipped to you), now is your opportunity to get RGIII as the handcuff. His $2 million salary will take up all of your extra cap space. This is only good for those of you in the 53% of leagues in which he’s available. Dynasty Owners without Lamar on their team can also go out and grab RGIII, but this is probably most urgent for Dynasty Owners with Lamar on their team. If he goes down to injury or even tests positive for COVID-19 and has to sit a couple of games, having RGIII might be worth the price.
  • If you had a top 5 pick and enough faith in the offense that Kliff Kingsbury is putting together in Arizona, then you might be a Kyler Murray owner. What happens if Murray gets injured or tests positive for COVID-19 and has to sit out a couple of weeks? Do you have a third quarterback on your roster to take Murray’s spot and be on your Bench for a couple of weeks or do you need another QB? Either way, you could always pick up his backup, Brett Hundley, who signed a one-year, $1,047,500 contract back in March to back up Murray for another year. Hundley only played in three games in 2019, but did play 11 games for the Packers back in 2017 and had 1,836 yards passing with 9 passing TDs along with 270 yards rushing and 2 rushing TDs (no Dynasty Owner fantasy points available for 2017). He’s only owned in 2% of Dynasty Owner leagues so he’s definitely widely available and maybe worth a flyer for Murray owners in particular.
  • Who’s going to be the backup to the $45 million Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City? If Andy Reid is to be believed, then it’s Chad Henne who was 2 for 3 passing for 29 yards as the backup in 2018, but is pretty expensive at $1.625 million per year for two years. Hopefully, you’re not in one of the 7% of leagues that he’s owned in or you’re out of luck. Last year’s backup Matt Moore is still there, available in 98% of Dynasty Owner leagues and he’ll cost a little over half of the extra $2 million with his $1.05 million salary. Finally, you can take XFL sensation Jordan Ta’amu who signed a one-year, $680,000 contract with the team back in March. He’s owned in 10% of leagues – most of the Mahomes’ backups. You could grab two of them (Henne and Ta’amu) if you just have $2 million or go hog wild and get all three for $3.335 million in salary cap room and want to protect your top draft pick that badly and have three spare roster spots.

Don’t Skip Running Backs, There Are Some Available

Running back is a difficult position to find Dynasty Owner value during the draft and even harder afterwards. Surprisingly, there are a few players making less than $2 million who Dynasty Owners could pick up and stash on their roster with that extra salary cap room. Of course, none of them are guaranteed starters or guaranteed to play much, but a few of them have the chance to produce.

  • What if I told you there was a 26 year old player available in 61% of Dynasty Owner leagues who scored 118.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points with over 10.0 points in four games last year? Well, there is, and his name is Peyton Barber. Barber is part of the running back mix in Washington along with Adrian Peterson, Bryce Love and Antonio Gibson. Coach Ron Rivera has warned people not to forget about Barber and many Dynasty Owner have heeded those words as his ownership jumped from 17% to 39% after that comment. He’s still available to most Dynasty Owners, unlike the rest of his competition, and only costs $1.5 million per year for the next two years. He might be the starter on Opening Day. Anything is possible in Washington these days.
  • We looked at handcuffs in our last article and one handcuff to a top 10 RB who is barely owned is Dontrell Hilliard of Cleveland. He’s technically backing up both Nick Chubb (ADP 9.5) and Kareem Hunt (ADP 51.1) and has competition for the #3 spot since he just came off the COVID-19 reserve list, but should probably still be owned in more than 2% of Dynasty Owner leagues since he only costs $750,000 in salary cap space. Other players in similar positions, such as Darwin Thompson, Mike Boone, are owned in over 80% of leagues. Even the three potential backups to Joe Mixon in Cincinnati are in the 40-60% ownership range. If Chubb goes down to injury, it’ll likely be Hunt to the rescue, but if both Chubb and Hunt can’t play, it’ll likely be Hilliard’s job with a new Head Coach in Kevin Stefanski who likes to run the ball. Not bad for a spot on your Practice Squad with some of your extra salary cap.
  • Last year, Wayne Gallman had a game with 26.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points versus Washington when Saquon Barkley was out with injury. Now, he might not be the backup for the Giants, but third in line behind Barkley and Dion Lewis. However, Gallman only carries a salary of $704,912 for one year and is only owned in 24% of Dynasty Owner leagues. He might be worth a flyer and spot on your Practice Squad if you spent a first round pick on Barkley.

Who Wants (Maybe) the Next Wes Welker or Julian Edelman?

There is quite the competition to be the #3 WR in Tampa Bay behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Rookie Tyler Johnson is the favorite in the competition among Dynasty Owners since he is owned in 100% of leagues. Scotty Miller is owned in 56%, an increase over late July/early August when his ownership was under 50%.  Both of them cost less than $750,000 in salary for 2020 ($737,355 for Johnson and $661,960 for Miller). However, you have to pay both of them for a couple of more years (3 for Johnson and 2 more for Miller). There’s another option for Dynasty Owners who want to own a guy who might be a favorite Brady target in Justin Watson.

Watson got the opportunity to play in Weeks 14-17 last year and averaged 10.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in those four games. Not bad for only $690,435 in salary for the next two years. Dynasty Owners can grab Miller along with some other players at that low salary and hope he turns out to be the #3 guy in Tampa since he’s only rostered in 15% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Watson is making an impression with Coach Bruce Arians’ according to a recent article – https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/football/news/buccaneers-justin-watson-catches-coachs-eye/ – so if he catches Brady’s eye as well, he could be someone to stash on your Practice Squad.

With the word from training camp that 49ers WR Jalen Hurd may have torn an ACL, other WRs could get a look at some additional work in the 49ers offense. There are plenty of them to choose from ranging from new signees J.J. Nelson and Tavon Austin to Trent Taylor returning from an injury that cost him the 2019 season to one player who has experience with the team, is still only 24 years old, and has one year left on a contract that will pay him only $1.6 million in 2020. That WR is Dante Pettis who had only 37.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points just a year after putting up 122.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in his rookie season in 2018. Pettis is currently only owned in 14% of Dynasty Owner leagues, which will probably increase overnight after this article is finished with Hurd owners rushing to the Free Agent Auction to pick up Pettis. If no Dynasty Owner in your league went out and grabbed Pettis yet, stop reading, go out and bid on him.

The Tight End Position Is Tight on Talent to Pick Up

The talent available at TE in the Free Agent Auction that could help your Dynasty Owner team in 2020 and fit under the $2 million in extra salary cap is hard to find. Just like every other position. At just over $3 million per year, Dynasty Owners can pick up either Darren Fells ($3.15 million; 110.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019; 14% ownership) or Jacob Hollister ($3.26 million; 96.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019; 8% ownership). Veteran Jason Witten is available in 98% of Dynasty Owner leagues for $4 million in 2020, but he plays behind Darren Waller in Las Vegas, thus explaining his low ownership. However, there are two TEs who fit the bill for inclusion in this article.

The first one is second year Bengals TE Drew Sample. Sample was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft, but only scored 8.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points before suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 10. Still, the Bengals are bound to improve in 2020 and invested a high pick in Sample so he could be part of their offensive mix this year with new QB Joe Burrow. Last year’s starter Tyler Eifert is now in Jacksonville and that leaves just C.J. Uzomah ahead of Sample on the Bengals TE depth chart. Since he’s only owned in 19% of Dynasty Owner leagues and his 2020 salary is just shy of $1.38 million. He does have has 3 years left on his contract, but Dynasty Owners won’t mind paying it if he plays and produces this year.

Since rookie TEs like Cole Kmet, Adam Trautman, Devin Asiasi were all drafted in the second round or later, all of them are scheduled to make less than $2 million this season. They aren’t available as both Kmet and Asiasi are owned in 100% of leagues, while Trautman is owned in 98% (check your league’s Free Agent Auction if you’re in a league in which Trautman is available, go grab him ASAP). After that, it’s time to start looking at later draft picks who might make an impact. Out of those guys, the one who looks best positioned to help Dynasty Owners in 2020 and beyond might be Brycen Hopkins of the Rams. Hopkins was a fourth round pick and slated to be third on the Rams depth chart behind Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett. The Rams didn’t pass much out of two or more TE formations in the past two seasons (26th in 2019 and last in 2018 according to data available at Sharp Football Stats – https://www.sharpfootballstats.com/personnel-grouping-frequency.html). However, the loss of Brandin Cooks could mean more TE usage by the Rams in 2020 which is Hopkins’ most likely path to playing time since both Higbee and Everett have been remarkably healthy in their careers (Higbee only missed one game in four seasons and Everett has missed just three in three seasons, with all of those missed games coming last year). If you need another TE and want to spend some of your extra salary cap room, Hopkins might be worth the $822,032 in salary for the next four years.

Kicking Away Some Salary Cap Room

If you are like some Dynasty Owners and hate the fact that you need to have a kicker on your roster, maybe you didn’t go out and draft three of them. Now you have $2 million more in salary cap room, but are there any kickers still left in your league’s Free Agent Auction who you can get for that extra salary?

Not really. Most of the kickers available in a majority of Dynasty Owner leagues right now are veterans with multi-year contracts making just north of $4 million in salary in 2020. Dynasty Owners who spent up close to the $110 million salary cap are going to have to clear some space on their roster to fit any of those guys. However, there is one rookie competing for a roster spot who is owned in less than 50% of Dynasty Owner leagues right now – rookie seventh round draft pick Sam Sloman of the Los Angeles Rams. Sloman is owned in 29% of Dynasty Owner leagues, but is competing with fellow 30-year old rookie (but CFL veteran) Lirim Hajrullahu. Feel free to look for Hajrullahu in the Free Agent Auction, but you’re likely not finding him there since he’s rostered in 90% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Sloman carries just a salary of $677,622, but it’s a 4-year deal, so if he doesn’t win the starting job in L.A., then you might have to cut him and pay $677,622 (25% of his total contract) in Dynasty Dollars to get him off your roster.

The only other option might be to pick up a Jets kicker. That’s really bad as the Jets haven’t had a good kicker since Pat Leahy retired back in 1991 and Leahy’s career FG percentage was just 71.4% so he wasn’t really very good – he just happened to kick for them for 18 seasons.

Both Jets kickers are owned in just over 50% of Dynasty Owner leagues with Sam Ficken and his one-year, $675,000 contract owned in 56% while former Cowboys kicker Brett Maher is owned in 51% of Dynasty Owner leagues, but carries a slightly higher salary ($750,000). Neither had a great year in 2019 as Maher missed 10 FGs in 13 games (20 for 30 on FG attempts) while making all 36 PAT attempts for 68.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (5.2 points per game). Ficken was slightly worse as he went 19 of 27 in FG attempts (70.4%), but missed 3 PATs (23 for 26) to score just 67 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 15 games as the Jets kicker in 2019 (4.5 points per game). Neither is a great option, but if you get both, you’re guaranteed to own the Jets kicker. Ain’t that great?

Conclusions

Training camps have opened now, and we are less than one month out from the 2020 NFL season. It’s time to start filling out your Dynasty Owner roster after the draft with those five extra Practice Squad slots and for this year, the extra $2 million in salary cap room provided due to COVID-19.

There are lots of players available who make less than that $2 million in salary cap room, but only some are widely available and likely to help your Dynasty Owner team in the 2020 season. Hopefully, some of the ones highlighted here are available in your league and you’re able to grab them in the Free Agent Auction to help build your Dynasty.

You could also hang on to that $2 million, but that would have been a pretty short article. Speaking of articles, there are more of them coming from myself and Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter). The podcast series with myself and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer will continue to be posted on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube and other places (iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker) as well. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. We have over 400 subscribers on YouTube now and thank you all for watching and listening. All of this great content is available to help you win your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

Gimme Five: An Analysis of the Five Beta League Drafts

Author: Steven Van Tassell

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

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

High Five

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

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

First Round Draft Selections

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

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

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

Fan Club Presidents Meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salaries

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

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

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

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

Solitary Men

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

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

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

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

Random Facts

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have more articles coming on a regular basis from Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter) and I. The first of the monthly Dynasty Owner Top 300 is also coming very soon. The podcast series with myself and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer will continue to be posted on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube as well to help you get prepared. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. All of this great content is available to help you win your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!

Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner