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

Are Dynasty Owners’ Utilizing Handcuffs for Their Star Players?

Author: Steven Van Tassell

Surely everyone is aware of the terminology and know that a handcuff is a backup player who will likely take over for a team’s starter in the event of an injury. In addition to “regular” injuries that happen all of the time to NFL players, Dynasty Owners in 2020 also have to worry about players testing positive for COVID-19 and going on the new Reverse/COVID-19 list. This new list is defined as being for players who have tested positive, or players who are quarantining because they came into close contact with someone who tested positive.

One of my fellow Beta Users (Nick – Quaranteam) suggested that I look at whether Dynasty Owners were valuing handcuffs for their star players enough in 2020 due to COVID-19. The possibility is out there that some star players will contract the contagious disease and have to sit out games at some point this season. It’s not a minimum of three games as previously expected, but more flexible than that as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explains in the following article: https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2020/07/18/clarifying-the-2020-injured-reserve-covid-19-rules/.

Since 12-team leagues are new to Dynasty Owner for 2020, we don’t have historical data to see whether handcuffs are being utilized more or less this season than last year, but we can still look at what’s going on this year. This analysis of handcuffs is based on a review of 43 Dynasty Owner drafts for the 2020 season. All of the drafts were conducted between June 14th and July 26th. There were 5 drafts by Beta users, 15 For the Love of the Game drafts by players only paying the $29 entry fee, 11 drafts in the $600 prize pool leagues ($50 entry fee per team) and 12 drafts in the $1,200 prize pool leagues ($100 entry fee per team).

For the purposes of this analysis, I’m looking at situations where there is a clear starter (Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey, etc.) and then a backup who will likely only play if their team is winning or losing by a lot or if the starter gets hurt or is placed on the COVID-19 list. I purposely left out players on teams and positions in which the starting position is up for grabs, which is more of a hedging your bet on a certain position. Examples of that include starting QB for the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers as it’s reasonable to think either Justin Herbert or Tyrod Taylor could be the starter in Week 1, the Ravens’ RB situation with Mark Ingram and rookie J.K. Dobbins or the Rams who have a quartet of RBs (Cam Akers, Darrel Henderson, Malcolm Brown and John Kelly) who coach Sean McVay has identified as “NFL-legitimate starting-caliber backs”. There are other examples but that should give everyone an idea of what qualified as a handcuff versus hedging your bets.

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

Handcuffing by Position and League Type

Overall, there were 300 identified handcuff situations over the 43 leagues analyzed, or an average of 6.98 per league. Teams could draft more than one handcuff for their players, and we’ve identified several interesting ones later on in this article. Since we are all in 12-team leagues now, that means only about half of the teams in each league drafted a handcuff for one of their players. There are multiple situations in which a team drafted more than one handcuff, so the average number of teams drafting a handcuff is lower than the number of situations.

By league type, there were more handcuffs per league in the $100 entry fee leagues (8.00 per league) than any other type by a significant margin (6.64 for $50 entry fee leagues, 6.60 for the $29 Love of the Game leagues and a low of 6.40 for the five Beta user leagues). The more cash people have invested in their Dynasty Owner team, the more likely they are to handcuff – very interesting. For newer players, Beta users are free for life and don’t pay anything in return for spending last year and this off-season spotting bugs in mock drafts and on the website and app.

By position, it’s not surprising that more people are drafting a handcuff at the running back position than any other position (141 in total, or 47% of all handcuffs are RBs). There were 104 WR handcuffs, or about one-third (35%). There were 38 handcuff QBs, or 13% of the 300 handcuffs, while only 17 handcuffs (6%) were TEs.

In terms of players, 74 individual star players were handcuffed with a lesser player. Thirty-one WRs were handcuffed, or over two-fifths (42%) of players handcuffed were WRs, followed by 19 RBs (26%), 16 QBs (22%) and a mere 8 TEs (11%). Let’s find out more about who was handcuffed most frequently and wasn’t frequently enough.

Running While Handcuffed

The position in which most fantasy football players utilize handcuffs is usually running backs based on their higher rate of injury and the current preference of many NFL coaches for running back by committee (RBBC). Dynasty Owner is no different in this regard as nearly half of the handcuffs in the early drafts were RB handcuffs with 19 starting RBs being handcuffed by 37 backups. Remember that we are looking only at handcuffs and not situations like those identified earlier where the starting job is “up for grabs”.

So, which RB was handcuffed the most in Dynasty Owner drafts? Was it the RB with the highest salary in Dynasty Owner, Ezekiel Elliott at $15 million in salary cap room, or was it one of the top two RBs drafted in Christian McCaffrey (ADP 2.6) or Saquon Barkley (ADP 3.8)?

The answer is: None of those guys. There was a tie as the most handcuffed RBs were in fact Dalvin Cook of the Vikings and James Conner of the Steelers, both of whom were handcuffed in 15 Dynasty Owner drafts. While both were handcuffed the same number of times, the most common handcuff was picking Conner and his $790,381 one-year contract along with Jaylen Samuels and his equally affordable $679,517 salary for the next two years.

Dalvin Cook and his threatened training camp holdout was big news back in early June when he announced it (Spoiler alert: He didn’t hold out and reported to training camp on time) and likely caused many of his Dynasty Owners to handcuff him with either Alexander Mattison (8 times) or Mike Boone (6 times). There was at least one team (Wasabi) who handcuffed Cook with both of those guys.

There was also one team (The Team) who handcuffed Cook, who they drafted with the #12 overall pick, with fullback C.J. Ham and his 4-year, $12 million salary. Ham was drafted with the first pick in the 20th round by The Team in their For the Love of the Game league. This wasn’t a wise pick for The Team since Mike Boone was still available if they wanted a handcuff. Ham is so lightly regarded by other Dynasty Owners that no other team has Ham on their roster. Probably because he’s a blocking fullback and had just 37.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points last year.

Two players on one-year contracts were also handcuffed nearly as often (14 times each). Kenyan Drake and his $8.483 million contract was handcuffed equally by Chase Edmonds and rookie Eno Benjamin. Joe Mixon was also handcuffed 14 times, but was handcuffed by four separate players (Giovani Bernard – 7 times; Trayveon Williams – 4 times; Rodney Anderson – 2 times; Jacques Patrick – 1 time). The four handcuff players were the most for any single starter. Congratulations!?!

Handcuffing the Top Picks at QB

In contrast, the most obvious handcuff at QB is drafting Robert Griffin III to pair with Lamar Jackson, who many Dynasty Owners have been taking with the #1 pick (ADP 1.3). Dynasty Owners who have chosen Lamar are handcuffing him with RGIII more than any other QB combo with 7 Dynasty Owners having done this. Interestingly, even though there were 15 For the Love of the Game drafts analyzed, none of the Lamar-RGIII handcuffs occurred in one of those leagues. For those Dynasty Owners who have Lamar and $2 million in salary cap room, RGIII is currently available in 50% of Dynasty Owner leagues.

That’s three more handcuffs than the trio of starting QBs who are next most likely to be handcuffs (Patrick Mahomes, Cam Newton and Carson Wentz). Mahomes is has the second best ADP (1.8) with 4 handcuffs (3 times by Chad Henne and 1 time by Jordan Ta’amu). All three of the potential Kansas City backup QBs are highly available for Mahomes’ owners who have salary cap room to protect their investment in the $450 million Super Bowl MVP.  Ta’amu is owned by the highest percentage (11%), followed by Henne at 7% and Matt Moore at only 2% ownership.

Despite not being signed by the Patriots until late June and only being selected at his new salary in the July drafts, Cam Newton was also handcuffed four times by backups in New England. Three Dynasty Owners chose Jarrett Stidham as Newton’s backup, while one chose Brian Hoyer. Even though Coach Bill Belichick has said that Newton won’t be handed the starting job, he’s the starter in New England barring an injury. For Newton’s Dynasty Owners who didn’t handcuff in the draft, but are thinking about it doing it now, sorry to inform you but Stidham and his $788,423 contract isn’t available in any Dynasty Owner leagues right now.

Finally, we have four Dynasty Owners who handcuffed Carson Wentz and his $32 million annual salary with rookie QB and 2nd round draft pick Jalen Hurts. Even though only a few Wentz owners chose Hurts as well, Hurts and his $1.5 million salary is 100% owned, compared to 78% ownership for Wentz. Wentz does have a better ADP (80.7) than Hurts (152.9). Nate Sudfeld, who might end up being the true backup in 2020 if media reports are true, is only owned in 2% of leagues. You’ll need $2 million in salary cap room to go get Sudfeld if you have Wentz but not Hurts, are concerned about Wentz’s injury history and want to ensure you have a stake in the Eagles’ offense this year.

The only other two first round QB draft picks – Kyler Murray (ADP 4.3) and Deshaun Watson (ADP 5.0) – were lightly handcuffed with only one Dynasty Owner handcuffing Murray with his likely backup in Brett Hundley and none of the Dynasty Owners who drafted through July 26th handcuffing Deshaun Watson. The owner who drafted Hundley (The Guns of Hochuli – great team name!) is the only one right now with Hundley on their roster.

Not a Lot of Handcuffing of Tight Ends

At the other end of the handcuff spectrum from RBs and QBs are TEs who are rarely being handcuffed in the early Dynasty Owner drafts. Only 8 starting TEs had their backup drafted by the same Dynasty Owner and it only occurred a total of 17 times, accounting for just 6% of all handcuffs drafted.

The consensus top three Dynasty Owner TEs (George Kittle, Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews) were rarely handcuffed by their Dynasty Owners even though they had clear backups at the time (Ross Dwelley for Kittle, Ricky Seals-Jones for Kelce and Nick Boyle for Andrews). Nobody handcuffed Mark Andrews and only one Dynasty Owner handcuffed Kelce or Kittle. Steveo FC was the only Dynasty Owner to draft both George Kittle and Ross Dwelley, in case Kittle can’t play, even though Dwelley performed pretty well in the two games (22.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) that Kittle missed in 2019. Dwelley only cost Steveo FC a last round draft pick (#291 overall) and $750,000 in salary cap room. In case Kittle owners are thinking that having Dwelley on the roster is a good idea (even with the recent signing of Jordan Reed by the 49ers), he’s currently available in 96% of Dynasty Owner leagues. Kelce was also only handcuffed in one league by Kilmer’s Coyotes with Ricky Seals-Jones. Seals-Jones doesn’t cost much ($925,000) and is only signed to a one-year deal so Kelce owners in the three-quarters (78%) of Dynasty Owner leagues in which Seals-Jones isn’t owned could go out and grab him if they have cap room.

The most handcuffed starting TE is the eighth TE being drafted, on average, in Dynasty Owner – Evan Engram of the Giants. His backup Kaden Smith is being drafted well over 100 spots later than Engram (ADP of 79 vs. 201.8 for Smith). His cost is minimal as he has 3 years left on his contract at just $680,002 per year and his production was high in place of Engram last year, when he averaged just under 11.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy point per game and had four double-digit point games in just seven contests after Engram got injured last year.

The Single Most Handcuffed WR Is Also the Highest Drafted One

Michael Thomas is being drafted a full round ahead of any other WR with an ADP of 7.6. The next highest drafted WR by ADP right now is Chris Godwin with a current ADP of 20.3. Thomas has the third highest salary of any WR at $19.25 million and some of his Dynasty Owners are backing up their investment in the Ferrari of WRs (373.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019). The handcuff of choice for Thomas’ Dynasty Owners, like The Jerk, is Deonte Harris who only had 34.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2019 – with twice as many coming from returns (23.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) than rushing and receiving combined (11.5). Six Dynasty Owners have both Michael Thomas and Deonte Harris on their roster, the most of any single WR starter and backup. Since Taysom Hill is listed as a QB, I didn’t consider him as a handcuff for Thomas even though he does play WR fairly frequently.

While the Thomas-Harris handcuff was the single, most frequently drafted one, Thomas was not the most frequently handcuffed WR in Dynasty Owner drafts. That honor goes to Eagles rookie WR Jalen Reagor who was handcuffed 9 times by three different players (Quez Watkins – 4 times; Greg Ward – 4 times; John Hightower – 1 time), followed closely by Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills. Three backup WRs (Gabriel Davis – 4 times; Duke Williams – 3 times; Isaiah Hodgins – 1 times) were also selected by the Diggs’ Dynasty Owner a total of 8 times, just one fewer time than Reagor. However, if you add in Diggs’ fellow starting WRs in Buffalo (John Brown and Cole Beasley), there were a total of 11 backup WRs selected as handcuffs to starting Buffalo WRs.

Eleven handcuffs for Buffalo WRs was the highest for any team, but there were three WRs being handcuffed. There are a lot of top WR pairing out there for the handcuffing, such as Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in Tampa Bay or A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd in Cincinnati, among others. Interestingly, there was a wide divergence in handcuffing for those two pairs with Green and Boyd being handcuffed twice as frequently as Evans and Godwin (10 times versus 5 times). There was an even split by Dynasty Owners handcuffing Green (and his $17.97 million salary) and Tyler Boyd (who has a $10.75 million salary). The much more expensive WR in Tampa Bay, Mike Evans, was handcuffed four out of the five times that a Dynasty Owner handcuffed one. Just only Dynasty Owner (WKFLD Jags) handcuffed Chris Godwin with Tyler Johnson.

Interesting Handcuffs

After looking at over 500 Dynasty Owner rosters, you see some “interesting” handcuff situations. Here are a few that stood out to me as I was looking at all of those rosters:

  • The Cincinnati Sizzlers drafted five Green Bay WRs, pretty much every WR on the Packers roster, except Davante Adams. That’s right they have Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, Reggie Begelton and Jake Kumerow (in draft order). That’s the most players from any one team at a single position. Fortunately for them, they didn’t draft Devin Funchess even though they could have since they drafted in June before he opted out for the 2020 season.
  • Stacking three Bengals on one team was not an isolated phenomenon. Two teams in $100 entry fee leagues (Flex and SBB) drafted the same three Bengals RBs (Joe Mixon, Trayveon Williams and Giovani Bernard). They both even got Williams and Bernard with the same picks (#249 and #273 respectively). Another two teams (Toronto Squad and Young & Dumb) had three Bengals WRs. Toronto Squad drafted A.J. Green, Tee Higgins and Auden Tate, while Young & Dumb went with Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and John Ross. Young & Dumb loves Bengals since they have those three WRs, two RBs (Mixon and Bernard) and rookie QB Joe Burrow.
  • TFFO figured that he wanted a piece of the New England running game, so they went out and drafted Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris and J.J. Taylor. Rex Burkhead went undrafted in that league and at the end of the draft, TFFO had a little over $7 million in cap room. To avoid Rex having hurt feelings about this situation, TFFO should spend part on their leftover cap room if they still have it. Might as well go get Lamar Miller while you’re at it.
  • Not to be outdone, Boomer2377 drafted four Eagles WRs. They avoided both DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey for good reason and went with Jalen Reagor, Hightower, Ward and Watkins in that order. I’m guessing Boomer2377 is an Eagles fan because they also have both Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts on their team as well.
  • Only four TEs had their backup drafted by the same team in more than one Dynasty Owner league. In addition to Engram, they were Darren Waller (handcuffed by Foster Moreau), Tyler Higbee (handcuffed by rookie Brycen Hopkins) and Austin Hooper (handcuffed by David Njoku). All these handcuffs were drafted twice.
  • The Clown Punchers took my recommendation of drafting three QBs (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/05/draft-tips-2020/), but possibly didn’t read the part about having them on different teams since they decided to draft three Kansas City QBs (Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne and Jordan Ta’amu). Hopefully, Mahomes stays healthy and Matt Moore isn’t the backup, or The Clown Punchers will be in trouble.
  • Many Dynasty Owners like a good handcuff, but Pohlcat, a $100 entry fee league Dynasty Owner, really, really likes to handcuff backfield players. Pohlcat drafted Lamar Jackson and RGIII, Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley, Todd Gurley and Ito Smith, plus two potential Giants backups to Saquon Barkley in Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman. No word on why Pohlcat didn’t handcuff any WRs or TEs.
  • Does it count as a handcuff if you draft the backup before the starter?  Asking for Ball Busters who drafted Quintez Cephus of the Lions with the #153 pick then took the starter in Detroit, Marvin Jones, over 100 picks later on with the #256 pick.
  • Finally, the Midwest Tradesman spent only $34 shy of $33 million, or 30% of their salary cap, on Bengals WRs when they drafted Tyler Boyd ($10.75 million), A.J. Green ($17.971 million) and John Ross ($4,278,966).

Conclusions

There are a lot of ways to handcuff your starters in Dynasty Owner, but really no consensus on which one is best or which starters are most worth a handcuff. It’s your Dynasty, handcuff your guys if you want to and with who you want. This analysis covered 43 Dynasty Owner leagues with over 500 teams that had 300 identified handcuffs of 74 different players. That’s a lot of variety, but also indicates that there are a lot of Dynasty Owners who, even in this era of COVID-19, aren’t handcuffing.

In terms of position, running back was the most handcuffed position and by league, Dynasty Owners in $100 leagues were most likely to utilize handcuffs. We had a surprise RB (James Conner) be the most handcuffed player overall, even though he has an ADP of 49.8 and is the 26th RB off the draft board on average. The top QB (Lamar Jackson) and WR (Michael Thomas) were more heavily handcuffed than other players at their position, but in line with other high draft picks like RBs Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley. And if you handcuffed a TE, you are a rare breed indeed as I only identified 17 TE handcuffs in total, or half of leagues has a team with a handcuffed TE.

We are less than a month out from the 2020 NFL season and three are more articles coming from myself and Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter). The podcast series with myself and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer will continue to be posted on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube and other places (iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker) as well. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. We have over 400 subscribers on YouTube now and thank you all for watching and listening. All of this great content is available to help you win your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

2014 Wide Receivers Draft Class and Their Rookie Season

Author: Milos Ljubic

Wide Receivers from this year’s NFL draft are expected to be one of the best WR classes in the NFL history…maybe the best in this century, at least. The previous best WR’s class in the last 20 years was the 2014 NFL draft class. This article is about their rookie seasons and the impact they had had on their teams.

The first WR drafted was Sammy Watkins. The Buffalo Bills drafted him from the 4th position. The Bills gave the 2015 first-round pick to Browns to move up five positions. Watkins has had a solid career, but he didn’t meet expectations for a player drafted that high. Buffalo was an average team. They had a problem with QBs. Their starter was E.J. Manuel, probably the worst starter in the entire league. Manuel was benched after the 4th week and was replaced with Kyle Orton. Also, the Bills didn’t run as they expected. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller regressed a lot. They had three solid young WRs with Woods and Hogan. Watkins’s rookie season was very good. He immediately became the number one WR on the team. He was Buffalo’s best offensive player that year. Watkins finished his rookie season with 65 receptions for 982 yards and 6 TDs with one fumble. The Bills finished with a 9-7 record as a 10th team in AFC. Sammy Watkins now plays for Kansas City, on a one year contract for $9M.

From the 7th position, the second drafted WR was Mike Evans. Tampa was awful that year (a 2-14 record), but Evans was a fantastic choice. The Buccaneers didn’t have anything that year. They didn’t have a decent QB (their starters were Josh McCown and Mike Glennon). They didn’t have a running game. TEs were awful, too. The only good player was a 31-year-old Vincent Jackson. This was Jackson’s last season with 1000 yards. Playing with him was great for Evans – he had a great receiver to play with and played the number two WR in his first season. Evans finished the season with 68 catches for 1051 yards, and 12 TDs without a fumble. Mike Evans signed an extension with Tampa until 2024 on an annual contract of $16.5M.

Odell Beckham Jr. was the 3rd WR selected on the draft. The Giants were above average offensively, but overall a below-average team. They finished the season with a 6-10 record. Manning played one of the best seasons in his (HOF) career. The running game was solid with a rookie Andre Williams and a veteran Rashad Jennings. Ruben Randle (WR) and Larry Donnell (TE) played well. Even though Beckham had missed the first 4 games due to an injury, he was the best Giants’ player that season. He recorded 91 catches for 1305 yards and 12 TDs with only one fumble in twelve games. Giants traded Odell to Cleveland Browns. He has a contract until 2024 for $18M per year.

The fourth WR drafted in the first round was Brandin Cooks. The Saints sent their 3rd-round pick to Arizona to move up seven places. Cooks was viewed as a slot receiver at that time. The Saints were loaded on the offensive side of a ball, but they decided to add more speed with this selection. They were the best offensive team in the league, but at the same time, they were the second-worst defensive team. Cooks played the first 10 games of the season but missed the rest of it due to an injury. He had 53 catches for 550 yards and 3 TDs with one saved fumble. If we compare Cooks with his teammates, he was the most targeted WR in those ten games, but far less productive. Marques Colston had 15.4 yards per catch, while Kenny Stills had 14.8. With 10.4 Cooks was even worse than TE Jimmy Graham, who had 10.5 yards per catch. After his rookie campaign, Cooks had four consecutive 1000+ yards seasons. The Saints finished the 2014 season with a 7-9 record. Cooks changed a few teams in a meanwhile. Hi is currently in Houston. He has a contract until 2024 for $16.2M annually.

Kelvin Benjamin was the last WR drafted in the first round and the first one to play in a playoff game. Being selected at the 28th position, he immediately became WR number one for Carolina. Carolina’s number two receiver that year was a veteran Jerricho Cotchery, who was in his 11th NFL season. Carolina was among the top 10 defensive teams and the top 10 running teams. Also, TE Greg Olsen had 1000+ yards season. Even if Benjamin could have been considered as a bust, his rookie season was great. He had 73 catches for 1008 yards with 9 TDs and one lost fumble. Benjamin tore his ACL after a rookie year. After his ACL injury he was never able to come back and play at the level of his rookie season and his been out of the league since 2018.

The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted three WRs on this draft. The Jaguars were a bad team. Rookie Blake Bortles was QB, so the passing offense was also bad. The defense was poor to say the least. The running game was below average. WRs’ corps were made from three rookies plus Cecile Shorts in his 4th year. The first drafted WR by the Jaguars was Marqise Lee, from the 39th position. He had 37 catches for 422 yards and only one TD in 13 games. The second Jaguars’ selection was Allen Robinson from the 61st position (the 11th WR on draft). In the 10 games he played, he had 48 catches for 548 yards and 2 TDs. Allen Hurns was third in that group. He was undrafted, and the only WR who wasn’t selected in the first three rounds but had some impact on his team in the rookie season. Hurns was the best Jaguars’ WR that season and the only one who played all 16 games. He caught ball 51 times for 677 yards and 6 TDs. None of them are in Jacksonville anymore. Lee will play this season for the New England Patriots for $1M. Robinson is the number one WR for the Chicago Bears and has one more year with an annual salary of $14M. Hurns signed a two-year extension with the Miami Dolphins this year, for $3.5M per year.

The Philadelphia Eagles also moved up in the draft to get a WR. They gave 5th-round pick to the Titans to move up 12 positions. They drafted Jordan Matthews from the 42nd position. Chip Kelly’s Eagle’s had a very good roster, especially on the offense. Despite 9 Pro Bowlers (the most in the NFC) and a 10-6 record, Eagles finished the season as the 7th team in the conference. Matthews was the number two WR, behind Jeremy Macklin for the team. He finished the season with 67 catches for 872 yards and 8 TDs. The Eagles had one more WR in the third round. That was Josh Huff from the 86th position, 13th WR overall. He was 4th WR on the depth chart, but his impact was negligible. Jordan Matthews is a free agent at the moment, while Huff is playing at CFL.

The Seattle Seahawks picked up the 8th WR from the draft, Paul Richardson. The Seahawks were great that year. They finished first in the conference, but their game was based on the defense and the rushing, being first in the whole league in both categories. Their passing game was among the five worst in the league. And in that offense, Richardson was the 4th option (the 3rd WR). Richardson played 15 games and collected 29 catches for 271 yards and only one TD. Richardson is a free agent currently.

Green Bay drafted Davante Adams from the 53rd position which was, from today’s perspective, a great pick. The Packers were a great team that year, finishing in second place in the conference, right behind Seahawks. They had an average defense but their offense was great. This was the Aaron Rogers’ second-best season and the second MVP award. Eddie Lacy played at his best that season, along with Jordy Nelson. Randall Cobb had a 1000+ yards season, the first and the last time in his career. In those circumstances, Adams didn’t have many chances, finishing the season with 38 catches for 446 yards and 3 TDs. Adams is the first WR option in the Green Bay offense. He has a contract for $14.5M per year until the 2022 season.

Cody Latimer was the 10th WR selected on this draft and the biggest bust. He was selected by the Denver Broncos, who were great that season, finishing in second place in AFC. They had most Pro Bowlers that season with 11 being selected. Latimer was the 6th WR on the depth chart: only 2 catches for 23 yards and yet…somehow, Latimer is still in the business. He has on year contract with Washington Redskins for $1M.

The twelfth WR was Jarvis Landry. He played for the Miami Dolphins. Miami was an average team in every statistical category and finished the season with 8-8 records. Landry had a solid season, playing all 16 games. He had the most receptions on the team with 84 and was second at receiving yards, 758, as well as TDs, 5, in both cases behind Mike Wallace. Miami traded Landry to the Browns and still has three more years for $15.1M annually.

The 14th selected WR was Donte Moncrief, having been picked by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts had a great offense. Their running game was below average, but their passing offense was the best in the entire league. Andrew Luck was great and healthy too. Moncrief was the 6th most targeted player, 4th among WRs. He finished the season with 32 catches for 444 yards (4th on the team, 3rd among WR) and 3 TDs (6th on the team, 3rd among WRs). Moncrief currently a free agent.

The last WR selected on the second draft day was John Brown. The Arizona Cardinals were a solid team. Carson Palmer had finished the season after the sixth game. WRs corps were the only reliable part of the Cardinals’ offense. Brown was third amongst WRs on the depth chart, but his production was similar to the production of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Brown finished the season with 48 catches for 696 yards and 5 TDs. Brown is now in Buffalo. He has two more years for $9M per year.

In the next article, I will analyze this year’s WRs corps, trying to compare these two groups and make some predictions about what we can expect from this years’ rookies.

Milos Ljubic is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Dynasty Owner Stock Market Report: Who’s Up and Who’s Down?

Author: Steven Van Tassell

With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror and the schedule due to come out late this week, a lot of fantasy football players are looking at what rookies will make an impact next year. Since the focus is on the rookies who were just drafted, a potentially overlooked aspect is what will be the impact of the draft on veteran players. Since this is the first season of Dynasty Owner after an NFL draft, let’s do a “stock market” report where we look at players whose stock is down after the draft and those whose stock is up.

For every rookie who will make an impact during the 2020 Dynasty Owner season, there will be a veteran player who will lose playing time, along with targets, catches or carries. The first part of this article focuses on the players most impacted in a negative fashion by his team’s selections in the 2020 NFL draft.  Because of the sheer number and talent of the rookie WRs chosen in the draft, four out of the five players whose Dynasty Owner stock is down after the draft are WRs.

On the other hand, sometimes the draft improves a player’s stock with his team. It could be because the team didn’t draft any players to compete with him for playing time or their team drafted players who should help him perform better. In the second part of this article, the focus will be on some players whose stock should rise because of what their team did or didn’t do during the draft. In contrast to the stock down list, we have players at every skill position (QB, RB, WR and TE) on the stock list up.

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 .25 points for every 10 yards.

Stock Down for These Players

Amari Cooper (DAL – WR): Jerry Jones got to do the draft alone on his yacht without those pesky scouts, coaches and player personnel people around to influence his selections. Rumor has it that this is what happened in 2014 when Jerry really wanted to draft Johnny Manziel and the Cowboys front office staff convinced him to draft a player at a position they needed (offensive guard Zack Martin who by the way has made it to the Pro Bowl in each of his first six seasons, the fifth offensive lineman to ever do that). Not this year! Despite needs at other positions and having two top WRs in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, Jones couldn’t resist taking a WR who slipped down to the 17th pick in CeeDee Lamb.

The selection of Lamb should reduce targets for both Cooper and Gallup, but in Dynasty Owner, it’s Cooper will be negatively impacted to a greater extent since he costs $20 million per season for five more seasons vs. $880,995 for Gallup for the next two years. Sometimes a team can have three productive receivers (see the 2018 Rams through the first five games, before Cooper Kupp got injured, as Kupp, Robert Woods, and Brandin Cooks were all top 25 fantasy WRs), but for what Cooper is making, he needs to be a clear #1 WR. He’s unlikely to earn that salary now with both Gallup and Lamb around.

Tyrell Williams (LV – WR): The Raiders drafted a WR (Henry Ruggs III) in the first round which obviously hurts the value of the rest of the WRs on the team. After that, they went ahead and drafted two more WRs with back-to-back third round selections (Lynn Bowden Jr. and Bryan Edwards). Drafting three players at the same position can only be seen as an indictment of the current guys on the roster who play the same position.

Some people think these picks plus the addition of veteran TE Jason Witten foreshadows a reduction in Darren Waller’s usage, but the player most impacted in Dynasty Owner will be WR Tyrell Williams. Williams is still getting paid Top 20 WR money as he’s scheduled to make over $11 million in 2020. Williams is owned in only 41% of Dynasty Owner leagues right now and those owners are probably wishing they dropped him for free when they had the chance.

Alshon Jeffery (PHI – WR): Another team with poor production and injury problems from its WRs in 2019 were the Philadelphia Eagles. To address this glaring issue, the Eagles went ahead and drafted WR Jalen Reagor in the first round. This selection hurts the fantasy value of all of the Eagles incumbent WRs who were injured or didn’t play well in 2019 (Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside). The player who will be hurt the most though is Alshon Jeffery. That’s because Jeffery’s salary is higher at $13 million than the $9.3 million that Jackson will make and much higher than the $1.236 million due Arcega-Whiteside in 2020. 

A.J. Green (CIN – WR): Despite not playing a down in 2019, some Dynasty Owners still kept Green on their rosters through amnesty and are preparing to pay him nearly $18 million in 2020. Those owners were likely expecting Green to develop a rapport with rookie QB Joe Burrow and a return to 2018 form when he scored 10.0 or more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in all eight games he played before getting injured, averaging 18.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.

What his Dynasty Owners were not anticipating was that the Bengals would grab a WR (Tee Higgins) with the first pick of the second round. Green’s 2020 salary is over $7 million higher than fellow Bengals WR Tyler Boyd ($17.97 million vs. $10.75 million for Boyd). The Bengals also just signed Boyd to a 4-year, $43 million deal last off-season, so they probably see Boyd and Higgins as their WR duo of the future, not Green.

Jimmy Graham (CHI – TE): When the Bears released fellow highly paid TE Troy Burton a few days before the NFL draft, Graham’s stock was looking up as the top TE on the team, even though the Bears have plenty of TEs on their roster. Then the Bears went ahead and drafted another TE in the second round (Cole Kmet). By having his new team use a high pick on another TE, it shows that the Bears probably don’t think Graham will return to his 2011 and 2013 form in 2020 and want to have his replacement ready to go. At $8 million per year for both 2020 and 2021, Graham is the 7th highest paid TE in Dynasty Owner and will need to hold off Kmet and the rest of the Bears TE corps to be valuable enough to be paying that much for two more years.

Stock Up for These Players

Jarret Stidham (NE – QB): Long-time Patriots fans shouldn’t have been surprised that Bill Belichick didn’t spend a draft pick on a QB this year. For years, people have assumed that the Patriots would draft a replacement for Tom Brady in the first round and he never did it. Remember that Jimmy Garoppolo was a late second round pick, Jacoby Brissett was a late third round pick and Stidham was a late fourth round pick. Now that Brady is gone to Tampa Bay, Belichick didn’t suddenly change and draft a QB with the Patriots first round pick. He did what he’s done many times in the past – he traded down for more late round picks. As Belichick might have said “On to Cincinnati”.

The decision to not draft a QB was a vote of confidence in Jarret Stidham as the Patriots starting QB for 2020 and maybe beyond, depending on his performance. Stidham will only cost Dynasty Owners $788,423 per year for the next three seasons and he’s still available in quite a few leagues (37% to be exact). If you’re a Belichick believer and Stidham is available in your league, go ahead and grab him before someone else does.

Matthew Stafford (DET – QB): Another team who many people thought would draft a QB in the first round was the Detroit Lions. In a vote of confidence for incumbent QB Matthew Stafford, they didn’t and roll into the 2020 season with Stafford, career backup Chase Daniel and David Blough, who started the last five games of the 2020 season as a rookie, as their QBs. Lions’ General Manager Bob Quinn also just gave a vote of confidence to Stafford in an by saying “Matthew (Stafford) is our guy” (https://lionswire.usatoday.com/2020/05/03/bob-quinn-is-happy-with-where-the-lions-stand-at-quarterback/.

Not only did they not draft his replacement, the Lions helped out their porous running game, ranked 21st in yards per carry and 22nd in yards per game in 2019, by drafting D’Andre Swift with the third pick of the second round (35th overall selection). Swift was the second RB drafted and should start and help improve the Lions’ running game to take pressure off of Stafford. While Stafford is making $27 million in salary, that’s only the 11th highest in Dynasty Owner. He’s available in 91% of Dynasty Owner leagues right now for anyone who has that kind of room on their roster for one of the favorites for the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year award.

Jordan Howard and Matt Brieda (MIA – RB): Instead of drafting a RB, the Dolphins took their QB of the future in the first round (Tua Tagovailoa) and two offensive linemen (tackle Austin Jackson in the first round and guard Robert Hunt in the second round). The selection of the linemen should help the Dolphins running game with Howard and Brieda being the primary beneficiaries.

In case you want to go grab them in the Free Agent Auction, neither one is available in many Dynasty Owner leagues (Brieda is owned in 98% while Howard is owned in 93.5%). Brieda is cheaper ($3.259 million vs. $4.875 million for Howard) and only has one year left on his deal versus two years for Howard, so his stock might be up a slight bit more than Howard’s. However, both of them and their owners should benefit from how the Dolphins drafted in 2020.

Allen Lazard (GB – WR): In case you weren’t aware, Lazard was the #2 WR in Green Bay in 2019 with 102.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 11 games, an average of 9.3 points per game. He dressed for all 16 games, but only had a catch in 11 of them. The only WR that the Packers signed so far this off-season is Devin Funchess, who was a disappointment in Carolina and injured for almost all year in 2019 with Indianapolis. In a curious move, they also didn’t draft a WR in the 2020 draft at all. That wasn’t the only curious Green Bay draft move this year, but that’s a story for another article.

For Lazard’s Dynasty Owners, this was good news as it means he’s probably locked in as the #2 WR behind Davante Adams for 2020 for only $675,000 in salary. That’s a great bargain and if you are in a league in which Lazard is available in the Free Agent Auction (35% of them), you should probably go grab him ASAP.

Jonnu Smith (TEN – TE): Delanie Walker is no longer a member of the Tennessee Titans as he was released back in mid-March. This led to speculation that the Titans might grab a TE in the draft. They didn’t so it looks like Jonnu Smith will be the starter. He earned the opportunity to work with Ryan Tannehill again as in the 10 games that Tannehill started in 2019, Smith averaged 8.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game and had 4 games with 10.0 or more points. Over a full 16-game season, this would have made Smith the 11th ranked TE in Dynasty Owner last season. Not bad for just $776,572 in salary for 2020. He is owned in 87% of Dynasty Owner leagues so there are plenty of Dynasty Owners who will benefit from having Smith on their roster this year.

Conclusions

After the NFL draft, there is always a lot of talk about the players drafted and projections on how they are going to do at the next level. Just as important for Dynasty Owners is figuring out how the draft will impact the value of current players already on their rosters. There were plenty of WRs drafted this year, which negatively impacted the value of several veteran WRs, while players at every position had an anticipated increase in value based on who their teams did or didn’t draft.

There is lots of activity coming up in the Dynasty Owner universe as Tim outlined recently. The NFL schedule is also due to be released by the end of the week. There are Dynasty Owner podcasts to view if you haven’t seen them yet. We also have Slack message board debates and commentary on breaking NFL news, a couple of articles by Chris Wolf (follow him on Twitter – @ckwolf21) and one from our newest writer, Milos Ljubic. 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

Christian McCaffrey’s New Contract and Implications for Dynasty Owner(s)

Author: Milos Ljubic

Hi everyone, my name is Milos. This is my first article for the Dynasty Owner. I hope that this will be good for a start and that I will continue to write in the future.

As I wrote in the title, the subject of this article will be Christian McCaffrey’s new contract. As we all know, McCaffrey was the best (non-QB) fantasy player in the 2019 season and his new contract will be very interesting for the next few seasons.

McCaffrey signed a 4 years extension worth 64 million dollars. In reality this new 6-year contract is worth 78 million. Let’s explain this. McCaffrey was the first-round pick in the 2017 draft. He was selected from the 8th position. According to the rules, a first-round pick can sign the first extension after the third season. Also, teams have an option for a 5th-year extension for first-round picks. That is the case here. In the 2020 season, McCaffrey is under his rookie deal worth 0.8M, plus 2.7M prorated bonus. (For Dynasty Owners this numbers is 4.3M which is the annual amount of his rookie contract.) And as a rule, the 5th-year option for first-round running back who played one Pro bowl has a value of transition tag of somewhere around 10.4M dollars. Technically, the extension starts from the season 2022. When a player signs an extension like this, it means that he can restructure the last year of a rookie deal, the 5th year and the extension. According to the Overthecap, cap hit for the next five years will be 7,8M; 12.5M; 12.9M; 16.3M; 16.3M respectively and 12.2M in the 2025 season. Guaranteed money on signing is 30.1M dollars, but on the 5th day of the 2021 season, that number will rise to 38.2M. We can be 100% sure this will happen.

How has McCaffrey deserved this contact? McCaffrey is the third player in the NFL history with 1000 running + 1000 receiving season. Before him, the only ones who achieved that were Roger Craig in the 1985 season playing for the 49ers and Marshal Faulk in the 1999 season playing for the Rams. He has set a few all-time NFL records so far. McCaffrey is the first running back with over 2500 as a rusher and 2500 as a receiver in the first three seasons in the NFL. He has the most receptions by a running back in a single season and holds a few others records.

The main questions are how does this affect you in Dynasty Owner and how will it affect your salary cap. If you already have McCaffrey on the roster, you are in a great position. McCaffery’s cap number for the next season is 4.3M. McCaffery was the best (non-QB) fantasy player for the 2019 season. He is projected to be the second-best fantasy player for the 2020 season. Lamar Jackson is projected as the first and Pat Mahomes as third. You will have a whole season to decide what you want to do with his new contract. You can trade him during the season if you receive an offer that will satisfy you. If you decide to keep him through the end of a season, you will have the option to drop him for free. Or you can continue with him and his new contract. The more interesting question is how this affects new players. To find the answer to that question, we need to analyze a few things.

McCaffrey is now the face of the Carolina Panthers franchise. Carolina fired Ron Rivera after 9 years and one appearance in Superbowl. Luke Kuechly retired. Cam Newton and Greg Olsen were fired too. Carolina is in rebuilding mode. They gave a 7-year contract to the new head coach, Matt Rhule. How does the new Carolina team look after the new changes? Teddy Bridgewater is the new QB and that is an upgrade for sure. The OL from the 2019 season was average. OL was changed, only two starters from 2019 season will start next season. Carolina loses both starting guards. Turner was traded for Okung and that move upgraded the tackle position. New guards will come off the bench or from free agency. We can expect that OL will be average and this season. The biggest addition in offense is Roby Anderson from the Jets. With Moore and Samuel, Carolina will have a very good receivers squad. And very young at the same time. These three had almost 200 catches and over 2500 receiving yards. Carolina’s TEs group without Olsen isn’t good, but that won’t be upgraded on a draft. Also, besides McCaffrey, they don’t have a decent 2nd RB. This also won’t be changed. Carolina has too many needs on defense, so we can presume that all draft capital will be invested on that side of the ball.

And what about the division? The NFC South teams, except for Carolina, are in win-now mode. The Saints have a great team, but also have salary cap problems. Drew Brees is 41 years old. Tampa changed the head coach and signed Bruce Arians. They added Tom Brady on a two-year contract. And on Wednesday, they added Rob Gronkowski in a trade with the Patriots. They were solid last year and with this addition, it is expected that they will only get better. The problem with Tampa is Brady’s years. He is 42. Also, we don’t know what we can expect from Gronkowski. When he was healthy, he was the best TE in the league. But that was a few years ago and he didn’t play last year at all. Atlanta is currently an average team, at best. Ryan and Julio are on the wrong side of the 30s. Cap space for the next seasons also isn’t big and Dan Quinn will be under pressure.

Where is McCaffrey compared to the other running backs? McCaffrey is the best dual-threat running back in the NFL for the last 10 years, at least. He is still young. In July he will be 24 years old. When this extension expires, McCaffrey will be only 29 years old. His numbers in the previous two seasons were great. This can be a problem in the future because that means that he is overused. Only 3 RB’s had more carries last season and all three combined had fewer catches than McCaffrey. McCaffrey played almost all snaps for Carolina last season. 99,6% to be precise, according to Spotrac. The second most used RB was Zeke Eliot with 89.3% of snaps. McCaffrey had 407 contacts with the ball. Once again, the second was Eliot with 355 contacts. The good thing about McCaffrey is that he stayed healthy in his career so far.  Marshall Faulk, for example, had over 400 contacts with the ball in his 5th season. And in his 6th year, he had a 1000 + 1000 season. In his 7th season, he was the MVP of the regular season and in the 8th season, he had over 2000 scrimmage yards for the fourth time in a row. If Carolina decides to lower the usage of McCaffrey on some 350 contacts with the ball per season, it’s very possible that he can be productive during the next six years.

What if McCaffrey starts to decline with his production? Carolina can release him after the 3rd year, at the earliest. If they release him after the 2022 season, they would save 7.7M in cap space with 8.6M of dead money. If they decide to release him after the 4th season, cap savings after the 2023 season would be 12M, and dead money, in that case, would be the only 4.3M. On the other side, this can be a reason for the concern of owners if they decide to draft/keep McCaffrey on a new contract. If we suppose that McCaffrey can decline to the level of Gurley’s declined last season, McCaffrey probably won’t be cut. Carolina doesn’t have on a roster 35M+ QB, doesn’t have a top-paid defensive player in the league, and doesn’t have CB who is waiting to become the highest-paid player on his position.

Milos Ljubic is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Late Round Dart Throws for the 2020 NFL Draft

Author: Chris Wolf

With draft season upon us there are more uncertainties than usual. Due to COVID-19, NFL teams are in uncharted territory when it comes to the rookie draft. The NFL mandates that team Owners, General Managers, Head Coaches, and Directors of Scouting must be separate during the draft and are allowed one IT person to be present during the draft. You can view an inside look as to the world we live in ​here​.

A big issue, according to several NFL executives, is the 2nd phase of the draft. The second phase begins when the draft is complete and non-drafted players are able to sign with NFL teams. These undrafted free agents are free to sign with the team of their choice when they come calling.

The problem that teams face is the unusual lack of information when it comes to draft eligible players. Normally, NFL teams are permitted to transport up to 30 draft prospects to their facility for medical exams, interviews, and additional testing during the pre-draft process. Many players and teams were shorted this experience in 2020. Instead, teams must rely on private pro-days without a team representative present. The workouts have been awash with sketchy editing, weird camera angles and it seems everyone runs the 40 in the 4.2’s during the pandemic.

Listed here are five future NFL players with an estimated 2020 cap value. So, let’s take a look at some players that may be late round draft picks or UDFA’s that you might want to keep your eye on during your fantasy draft or free agency period.

QB Jake Luton – Oregon State

Luton is considered to be one of the top 10 QB prospects in this year’s draft class. With three years starting experience at Oregon State, Luton has put together an impressive resume in his tenure with the Beavers. Luton improved every year in passer grading including going for 28 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions in his senior campaign. As a two star recruit coming out of Washington, Luton accepted an offer to play at Idaho. He redshirted there and then transferred to Ventura Community College. During his lone season at Ventura, he posted a 3,551 yd/40 TD line white adding 175 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground.

Sporting a 6’ 7” and 230lb frame, Luton offers above average pocket presence and escapability. He is absurdly accurate when given a clean pocket and is very proficient in the play action game, whether under center or in shotgun.

Playing in a limited offense for Jonathan Smith at Oregon State, we may not have seen what Luton was capable of. Luton should be a day 3 pick and does not project to be a year one starter but he offers potential in the right system and just might be a good stash on your practice squad.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $650,000-$800,000

WR John Hightower – Boise State

If it were any other year and the 2020 wide receiver class wasn’t so inslanely loaded, we would be talking about John Hightower being drafted in the 2nd round. A deep threat out of Boise State, by way of Hinds Community College in Mississippi, Hightower is a speed demon with above average ball-tracking ability.

His 2019 season saw him catching 51 balls for 943 yards and 8 scores. His impressive 18.5 yards per reception ranked him 5th in the nation (of those with more than 50 receptions) albeit playing against lesser competition in the Mountain West division. Hightower is not a tackle-breaker by any means. In fact, he is more of a catch and get tackled or catch and score type of player.

Evans is a vision runner that would excel with better blocking in a zone themed rushing attack. NFL teams will love the fact that he rarely fumbles and has some receiving chops. In 2019 he was able to carry the load for Appalachian St turning 256 attempts into 1484 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding 198 yds through the air.

What he lacks in elusiveness, he makes up for in vision and big play ability. Evans was able to bust out 28, 20+yd runs ranking him 3rd in the nation. At 5’10” and 203lbs soaking wet, Evans projects as a speed back in a complimentary role at the next level. Because the NFL is finally realizing that you can find quality running backs in the later rounds, expect Evans to go late in the draft or be signed quickly as an UDFA.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $630,000

RB/WR Antonio Gibson – Memphis

With fresh legs and insane explosiveness, Antonio Gibson is going to make some NFL team very happy. Gibson is undoubtedly the most talented yet anomalous selection on this list. His limited use at Memphis was a head scratcher with only 307 career offensive snaps.

He appears to be built in a lab with a solid base and supreme athleticism, his game oozes with quickness, bounce, and crazy tackle breaking ability. With an insanely limited 77 career touches; Gibson broke 16 tackles on 33 rushing attempts and 17 tackles on 38 receptions. That is enough to make any NFL GM drool over the possibilities. He is listed on several draft boards as either a WR or RB but should find work somewhere in between with his new employer.

He does not run the most polished routes and could do a better job of catching the ball away from his body, his incredible athleticism will translate well to catching balls coming out of the backfield or close to the line of scrimmage. The NFL seems to be finally coming around to the usage of athletes like Gibson (RIP Tavon Austin and Corradele Patterson fantasy owners). He should be a round 2-4 selection in the NFL draft and an early to mid round 3 pick in Dynasty Rookie drafts.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $860,000

TE Harrison Bryant – Florida Atlantic University

The list would not be complete without a tight end in what appears to be an underwhelming draft class for the position. Typically, tight ends outside the top three taken don’t get love in the fantasy community but Harrison Bryant is a name you may want to be familiar with. With a 6’5” 240lb frame, Bryant is a solid route runner that brings physicality to his game.

Bryant will not be confused as a good or even competent in-line blocker, his fantasy relevant abilities are why we’re here. In three seasons of work at FAU, he has compiled a resume consisting of 142 receptions on 197 targets for 2,076 yards while hauling in 18 TD’s. While he’s not a seperator like George Kittle or Noah Fant, he is a good seam stretcher that has a knack for finding openings in coverage. He reminds you more of a Cam Brate or Hunter Henry type player that bails out his QB with his smarts.

Smooth enough to create missed tackles and strong enough to gain some yards after the catch, he became a drop monster in 2019 totaling an alarming 8 drops. These drops appear to be fixable since they are mostly concentration drops and not ones that seem to be technique issues. That being said, his toughness with the ball in his hands and his contested catch prowess, he should be the 5th to 8th TE taken somewhere in rounds 5-7 at the end of April.

Although the players on this list may not and probably won’t be much more than year 1 bench stashes, they are still worthy of consideration for dynasty fantasy football purposes. These players are the ones you want to keep in mind if your rookie drafts get into the 3rd, 4th, or 5th rounds when the notable players are scooped up and you’re at a loss. With all of the uncertainty in this year’s pandemic influenced draft, you just might be able to find a gem in the late rounds.

Estimated 2020 Salary: $650,000

Follow us on Twitter: @DynastyOwner