Top Dynasty Owner QB-WR Stacks

By Steven Van Tassell

Let’s continue with trying to help everyone win their Dynasty Owner League Championship by analyzing stacking a bit more and tackling the far more common practice of stacking a top tier QB and WR. As mentioned in last week’s article on Top QB-TE stacks (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/06/top-dynasty-owner-qb-te-stacks/), stacking is a tried and true fantasy football strategy, but one that is more difficult in Dynasty Owner than a typical redraft or dynasty league because of Dynasty Owner’s use of salaries and a salary cap – just like in the NFL. If you’re not familiar with stacking, then check out that article for an explanation.

As mentioned in last week’s article, our 2020 Chase for the Ring Champion Viktor and his Barbee Kilgore team (League #35395) had a three-player stack from the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. In a “regular” dynasty league, Viktor would have kept that trio for years and years. However, because of the increase in Mahomes’ salary from just over $4.1 million in 2020 to $45 million in 2021, he can’t afford this three-player stack anymore in 2021 and had to drop Mahomes for free and traded Tyreek Hill away. It’s a shame for Viktor, but good news for the other teams in his league and another thing that makes Dynasty Owner so much different than any other dynasty league.

This week’s article will focus on QB-WR stacks. Just like the previous article, in order to be listed as a stack, the duo had to have at least 300.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points with the QB scoring at least 200.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and the WR scoring at least 100.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the 13-game Dynasty Owner regular season. A total of 41 QB-WR combinations qualified based on these criteria, which is significantly more than the number of QB-TE stacks.

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.

For the purposes of this article, all 2020 statistics listed are from the Dynasty Owner regular season (Weeks 1 – 13). Projected statistics for 2021 are provided by Rotowire, posted on the Dynasty Owner app and website, and taken from the Mock Draft lobby at Noon on June 22nd. Salaries listed are from the 2020 and 2021 Dynasty Owner season respectively.

The Top and Best Value QB-WR Stack of 2020

Because the top QB-TE stack was Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, it shouldn’t be surprising that the top QB-WR stack of 2020 was Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill. The duo combined for 703.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 13 Dynasty Owner regular season games, an average of 54.1 points per game. Unlike the Mahomes-Kelce which performed at a high level nearly every week, the Mahomes-Hill stack was more up and down with a high of 108.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 12 and three more weeks of 60.0 or more points. On the flip side, they scored less than 50.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points five times and less than 40.0 points twice.

PlayerPositionTeam2020 Salary2020 Points2020 DD / PT*
Patrick MahomesQBKC$4,106,447423.1$9,706
Tyreek HillWRKC$18,000,000279.9$64,309
TOTALS  $22,106,447703.0$31,446

* DD/PT stands for Dynasty Dollars per Point (2020 Salary divided by Points)

Even though their salaries were over $22 million in total, the Dynasty Dollars per Point (DD/PT) value was only $31,446 which ranked as the 8th best QB-WR value in 2020. Of course, because of Mahomes’ salary increase to $45 million for 2021, last season was the last chance for Mahomes and any WR to be a top value for quite a while.

Not only was Patrick Mahomes involved in the top scoring QB-WR stack he was also involved in the best value stack. All Dynasty Owners are striving for value because of the salary cap and the best value stack of 2020 was Mahomes and Mecole Hardman. Hardman barely finished with enough Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2020 to qualify as he only had 102.6 points, or 7.9 points per game. Similar to Hill, he was very up and down as he only scored more than 10.0 points in four out of 13 games.

PlayerPositionTeam2020 Salary2020 Points2020 DD / PT
Patrick MahomesQBKC$4,106,447423.1$9,706
Mecole HardmanWRKC$1,248,763102.6$12,171
TOTALS  $5,355,210525.7$10,187

Overall, the Mahomes-Hardman stack was good for a total of 525.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and a DD/PT value of only $10,187. Due to the increase in Mahomes’ salary to $45 million for 2021, the Mahomes-Hardman stack is definitely not going to be the best value in 2021. However, the Mahomes-Hill stack could possibly be the top scoring one again albeit at a cost of $63 million in 2021, or almost half of the entire 2021 salary cap of $127.75 million.

Other Top Scoring QB-WR Stacks of 2020 and Likely 2021

The top seven scoring QB-WR stacks of 2020, including Mahomes-Hill, are still intact for the 2021 season. This is pretty different from the QB-TE stacks in which only three of the top six stacks are still together. All seven of these QB-WR stacks scored over 550.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points combined (42.3 points per game) and six of them had more than 590.0 points (45.4 points per game). Out of the remaining six stacks, all but one of them will also have the same combined salary in 2021 as they did in 2020. The only exception is Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals as Hopkins’ salary is increasing by a little over $11 million.

If those combinations can do it again in 2021, then Dynasty Owners would be advised to go draft Josh Allen and pair him up with either Stefon Diggs or Cole Beasley. Diggs will give your more Dynasty Owner fantasy points, but Beasley is the better value because his contract is almost half as much as Diggs’ ($7.25 million for Beasley versus $14.4 million for Diggs).

PlayerPositionTeam2020 Salary2020 Points2020 DD / PT
Josh AllenQBBUF$5,295,760377.2$14,040
Stefon DiggsWRBUF$14,400,000220.7$65,247
TOTALS  $19,695,760597.9$32,942

Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs will cost just under $20 million in 2021, but likely much more in 2021 after Allen either gets a new contract or plays for his fifth year option of $23.02 million. Either way, he’ll cost more in 2022 and they won’t provide nearly as much value as they did in 2020 ($32,942 DD/PT) or could provide in 2021 at their current salaries.

For those Dynasty Owners who have Allen but not Diggs, they could pair Allen up with Cole Beasley who still has two years left on his $7.25 million annual salary. That pairing scored 42.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game compared to 46.0 points for Allen and Diggs, but costs less on a per point basis.

PlayerPositionTeam2020 Salary2020 Points2020 DD / PT
Josh AllenQBBUF$5,295,760377.2$14,040
Cole BeasleyWRBUF$7,250,000176.7$41,030
TOTALS  $12,545,760553.9$22,650

Of course, Beasley is threatening to retire due to his belief that the NFL COVID-19 protocols are not fair to unvaccinated players. If this happens then that potential 2021 value stack is no longer.

Two of the top scoring 2020 stacks (Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf of Seattle and Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins of Arizona) will cost Dynasty Owners just over $36 million in 2021, or about 28% of the $127.75 million salary cap. Each one produced around 600.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the 2020 regular season and are projected to have a similar number of points in 2021. As a result, both will provide similar value in 2021.

PlayerPositionTeam2021 Salary2021 Projected2021 DD / PT
Kyler MurrayQBARI$8,789,661473.8$18,551
DeAndre HopkinsWRARI$27,250,000306.9$88,791
TOTALS  $36,039,661780.7$46,163
PlayerPositionTeam2021 Salary2021 Projected2021 DD / PT
Russell WilsonQBSEA$35,000,000460.4$76,021
DK MetcalfWRSEA$1,146,513305.5$3,753
TOTALS  $36,146,513765.9$47,195

The other two QB-WR stacks which both produced over 590.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2020 are from the Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams) and Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett). Both cost about $75,000 DD/PT in 2020 with Rodgers-Adams providing more Dynasty Owner fantasy points (648.3 versus 591.7 for Wilson-Lockett) and slightly better value ($74,040 for Rodgers-Adams versus $76,475 for Wilson-Lockett). While both QBs have three more years left at their current salary, Adams will be a free agent in 2022 and is extremely likely make more than his current $14.5 million salary and Lockett has signed an extension that will increase his salary in 2022 by $7 million. Both stacks should produce plenty of Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021 (provided Rodgers plays for Green Bay), but will be more expensive to own than the other QB-WR stacks that produced a similar number of points in 2020 and are projected to do the same in 2021.

Any Good Value Stacks for 2021 and Beyond?

As mentioned before, the top QB-WR value stack from 2020 is no longer a value with Patrick Mahomes’ salary increasing to $45 million. The second best value stack of 2020 is also not intact as Texans QB Deshaun Watson got a salary increase to $39 million and WR Will Fuller also got a salary increase, but had to go to Miami to get his $10.625 million salary. The Watson-Fuller stack only cost $11,018 DD/PT in 2020 and the only other QB-WR stack that cost less than $20,000 DD/PT consisted of Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown (386.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, $5.315 million in salary, $13,740 DD/PT). However, with 2021 being the last year of Jackson’s rookie deal and the Ravens bringing in new WRs who should overtake Brown as the top WR in Baltimore, that’s not an advisable long-term stacking option.

The sad fact is that there aren’t any value QB-WR stacks that appear to be rock solid for 2021 and beyond. Either the QB is too expensive, such as Justin Jefferson being paired up with Kirk Cousins and his $33 million salary, or the WR is too expensive, such as Justin Herbert having his top WR be Keenan Allen who has an annual salary of $20.025 million. The teams with rookie QBs such as Jacksonville, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and New England all don’t have a single clear top WR option to pair with that QB.

  • In Jacksonville, it could be D.J. Chark (1 year, $1.112 million) or Laviska Shenault (3 years, $1.924 million) who is the top WR in 2021 for Trevor Lawrence, or maybe it’s veteran Marvin Jones (2 years, $6.25 million). Which one (or two) of those three WRs do you choose as the stack?
  • Zach Wilson could throw the ball a lot to either Elijah Moore (4 years, $2.235 million) or Denzel Mims (3 years, $1.36 million) and provide plenty of value. However, the Jets also gave a big contract to Corey Davis (3 years, $12.5 million) and if he becomes Wilson’s top option, the Wilson-Davis stack not nearly as affordable or valuable.
  • Trey Lance has two great low-cost WRs to throw to in San Francisco with Deebo Samuel (2 years, $1.81 million) and Brandon Aiyuk (3 years, $3.13 million), but if TE George Kittle (5 years, $15 million) is healthy, he’s probably the real #1 receiver on the team.
  • Chicago has Allen Robinson as the clear WR1, but he’s on a 1 year, $17.88 million deal so he’s expensive and might not be in Chicago long enough to pair up with Justin Fields. Darnell Mooney (3 years, $894,263) could be the long-term option, but that stack likely won’t be star caliber in 2021.
  • If Mac Jones becomes the starter in New England, it looks like his top receiving options are either expensive TEs in Jonnu Smith (4 years, $12.5 million) and Hunter Henry (3 years, $12.5 million). Out of the WR corps, only Kendrick Bourne is signed for more than two years (3 years, $5 million) so he’s the only long-term affordable option.

If we expand the QB pool to second year QBs, then we have a few more options, but three of those guys (Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts) don’t have a clear WR1. Justin Herbert does, it’s just that Keenan Allen makes $20.025 million per year, so their combined salaries are almost $27 million. For the other three teams, it’s take your pick on who’s going to be the top WR.

  • Cincinnati has three WRs on long-term deals. Tyler Boyd (3 years, $10.75 million), Ja’Marr Chase (4 years, $7.55 million) and Tee Higgins (3 years, $2.17 million) are all quality WRs, but which one (or two) do you pick to stack with Joe Burrow?
  • Miami also has a lot of WRs. Will Fuller (1 year, $10.625 million) is expensive Both Davante Parker (3 years, $7.625 million) and Jaylen Waddle (4 years, $6.77 million) are lower cost and signed for as long as Tua, but which one of them is going to be better is an open question.
  • Jalen Hurts is the cheapest QB option out there at only $1.51 million, but his WRs weren’t very good last year and TE Dallas Goedert might be his top receiver. Both Jalen Reagor (3 years, $3.318 million) or rookie DeVonta Smith (4 years, $5.035 million) might be the WR1 for the Eagles in 2021 and beyond, but nobody is sure which one it will be.

There are so many options that it’s difficult to make the correct prediction and get both players on their rookie deals. If you make the correct selection, your Dynasty Owner team could have a great value QB-WR stack for several seasons. If you don’t choose the correct pairing, it won’t cost a lot of money but might waste a couple of prime years with a QB on a valuable rookie contract.

Conclusions

There are so many possible QB-WR stacks. This article only scratched the surface of the ones that could help lead your Dynasty Owner team to a title (and maybe a spot on the Chase for the Ring leaderboard). While there are several options that should produce lots of Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 2021, most of them are expensive already.

In terms of value, the sheer number of possibilities make it difficult to project the best value QB-WR stacks for 2021 and beyond. Dynasty Owners are left with a choice – choose a likely guaranteed high scoring stack at a premium salary, or try and determine which young QB-WR combination will be the second coming of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. It’s not as easy as it looks!

Dynasty Owner has great content coming to help you draft your dynasty. We can also provide guidance as you continue to tweak your roster after your rookie or start-up draft is over so you can win your league. My articles and videos to get you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team will be released now on Wednesdays. Keep an eye out for new articles from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owner writers as well. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is doing a deep dive on individual teams that you can check out earlier on in the week now as they will appear on Mondays. Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster and everyone will still get his insights on Fridays. All of the articles and videos will be released at 1 PM (Eastern).

Please read all of their articles and follow all three of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Hopefully this article is helpful for everyone who has a 2021 start-up draft coming soon, and at least interesting and stirs up some trade thoughts for those of you who have already drafted or have an established team. Thanks, and have a great day!

Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

The Top Five Players to Draft at Every Position

Author: Jay Poundsee

As we have all learned, Dynasty Owner is a far different fantasy football game than any of us have ever known. In this format, you will find more extraordinary differences in value than any other draft you have ever found yourself in. In my start-up draft, I watched players like Courtland Sutton and his $1,710,480 salary be drafted with the 34th pick. While a player like Julio Jones and his $22,000,000 salary fell to me all the way down at the 51st selection of the draft. Looking at these draft boards without any insight to the situation may be enough to drive the average man insane. The thought of trying to figure out how Mecole Hardman with a salary of $1,248,763 gets sandwiched between Keenan Allen at $11,250,000 and Stefon Diggs and his $14,400,000 salary may just drive you bonkers. Luckily, we at Dynasty Owner have your back and are here to help.

In this article I will be giving the top 5 players at each position I recommend targeting in your upcoming drafts. The requirements will be players with high upside, 2 or more years left on their deal, and under $9.9 (million) per year salary(5th year options will be assumed).

Quarterbacks

Let us start with what I feel is the most important position here in Dynasty Owner, which is the quarterback. The number one QB and most likely number 1 pick in every draft will be Lamar Jackson with 2 years at $2.3(million) left on his deal. He is almost a sure bet to be the best value in all of Dynasty Owner in terms of cost per point.

At number two, I have Kyler Murray, who has 4 years left at $8,789,661 per year. I have Kyler at number 2 because of the potential he showed in 2019 as a rookie on a bad football team. It also helps when you give a young talented kid a wide-out named Deandre Hopkins. Needless to say, the Arizona Cardinals are a must watch on TV this season.

At the 3rd quarterback spot has to be Daniel Jones with 4 years left at $6,416,014. I know the majority will have Josh Allen over Jones, but I feel Jones has more upside after the rookie year he just had. If you take Jones stats and stretch them out over 16 games, he would have broken Baker Mayfield’s rookie touchdown record of 27(paced at 32) along with roughly 350-400 rushing yards and that screams great cost per point at the quarterback position.

As mentioned above, I have Josh Allen at 4 with 2 years left at $5,295760. Allen has improved each year and seems to have a solid floor because of his rushing work near the goal line. When you pair that with a cheap salary it makes him an easy choice here.

Rounding out my top 5 is the incoming number 1 overall draft pick Mr. Joe Burrow at $9,047,534 and 5 years to go on his deal. I absolutely love Burrow’s potential as well as the sneaky good upside of the Bengals offense and what they have started to build around him in year 1. Burrow just had the best college season ever, while showing the most poise and confidence we have ever witnessed. He is still a rookie so for now he checks in at number 5. This kid has greatness written all over him!

Running Backs

With our next position, we will be talking about the running backs. In these rankings you won’t find any better than Saquon Barkley with 3 years left at $7,798,688. There isn’t much here to say about Barkley. He pretty much speaks for himself at this point, health is the only concern.

At number 2 I have Clyde Edwards-Helaire at $2,705,393 with 5 years left on his deal. I know hes only a rookie but looking back through recent history, first round running backs have always seen 200 plus touches (aside from Rashad Penny). If Joe Blow from the corner store was in this Chiefs backfield getting 200 plus touches at a low salary, I would want him on my roster. Let’s not forget the reports of Mahomes texting CEH during the draft saying “I want you on my team” or Coach Andy Reid’s Brian Westbrook comparison. I think it’s safe to say the chiefs have big time plans for their rookie.

At 3, I have Miles Sanders and his $1,337,544 salary with another 3 years to go in Doug Pederson’s offense. Philly’s running backs coach Deuce Staley has had nothing but high praises this off season about Sanders talent and his upcoming workload, which means big things are coming. Sanders is an immensely talented running back who broke out in the second half last year. I would rank him in the top 5 of all Running backs on pure talent alone.

At 4, I have Josh Jacobs and his $2,983,350 salary with 4 years left on his deal. Jacobs is a true workhorse who could use some work on his receiving, but he seems to have a remarkably high floor and a huge workload ahead of him.

Rounding out the running backs, I have Nick Chubb in 5th. His salary is $1,845,774 and he still has 2 more years left on his contract in Cleveland. The presence of Kareem Hunt is what puts Jacobs ahead of Chubb here.

Wide Receivers

Starting things off at wide receivers, I have one of my personal favorite young fantasy players in all formats and that’s DJ Moore with a potential 3 years left at $2,792,829. I love the upside of Moore and the potential he has shown his first 2 years and let’s face it, he’s yet to have anything but a below average quarterback throwing him the ball. The floor for DJ Moore is extremely high with Teddy Two Gloves in the mix. The next slot was tough for me as I am a diehard Ohio State Buckeye fan and love the upside mixed with production for Terry McLaurin.

With that said, at number 2 I have to go with AJ Brown at $1,413,092 and 3 years left on his deal. I think the upside of the Titans offense is far superior to The Washington Football Team giving AJ Brown a much safer floor and a higher ceiling going forward. In 2019 Brown had just under 19% of the Titans target share which is all but guaranteed to receive a boost in 2020. Somehow, despite all of that he was still able to produce 1,051 yards and 8 touchdowns. Once Ryan Tannehill (who the Titans resigned to a 4 year deal this past off season) took over, Brown exploded onto the fantasy scene.

My third receiver as stated above is Terry McLaurin, who I see as a target monster in Washington. We have all seen with targets comes production in just about all cases. McLaurin has 3 years left at $961,918 which is going to make him an amazing cost per point player in 2020 and years to come.

At number 4 I have DK Metcalf who has 3 years at $1,146,513 left on his deal. In 2019 Metcalf flashed tremendous potential alongside Russel Wilson. Anytime I can get a talent like that catching passes from a quarterback like Wilson sign me up.

At 5 I have my second DJ in DJ Chark JR at $1,111,807 and 2 years left on his current deal. The offense in Jacksonville doesn’t get my wheels spinning but Chark is too good of a cheap young talent to pass on.

Tight Ends

Finally, we have everyone’s favorite position the tight ends. My number 1 tight end here in Dynasty Owner regardless the requirements is none other than Mark Andrews with a salary of just $863,290 and 2 years left. I love the upside of Andrews in the Ravens offense where he played only 44 percent of the team’s offensive plays last year. With the way Andrews has produced thus far he’s almost a lock to be on the field more this season. Look for a big bump up in production for Mr. Andrews in the coming seasons.

In the 2nd spot, I have my breakout tight end in 2020, Dallas Goedert. Goederts salary is $1,406,068 and he has 2 years left on his current deal. I look for Zach Ertz to start showing his age and have a dip in production along with the Eagles receiving situation I look for Goedert to have a big year with a huge bump in targets this season.

At number 3, I have TJ Hockenson at $4,955,306 and 4 years left on his deal. Tight ends tend to take longer than any other position to transition into the NFL and with Hockenson at a cheap salary and potential high production coming over the next few years, he is a no-brainier for me to want on my roster.

Right behind Hockenson at number 4, I have his old Iowa Hawkeye teammate and freak athlete, Noah Fant. The Bronco tight end has as much upside as any young tight end at a salary of $ 3,147,680 and 4 years left in Denver. Which makes him a must have tight end in this format.

Bringing up the rear at number 5, I have Chris Herndon with 2 years left at $792,841. Herndon had a very disappointing year in 2019 with a suspension and 2 separate injuries holding him to just one catch for 7 yards. While 2019 may have been a disappointment, Herndon was excellent his rookie year breaking the rare 500 yard receiving mark for tight ends in their rookie year.

I hope this article helps all of you in your upcoming drafts and remember to always think about your salary next year, who has a new contract coming, and cost per point in this format it’s what will win you championships here in Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Dynasty Owner Amnesty Candidates – Part 1 (QBs and RBs)

Author: Steven Van Tassell

With the announcement of an amnesty provision for the 2020 Dynasty Owner season, Dynasty Owners should start thinking about what players on their current roster aren’t worth the cost of their salary and should be removed free of charge. The introduction of an amnesty provision for 2020 is important as some owners will be trying to fit under the $110 million salary cap for 2020 after possibly going as high as $120 million with their 2019 salaries.

There are a lot of players with big salaries in the NFL and some of those players will likely be released in the coming days and weeks. However, many high salary players might not be released, and that salary could still be sitting on your Dynasty Owner roster for 2020 and taking up valuable salary cap room. Room that Dynasty Owners could use to improve their team or pay for salary increases for better players.

There are plenty of “worthy” candidates for amnesty so we’re going to break it up. First, we will cover backs (QBs and RBs) who are owned in 50 percent or more of Dynasty Owner leagues and should be considered candidates for amnesty. The second article will cover receivers (WRs and TEs) using the same criteria.

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.

Aaron Rodgers Is a Prime Amnesty Candidate

Aaron Rodgers and his $33.5 million salary for the next three seasons is the top choice for a QB to use the amnesty provision on. The argument for getting rid of Rodgers is pretty simple. Are his Dynasty Owners getting $33.5 million worth of production from Rodgers or not? Rodgers was the highest salaried player in Dynasty Owner in 2019 and is tied for third highest right now with Jared Goff, only trailing Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger.  At $33.5 million, he’s taking up over 30% of your $110 million Dynasty Owner salary cap. Rodgers is rostered in 57% of Dynasty Owners, which is high based on his hefty salary.

In terms of production, Rodgers was the seventh best QB for the entire 2019 NFL season and ninth overall best player. Is he going to improve in 2020 at age 36 in the second year in Coach Matt LaFleur’s offense? If the answer is Yes!, then read no further. However, more likely than not, he isn’t going to be better than most of the six QBs who finished ahead of him in 2019 (Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Jameis Winston, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes). And who knows if he plays well enough to stay in the Top 10 in 2020.

Rodgers was also very streaky in 2019. He scored 62.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 7 vs. Oakland, but for the entire season, he only scored 20.0 or more Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 5 out of 14 Dynasty Owner regular season games. This is down from scoring that many points in 9 out of 14 Dynasty Owner regular season games in 2018.  He also didn’t clear the 20.0 mark in either Dynasty Owner playoff game in 2019. Dynasty Owners can’t afford to have their #1 QB who takes up 30% of their salary cap scoring less than 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in over half of his games.

If you have Rodgers on your roster as your #1 QB, you’re probably reading this and saying, “That’s fine, but who am I going to get to replace Rodgers as my starting QB if I drop him?” Great question!

For $5.5 million less, Dynasty Owners with Rodgers could pick up Kirk Cousins, who is owned in only 4% of Dynasty Owner leagues and was ranked as the 15th best QB for the entire NFL season. Cousins only scored a total of 19.5 fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points over the course of the 14-game Dynasty Owner regular season than Rodgers, an average of just 1.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. Despite a poor start to the 2019 season, Cousins had more games of 20.0 or more Dynasty Owner fantasy points than Rodgers (7 for Cousins vs. 5 for Rodgers). He may not be as big of a name as Rodgers (or have as many commercials), but Cousins could be a viable replacement for Rodgers in 2020.

Can Dynasty Owners Count on Cam in 2020?

That’s the question for Dynasty Owners with Cam Newton on their roster. A surprisingly high 80% of Dynasty Owner leagues have an owner with Newton and his $20.76 million salary on their roster. While it’s possible that Newton gets released in the off-season, it’s also possible that the Panthers keep him around for another season. After an injury plagued 2019 in which he didn’t look like the Cam Newton who electrified the NFL a few years ago, can Dynasty Owners afford to keep paying him nearly one-fifth of their entire team’s salary?

Even though his $20.76 million salary is only for one more year and he’s just the 16th highest paid QB in the league, Dynasty Owners can do better. If they have some salary cap room, Cousins is a possible replacement, they could draft a QB in this year’s rookie draft or look at the available QBs in their league’s Free Agent Auction.

Lesser Owned Quarterbacks Who Deserve to be Released

There are also a couple of additional lesser owned QBs who also deserve to be sent packing using the amnesty provision if you are a Dynasty Owner who still has one of these guys on your roster:

  • Ben Roethlisberger is currently the QB with the second highest salary in Dynasty Owner at $34 million and 35% ownership. Since Big Ben was hurt for all but two games in 2019 and will be 38 years old in March, his Dynasty Owners probably have another quality QB on the roster. If not, then pick up Cousins or wait and draft Joe Burrow, but whatever you decide to do, shedding Ben’s $34 million contract should be at the top of your off-season To Do list.
  • Nick Foles might be a $22 million backup in 2020 if he doesn’t beat out Gardner Minshew II for the QB job in Jacksonville. That’s way, way too much salary to spend on a potential backup who still has three more years left on his contract and probably isn’t getting released by the Jaguars in the off-season. Foles is rostered in only 6.5% of Dynasty Owner leagues and if you’re one of those Dynasty Owners, I’d use the amnesty provision on him and move on.

Release These #2 RBs Who Will Make More Than All but One RB in 2020

There are two highly paid RBs whose performance in 2019 ranked them as #2 RBs for their Dynasty Owner team. Both of them did not come near their salary ranking (second and third among RBs) and should be released by their Dynasty Owners. Both finished 14 spots worse in the Dynasty Owner season positional rankings compared to their salary ranking and are probably not getting released by their NFL teams anytime soon. Therefore, their Dynasty Owners will have to use the amnesty provision to unburden themselves of their high salaries.

  • Barring a huge salary being signed by Derrick Henry or another free agent RB, Todd Gurley will be the second highest paid RB in Dynasty Owner in 2020. His $14.375 million salary is on the books for three more years, taking up precious salary cap room for his Dynasty Owners. In terms of production, Gurley was ranked as the #16 RB in Dynasty Owner for the entire season, meaning he’s a #2 RB for his Dynasty Owner’s team. In 2019, he had just as many games with less than 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points as more than 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (3 each). The good news is that he produced consistently all season, the bad news is that this production is what you expect from the #2 RB on your team, not the second highest paid RB. He is owned in almost all Dynasty Owner leagues (98%) and his Dynasty Owners should strongly consider releasing him with the amnesty provision. And don’t forget that he also has arthritis in his left knee!
  • Le’Veon Bell was right behind Gurley in terms of salary (third highest for 2020 at $13.125 million for two more years) and production (ranked as the #17 RB in Dynasty Owner in 2019). The Jets might try to trade him, but because his contract for 2020 is fully guaranteed, they are highly unlikely to release him and allow his Dynasty Owners to walk away from that contract. That’s why Dynasty Owners with Bell on their current roster need to use the amnesty provision on him. Similar to Gurley, Bell also had as many games with 20.0 or more Dynasty Owner fantasy point games as he did games with 10.0 or fewer Dynasty Owner fantasy points (two each). Like Gurley, that’s #2 RB production for your Dynasty Owner team and not worthy of the third highest RB salary that takes up almost 12% of your entire $110 million salary cap.

To Amnesty or Not to Amnesty, That is the Question

David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals is another amnesty candidate because of his $13 million salary for 2020 (fourth highest among RBs) and poor performance at the end of the 2019 season. The Cardinals effectively turned the RB position over to Kenyan Drake after he was acquired mid-season from the Miami Dolphins, ending Johnson’s tenure as the team’s top running back. Even so, the Cardinals say they plan on keeping him for the 2020 season.

In the first six games of the 2019 season, Johnson was earning his place as ADP 54 and his Dynasty Owners were getting themselves an average of 20.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. After that, he managed to carry the ball only 18 times for 47 yards (2.6 yards per carry) and catch only 6 passes for 55 more yards and a TD – a total of just 19.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for the entire rest of the season.

The end of the year performance isn’t going to earn him his release by the Cardinals, even though Drake is a free agent. There are trade rumors about Johnson as well, which wouldn’t remove his contract from your Dynasty Owner team, but might help him better earn his $13 million salary and make him less of an amnesty candidate than if he stays with the Cardinals and they re-sign Drake. That’s why there is a question about whether or not to use the amnesty provision on Johnson.

I’ll Take Pass Catching RBs With One Year Left on Their Contracts for $5 Million, Alex

Answer: Dion Lewis and Duke Johnson

Question: Who are two primarily passing catching RBs Dynasty Owners might want to use their amnesty provision on?

First, we’ll talk about Duke Johnson who is owned in 95% of Dynasty Owner leagues and has a $5.2 million salary for 2020. Duke was the #30 RB in Dynasty Owner for 2020 and only produced six Dynasty Owner regular season games with more than 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. As the #30 overall RB, he slots as a fringe starter and bye week or injury replacement for his Dynasty Owners. That’s a lot for $5.2 million. It’s possible that he ends up as the top RB in Houston since both Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller are free agents, but even if that’s the case, is he worth $5.2 million of your salary cap?

Second, we have Dion Lewis and his $4.95 million salary for 2020. Lewis is rostered in 63% of Dynasty Owner leagues, but produced only 65.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (4.1 per game) playing behind Derrick Henry, who is a free agent. It’s doubtful that the Titans will make him the lead back, but it’s also possible that they don’t release him and his big contract before Dynasty Owners can amnesty a player. If he’s still on the Titans roster and your Dynasty Owner roster, he’s a great amnesty candidate and you can use it wisely to save you nearly $5 million.

Lesser Owned Running Backs Who Deserve to be Released

There are also a couple of additional lesser owned RBs who also deserve to be sent packing using the amnesty provision if you are a Dynasty Owner who still has one of these guys on your roster:

  • Giovani Bernard is stuck behind Joe Mixon on the Bengals depth chart and was the #64 RB in Dynasty Owner in 2020. His Dynasty Owners could keep Bernard around and hope that he gets released during the off-season or keep him into the 2020 season if he stays in Cincinnati in case Mixon gets injured. However, his salary cap hit is $4.85 million and that’s a lot of money for a backup RB, never mind the Bengals backup RB. If Bernard survives the off-season without being released, the Dynasty Owners who have him in 30% of Dynasty Owner leagues need to shed his salary by using the amnesty provision.
  • In case you forgot, Jerick McKinnon is currently the seventh highest paid RB in Dynasty Owner at $7.5 million, just behind Saquon Barkley and just ahead of Leonard Fournette. He was surprisingly selected by Dynasty Owners in 11% of leagues in 2019 even though he didn’t play at all in 2018. With Raheem Mostert under contract until 2021 and looking like the top RB in San Francisco, McKinnon will likely be battling to be a backup, if he’s not released by the 49ers. If the 49ers hang on to McKinnon, then his Dynasty Owners should use their amnesty provision on him and find healthier, cheaper RBs for their squad.

Conclusions

There is no shortage of backs, both QBs and RBs, who are prime candidates for Dynasty Owner salary amnesty. Dynasty Owners with one of these players on their roster could save several millions of dollars in valuable salary cap room by smartly taking advantage of this provision for the 2020 season. Aaron Rodgers, Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell top my personal list of players who should be considered prime targets for the amnesty provision, but there are plenty of others out there as well who are owned in 50% or more of Dynasty Owner leagues and likely not being released by their NFL team.

Part 2 covering receivers (WRs and TEs) who are prime amnesty candidates is coming soon. And there’s more great Dynasty Owner specific content coming on a regular basis during the Dynasty Owner “off-season” between articles, podcasts and Twitter. Thanks for reading and go start getting ready for the 2020 Dynasty Owner season!

Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner