Re-Examining Early 2018 RSO Auctions

Updated: March 23rd 2019

Many leagues will start-up after the upcoming NFL rookie draft.  Now seems a good time to look back at how RSO general managers spent their cap dollars in 2018 and what type of production they received for their investment.   The article will not focus on which players performed well or poorly but rather on where dollars spent in RSO auctions translated to fantasy points for various positions and how that changed throughout the given salary ranges for different position groups.  Examination of this information gives us some broad ideas of where our contract dollars can be utilized most effectively going forward.

The data below will show the average auction values plotted against per game fantasy production for the top-30 at each position with polynomial best-fit trendlines to give the reader an idea of expected fantasy scoring at different salary levels for each group.  Using per game instead of season long fantay scoring normalizes production differences due to injuries.  The salary data was taken from June and prior RSO auctions after the NFL draft and opening free agent period in 2018.  The salary data combines many scoring systems so 0.5 PPR scoring was utilized as a middle ground for comparison.  The group excludes Jerick McKinnon, Le’Veon Bell, Derrius Guice, and Hunter Henry who all missed the entire NFL season.

Running Backs and Wide Receivers

We start with running backs and wide receivers as they show some similarities in the data and for fantasy teams.  These positions typically represent the backbone of most fantasy squads given the majority of league settings when compared to quarterbacks and tight ends.  When looking at the data, note the more linear production tendencies from running backs and wide receivers throughout the salary range.  This simply means that additional auction dollars spent at those positions tended to translate to fairly uniform increases in fantasy production.  This certainty is a key consideration when determining how to split your auction dollars among position groups.

The charts also show a similar average salary range for running backs and wide receivers except for a couple of exceptions.  Saquon Barkley was a big outlier in the early running back data with an average auction value of about $58 million per season in a limited number of auctions which was more than $17 million above the next back, Todd Gurley.


Auction Values vs Fantasy Output for Running Backs and Wide Receivers

There are a couple of differences between these groups we need to address.  Running backs had higher expected production near the upper range of corresponding salaries while wide receivers led the way at the lower end.    Seven running backs outscored the top wide receiver in per game scoring in the 0.5 PPR format.  Wide receivers came with less risk overall, though.  The variance of outcomes for wide receivers was narrower overall and they missed far fewer games.  The top-30 priced running backs averaged only 11.4 games played while wide receivers averaged almost 14 games.


It is readily apparent how different the data looks for quarterbacks.  The salary range for quarterback is, unsurprising, lower than running backs and wide receivers.  Many league settings necessitate this fact because of limited starting requirements of quarterbacks.  The trendline also becomes far flatter at a much lower relative salary ranking for quarterbacks meaning RSO owners did not see much additional fantasy scoring for the additional money spent on the top priced quarterbacks.  The main problem centers on opportunity.  The top-10 highest paid running backs, for example, averaged 21.3 opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets) per game, the next ten averaged 15.2, and the final group averaged 13.  We have a decent idea of differing roles running backs will have going into the season which allows us to project variation in volume and thus differences in fantasy production.

The problem for quarterbacks is that we do not have the same type of variation in opportunity to guide us in assigning salaries.  Starting quarterbacks usually take all the snaps in a game whether they are one of the best or a middling example and thus get all of the opportunities.   The top-10 highest paid quarterbacks averaged 37.7 opportunities (passing plus rushing attempts) per game, the next ten averaged 37.5, and the final group averaged 32.  The middle tier of quarterbacks receives virtually identical workloads as the top players which resulted in similar fantasy production.  Few quarterbacks can consistently separate themselves in fantasy with the lack of difference in opportunity.

Auction Values vs Fantasy Output for Quarterbacks

It might help a little to break the information in a different form below.  The top-10 highest paid quarterbacks averaged 20.2 fantasy points per game at an $18 million salary while the next ten highest paid quarterbacks averaged 20.1 points per game at only $10 million salary.  There was virtually no difference in scoring between the top and middle tiers.  The top-10 did provide a safer option with far less variance and a safer floor than the middle tier, however.  Note there exists a significant difference between the cheapest quarterbacks and the rest.  Teams do try to limit the role of the worst quarterbacks which, when combined with poor performance, results in less opportunities and fantasy production.

Auction Values and Fantasy Output for Quarterbacks Tiers

Tight Ends

The data for tight ends might be even more out of line compared to the other positions with increasing marginal fantasy points near the top of our salaries.  Much of the reason is that we saw historic production from a couple of the top tight ends.  Three players topped 1,300 receiving yards and/or 100 receptions.  Travis Kelce and Zack Ertz obliterated the production of their previous top seasons.  One must go back to 2011, in the glory days of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, to find a season even close in production at the top.  It is a good bet we will see a reduction in the output of the top tight ends in 2019.

Auction Values vs Fantasy Output for Tight Ends

There was big value to be found at bargain prices also.  George Kittle and Eric Ebron also put up huge career seasons averaging less than $5 million in RSO leagues.  Investing in the lowest priced tight ends is a gamble, but a cheap one, with a massive range of potential outcomes.  That large range of outcomes for the the cheaper tight ends is largely the result of unknown offensive roles which remain largely shrouded in mystery before the NFL season begins.

Primary Conclusions

  1. Place your big money in wide receivers and running backs. We more accurately project those groups in comparison to tight ends and quarterbacks because we generally have a better idea of differences in expected volume for players. Confidence in the application of our cap money for these positions translates throughout the range of salaries.  Most league settings also dictate spending bigger in these areas for pure value reasons.
  2. The middle class rules for quarterbacks. We see virtually no difference in opportunity from the top quarterbacks and middle options. The difference in skill is not enough to make up for the lack of difference in volume.  Playing the value game at quarterback is a viable option, even in superflex leagues, though it comes with more volatility.
  3. The tight end position remains an either/or proposition. The upper class of players can provide very big returns on your RSO dollars. The well-established middle class typically does not offer much upside over lower-tier options but does come with a lot less risk.

Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.


More Analysis by Bernard Faller

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: WRs

Updated: August 18th 2018

The early RSO auction value examination concludes with the wide receiver position.  Receivers offer the most choices among fantasy positions with the deepest group of quality options available.  The problem with all that depth is the lack of clear separation in projection from one player to the next, especially as you move away from the top performers.  Let’s take a look at some of the top paid receivers in RSO leagues working through some of the good and bad situations to get a better grasp of players for the coming season.

The reader may find links to previous articles in the series below in preparation for upcoming auctions.

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: QBs

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: RBs

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: TEs


Average RSO Wide Receiver Contracts

Top Targets (WR1-9)

The case for Brown is very easy.  He finished inside the top three wide receivers in PPR leagues since every season since 2012.   Hopkins garnered 151+ targets each of the last three seasons.  Apparently only Brock Osweiler can limit his fantasy success.  In case you forgot after an injury ruined his 2017 season, Beckham Jr. has never finished outside the top-4 in PPR points per game.  There is more volume competition in New York than ever before with second overall pick Saquon Barkley and second year phenom Evan Engram.  Thomas racked up an absurd 52% of the Saints receivers’ targets in 2017 on his second consecutive year with at least 92 receptions and 1,137 yards.  That percentage of the pie probably decreases in 2018 but an increase in New Orleans passing volume could balance the effect as the Saints went from one of the most pass happy teams to middle of the pack last season.  The inconsistency of Jameis Winston and random nature of touchdowns is in full view when one looks at Evans who scored 12 touchdowns in two seasons and five or less in his other two years.  He holds a decent floor with four 1,000 yard seasons to start a career.  Allen averages 163 targets, 112 receptions, and 1.396 yards per 16 games over the last three seasons and the Chargers lost potential breakout Hunter Henry already.  For whatever reason, Jones has never been a huge touchdown scorer finishing with just three TDs last year.  That means a potential discount for a player with four consecutive 80+ catch, 1,400+ yard seasons.  2017 also felt like a disappointing year for Green who saw his lowest standard PPG of his career.  Look for a rebound from Green and a Cincinnati offense who struggled last season with injuries and an underperforming offensive line where upgrades have been made this offseason.  Adams scored 22 touchdowns the last two seasons and gets back Aaron Rodgers.  This is still a player averaging below 12 yards per reception for his career with no 1,000 yard receiving seasons.

Potential WR1s with Risk (WR10-22)

Hill might count as the most explosive player in the NFL with six 50+ yard plays last season.  His relatively low volume combined with increased target competition and new quarterback makes for a risky WR1 option.  Robinson produced a huge 1,400 yard season in 2015 but the resume is barren otherwise. Uncertainty abounds returning from an ACL-tear with a young QB and unknown role in new offense.  Cooks posted three consecutive 1.000 yard seasons with Brees and Brady at QB.  No receiver in a Sean McVay offense (Washington or the Rams) amassed a 21% target share in any of the last four years.  Thielen and Diggs should dominate targets in Minnesota from new QB Kirk Cousins on what should be a quality passing attack.  Cooper ranked just 51st in receiving yards from a disastrous 2017 season despite a monstrous 210 yard game.  New coach Jon Gruden gives hope to those looking for a return to Cooper’s promising first two years.  Jeffrey played through a severe shoulder injury last year and might not be ready to start the season but remains one of the top targets in the Eagles passing attack.  The 21 year old Smith –Schuster impressed his rookie season gaining 75+ yards in 5 of his last 7 games.  He remains behind both Brown and Bell for targets in the Steelers’ offense but looks like a quality long-term investment.  Baldwin should dominate targets on a depth chart with little competition.  Questions surround the Seattle wide receiver going into season with a mysterious knee injury that will keep him from most of preseason.  Davis is a popular breakout receiver on a revamped Tennessee offense with new coaching staff.  Lot of competition for targets exists on a likely low-volume passing attack in Cleveland where Landry and Gordon will fight for main billing.  Landry’s prospects increase daily as Gordon remains away from camp.   The depth chart in Indianapolis behind Hilton is one of the shallowest in the league.  His top-level production possibilities remain tied to Andrew Luck’s health.

Lots of Quality Options, Upside, and Questions Left (WR23+)

Detroit boasts one of the most stable WR duos in Tate and Jones on a regular top-10 volume passing offense.  Thomas leads the Denver receiving core with what should be an upgrade at QB.  Fitzgerald posted 108+ receptions in three consecutive seasons and gets check-down machine Bradford at QB.  Kansas City paid Watkins a huge amount to be a big part of the offense but his role is uncertain given the other weapons for the Chiefs.  The Rams’ receiving core projects as a three-headed monster with similar target shares for Cupp, Woods, and Cooks.  Funchess’ role becomes unclear with the addition of rookie Moore plus the return of Olsen and Samuel.  Will Parker take control of a Miami receiving group previously predicated on short passing to Jarvis Landry?  Crowder heads a deep receiving group in Washington with lots of talent but injury questions and little on-field production.  Is Edelman the same player at 32 after a torn ACL and PED suspension?  Will Bryant find a meaningful role in a revamped Oakland offense?  Benjamin should be a target hog on one of the worst offenses in football.  Similar to Benjamin, Crabtree could head the receiving core for a low-upside, Flacco-led Baltimore offense.  Nelson goes from one of the most efficient passers in history (Rodgers) to one of the least efficient passers in his time in the league (Carr).  An owner can pay WR4/5 prices for Garcon and Goodwin on a projected top-10 passing offense.  Anderson is the top receiver for the Jets but could be hit with a suspension at any time.  Cobb remains a quality flex option as the WR2 on a Rodgers-led passing attack whenever he is healthy.  Questions remain on how long that may be.

Interesting Names outside the Top-50

Hogan (55) is the only returning starting receiver for New England from last year with Edelman suspended to start the year.  Sanders (59) suffered through bad QB play and ankle injuries in Denver last year but could achieve near-Thomas target levels.  It is conceivable Stills (60), Wilson (93), or Amendola (99) ends up leading the Dolphins in receptions.  Lockett (63) flashed explosive play-making ability at times in Seattle and the Seahawk receiving depth chart is very shallow, particularly with questions about Baldwin’s availability.  Matthews (68) might still be the number one target in Tennessee with a new, hopefully improved, offensive scheme.

Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: TEs

Updated: August 2nd 2018

Our early RSO auction value examination moves to the tight end position.  The group is among the least valuable positions in most fantasy football leagues with very few reliable options.  What little value exists overwhelmingly resides in the top few options.  The combined duties of blocking and receiving for most tight ends make weekly fantasy consistency an issue.  The NFL has seen an injection of talent at the position in recent drafts, however, and we are left waiting to determine who will emerge.

The reader may find links to previous articles in the series below in preparation for upcoming auctions.

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: QBs

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: RBs

Average RSO Tight End Contracts

Set It and Forget It (TE1-3)

We have a new player atop tight end salaries for the first time in recent memory.  The dynamic Kelce finished each of the last two seasons as the overall TE1 accumulating 83+ receptions each year.  He carries more uncertainty going forward with brand new starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, and increased target competition in the form of heavily paid Sammy Watkins.  No tight end provides the kind of advantage Gronkowski does on a weekly basis.  He possesses ridiculous yardage and touchdown upside from being tied to one of the best quarterbacks of all time and atypical usage with deep targets abound.  The entertaining “Gronk” has not closed a season outside the top-8 in points per game since his rookie season and only once during that time has he not ended as the overall TE1 or TE2 in PPG.  Health remains the primary concern for someone who has not played a full 16 games in the last 6 seasons.  The model of consistency award goes to Philadelphia Eagle Zach Ertz who comes at a discount compared to the top two tight ends but without their upside. His receptions ranged from 74 to 78 over the last three seasons while his yardage spanned from 816 to 853.  The touchdowns spiked in 2017 doubling his previous high to eight resulting in the TE3 scorer.  He is a candidate for negative touchdown regression correspondingly with his third year signal caller Carson Wentz.

Uncertainty Already (TE4-8)

Engram  produced one of the top fantasy seasons from a rookie tight end thanks in part to a rash of injuries to Giants’ receivers.  Volume likely drops significantly in 2018 with the return of Beckham and a more balanced offense including top pick Saquon Barkley.  Engram should see a spike in efficiency to counterbalance the reduced volume.  Offensive line deficiencies forced Engram to lineup as an inline tight end nearly 70% of the time and reduced his receiving usage to primarily low depth of target opportunities.  Offensive line upgrades this offseason should allow deeper routes and more usage at his natural move tight end spot where his ridiculous 4.4 forty speed and dynamic receiving skills can be better put to use.  Foot injuries doomed Olsen to his worst season as pro in 2017 but previously he posted three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons.  A lot of changes occurred in the offseason with new offensive coordinator Norv Turner and the addition of 1st round wide receiver D.J. Moore plus the return of last year’s second round pick Curtis Samuel.  We have also seen time and time again how foot injuries linger contributing to other lower body problems and late-career (Olsen is 33) injuries are especially difficult to come back from.  Graham is not the same dynamic player he once was thanks to a serious knee injury but any receiver, particularly one with Graham’s receiving skill-set, holds massive touchdown upside in Green Bay.  The story for Reed never changes.  He remains one of the top options at the position when he plays finishing as the PPR TE1 on a per game basis in 2016 and 2015.  Unfortunately he never played a full season in the NFL.  Gesicki showed off an amazing athletic profile at the NFL combine and there are a lot of targets up for grabs in Miami.  Rookie tight ends rarely do much of anything.  Do not get sucked in.


Young Upside Plays and Low Upside Veterans (TE9-15)

The Browns hope last year’s athletic first round pick Njoku makes a big second year leap.  He must contend with another athletic player, Seth Devalve, for tight end targets with a low volume passer and a receiving group which added target-hog Jarvis Landry.  Rudolf exceeded 532 yards in a season just once while averaging less than 10 yards per reception over his career.  The huge tight end holds solid touchdown upside which keeps him the low end TE1 conversation.  An ACL tear already ended the season for Henry.  He is a strong long-term buy grading out very well his first two seasons in the league.  It is conceivable Burton, who Chicago paid a lot of money in free agency, becomes the focal point of an almost completely rebuilt Bears passing attack.  The undersized former undrafted free agent might also remain a limited-use niche weapon in the passing game.  Walker posted four consecutive 800+ yard seasons while never exceeding 7 touchdowns.  Look for mid to low TE1 numbers again on a team without much in receiving weapons.  The uber-athletic Kittle represents a cheap option for those looking to get a piece of the Garoppolo-led San Francisco offense on a team without much in redzone targets.  He ceded more work to running-mate Garrett Celek in the second half of the season, never seeing above 56% of the snaps in the last eight games.  The story of Eifert reads similarly to Reed.  He grades out as one of the top all-around tight ends when on the field and an unstoppable force near the endzone.  Unfortunately Eifert played just 39 games in his first five seasons and is not yet ready to go for training camp.

Cheap Flyers (TE16+)

The Indianapolis tight end battle will be fun to watch with Doyle and Ebron battling for targets and Andrew Luck seemingly set to return.  The Colts have practically zero proven receiving talent behind T.Y. Hilton and Luck has utilized multiple tight ends in the past so both could hold value.  Last year’s first tight end drafted, Howard, is likely blocked from big fantasy relevance this season with fellow tight end Brate in the picture and a strong receiving core for Tampa Bay but both tight ends could be stream-worthy.  Cook led the Raiders in receiving yards last season and Oakland lost target-hog Michael Crabtree.  The situation is murky with the addition of Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant to go along with a new Jon Gruden offense.  McDonald is easily the best receiving tight end in Pittsburgh and got more involved at the end of the year culminating with a 112 yard eruption in the playoffs.  Injuries and questionable hands have limited effectiveness over his career.  The best receiving option in Buffalo might be Clay who has over 500 yards in five consecutive seasons.  Buffalo could produce the most ineffective offense in the league with a rookie or backup level QB at the helm and Clay has not played a full season in five years.  Seals-Jones has a golden opportunity with the Arizona tight end spot up for grabs.   Jermaine Gresham is coming off an Achilles tear opening the door.  The former wide receiver found some limited receiving success last season but his prospects going forward will largely depend on if he can make himself into a competent blocker which would allow him to stay on the field for more snaps.

Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.


More Analysis by Bernard Faller

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: RBs

Updated: July 21st 2018

Our early RSO auction value examination moves to the running back group.  No other position offers the immense value upside possible with running backs or the basement-level downside associated with uncertainty in many backfields.  The investments an RSO owner makes at the position will go a long way in determining the success of their team.  The reader may find links to previous articles in the series below in preparation for upcoming auctions.

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: QBs

Average RSO Running Back Contracts

Potential Workhorses (RB1-10)

The expectations for Barkley are unbelievably high (probably too high) and it is shown in his contracts.  We must keep in mind the very small sample of rookies in RSO auctions, and one auction really distorted his price upward but even without that auction, Barkley still ranks as one of the highest paid players in RSO auctions.  Gurley, Bell, Johnson, and Elliott all bestow 2,000+ yard and 350+ touch upside for lucky owners.  Gurley likely sees some regression after one of the biggest fantasy seasons in recent memory.  Bell might start slow if he shows up late again due to his ongoing contract negotiation with Pittsburgh and has longer term question marks after this season.  Johnson carries increased downside with a bad offensive line and new quarterback at the helm in Arizona.  Elliott does not have the same type of upside as the other three in this group for PPR leagues.

Second year players fill six of the next seven highest contracts.  Kamara does not fit cleanly in this group of players but should see a slight increase in workload following Mark Ingram’s suspension.  His volume ceiling remains closer to 250 compared to the 350+ the top backs absorb which, combined with likely touchdown and efficiency regression in 2018, keeps him out of the top tier backs.  Hunt led the league in rushing last year, the second year in a row a rookie (Elliott in 2016) has pulled off the feat.  He remains a key piece for the Chiefs but the offense is riskier with second year Patrick Mahomes taking over at quarterback for the first season as NFL starter.  Cook returns from an ACL-tear after playing only four games last year.  Jerick McKinnon moving to San Francisco vacates a big chunk of receiving work in the backfield which is good news for Cook when he is healthy.  Fournette is the focus of the Jacksonville offense and the Jaguars added top free agent lineman Andrew Norwell to the mix this offseason.  He struggled with lower body injuries the last two seasons.  Gordon‘s 16-game average over the last two seasons is 297 carries, 1,650 total yards, 54 receptions, and 13 touchdowns.  His offensive line run blocking is near the bottom but could improve with some positive injury luck though the perpetually unlucky Chargers have already lost Hunter Henry for the year.

Committees, Rookies, and Bad Situations (RB11-26)

McCaffrey’s workload was very similar to Kamara’s last year and was near the top of backs with a 70% snap rate.  He gets a big PPR boost.  Mixon possesses one of the best all-around skill-sets of any young back.  The offensive line is a mess despite key offseason additions and underrated Gio Bernard will take significant work, particularly in the receiving game.  Freeman ranked no lower than 14th in PPR PPG the last three years though dropping significantly each year.  Fellow back Tevin Coleman’s significant presence limits Freeman’s touches.  No legitimate early down competition exists for Howard in Chicago.  New head coach Matt Nagy will employ a more pass-heavy scheme which favors fellow back Tarik Cohen as Howard is one of the worst pass catching backs in the league.  McCoy should rank as one of the top volume backs in 2018 with significant receiving work.  The Bills offensive situation is among the worst in the league after losing three quality offensive linemen, a complete unknown at QB, and limited receiving weapons.  The current allegations against McCoy make him a massive risk.  McKinnon lands in a great scheme which fits his skill-set superbly.  He may not receive the huge volume in San Francisco of other running back touch leaders.

This is the point where RSO owners start paying for the non-Barkley rookies.  Guice, Penny, Chubb, Jones, and Michel find themselves among the next nine highest contracts.  Guice should dominate rushing down work behind a good offensive in what should be a balanced offense for Washington.  Receiving specialist Chris Thompson limits his receiving game work.  Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said the team envisions Penny, a great size/speed specimen, as a “three-down back” after taking him in the first round of the NFL draft.  Penny was horrific as a pass protector in college and plays behind a very questionably Seahawk offensive line.  Chubb, a strong stout north south runner, will battle Carlos Hyde for work in Cleveland.  Like Guice, Chubb’s role will be limited with pass-catching specialist Duke Johnson on hand if he takes the early down spot.  The explosive Jones benefits from very limited competition in the Tampa Bay backfield.  His relatively slight stature may result in limited touches on a weekly basis.  Michel has a great all around skill-set for a great New England offense.  His role is uncertain in a deep, diverse running back group and he must clean up his fumbling issues from college.

The Titans’ new staff handpicked Dion Lewis who probably fits the new offense better than Henry.  Henry will have a significant role but is more game script dependent than Lewis.  Ingram’s upside is RB1 production once back from suspension.  The downside is a trip to Sean Payton’s doghouse and complete fantasy irrelevancy (See Willie Snead last year) with his suspension replacements showing well.  He is a risky buy.  Not a lot of talent exists behind Ajayi in Philadelphia with Corey Clement and a 35 year old Darren Sproles returning from an ACL tear as the top competition for touches, plus averaged 5.8 YPC behind a great OL there.  The Eagles have shown a penchant for using deep committees under head coach Doug Pederson no matter the personnel.  Opportunity exists for Drake who displayed true excellence following Jay Ajayi’s trade and heads a depth chart with only 35 year old Frank Gore and 4th round rookie Kalen Ballage.  Drake is a very lean back with extensive injury history and only held consistent fantasy relevance after Ajayi moved and fellow back Damien Williams was injured.  Miller logged one of the highest snap percentages in the league (69%) among running backs in 2017 and should see increased touchdown opportunities with better QB play.  Houston’s awful running scheme and league-worst offensive line, which did not add significant pieces in the offseason, caps efficiency and yardage total.

Question Marks (RB27+)

Collins came out of nowhere becoming one of the better rushers last year for Baltimore. Overall usage may be limited by more complete backs on roster, Allen and Dixon.  Freeman should dominate touches in Denver with a solid all-around skill-set.  The Broncos have a strange fascination with Devontae Booker in a questionable offense with new quarterback.  Johnson’s role in Detroit’s committee ranks among the most difficult to forecast.   Riddick projects as the better pass-catcher with Blount taking a lot of short yardage work.  The Indianapolis backfield’s fantasy value largely depends on the health of Andrew Luck.  New head coach Frank Reich likely uses a committee approach consisting of rookies Hynes and Wilkins with second year pro Mack.   No Green Bay running back ranks higher than 37th in average salary for a high scoring Rodgers-led attack.  That situation will change with word of Jones’ suspension as Williams will look to cement his place at the top of the depth chart.  Crowell walks in with the upper-hand for a low-upside early down job on a poor New York team with bad offensive line.  All kinds of questions exist for the new Jon Gruden Raiders.  That uncertainty extends to the Oakland ground game where RSO owners are not buying into any of the current backs.  32 year old Lynch leads a group which added Doug Martin to the mix this offseason.

Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.


More Analysis by Bernard Faller

Early 2018 RSO Contracts: QBs

Updated: July 4th 2018

My annual look at early RSO auction values begins at the quarterback position in 2018.  The series was designed to give the reader help in planning for upcoming auctions by looking at actual RSO auctions already finished.  The data comes from a variety of different types of leagues with varying scoring rules and starting requirements which can drastically alter player values so be cautious in expecting values to match your particular league.  The information does provide a useful starting point for examining how RSO owners value players at a certain position relative to one another and the length of contract they are willing to invest.

Average RSO Quarterback Contracts

Paying up (QB1-10)

Aaron Rodgers once again comes in as the most expensive quarterback.  The Packers lack any real speed threat at wide receiver which could hurt his efficiency somewhat but he is the best pure passer in the business.  Wilson seems an easy choice between him and Watson or Wentz at their similar contracts.  I detailed the potential pitfalls for Watson and Wentz coming after their super seasons in 2017.  No one should be paying for Luck at his QB7 price point given his substantial injury risk.  Newton and Brady provide similar upside at comparable cost without the risk.  The top-10 finishes with an interesting group of quarterbacks.  Cousins finished as a QB1 each of the last three seasons and now moves to a Minnesota team this year with arguably better receiving weapons.  The Vikings feature a far superior defense and better running game which might limit Cousins passing volume.  We only have seven starts over the last two seasons to evaluate Garoppolo from but that sample is truly extraordinary.   He completed 68% of his passes, averaged over 280 passing yards per game, and owns a monstrous 8.7 yards per attempt over that span on his way to a 7-0 record without a single poor start.  His quick release and consistent down-to-down play are easily evident on tape and only confirm the statistics.  Brees produced his worst fantasy season in recent memory thanks largely to a massive drop-off in passing attempts.  While we likely are through with the upper-600 yearly pass attempts which were previously routine, look for a bump in yardage and touchdowns this season.

The Value Tier (QB11-20)

This tier of players gives us both some nice reliable options and younger quarterbacks with upside but lots of question marks.  The tier is bookended by two second year pros.  Mahomes possesses an arsenal of quality receiving weapons in KC and a cannon for an arm with good athleticism. Will Reid be able to reign in his poor decision making and inconsistent accuracy?   Trubisky enters his sophomore year with a year of experience under his belt and new head coach Matt Nagy from the Reid coaching line.  Chicago undoubtedly upgraded the receiving options but one-year wonder Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, and rookie Anthony Miller are largely unproven.   Stafford represents a safe floor with no less than 4,200 passing yards in each of the last seven seasons.  Prescott looked like a rising young star his first year and a half with a super offensive line and run game.  He looked like a backup-level quarterback the second half of last season who completely fell apart when the offensive line took an injury-hit and Elliott missed time.  Goff went from one of the worst rookie seasons ever to one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league under Sean McVay.  Mariota and Winston enter the the final year of their rookie deals showing flashes of starting-level talent but neither living up to their lofty draft status so far.  Winston starts the year with a three-game suspension and will try to reign in his mistake-prone tendencies.  Mariota gets a new head coach but questions remain whether he is simply a quality game-manager.  Roethlisberger and Ryan give us good value at the 16th and 17th spot.  The Steeler quarterback has received a physical beating over the years but is still a quality fantasy and real-life producer at the position when on the field.  Ryan is a good bounce-back candidate who should see big boosts in yardage and touchdowns.  Carr has been one of the least efficient starters in the league over his four years in the NFL.  His contract could be cut following 2018 if things go poorly in the first year of the Gruden regime.

Going Cheap (QB21+)

Our rookie quarterbacks start coming off the board now (Note there was a limited sample of auctions with rookies as most went in rookie drafts).  Rosen leads the way soon followed by Mayfield, Jackson, and Darnold while Allen is an afterthought near the bottom of our top-40 list.  Jackson is a quality stash on your roster.  He has, by far, the most work to do to become an NFL-ready quarterback but is capable of 1,000 yard rushing seasons which translates to massive fantasy upside.  Allen probably ends up on a lot of my rosters at his next-to nothing cost.  Quarterbacks drafted that high almost always make it through their rookie contracts as starters, even bad ones (see Blake Bortles), and his athleticism with unworldly arm strength give him underrated fantasy possibilities.  Smith just posted his best season as a pro at the age of 33 and moves to pass-friendly Washington where Kirk Cousins posted multiple QB1 seasons.  The system and lots of receiving talent make a Rich Gannon-type late career finish possible.  No quarterback provides more value than Rivers if you are not spending big at the position.  He finished 8th or better in passing yards each of the last five seasons with four top-5 finishes and 12th or better in touchdowns with three top-5 finishes.  Taylor, Bradford, Flacco, and McCown/Bridgewater are wild cards who all have 1st round rookie picks drafted by their teams behind them.  The amount of games played this season by each largely depends on team circumstances where competitive teams probably keep the veteran in.  Injury concerns also follow Bradford.  Bortles, Manning, Tannehill, and Dalton all surprisingly enter the year with no significant competition, either through the draft or free agency, to replace them.   They each should be safe for another season.  You will not feel particularly good riding anyone of them each week but some combination of the four could make for an intriguing super-low cost weekly matchup-based unit for your team with all pricing in QB30+ territory.

Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

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