2018 Rookie RSO Extension Candidates

Updated: September 26th 2021

The 2018 NFL rookie class plays the final year of four-year contracts in the NFL and most Reality Sports Online leagues this season.  These players represent extension candidates (among others on the final year of their RSO contracts) for RSO managers which utilize the extension option in their leagues.  This article examines the 2018 rookie class as to suitability for RSO extensions.  It also provides a useful starting place in evaluating trade targets based on extension possibilities.  Draft information comes from DLF Post-Draft Superflex ADP data.   Actual draft position may vary greatly between leagues.

Round 1

The tables below show players with overall and positional ADP, projected positional contract price, and recommendations on whether to extend the player.  The decision to extend really breaks down to if you believe the extension contract is cheaper than the market auction price or value for the player.  The below are general recommendations for extensions as there are a large number of factors to consider including league size, projected salary cap space in the league, the estimated free agent pool, and your own cap/roster situation among many others.   We should also note the NFL salary cap (and with it the RSO cap) is set to explode after the diminished cap effects of the COVID-reduced cap in 2020 are finished working their way through the NFL cap to go along with an eventual revenue boost from the new NFL television deal.  This, in general, makes gambles on extension contracts more palatable.  Many leagues also use the Reality Sports Online rookie option for 1st round draft picks adding an additional year to the contract which would eliminate the 2018 rookies drafted in the first round of your leagues from extension consideration if the GM exercised the option.

There is an extremely limited supply of running backs with the potential touch volume in the rushing and passing game as Barkley.  Coming off an ACL tear with diminished early performance might present lower extension prices and a unique opportunity to take advantage.  Chubb might be the best pure rusher in the NFL.   He’s a solid back-end RB1 but without an elite-level range of outcomes due to his quarterback for the NFL or fantasy football, stuck in the middle.  Mayfield and Darnold are quarterbacks stuck as QB2s in fantasy.  Neither is among the best passers in the NFL nor possesses much rushing upside.  This implies a limited fantasy ceiling that you will likely be able to obtain for less than the probable extension price.  On the other end, Jackson displayed league-winning upside already and a rock-solid borderline QB1 floor with over 1,000 rushing yards each of the last two seasons as a starting quarterback.  The price will be high but worth it in the right fantasy leagues.  Moore possesses all the traits you look for when signing a wide receiver to a long-term contract.  He put up quality production dating back to college with sub-par quarterback play, wins in a variety of ways on multiple levels of the field, and is an excellent athlete to boot.  He might not rack up elite numbers but is a young foundation piece, particularly in deeper leagues, who probably has not hit his prime yet.

Round 2

Ridley is among the best route runners at the wide receiver position and another receiver productive since he entered the NFL.  The only question is whether his extension price will be nearer the elite echelon rather than just an upper-level price.  Kirk and Gallup represent speculative low-cost extensions for players who flashed for decent portions of their rookie contracts and probably will be with new teams next season.  The reasons for extending Sutton mirror that of Moore.  Sutton is a prototype dominant X receiver with quality production despite awful quarterback play.  I was hoping a slow start coming off his ACL-tear last year would drive down his price but that might not happen now with Jeudy out.  Allen locked up a massive extension coming off a MVP-type 2020 season.  I don’t think it is reasonable to expect that type of production going forward but his rushing skills and massive arm give him one of the highest weekly ceilings among quarterbacks.  The extension price might push into the very top of the position which could make for a difficult decision.  Gesicki flashed at times but has not developed his route-running to consistently beat good coverage despite his athletic gifts and has shown to be more of a situational matchup player in the NFL.  Those aren’t the type of tight ends that typically get the playing time and target load necessary to produce consistent fantasy points.

Round 3

We might consider Hines a specialty extension candidate as a passing game specialist whose role doesn’t change much no matter if the lead is injured.  Indianapolis just extended him so there is some security.  Consider extending Hines in deeper leagues.  Everyone waits for the Eagles to finally move on from Ertz and give Goedert the opportunity he deserves as a top-6 PFF tight end each of his first three seasons.  He could get that chance during his second contract but it might now be for a different team as the Eagles somehow have not extended him.    Many people mistakenly thought Chark could morph into a potentially high target receiver after a breakout 2019 season propped up by a limited receiver room and an easy schedule.  The reality is his skills translate better as a complimentary deep receiving option for an NFL team.  The extension price will likely be too high for RSO GMs wanting to take a gamble on him.  While Andrews projects at the higher end of extension contracts for tight ends, it probably won’t be at the very top.  He just signed a massive contract extension in Baltimore and is one of the only proven receiving weapons for the Ravens.  The Baltimore offense caps the ceiling for Andrews but he is still one of the few tight ends who likely averages 5-6 targets a game.


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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RSO Roster Construction: Player Tier Variation

Updated: August 26th 2021

The question of optimal roster construction remains a mystery to many in RSO leagues.  How much should I allocate to different position groups?  How is the allocation distributed within each position?  How much should go to projected starters versus backups?  There exists practically near-limitless player combinations available to RSO teams and we can’t hope to cover any reasonable fraction of those.  This article gives a few examples of what various rosters can look like based on allocation of salary cap to different tiers of players.  The article utilizes average salary data taken from 2021 RSO startup auctions in order to construct 20-player rosters fitting near the RSO salary cap limits.  I assume 1QB/1SF/2RB/2WR and 1 or 2 flex spots in the starting lineup for this exercise.   I also allocated the same number of roster spots at each position for all rosters as a consistency measure.

The goal of this article is not to recommend individual players or even which type of roster construction is best.  League settings and conditions will have a big impact on the type of roster you desire on auction day.  The article does provide a starting point in evaluating different types of roster builds and the sort of trade-offs one must take into account when choosing how your team is constructed by examining a few rosters with differing cap distributions among players.

Top-Tier Heavy Roster

This roster pays a premium for the top contracts at each position.  The top-4 players combined for about 60% of the salary cap.  Interestingly, that number is significantly down from 2020.  This top-4 contracts would have cost about 75% of a team’s total salary last season.  These top-tier players show the most certainty in production which means this roster construction profile puts most of the cap dollars in highly reliable players.  The hope for this type of team resides in exploiting the consistent week-winning upside of the high priced players while getting just enough production from lower priced players.  The team has potential for extremely high weekly production in shallow leagues if it gets lucky and hits on one or two low-priced, low-probability players while avoiding injury.  The depth at wide receiver is a major plus for this strategy as low-priced viable options and young upside players exist throughout the lower price spectrum to fill a roster.  That strategy gets murkier as the number of required starters increases when more “hits” on questionable players are needed to produce a winning lineup.

The main issue with a team constructed this way is that many roster spots are filled with minimum salary and other low-cost players with very small odds of significant fantasy production.  There is little chance of seeing much value increases from these players.  Most trades will necessarily involve moving one of the prized star players to help alleviate any team deficiencies.  Any injury or underperformance of your star players is also a major issue for a team like this as there simply isn’t going to be a viable replacement in most cases.

Starter Heavy Roster

This roster variation divests cap dollars away from the very top-tier players to a degree.  Most of our salary is still allocated to the starters but is more evenly divided among them.  We can see that secondary starters see significant potential upgrades over the previous top-tier heavy roster and this roster type ensures a premium starter at the “start two” positions even in the case of injury.  The main question for teams utilizing this strategy is how they view the secondary starters.  The move away from the top-paid players may well be worth the cost if an owner sees potential top-tier production in the next tier of players.  There is also a depth cost to be paid with this build as the difference in price from top-tier downward is not as drastic as last season.

Balanced Roster

This distribution notably puts more cap dollars in potential flex starters and bench players.  The power of the middle-tier running backs this season, in particular, is highlighted.  Typically the “avoid zone” for running backs, the infusion of young running backs at the position recently allows for more flexibility in roster construction.  The flatter cap distribution approach displays two primary benefits.  First, the roster offers enhanced injury mitigation.  Unavailability of even the best players on this roster will potentially have a more diminished effect.  The statistical projections between players are less as the salary gap narrows.  There is a certain amount of “plug and play” replacement aspect here.  An RSO GM should feel fairly good about the weekly starting lineup, even on bye weeks.  Second, this type of roster construction acknowledges the inherent randomness in statistical production.  New coaching, surrounding personnel, schemes, schedules, etc. have major impacts on the fantasy performance of players.  Dividing money to more players allows additional chances on players with reasonable chances of significantly out-producing respective salaries.   There exists a good chance one of the backups produces at starter-quality as a replacement for an underperforming projected starter.

The downside to this build is a team will usually not have the potential weekly upside using this roster methodology compared to more concentrated distributions.  Even when many of the questionable players exceed expectations, they are unlikely to achieve truly top-tier production levels and many may not make your starting lineup.  This becomes less of a concern as in deeper leagues as more of the “hits” can be utilized on a weekly basis.


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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2021 RSO Contracts: TEs

Updated: August 16th 2021

My annual look at RSO auction values moves to tight ends.  The series was designed to give the reader help in planning for upcoming auctions by looking at actual RSO auctions already finished this year.  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.  Provided fantasy stats and rankings utilize per game PPR scoring.

Average RSO Tight End Contracts

Top Tier Contracts

It’s extremely difficult making a realistic argument against Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce as the top fantasy option at the position.  He finished as the fantasy TE1 each of the last FIVE seasons and is getting better, averaging over 100 receptions and 1,300 yards during the last three years.  Those are numbers a fantasy player would salivate over from their top wide receiver.  His situation with Mahomes projects as the top situation for fantasy.  The only minor question for Kelce is whether age (nearing 32) eventually takes a toll on his performance.  Pitts is the culmination of a dominating college player and athletic phenom taken as the highest-drafted tight end ever.  Rookie fantasy production is historically a horror story at tight end for even the best prospects but he won’t play much inline as one of the most skilled receiving talents ever drafted for the position.  Kittle ranked as PFF’s top tight end in 2018 and 2019 while still ranking fourth in an injury-riddled 2020.  The 49er star produces high efficiency receiving yardage thanks, in part, to being one of best at accumulating yards after the catch and scored 15 points per game each of the last three years finishing as the TE3 or better each season.  Waller produced another huge year after his breakout 2019 season.  The former college wide receiver particularly dominated the last seven games averaging almost 8 receptions and 110 yards per game.  The field could open up even more for Waller if second year receivers Ruggs and Edwards expand their games.

The Middle

Andrews finished as a top-five tight end the last two seasons thanks largely to seven and ten touchdown years.  The Ravens significantly upgraded the nearly non-existent wide receiver core through free agency (Watkins) and the draft (Bateman).  Baltimore’s Jackson-led, run-heavy offense limits the target potential and ceiling for the pass catching tight end.  Hockenson made a big second year leap essentially doubling his rookie year receiving totals.  A bare receiving group on a rebuilding Lions team with a quarterback in Goff who prefers short and intermediate throws open up immense target potential for the third year player.  Most people assumed Ertz would be gone from Philadelphia leaving the tight end position to Goedert and a potential fantasy breakout.  The fourth year pro graded as a top-10 tight end each of his first three seasons per PFF.  Ertz is surprisingly still on the Eagles making any breakout suspect as of now on a team with questionable quarterback play.

Take your Chances

Most of the players for the rest of this article could easily find themselves in the mid TE1 range all the way down to the lower TE2 group.  The difference from TE5 to TE25 was less than four points per game.  Prepare for weekly matchup plays if going with a few guys from this group.  The athletic Gesicki finished with career bests in receptions, yardage, and touchdowns.  Miami massively upgraded the wide receiver group with Fuller and Waddle while also using mid-range draft capital on another tight end leaving Gesicki’s role unknown moving forward.  Thomas benefitted from a dangerously thin wide receiver group in Washington with very risk-averse quarterback play for 110 targets in 2020.  Thomas barely averaged six yards per target and Washington also significantly upgraded the wide receiver group which dampens his expectations going forward.  Tonyan is the poster-child for touchdown regression after a ludicrous 11 touchdowns on just 59 targets for the TE5 finish.

There are a lot of moving parts in New England with completely different offensive philosophies depending on the quarterback.  Does Hunter Henry or Jonnu Smith carve out significant fantasy roles on a team without much in established wide receivers?  How much of a role can Irv Smith take on a run-heavy Minnesota team with two established quality wide receivers, even if he earns the third receiving option?  Engram projects for a smaller portion of the pass game with the Giants signing Kenny Golladay in free agency as the primary receiving option for a team with questionable quarterback play.  The Rams let Gerald Everett go in free agency and get an upgrade at quarterback with Matt Stafford opening up more possibilities for Higbee in the passing game.  Does Ertz remain in Philadelphia on a team with lots of questions at wide receiver and quarterback after a disastrous 2020?  Trautman has a golden opportunity to establish himself as a difference-making tight end on a team that let Jared Cook go and, with Michael Thomas out for at least a significant portion of the season, no established wide receivers.

Cleveland paid Hooper a lot of money in free agency last season but he finds himself in a run-heavy offense with lots of other dynamic receiving weapons and a deep tight end group.   Tampa Bay possesses perhaps the best receiving group in the NFL which puts future hall of famer Gronkowski squarely in the weekly upside touchdown-dependent streaming camp.  There is a chance for Kmet as a significant receiving option in Chicago.  Hurst finished as a mid-range TE2 last season on a team that essentially swaps Julio Jones for rookie Kyle Pitts with a new coach who utilized two-tight end formations at the highest rate in the NFL for Tennessee last year.  Everett played well in Los Angeles but didn’t get the chance for fantasy production with another good tight end.  The dynamic former second-round pick gets a quarterback upgrade and a shot as the clear third receiving option in Seattle.  Cook consistently puts up more yards than your average weekly matchup play thanks to his unusual deep threat ability at tight end where he posted at least 11.9 yards per reception each season after his rookie year.


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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2021 RSO Contracts: WRs

Updated: August 9th 2021

My annual look at RSO auction values moves to wide receivers.  The series was designed to give the reader help in planning for upcoming auctions by looking at actual RSO auctions already finished this year.  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.  Provided fantasy stats and rankings utilize PPR per game scoring.

Average RSO Wide Receiver Contracts

WR1s

It might surprise some that Jefferson ranks this high on the contract list.  The second year Minnesota receiver exploded in his rookie season for 1.400 yards and a top-10 fantasy finish despite coming out of the gate slow in his first two games.  The overall WR1 might be a bit hefty but not completely out of line as a locked and loaded WR1 barely starting his career.  Hill offers near-unparalleled weekly upside as the most dangerous receiving threat in the NFL combined with Mahomes at quarterback and adds additional rushing yardage.  The only potential concern is a target load not commensurate with the top wide receivers.  Metcalf also broke out in his second season with 1,300 yards and a top-10 fantasy finish as one of the most physically gifted wide receivers in the NFL with Russell Wilson attached.  The Seattle run-heavy offense, Tyler Lockett in tow as a co-WR1, and Metcalf’s limitations as a route-runner likely dampen truly-elite season long possibilities.  Once again, RSO GMs pay a premium for the top rookies and Chase is no exception.  It could be a slow start after a year away from the game.  Maybe the biggest surprise from last year is the way Diggs helped change the game in Buffalo with a massive first season for the Bills that ended with him finishing first in targets, receptions, and receiving yards.  He’s a strong bet to finish with another great year though some Josh Allen regression might pull him from the very top.  Ridley exploded as the WR4 last season for Atlanta and the Falcons lost superstar Julio Jones to Tennessee.  Does the Atlanta offense revert to a more run-heavy approach?  Is the addition of the highest drafted rookie tight end ever in Kyle Pitts enough to offset the loss of Jones and prevent stacking of defenses against Ridley?

The upside exists for Lamb to be one of the top fantasy receivers in the league depending on Cooper’s health and Gallop’s longer-term standing with Cowboys.  Brown has been one of the best receivers the first two years in the league ranking top-15 each season per PFF.  The addition of Julio Jones either limits volume in a run-heavy offense or opens up the field for a team with a possibly more passing.  Hopkins topped 150 targets each season the last half decade with an ascending quarterback.  Adams outscored Hill (the WR2) by almost four points per game thanks to an absurd 18 touchdowns in 14 games.  We can count on some regression in that category but Adams scored double digit touchdowns in four of the last five years with Rodgers at quarterback in Green Bay.

 

WR2s

The future holds significant uncertainty for Thomas with late summer ankle surgery and without Brees at quarterback.  Robinson keeps trucking along with quality fantasy seasons despite suboptimal quarterback play.  Does Chicago finally have an answer for their quarterback future and will Robinson be there for it? Allen caught between 97 and 104 receptions each of the last four seasons producing an extremely high PPR floor.  His role might not have a big ceiling in other formats.  The addition of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Curtis Samuel raises the Washington offensive ceiling and that of McLaurin after a great first two seasons with poor quarterback play.   Godwin suffered through injuries in 2020 while still managing a top-15 wide receiver fantasy finish despite playing with a crowded, talented group of play makers in Tampa Bay.  He was PFF’s highest graded receiver in 2019.  Cooper posted three consecutive 1,000 yard receiving seasons with Dallas.  There are some foot injury questions in a strong Cowboy receiving core.  Moore fought through awful Carolina quarterback play for consecutive 1,000 yard seasons and is still just 24.  The Panthers invested in Sam Darnold who has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL over his first three years.  Evans consistently dominates with at least 1,000 yard every season in the NFL and possesses extremely high touchdown upside.  As mentioned previously, Tampa Bay is loaded with receiving weapons.  The RSO community expects a big leap from Jeudy despite continued low-end quarterbacks and the return of Sutton in a young but strong receiving room.

WR3s and more

This tier of wide receiver contracts is the reason an RSO GM might choose to not invest heavily at the position.  It’s full of starting caliber players and receivers with lots of weekly upside.  Aiyuk blew expectations out the window once he received the chance to seriously contribute but must deal with the return of George Kittle and Deebo Samuel in completion for targets on a run-heavy offense.  Kupp finished with 90+ receptions the last two years while Woods ranked WR18 or better each of the last three seasons for the Rams and they get a QB upgrade in Matt Stafford.  Beckham missed out on Cleveland’s cupcake schedule finish after a season-ending knee injury but is reportedly ahead of schedule on his rehab in what should be one of the best overall offenses.  Johnson ranked sixth in targets last season thanks to some of the top route running in the league.  Julio struggled with injuries last season but was his normal efficient self last year when on the field and Tannehill is an upgrade on pure arm strength over the noodle-armed Ryan.  Waddle and Smith should assume significant roles as rookies in Miami’s and Philadelphia’s offenses.  Sutton displayed dominant traits in 2019 with abysmal quarterback play before an ACL tear ended 2020 before it began.  Lockett and Metcalf finished with nearly identical fantasy finishes but the former comes at sharp discount.  Golladay is already injured and the quarterback position got worse for him but he should be the primary target for the Giants.  Higgins and Shenault represent ascending second year players attached to the top selected quarterbacks in the last two draft classes.  The Bengals and Jaguars added significant offensive talent in addition to the quarterbacks.  Thielen caught a ridiculous 14 touchdowns on only 74 receptions, a figure set to reduce.  There’s not a lot of upside with Boyd but should provide a low-cost weekly flex option.  Samuel gives Washington much needed help in the passing game opposite McLaurin combined with understated rushing potential on a team without many significant options.

Beyond the Top-40

The receivers outside the top-40 still present considerable value and potential. Robby Anderson considerably out-targeted Moore in Carolina last season and gets old running-mate Darnold at quarterback on an offense which lost Samuel. Will Fuller produced an outstanding eleven games as the WR8 in Houston before suspension ended his year. Brandin Cooks has 1,000+ receiving yards in five of his seven NFL seasons and is the undisputed WR1 in Houston with the departure of Fuller. Antonio Brown and Michael Gallup should have stout tertiary roles on what should be excellent passing offenses. Rashad Bateman and Elijah Moore highlight rookies who showed well in the offseason and have chances for immediate significant roles.


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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2021 RSO Contracts: RBs

Updated: August 1st 2021

My annual look at RSO auction values moves to running backs.  The series was designed to give the reader help in planning for upcoming auctions by looking at actual RSO auctions already finished this year.  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.  Provided fantasy stats and rankings utilize PPR per game scoring.

Average RSO Running Back Contracts

RB1 s

Perhaps the most striking aspect for top running backs is how close the top contracts are together.  The top-6 average contracts are within $3 million per year of each other.  McCaffrey, Barkley, Cook and Kamara should be no surprise near the top.  Once again, rookies come at a premium in early auctions with the caveat of extremely small samples so don’t be surprised to see Harris this far up.  He’s virtually assured of a huge workload for Pittsburgh with volume in the run and passing game.  Taylor was a bulletproof prospect coming out of Wisconsin with a striking athletic and production profile and landed behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFL.  He only got better as 2020 went on adjusting to the Colt’s rushing scheme.  The main question is how much receiving work he gets with Nyheim Hines cemented as the passing down back.

Henry posted the 5th highest rushing season of all time with over 2,000 yards. He was still significantly behind McCaffery, Kamara, and Cook in per game scoring bringing nothing as a route runner where he pitifully averaged less than four yards per target last season.  There’s definitely a cap in non-PPR leagues.  Fortunately that cap is high.  Chubb has similar issues to Henry as maybe the best pure rusher in the league but with limited passing game volume.  He also shares work with likely the league’s best RB2 in Kareem Hunt.   The masses downgraded Elliott’s projections after a disappointing 2020.  He gets his offensive line back healthy and is supposedly in the best shape of his career.   Mixon deals with the same issues as last season, a great all-around running back playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league limiting his efficiency.  Gio Bernard signed with Tampa Bay potentially opening up even more passing volume.

In the RB2 Mix

Second year running backs dominate the top of the RB2 contract tier.  The Rams lost Akers for (at least) the season with a devastating Achilles tear that could derail his career just as it was really beginning.    The dynamic Dobbins averaged a robust 6 yards per carry as a rookie in a Lamar Jackson –centric offense set up for big rushing totals.  Jackson and Edwards extracted over 300 rushes and a rushing QB like Jackson isn’t known for utilizing running backs in the passing game much.  Gibson far exceeded expectations as a rookie for a player with limited running back snaps in college, finishing as the fantasy RB20 as Washington’s main back.  He wasn’t particularly effective in the passing game for a player known as a receiver coming out of school, produced an extremely high touchdown rate bound to regress, and averaged only 43% of snaps his rookie year.  The dynamic rusher needs a big boost in play time to meet expectations this season but has top-five upside if he manages a true workhorse load.  Edwards-Helaire averaged over 20 touches per game and was on pace for over 1.800 total yards prior to the signing of LeVeon Bell (who is now off the team) plus is due for serious positive touchdown regression on the league’s top offense after only five scores last year.  Will Kansas City feature him next season?  Swift runs behind Detroit’s heavily invested offensive line and should be a featured part of the Lions’ passing game.  How much work does Jamaal Williams take and will the offense overall be effective enough to manufacture enough scoring chances?

Jones produced consecutive top-5 fantasy seasons.  The Aaron Rodgers discontentment news seems to have depressed his value significantly.  Ekeler likely won’t ever be a true bellcow but maintains massive receiving upside which can easily put him in RB1 territory.  We also see the two other highly drafted rookies, Etienne and Williams, in this group.  Both should have significant roles from the beginning but not might have dominant usage with quality veterans in the fold on Jacksonville and Denver.   The fantasy community is down on Jacobs and Montgomery after top-15 seasons largely due to perceived increased competition.  Injury concerns probably depress Carson’s price as he’s had two consecutive top-15 seasons without any significant additions in Seattle.

Uncertain Roles and Committee Backs

It won’t surprise me if Davis, Gaskin, or Edmunds maintains consistent lead roles and provide solid RB2 value.  It also wouldn’t shock me if they are mere cogs in running back committees.  How long do Robinson and Gordon keep key roles away from the highly drafted rookies?  Does Mostert, Sermon, or any other San Francisco back take a big enough role in a high volume rushing attack to warrant every-week fantasy starter status?  Moss played well last season and looked to be the back in Buffalo for high-leverage goal-line and passing downs.  Will there be enough work in an offense that transformed from one of the most run-heavy to one of the most pass-heavy, especially with quarterback Josh Allen commanding healthy redzone usage?

Outside the Top-40

The Rams lost Akers which opens the door for Henderson to assume lead duties.  He gets a major value bump but expect a significant veteran presence added to a running back room devoid of much NFL experience.  Williams and Singletary should have consistent weekly touches in limited upside environments, classic “zero RB” candidates (yes the term “zero RB” makes no sense).  Hines averaged over 55 receptions per year in his career on a Colts team without many established receiving threats.  His role does not really change with a Taylor injury so he’s not really a handcuff with upside.  Pollard, Mattison, and Murray are among the top handcuffs with limited fantasy usage outside of injury to the starter.


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

2021 RSO Contracts: QBs

Updated: July 24th 2021

My annual look at early RSO auction values begins at the quarterback position.  The series was designed to give the reader help in planning for upcoming auctions by looking at actual RSO auctions already finished this year.  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.  Provided fantasy stats and rankings utilize ESPN per game scoring.

Average RSO Quarterback Contracts

Upper Tier

The remarks about Mahomes will look very similar from last year. He makes up the top-tier of RSO quarterbacks, by a wide margin.  Mahomes put up another excellent season in 2020 as the QB1 among qualifying passers.  Maybe no QB started off their first three seasons in the NFL as well as the Kansas City quarterback.  He retains one of the best supporting casts and coaching teams in the NFL.

There won’t be much argument Mahomes deserves his spot at the top of QB contracts.  The only issue might be the premium paid for him.  There are more than a handful of quarterbacks who scored relatively closely in fantasy last year which come at a significant discount compared to the Kansas City passer.

Rest of the QB1s

Because rookie Lawrence begins the second tier, we should note an item about RSO auctions this early.  The sample size of auctions with rookies is extreme small so don’t put too much stock in the numbers but realize rookies generally go for a premium.   For that reason, I don’t discuss rookie prices much in the article.  Lawrence is one of the top quarterback prospects we have seen in a while with great traits and an intriguing situation with Meyer as the new head coach in Jacksonville.  Murray was the top fantasy QB last season before injuries. He possesses top-end rushing and scrambling abilities combined with upper level passing volume which makes for an incredible fantasy ceiling.  The sky’s the limit if the Cardinal’s QB boosts his passing efficiency and, with it, his touchdown totals.  Herbert produced maybe the best rookie season ever from a number standpoint and has one of the better all-around physical toolboxes.  The main area of concern is that his completion percentage far exceeded his actual down-to-down accuracy and he lived off of incredible deep –ball production, a volatile year to year proposition.  Allen made one of the biggest real-life jump NFL quarterback jumps as a passer we have ever seen, partly due to the addition of Stefon Diggs, while also keeping up his rushing production for fantasy.  Is the jump a blip or sustainable?  Prescott is another quarterback who started the year on fire as the QB1 before injury with a great group of skill-position players at his disposal. His crazy fantasy numbers were partly driven by matches against sub-par passing defenses and incredible volume due to Dallas’ own pathetic defense last season so don’t overweight last season’s performance too much.

Jackson took a step back from his gigantic 2019 season but still only scored 2.5 points per game less than Mahomes.  The Ravens added a lot to the receiving core this offseason though the Ravens’ QB will likely never be in the top-half of passing volume.  He remains the top fantasy QB rusher by a mile and a small increase in efficiency could potentially lead to a significant fantasy boost, with the overall QB1 firmly in his range of outcomes.  Wilson consistently ranks as one of the best combinations of passing and rushing at quarterback.  He’s usually among the most efficient passers in the NFL with significant scrambling ability and never missed a game in his career.    Jackson and Wilson are great values on RSO if you want to pay up for a starting quarterback.

QB2s

The selection of five rookie quarterbacks in the first round of the NFL draft plus a number of off-the-field issues and movement inserted a level of uncertainty rarely seen at the quarterback position as a whole, particularly past the top-echelon.  The Lions traded Stafford to the Rams for multiple 1st round rookie picks and Goff.  The former Lion has always been on the cusp of greatness with one of the top “arm-talents” in the league capable of making dynamic throws from many arm angles and transfers to a highly talented team with one of the most highly regarded offensive minds.  Stafford’s penchant for different throwing mechanics unfortunately often leads to inconsistent accuracy and less efficiency than expected.  He also has an extensive injury history, particularly with back issues recently.  Rodgers’ upside is MVP-level, as seen just last season, and he is consistently one of the best at protecting the football never exceeding 8 interceptions in a decade.  Retirement or holdout represents the downside (a very real possibility most people aren’t weighting highly enough).  Tannehill has been one of the most efficient passers in the NFL since starting for Tennessee in a run-heavy offense and gets Julio Jones added to the mix.  That run-heavy mix limits the volume and upside.  Would new offensive coordinator Todd Downing produce a more pass-heavy offense and how would Tannehill respond?  Hurts put up quality fantasy points in four starts thanks largely to significant rushing yardage and gets a full offseason to work with a new offense designed for him with back-to-back 1st round wide receivers heading the core.  A lot of his rushing is due to scrambling because he is essentially a “one read then scramble” quarterback, despite his extensive college resume.  He ranked only above Dwayne Haskins in PFF grading last year.  Hurts is one of the most volatile fantasy quarterbacks with top-five production or benching very real possibilities.  The arguments for Watson are similar to Rodgers.  He compares favorably on the field to Russell Wilson as one of the best all-around passing/rushing combos.  His legal issues have a wide range of outcomes which puts part or all of this season (and beyond) in question.  Brady has one of the highest projected touchdown, yardage, and volume totals this season with one of the best offensive groups in the league.  Will the ageless wonder ever fail?  Miami surrounded Tagovailoa with a lot of receiving talent this offseason adding speedsters Will Fuller in free agency and Jaylen Waddle in the draft.  Does he make a second year leap after an un-noteworthy season recovering from injury?  What’s left in the tank for Roethlisberger after a disappointing 2020 coming back from major arm surgery?

QB3s and more

While Mayfield performed fairly well from a real-life quarterback perspective, there hasn’t been much to get excited from a fantasy point of view so far never averaging more than 17 PPG in a season.  The Falcons and Ryan might be sliding downward at this stage and replaced superstar Julio Jones with the highest drafted tight end ever in Kyle Pitts.  New head coach Arthur Smith might bring an entirely new offensive philosophy emphasizing the run more.  Wentz self-destructed last year and had one of the worst seasons of any quarterback.  Does a reunion with Frank Reich bring back the old Wentz?  Cousins brings borderline QB1 upside at QB3 prices.  Darnold has arguably been the worst starting quarterback in the NFL during his reign as in New York.  Can he resurrect his very young career in Carolina?  Fitzpatrick has shown the ability to support significant fantasy production from good receivers.  How long do Newton, Garoppolo, and Dalton hold off rookies?  Who wins the quarterback competitions between Lock and Bridgewater (does it even matter) or Winston and Hill (it matters)?


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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