RSO Mock Contract Draft

Updated: March 20th 2021

One of the items I wanted to accomplish this offseason was hosting a mock draft utilizing RSO contracts.  The mock presents a unique type of draft where drafters selected RSO contracts for available players, in effect a full league mock dispersal draft.  This unique style offers difficult choices as each selection must not only take into account the total value of a contract but also the opportunity costs of potentially missing out on another player a GM valued.  Below the reader may find all team mock drafts along with brief analysis of some picks.

The Draft Structure

10 teams selected 15 contracts with assumed starting requirements of 1QB/1 Superflex/2RB/2WR/1TE/2 Flex, PPR scoring, and a $180 milion salary cap.  Average contract data came from RSO auctions in 2020 prior to the start of the season with one year taken away from average contracts in order to examine typical contracts which might be available to RSO GMs.  Naturally, this mock excludes some players whose contracts averaged one year in length last year (examples include James Robinson and Drew Brees).  No rookie contracts were included.   No consideration to extensions or franchise tags was given so that only the contracts themselves were assigned value.

The Top 40

A look at the top forty contracts selected seems like a good spot to start with the average salary in millions shown above.  The first four players form the core of many teams and team salary cap restraints typically do not present much of an obstacle through four contracts.  GMs simply select the best values as they see fit.

Maybe the most notable part of this mock was the lack of wide receivers chosen at the top.  The first wide receiver taken was with the 17th contract and just four wide receivers were chosen through the first 30 picks while even four tight ends were selected in the top-31 picks.  The depth of wide receiver can be seen with quality starters taken throughout the draft (and some not drafted at all).

Six quarterbacks and four running backs composed the first round.  The value of quarterbacks in shallow superflex leagues like this mock remains a mystery to many.  This group of GMs paid a premium in terms of pick value locking up the top group of passers.  I typically don’t like the value of top quarterbacks given the relatively small marginal point spread between passers when compared to other positions.   The value of middle tier QBs tends to be excellent and one may usually assemble a nice batch of low-cost options for weekly matchup plays.  The reader will see application of the strategy below in my team mock.

Interesting Contracts not Drafted

The number of teams and salary cap made drafting every potential relevant player unrealistic.  Drew Lock ($9M/2 yrs), Teddy Bridgewater ($8M/1 yr), Melvin Gordon($17M/1 yr),  Chris Carson($13M/1yr), Zach Ertz($13M/1 yr), Evan Engram($11M/1 yr), Julio Jones($26M/2 yrs), Juju Smith-Schuster ($24M/2 yrs), and Amari Cooper($22M/2 yrs) represent a sample of contracts not drafted in this mock.  Julio and Cooper seem especially egregious misses when looking at rosters afterwards.

Teams 1 and 2

Both of our first two GMs took similar, fairly common team-building approaches for superflex leagues, paying up at quarterback in terms of draft capital and foregoing tight ends until later.

Best Values:  The room generally loved Josh Allen’s contract finding it well worth the first pick at his relatively low cost and Diontae Johnson should provide tremendous value in PPR leagues.  Team 2 locked up Justin Jefferson for 2 years at a significant discount from market price after one of the best rookie seasons ever from a wide receiver.

Questionable Picks:  I don’t think any of team 1’s picks are necessarily troublesome.  I question if the GM would consolidate marginal starters, late round tight ends, etc. into an every-week starter like Julio or add running back depth like Gordon if they had the choice again (similarly for team 2 with players like Brown and Samuel).  Hindsight is always easier when you know how cap allocations turn out.

Hurts’ contract is interesting as simultaneously price cheap and draft pick expensive in this exercise.  He’s definitely underpriced compared to what the contract will go for later this year and his range of outcomes includes a QB1 finish.  On the other hand, he was among the worse quarterbacks in the league during his time as a starter and part of his range of outcomes includes not being the starter for all or a portion of the year.  The team gave up the chance at a premium player for a massive question mark.

Teams 3 and 4

I drafted team 3 so will examine it a little more.  The big difference from other squads is that I did not pick a QB until the 5th round where every other team had their first QB by the 3rd and all but one picked a QB by the 2nd round.  My team also concentrated on locking up the core players on multi-year contracts more than some others.  The pick of Taylor raised some eyebrows but really shouldn’t.  The fantasy RB6 from 2020 and FantasyPros’ consensus dynasty RB4 priced as the RB14 for 2 years seems a nice foundation piece.  I grabbed Kittle in the 3rd as the last of the big three tight ends.  McLaurin, Fuller, and Aiyuk produced top-20 WR per game fantasy years last season.  Taysom Hill is the super arbitrage version of Jalen Hurts picked far later in this mock.

Team 4 landed Herbert to start on a cheap deal allowing a very balanced roster highlighted by a tremendous receiving group.

Best Values:  Robby Anderson was a fantasy star early last season.  Carolina actively tried to upgrade QB this offseason and Curtis Samuel may be gone in free agency.  Mark Andrews is a nice grab that late in the mock.  There’s some volatility with Lamar Jackson and a low volume passing offense but he is one of the few tight ends with significant workloads.

Questionable Picks:  Team 3 has no questionable picks.  I will not allow it.  The concern for team 4 is going out of the mock with Winston as the only other quarterback after Herbert.  The contract is nice but he is not a starting quarterback at this point with only a few potential landing spots left.

Teams 5 and 6

Both GMs paid handsomely for a couple of elite players plus took a wait and see approach to tight end.

Best Values:  Second-year running backs Akers and Dobbins will be popular players especially with these discount contracts.  I also like the Smith/Goedert combo at tight end for cheap.

Questionable Picks:  It was a very nice mock for team 5 with no real issues, maybe a little consolidation to upgrade the RB2 spot could be argued.  The stars and scrubs approach took a toll at the end for team 6 who failed to grab a viable tight end due to cap constraints.  Grabbing Knox with Goedert (who went one pick after) on the board at just a little higher salary had to be a gut punch.

Teams 7 and 8

Both teams utilized a diverse drafting strategy grabbing one of every position by round 5 and taking their 2nd QB by round 7.  Team 8 really went for players on the cheap after the first couple of picks providing a lot of cap flexibility later on when most other teams were trying to save dollars.

Best Values:  Diggs’ contract sits at the WR20 price, enough said.  The $4M contract of Gibson is almost guaranteed to provide outstanding value if just for a year.

Questionable Picks:  Despite a jump in real life play, Mayfield was just the QB26 in per game fantasy scoring last season.  I see no reason to jump on the 11th highest quarterback contract this early in the mock.  Team 8 used most of the big cap surplus to get Sutton, Godwin, and Kupp later on in the draft.  All are fine players but this seems like a bit of a let-down considering the other high salary players available.

Teams 9 and 10

Team 9 took a very flat salary structure across most of the picks avoiding expensive picks early where team 10 paid up for his early picks.

Best Values:  I will simply quote Team 9’s GM. “Swift one of my top 5 RBs going forward. Easy decision here. Was surprised he was still available.”  Metcalf is one of the top fantasy wide receivers for many with lots of room to provide value on this contract.

Questionable Picks:  Using more than $30M combined on Tua, Jones, and Goff seems like overkill for marginal superflex quarterbacks and a glaring chance to upgrade other positions.  Paying Fournette $17M presents quite a risk for a running back limited in the passing game without a team.

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 Inaugural High Stakes League Playoff Update

Updated: December 20th 2020

Hello RSO GMs! Many of you probably remember the emails from this summer in search for some hardcore GMs ready to put up serious cash to reserve their place in the first ever High Stakes League on our platform. Well, it took all summer, but we finally got to twelve GMs/Owners, and the league was born. From all over the US, the twelve GMs have been battling hard all season long, culminating in six playoff berths last week. The seeds were as follows:

#1 Seed – Schless is More – led by RSO vets and brothers Jude and John Schlesselman and representing the great state of Oklahoma, Schless is More has been balanced since the beginning of the season, led by three of his key signings on auction day. Russell Wilson (4 yrs $151.5mm) is QB #3, Dalvin Cook (3 yrs $100.5mm) is RB #2 and Darren Waller (2 yrs @ $23.5mm) is TE #2, and the trio has led Schless to a 10-3 record and a league high 1935 points.

#2 Seed – Philadelphia Freeways – led by Jared Smith a mystery GM and representing the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, Jared and the Freeways got off to a hot start to the year, winning his first six games of the year. He finished the regular season at 10-3 with the #2 seed, led by free agent signings Travis Kelce (2 yrs @ $50mm and TE #1) and Stefon Diggs (1 yr @ $14mm!! for WR #3 as of this week). Unlike Schless who made only a few trades during the year that did not materially impact his team (other than having Matt Stafford starting in the Open Flex this week), Jared made a few key trades during the season that have helped him get to where he is. In Week 6, he dealt his 2022 1st Round and Joe Burrow to get Aaron Jones, a top 5 RB that had a monster game last night for the Freeways, helping him (along with Diggs) to have a 50.50 to 49.86 lead over #3 seed The “Don” headed into play this afternoon. He made another deal with the same team, Rodge and Dodge, in Week 10 right before the trade deadline, and he picked up his other starting RB, David Montgomery, and Brandin Cooks/Antonio Brown, in exchange for Dexter Williams, Tyler Higbee, OBJ and his 2021 1st and 2022 2nd. Jared is going all in to win this year, and he is now two weeks away from achieving that dream.

#3 Seed – The “Don” Piccolo – from St. Louis, Missouri, Ryan Bennett is what some would call a “fantasy nut”, as he has 50+ teams he manages each year. We are proud to have him in the inaugural High Stakes League, and he has had a great season, going 8-5 and winning a three-way tiebreaker for the #3 seed by virtue of his 1815 points scored. The “Don” has been led by his two QBs he signed in the auction, Kyler Murray (4 yrs @ $190.5mm QB#1) and Justin Herbert (2 yrs @ $14.5mm QB #10), as well as consistent play (and QB-WR stacking benefits) from DeAndre Hopkins (3 yrs @ $98.5mm WR#6). After defeating the #6 seed NJ Generals last week, he trails the Freeways by a couple points heading into action this afternoon, as he looks to keep the dream alive with a big upset win this week and a championship berth.

#4 Seed – Borderland Bombers – the Borderland Bombers are our #4 seed and are led by Steven Schuster from El Paso, Texas (aka football country). Schuster led his squad to a 8-5 record and 1796 points. After starting a pedestrian 5-5, the Bombers caught fire over the last three weeks of the season, winning all three contests, and then knocked off #5 seed Y-Town in the first round of the playoffs, riding great games from two of his multi-year guys, Lamar Jackson (4 yrs @ $225mm) and Calvin Ridley (4 yrs @ $68.5mm). On RSO, it is not always about the Draft or the Auction or even trades, but about the in-season acquisitions that are made. In week 1 (after the auction but before the NFL season commenced), Borderland signed undrafted free agents James Robinson to a 1yr $2.5mm deal (he is now RB #4) and Mike Davis to a 1yr $1mm deal (he is now RB #8). The Bombers are looking to keep the hot streak alive and pull off the huge upset over Schless is More this weekend.

#5 Seed – Y-Town – led by Daniel Johnson from Youngstown, OH, Y-Town also had an 8-5 year, but received the #5 seed by scoring 10 fewer points (1786) than the Bombers. Led by Alvin Kamara (4yrs @ $138.5mm RB#1) and Josh Allen (QB #4), who he acquired in a 12 player trade in Week 8 that also included a 2022 draft pick, Y-Town had a great first season in the league, but the Bombers proved too much for them, as Schuster’s squad bested Johnson’s team in the regular season finale in Week 13 (138.60-113.68) and then again last week (163.88-133.84). With no 1st or 2nd round picks left in 2021, Y-Town will look to his long-term core of Josh Allen, Alvin Kamara and Josh Jacobs to lead his squad to success in the years to come.

#6 Seed – NJ Generals – the last of our playoff teams is led by Greg Salter out of Trenton, NJ. The Generals had some tough matchup luck this season, going only 5-8, but they made it to the playoffs via their 1770 total points scored (the #5 and #6 seeds are decided based on total points). Led by the WR duo of Tyreek Hill (3 yrs @ $103mm WR #1) and Tyler Lockett (2 yrs @ $23mm WR #10), the Generals kept their poise after starting the year 1-5, which included a couple of tough beats, and just kept tallying points each and every week, resulting in a #6 seed and chance to play The “Don” in the first round of the playoffs. While Miles Sanders and Tyreek Hill had phenomenal weeks, Salter’s squad could not overcome the goose eggs laid by Noah Fant (0 points) and James Conner (1.80 points). In the end, The “Don” was too tough, besting the Generals 136.58-115.92. Salter will undoubtedly have his team ready for 2021!

Wildcard Playoff Results & Semi-Final Matchup Analysis

#3 The Don Piccolo (8-5) vs #2 Philadelphia Freeways (10-3)
As of this posting, exactly 1 point separates The “Don” Piccolo (85.26) and the Philadelphia Freeways (84.26 points). The Freeways got a huge game from Aaron Jones and Stefon Diggs yesterday, while The “Don” had a huge game from Justin Herbert on Thursday night. The Freeways have Travis Kelce and Wayne Gallman yet to play while The “Don” has Nick Chubb, DeAndre Hopkins and Kyler Murray yet to go. Edge is probably to The “Don” at this moment, but as expected at the start of the week, this one should be fun to watch to the wire. Good luck to both of you.
Projected Score The “Don” 169 – The Freeways 167 
#4 Borderland Bombers (8-5) vs #1 Schless is More (10-3) 
The clear #1 in the league all year, Schless is More is now on the ropes. They have a 89.04-71.24 league as of this writing, but all of their players are on the field at the moment (save Darren Waller whose 30 points on Thursday will be much needed by the time the final whistle blows). The Bombers have five guys playing at the moment with Kareem Hunt and Jared Cook to go later today. Still a ton of football left to play, but the Schless needs to build a bigger lead if he wants to survive an upset from the Bombers and make his way into the championship matchup.
Projected Score Borderland Bombers 150 – Schless is More 160 

Stay tuned next week for coverage of the championship game. Our winner will not only take home a bunch of dough and massive bragging rights, but our friends at TrophySmack are making a custom trophy for the winner, which will be amazing eye candy in one of those new home offices everyone is designing at the moment.

To all of you in fantasy playoff matchups this week, best of luck in making it one step closer to fantasy immortality!

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