Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

I spend a lot of time and digital paper droning on about how this and that player is either undervalued or overvalued. Over the past few months I even went division by division and gave you somebody from each team like that. But who do I really back up with my actions? Who are my most owned players, and who do I not have a single share of across my 5 dynasty leagues? You probably don’t care, but I’m going to tell you anyways in honor of the start of the season finally kicking off.

For the 3 of you who decide to stick around through the entire article, this should give you an idea of who some of my favorite dynasty assets to roster are.

In total, I play in 5 different dynasty leagues with a variety of settings. 4 are PPR, 1 is a 16 team league, 1 a 10 team standard league, 1 is a superflex league, and 3 are IDP leagues. Obviously, these rule variations can significantly change player values, but there are still some common themes on my dynasty rosters. Without further ado, my most commonly rostered dynasty players:

QUARTERBACK

Lamar Jackson (3x)

I’ve talked up Lamar Jackson a good amount in my rookie rankings and I’m sticking to my guns here. Jackson had an up and down preseason that suggested he wasn’t ready to be a starting quarterback at this point in his career. I generally don’t love rostering projects at QB, but Jackson’s upside is well worth any wait. Eventually Jackson will play, and when he does he will rack up the fantasy points. In what was essentially 2 games worth of action this preseason Jackson had 136 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. That kind of production would more than make up for any passing deficiencies if he can hold a starting job.

Kirk Cousins (2x)

I own Cousins in both my superflex league where quarterbacks are highly valued and my 10 team league where they are a dime a dozen. In both leagues I trust him enough to plug him into the lineup each and every week. While he won’t give me the edge of a Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, he allows me to dominate the other players. Why did I ultimately settle on Cousins in both leagues? League-mates in both seemed uninterested in his limited upside. But there’s nothing wrong with settling in on a low-end QB1.

RUNNING BACK

Matt Breida (3x)

I’ve been a big fan of Matt Breida for a while now and thought he had a chance to steal some carries and touches from Jerrick McKinnon this year. With McKinnon out for the year, Breida only has an aging and one-dimensional Alfred Morris to keep him from the valuable lead back role in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Peyton Barber (3x)

My Barber ownership is rooted in my anti Ronald Jones takes that I talked about in my rookie class rankings. So far Jones has slipped further and further down the depth chart. I doubt Barber has long-term fantasy value, but he should be a solid flex option this season. He also may be a good sell candidate during the season if he strings together consecutive RB2 or better weeks.

Saquon Barkley (2x)

I fully believe Barkley is the best dynasty prospect since at least Adrian Peterson. He’s uber talented, uber athletic, and a perfect fit for the modern NFL. As a Penn State fan it was an absolute must for me to roster him in at least one league. I ended up grabbing him at 1.01 on a rebuilding roster and grabbed him at 1.04 in a recent startup draft. But, I also sold him (well the 1.01) in one league for a massive haul. The season is here now so on field performance will start to win out over hype, but these blockbuster Barkley trades are going to be something to look back on. Is the hype too much for any rookie to be burdened with? Yes. But he still has a very real shot to be the #1 overall asset by years end.

Dalvin Cook (2x)

Cook looked like he was set up to be a consistent RB1 before tearing his ACL early last season. His ADP has somehow continued climbing after the injury. I really like Cook, but a 1st round startup ADP makes me a little nervous. I have already sold him in one league this offseason and am considering in the last two where I own him if somebody is willing to pay up for him as a 1st round startup asset.

Derrius Guice (2x)

Guice’s torn ACL really won’t keep me away from him at all. I drafted him in the 6th round of a startup two weeks after his injury and I feel that was a steal. I fully expect Guice to be one of the top backs from this class and would still take him over most of the rookie class from this season. He’s extremely talented, in a great situation, and the “off-field issues” that supposedly made him slip to the 2nd round of the draft are appearing to be increasingly baseless.

Kerryon Johnson (2x)

Kerryon Johnson was my 6th rated rookie post-draft and I’ve been able to snag him much cheaper than that in a few leagues. I have yet to see anybody invest as high as the 6th pick in him so if you’re a fellow Kerryon believer, now may be your last chance to buy before he finally takes the field Monday night. Granted you’ll be reading this after he takes the field so let’s hope for an average game to keep his cost down.

Chris Warren (2x)

I picked Warren up in 2 leagues after he consistently flashed for the Raiders this postseason. The Raiders placed him on IR so he won’t be a factor this season, but if you have room on your IR to stash him, he’s worth a hold.

WIDE RECEIVER

John Ross (3x)

The John Ross hate went WAY too far and I ended up with 3 shares of him. The cost was negligible in each league and Ross now appears to be earning playing time for the Bengals. He’s blindingly fast and an underrated route runner. His season long upside is capped, but his play style gives him massive weekly upside as soon as this season.

Odell Beckham Jr. (2x)

I can’t say enough good things about Odell Beckham. Even his negatives are positives. What will he do when Eli retires? Who cares. Eli is bailed out by Odell. His replacement will either be a step up or just get bailed out by Beckham too. He’s too much of a diva? Who cares. He’s never had off-field trouble and is really just an uber passionate, cocky receiver – just like all the other greats at the position. OBJ is a genuinely special player. Don’t overthink this one. I want to own him in every league I can.

Antonio Brown (2x)

AB isn’t as young as Beckham, but he’s an automatic WR1. I have far more confidence in Brown to produce week in and out than every other player in the league. He’s in excellent condition and an elite route runner. Just because he isn’t young anymore doesn’t mean he wont last a handful more years. And like Beckham, he will thrive even if his QB retires.

Keenan Allen (2x)

You may be noticing a trend here. I love excellent route runners at wide receiver. Players like Devante Parker and Kevin White can be exciting prospects, but route running is still the best way to win in the NFL. It also ages well and fits with all offenses and quarterbacks. Allen is a good example of a player who earned a false reputation as injury prone and became an excellent buy-low candidate as a result. While his value has corrected itself, I would keep an eye out for other players who unfairly earn that rep moving forward.

Josh Doctson (2x)

Despite owning multiple shares, I’m really not optimistic for Doctson’s future. I don’t think he fits well with Alex Smith and the ball will likely be spread evenly between many Redskins pass catchers. I would look to sell, but there don’t appear to be many buyers available.

Trent Taylor (2x)

Taylor is a (big surprise here) fantastic route runner who could thrive in the slot for Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo. I love investing in offenses I believe in and anything to do with Kyle Shanahan fits that bill for me.

TIGHT END

Jonnu Smith (2x)

I ranked Smith in my top 15 dynasty tight ends this offseason. That probably seemed crazy to some as Delanie Walker is still in town. Unfortunately, however, Walker went down with what appears to be a nasty leg injury which may open the door for Smith. This certainly doesn’t prove me right about Smith or give any reason to celebrate, but we may end up seeing if Smith is a viable replacement for Walker sooner than expected.

*****

Are there any key takeaways for me after doing this? Yes, I’m glad you asked!

For one, this has made me more aware of the players I actually own. After running through my rosters in this way, I would actually suggest you all do the same. This has really helped me see which players I may be over or under exposed too.

It has also helped me decide which players I plan to target more. John Ross and Michael Gallup are two players I love who I feel should be good trade targets. I already own Ross in several leagues, but he’s been cheap to acquire. At the right price, I’ll happily roster him everywhere.

That having been said: diversifying is still a good idea. As I often say, we don’t know much about what will actually happen in the NFL week to week or year to year. Unpredictability is the name of the game. If you only roster a small handful of players you will either win big or lose big. I love Dalvin Cook, but am I 100% sure he’s a better back than Leonard Fournette? No. So if somebody offered me that swap I would probably take it just to even out my exposure to the players.

And finally, this exercise was excellent in revealing my true preferences. It isn’t perfect, but this can show the players I truly have faith in. There are plenty of players I may rate highly but I don’t have the confidence to invest in them at their market price. If I see trends in this I may be able to use that to uncover some of my biases as an owner (for example my love for excellent route runners). This likely requires some more thought to determine how to act on information like this, but it’s always helpful to know more about your inherent fantasy football decision-making process and biases.

 

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Eric Braun

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I grew up a die hard Washington Redskins and Penn State football fan and began playing fantasy football in 2007. I've been addicted and learning as much as I can about my favorite hobby ever since.

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