Dynasty Questions Keeping Me Awake At Night
Disclaimer: Following any advice or suggestions in the following article may or may not help your dynasty team but the writer takes no responsibility whatsoever for the results.
Thanks everyone who submitted questions, for this week’s (might be month’s) Dynasty Questions Keeping me Awake At Night. Here we go:
Is Ke’Shawn Vaughn really that much better than RoJo?
Since the Buccaneers spent the 76th pick on Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughan he’s quickly become one of the most polarising rookie draft topics. On one hand his supporters see a productive college back with pretty decent draft capital joining a team with a patchy group of running backs. His detractors see an unspectacular, low ceiling back who lacks any elite traits that really justify a top 100 pick.
So is he a better option than Ronald Jones? I’m probably slightly biased. I really liked Jones at USC and thought his exceptional burst would make him a big play runner in the NFL. That hasn’t really materialised. His rookie season was dreadful and despite an improvement in his second campaign he still ended with a pretty unspectacular 724 yards rushing. He did see a decent chunk of work in the passing game with 31 catches for 301 yards. 31 catches was actually only 1 less than he had in his entire college career and did suggest he could contribute as a pass catcher.
Vaughn comes out of Vanderbilt following back to back 1000 yard seasons behind a pretty poor offensive line. His final season was also by far his best as a receiver with 28 catches for 270 yards. His production is certainly worth paying attention to.
So is he much better than Jones? Probably not. Is he much worse? Again, probably not. So much will depend on Tom Brady and Bruce Arians and whether they are looking to commit to either. Much of the offseason suggest that Arians wanted to add a pass catching back to the roster. That’s not really Vaughn, he’s competent but has done nothing to suggest he’s going to be Tampa’s version of David Johnson who excelled for BA in Arizona. He does have two major things in his favour though. Draft capital and the fact that he was drafted by the current regime. If Brady wants a hard runner who can contribute as a James White style check down guy then Vaughn would be well placed.
In Jones favour, he’s probably more talented than Vaughn. Perversely he’s also younger which may suggest his chances of breaking out are higher. He’ll also likely get the first shot at the job, on paper Vaughn doesn’t look like the kind of guy who’s going to be the undisputed starter by week one so much as a guy who’ll work his way in over time.
Right now, I can’t see any reason you’d buy Ronald Jones but I’d also be very wary of spending a high pick on Vaughn. In this instance I’d err on the side of thinking that Vaughn is Arians guy and that by season’s end he’ll be the starter.
“Thoughts on Bengals (Mixon + receivers) with Burrow now in town? Who do you like to produce?”
I can’t imagine it’s ever been much fun to be a Bengals fan. They’ve had very few periods of hope over the life of their franchise and even the relative highs of the Marvin Lewis era couldn’t get them past the Wildcard Round. That looks set to change with the arrival of Burrow, who has Bengals fans genuinely excited about the direct they might take under their local buy, made good QB.
Burrow certainly improves the outlook for the offensive talent on the roster. He’ll be helped by the return of veteran wide receiver AJ Green, and I’d expect, for this year at least, Green will be the team’s number one target. If he stays healthy I think the 31 year old, 7 time pro-bowler will bounce back as a fantasy contributor.
A functional passing game and the return of Jonah Williams is likely to help Burrow, but also add value to the team’s start running back, Joe Mixon. The former Oklahoma man is a supreme and often overlooked talent who’s performed well despite the Bengals crumbling around him since he arrived in Cincinnati. If he can deliver back to back 1400 all purpose yard seasons in the dire Bengals offense of the last two seasons he will be an exciting prospect in one that actually moves. If you can buy him then do it. Burrow loved throwing the ball to Clyde Edwards this past season and you’d expect Mixon to benefit from a similar relationship.
Burrow will start his career in Cincy with a host of wide receiver options. I expect Green to be something of a safety blanket in year one but he’ll also of Tyler Boyd who’s coming off back to back 1000 yard seasons, former top 10 pick, John Ross and Tee Higgins who the team selected with the 33rd overall pick. Of those guys Higgins looks like a good long term option, he doesn’t have to be a huge contributor year one, will be surrounded by veterans he can learn from and has the size to see early red zone work.
I actually think Boyd is the most likely to take a step back. With Green back and Higgins to lean on outside it seems likely Burrow is going to like going down the field, Boyd’s lack of high end athleticism may hold him back in this new offense.
John Ross I think is someone to keep an eye on. Injuries have plagued his NFL career so far but last year he showed some impressive flashes and if Burrow gets the offense moving then Ross offers something that none of the other receivers brings to the party; speed.
“Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, Austin Hooper and Tyler Higbee, all broke out and became reliable TEs last season. Which TEs are likely to break out this season?”
Predicting Tight-End breakouts is always a significant challenge. No position seems to take longer for players to make the grade than Tight End and the fantasy bust rate is enormous. It’s normally best to stash as many on your dynasty roster as possible and then hope for the best.
There are a few guys who are worth a look for the season ahead. Buffalo’s Dawson Knox looks set to take a leap, especially if Josh Allen can be a little more accurate. Knox saw 50 targets lat season but only 28 catches, he could easily double that next season. The addition of Stefan Diggs will likely draw a lot of coverage and free space underneath for Knox.
In last year’s draft TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant both went in the 1st round but neither has me particularly excited for next season. Hockenson should be helped by Matthew Stafford’s return but the Lions offense lacks identity and there as likely to use him for his blocking prowess as his pass catching. Fant showed some promise to end last season but suddenly finds himself embroiled in a battle for targets as The Broncos have expended significant assets on pass catchers.
There’s going to come a point where you won’t be able to buy Dallas Goedert, so while you can, do it. Goedert had an impressive second season with 58 catches, 607 yards and 5 touchdowns. With the Eagles adding a host of field stretchers Goedert could be a huge beneficiary of additional space underneath. He could easily see 75 catches and 800 yards next season.
Mike Gesicki showed a lot of promise as last season went on and I’d expect him to be a big beneficiary of Tua’s short passing accuracy.
If you want a deeper option, Jacksonville’s Josh Oliver could be worth adding. The team added Tyler Eifert in offseason but beyond the oft-injured former Bengal the depth chart is pretty barren. Oliver is an excellent athlete who the team spent the 69th pick just one year ago.
4. Follow-up from @KMsportsigned:
“Which of these tight ends is most likely to regress?”
I think we can quickly rule out Mark Andrews. With Lamar at Quarterback the Ravens offense is likely to keep running through the tight ends. With Hayden Hurst out of town Andrews is the undisputed number one receiver in Baltimore and should be set for another big season.
Darren Waller was a revelation last season. He saw 117 targets and had 90 catches. He emerged as the number 1 receiving option in the Raiders offense. Even with the likely drop in targets with Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards coming to town, you’d expect him to over perform the three touchdowns he managed last season and remain a firm starting TE option.
Tyler Higbee could go either way. I’m cautiously optimistic that the team stumbled upon something down the stretch last season and will stick with Higbee as McVay attempts to kick start the offense that stumbled so badly last year.
Austin Hooper is the trickiest. Unlike the others he finds himself in new surroundings. His new Head Coach Kevin Stefanski has generally liked to use his tight ends and that will work to Hooper’s benefit. It can’t be overlooked though that he’s going from Matt Ryan to Baker Mayfield. That’s a significant downgrade unless Mayfield rebounds dramatically. Hooper had 97 targets last season, it’s tough to imagine that he replicates that. In a less potent offense with less a lesser role I’d say Hooper is the most likely to regress.
Trade option – Adam Thielen & Aaron Jones for Clyde Edwards-Helaire & Steven Sims what side you got?
An interesting hypothetical. It’s always tricky to answer trade questions without having a roster to base it on. In this one a lot probably depends on whether you have a shot of winning this year. If you’re rebuilding you want CEH and Sims is a potentially nice throw in. If you’ve got a shot this year then Thielen and Jones are likely to be big contributors to your chances next year.