Editor’s note: This article is by Member Corner writer Cody Wallinger. Please welcome Cody and provide constructive feedback in the comments section.
I have decided to break down the three big positions (quarterback, running back, and wide receiver) from each division across the NFL. In doing so, I’ve determined that my top four, regardless of team, will be discussed. In some positional breakdowns, that means every team will be represented. However, that’s not a universal certainty. The reality of the situation is that some teams are heavily stacked in particular areas and may find themselves represented multiple times.
Please keep in mind that these rankings are my own. I have no intention of being controversial. However, please also keep in mind that this is from a dynasty lens, tinted with a proven production finished coating.
I hope you enjoy!
1. Josh Allen, BUF
As Dynasty League Football’s number two ranked quarterback and the second player jumping off superflex draft boards, it’s no surprise that we kick this list off with 2020/21’s number one scoring fantasy asset. As locked-in as his current position is within fantasy circles, that hasn’t always been the case. Even though Allen put up a QB6 finish in just his second go-around (2019), the critics were out and about just a mere 365 days ago.
Now, I’m not saying they weren’t entitled to their skepticism. I mean, after all, completing just 59% of your passes (32nd) while posting the 24th-best passer rating and adjusted quarterback rating doesn’t exactly scream special. Moreover, a 20-9 TD-INT ratio isn’t something I’m sure I’d be jumping at the bit to heavily invest in.
So, what made Allen so special? Well, simply speaking his mobility is a real game-changer, both in real life and in fantasy. Over Allen’s three-year professional career, he’s tallied 1,562 rushing yards – second only to the rushing king himself, Lamar Jackson (2,910). Alongside those 520 average rushing yards a season, and a bit more impressive in my opinion, is his number one ranking when it comes to rushing touchdowns (25) among quarterbacks across that same span of time.
Obviously, the addition of Stefon Diggs did wonders for Allen. No doubt. The best news on that front though, is just simply that we don’t have to have the conversation about who made who great. With Diggs locked up for another three years, both superstars are positioned to simply enjoy the benefits of each other’s company. Even better is the reality that at his throwing worst in 2019, Allen still put up almost 300 fantasy points. That’s a pretty damn safe floor, if you ask me.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, MIA
Is there a more controversial quarterback in the league, at this very moment? I mean, it wasn’t much over a year ago where #TankingForTua was all the craze. Remember? In fact, I recall one superflex league in the Fantasy Sports Alliance world where Tagovailoa went sixth overall. Yes, you read that correctly. While I’m not here to comment on that decision, my point is simply that the man’s ADP has experienced quite a wild ride, in really a short amount of time.
So, what’s going on? Well, for starters the way the Dolphins’ season went last year and the manner in which it appeared Brian Flores was playing musical chairs with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tagovailoa didn’t aid matters. After all, if the Dolphins can’t commit to their future quarterback over the 38-year-old NFL journeyman, how can dynasty managers be expected to oblige? Fair enough.
Still, as I look at the situation, I do everything in my power to remember what made Tagovailoa so special. The reasons he caught my eye, during his tenor at Alabama, centered around his ability to process defenses, the manner in which he appeared to keep his composure under duress, his intangible leadership aptitudes, his quick trigger, and most importantly his Robin Hood-esq level of accuracy. As I think back to that pre-2020 NFL Draft time, I can’t remember a single report that didn’t highlight Tagovailoa as a special prospect, fully capable of NFL stardom.
With all that said though, I also remember every report that highlighted the absolute necessity of providing Tagovailoa the opportunity to let his body rest and regain its playing strength. We knew he wasn’t going to be at that elite level you hope for when you invest a top-five pick in someone. We knew he needed to work his way, physically and mentally, back to a degree we recognized down in Tuscaloosa. We knew it would simply take time. Yet, that is exactly what we took from him. COVID aside, and all the shortcomings it delivered on a silver platter to 2020’s incoming rookie class, we’ve fallen wounded to our own bad behavior.
No, I’m not ready to crown the man the next Patrick Mahomes. I’m not saying that. What I am saying though, is that we have a 23-year-old quarterback, positioned as the sole leader of one of the NFL’s youngest and most exciting teams. He is leading the charge under center with absolutely zero competition and borderline unquestioned organizational commitment.
With playmakers like Will Fuller, DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Albert Wilson, Mike Gesicki, and Myles Gaskin currently at his disposal, he’s in a fine position for 2021. However, and touching on my favorite variable in all of this, with the Miami Dolphins possessing 13 draft picks in the first three rounds over the next three years, GM Chris Grier and HC Brian Flores have all the ability in the world to surround Tagovailoa with everything he needs to reach his capable superstar status.
3. Zach Wilson, NYJ
As Dynasty League Football’s 16th-ranked quarterback and coming off superflex draft boards as your 40th overall player (QB18), Wilson is one of the more mysterious investments. With such a wide range of outcomes, I have found myself doing more “glass half full” type gazes than not. But why?
Well, for starters, I am absolutely infatuated with his draft capital… obviously. I mean, you know what organizations tend to do with number two overall draft picks? One word – commit. When said individual is the first draft pick and a quarterback for a newly-hired head coach, the commitment level only reaches new heights. Why is that so important? It’s important because right now, this New York Jets’ organization is anything but ready to participate in those conversations centering around post-season success.
However, things are changing. I like what they have going on up front, offensively. LT Mekhi Becton (6’7, 369) is a beast. Their recent signing of RT Morgan Moses is highly underrated. Returning both Connor McGovern to C and Greg Van Roten to RG only helps to decrease difficulties. Having quality backups like Dan Freeney and Alex Lewis definitely don’t hurt. Finally, when the New York Jets traded up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker at RT, they did so with the intention of solidifying their bookends for a very long time.
Long story short, a player of Wilson’s talent coupled with his draft capital and a positive offensive trajectory should absolutely equate to fantasy football success. The question is how much are you willing to invest?
4. Mac Jones, NE
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Jones. I think he’s good in his own right. I just really struggle with believing my own eyes at just how high the New England Patriots drafted him. Nevertheless, I’m not in a position to argue with the great Bill Belichick, and thus I won’t. Accepting reality for what it is, I now enter the conversation under the presumption that Jones is the future of the organization.
From a dynasty perspective, there’s no denying that any time you can lock up a team’s starting signal-caller, you’re on the right track. The real question centers around how much it took you to make such a purchase.
While I have my reservations about just how talented the Patriots’ offense is, from a skill-position lens, I can’t say I am envisioning a ton of early-career fantasy success with Jones at the helm. What I can see, in an ideal world, however, is Jones finding a way to secure starter status at some point this season. Whether as a direct result of poor play from Cam Newton or an organization’s curiosity to see exactly what they have in Jones before evaluation time bleeds over into 2022’s draft room. Presuming he’s everything you’d want in a top-15 NFL draft pick, and he’s able to utilize New England’s number three-ranked offensive line (according to Pro Football Focus), maybe Jones finds a way to do exactly the thing Belichick desires: win.
While anything can happen, and I have no doubt that in one year’s time I could be eating my words, my gut just isn’t in it. At the current cost of acquiring Mac Jones (QB24) I find myself more intrigued by others falling further down draft boards – Daniel Jones (QB25), Derek Carr (QB26), and Sam Darnold (QB27), to name a few. Furthermore, when I adjust the lens to account for all possible players, there are a plethora of options I prefer behind Jones and his 65.75 ADP: Allen Robinson, Amari Cooper, Josh Jacobs, DeVonta Smith, Brandon Aiyuk, Chase Claypool, etc.
You can follow me on Twitter at @CodyWallinger.