Welcome to Would You Rather: Dynasty Edition, a series from DLF based on the popular board game. Each week we post a poll on Twitter asking fans who they prefer between a player or a certain pick. The values used here come via the DLF Trade Analyzer. We will cover the results and discuss both sides of the poll in depth. The last edition pitted Tyreek Hill against DK Metcalf. So let’s get right to this week’s poll!
We always look at players or picks that carry similar values and let you vote on who you would rather have. This week’s contest features a couple of young tight ends, and here’s how things shook out:
Who do you prefer?
— DLF (@DLFootball) July 28, 2022
The rookie edged out the five-year pro in the trade analyzer valuation and took him down in the poll by just 6.4%. This is one of the closest results we have seen all off-season. McBride’s landing spot couldn’t have been better, and he gets to play with a dynamic young quarterback in Kyler Murray. Meanwhile, Njoku inked a four-year deal in Cleveland this past June and gets to play with a pretty good quarterback now with Deshaun Watson coming to town.
Let’s look at both sides to see if the pollsters favoring the rookie was the right decision.
A Look at Trey McBride
McBride was the highest-rated tight end leading up to the draft. To no one’s surprise, he was the first off the board at the position when the Arizona Cardinals selected him in the second round (55th overall).
You can see from the chart above that the Colorado State grad was the offense’s focal point during his time in Fort Collins. The reception chart looks almost identical to the yardage chart used here. McBride only managed ten touchdowns while in college, but the Rams were not exactly scoring points like the Oklahoma Sooners in 2021. In fact, they ranked 108th out of 130 teams in Division I football. Playing in a Kliff Kingsbury-led offense should be a dream come true.
Kingsbury hadn’t made it a point to target his tight ends much until 2021, when the Cardinals acquired Zach Ertz via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in week six. Last season the position was targeted at a career-high 17.46%. To put that in perspective, Andy Reid targeted his tight ends 23.44% of the time. Looking at it even closer, Ertz led the team in targets (81) from the time he joined them until the end of the season.
DeAndre Hopkins missed most of that time, so the numbers are skewed a bit, but the point is that Kingsbury isn’t afraid to utilize the position. Sure, McBride will have to contend with Ertz for at least 2022, but with an aging Hopkins also on the roster, the rookie could be Murray’s future red zone favorite. Hopkins is 30 years old, and Ertz is not 32. A changing of the guard is coming. Soon.
We see that Hopkins and Ertz dominated the “money zone” in 2021 for Arizona. With Hopkins out the first six games due to suspension, McBride could make an impact sooner rather than later. NFL analyst Lance Zierlien likens McBride to Austin Hooper and projects him as a plus starter in the league. That’s not too shabby of a profile.
A Look at David Njoku
Many folks new to dynasty or fantasy football may not realize it, but David Njoku has a TE1 season under his belt. In 2018, the Hurricane alum finished as the TE9. That was with Baker Mayfield and Tyrod Taylor slinging passes his way. Now Watson calling the shots for Cleveland. I’d say that’s a bit of an upgrade.
Despite already playing in the NFL for five seasons, Njoku just turned 26 years old. The Browns organization believed in him enough to sign him to a new contract that included $26 million guaranteed. The culmination of that deal paved the way for the departure of Austin Hooper, who coincidentally was the comparison used for McBride earlier. Harrison Bryant is still on the roster and has a lot of potential as well. Head coach Kevin Stefanski likes to utilize two tight ends in his offense, so splitting snaps is a non-issue.
Watson has never had a tight end as freakishly athletic as Njoku, and Njoku has never played with a quarterback as talented as Watson. These will be uncharted waters for both players. Cleveland doesn’t have a big receiver on the outside. Donovan Peoples-Jones is only 6’2″ tall, and Amari Cooper and David Bell are next up, standing at just 6’1″. Watson did somehow make a TE14 out of Darren Fells back in 2019. Standing at 6’4″, the Nkoju should be a natural red zone target.
It should be a match made in heaven. Stefanski was a big part of the offense in Minnesota when Kyle Rudolph was in his prime, and notching TE1 finishes year after year. He is no stranger to implementing them into his passing offense.
Watson also used the tight end position at Clemson, helping Jordan Leggett get drafted into the NFL, where he played 15 games for the New York Jets in 2018. You can bet Watson will be excited to utilize his new weapon.
As is the case with anything dynasty-related, team needs, league size, scoring, and aversion to risk play a role in how you construct your roster. I am going to go against the grain and side with Njoku here. His five years of experience are invaluable, especially at the tight end position, which is the most challenging skill position to develop in the NFL. There are only three years of difference in age between the two, so that is not even a factor for me. For years to come, Murray and McBride may be a thing, but Watson and Njoku could be equally as formidable.
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