Caplan's Week 4 Insider Fantasy Notebook

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Caplan's Week 4 Insider Fantasy Notebook

I’ve always said that contracts tell a story for future decisions.

For dynasty league owners, it’s always good to take an inside look at the looming decisions that will be on the horizon for future seasons.

Let’s get started today on QBs (we’ll take an inside look at the RB contractual issues in the next update—the Kenyan Drake contract will make Raider fans angry).

1) Matt Ryan/ATL: The Falcons, due to a major salary cap issue, restructured his contract earlier this year. Unfortunately, this caused his salary cap number next year to be a whopping $48.662m.

What’s likely to happen: Ryan, who is signed through 2023, should be the starter in 2022 and they can still draft his successor next year. They can move on from him after 2022 and incur a dead money hit of $15.612m, which is way more palatable than cutting him after this season.

2) Sam Darnold/CAR: He’ll be on their roster next season with a fully guaranteed salary of $18.858m. While the team has had strong interest in DeShaun Watson, I’m told they’re just monitoring the situation currently. Darnold’s current performance would go a long way into them not drafting a QB next season.

3) Jared Goff/DET: He’s signed through 2024. The decision on his contract will come prior to March in 2023, when he has a $5m roster bonus due on the 3rd day of free agency to go along with a $20.65m base salary (non-guaranteed). If they decided to cut him after this season, they would take on $20.5m in dead money, which is a bit much to take on. They restructured his contract after the trade.

4) Derek Carr/LVR: He is signed through 2023, but has no guaranteed money left in his contract. And I’m told they probably would have pursued signing Tom Brady last year if Brady’s requests were what they thought were more reasonable (not just money). Nevertheless, Carr has been lights out through 3 games, so it would not be surprising if he gets a new deal next year if he continues to play at this very high level.

5) Daniel Jones/NYG: His 5th-year option is due in early May. If GM Dave Gettleman is fired after this season is over, it would be interesting to see if the new GM decides to exercise the option or not.

6) Kirk Cousins/MIN: For those who drafted Kellen Mond in your dynasty league, forget about seeing him until 2023—at the earliest. I thought of drafting him in the fantasy points dynasty league, but once I got the Cousins contract details, I thought otherwise.

Cousins is signed through 2022 from the extension done in March of 2020. His $35m base salary for 2022 became fully guaranteed in March of this year (called an advance guarantee). So, they can’t cut him (would be a $45m dead cap hit) and it’s highly unlikely any team would be interested in trading for that contract despite how well he has played through 3 games this season.

I actually traded for Cousins this week in my big money league ($2k buy-in—QBs score big in this league—6 pts for TDs, bonus points for 300 yards + passing). He’s actually my backup, but I don’t trust that my starter, Jalen Hurts, will keep up this pace of putting up big fantasy numbers based on the way he’s playing. It’s really the separation between NFL football and fantasy.

7) Jimmy Garoppolo/SF: He’s signed through 2022. $24.2m base salary (non-guaranteed). So, they can cut him after this season and owe him nothing (only $1.4m in dead money). It’s very likely that Trey Lance will be their starter next season unless Garoppolo makes a significant playoff run again like he did in 2019.

8) Russell Wilson/SEA: He’s signed through 2023, but has no guaranteed money left in his contract. You’re probably aware of the issues he had with the team, which were well documented earlier this year.

Wilson, if the team trades him after the season, will take on $26m in dead money. The question is would they be willing to do that.

Everything seems to be calm now between Wilson and the team, but let’s see how the season ends for them.

Quick Thoughts for Week 4:

- Zack Moss/RB/Bills: The second-year pro was inactive in Week 1, but Moss was clearly ahead of veteran RB Matt Breida coming into last week’s game, which is why Breida was inactive this time around.

What’s interesting about the Moss-Devin Singletary situation is that Moss had more touches than Singletary during the first half of last week’s game (9 to 6). I would not have expected that.

I’m starting Moss in a few leagues in my flex spot based on the fact that at least he’s now in a timeshare and the game should be a blowout, which means he could pile up carries late.

- Vikings OL vs. CLE DEs: We’re going to get a real idea of how good this Viking OL really is against the Browns DEs today. The Browns absolutely destroyed the Bear OL last week (some of it was on rookie QB Justin Fields and some of it was on them) and it was scary to watch.

Fields was sacked 9 times and hit 15 times. As our Greg Cosell said this week, he has not seen veteran DE Jadeveon Clowney look this good. If you’re starting Kirk Cousins, who is playing the best he has in his career, just understand that this will be a long day for him if his unheralded OL can’t protect him.

- Seahawk secondary vs. 49ers: It’s not often that we say the Seahawk secondary is struggling, but that’s really the case right now. In fact, they may start former Eagles 2nd-round pick Sidney Jones today against the host 49ers.

They’ve given up nearly 400 yards (393) to opposing WRs over the past 2 weeks.

The guy teams are going to go after is former 49er 5th-round CB D.J. Reed (was claimed off waivers by the Seahawks in August of 2020). Reed is better off on the right side, but he has been playing left this season and his struggles are apparent.

- Peyton Barbers role going forward: Based on the injury history of Josh Jacobs, I added Barber in a few leagues last week.

While I have him at the end of my bench, it seems rather clear based on last week’s game that Barber will get a majority of the carries over Kenyan Drake if Jacobs can’t play. Drake started the game, but Barber wound up getting 11 more snaps against the visiting Dolphins.

What’s also interesting is that Drake will earn $3m this season and Barber will only make $990k, which tells me that Raiders HC Jon Gruden doesn’t care. He will do whatever it takes to win and doesn’t care what a player will earn.

Barber is nothing special as a runner and is more of a grinder. But what he does is give the team a better chance to sustain their running game than Drake, who is trying to hit the home run way too often.