Family, Football & The End

“Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don’t really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way. Ends are not bad, and many ends aren’t really an ending; some things are never-ending.” – C. JoyBell C.

This week is incredibly bittersweet. 

For most of us, the fantasy football season has come to a close. And what a season it was. This year tested our mettle as fantasy managers. It pushed us to be creative in our lineups and dig deep to fill our rosters. It made us operate outside our usual football comfort zone. 

We saw Saquon Barkley, a frequent first pick in fantasy drafts, go out in Week 2. Christian McCaffrey, another frequent first pick, was out the majority of this season, as well. Antonio Brown came back and was fantasy relevant, much to the surprise of many. And then there was James Robinson, the undrafted rookie running back who almost no one saw coming in hot as a potential league winner. 

It was a wild season. It was a fun season. It was a fantasy football season like we’ve never seen before, and hopefully will never see again. It not only tested our patience most weeks; it also tested our love of the game. But most of us managed to come out of it with an even deeper appreciation for fantasy football than we had before. 

Out of boredom, many joined more leagues than they ever imagined they would. And with that, we all made new friends we would have never made otherwise. We expanded our circles at a time when we needed it most. In a strange – and at times awful – year, fantasy football provided an escape from the vitriol and divisiveness. It was an oasis in a desert of darkness. 

As the year comes to an end this week and we all reflect on 2020, remember to be thankful that we had this game to distract us. 

We got to test our knowledge and make new friends. We became better fantasy managers and some of us learned new formats like dynasty and best ball. We expanded our horizons. We became more well-rounded people. For all the bad this year, let us remember there was also a lot of good in the fantasy football community. 

I personally made friends that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I delved into fantasy football in a way I had only dreamed of. I put my face and my opinions out there for the world to see. Without this year, none of that would have ever happened.

I will forever be thankful for this crazy year and what ultimately came of it. And the appreciation for all of you that have read my columns, watched my live streams and listened to my podcasts is endless and not something I can put into words. Thank you for sticking around and riding with me. Here’s to looking forward to a better 2021 and more amazing things to come in this community. 

And in the spirit of looking forward to 2021, it’s time to start making moves and getting ready for free agency and rookie drafts in your dynasty leagues. This is going to be a hectic “off-season” with a lot of changes all around the league. 

Jacksonville looks to be the winner of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, which could bolster values for players in that offense. Will Dallas re-sign Dak Prescott? Is Aaron Jones on the move? Who will be at the helm of the New Orleans offense next season with the likely retirement of Drew Brees? So many questions. So many unknowns and what-ifs. 

Between now and September, I am going to dive into player’s dynasty values, trades, free agency and rookies. This is the time when we as dynasty owners get to work and make moves that will help us win our leagues for years to come, and I want to help you get a leg up on your league mates. 

Now, without further delay, it’s time to get into this week’s “Hot, Medium & Mild: Dynasty Off-Season Targets Edition.”

HOT Scotcheñero

WR: Collin Johnson (Jacksonville)

All signs point to an offensive explosion in Jacksonville in 2021. It appears as though Lawrence is incoming, and that benefits everyone involved. But I’m here to tell you that Collin Johnson will be a breakout star next season. With the likely departures of Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook, Johnson will assume a much larger role in the Jacksonville receiving corps alongside DJ Clark Jr. and Laviska Shenault

In what most assume will be a pass-heavy offense with Lawrence, there should be plenty of love to spread around. Johnson is a big possession receiver with good hands and an ability to create separation despite his stature. He looks to be a guy who can stretch the field for Jacksonville, and I fully expect him to be a high-volume receiver moving into the 2021 season. I would have no problem with moving a late first or second- round rookie draft pick to acquire this star-in-waiting. 

MEDIUM — Anaheim Pepper

RB: Ty Johnson (New York Jets)

The New York Jets have been an absolute mess as an organization for a while now. There are concerns top to bottom, and Adam Gase needs to go. That said, Ty Johnson is someone who will be looked at to carry a fairly heavy workload next season barring a free agent signing or early-round running back selection for New York in the offseason. 

We saw him get extremely limited opportunities this season. In Week 13 against Las Vegas, however, we got a glimpse of what Johnson is capable of when he is the feature back. He had a season-high 63 percent snap share, which led to 22 carries for 104 yards and a rushing touchdown. At other points in the season, we also saw Johnson being featured more in the New York passing game, garnering six targets twice and one touchdown. 

I have him as my medium player simply because we could see La’Mical Perine dominate the New York backfield next season. But what we saw from Johnson in his limited opportunities this season makes me bullish on the prospect of him having a stellar 2021 season. He is worth dumping some mid-range veterans for, and possibly even a later-round draft pick. 

MILD — Red Bell Pepper

RB: James Conner (Pittsburgh)

James Conner was the Points Per Reception (PPR) RB27 this season.

Sadly, it appears as though the James Conner era in Pittsburgh is at an end. While he was fairly effective early on in the season, that has not been the case the last four weeks after coming back from the reserve/COVID-19 list. While that may have played a part in his decline, Pittsburgh simply hasn’t been using him or the run game the way they did the first half of the season. 

Conner hasn’t seen more than 13 touches in a game since Week 8 against Baltimore, a far cry from the 20 plus touches he was seeing previously. Conner has needed targets in the passing game to score, and he isn’t seeing those either. 

Conner could still be around in Pittsburgh next season. However, with younger backs waiting in the wings to take over, Conner is an asset I would be looking to sell while you can still get value for him. 

And there you have it. Take it or leave it, and join me next time for more dynasty adds and drops!

And now, for my season-ending, knee-slapping dad joke!

Why couldn’t the bicycle stand up by itself? 

It was two-tired!

As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @jenatejack2017.