Dynasty Startup Mock: The 7 Best Values in the Draft
The RotoViz crew recently completed a dynasty startup mock. In Part 1, we discussed whether you should attempt to win-now or build for the long haul. In Part 2, we looked at the most controversial selections, including Keenan Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Melvin Gordon. In today’s conclusion to the series, we’ll give our drafters a chance to critique their own squads.
Charles Kleinheksel – 2015 Undefeated RotoViz Dynasty League Champion and 2016 RDL No. 1 seed
QB: Kirk Cousins
RB: David Johnson, Latavius Murray, Charles Sims, Matt Forte, Zach Zenner
WR: Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, Willie Snead, Cameron Meredith, Kenny Britt, J.J. Nelson, Sammie Coates
TE: Delanie Walker, Vance McDonald
I’ve got a lot of depth at wide receiver but nobody elite. Edelman was my selection in the second round, which tells you something about how many WRs went early. I lead this league in WR2 types, but I’m comfortable starting four such mid-range WRs, rather than having one or two “top” WRs and a bunch of questions. Is Edelman “worth” a second? I think he is if you go RB in round one.
I started my draft at No. 3 overall with David Johnson. I know, a RotoViz guy didn’t take a WR first. But I think Johnson is an elite *asset* as well as an elite player. He’s got more positional risk than a WR, but I also think I could turn him into something else – multiple something elses, probably – via trade, if I want to.
Best Value: Latavius Murray as the 28th RB off the board. He’s handled a major workload and could be headed for a bigger role as a free agent.
14Team Mocker – Author of the Dynasty Stock Market series
QB: Blake Bortles, Carson Palmer, Tony Romo
RB: Lamar Miller, LeSean McCoy, Isaiah Crowell, Doug Martin, Ameer Abdullah
WR: Keenan Allen, Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Tyler Lockett, Kendall Wright, Chris Hogan, Martavis Bryant, Pharoh Cooper, Dorial Green-Beckham
TE: Ladarius Green, Dwayne Allen
Normally in a startup I will do whatever it takes to have three picks in the first round and a half or so, and generally collect what I consider to be three Tier 1 WRs. Because there was no trading in this mock, I only have two: Allen and Jeffery.1 My team is built around these WRs, players I don’t anticipate to move for a number of years, barring unforeseen major injury, suspension, or retirement.
The rest of my roster is what I consider to be undervalued starting RBs (Miller, McCoy, Crowell, and Martin) and high-upside WRs. Important distinction: not starting-caliber RBs, as I place little value on my own talent evaluation. Rather, I look at draft capital, age, and contracts to make educated guesses on who is likely to be a starter.
High-upside WRs tend to be in the middle of their rookie contracts. This is an example of taking advantage of others’ impatience, as young WRs will frequently become cheaper before they get real opportunity in the NFL. In this mock, those WRs were White, Lockett, Cooper, Wright, Bryant, and Green-Beckham. This group emphasizes my focus on age, draft capital, and various situations that caused owners to lose patience or interest. There is a point, of course, where veteran production becomes drastically undervalued in relation to potential.
Best Value: Hogan already looks like a steal at 13.09, which helps people overlook that I am still taking Wright in the 11th.
Jason Lewis – Author of the 2015 Dynasty Age Premium articles
QB: Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger
RB: Carlos Hyde, Dion Lewis
WR: A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton, Jamison Crowder, Michael Crabtree, Taylor Gabriel
TE: Tyler Eifert, Kyle Rudolph
At the back-end turn, you need to be aggressive because you’ll face many inflection points in your draft. Being so far between picks means you do not have the luxury to wait to use popular strategies like grabbing the last player of a tier. When you’re at the turn, you’re usually forced to be early rather than risk being late.
Having that in mind, I made what I thought was a bit of a sub optimal pick with Crabtree over more attractive players like Reed and McCoy to lead off the fourth, but I knew that passing on a WR in that spot probably meant scraps by the time it got back to me in the fifth. Knowing that a league full of RotoViz writers would heavily invest in WRs, I was to happy to lock up four of them, even if they were mostly on the older side.
I took a similar approach in future turns by trying to be the one to jump start runs on positions as opposed to closing them. (I was also early on QB and TE with Ryan and Eifert.) I believed I needed to make sure I got players ahead of positional runs rather than risk sitting there helplessly with 22 picks between turns.
Best Value: I know that trying to wait as long as possible to grab your first QB is like a rite of passage for most fantasy drafts, but I loved getting Ryan to close the ninth round as the QB6. That’s nearly five full rounds after Rodgers, a signal-caller Ryan just wiped the floor with in the NFC Championship Game.
Tyler Buecher – No. 2 in Regular Season Points for SFB480
QB: Aaron Rodgers, Tyrod Taylor
RB: Mark Ingram, Duke Johnson, T.J. Yeldon, Ryan Mathews, DeAndre Washington
WR: Mike Evans, Jarvis Landry, John Brown, Sterling Shepard, Kenny Stills, Phillip Dorsett, Kamar Aiken, Mohamed Sanu
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Coby Fleener
I fit my pre-draft objective of drafting a team that has a chance to be competitive in Year 1. I was able to gain three assets in Evans, Gronkowski, and Rodgers that each have a chance to finish as the highest-scoring player at their respective positions over the next few years. A combination of veteran and young players leaves this roster with plenty of value to improve further via trades.
Best Value: I don’t know how Gronk fell to me at 2.11 (23rd overall), but I thought it was great value for a guy who was often going in the first round of startups last year. These are Gronk’s annual PPR finishes among tight ends starting in 2010: TE11, TE1, TE5, TE19 (7 games played), TE1, TE1, TE26 (8 games played). I’ll take the guy with 69 touchdowns there ten times out of ten.
Tim Talmadge – Selected Rishard Matthews as His 2016 Breakout and DeMarco Murray as His Buy Low
QB: Cam Newton, Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch
RB: Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Tevin Coleman, Devontae Booker, Jonathan Stewart, Shane Vereen
WR: Odell Beckham, Tyrell Williams, Larry Fitzgerald, Eric Decker, Mike Wallace, Michael Floyd, Quincy Enunwa
TE: Greg Olsen, Cameron Brate
I came away pretty happy with my roster. Six of my ten WR selections have had a 1,000-yard season. Newton and Olsen are both top tier at their positions, and I didn’t feel like I reached to get them. RB was all about picking players based on volume and some of my own scouting biases. I only wish I’d landed a few more coveted players for the end of my bench.
Best Value: Larry Fitzgerald at 9.01. Yes, he could have retired and made me look like an idiot, but he just led the NFL in receptions and needs 1,550 yards to move to second all-time for receiving yards.
Curtis Patrick – Author of the Dynasty Command Center
QB: Dak Prescott, Eli Manning, Alex Smith
RB: Jordan Howard, Jay Ajayi, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Anderson
WR: Amari Cooper, Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Laquon Treadwell, Anquan Boldin, Terrance Williams
TE: Eric Ebron, Martellus Bennett, Jesse James
I was able to execute my preferred strategy of loading up on youth and started with an intriguing group of WRs in Cooper, Thomas, and Adams. I ended up with more RBs (4) through ten rounds than I anticipated. This team would probably be a middling performer in year one, but the core is certainly the youngest. I was able to amass a lot of upside throughout the first ten rounds.
Best Value: I watched C.J. Anderson fall for about three rounds before I finally pulled the trigger in the ninth. I didn’t really need him there since I already had three RBs on the roster.2
Matt Wispe – Predicted Ted Ginn Would Outscore Kelvin Benjamin in 2016 (Which I Loved Even if It Wasn’t Quite True)
QB: Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco
RB: Spencer Ware, Kenneth Dixon, Paul Perkins, Jalen Richard, Frank Gore, Mike Gillislee
WR: Antonio Brown, Donte Moncrief, Doug Baldwin, Emmanuel Sanders, Marvin Jones, Victor Cruz, Jermaine Kearse
TE: Jimmy Graham, Dennis Pitta, Will Tye
Looking at my roster compared to several of the other teams, I wouldn’t expect to be a top team in 2017. But with my core rooted in WRs and RBs on the verge of bigger workloads, my team would have a potential for exponential growth. Not all teams can win in Year 1, so I look at my draft as a success more in the long game rather than the short.
Best Value: Mike Gillislee was a minor surprise at 13.06. As my sixth RB selection, I was happy to see a RB that will likely require only a one season stash before he gets a RB1 workload.