I am lucky enough to have participated in a full-scale mock dynasty league draft hosted by your friendly folks here at DLF. The participants are a nice mix of dynasty experts. This included Eric, Steve, Paymon and Tim from DLF; Chris Wesseling from Rotoworld; Bryan Fontaine and Chad Parsons from Pro Football Focus; DLF Forum members and other dynasty players I am familiar with from Twitter.
The league is PPR, with 24 man rosters, trading allowed, and rookie draft picks available to be drafted (the thought is we will have the actual rookie draft sometime after the NFL Draft). It is a serpentine draft and the league was set up with standard WCOFF scoring. Everyone also committed to submitting commentary with their picks, so we can get an idea of where they are coming from. The draft was completed about ten days ago and you can see the whole draft report here and the team rosters here.
In this article, I’ll take a look at the first two rounds. At this point of the draft, I don’t think it’s that helpful to go pick by pick (especially where we are essentially splitting hairs), so I’m going to give my general impression of these rounds. My general philosophy of building dynasty teams centers around the wide receiver position which generally produces more consistent players who have longer prime production spans. That being said, I won’t begrudge anyone for taking the top tier of dynasty running backs like Shady McCoy, Arian Foster and Ray Rice, even if I would take Megatron first overall every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
The draft order, which was randomly generated by MyFantasyLeague.com, was:
4. Me: @EyeoftheGator
|1.01||@DLFootball||Ray Rice, RB BAL|
|1.02||@ChrisWesseling||Calvin Johnson, WR DET|
|1.03||@SteveWyremski||LeSean McCoy, RB PHI|
|1.04||@SetMyRoster||Arian Foster, RB HOU|
|1.05||@RoadWarrior98||Aaron Rodgers, QB GB|
|1.06||@RyanMc23||Cam Newton, QB CAR|
|1.07||@BeRanDone||Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAX|
|1.08||@Bryan_Fontaine||Drew Brees, QB NO|
|1.09||@EyeoftheGator||Hakeem Nicks, WR NYG|
|1.10||@PFF_ChadParsons||Matthew Stafford, QB DET|
|1.11||@DynastyTim||Matt Forte, RB CHI|
|1.12||@jrnall2||A.J. Green, WR CIN|
Obviously the first thing that jumps out at you is the number of quarterbacks taken in the first round. My visceral reaction was that this was crazy, but when you look back at 2011, there was a huge drop off in quarterback scoring after the top five (Brady being the omission from the above). In addition, top quarterbacks tend to have very long and productive fantasy careers, and even Brees, who is right about 33 years of age, could have five productive years left.
The results here go along with my main theory that the way to build a dynasty is by stockpiling talent in positions that have higher longevity. Generally, I do this through wide receivers, who tend to have a longer productive time period in their career than running backs. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the quarterback picks, but I can at least understand the rationale.
I think the fact that four quarterbacks and Maurice Jones-Drew went by 1.10 made Matt Forte (my dynasty RB4) and A.J. Green (my dynasty WR3) excellent values at 1.11 and 1.12. Forte was healthy enough to play in the Pro Bowl and should be set to build on his breakout season with room created by a healthy Jay Cutler hopefully throwing to a revamped receiving corps.
AJ Green has all the physical tools, including amazing ball skills and a quarterback who isn’t afraid to throw the ball up to him downfield. Both of these players are great building blocks and getting them at the end of round one is a boon. As a side note, Megatron is my number one overall dynasty player, so getting him at 1.02 is, to me, a good value as well.
MJD at 1.07, Drew Brees at 1.08 and Matt Stafford at 1.10 were all reaches to me. I understand why people love MJD, who demonstrated amazing toughness and skill this year, especially considering the Jaguars had no passing game to speak of. That being said, I’m not thrilled to build a dynasty around a 27 year old back who has three straight years of 330+ touches. Brees at 33 should have another 3-5 years of prime production left in the tank, but with both him and Stafford, I think there was a very good chance they would have made it back to Bryan and Chad at 2.03 and 2.05. I feel they both missed a chance to snag a Top five WR here, which to me, is a better core building block.
My 1.04 Trade
As noted in my draft commentary, Hakeem Nicks is my WR2. He’s a player who I didn’t need to take at 1.04, but I knew was unlikely to make it back to me at 2.09. Probably beating a dead horse here, but I’ll say it again – given the choice, I would rather start my dynasty team with a top receiver than a top running back, even one as good as Arian Foster (my dynasty RB2). Moving up seven rounds from 14.09 to 7.09 (and giving me two 7th rounders) was worth the drop from 1.04 to 1.09 to get my guy.
|2.01||@jrnall2||Julio Jones, WR ATL|
|2.02||@DynastyTim||Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI|
|2.03||@PFF_ChadParsons||Rob Gronkowski, TE NE|
|2.04||@SetMyRoster||Andre Johnson, WR HOU|
|2.05||@Bryan_Fontaine||Jimmy Graham, TE NO|
|2.06||@BeRanDone||Chris Johnson, RB TEN|
|2.07||@DLFootball||Ryan Mathews, RB SD|
|2.08||@RoadWarrior98||Jamaal Charles, RB KC|
|2.09||@EyeoftheGator||Rookie Pick 1.01|
|2.10||@SteveWyremski||Greg Jennings, WR GB|
|2.11||@ChrisWesseling||Adrian Peterson, RB MIN|
|1.12||@RyanMc23||Mike Wallace, WR PIT|
Again we see somewhat of a trend as both PFF guys, Bryan and Chad opt to pair tight ends with their stud quarterbacks. While Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham are both the class of the tight end position, and both have youth on their side (Gronk at 22 and Graham at 25), conventional wisdom does not dictate building a dynasty team on these two positions.
Again, I completely understand the thinking, but as the draft unfolds, I think you will see these teams struggle to compete at the running back and wide receiver positions. When I draft a dynasty startup, I am trying to pick a team that can compete in the near term and the long term. I’m not convinced that going QB/TE in rounds one and two will allow these teams to compete for the title in 2012.
I actually don’t think there were any amazing values in this round of the draft, but if I had to pick the best value, it was probably Eric’s pick of Ryan Mathews at 2.07. I’ve got him as my dynasty RB5 (which is currently based on the assumption that Tolbert moves on – if not, he falls to RB6 behind Chris Johnson), and I think Eric benefited from the six quarterback and tight end picks before him. Typically, I think you will see Mathews going late first or early second in most startups this year. I can understand why Eric traded up to get him – dropping down five picks in three rounds was a fair price to back to move up five picks in round two.
Incidentally, moving up five picks in three rounds was a good move if you either don’t love who’s available or think you can get your guy later on. Deals like this that are fair and work to the benefit of both sides are great to see.
I like Jamaal Charles a ton (my dynasty RB8), but I would have grabbed a stud receiver before taking a guy coming off ACL surgery (even early season surgery). One of the things I really liked about Charles in 2011 was the lack of meaningful competition at running back (Old Man Jones, McCluster, etc). I expect the Chiefs to bring in a complementary back, and for Charles to be somewhere around 200-225 carries in 2012. At that rate, you are banking on him to maintain his 6.0 yard per carry average, because he is not getting a tremendous amount of goal line work (seven rushing touchdowns in 2009, only five in 2010). Charles is the start of the third tier of dynasty RBs for me, and, with Dave having draft a quarterback in round one, I would rather have gone with Dez Bryant, Kenny Britt or Percy Harvin there.
The First Rookie pick
Obviously pre-NFL Draft, this pick is little riskier than it would be post-draft because we don’t know where Trent Richardson will end up – a dream scenario (for me – the Bengals) or a less appealing scenario (for me – Tampa). I have Richardson tentatively slotted as my dynasty RB7 at the end of the second tier after Mathews and CJ2K.
Generally, slightly subject to his landing spot, I think you will see Trent go right around here – middle to late second. He has all the tools to be an every down back. If he even partly lives up the AP comparisons I’ve seen, getting him in that area may turn out to be the steal of the draft.
I will continue the draft analysis with round three going forward in Part II. In the meantime, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @EyeoftheGator or below with any questions or comments.