Dynasty League Football


2012 Blind Rookie Draft

With just a week until the NFL draft, dynasty owners are salivating in anticipation. Anticipation about which team will choose the future stud skill players, anticipation about where a favorite late round sleeper might land and especially anticipation about our own dynasty rookie drafts. Most rookie drafts occur in the days and weeks following the late April NFL draft when destinations are known and value can be fully assessed with all information to consider, but not all leagues are created equal or employ the same set of basic rules. I love leagues and commissioners who are willing to try something a little unusual.

I recently joined a league, the “Maniacs Dynasty League,” and was quickly informed that one thing that sets this league apart from many is their rookie draft, which is held each year on April 1st.

This article will serve two purposes: a very early look at how rookie drafts might unfold and a discussion about the merits of holding your league’s rookie draft before the NFL holds their version in late April.

I spoke with the commissioner of my league, as well as another commish who uses the early draft in his leagues as well. I asked both for the pros and cons of drafting so soon. Here is what I learned.


*  Rewards owners who do their homework– as prevalent as dynasty league football has become, along with the large number of experts covering the draft, there is a plethora of information out there if owners are willing to do the research.

*  Amazing value to be had throughout draft– if you have done the work before the draft, it will likely pay off with snagging that 5th round sleeper that will leave your leaguemates asking “who?”

Makes the NFL draft more interesting– with multiple rookies already on your roster, you will have a rooting interest as you watch the NFL draft (better hope your guy is not sent packing to Cleveland).

Creates a year round active league– this seems to be the goal of almost all dynasty leagues and with this format, if you are not active and involved, you will be left behind and out of the playoffs each year.

Owners draft based on talent, rather than situation– this discussion comes up every year and while owners want to draft the best talent, it is hard to pass on the Daniel Thomas and Monatario Hardesty’s each year. This eliminates that temptation.

*  Can learn about prospects you may not be aware of– many of the players chosen in this draft were unknown to me. In many cases, seeing their name and how an owner valued them caused me to do more research and better prepare me for my other rookie draft this spring.


Teams are unknown– the most obvious reason not to draft early for most owners. Although we try not to admit it, team and situation plays a huge role in determining a player’s value and without the factor, some players are difficult to evaluate.

Leaves a lot of time for free agent and trade transactions– drafting in the middle of the free agency period, or even before it begins adds an extra challenge and risk. As players change teams, it affects how teams will draft and the eventual landing spot for each rookie.

Can be risky as draft status and value changes– with so much time before the NFL draft, rookies are at risk to get injured, have legal trouble or other events that would affect their draft stock and fantasy value.

Can offset the system of poor teams earning higher picks– with all of the above risks related to drafting early, a poor or rebuilding team could not get the helpful player they thought they were getting, while a strong team adding a late round sleeper pans out and the balance of power is further widened.

Now, here is a look at the Maniacs draft. It is a 12 team league and the rookie draft is a full seven rounds, with only rookies eligible to be chosen. Scoring is PPR for all positions and quarterbacks earn 6 points for passing TDs. Starting requirements are 1 QB/2 RB/3 WR/1 TE/1 FLEX/PK/DEF. The comments made are mine, not those of the owners.


1.01 Trent Richardson, RB

The obvious pick in many leagues, even with the risk he could land in Cleveland or as a backup.

1.02 Justin Blackmon, WR

This team was in good shape at quarterback with Tony Romo, Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman

1.03 Michael Floyd, WR

The first surprise of this draft, despite having Michael Vick and Jay Cutler, he takes a chance on the WR.

1.04 Andrew Luck, QB

This is my team. Even with a strong starting QB (Matthew Stafford) I chose the best player available

1.05 Robert Griffin III, QB

Even as the reigning league champion, this team had a need at quarterback and traded up (sending Brandon Marshall) to snag this pick and RGIII.

1.06 Doug Martin, RB

This is where the risk really begins as the next tier of RB could land anywhere. If Martin becomes Ray Rice’s backup, this pick loses some value.

1.07 Lamar Miller, RB

See above.

1.08 David Wilson, RB

And again.

1.09 Kendall Wright, WR

The second tier WRs begin with similar risk as the RBs

1.10 Stephen Hill, WR

Hill’s stock has shot up since the combine.

1.11 Alshon Jeffrey, WR

Jeffrey’s value has really dropped, but some obviously still see him as a good prospect. These late 1st rounders will likely change as a 3rd tier RB lands in a favorable spot.

1.12 Mohamed Sanu, WR

I was surprised to see him chosen above some of the other players available. This owner traded up for Sanu.



2.01 Coby Fleener, TE
2.02 Chris Polk, RB
2.03 Rueben Randle, WR
2.04 Dwayne Allen, TE
2.05 LaMichael James, RB
2.06 Isaiah Pead, RB
2.07 Bernard Pierce, RB
2.08 Juron Criner, WR
2.09 Robert Turbin, RB
2.10 Brian Quick, WR
2.11 Marvin Jones, WR
2.12 Ryan Tannehill, QB
Second round thoughts: Of the 5 RBs selected in round 2, at least 1 or 2 will land in a great spot and make them late 1st rounder rookie draft choices.I was surprised to see the TEs go this early and don’t expect that to continue is the majority of drafts.



3.01 Devon Wylie, WR
3.02 Chris Givens, WR
3.03 Ryan Broyles, WR
3.04 Marvin McNutt, WR
3.05 Ladarius Green, TE
3.06 Orson Charles, TE
3.07 Tommy Streeter, WR
3.08 Nick Toon, WR
3.09 Joe Adams, WR
3.10 AJ Jenkins, WR
3.11 Greg Childs, WR
3.12 Rishard Matthews, WR
Third round thoughts: With 10 of the 12 players chosen being WRs, owners are definitely looking for the next Mike Wallace type player, a late round rookie pick that provided immediate return on investment. The safe picks are gone at this point and owners are taking their favorite sleeper or upside guy. Not having established ADP makes this very challenging.



4.01 Cyrus Gray, RB
4.02 Brandon Weeden, QB
4.03 Dwight Jones, WR
4.04 Ronnie Hillman, RB
4.05 Michael Smith, RB
4.06 Vick Ballard, RB
4.07 Michael Egnew, TE
4.08 Jarius Wright, WR
4.09 BJ Cunningham, WR
4.10 TY Hilton, WR
4.11 DeVier Posey, WR
4.12 Chris Rainey, RB
Fourth round thoughts:A this point, if there is a player you like, you can not wait or assume he will last a round. There is very little value between a 4th rounder and 7th rounder in this format. That would of course change by May.



5.01 Jeff Fuller, WR
5.02 Edwin Baker, RB
5.03 Kellen Moore, QB
5.04 Brock Osweiler, QB
5.05 Tauren Poole, RB
5.06 Tim Benford, WR
5.07 Chris Owusu, WR
5.08 Terrance Ganaway, RB
5.09 DeAngelo Peterson, TE
5.10 Keshawn Martin, WR
5.11 Gerrell Robinson, WR
5.12 Chase Ford, TE
6.01 Nick Foles, QB
6.02 Travis Benjamin, WR
6.03 Jordan White, WR
6.04 Danny Coale, WR
6.05 LaVon Brazill, WR
6.06 Bobby Rainey, RB
6.07 Kirk Cousins, QB
6.08 Jewel Hampton, RB
6.09 Adonis Thomas, RB
6.10 TJ Graham, WR
6.11 No pick
6.12 Eric Page, WR
7.01 Derek Moye, WR
7.02 Lance Lewis, WR
7.03 Nick Provo, TE
7.04 Bryce Brown, RB
7.05 Ryan Lindley, QB
7.06 Patrick Edwards, WR
7.07 Junior Hemmingway, WR
7.08 Kevin Koger, TE
7.09 Dale Moss, WR
7.10 BJ Coleman, QB
7.11 Marc Tyler, RB
7.12 Taylor Thompson, TE

Ryan McDowell can be found on Twitter at @RyanMc23

Ryan McDowell

Ryan McDowell

In addition to his role as Senior Staff Writer here at DLF, Ryan is also a husband, father of three and second grade teacher. Ryan is the commissioner of multiple dynasty leagues, most notably the HyperActive Dynasty Leagues. Here at DLF, Ryan’s focus is on identifying, monitoring and analyzing player value. Check out Ryan’s work on the Weekly Impact Events and Dynasty Stock Market, as well as our dynasty ADP data.
Ryan McDowell

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  1. Dig Dug

    April 19, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Obviously your league does not draft defensive players. Ours plays DLs, LBs and DBs. At what point should I start drafting defensive players?

    • Ryan McDowell

      April 19, 2012 at 5:58 am

      Dig Dug,
      Sorry, but I have very little experience with IDP leagues. It does seem that the top defensive rookies usually last until the 2nd round, but it all depends on your league’s scoring.

      • bs inc

        April 19, 2012 at 6:12 am

        In our league the top level def. players usually start comming off the board 3rd round. With most being in round 4-6, with our 7th being the mop up

        • Sensei_John_Kreese

          April 19, 2012 at 6:44 am

          Like Ryan said, it depends on scoring. For example, in our league last year, Dqwell Jackson was about even in total scoring with Mike Wallace. Theres no way that a prospect like Kuechly would EVER make it to the third round in our league. Especially if he goes to the seahawks or chiefs.

      • Sensei_John_Kreese

        April 19, 2012 at 6:37 am

        IDP veteran.

        You’ll start to see the big names (Kuechly and Barron) come off in the late first/early second. In my league, I plan on taking Kuechly with the 1.11. In Reality, there will only be few defensive guys worth taking in the first 4 rounds. That being said, I am 100 percent comfortable taking the best IDP prospect in the entire draft at 1.11. Luke Kuechly is going to be special. Set the all time ACC career tackle record, despite having left BC after his Junior year. I actually really hope my Bills land him at 10, even though we have more pressing needs.

        Watch the ILB’s that come off the board early. If you don’t mind waiting a year or two, these guys can really pay dividends. In our 4 round rookie draft last year, guys like Colin Mccarthy and Kelvin Sheppard went undrafted. These guys are now starting middle linebackers and have the potential to put up huge numbers. Do your homework, make a mental note of any ILB drafted, especially those drafted early.

        One more thing…Avoid 3-4 outside linebackers like the plague. They are useless.

        • Steve Wyremski

          April 19, 2012 at 7:10 am

          Nice comments, Sensei.

          I generally disagree with that strategy in an offensive deep draft (depending on scoring format of course), but I certainly respect it and have seen that used successfully.

          As I noted below, I typically prefer to hit the elite guys in the 2nd (if available) and wait until the 3rd to hit off on IDPs when the offensive pool starts thining out.

          • Sensei_John_Kreese

            April 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

            I generally wouldn’t advise taking an IDP in the first round either. I tend to be too mathematical when i draft. Figuring in bust rates. I find that, historically, receivers are a total crapshoot. Blue chip, intelligent, 3 down linebackers don’t come around as often. I also took Eric Berry in the first round 2 years ago at 1.11. So, I have a history of IDP infatuation.

  2. tstafford

    April 19, 2012 at 6:20 am

    That is really interesting. I’ve never heard of it, but I like it a lot. I like that it rewards research, makes the draft more exciting and that it forces people to draft on talent.

    • Steve Wyremski

      April 19, 2012 at 7:12 am

      I do this in one league as well where college players are incorporated too.

      It’s crazy the type of value people get in the later rounds in these drafts. For example, Helu was drafted in the 5th of my March pre-draft draft last year whereas Jordan Todman was in the 2nd.

  3. Boomer

    April 19, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Lol. Trent Richardson, even the risk he goes to Cleveland. I have 1.2 and pretty sure 1.1 is going to pass on him. I HOPE he goes to Cleveland. Good o-line and no one else on the offense to steal touches away from him.

    • Sensei_John_Kreese

      April 19, 2012 at 7:01 am

      No, he’ll just be greeted by 11 man defensive fronts every down of every game.

      • Boomer

        April 19, 2012 at 7:06 am

        Not after they take either Tannehill (stock dropping) or Stephen Hill at 22. Cleveland knows they need to address offense in a major way even after they take Richardson at 4.

        • Sensei_John_Kreese

          April 19, 2012 at 7:23 am

          No, im sort of kidding. Running behind Joe Thomas has an inherent appeal.

          • Boomer

            April 19, 2012 at 7:32 am

            It’s amazing how well this draft COULD fall for Cleveland. Already have four picks in the top 67 (yeah, cheated on that one). Chance Tannehill ‘Brady Quinns’ to 22. If not they can take their choice of Osweiler or Weeden in the 2nd. Already have an over the middle guy in Greg Little and this draft is stocked with deep threat WR’s. Even the best available players defensive when picking (beyond 4) are need positions for Cleveland.

          • Luke

            April 19, 2012 at 7:43 am

            There is no chance Tannehill falls to 22. Miami or Seattle has all but guaranteed that they’re taking him.

          • Josh G

            April 19, 2012 at 10:20 am

            Went to ASU, and other than his height, I wouldnt take Osweiler until the 4th round earliest..

            He had a decent amount of game at the collegiate level and he wasnt really ever a liability, but he isnt really a next level talent either.

        • Ryan McDowell

          April 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm

          Sounds like you are a Browns fan. For your sake, I hope the draft goes well and we start to see some improvement, but with their recent track record, you can’t blame me for not wanting the one true stud RB to end up there.

          Also, read a report today that they have no interest in a QB and will stick with McCoy. You never know what to believe this time of year, but that is certainly perplexing.

          • Boomer

            April 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm

            I’m a Packer fan. Life’s good.

      • StevieMo

        April 19, 2012 at 7:26 am

        A cautionary tale:

        When LaDainian Tomlinson came out of college, he was drafted by a truly dreadful San Diego team, which had no QB and an atrocious offensive line. Having started playing dynasty in 1988, I thought I was pretty smart to avoid him and said things like, “he’ll be greeted by 11 man defensive fronts every down of every game.”

        They drafted Drew Brees that year, as well, but it took him 3 or 4 years to become Drew Brees. Meanwhile, Tomlinson quickly became the best fantasy RB.

        Tomlinson went 1.04 in our 2001 dynasty draft behind QB Aaron Brooks (available veteran), Michael Vick and RB Michael Bennett, who was coming into a “made-to-order” situation on a high-powered Minnesota offense.

        The poor guy who drafted Bennett traded up to 1.03 to get him. He’s never lived it down.

        I’ll take Richardson no matter where he goes. He’s going to be great.

        • Sensei_John_Kreese

          April 19, 2012 at 7:35 am

          Like i said up there, i was just joking. I agree that Richardson is going to be an impact player in the NFL for years to come, irrespective of draft day destination.

          • StevieMo

            April 19, 2012 at 9:11 am

            I know you were, John. It was more a tale from my own experience rather than something directed at you. I’ll never miss out on a guy like that on that basis again, so I guess I’m a talent-over-situation d-leaguer.

        • Ryan McDowell

          April 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm

          Good point Stevie. We can learn from that, and from the draft above, that it is important to draft based on talent, not situation.

  4. Paymon Shokoohi

    April 19, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Very interesting indeed. Couple of surprises. For one, I see Cyrus Gray at 4.1. On my board, I have him 1.12 to 2.2 territory. Though I admit I like him A LOT more than most. He reminds me of L. McCoy.

    I also have Marvin Jones and Chris Givens much higher, early 2nd round.

    Great work, Ryan.

    • Boomer

      April 19, 2012 at 7:08 am

      He’s a good athlete (5 star HS recruit) and I’m high on him as well. Just doesn’t show great instincts and awareness. He should be a late second in dynasty drafts.

  5. Steve Wyremski

    April 19, 2012 at 6:58 am

    If teams medically checked out Greg Childs and he’s ok, I really think we’re going to see him drafted earlier than expected and he’s going to shoot up the rookie draft boards.

    Dig Dug – on your IDP question, I agree with Ryan. Depending on scoring formats, the 2nd round is where I’d start taking the elite prospects (i.e., Kuechly & Coples) and wait until the 3rd to really go after them. Someone will definitely reach for one end of 1st, but I wouldn’t recommend it given the offensive depth in this draft.

    • Luke

      April 19, 2012 at 7:44 am

      Stop talking about Childs!

  6. racer-x

    April 19, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I can see the arguments for both on where IDP studs should be taken, but it’s really all about your league owners. Everyone knows that the top ILB goes in the bottom of the 1st. You MUST be in the late first if you want Kuechly in my leagues. I think that’s how it ought to be frankly. The poor teams already get the top offensive studs at the beginning of the first. They should have first crack at the defensive stud(s) also?

    I think it’s far more interesting to study an owner’s drafting history and determine their success rate. There are guys in my league that have Jamarcus Russell, Aaron Curry, Know-points Moreno, Limas Sweed, Crabtree, and Garrett Wolfe in their first round resumes. Swapping places with them is a no-brainer as they are statistically likely to draft a bust.

    • Ryan McDowell

      April 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Great point regarding leaguemates Racer. I wish I had kept better records the past few years.

  7. racer-x

    April 19, 2012 at 8:42 am

    *should have read, “everyone knows in my leagues”

  8. sandman

    April 19, 2012 at 8:47 am

    great stuff

    • Ryan McDowell

      April 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks Sandman!

  9. Joe Kool

    April 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Nice article!

    • Ryan McDowell

      April 20, 2012 at 4:38 am

      Thanks Joe!

  10. RP

    April 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Best article of the year (please say Thanks RP!)

    • Ryan McDowell

      April 21, 2012 at 5:39 am

      🙂 Thanks RP

      As a UK fan, I hope this RP is not Rick Pitino.

  11. sixshooter

    April 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I don’t agree with hardly any of the pros to hosting a fantasy draft before the nfl draft.

    1) Owners are rewarded for their research just as much if not more when it is known where the players are going. The owners with the top 5 picks or so actually already know where there picks are landing before the draft but it is much easier for an owner who has done little research to “luck out” with a player in a draft where it is unknown where the player is going to end up.

    2) That howework will pay off much, much more with picking a late round sleeper if you actually know where the player is going to end up and just how much talent he is going to be surrounded with between coaching staff and players.

    3) The NFL draft is much more interesting when you do not know who you are drafting in your fantasy league and provides a couple weeks entertainment doing further research after the NFL draft now that you know where the players ended up since we have our rookie draft around the middle of May each year. This provides some serious entertainment and a ton of suspense and smack talk amongst the fantasy team owners leading up to the rookie draft. Much more to talk about, research and study than just talent which rewards the owners who do the research and homework considerably more than if they only have talent and guesswork to study.

    4) Year around Dynasty activity is a must and if you don’t do it….you will suffer. Has little to do with when you have your rookie draft.

    5) Talent is considered to some extent no matter when the rookie draft is for obvious reasons and I am sure that there is more hodge podge guess work as to where a player will end up that goes on with a rookie draft before the NFL draft than anyone is willing to admit.
    It was not much of a secret where Thomas and Hardesty ended up last year before the draft so the temptation is still alive and well.

    6) Most all players should be knownn and researched before the NFL draft. If you are waiting until after the draft to at least become familiar with the players’ name, etc then you are likely missing the boat!

  12. sixshooter

    April 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Hey Boomer, I also have the #2 pick as well as #11 and am hoping very much that Richardson goes to Cleveland since that would be my best bet even though I do have Little (and McCoy) as well in a deep 12 team fantasy league. The owner of the #1 pick is rumored to be taking Luck with his first pick so if that is the case, then I am definitely taking Richardson. If not, then my decision becomes a bit difficult because my QB’s are Cutler, Tebow and McCoy so I am more than likely taking Luck at #2 leaving Blackmon for #3 and RGIII for the #4 pick the way I see it unfolding.

  13. Ken Widerka

    April 29, 2012 at 3:37 am

    I am betting that there are a few owners in the leagues that have held their drafts already that are fairly upset right now. I would love to see an updated mock on here soon!

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