A few years ago, the HyperActive dynasty leagues were born from a group of owners searching for a competitive league that did not go dormant once the Super Bowl concluded. HyperActive leagues are comprised of two 12 team conferences with separate player pools. The champions of each conference meet in a week 16 Super Bowl. We recently conducted the startup dynasty draft for Hyper/Active 5. My goal for each of these leagues is to always find the best, most active dynasty owners possible. For this installment, I focused most of my recruiting on the best of the best from Twitter. What resulted is a strong group of drafters and owners, representing many of the top fantasy football sites on the web, along with some of the most savvy owners I have come in contact with. Here is a list of the 24 owners in the league:
* Ryan McDowell, Dynasty League Football
* Ryan Forbes, 2 Mugs
* Bryan Fontaine, Pro Football Focus & Dynasty Blitz
* Sigmund Bloom, FootballGuys
* Mark Kelly
* Andy Miley, Dynasty Blitz & Fantasy Alarm
* Mike Clay, Pro Football Focus & Rotoworld
* David Cherney, Dynasty Football Warehouse
* Shane Hallam, Draft Countdown
* Eric Dickens, Dynasty League Football
* Chase Wheetley, Dynasty League Football
* The FF Ghost, Dynasty League Football
* Jeff Tefertiller, FootballGuys
* Jarrett Behar, Dynasty League Football
* Peter Hodes
* Andrew Garda, FootballGuys
* Nishant Shailendra, formerly of Pro Football Focus
* Brian Quinlan
* Alessandro Miglio, Pro Football Focus
* Jimmy Nall, YHIHFfantasyfootball.com
* Scott Atkins, Fantasy Players Association
* Bruce Hammond, FootballGuys
* Michael Bronte, BFDfantasyfootball.com
* Steve Wyremski, Dynasty League Football
Scoring: WCOFF (1 PPR for all players, 4 points for passing touchdowns)
Starting lineups: QB, RB, WR, TE, 3 FLEX (RB, WR, TE), PK, TD
Roster Limit: 26 players
I strongly believe the base of a dynasty team is built in the first ten rounds of a draft. Beyond that, there is plenty of time and picks to grab an aging veteran as a short term starter, or a young upside player to stash at the end of the bench. For this series, I will give you a team by team look after ten rounds, as well as a look inside the mind of each owner who shared their draft strategy. Here’s a look at a few of the teams on the HYPER side of the league. For the first installment that takes analyzes a different group, click here.
Mike Clay- Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce @MikeClayNFL
* Early in this draft, my strategy was simple. Grab players at shallow positions who will play at a high level and will be around long-term.
* I took A.J. Green with my first pick, but a generous trade offer allowed me to move up later in the draft and still get Matthew Stafford with the very next pick – this solidifies my quarterback position for the next decade.
* I generally value running backs very highly in redraft leagues, but elite, workhorse backs simply don’t stick around as long as elite quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends.
* That brings me to my next pick – Rob Gronkowski, who is still a baby at just 23 years old. Again, this is another premium position I won’t have to worry about for almost a decade.
* In Round three, I snagged a lead back in Marshawn Lynch, who had a big workload in 2011, but still has a few years in the bank. It’s not an ideal RB1 situation, but the turnover at the position will allow me to build this position up over the years.
* Although he’s up there in years and on a one-year deal with New England, Wes Welker was a no-brainer in Round 4. Vincent and DeSean Jackson followed, giving me some explosion to go with Welker’s consistent play.
* I followed with two more wide receivers (Robert Meachem, Brandon Lloyd), as the league setup only forces us to start one tailback and has three flex slots.
* Antonio Gates only has a few years left, but is a strong bet to be a top-five tight end during that period. He’s another flex option and an emergency fill-in behind Gronkowski.
* I waited until Round Eight to add a second tailback and took a risk with Jahvid Best. If he gets back healthy, he’ll be a PPR machine. I think he can have a Darren Sproles-like career, which is what I’m banking on here.
* Michael Bush was my pick a round later. Even if Matt Forte sticks around, Bush is one of the elite handcuff backs in the game. If Forte continues the holdout and gets traded, I have a RB1 on my hands.
* I fully expect a big rebound from Josh Freeman, which is why I made the 24 year old my 10th round pick. He’s a more-than-competent No. 2 behind Stafford.
* After that, I focused on value picks. Leonard Hankerson is already a breakout candidate.
* Mario Manningham is stuck in a roster jam in San Francisco, but is only 26.
* Robert Turbin fell to Round 15, so I handcuffed Lynch.
* James Jones is the third receiver in the potent Packers attack, so I was happy to have him in Round 15. If Jennings or Nelson get hurt, look out. He’d be WR2 material.
* Delone Carter is a good fit for Chuck Pagano’s new gameplan, so don’t be shocked if he emerges during his sophomore campaign.
* I followed with a trio of rookies in Brandon Weeden (upside QB3), T.Y. Hilton (DeSean-lite), and Travis Benjamin (Weeden-to-Benjamin connection?).
* Mixed in was Andre Caldwell, with the hope he’ll turn into a reliable slot man for Peyton Manning in 2012.
* I grabbed a pair of reliable defenses in Rounds 21 and 22 (Jets, Ravens) so that I didn’t have to worry about that position for a long time.
* I followed with Dennis Pitta (can he win starting job?), Le’Ron McClain (chunk of Tolbert’s role?), and, of course, a kicker (Nate Kaeding).
* Overall, I’m relatively pleased. In hindsight, I might have thought harder about a tailback in Rounds one or two, but only because wide receiver proved to be so deep. It’s a position I’ll need to work on over the next few years, but in the meantime, I have plenty of stars I can use at Flex.
1.10 Matthew Stafford, QB DET
2.04 Rob Gronkowski, TE NE
3.09 Marshawn Lynch, RB SEA
4.04 Wes Welker, WR NE
5.09 Vincent Jackson, WR TB
6.04 DeSean Jackson, WR PHI
7.09 Robert Meachem, WR SD
7.12 Brandon Lloyd, WR NE
8.04 Antonio Gates, TE SD
8.12 Jahvid Best, RB DET
10.04 Michael Bush, RB CHI
10.05 Josh Freeman, QB TBB
Best Value Pick: While I am not a believer in his ability to stay healthy, selecting Jahvid Best as the 31st running back off the board is great value. If Best comes back at full strength, he has the potential to have top ten running back value.
Biggest Risk: The wide receiver position in general is a bit scary on this team. All of these have their own question marks and cause for concern. Age, inconsistency, new teams. Mike has the depth to likely put together two or three solid starters each week this season, but will need to add some youth and upside to the position as Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd are already on the wrong side of 30 and Vincent Jackson is not far behind.
Other picks of note: Leonard Hankerson (12.01), Mario Manningham (14.01)
Possible Starting Lineup:
QB = Matt Stafford
RB = Marshawn Lynch
WR = Wes Welker
TE = Rob Gronkowski
FLEX = Vincent Jackson
FLEX = DeSean Jackson
FLEX = Antonio Gates
Year One Outlook: Mike’s team is a true example of boom or bust. Gronkowski and Welker are both solid and consistent, but other members of his starting lineup have a history of inconsistency, specifically both Vincent and DeSean Jackson. Lynch and Stafford both had huge years in 2011, but some question if they can maintain that for years to come. In the big picture Mike made some very solid picks and should his starters remain healthy, has a great chance of making the playoffs this upcoming season.
David Cherney- Road Warriors @RoadWarrior98
* As for strategy, I always attempt to get enough veterans to compete in year one and enough youth to maintain. Being successful with this approach would be difficult in this shark pool – especially drafting in this year’s challenging seventh slot. You’ll note I didn’t draft any rookies at the price they were going along with the unknown factor. Instead, opting for rookies from last year that many either forgot about or didn’t desire. I like a known commodity with potential and will concentrate on rookies next year. Plus, it’s pretty much an untapped market in standard Dynasty leagues.
* At quarterback, I’m mediocre at best after getting Philip Rivers in the fifth followed by Carson Palmer in the 14th. I’m in the minority who thinks Rivers has a bounce back season and the loss of VJax won’t hurt badly. Also believe he makes his receivers, not vice versa. As for Palmer, his arm strength improved throughout his shortened season. And there are plenty of targets. Call me a fan of Ryan Mallett. This can potentially pay off two ways. Patriots trade him at his peak as a starter, or as a calling card to the Brady owner…. If needed.
* At RB, I’m not passing on Adrian Peterson. Knowing I’d need a temporary backup plan, I didn’t do the standard and wait for Toby Gerhart (projected round 13), but instead found Michael Turner in round twelve. His wheels may be falling off, but I’ll take the upside of having him over someone who may only be a part-time player. I’m a fan of DeMarco Murray. Critics will say (and they are right) that Dallas is a terrible red-zone running team. Attention to the offensive line through the draft and free agency has me believing this will change, and I want to be ahead of the curve when this trend turns. I did back him up with Felix Jones. Not only as a fill-in for Murray should he get hurt, but he’s also a free agent next year and may land a starting gig. Loved the value in the tenth round. Having Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas (a Warrior favorite) help fill out the troops.
* WR’s should be solid. Larry Fitzgerald needs no explanation. Jordy Nelson won’t have his TD numbers from last year, but having a piece of the Green Bay passing game has to be a plus. My favorite pick in this draft was getting Garcon in the seventh – high upside with RGIII in town. May be a dicey play the first year though. Another favorite is Lance Moore for bye weeks or injury and Greg Salas, a potential PPR steal, round out this group.
* TE is the weak spot, but I’m a believer in Jared Cook and think Tony Moeaki has a ton of potential. Kellen Winslow probably has a year left.
* A questionable move I made (idiot factor TBD) was trading my mid-round sixth to Bloom for his next year’s rookie first. I underestimated his approach of not going for a win-now type draft, so it will likely be a late pick. Still, looking at the value that was available in that round, and having that pick to package with something to upgrade a position during the season may work out. We’ll see.
1.07 Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI
2.06 Adrian Peterson, RB MIN
3.07 DeMarco Murray, RB DAL
4.06 Jordy Nelson, WR GB
5.07 Philip Rivers, QB SD
7.07 Pierre Garcon, WR WAS
8.06 Reggie Bush, RB MIA
9.07 Jared Cook, TE TEN
10.06 Felix Jones, RB DAL
Best Value Pick: Reggie Bush, if he remains healthy, was a solid value in the mid eighth round as the 28th running back off the board. Bush had a great first year in South Beach and even with the drafting of rookie Lamar Miller, should put up another strong year in PPR leagues.
Biggest Risk: The injury risk of the top three running backs might have Dave squirming before the season ends. The good news is he stole the aging, but durable Michael Turner in the 12th round.
Other picks of note: Michael Turner (12.06), Carson Palmer (14.06)
Possible Starting Lineup:
QB = Philip Rivers
RB = Adrian Peterson
WR = Larry Fitzgerald
TE = Jared Cook
FLEX = DeMarco Murray
FLEX = Jordy Nelson
FLEX = Reggie Bush
Year One Outlook: The more I look at the Road Warriors, the more I like them. Although Dave took some players who are not favorites of mine like Jordy Nelson and DeMarco Murray, they were both solid value picks and will be fixtures in his starting lineup. The success of this team comes down to the health of the running backs. We all know Peterson is coming back from a severe knee injury, while both Bush and Murray have their own injury history. If all three remain healthy, this is a playoff team. If not, we could see the Road Warriors battling for the 1.01 rookie pick.
Shane Hallam- Hallam Hammer @ShanePHallam
* My goal going into the draft is to stock up early on the two positions with the most longevity: QB and WR.
* Picking at the turn of 1.12, my hope is I can get one of the younger stud WRs to fall to me (AJ Green/Julio Jones) and go that route early on.
* With QB being deep, I imagine targeting it as a 5th-7th round area and nab two players, potentially Andrew Luck along with a more veteran presence.
* I feel I can get some value at RB in the 3rd-5th round range as needed.
* TE is a position I feel I can wait on and nab later value.
* Not afraid to draft rookies and should bring in plenty, along with second year players, especially at the end of the draft for longshot depth. Though I may need to hold some of these players, I trust my scouting knowledge to pull through.
* A few I’d ideally like to have on my team: Lamar Miller, Isaiah Pead, Ladarius Green, and Juron Criner.
* Post Draft: Didn’t quite work out the way I planned with Julio/Green being off the board, so I went RB/RB.
* Also, as the draft went along, I took some veteran players who fell (Drew Brees, DeAngelo Williams, etc,) despite it not being a part of my plan. I nabbed most of the rookies that I had targeted and stuck with my late round strategy.
* Ending up going RB much earlier than I thought and made the strategy adjustment.
1.12 Chris Johnson, RB TEN
2.01 Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAX
3.12 Roy Helu, RB WAS
4.01 Drew Brees, QB NO
5.12 Marques Colston, WR NO
6.01 Torrey Smith, WR BAL
8.01 Sidney Rice, WR SEA
9.12 Lamar Miller, RB MIA
10.01 Daniel Thomas, RB MIA
Best Value Pick: This is an easy one. As the draft began, Drew Brees carried an ADP of 15 overall in PPR startup drafts. Shane chose him with the 4.01 pick, 37th player drafted overall. The uncertainty in New Orleans combined with many owners focusing solely on youth allowed the Hammer to get great value with Brees.
Biggest Risk: One mystery that plagues all dynasty owners the Redskins running back situation. Just a couple of weeks ago, many of us thought we had it figured out…Roy Helu would start backed up by fellow second year man Evan Royster. Then the Redskins resign Tim Hightower, followed by rumors he would be named the starting runner. It also does not help that Shane chose Helu 2 1/2 rounds above his current ADP.
Other picks of note: DeAngelo Williams (13.12), Matt Schaub (14.04), Jacoby Ford (15.12)
Possible Starting Lineup:
QB = Drew Brees
RB = Chris Johnson
WR = Marques Colston
TE = Lance Kendricks
FLEX = Roy Helu
FLEX = Maurice Jones-Drew
FLEX = Sidney Rice
Year One Outlook: Shane went against the recent conventional wisdom of drafting wide receivers early and often and chose three consecutive running backs with his initial picks. While this is the complete opposite of my gameplan, I think it worked well for this team. Coming away with two reliable veteran running backs and taking a bit of a risk on Helu could really pay off in the short term. He was also able to fill out his lineup with a good mixture at wide receiver- the solid veteran (Colston), the high upside youth (Smith) and the huge talent/huge injury risk (Rice). If all three of these go his way, he has a contender. It also helps that he was able to add some potential starters in the later rounds with Williams and Ford. In the end, this feels like a playoff team, but not a title contender.
Eric Dickens- Beach Life @DLFootball
* My goal is to set myself up to compete in 2012, with a very strong long-term roster.
* With the flexibility of the lineups, I plan on drafting a strong, young RB1 in rounds 2 or 3, but mainly building around my WR corps.
* I expect to make 4 of my first 6 picks to be WR’s.
* At some point, I will want to add a RB who can fill in from time to time in 2012 and provide depth at the position for the short term. Steven Jackson would be an example of a player I might look at.
* I also want to target a young QB w/ high upside, hopefully Andrew Luck. With this strategy, I plan on drafting another veteran QB a few rounds later to be my starter in 2012 and provide a safety net in future years. Peyton Manning would be a great example of a guy I’d love to pair w/ Luck.
* After the first six rounds of the draft, I’ll look to draft BPA based on value, with a definite bias against age.
* If faced with the option between players in similar tiers, I’ll break the tie w/ age.
* I’ll try to avoid taking a player with more projected points in 2012 over a player that projects out better over the next 2-3 years.
* I’ll likely wait until the last three rounds to add my DST and Kicker. If there’s a DST run early, I’ll resist jumping in, instead settling for what’s left over.
* Targets by round:
1st- Nicks, Green, Fitz
2nd- Mathews, Charles, Forte, Britt
3rd- Marshall, Lynch, Jennings, Martin
4th- Austin, Brown, Hernandez, SJohnson
5th- Luck, RGIII, Ryan, Blackmon
6th- 4th WR (BPA)
7-8th- BPA, looking for TE/RB
9-10th- BPA, looking for QB2 if I land a young QB1 (Peyton?)
11-16th- WR heavy if value is there
17-22nd- Youth, youth, youth
23-26th- DST/K, and 2 upside rookies
1.08 Hakeem Nicks, WR NYG
2.03 Trent Richardson, RB CLE
3.08 Greg Jennings, WR GB
5.08 Eric Decker, WR DEN
5.11 Robert Griffin III, QB WAS
6.10 Fred Davis, TE WAS
6.12 Titus Young, WR DET
7.11 Frank Gore, RB SF
9.08 Jay Cutler, QB CHI
Best Value Pick: Trent Richardson should be a first round pick in startup dynasty leagues and I have seen him go as high as 1.03. Eric made a smart move by trading up to snag Richardson in the early 2nd.
Biggest Risk: None
Other picks of note: Shane Vereen (11.08), Doug Baldwin (14.05)
Possible Starting Lineup:
QB = Jay Cutler
RB = Trent Richardson
WR = Hakeem Nicks
TE = Fred Davis
FLEX = Frank Gore
FLEX = Eric Decker
FLEX = Greg Jennings
Year One Outlook: Eric’s teams is one of my favorites looking back at the draft. He went almost exclusively young in the early rounds, but was not afraid to grab veterans that were falling far below thier ADP, like Frank Gore. This will give him some long term roster flexibility and allow him to be patient with his youth, namely Trent Richardson. He also stuck to his plan and drafted the explosive rookie quarterback RGIII and paired him with the solid, but unspectacular Jay Cutler. Not only is this team a contender in 2012, but it will be for years to come as well.
Chase Wheetley- Hog’s Breath @ChaseWheetley
* Headed into the draft, I wanted to trade down to the late first or early second. I couldn’t find anyone willing to pay my price and all draft long had trouble finding the right deal, so I mainly stayed put.
* As far as players, my plan was to draft a very young team that may struggle for the first year or so but should have a bright future. I think I was pretty successful in this.
* Specifically I wanted a young elite QB1, a stable of nice young RB’s (avoiding older elite guys), and a deep WR corps.
* I’m not that happy with how my WR’s turned out. There is plenty of potential but a lot of ugly situations.
* RB turned out better than I expected, and I didn’t expect to be able to add another QB with the upside of Sam Bradford as my QB2, so I’m happy with that.
* Tony Gonzalez was an exception I had to make as far as age, because he’ll end up starting some games for me this year and I love the price I paid to get him.
1.06 Cam Newton, QB CAR
2.07 Jamaal Charles, RB KC
3.06 Jonathan Stewart, RB CAR
4.07 Miles Austin, WR DAL
5.06 Beanie Wells, RB ARI
6.07 Greg Little, WR CLE
7.06 Jermaine Gresham, TE CIN
8.07 Michael Crabtree, WR SF
9.06 Mike Williams, WR TB
10.07 Sam Bradford, QB STL
Best Value Pick: Beanie Wells continues to get no respect in the fantasy football community. He had a very solid year and finished as a RB2, including some huge scoring games. Plus, in a league where so many owners focused on acquiring youth, Wells will only be 24 when the season starts.Wells was drafted as the 21st running back
Biggest Risk: The WR core group of Miles Austin, Greg Little, Michael Crabtree and Mike Williams is very risky. At this point, I would only feel comfortable starting Austin and he has battled injuries in the past. If his running backs pan out, this could work for Chase as he only has to start one wide receiver.
Possible Starting Lineup:
QB = Cam Newton
RB = Jamaal Charles
WR = Miles Austin
TE = Jermaine Gresham
FLEX = Beanie Wells
FLEX = Jamaal Charles
FLEX = Jonathan Stewart
Other picks of note: Alshon Jeffrey (11.06), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (12.07), Tony Gonzalez (15.06)
Year 1 Outlook: Chase has put together another boom or bust team. Does Charles come back at full strength? Does Newton repeat his remarkable freshman campaign? Can Stewart finally step out of the shadows in Carolina? Does Wells repeat his solid season from last year, or is he threatened by Ryan Williams? Chase does not need all of these to go in his favor to have a successful first year, but he does need a few. Newton certainly feels like a safe bet to be a top passer for years to come and the chances are very good that at least one of Charles, Stewart and Wells becomes a dynasty RB1.
The FF Ghost- Rancho Cucamonga Ghosts @The FFGhost
* Coming into the draft late, the most important decisions were already made for me in the foundation of my new team with picks 1.05 (Aaron Rodgers), 2.08 (Ryan Mathews) and 3.05 (Demaryius Thomas).
* I didn’t have any time to prepare so I was going off raw instinct alone from then on so forgive the lack of pre-draft notes and please accept my thoughts about the picks as I made them.
* At the fourth I couldn’t pass on the flashy Antonio Brown and followed it by rounding out the core positions and selecting Ahmad Bradshaw in the fifth.
* The biggest risk and widely talked about pick of my second QB pick in the sixth is a strategic play. I wanted another elite WR and/or an upgrade at RB down the road as I’m fairly certain one of my two workhorse RBs will come up limp during the season due to their injury histories. I’m looking squarely at Hallam Hammer and The Empire as potential trade partners since both of them have their QBs bye weeks on the same week as well as Bryan Fontaine who would see an average increase of 70% over his best QB for my worst. Worst case scenario I have two of the top 10 QBs, addition to my odds by subtracting weapons from the league.
* Beyond the 10th round I focused on depth and hitting the lesser positions (Def/ST & Kicker) earlier than the league as a whole in order to squeeze out any advantage I can.
* My trade with Forbeskin was also a strategy I try to employ in which I move my last pick as high as I can. in this case I was able to have my last pick a full round before everyone else. Ideally, I would have liked to have slid that up another two rounds or so that I’m finishing up my draft just as people are starting to think about Def/ST and Kicker.
* Overall I’m fairly happy with my squad but I’ll need to make some moves in order to slap together a legitimate playoff run.
1.05 Aaron Rodgers, QB GB
2.08 Ryan Mathews, RB SD
3.05 Demaryius Thomas, WR DEN
4.09 Antonio Brown, WR PIT
5.04 Ahmad Bradshaw, RB NYG
6.08 Tony Romo, QB DAL
7.04 Jason Witten, TE DAL
8.08 Brian Quick, WR STL
9.11 Shonn Greene, RB NYJ
10.08 SF 49ers Defense, TD SF
Best Value Pick: Ryan Mathews has been a first round startup pick in nearly half of the drafts I have followed this offseason, so getting him in the latter half of the second round was a great pick for this team.
Biggest Risk: Choosing a second quarterback so soon as a backup to Aaron Rodgers is a risk that the Ghost has admitted to, but could handsomely pay off for him in trade discussions.
Other picks of note: Donald Brown (11.11)
Possible Starting Lineup:
QB = Aaron Rodgers
RB = Ryan Mathews
WR = Demaryius Thomas
TE = Jason Witten
FLEX = Ahmad Bradshaw
FLEX = Antonio Brown
FLEX = Shonn Greene
Year One Outlook: This was possibly the most interesting team to follow during the draft. First, we had an owner that had to step away after the first three rounds due to personal issues. The FF Ghost kindly stepped in and began to shake things up. One of the greatest things about these leagues is being able to get a front row seat to a variety of different strategies. I love that the Ghost was not afraid to make some unconventional picks and now we can all sit back and wait to see how it plays out. Taking Romo while already having Rodgers was certainly a risk, but could really benefit him if one of the top teams loses a quarterback early. Also, Ghost took the first two defenses while many teams punted on defense (and kicker) altogether. Any team with Rodgers has a great chance to win some games, but this still feels like a middle of the road team.
In the next article in the series, I’ll take a look at six teams on the ACTIVE side of the league.
Ryan McDowell can be found on Twitter at @RyanMc23