With the NFL draft only a few days away, rookies are the top thing on every dynasty owner’s mind. On the IDP side of fantasy football, another factor is added into rookie drafts: “When should IDP rookies be drafted compared to offensive players?”
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I’ve seen defensive players countless times get drafted in the late first round of rookie drafts and I always shake my head. I’ve heard statements such as “I need a linebacker” and “I didn’t like any offensive players so I’ll take the best IDP”. While I understand that mindset I must admit I will NEVER agree with it. I am a firm believer that late second round (assuming 12 team draft) is the absolute earliest you should take an IDP. Personally I will not be taking the IDP until the third round most likely. Building a dominant defense in dynasty is by far my favorite thing about fantasy football however I almost never draft the top rookie. Not because I do not like the player but because someone is always willing to draft them higher than I am.
Dynasty is a lot like the stock market. You want your assets to gain value. When you buy, the intent is that stock/player will be worth more in the future than what you paid. Taking an IDP in the end of the first round or beginning of the second round is buying a stock at a price already equal to (or extremely close to) its ceiling. Rookie Fever in dynasty is real. People in every league are always itching to draft the next stud wide receiver or workhorse running back. If you don’t like any offensive skill player on the board in the late 1st/early 2nd round, just remember that someone in your league DOES.
C.J. Mosley had the best possible outcome last year as a rookie. He is already a top five dynasty linebacker. However he still is only worth a mid-late 1st at best in the dynasty market. This is because every year there will always be four to six rookie offensive skill players that make the general public drool and skill players are always harder to acquire in dynasty than IDP. Keep in mind that every top ranked IDP is not a sure thing either. Many were burned by Arthur Brown and Kevin Minter just a few years ago. Ryan Shazier’s value didn’t nosedive like these two but he is still worth a late second round rookie pick at best, which is most likely lower than where he was drafted in a rookie draft. Taking an IDP in the early second or sooner is just not a wise investment since you need to hit the IDP jackpot (C.J. Mosley) to make very minimal profit. If you are truly decimated at linebacker/defensive line and get the urge to take a rookie with the 1.12 rookie pick I ask you to reconsider. At the bare minimum, you need to see what your leaguemates are willing to give for that pick. There is almost always a running back or wide receiver on the board that someone wants more than you do and will be willing to pay up. If you want to be successful in dynasty, Cameron Wake (or Karlos Dansby) and future rookie pick is a much wiser investment than Leonard Williams (or Eric Kendricks).
If you are OTC and plan on taking an IDP in the first or second round of a rookie draft follow these steps:
- Make the entire league know that the pick is for sale
- If the pick late first-early second look to acquire an elite top five LB/DL or a solid veteran IDP PLUS a first round pick next year
- Some of the top veterans I would target are Cameron Wake, Mario Williams, Karlos Dansby, Derrick Johnson, Daryl Smith, Eric Weddle, etc
- If the pick OTC is a mid-late second round, look to acquire 1 of these veterans PLUS a second round pick next year
By exploring your trade options you will get a veteran IDP that will likely produce as good as (or better than) the rookie you would have selected AND a valuable rookie pick next year. Remember, Dynasty football is a game of stocks, if you wouldn’t pay for a wide receiver at a price equal to his ceiling, why would you do it for a defensive player?
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