In this series, I give you an inside look at all of my teams, their history and my plans for the future. I’d like to provide some insight into struggles I’ve faced, and reveal weekly thoughts and feelings on anything and everything football. Join me as I succeed or crash and burn. For more information on the leagues, check out the introduction or any previous post. If there is anything more you’d like to see or any questions you have, please let me know in the comments section.
It’s been a little while since the last edition of dynasty diaries. That piece, which focused on the various elements of a dynasty “philosophy”, encouraged owners to be active. I don’t mean active in the fitness sense – although pacing around, jumping over sofas and running to the bathroom during commercial breaks on Sundays tend to be crucial parts of my weekly routine – I mean fantasy football active. Glued to computer screen active. In a dynasty context, it can mean spending time on the waiver wire, making trade offers or even keeping up with your league mates in the chat room, but in order to succeed you must stay busy.
Groundhog’s dynasty league, which I joined via dispersal draft in 2015, is easily the league I’ve made the most moves in and remained active. When you pick up a team that isn’t yours from the off, it makes sense to “make it your own”, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do here. I thought I’d share our rookie draft, and the moves I’ve made over this off-season.
Preparation for this year’s draft started in 2016, when I traded back from the 1.04 to acquire the 1.09 and a 2017 first. That first turned out to be the 1.09 this year, going alongside a 1.04 of my own. In other news, I picked up Marshawn Lynch from waivers a couple of months ago, and flipped him for Jeremy Maclin – I’m looking long term. In a deep class, Spencer Ware was offered around until a flip for the 2.09 was agreed. Four picks in the top 19, and we were good to go. Let’s take a look.
1.01 – Corey Davis, WR TEN
1.02 – Leonard Fournette, RB JAC
1.03 – Joe Mixon, RB CIN
1.04 – Christian McCaffrey, RB CAR (my pick)
1.05 – Dalvin Cook, RB MIN
Although we saw a blockbuster trade at the top of the draft, this was a pretty ‘normal’ start to a rookie draft. One owner had managed to acquire the first three picks, and just after the draft started he moved the 1.01, 1.02 and a 2018 second round pick for Julio Jones and Lamar Miller. Like most trades, some owners will likely think it’s the Julio side “and it’s not even close”, and some will argue it’s the picks “and it’s not even close”. Like most trades, I’m somewhere in the middle.
Everyone values each individual player differently. Each owner is free to build the team they want to build, and any judgement of a person because of a trade they make is unfathomable to me – it’s like calling out the music a person likes. Anyway, back to the draft.
My top three players are Davis, Fournette and McCaffrey so I was thrilled to snag the Carolina Panther at 1.04. It was no surprise to see Cook taken next.
1.06 – Patrick Mahomes, QB KC
1.07 – Samaje Perine, RB WAS
1.08 – Deshaun Watson, QB HOU
1.09 – Mike Williams, WR LAC (my pick)
1.10 – John Ross, WR CIN
Here’s where it started to get interesting. As many of you who play in 2QB leagues may know, the end of the first round is the best place to be. By the time you pick, there will likely have been a quarterback taken by a QB-needy team, and you can reap the benefits. I won’t deny I’m also in need of a quarterback (with Carson Wentz, Sam Bradford, Brian Hoyer and Teddy Bridgewater as my only four), but I’m in the business of stocking up on talent to rebuild this team. I thought Mike Williams might slip to seventh of eighth overall, but grabbing him at nine feels like a steal.
Patrick Mahomes as the first quarterback might be a surprise, but he’s my top QB prospect in the class and I think he’ll be worth the wait. What’s more surprising is how far Mitch Trubisky tumbled in this draft.
Samaje Perine might have been the biggest dynasty beneficiary in the draft by landing in Washington. He’s flying up dynasty and redraft boards, but this is the highest I’ve seen him go so far. Perhaps our Bruce Matson, who is very high on the former Sooner, would approve.
2.01 – OJ Howard, TE TB
2.02 – Kareem Hunt, RB KC
2.03 – Joe Williams, RB SF
2.04 – D’Onta Foreman, RB HOU
2.05 – Evan Engram, TE NYG
The tight ends started to come off the board here, and grabbing either Howard or Engram in this range of picks should make their owners happy. Kareem Hunt seems to have a lot of supporters as the RB5 in this class, but slipped a little.
The standout name is Joe Williams, taken with the 13th pick. It’s an extremely bold move, and relies on Williams answering questions about being kicked out of school and a brief “retirement” before even considering his prowess on the field. I believe in Carlos Hyde, and don’t see Williams being a factor this year. But if the owner believes Williams will boom, now is the time to get him.
2.06 – David Njoku, TE CLE
2.07 – Alvin Kamara, RB NO (my pick)
2.08 – DeShone Kizer, QB CLE
2.09 – Juju Smith-Schuster, WR PIT (my pick)
2.10 – Zay Jones, WR BUF
After initially holding the 2.04 and 2.09, I moved back and picked up a 2018 second rounder after seeing the quality of names left. Kamara and Smith-Schuster are both considered rookie first round dynasty talents, and I need help at every position. Might Trubisky have been a better pick than one of the two? Perhaps, but I’m not particularly sold on him, and although quarterbacks hold more value in this league, ones who fail don’t. Next year, there are likely to be a number of QBs in consideration, and I had that in mind. Even Kizer went ahead of Trubisky, meaning other owners can’t be too fond either. It got a little out of hand in this draft.
3.01 – Mitchell Trubisky, QB CHI
3.02 – Curtis Samuel, WR/RB CAR
3.03 – Marlon Mack, RB IND
3.04 – Jamaal Williams, RB GB (my pick)
3.05 – Alexander Armah, RB CAR
Finally, Trubisky goes. Curtis Samuel is a high second round pick who should be heavily involved considering the only other outside option is Kelvin Benjamin, and was a great pick here. I thought about Jeremy McNichols, Taywan Taylor, the Rams’ receivers, Adam Shaheen and Williams here, and went with the Green Bay back. I don’t have full faith in Ty Montgomery leading the backfield, and when a team drafts three running backs I believe that says something. Williams is a powerful bruiser who could be the team’s Eddie Lacy replacement – I’m glad to select him this late. Matt Francisovich loves him.
I’m not sure whether Armah’s selection was a huge leap of faith or an error (his name does probably come first in alphabetical lists after all), but perhaps the owner knows something no one else in the dynasty community (and on the Panthers) knows?
3.06 – Jeremy McNichols, RB TB
3.07 – Cooper Kupp, WR LAR
3.08 – Gerald Everett, TE LAR
3.09 – Chris Godwin, WR TB
3.10 – Ryan Switzer, WR DAL
One them I’ve noticed across my rookie drafts is Chris Godwin tumbling. I understand it given him landing in Tampa Bay in an extremely crowded offense, but he’s got talent. Jameis Winston looks like he can provide multiple fantasy assets, rookie tight ends take time (so they say) and I don’t see Cameron Brate as irreplaceable as a receiver. Who’s to say Godwin doesn’t contribute?
I think we’re overlooking the second wave of tight ends a little – the players are so strong, that this will be the year they buck the trend of non-effective rookie TEs. Taking a shot on Everett here could pay off.
4.01 – Taywan Taylor, WR TEN
4.02 – Noah Brown, WR DAL
4.03 – Jake Butt, TE DEN
4.04 – Adam Shaheen, TE CHI (my pick)
4.05 – Rodney Adams, WR MIN
I rolled the dice on the 6’6”, 278 pound Shaheen. Again, this tight end class is so strong I feel one or two will make a mark early. It will be harder for Shaheen, transitioning from a small school, but working with a rookie quarterback might help his case. After Taylor went, he was someone I had my eyes on.
4.06 – Kenny Golladay, WR DET
4.07 – Dede Westbrook, WR JAC
4.08 – Carlos Henderson, WR DEN
4.09 – James Conner, RB PIT
4.10 – Nathan Peterman, QB BUF
To pick up Henderson or Conner this late must feel good. Both might have slipped due to the teams they were drafted to, but things change so quickly in this league, and if they have the talent they will prevail.
News and Notes from Around the Leagues
We had another early quarterback taken here, as Deshaun Watson went at 1.05. With three second round picks and a ton of trade ammunition, I made a couple of moves and ultimately secured Ameer Abdullah – this year’s running back breakout. More to come, as we are mid-draft right now.
In an attempt to utilize having a strong second quarterback and boost my skill position players, I moved Marcus Mariota/1.08 for Tyler Eifert/1.05 to secure Dalvin Cook. Cook, whose was the 1.01 for a lot of people for most of the off-season, is a star. Many will point to Latavius Murray as a barrier as the team paid him, but they didn’t know they’d have the opportunity to secure Cook when they made that move. There’s no harm in a team having strong options in one position, but ultimately the best players rise to the top. Cook is a star.
With a low amount of rookie dollars and a depleted rookie class due to the devy aspect of the league, I’m playing the price enforcing game and will see who I end up with. If values are created, I hope to take advantage.
We had our startup draft a couple of months ago, and to cut a long story short – some owners went all out to acquire devy dollars to secure the distant future, some owners went all out to acquire rookie dollars to secure the near future, and some others, like me, opted to invest in now. Ultimately, we are left with about half the league aiming to compete now. Be sure to check out the Polite Penguins roster and let me know what you think, and how would you approach a league like this? Would you attempt to win now? Build for the future?
As always, if you have any questions please ask. Similarly, if there are any leagues, formats, experiences or topics you’d like me to talk about, drop them in the comments section.
James can be found on Twitter at @JS_Football