A View From the 1.04: Rookie Draft Strategy

Ryan McDowell

For many dynasty players, the highlight of the off-season is the annual rookie draft and we are now less than three weeks away from many of those drafts kicking off. Once our respective dynasty teams are eliminated from contention, and sometimes even before, we tend to turn our attention to the incoming rookie class and delusions of grandeur take over. In fact, dynasty players spend nearly the entire off-season preparing for how they will use their draft picks, or if they will use them at all.

In this twelve-part series, I’ll use the latest data available here at Dynasty League Football, namely our April Rookie ADP and the Dynasty Trade Finder, to ensure you are as prepared as possible when your draft begins. Based on our most recent ADP data, I’ll suggest the player you could be soon adding to your team, and if you don’t like that, I’ll also include a potential pivot option.

Also, I’ll include options based on the updated 2QB rookie ADP for those who play in that format. Finally, using the Dynasty Trade Finder, I will examine some recent trades that have taken place with each specific draft pick. Each trade is based on 12 team PPR, one QB leagues.

We all know the first round of rookie drafts includes the players we’ve been hearing about for months, if not years, but difference makers can be found in the second round and beyond, as well. Because of that, I’ll also address the other picks that accompany each respective first-round draft slot.

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The Pick: Sony Michel, RB Georgia

Since his late-season breakout performances, Sony Michel has been viewed as a top five dynasty rookie pick. Even at the end of the regular season, Michel was being discussed as a favorite second-round target by many dynasty players, but his performance on the biggest stage of the college football playoffs spoiled that possibility. Michel played second fiddle to Nick Chubb throughout their college careers, but now most draft analysts project Michel to be drafted first. He’s a fine pick at 1.04 and there’s room for him to be taken even higher.

Possible Pivots:

If Michel ends up with a poor landing spot or is already off the board by your 1.04 pick, other options could include his former teammate Chubb, along with the top wide receiver, whether that is Calvin Ridley, DJ Moore or Courtland Sutton.

Trade Value:

This is the range I have started seeing the value of picks drop off despite most dynasty players seemingly placing similar value on the players available here in comparison to the 1.03 pick.

Super-Flex Options: Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma

I mentioned previously in regard to Josh Rosen, the quarterbacks are all tightly ranked and valued, so landing spots will play a huge role in determining how we should draft these players. For now, Heisman winner Baker Mayfield in the second quarterback off the board in the 2QB format. While Mayfield enters the league with questions both about his character and his ability to play the position, he also has upside to be a fantasy football difference maker and that is enough to earn a high draft spot.


The Pick: Michael Gallup, WR Colorado State

It is at this point I see a major tier drop. If I own the sixteenth overall pick, I am looking to either move up or down prior to the draft. Former Colorado State receiver Michael Gallup looks the part but has questions regarding consistency and even effort. He has the feel of a total boom or bust pick for dynasty owners.

Possible Pivots:

If this is the beginning of a new tier, the possibilities will be numerous. If you don’t believe in Gallup, other targets would include any of the tight ends or quarterbacks or a running back like Kalen Ballage.

Trade Value:

Super-Flex Options: Royce Freeman, RB Oregon

As I’ve said before, I have some concerns about Royce Freeman’s ability to carve out a significant role in the NFL. This range, with the 2.03 pick, feels like where I’d select him in a typical rookie draft, not one impacted by the quarterback value of this year’s “big five.”


The Pick: Auden Tate, WR Florida State

Soon after the college season concluded, Florida State’s Auden Tate was being valued as a first round dynasty rookie pick. My how things have changed! As dynasty players and draft analysts have studied Tate’s games, the cons far outweigh the pros and his value has plummeted. While I too am uncertain about Tate’s ability to transition to the league, these are the types of players I am usually happy to gamble on in the later rounds.

Possible Pivots:

Other players being drafted in this range that you might consider are wide receiver Anthony Miller, LSU speedster DJ Chark or quarterbacks that fall out of the second round.

Trade Value:

Super-Flex Options: Anthony Miller, WR Memphis

I mentioned Miller as an alternate target in 1QB leagues and with the added quarterback value he is even more likely to slide in the super-flex format. Miller is a player that is being undervalued and could make an immediate impact in the right spot.


The Pick: Hayden Hurst, TE South Carolina

This is one player who is difficult to get a hold on when it comes to his budding dynasty value. Hayden Hurst is one of the older players in the class due to his previous professional baseball career, but that hasn’t stopped some from ranking him as the top tight end available and tabbing him a potential first-round NFL draft pick. Dynasty owners are much more concerned, maybe too much so, about that age and this fourth round ADP is the result of that. He’s well worth a shot with this pick and if he does come off the board in the first or even second round, he won’t make it this far.

Possible Pivots:

I would love it if I was sitting with this pick and Washington receiver Dante Pettis fell in my lap, but that’s likely not going to happen. Other possibilities are Iowa’s Akrum Wadley and UCLA receiver Jordan Lasley.

Super-Flex Options: Luke Falk, QB Washington State

It might have been a good idea for Luke Falk to turn pro following his junior season, but he opted to return to Washington State and his draft stock is now way down. He’s not even on the dynasty radar outside of the 2QB format.


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