The fantasy playoffs are just around the corner for a lot of teams and hopefully your teams are among them! However, for about half of the dynasty teams out there, this is the time of year when you really start to focus on next year. For most of us, that means you start watching a bit more football on Saturday, you start pouring over the early mock drafts, and you hopefully start making more use of all of the devy and scouts articles on DLF. After all, the best way to improve your team is through the draft.
Or at least that is what everyone seems to think, but is that really the truth?
Over my decade of doing dynasty leagues, I’ve gone back and forth on draft picks. At times I have valued them above all else, while at other times I have been one of the first owners to sell off my picks for current assets. Typically it is the state of my team which has been the deciding factor for me, but I’ve recently been wondering if there is an absolute answer that should be followed almost all the time. Kind of like the wave of analytics that has been taking over professional sports and challenging traditional wisdom. I don’t know if I’ve fully discovered the answer, but I wanted to do a little investigation to see what I could figure out.
For this look, I went back through the 2013-2017 draft classes. I examined the first two rounds of players according to their rookie draft ADP at the time. For each of the first 24 players in each draft class I assigned them to one of the following category:
Stud: The name says it all. These players are the cream of the crop and what we hope every draft pick will become when we make those picks. These players are top 10 if not top 5 at their position multiple years in a row.
Starter: While these players might not be the best of the best, they are still likely to be an every week starter on most fantasy teams. For this examination, they needed to be at this level for multiple years.
Backup: These players are definitely on rosters, but they are nothing more than a spot starter, flex play, or an injury fill in. In a few cases they are players who have had one good year, but they haven’t been consistent enough to be counted upon.
Bust: Many of these players are out of the league. If they are still in the league, they have shown so little that they are often on the waiver wire or barely hanging on to the end of the bench spots in leagues.
As you would expect, the more recent classes have a lot more players in the middle of the spectrum while classes like the 2013 draft class are much more towards the end. Here is the breakdown of the draft classes. There might be some debate about where I placed a few players as there is a bit of subjectivity, but you will get the overall impression.