The other dynasty season has officially arrived. The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots will play one more game – Super Bowl 53 – while the rest of us draw up the blueprints to the next dynasty.
With 20-plus fantasy-relevant quarterbacks injected into the top half of startup drafts, superflex leagues add a full degree of difficulty to roster construction. Just in time to guide drafters through their superflex startups, Dynasty League Football blazed the trail through the startup jungle with a series of superflex startup mocks, culminating with the first set of Average Draft Position (ADP) data of 2019.
Check out the full mock results and ADP here, and join a mock in the coming months by following coordinators Travis Rasmussen (@TravisNFL) and Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) on Twitter. Watch their tweets for mock draft participants in the coming months. In the meantime, let us reflect on the mocks that gathered this early 2019 ADP data.
The first round of the average dynasty superflex draft still starts with running backs. If I were to editorialize at all in this mock reflection, I would do so simply by banging my head against a brick wall. But we’ll stick to the facts, and reconvene in future articles with a more strategic focus.
Saquon Barkley and Todd Gurley are the top two average picks, with Alvin Kamara (pick 1.05), Ezekiel Elliott (1.06) and Christian McCaffrey (1.07) giving the running backs five first-round representatives. Wide receivers still dominate the first round, with six in the first 12 picks: DeAndre Hopkins (1.04), Odell Beckham, Jr. (1.08), Michael Thomas (1.09), Davante Adams (1.10), JuJu Smith-Schuster (1.11) and Tyreek Hill (1.12). Patrick Mahomes is the only quarterback off the board in the average first round, but he goes third overall and was drafted as high as first overall in one of the mock drafts.
Besides the lack of quarterbacks in the first round, the first round lacked major surprises; one could argue that the wide receivers were expected to come off the boards before the running backs, but the resurgence of running backs in recent years has increased their value and demand. Furthermore, drafting in the top four of a snake draft means 20 or more players who won’t be available in the second round, so “reaching” within the top 20 is perfectly acceptable.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Andrew Luck kicks off the second round (2.01), the first of five quarterbacks drafted in the round. Aaron Rodgers (my QB1 and number one overall player in my superflex rankings) comes off the board at 2.04 as the QB3, followed by Deshaun Watson (2.07), Jared Goff (2.08) and Russell Wilson (2.11).
Melvin Gordon – the RB3 through the first 12 weeks of the season before missing most of the fantasy playoffs with an injury – falls to the second round, being drafted at 2.02 as RB6. Joe Mixon (2.03) and Nick Chubb (2.06) are the only other running backs to go in the first two rounds, justifying the early run on the position as it dries up by the middle of the round. Mike Evans (2.05), Keenan Allen (2.09), Amari Cooper (2.10) and Antonio Brown (2.12) give the wide receivers another strong representation, primarily falling to the end of the round and being paired with first-round running backs.
Luck jumps back into the elite quarterback tier, one year after missing the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury, and Jared Goff makes a surprising jump into the top five quarterbacks by virtue of staying healthy while guiding Sean McVay’s record-setting offense. Carson Wentz and Cam Newton are conspicuous by their second-round absences, due to injuries that could affect their long-term value.
The biggest surprises of the second round, however, are Amari Cooper jumping all the way into the top ten wide receivers, and David Johnson falling through the second round a year after being drafted in the top four or five RBs and top ten overall. Cooper holds significant value as Dak Prescott’s top pass-catcher, but his second round ADP makes him a “sell high” consideration.
David Johnson kicks off the third round at 3.01, the first of five RBs taken in the round: James Conner (3.05), Le’Veon Bell (3.06), Dalvin Cook (3.11) and Derrius Guice (3.12). Baker Mayfield makes a surprise jump to 3.02, ahead of third-round QBs Carson Wentz (3.04) and Cam Newton (3.09). Three wide receivers – Julio Jones (3.03), Stefon Diggs (3.08) and Brandin Cooks (3.10) – come off the board in the third round, and Travis Kelce (3.07) is the first tight end drafted.
Mayfield’s ascent seems a little premature as he leapfrogs Wentz and Newton (among others), but the prospect of Newton missing the entire 2019 season with a shoulder injury, and the fallout of Wentz missing another successful playoff run due to injury has dynasty owners steering clear, at least until better news breaks on one or both of the passers.
Despite missing the entire 2018 season with a torn ACL, Derrius Guice still has the attention and favor of dynasty owners, over fellow rookies Kerryon Johnson and Sony Michel, among others. And the wide receiver position is full of surprises, first with Cooks sneaking into the third round, but also with 36 picks coming off the board without Adam Thielen or A.J. Green among them.
Zach Ertz (4.01) and George Kittle (4.03) follow closely behind Travis Kelce, exhausting the elite tight end tier. Sandwiched in-between the tight ends is Adam Thielen (4.02), who was regarded as a top five dynasty WR during his torrid 100-yard-game streak to start the season. He cooled off at the end of the year, and drafters have identified his second-half performance as the most likely scenario, allowing him to drop into the fourth round.
A quick WR run of TY Hilton (4.05), Kenny Golladay (4.06) and Corey Davis (4.07) concludes the wide receiver-drafting through four rounds. Three more RBs – Kerryon Johnson (4.04), Aaron Jones (4.09) and Sony Michel (4.11) – come off the board in round four, and three QBs go late in the round: Kirk Cousins (4.08), Dak Prescott (4.10) and Jimmy Garoppolo (4.12).
Thielen is the biggest surprise of the round, but the QBs are a close second as they go ahead of up-and-comers like Mitchell Trubisky and Lamar Jackson, and established vets like Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers. Cousins is an obvious candidate for positive regression, and could be drafted even higher than he is, but the other two fourth-round QBs are far more boom/bust than several of the players drafted later than them.
Fifth and Sixth Rounds
A.J. Green (5.01), Leonard Fournette (5.02) and Jarvis Landry (5.08) are the notable fifth-round picks, as they all tumble from early round ADPs a year ago. Green’s injuries continue to pile up, Fournette is chronically bitten on the ankles by the same injury bug, and Landry may have found himself in an unfavorable situation in Cleveland, where Mayfield and head coach Freddie Kitchens prefer to throw the ball down the field.
Green and Fournette may still be a little low, but even in the fifth round, their value isn’t great. Teammates Robert Woods (5.04) and Cooper Kupp (5.09) – along with Mitchell Trubisky (5.03) and Marlon Mack (5.12) – look like great values, and QBs Lamar Jackson (5.05), Matt Ryan (5.07) and Matthew Stafford (5.11) advance the notion that waiting for a second quarterback can still be beneficial.
The sixth round is the powerball round, with lotto tickets scattered throughout the round. Jameis Winston (6.01), Sam Darnold (6.02), Drew Brees (6.06) and Josh Rosen (6.11) reinforce the philosophy of getting QBs early before their question marks quadruple in size. Devonta Freeman (6.07), Kareem Hunt (6.08) and Derrick Henry (6.12) are all intriguing fliers with their lack of a floor baked into their cost.
Allen Robinson (6.05) going after Calvin Ridley (6.03) and Courtland Sutton (6.04) may be the steal of the draft thus far; in 2018, Robinson came off a major injury to change teams, going to an offense with a new head coach and offensive system, and a second-year quarterback with accuracy issues. His WR35 finish was actually miraculous, all things considered. Those red checkmarks get erased in 2019, and Robinson is primed for a massive bounce-back.
Josh Allen (7.01) going ahead of Philip Rivers (7.07), Ben Roethlisberger (7.11) and Marcus Mariota (7.12) screams “sell high” on the Bills’ rookie QB, and the round as a whole shows that QB talent is sprinkled throughout the top half of the superflex startup draft. The tight ends finally pick back up in the seventh round, (O.J. Howard at 7.05 and David Njoku at 7.06), but Hunter Henry is nowhere to be found, which may be a temporary oversight. 2018 wide receiver breakout Tyler Boyd falls to 7.03, Alshon Jeffrey to 7.09, and 2018 free agency darling Jerick McKinnon to 7.08, making all three “buy-low” candidates.
Sammy Watkins (8.01), Evan Engram (8.02) and Hunter Henry (8.12) are huge buys in the eighth round, while Tevin Coleman (8.04) and Matt Breida (8.11) go ahead of players in far more favorable situations. The ninth round is littered with forgotten, underestimated and undervalued veterans like Andy Dalton (9.04), Doug Baldwin (9.05) and Lamar Miller (9.06). Chris Carson (9.01) goes nearly two full rounds after his backup (Rashaad Penny, 7.04), and young WRs Dante Pettis (9.09) and James Washington (9.12) are valued fairly accurately, but make great sleepers for WR-needy teams later in the draft.
You won’t find many sell candidates this late in the draft, but Michael Gallup (10.05), Devin Funchess (11.09), Emmanuel Sanders (12.04) and C.J. Anderson (14.05) all snuck into the mid-late rounds earlier than they should have. Gallup likely finds himself as the third option (at best) once Dallas adds another receiver in the offseason to compliment Amari Cooper; Funchess is a free agent, with a profile that only the Panthers can appreciate. Don’t expect him to find a high-priority role elsewhere.
Sanders is 31 and recovering from a torn Achilles, the same injury that kept 22-year old D’Onta Foreman sidelined for a season and a half; and Anderson has been the breakout star for the NFC Champion Rams, but don’t expect him back on the roster in 2019, when Malcolm Brown returns from injury and John Kelly takes on a larger role as another viable backup to Todd Gurley.
These rounds are stocked with sleepers at the RB, WR and TE positions, with players like Eagles’ starting RB Josh Adams (14.03), third-year (aka “breakout year”) WRs Zay Jones (11.08) and Curtis Samuel (13.01), and TEs Ian Thomas (12.01), Chris Herndon (14.02) and Mark Andrews (14.04), all of whom flashed in 2018, their rookie season. The quarterback position leaves plenty to be desired, but Joe Flacco (12.11) and Case Keenum (13.07) find themselves in this range, despite the likelihood that they start the 2019 season as starting NFL quarterbacks, which carries significant value in superflex leagues.
Alex Smith (16.07) and QB handcuffs like Jacoby Brissett (19.01) and DeShone Kizer (21.10) are the only quarterbacks in the entire draft who belong on waivers, and even though he’s likely to miss the 2019 season, Smith could be stashed on Injured Reserve (given enough IR spots). Most players at the other positions are worth a flier in these late rounds, based on the idea that they can find the field, even if a starter ahead of them remains healthy. But Demaryius Thomas (22.02) and Josh Gordon (21.11) are the most glaring examples of players who shouldn’t be rostered, save for super deep leagues.
Thomas – like his former Broncos counterpart Emmanuel Sanders – will rehab a torn Achilles at the age of 31; his return to the football field certainly isn’t a given, and in the best case scenario, is a full season away. And in the event that he does return for his age 33 season, the nature of the injury will likely affect his performance to a point of rendering him irrelevant for dynasty purposes. Gordon, meanwhile, has a long history of off-the-field issues that have kept him off the field more often than not. His latest leave of absence is likely permanent, and even if he does attempt yet another comeback, he will return to a lengthy, league-imposed suspension and a lack of interest from NFL franchises who are risk-averse when it comes to legal and public relations issues. Neither WR will be on NFL rosters in 2019, and likely beyond.
The end of the draft is littered with lotto ticket players who could easily go several rounds earlier at every position. Eli Manning (16.05) and Colt McCoy (20.08) are currently penciled in as NFL starting quarterbacks, and Tyrod Taylor (17.03) and Blake Bortles (17.10) could also find starting jobs as well. Carlos Hyde (15.07) backs up one of the most fragile starting RBs in the league, and could be headed for free agency if Jacksonville decides they are comfortable with Fournette; either way, Hyde could be headed for a big value boost.
Jalen Richard (16.02) is the top pass-catching option on the Raiders’ current roster, Marshawn Lynch (18.12) could return from injury to lead the Raiders’ backfield for one more season, 2018 preseason star Ryan Nall (21.07) could challenge for the early downs role in Chicago’s run-heavy offense. Robert Foster (15.04), Albert Wilson (16.04), Equanimeous St. Brown (16.09), Rashard Higgins (18.10) and Justin Watson (20.03) all appear to be poised for prominent starting roles in their respective offenses. And the tight end position is as strong at the end of the draft as any other point, with Vance McDonald (16.06), Jimmy Graham (19.02), Jonnu Smith (18.08), Will Dissly (20.02) and Ricky Seals-Jones (21.06) available into the final rounds.