For most of the football world, the season ended almost a month ago with the Chiefs taking home the Lombardi trophy for the first time in 50 years. For the select few of us that are involved in dynasty leagues, the fun is just beginning.
Perhaps the greatest draw to dynasty leagues is that there truly is no offseason. Right after the regular season concludes, you have the NFL combine, free agency, and the NFL draft to concern yourself with and that takes us almost right up to the start of next season already.
For those of you familiar with dynasty leagues, you know that the inaugural draft takes place much earlier than with a normal fantasy football league. This is because of all those factors I just listed. You want to have the inaugural draft before the actual NFL draft so then you can see where all the rookies go and do your dynasty rookie draft accordingly. I just went through my inaugural dynasty draft, and this will be the first article of many that I’ll post on this, going round by round with analysis for each one. So without further ado, let’s draft.
(This dynasty league is a 10 team, half PPR league with two flex spots. This is a two QB league, as there is a superflex spot as well which places some extra emphasis on quarterbacks).
1.01 Christian McCaffrey, RB- Carolina Panthers
Not too much to discuss here. McCaffrey offers an incredibly high floor with elite pass-catching upside and still hasn’t even turned 24 yet.
1.02 Patrick Mahomes, QB- Kansas City Chiefs
In a two QB league, it becomes even more crucial to get at least one premium signal caller. While this is a bit early for a QB, Mahomes is the one exception to that rule. Still very young and already the best QB in the game, Mahomes will be the face of the NFL for at least the next decade.
Worst pick: WR Michael Thomas, 1.03
I’m actually a big fan of Michael Thomas, I’m just not a fan of him being taken this high. By forgoing the elite RB options still available, you basically need Thomas to replicate what he did last year to justify taking him at the 1.03. Last year was magical for #Cantguardmike, and inevitable regression in his reception numbers will bring him back to earth. I predict he’ll finish next year around WR 7-10.
1.04 Saquon Barkley, RB- New York Giants
While he underwhelmed last year, that can be blamed on both his high ankle sprain and being on a poor offense. Still a young RB capable of being a weekly elite RB1, this year will be an excellent ‘buy-low’ spot for him.
1.05 Ezekiel Elliot, RB- Dallas Cowboys
Aside from McCaffrey, Zeke may be the safest pick on the board here. While his receiving numbers have been a bit volatile the last few years, he is still the focal point of his offense behind a premium O-line playing in a soft division.
1.06 Dalvin Cook, RB- Minnesota Vikings
Cook’s possible contract holdout clouds this pick a little bit. When on the field, cook is an electric game-breaker and the lifeblood of the Vikings offense. Hopefully the Vikings are smart enough to realize this as well and pay the man.
1.07 Lamar Jackson, QB- Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is truly a unicorn. We’ve not quite seen a quarterback with such elite rushing totals since Michael Vick. Jackson offers maybe the highest floor of any quarterback in the league, and the only real concern I have with him is durability.
1.08 Alvin Kamara, RB- New Orleans Saints
I almost considered this as the best pick of this round. Kamara had a down year last year, but is still capable of being a top 5 RB every week as part of an elite New Orleans offense thanks to his pass catching prowess out of the backfield.
My pick: WR Tyreek Hill, 1.09
In dynasty leagues, the name of the game is wide receivers. If you’re able to hit on a young WR right out of college, you’ll have that WR spot taken care of for the next 5-10 years. Although Tyreek has a bit of a checkered past with off the field issues, I was absolutely giddy that Patrick Mahomes’s #1 target fell all the way to me at the 1.09. Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce will run that division for the foreseeable future.
Best pick: WR Deandre Hopkins, 1.10
Score another one for recency bias with this pick. ‘Nuk’ has been an elite WR since he came into the league in 2013. Having scored 11 touchdowns in 2018, he was bound to regress a little bit in 2019. While he had a painfully slow start to last year, he still ended the year as a top 10 WR. Getting a highly safe, consistent top 5 upside WR squarely in his prime at the end of the first round is an absolute steal.
Worst pick: RB Derrick Henry, 2.01
This hurts me to write, as Derrick Henry is by far one of my favorite players to watch on Sundays. At the beginning of the 2nd round however, this pick seems a bit ill-advised. Not only do we not know if Henry will be a Titan next year, he’s also already 26 years old. This may not seem old, but for a physical RB like Henry it definitely is. The proverbial cliff for RB production to fall off is typically age 30, which only gives Henry 3-4 more productive years, and that’s not accounting for any injuries. Josh Jacobs or Nick Chubb both would have been better picks here.
My pick: QB Kyler Murray, 2.02
This was probably a bit of a reach, and I’ll just blame it on the fact that I’m a hopeless Cardinals fan. Jokes aside, you don’t have to be a Cardinals fan to believe in the elite upside this offense will offer for the next few years. Kliff Kingsbury runs a spread, air-raid attack with lots of four wide receiver sets, and the Cardinals will probably lead the league in passing attempts for the foreseeable future. Aside from Murray having an incredibly accurate arm, he is also lightning quick out of the pocket and is very adept at throwing on the move. At just 22 years old still, Kyler could experience a Lamar Jackson like surge in year two.
2.03 Deshaun Watson, QB- Houston Texans
If I hadn’t taken Kyler with my 2.02 pick, I would’ve chosen Watson instead. Watson has shown us these last few years what he’s capable of, and he’s turned into an improvisational wizard that rivals Russell Wilson. Like Lamar Jackson and Murray, Watson offers great rushing upside, even if his rushing totals were a bit down last year. With Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller to throw to, Watson offers top 3 upside any given week and still hasn’t even hit his prime yet at just 24 years old.
2.04 Nick Chubb, RB- Cleveland Browns
Georgia has been a pipeline for wildly talented NFL running backs in recent years, and Chubb is no different. Blessed with rare athleticism and acceleration for a back his size (225 lbs.), Chubb is the engine behind the Browns offense. Given their recent hiring of run-happy head coach Kevin Stefanski, Chubb has a solid opportunity to finish as the #1 overall RB in fantasy next year.
2.05 Chris Godwin, WR- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Perhaps the worst trade I’ve ever made came last year when I traded away Godwin for….. Odell Beckham… Godwin leveled up in a big way last year thanks to Bruce Arians and his offensive system that features the slot receiver, like Arians did back in Arizona with a guy named Larry Fitzgerald. While some may still be tempted to take Mike Evans over Godwin, Godwin proved to be the more consistent weekly option and is quickly turning into a star in this league. I almost made this the best pick of the entire round.
2.06 Davante Adams, WR- Green Bay Packers
Adams is going to be one of the most difficult players to evaluate this year. While he is without a doubt the #1 target of Aaron Rodgers, you have to wonder how valuable that really is anymore. The Packers went 13-3 because of Matt Lafleur and his more balanced offensive attack. Rodgers didn’t look like the quarterback we’ve seen him be year in and year out. With Rodgers possibly starting to decline, Adams may no longer have the elite TD totals we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him. Adams will still be a WR1, but I think we may need to temper expectations for him going forward.
2.07 Mike Evans, WR- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Somehow, Mike Evans is still only 26 years old. He’s been in the league long enough for us to know what he is at this point. He has elite, week winning upside but will be quite volatile and frustrating to own at times, profiling as a boom or bust fringe WR1. Maybe that could improve if he had a quarterback that didn’t throw 20-30 interceptions every year…
Best pick: RB Josh Jacobs, 2.08
This is a tremendous value pick. Even through multiple injuries throughout last year, Jacobs still had a great rookie year and the arrow is pointing up for him in year two. He has the backfield all to himself, and he’s still just 22 years old which is crucial when looking for RBs in dynasty. Hopefully the (Las Vegas) Raiders realize how good of a pass catcher he is and let him catch more than 20 passes next year.
2.09 Joe Mixon, RB- Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon is another player that will be quite difficult to evaluate this upcoming year. The talent is clearly there; he had a fantastic second half of the season on an absolutely putrid Bengals team that he put on his back. Free agency and the draft will make his status a lot less cloudy, as the only thing holding him back right now is the team he’s on. You give this guy even just a top 15 offense, and you could have a top 5 RB for the next five years.
2.10 Aaron Jones, RB- Green Bay Packers
Expecting Aaron Jones to score anywhere close to 19 touchdowns again this year is a fool’s errand. While Jones was maddeningly inconsistent on a week-to-week basis (had 6 weeks with multiple TDs and 6 weeks with no TDs), he did have a breakout year under Matt Lafleur. While his TD numbers are due for major regression, he still profiles as a solid RB1 just now hitting his prime at age 25.
Check back for my analysis of rounds 3-4 in the next few days!
Picture Source: Sportingnews.com
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