CROW WORTHY

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First Dynasty Startup Draft: What Happened

Fantasy football is a lot of fun and arguably the most fun part of the fantasy season is draft day. So, for the first time, I participated in a dynasty startup draft. We decided on just six teams because we wanted guys who would really be invested and keep up year-round. If you’ve ever been in a fantasy league then you know how the overall quality of the league noticeably decreases when just one member isn’t that active. For our dynasty league, we, controversially, went with half-point PPR instead of full-point and allowed nine starters (QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, 3 FLEX) with 11 bench spots. No kickers or defenses. Without further ado, here is how I experienced the startup dynasty draft.

The first five picks of the draft were as expected. “Team A” took McCaffrey, I took Saquon, “Team C” took Mike Thomas, “Team D” took Zeke, and “Team E” took Kamara. With “Team F” on the clock at 6, the room knew that this was where the draft would get interesting. With options like Davante Adams and Dalvin Cook, “Team F” took Tyreek Hill, although it had been loosely reported in the days leading up to the draft that Hill was a guy who multiple teams were targeting in the 6-10 range.

At the 7th overall pick, “Team C,” so yes, we did draft pick trading in the weeks leading up to the draft, took Derrick “King” Henry. (Also, a couple of trades were made during the draft.) This was an on-brand selection for “Team C” because it was widely known that “Team C” has an affinity for King Henry and what he brings to the table. At 8, “Team D” went with Dalvin Cook to pair with Zeke, “Team F” at 9 took Nick Chubb, who I bought a jersey of last year after Chubb saved me on Sunday Night Football from falling to 0-3, which left Joe Mixon on the board for “Team E” to take at 10. Holding pick 11, I had let everyone know for weeks that I would be open to trading down if my secret targets, who, as draft night approached, were Cook and Mixon, were off the board. However, I had not planned for what was suddenly the reality of Davante Adams, my 6th overall ranked player, to still be available, so I took him without hesitation. To round out the 2nd round, “Team D” and “Team A” came to terms on a trade after several minutes of discussion, resulting in “Team D” trading up to pick 12 to select Josh Jacobs to form a three-headed monster in Zeke, Cook, and Jacobs.

Josh Jacobs carrying the football against the Chargers.

Before I breakdown my team, here are some notable draft selections from the other five teams, broken down into “Blasphemous Reaches,” “Good Value Picks,” and “Guys I Really Wanted.”

Blasphemous Reaches

Derrick Henry, pick 7 overall. I had King Henry as my 26th overall player and FantasyPros had him at 25th. There’s no denying what a force he is rushing the ball. He’s a monster. The Titans play how Henry plays. However, given that he is older than other running backs who were available at that spot such as Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, Josh Jacobs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Miles Sanders, and Jonathan Taylor, along with the fact that he hasn’t surpassed 20 receptions in any of his four seasons, I think Henry could’ve been drafted by “Team C” with his 18th or 24th overall picks.

Julio Jones, pick 14 overall. “Team A” took Julio here via that trade with “Team D,” even with Chris Godwin available. Yup, Godwin, who is a little over seven years (seven years!) younger than Julio, was passed on at this spot. Look, Julio is an undisputed top three wideout in the game today. The dude has averaged 162 targets, 104 receptions, and over 1,550 yards in each of his last six seasons. However, he probably has just 2-4 more years of amazing production left in him given his age, while Godwin is only 24 years old and is coming off a season finishing as the number two overall fantasy wideout in both overall points and points per game.

A.J. Green, pick 53 overall. “Team E” and I laughed out loud at this selection. We weren’t trying to be disrespectful. I think it was just our instant reaction to such an unexpected pick. I had Green ranked 101st overall; FantasyPros had him 96th overall. The downside for Green is obvious: A 32-year old guy who didn’t play all of last season and only appeared in nine games in 2018 due to injuries. Plus, Tyler Boyd is good, John Ross can explode in a random game or two, and the Bengals drafted WR Tee Higgins to start the 2nd round of this past NFL draft. Look, if Green was still available in that late 90’s, early 100’s range, I would have considered drafting him. He could still have some stuff left in the tank to work with rookie Joe Burrow. But 53 overall was a massive reach. For reference, here are the next 15 WRs that were taken after Green: Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Tyler Boyd, Deebo Samuel, Tyler Lockett, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Tee Higgins, Robert Woods, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Michael Gallup, Will Fuller, Mike Williams, Diontae Johnson, and Christian Kirk.

A.J. Green preparing to catch a pass.

Good Value Picks

George Kittle, pick 26 overall. I was seriously contemplating taking Kittle at 23. I had him 20th on my board, FantasyPros had him 21st. He’s a guy that offers an advantage at a one-starter position. Plus, he’s actually really good at football in general (considered a top 5 NFL player by people) and is a fun guy to root for.

DJ Moore, pick 29 overall. “Team D” had the draft rights to Moore due to a trade with “Team E.” (“Team E” had compiled picks 26-29 through a series of pre-draft trades.) I wasn’t super high on Moore, having him ranked 21st as opposed to FantasyPros having him ranked 15th overall, but he’s a 23-year old who is coming off a season ranking 10th among WRs in receptions and finishing as the 16th best fantasy WR in overall points and points per game, yet managed to finish there with just four receiving touchdowns.

Jerry Jeudy, pick 56 overall. Jeudy is already an elite route runner coming into the NFL and the Broncos seemed thrilled to take him in the mid first round of this past NFL draft. Obviously Drew Lock is a question mark, but Jeudy at pick 56 was a bargain.

David Montgomery, pick 67 overall. Montgomery is just 23-years of age and is a starter in the NFL who’s pretty much guaranteed to have at least 14 carries a game. He had flashes of talent in his rookie season but seemed to have underachieved. However, a lot of his mainstream stats last season were comparable to big-name RB Todd Gurley, and the Bears offense should take a step forward if Nick Foles is declared the starter.

David Montgomery running the football.

Guys I Really Wanted (but didn’t get)

Calvin Ridley, pick 31 overall. I had picks 32 and 34 so I was hoping that Ridley would fall to me there. Unfortunately, “Team F” sniped him from me. Ridley’s 25 years old and has already proven to be a very solid WR. But his appeal is that he’s the number two option in a Falcons offense that throws the ball a ton (Matt Ryan tossed over 41 pass attempts per game last season) and has a tendency to get into shootouts. He has shown that he can explode on any given week, plus, he should have an even larger role in the offense as Julio continues to get up there in age.

D.K Metcalf, pick 33 overall. Yup, Ridley AND Metcalf were sniped right in front of me. I stood up and swore a few times when “Team C” took him. Metcalf’s a guy who’s just 22 years old, came on strong last season (had either at least one touchdown or at least 70 receiving yards in seven of his final nine regular season games) and is a prime target to take a leap in his sophomore season. Also, again, just another fun guy to root for.

Diontae Johnson, pick 81 overall. I was 13 slots higher on Johnson than FantasyPros, ranking him 77th overall as opposed to 90th. As a rookie with Mason Rudolph or Duck Hodges under center for the majority of the season, Johnson still demanded almost six targets per game and flashed his talent. With Big Ben back, the Steelers offensive identity should be back and that’ll help Johnson who is primed to be a very good number two receiving option to JuJu. He’ll be just 23 years old if and when the season starts.

Calvin Ridley, off to the races.

Alright, now I’ll quickly go through my team. As mentioned, I loved starting off with Saquon and Davante. It might be a hot take but I had Saquon ranked ahead of McCaffrey simply because he’s younger and more explosive and is an insane talent who is fun to root for. (That’ll be a theme for me. Guys who are either good, fun to root for, or both.) Davante is consistently a stud wideout who now is in line for a massive target share with a seemingly motivated Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball.

With picks 16 and 23, I went with a pair of rookie running backs in Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jonathan Taylor. At 16 I actually had JuJu ranked one spot higher than CEH, but because running backs are more sought after early on as opposed to wideouts who are plentiful throughout the draft, I went with the dynamic jitterbug out of Louisiana State (LSU.) “Team D” and “Team F” have heavily criticized me for taking CEH, pointing out that he won’t get that many carries and that he will be the 3rd receiving option at best behind Hill and Kelce, but that Mahomes will also look for Hardman and Watkins before he looks for CEH. These are fair critics. However, I look at the fact that with no Damien Williams, who had 4.5 yards per carry on 10 carries per game and over three targets per game last season while dealing with injuries and other running backs getting touches, CEH will demand a larger workload than that and will do more with those touches because he’s simply better than Williams. Plus, the Chiefs spent a first-round draft pick on him this year, and Andy Reid offenses since 2004 have produced a top-eight fantasy RB in 12 of those 16 seasons. It’s going to be fun to see all the ways that Reid utilizes Clyde this season and beyond. As for Taylor, his college production was unbelievable and despite the Colts already having Marlon Mack, they still decided to use a high 2nd round pick on him. He’ll be good.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire breaking free in the 2020 CFP Championship vs. Clemson.

With my three picks in 30’s, I took a trio of wide recievers in the form of Kenny Golladay, Allen Robinson, and Terry McLaurin. I did not expect that Golladay would fall to me but he did, and so I get to have a guy who’s had 115+ targets and 1,000+ receiving yards in back to back seasons and hauled in 11 receiving touchdowns last season despite Matthew Stafford suffering a season ending injury halfway through the season. Robinson is another big, productive, yet seemingly underrated wideout. He saw a whopping 154 targets last season and managed to accumulate almost 1,150 receiving yards with Mitchell Trubisky throwing him the ball, so, assuming that Nick Foles is declared the starter, Robinson should feast even more. Lastly, the McLaurin pick was simply because I really wanted him. I had Sutton and Kupp ranked just ahead of him, but because I already had Golladay and Robinson, I wanted a younger guy who has the potential to really break out and so I went with “Scary Terry.” McLaurin is a fun guy who demonstrated the ability to run great routes and get in the end zone despite quarterback struggles from the Washington Football Team.

At 41 and 46 I went with a pair of Ravens: J.K. Dobbins and Mark Andrews. I think that Dobbins has the chance to be a top 10 fantasy RB once Mark Ingram leaves. He’s going to thrive in that offense next to Lamar Jackson. The Andrews pick was because I wanted to take care of the tight end position and he’s a favorite target of Lamar who made the most of his opportunities last season to the tune of 10 receiving touchdowns on his 64 receptions.

At 59 and 62 I took yet another rookie running back in Cam Akers and then quarterback Dak Prescott. Akers appears to be in line for the starting role in a Sean McVay offense and has a very quick burst. I took Dak there at 62 because I was one of two teams who hadn’t taken a QB left and the other team had a draft pick right after 62. Ideally I would’ve picked Deshaun Watson but Watson went at pick 54.

With my next four picks, 71, 74, 83, and 86, I loaded up on wide receivers in the form of Hollywood Brown, Robert Woods, Jalen Reagor, and Darius Slayton. Hollywood was a guy who I knew that I really wanted to take. He just has so much upside with his age, his deep connection with Lamar, and the fact that he enters this season fully healthy. Woods was a guy who I had ranked 48th overall and somehow got him at 74. (Yes, I took Hollywood ahead of him although I had Woods ranked 13 spots higher.) He is the oldest member of my 20-man roster, but the dude consistently racks up targets, receptions, and yards. He’s by no means a sexy pick but he will have another season of 80+ receptions and 1,100+ receiving yards if he plays a full season. Reagor was actually a pretty uninspiring selection for me. For whatever reason I had him ranked 66th overall and he was available at 83 so why not. I mean, I guess somebody’s got to catch passes from Wentz besides Zach Ertz and he’s a rookie who was taken in the first-round. And finally, Slayton is a guy who I just randomly like. He flied under the radar last season as a rookie but seemed to develop a nice relationship with Daniel Jones. Slayton had eight receiving touchdowns in 14 games.

Hollywood Brown running into the end zone in week 1 last season against Miami. He weighed just 157 pounds last season, barely more than me!

My final five picks were as follows: Another rookie running back in Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, Colts rookie wideout Michael Pittman Jr., the Heisman Trophy winner and number one overall pick Joe Burrow, and backup to Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison. I don’t love Vaughn but I selected him at 95 overall because there were almost no respectable running backs left in that range. Hockenson I believe can take a step forward with Stafford this year, and Pittman was another high investment pick by the Colts this past April and could morph into a top target for Philip Rivers if T.Y. Hilton’s hamstring injuries continue to nag. I just love Burrow because of his swag and gamesmanship and poise and accuracy and he has many weapons around him in Cincinnati. I had Josh Allen and Carsen Wentz ranked a bit higher but I mean in the 19th round man I wanted to have a guy who I can truly root for and have fun watching. The Mattison pick occurred because he’s actually been good in the limited number of rushes he gets behind Cook, and if something were to happen to Cook, Mattison would skyrocket in fantasy value.

In summary, eight of my 20 players are rookies, including five of my seven running backs being rookies. Seven of my current 11 bench players are rookies. 55% of my team comes from less than 16% of the NFL teams because of the multiple players that I have on the Ravens, Giants, Colts, Lions, and Rams. I don’t think that I have a top-two team in the league in terms of competing for this season, but I do think that my team is set up nicely for the future with all those rookie running backs plus other young guys like Saquon, McLaurin, Hollywood, Slayton, and Joey Burrow. “Team F” and “Team D” have really trashed on my team since draft night on Monday. “Team F,” in fact, thinks that I have the 2nd worst of the six teams. So, before I finish this mammoth of a blog with a layout of the six teams for you, the reader, to decide upon the power rankings (which will all look amazing because it’s a six-team league), I will say that FantasyPros has my team ranked first for dynasty rankings.

The Layout of the Teams by QB-RB-WR-TE

“Team A”: Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson–––Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Melvin Gordon, James Conner, Kareem Hunt, Tarik Cohen–––Julio Jones, A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, Henry Ruggs, Tee Higgins, Justin Jefferson, Preston Williams, Julian Edelman, Dede Westbrook–––Travis Kelce, Austin Hooper

My Team: Dak Prescott, Joe Burrow–––Saquon Barkley, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Alexander Mattison–––Davante Adams, Kenny Golladay, Allen Robinson, Terry McLaurin, Robert Woods, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Jalen Reagor, Darius Slayton, Michael Pittman Jr.–––Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson

“Team C”: Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees–––Derrick Henry, Leonard Fournette, Phillip Lindsay, James White, Raheem Mostert, Darrell Henderson–––Michael Thomas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, D.K. Metcalf, Adam Thielen, A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, DeSean Jackson, Marvin Jones, Sterling Shepard, Emmanuel Sanders–––Darren Waller, Jack Doyle

“Team D”: Carson Wentz, Josh Allen––– Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook, Josh Jacobs, Chris Carson, Kerryon Johnson–––Mike Evans, D.J. Moore, Courtland Sutton, DJ Chark, CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Deebo Samuel, Jarvis Landry, Michael Gallup, Diontae Johnson, Mecole Hardman, T.Y. Hilton––Zach Ertz

“Team E”: Kyler Murray, Tom Brady–––Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon, Kenyan Drake, Aaron Jones, David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, Ronald Jones–––Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper, Odell Beckham Jr., Cooper Kupp, Tyler Lockett, DeVante Parker, Christian Kirk, Brandin Cooks, Breshad Perriman, Antonio Brown–––George Kittle

“Team F”: Deshaun Watson–––Nick Chubb, Miles Sanders, D’Andre Swift, Devin Singletary, Todd Gurley, David Montgomery, Mark Ingram, Jordan Howard, Derrius Guice–––Tyreek Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, Keenan Allen, Will Fuller, Mike Williams, N’Keal Harry, Anthony Miller–––Evan Engram, Noah Fant