Punch Drunk Wonderland

The Ideal Dynasty Draft

Cleve Browns vs. Buffalo BillsLet’s suppose, just for a moment, that we are starting a dynasty league from scratch.

Let’s also suppose, just for a moment, that our entire draft strategy is to take both the youngest, and most productive, players available at a given position in our draft. Winning in 2013 isn’t necessarily a priority, winning in 2014 and beyond is our priority through shrewd drafting of players who are young and productive.

What constitutes young and productive? Well, we’ll try and adhere to ADP as close as is reasonably possible to meet our definition of productive. At every position except Wide Receiver, we want players who have three seasons or less of experience. At Wide Receiver, we’ll take four or less to meet our definition of young.

It would be easy just to grab every rookie on the board whenever we wanted, but that’s essentially throwing the towel in on the season before it even begins. You’d have more fun taking your entry fee out of the bank in one dollar bills, rolling them up and lighting them on fire, one by one.

While drafts like this don’t happen entirely in a vacuum, let’s also suppose that none of the other owners in our league will pursue this strategy quite as deeply as we will. They will draft as they normally would.

For the purposes of this example, we’ll draft seventh in a serpentine, Non PPR league. It’s my least favorite draft position but it actually suits this strategy quite well. Drafting any lower in a non PPR is problematic.

1.7 RB Trent Richardson, Cleveland (ADP 10)
Taken Over Veteran: CJ Spiller, LeSean McCoy, Calvin Johnson

Of the top 20 players in ADP, only Richardson, Doug Martin, Dez Bryant and AJ Green meet our criteria. Since our example is a non-PPR league, getting a top tier running back is critical to the long term success of our dynasty franchise. With Doug Martin falling no further than fourth in most drafts, getting Richardson was a must. If Martin and Richardson are gone, this strategy becomes impossible to execute in its purest form, though McCoy would represent a reasonable compromise.

2.6 WR Julio Jones, Atlanta
Taken Over Veteran: Brandon Marshall

Along the same lines, there are only five Wide Receivers in the top 24 players in ADP, and only Bryant and Jones meet our criteria. For the long term success of our dynasty franchise, getting one of these two is a must as well.

There are two impulses here. The first is to deviate from the strategy and take a second more veteran running back such as Chris Johnson or Matt Forte. The second is to deviate and reach for a DeMarco Murray. I’d encourage you to resist this. If Jones, AJ Green or Bryant is on the board, grab one of them. There is young running back depth to be found later in the draft, so there is no need to jump the gun on Murray.

randall-cobb-2012-023.7 WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay
Taken Over Veteran: Reggie Bush
Also Available: WR Victor Cruz, RB DeMarco Murray, QB Cam Newton

This third round pick is arguably the most critical decision for this strategy. With Cruz, Cobb, Murray and Cam Newton all on the board, making the right pick will shape the future of your dynasty franchise.

From a pure talent perspective, cases could be made for any of the four. However, I chose Cobb because in the next 24 players in ADP, only Cobb and Cruz met my criteria at Wide Receiver, and I like Cobb better. There are four running backs in the next 24, so I’m confident I can get one in the net round. Quarterback is not nearly as essential, as there are five quarterbacks that meet this criterion and four of them will be available much later.

Regardless of who you choose, among Cruz, Cobb, and Murray, expect the other two to be taken before your next selection.

4.6 RB Lamar Miller, Miami
Taken Over Veteran: Darren McFadden, QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski
Also Available: None

In fact, by your next pick, the talent pool that meets our criteria with an ADP between 24-48 will be very thin. In all likelihood, Lamar Miller will be all that’s left. In this simulation, even Cam Newton was taken before our next pick, though I don’t see this all that often otherwise.

5.7 WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
Taken Over Veteran: QB Matt Ryan,TE Tony Gonzales
Also Available: RB Eddie Lacy, RB Chris Ivory

With a flex position to fill out, WR Antonio Brown is debatably a better bet than Lacy, and absolutely a better bet than Chris Ivory. This is a decision based on positional scarcity, as most of the Wide Receivers available in this range are veterans, and there are no Tight Ends that meet our criteria worth taking here.

6.6 QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
Taken Over Veteran: QB Tony Romo, WR DeSean Jackson
Also Available: RB Montee Ball, RB Giovanni Bernard, QB Russell Wilson

Having passed on Cam Newton, it’s now quarterback decision time. Robert Griffin III went one pick before me in the mock that resulted in this article, and Colin Kaepernick went as well. But the 6th round is where you can pick the young QB of your choice. My preference is Luck.

7.7 RB Montee Ball, Denver
Taken Over Veteran: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, WR Stevie Johnson
Also Available: RB Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati

Ultimately, both Ball and Bernard are good choices here. I think Ball will prove to be more of a workhorse back sooner for the Broncos than Bernard will in Cincinnati, but to have him first off your bench is a solid selection.

8.6 WR Tavon Austin, St. Louis
Taken Over Veteran: TE Greg Olsen, WR Kenny Britt, WR Lance Moore
Also Available: None

Like Ball, building rookie depth with Austin does not come without risk. But by the time Antonio Brown is injured, Austin should have settled into a nice groove in St. Louis.

9.7 WR Vincent Brown, San Diego
Taken Over Veteran: TE Greg Olsen, TE Jermichael Finley, TE Owen Daniels, TE Anotnio Gates
Also Available: RB Bernard Pierce, WR DeAndre Hopkins

Looking at ADP, the youth/productivity ratio really dries up at this spot. Brown was roughly a 35 ADP reach. In retrospect, Hopkins was likely the better choice.

10.6 TE Jordan Cameron, Cleveland
Taken Over Veteran: TE Owen Daniels, TE Antonio Gates
Also Available: QB Andy Dalton, WR Justin Blackmon, WR Alshon Jeffery

I’d like this pick back as well. In retrospect, I would have taken Alshon Jeffery here instead. I trust Marc Trestman more than I do Norv Turner.

11.7 WR Kendall Wright, Tennessee
Taken Over Veteran: TE Martellus Bennet, TE Brandon Myers
Also Available: QB Andy Dalton, WR Justin Blackmon, WR Ryan Broyles, RB Isaiah Pead

I don’t have a lot of faith in Jake Locker, but as a long term bet I like Kendall Wright’s talent, so I take him on the hope that the next coaching staff and front office in Tennessee surrounds him with a talent and scheme to make him successful.

12.6 K Blair Walsh, Minnesota
Taken Over Veteran: K Stephen Gostkowski, K Matt Bryant, QB Jay Cutler, RB Shonn Greene
Also Available: WR Brian Hartline, QB Josh Freeman, RB Isaiah Pead

With another dry spot in our selection pool, it makes sense to take the best young kicker on the board. Walsh, in my mind, fits that bill. If you still have faith in Greg Zeurlein, feel free to take him here instead. Personally, I like Wash’s consistency a bit better.

13.7 San Francisco D/ST
Taken Over Veteran: TE Martellus Bennett, TE Brandon Myers, QB Jay Cutler, QB Josh Freeman
Also Available: RB Isaiah Pead

Again, my standard drafting philosophy is to draft the back end of my roster a round or two earlier than most other owners if the best, or one of the very best, is available.

14.6 RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta
Taken Over Veteran: TE Brandon Myers, QB Jay Cutler, QB Josh Freeman
Also Available: WR Aaron Dobson

Stephen Jackson is over 30, and Rodgers is next man up.

15.7 QB EJ Manuel, Buffalo
Taken Over Veterans: QB Josh Freeman, QB Jay Cutler
Also Available: WR Aaron Dobson, WR Mohamed Sanu, TE Rob Housler, TE Tyler Eifert

This is purely a speculative pick. If you look at the final composition of the roster and conclude you’d feel better taking a flyer on a Christine Michael, Stephan Taylor or Mike Gillislee, I won’t argue.

Along the same lines, WR Marvin Jones, Robert Woods and Keenan Allen were also guys who went undrafted in this simulation.

Final Roster

QB Andrew Luck
WR Julio Jones
WR Randall Cobb
WR Antonio Brown
RB Trent Richardson
RB Lamar Miller
TE Jordan Cameron
K Blair Walsh
D/ST San Francisco
BN WR Tavon Austin
BN RB Montee Ball
BN WR Vincent Brown
BN WR Kendall Wright
BN QB EJ Manuel
BN RB Jacquizz Rogers

The analysis run on this roster placed it as the 7th best out of 12th, with the 5th best bench for 2013.

The rules for how many players you’re able to keep from year to year, and at what cost, will dictate how you adjust your drafting strategy. The above roster represents some ideals; the assumption here is that I can keep as much as I want with no penalty or by giving up only the round where I drafted the player from year to year.

Summary

  • This strategy is intended for startup dynasty drafts where the owner is drafting no lower than 7th.
  • This is a non-PPR simulation.
  • This does not factor in leagues where owners surrender varying picks of varying value on an increasing scale from year to year. This tends to lower the value of rookies by a round or two, as owners select veterans and go bargain hunting for rookies later.
  • The criteria for drafting a player was: All positions except WR, three years or fewer, WRs four years or fewer.

Daniel Cromartie About Daniel Cromartie

Daniel was a member of our 2013 PPR league, and has great strategic insight into fantasy football, mock drafts, and fantasy draft strategy.

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