Rookie Roundup 9: TD Dynasty Draft Part 1

A look inside a Footballguys rookie draft.

For the past several years, I have documented a staff dynasty league rookie draft in a two-part series. This year, the series will continue, but I will add a fun wrinkle. Fellow Footballguy Justin Howe is joining me to provide commentary and offer his perspective on our draft. Justin plays with me in a couple of different highly competitive dynasty leagues and has a good sense of what it takes to be successful in the “shark-infested waters.” It should be a lot of fun! Our plan is to cover the first two rounds in this article and cover rounds 3-5 in a future installment.

As usual, our staff league is back at it again a week after the NFL Draft! Hopefully, seeing a real dynasty draft play out where the stakes are real will be insightful to those of you who are getting ready to participate in your own rookie drafts. It may help you to get a feel for what players are going in what zones and where you need to make a move to get your target players.

Here are the scoring and settings highlights from this league:

  • 24-man rosters
  • Team defenses
  • One point per reception for all positions except tight end
  • Tight end gets one and a half points per reception
  • Rookies or free agents in the pool are draftable
  • Five rounds

After winning the championship the year before, I once again made the championship round against Andy Hicks. Sadly, I fell short of repeating and becoming the back-to-back champion. After licking my wounds, I’m hungry and determined to prove that I can get back to the championship round for the third time in four years!

I take a best-player-available approach to my drafts. I figure that I can always trade from a position of strength to address a need later. I’ve also found over the years of playing dynasty that drafting for need is very dangerous and can really blow up in your face. If need and talent intersect, I use it as a tiebreaker for my pick.

Here is a look at my roster and picks pre-draft:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Team Defenses
Los Angeles Rams
Baltimore Ravens
Draft Picks
1.11, 2.11, 3.11, 4.11, 5.11

I made a couple of significant trades before the draft:

When evaluating my draft board, I knew that my target players were largely going to be taken in the first five picks of the rookie draft. While there are some late first and early second rounds that I would be happy to have, I knew that some of the players that would fall to the third, fourth, and fifth picks of this draft were players that typically could go at the 1.01 in most rookie draft years. I also knew that my priority target player list would largely be gone by the 2.11 pick, so I did not mind throwing it in to move up and potentially get a foundational player for my team.

I saw a few days before the draft that Andy had moved Smith-Schuster into his trade bait. Despite a down year, I feel Smith-Schuster remains one of the most talented receivers in the game, one that I valued above the running backs in this draft. Long-term, I value CeeDee Lamb more, but I thought he might be gone by 1.04. I checked with the owners holding picks 1-4 and found that none were willing to let me trade up. I decided that I would make a serious run at JuJu Smith-Schuster by also throwing in Jonnu Smith. In this tight end premium league, Smith holds more value than in a typical league. Due to the Titans offense being primarily run-based, I don't think Smith has significant room to improve his fantasy output, despite having the physical talent to do so. Thankfully, Andy instantly accepted my proposal. While sad I won't have a premium share in this exciting rookie class, I’m excited to have a player that I believe will solidify one of my starting wide receiver spots for many years to come. I will need to find another more solid tight end complement to George Kittle, but I did not feel this was the class in which to go searching.

Let's see how the first round played out!

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