This article is part of our Dynasty Watch series.
The RotoWire football and office staff recently kicked off a new 14-team dynasty league, the draft for which is still ongoing. The results through nine of 20 rounds are already interesting, though, and I'll talk about my picks as well as noteworthy prospect selections to this point.
The league will feature starting lineups of QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/WR/TE/Flex/Flex, and it's PPR scoring. You can view the live draft results by clicking here.
The draft order and first-round results are as follows:
Jerry Donabedian – Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR
Chris Benzine – Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG
DJ Trainor – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL
Eric Caturia – Michael Thomas, WR, NO
Tim Schuler + Paul Martinez – Alvin Kamara, RB, NO
Peter Schoenke – Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN
Me – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, ARI
Chris Liss – Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC
John McKechnie – Nick Chubb, RB, CLE
Mike Doria – Josh Jacobs, RB, LV
Kevin O'Brien – Lamar Jackson, QB, BAL
Jake Letarski – Derrick Henry, RB, TEN
Harry Thompson – Davante Adams, WR, GB
Joe Bartel – George Kittle, TE, SF
I actually accidentally picked Dalvin Cook for Peter while trying to construct my own pre-draft queue, and didn't notice for several days. Sorry Pete!
My bumbling interference aside, the first round generally went like you might expect it to. Perhaps some would raise a complaint about the quarterback selections, but I actually like both picks. Someone is going to end up with bad quarterbacks in a 14-team league, and in a dynasty format that can become a multi-year issue. Not just that, but Mahomes and Jackson have shown the ability to consistently produce at elite levels that can't be matched by the streaming system with later-round quarterbacks. What we are accustomed to as 'good' fantasy quarterback play is still several magnitudes lower than the somewhat unprecedented heights approached by Mahomes and Jackson.
I followed a similar strain of this reasoning with my own second-round pick, where I decided to reach for Kyler Murray to pair him with Hopkins. I couldn't convince myself that Murray was a guarantee to fall to my third pick, and having already bought Hopkins I figured I may as well invest further in the Arizona passing game. My hope is that Murray will ascend toward the tier currently held by Mahomes and Jackson, allowing me to basically never worry about quarterback again. Plus, I was confident that I could effectively mine the bountiful depths at wide receiver at the moment, rationalizing in my head the conscious overpayment of the Murray selection.
Because we're only required to start two running backs, and in the context of already having selected Hopkins and Murray, I decided to take a Zero RB approach to this draft. I know I'll be weak at the position, but instead of paying scarcity prices at running back I preferred to attack the much deeper receiver position, hopefully allowing me to fill out an immediately competitive team by targeting the position where most other teams punted. I generally believe in hammering running back early in redraft or best ball, but in a dynasty league where you can start up to five wideouts, I thought I'd just ignore the scarce position and take the preferable cost-to-production rate at wide receiver.
From there my picks went:
As you can see, I've taken the Zero RB approach to a pretty drastic extent. This wasn't exactly the plan, but even Edwards-Helaire required a slight reach on my part, forcing me to take him over Robert Woods and Jerry Jeudy, the latter a player I rank ahead of CEH in my dynasty rankings. If I hadn't overruled my rankings, though, I'd have zero running backs through nine rounds.
Still, I'm content with this collection of players. I like my four-deep at wide receiver quite a lot, and I expect I'll be able to trade one of Higbee or Hooper not long into the season. Hooper shouldn't have fallen this far and I couldn't bear to let someone steal him in almost the ninth round. Even if it's a downgrade for Hooper to go from Atlanta to Cleveland, he shouldn't be on the board with the 106th pick in PPR scoring. Indeed, O.J. Howard and Mike Gesicki went back to back at the 111th and 112th picks, and in my opinion even a Hooper skeptic would have to concede that there should be at least a couple rounds between him and Howard/Gesicki.
My decision to take a backup quarterback in the 9th round might seem even more insane than my 8th-round decision to take a backup tight end. I have my reasons, though. I am not at all a fan of Goff, but I think his playing circumstances should remain favorable and I figured I might as well stack him with Kupp and Higbee. Skeptical as I am of him I have no problem using the 119th pick on Goff, and I thought this would be a good point to take a backup quarterback generally. As of this writing, four of the 14 teams still haven't drafted a quarterback, and I think a few owners should be a little nervous about their starting options. I'm seriously considering taking another quarterback in the 10th round, at least if a Baker Mayfield type is still on the board. Some team is going to get burned for playing it too cheap at quarterback, and they're going to have to either accept substandard production at the position or they'll have to trade one of their RB/WR/TE assets to secure a quarterback worth starting.
Beyond that, I definitely have certain targets in mind for my remaining picks, but I'm hoping to sneak them onto my roster before discussing them further.
Now let's look at the prospect market so far. Through 123 selections we've seen 17 rookies selected. The first was Jonathan Taylor (RB, Wisconsin), selected by Jake Letarski with the 17th selection. I probably wouldn't rank Taylor quite that high, but I'm fine with the selection. The fact is this league has a heavy Wisconsin bias, and Jake was correct to assume Taylor wouldn't make it to his third-round pick. I probably would have taken Joe Mixon (21st overall to Chris Liss) instead of Taylor, but Taylor has a higher prospect grade than Mixon did for me, so Taylor's value could surge higher yet if he lands in a favorable playing situation.
It wasn't until the 42nd selection that the next rookie went off the board, and it was the first of a back-to-back, both of them selected by Joe Bartel. Those two players were D'Andre Swift (RB, Georgia) and JK Dobbins (RB, Ohio State). Those were good picks for Joe, who I think has one of the better overall rosters so far. He took Kittle and Tyreek Hill with his two picks before he selected the rookie runners, and picked up Robert Woods and Marquise Brown at the next turn. He'll have to find an answer at quarterback, but he has the other questions accounted for.
Chris Benzine took the next rookie selection with CeeDee Lamb at the 55th pick. I love Lamb, but I would have preferred Michael Gallup, who Jerry selected at the 56th pick. Chris Liss' selection of Jerry Jeudy at the 64th pick was also a superior value to Lamb at 55.
Mike Doria selected Cam Akers at the 75th pick – a strong value given that I took Edwards-Helaire 12 picks earlier. I safely prefer Edwards-Helaire between the two, but Akers would have been a justifiable selection some 10 picks earlier than where Mike reeled him in.
Joe Burrow (84th, Jerry), Jalen Reagor (88th, Eric), Zack Moss (94th, Mike), A.J. Dillon (97th, Harry), Denzel Mims (102nd, Kevin), Justin Jefferson (103rd, Mike), Tee Higgins (104th, John), Laviska Shenault (105th, Liss), and Brandon Aiyuk (123rd, Kevin) were the next rookies to go off the board.
Below is a full list of the rookies selected so far:
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (No. 17)
D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia (No. 42)
JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State (No. 43)
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (No. 55)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU (No. 63)
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (No. 64)
Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama (No. 66)
Cam Akers, RB, Florida State (No. 75)
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (No. 84)
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU (No. 88)
Zack Moss, RB, Utah (No. 94)
AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College (No. 97)
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor (No. 102)
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU (No. 103)
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (No. 104)
Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado (No. 105)
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State (No. 123)