Entering July, we have one more month before things start to really pick back up. Now is a great time to do a startup dynasty draft if you are looking to add a league. Having done a pair of Superflex startups myself recently, this month’s article will focus on some ideas of how to approach each position in a startup and which player buckets are most attractive.
We will also hit on the following topics:
- The log of all value changes since early June with a short blurb on why each guy moved up or down
- Some 2022 rookies to keep an extra close eye on once camp starts
- How the 2023 rookie drafts could mirror 2021 and what that means for trading strategy
The dynasty trade value chart is tailored to 12-team PPR leagues with a starting lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, and one flex. It now also includes trade values for Superflex leagues in a separate column. The chart is meant to serve primarily as a guide for trades but can also be a great resource during startup drafts. If the players and picks on each side of the trade offer add up to approximately the same number, the trade would be considered even. If you receive a trade offer that sends you players with a higher total number value than the players you are giving up, the offer is worth strongly considering. Each league is different, so pay close attention to the scoring and starting roster requirements specific to your league.
Dynasty Startup Thoughts: Player Pools
Two years ago during the 2020 rookie draft and startup season, a consistent focus here was on accumulating second-round picks to give yourself as many bites at the apple as possible. The second-round pool was especially loaded in Superflex. As expected, there were some busts (Lavish Shenault and Zack Moss) but there were also a bunch of hits (Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman Jr, Brandon Aiyuk, A.J. Dillon, and Antonio Gibson). Focusing resources in your startup draft on this group of players was a winning move. The idea is that you have a bucket of players generally grouped together who you feel are undervalued as a collective even if you are not supremely confident in each individual member.
Let’s dive in on some buckets that I am personally targeting in Superflex startups this offseason.
Note: Nobody cares about my teams but hopefully giving some concrete strategy examples from my real drafts will provide value.
In short, my goal in every Superflex startup is to get at least one top young quarterback who can anchor my lineup for the next decade. Drawing the 11th and 12th in my two startups required trading up into the middle of the first round and making sacrifices elsewhere. In the mid-first of both drafts, Joe Burrow was my pick.
The Decade Guys
These are the obvious names. Josh Allen. Patrick Mahomes II. Justin Herbert. Joe Burrow. If you luck into a top draft slot, hold unless you get an overwhelmingly strong offer. Be more aggressive than normal trying to position yourself for a trade-up if needed. You get an unmatched long-term floor and all kinds of upside as well in this player bucket.
The Decade Guy Outlier
Mac Jones (Target in 3rd or 4th round)
It was only one year and it ended on a down note, so some will understandably not have confidence in him as a 10-year starter. However, if you combine what we saw of him at Alabama and the early reports on how he looks this offseason, we really have more than one year to go on. There is a very appealing long-term fantasy floor with Jones and enough upside to where you might end up feeling great about him as your QB2. Buy in Superflex now because the price will only go up if he has a big second season (I think he will).
Former Top Picks
There are two at the top of my list who we will go into more depth on momentarily. The sheer number of former top draft picks who were coveted Superflex assets not so long ago makes targeting this bucket of quarterbacks easier because even if you miss on The Plan A and Plan B guys (more on those momentarily), you still have solid fallback options. Baker Mayfield is a former first-overall pick and will likely end up starting somewhere in 2022. Marcus Mariota and Carson Wentz are former second-overall picks with starting jobs. While you can make a value case for any of those guys, here are the Plan A and B:
Jared Goff (Target in 10th-12th round)
The risk-versus-reward here in Round 10 makes too much sense. Goff is virtually guaranteed to start for the entirety of the 2021 season. In a Superflex league where you wait on QB2, even a moderately productive starting quarterback has real utility and value for your team. Worst case, he bridges you (and the Lions) to the 2023 rookie draft, which is going to have some potential franchise guys. Best case, you have a 27-year old who establishes himself as the medium-term starter in Detroit on a team that has quietly accumulated a bunch of offensive talent the last few years.
Jameis Winston (9th-11th round)
Upside is about what ifs. What if Michael Thomas is still Michael Thomas? What if Chris Olave is a rich man’s Will Fuller V right out of the gates? There’s also Alvin Kamara and Jarvis Landry. You can imagine a world where a Winston-led Saints offense playing in a dome does some fantasy damage. At 28 years old, Winston has a chance to establish himself longer-term if he matures on and off the field.
I have never fully embraced the Zero RB strategy in the past. It does feel more viable now than in past years, especially if you make locking up an elite QB1. In 2022 Superflex startups, you can patch together a viable medium-term RB corps on the cheap and load up elsewhere.
Whichever older guy slides (7th-9th rounds)
The top younger backs feel slightly overpriced compared to other positions. It is also hard to invest a premium pick in the first few rounds on any of these running backs who are already onto their second contracts.
The best strategy may be to just wait it out and grab one of the slightly older running backs who are sliding pretty deep into drafts. Running backs like Ezekiel Elliott, Aaron Jones, and James Conner are regularly sliding into the 8th or 9th round. Leonard Fournette may make it to this range, as well. These guys can allow you to compete in the short-term while absolutely loading up on longer-term building blocks at other positions.
The Useful Later-Round Backs (13th-16th rounds)
Regardless off what strategy you take in the early rounds, there are plenty of solid targets to build backfield depth in the later rounds. Dipping into this bucket at least once or twice is a good idea.
There is upside for Hines to be a poor man's Austin Ekeler with Matt Ryan at quarterback and the Colts lacking established targets behind Michael Pittman Jr. Hines is only 25 years old and is not going to have as much wear and tear on his body moving forward as will higher-touch backs who are banging it up the middle 15 times a game.
He could have some flex appeal even behind David Montgomery. There are two paths to RB2 production. First, an injury to Montgomery. Second, Montgomery not being resigned when he hits free agency in eight months.
He is going off the board a good dozen rounds after Kenneth Walker in Superflex startups and their situations are not so dissimilar.
Two recent startup drafts. Two selections each of Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Gabriel Davis, Jahan Dotson, and Hunter Renfrow. It feels strange to see so much roster overlap in separate leagues but highlights how strongly I feel about these buckets of young wide receiver talent. Make it a priority to get as many bites of the apple with this group as possible. Adding a bunch of guys from this bucket behind an early-round wide receiver or two will set you up tremendously for long-term success even if you only hit on half of the picks.
2022 Top of the Draft Rookies
Five of the top 16 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft were wide receivers. Two of them are consistently available multiple rounds after the others (and Treylon Burks) have been drafted.
Chris Olave (6th-8th round)
Olave was the 11th-overall pick, just turned 22 years old, and has locked down a starting job already. His main competition for targets, Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, are both 29 years old. Time is on Olave’s side and it feels like only a matter of time before he is the WR1 in New Orleans.
Jahan Dotson (8th-10th round)
This ADP may continue to creep up based upon the early reports out of Washington. The short-term situation is unattractive but we are getting a talented 22-year-old with the potential to be fantasy relevant for most of the next decade.
Undervalued Young Veterans (8th-11th round)
There are a number of wide receivers in this bucket. You can make a case for DeVonta Smith, Darnell Mooney, Mike Williams, Christian Kirk, and Courtland Sutton in this same range. But there are two guys who landed on both of my rosters.
Gabriel Davis (7th-9th round)
Gambling on the upside of Davis is about more than just the 8-201-4 receiving line in one playoff game but let’s start there. We saw Jordy Nelson begin his career as mostly a non-factor for three seasons (six total touchdowns) behind Greg Jennings and others before exploding for 7-140-1 in the Super Bowl. Nelson used that breakout playoff game as a springboard to 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns the very next season. There is a 5.5-year age gap between Davis and Stefon Diggs, which gives Davis a realistic path to becoming Allen’s go-to guy in the not-so-distant future. We saw in Kansas City the potential of what that could mean.
Hunter Renfrow (10th-11th round)
The arrival of Davante Adams in Las Vegas has dented the fantasy stock of Renfrow and there should be some concern about his target share. But let’s not forget that this is a guy who just caught 103 passes at 25 years old. He should still put up big numbers in Josh McDaniel’s offense. He is also three full years younger than Adams and Darren Waller, so time is on his side.
Nobody stands out as a tremendous value compared to ADP amongst the top guys. Get in where you fit in at TE1. In one draft, that was Mark Andrews. In the other, it was T.J. Hockenson. There is one bucket of players at the position where there is real value.
Mid-round rookies (16th-30th rounds)
This was a deep rookie class and we are already hearing positive reports about a number of guys. The odds may not be great for any single guy in this bucket but as a collective group, there is a great chance that at least one emerges eventually as a long-term fantasy TE1. When throwing darts in the late rounds of a startup, you can do a lot worse than targeting some of the following guys:
Greg Dulcich (13-17th round)
Chigozeiom Okonkwo (18th-24th round)
Freaky athlete with some receiving upside and positive early buzz.
Cade Otton (16th-24th round)
The retirement of Rob Gronkowski could boost his ADP. Clear path to starting job.
Jeremy Ruckert (18th-24th)
More of a long-term play given the Jets' depth at the position but exactly the type of guy who is worth drafting late and stashing for a couple of years in deeper leagues.
Player value change log
Dynasty trade values are now being updated in real-time in the dynasty trade value app. This month, there were few major value changes due to the lack of big news events. We had another slow news month, so we had mostly minor value adjustments in June.
Please note that the log has been sorted by how much the player’s value changed over the past month.
|Joe Mixon||34||30||-4||Lack of third-down trust limits PPR upside.|
|Amari Cooper||19||15||-4||Cooper could be 29 years old and entering his 10th NFL season before he takes a snap with Watson.|
|Mike Evans||24||20||-4||2022 outlook is incredibly bright. After that? He will be 30 years old and facing a major QB downgrade.|
|Jahan Dotson||15||18||3||Have noticed an uptick of offers for Dotson. The reports out of Washington OTAs are encouraging.|
|Trey Lance||10||13||3||The combination of rushing ability and a great situation make the upside tantalizing.|
|Antonio Gibson||23||20||-3||Less upside if Robinson takes a big chunk of the goal-line work.|
|David Montgomery||21||18||-3||Will new Chicago leadership want to pay to keep him around?|
|Josh Jacobs||20||17||-3||Short-term committee concerns. Longer-term questions of where he will land next.|
|Justin Jefferson||47||50||3||Jefferson in a pass-heavy offense should be a lot of fun.|
|Courtland Sutton||18||21||3||Steady drumbeat that he is going to be Wilson's WR1.|
|Gabriel Davis||19||22||3||WR24 ADP on Underdog. 23 years old. Will continue buying.|
|Chris Godwin||25||22||-3||Value will slump until we actually see him get back on the field.|
|Marquise Brown||19||22||3||People are buying into the situational boost in Arizona.|
|Cade Otton||2||4||2||Early positive buzz and a value boost from Gronkowski retirement.|
|Deshaun Watson||13||11||-2||Who knows when he will actually see the field.|
|Khalil Herbert||5||7||2||Nice fit in new offense and has a path to being the 2023 starter.|
|J.K. Dobbins||32||30||-2||Hard to feel truly confident we will see true lead-back usage.|
|Rashod Bateman||19||21||2||Keeps rising in redraft.|
|Odell Beckham Jr||7||5||-2||Love the buy-low opportunity. Could boost lineups in fantasy playoffs.|
|Tim Patrick||5||7||2||Positive buzz and early rapport with Wilson.|
|Jamison Crowder||3||5||2||Will benefit from huge upgrade at QB.|
|Joshua Palmer||6||8||2||The youngest of Herbert's top weapons.|
|George Kittle||28||26||-2||Faces competition for what may not be a whole lot of targets to go around.|
|Travis Kelce||20||18||-2||Don't ignore the age.|
|Rob Gronkowski||3||1||-2||Only rosterable in deeper TE-Premium leagues after retirement (final?).|
|Dalton Schultz||11||13||2||Considering age and situation, bright medium-term outlook.|
|James Robinson||8||7||-1||Missed time will put him behind Etienne in learning offense.|
|Tyler Lockett||10||9||-1||Bad situation short-term and age weighs on longer-term outlook.|
Dynasty Web Apps
We have introduced a customizable dynasty trade value chart that adjusts the player values to fit your league size, starting lineup requirements, and scoring. Thank you to all who provided feedback. The newest version is available here:
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