I was recently invited to participate in the Dynasty Experts League hosted by Dynasty League Football. It is a 12-team, PPR scoring and individual defensive player lineup format league. This is a pure dynasty league, with all players held over every year. A combined rookie and free agent draft takes place in early June.
The league is entering its fourth season, but I’m onboard starting this year taking over an existing team. Fortunately for me, the team was well managed in terms of stocking it with young talent that should serve me well years into the future. That talent includes Cam Newton, Josh Freeman, Daniel Thomas, Jonathan Baldwin, Steve Johnson, Denarius Moore, Torrey Smith, Jimmy Graham, Brandon Pettigrew and Colin McCarthy, plus the 1.04 pick in the 2012 rookie draft and a pair of first round picks in 2013.
Like I said, I’m fortunate to acquire such a team with a nice strong nucleus of stars, especially Newton, Graham, Moore and Smith, even if the roster is light at RB. We recently completed the draft, and I wanted to share some of the moves and picks I made to get from my starting roster to today.
After I took over the team, trade requests from the other sharks started pouring in almost immediately. What do you want for Cam? What is the asking price for Graham? Are you willing to trade the 4th pick?
Whoa, baby. I don’t see any reason to go gangbusters out of the gate here. I will patiently pick my trade spots to balance out making this team competitive both short and long-term – in essence, to build a dynasty. Trade Cam and Graham? Uh, no.
So with that out of the way, the big pre-draft decision is what to do with the 4th pick. This team is light at RB and set at QB. The likely best options when I’m on the clock will be one of Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck, and Justin Blackmon.
Doug Martin is who I want. Fantasy Sharks in the first overall spot is not trading it away, so the idea of getting Trent Richardson is a dead end. I do love what I’ve read about Martin and the situation he landed in. The problem is I think Footballguys could take him 2nd overall. If FBG lets him pass, I don’t think Sharks, who also own the 1.03 pick, will take Martin, instead opting for one of Griffin or Luck.
After some jostling back and forth with FBG about the cost to swap picks, he seems open to the idea, but I push my luck by letting him make the pick to see if I could possibly get Martin at four. He picks Martin. Trade! I managed to swing the following deal:
FF Today gives:
LB Colin McCarthy
RB Doug Martin (Pick 1.02)
LB Jerod Mayo
I’m happy with this deal. I prefer McCarthy to Mayo, as did FBG obviously, but certainly a downgrade I can live with to acquire Martin and move up 3 spots in the second round. This is what can happen when you have two people on the same page about player value, each of us recognizing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th picks are very even in 2012 rookie dynasty drafts.
Okay, now on to the draft. You can check the whole draft report for all of the picks, and here is a summary of picks for Team FF Today:
1.02 RB Doug Martin, TB (via trade)
2.02 WR Rueben Randle, NYG
2.04 LB Luke Kuechly, CAR
3.04 S Mark Barron, TB
4.04 DE Cameron Wake, MIA
5.04 K Matt Prater, DEN
6.04 RB Dion Lewis, PHI
7.04 CB Cortland Finnegan, STL
8.04 WR Steve Smith, STL
One other deal to report had me sending RB Mikel Leshoure to Fantasy Sharks in exchange for WR Doug Baldwin and WR Mike Williams (Bucs). True, my team is light at RB, but I’m not keen on LeShoure and from a value standpoint, this looked like a great deal if Williams can rebound reasonably well from his sophomore slump.
So there you have it, all of the changes to the roster I started with less than a month ago, to get to my roster today. Each owner was required to answer the following questions about the draft, and I’ve included my answers here.
1. What was the best value pick in the draft?
1.10 WR Kendall Wright – I guess I’ve read more about Brian Quick since Fantasy Sharks took him at 1.07, causing Michael Floyd and Wright to fall down the board, but even if I accept Quick as a better prospect amongst those three, I disagree with TE Coby Fleener getting drafted in front of Floyd/Wright. Fantasy Sharks seemed to get caught up in drafting for need at that point instead of BPA with so many picks to play with. The result was an excellent value for Pro Football Focus nabbing, surprisingly (Bryan said it himself), Wright down at 1.10. Between a gimpy Kenny Britt and Joe Average Nate Washington, Wright has immediate impact opportunity, and finds himself with a better long-term answer at QB and team I feel is more likely to be on the upswing than the Rams or Cardinals.
2. What pick was the biggest reach or most surprising selection in the draft?
1.08 TE Coby Fleener – I’ll lay off Smitty of DraftCalc for the oft-mentioned DeAngelo Hall pick in the late second round, because if I don’t I’m sure I’ll be playing against him the week Hall has his 3 INT game. I’ll come back to Fleener as mentioned above… it seemed too early for a guy at a position that is deep with prospects already 1-2 years in the league, and drafted by a team that drafted two TEs. Sure, Fleener got drafted higher, but I’m not convinced he’ll be the prime receiving choice ahead of Allen and I certainly don’t expect a Gronkowski-Hernandez part deux in Indy anytime soon. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think from a value standpoint Sharks had a good chance to wait on Fleener to nearly the mid-2nd round.
3. Who has helped their team the most to compete this year?
ESPN/Scouts Inc. – To answer this question, you’ve got to look at the trades because there were some big ones. ESPN/Scouts did lose McCoy, Nicks and Brees in their wheeling and dealing, but on the flip side gained Maclin, Fred Davis, Antonio Brown, Vick, Cutler, Steve Smith (CAR), Brandon Marshall, Gresham, Peppers. Adding Ronnie Hillman in the draft should make an immediate impact, although Lamar Miller will not (but I like the pick and considered him strongly over Kuechly). Definitely lost some star power but stocked his starting lineup from top to bottom, plus depth, with solid fantasy contributors that will make this team a challenge to play against every week.
4. Who has had the best draft for building some talent long term, over the next few years?
Fantasy Sharks – This team was loaded for bear with picks in this draft, so they are the hands down winner in this category. I kept checking his roster to see if there was some sort of roster exemption, to understand where he was fitting all of those prospects. This team is pretty competitive right now, already having Romo, Murray, A.J. Green, Bryant, Julio Jones, Gronkowski and then adding Richardson, plus hope for the best immediately from Blackmon, Quick and Fleener. It will be interesting if this team does jump out well this season to see if Jim will go the patient route and stick with all of these young guys, or pawn some off for older stars supporting a perhaps earlier than planned title run.
5. Two teams most likely to be in the title game this year?
Dynasty League Football over Fantasy Sharks
I purposely excluded FF Today from consideration as answers to the questions, but clearly, FF Today is the team that made itself the most competitive. Even if not this year, perennial title game appearances are on the horizon.