It’s that time of the year again, when NFL fans get overly
optimistic or just plain depressed (usually nothing in between)
about the future of their favorite team, based solely on who was
picked in the NFL draft. For dynasty fantasy owners it is a chance
to re-stock, re-build, or re-think their rosters, as investing in
(or avoiding) rookies is probably one of the most important things
an owner can do for the future of their franchise.
This year’s NFL Draft was interesting, as there was not a
real consensus on the top players and a general sentiment of weakness
for fantasy purposes. While this may or may not prove to be true,
it is likely some players will emerge as having fantasy relevance,
and for several players this could come as soon as this coming season.
Below is the result of a rookie draft that I had this past weekend
(5/7/22) in one of my long-standing dynasty leagues. The league
is 12 teams, .5 PPR and uses relatively standard lineup (1 QB, 2RB,
3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 K, 1 DEF) and roster size (22 spots). Hopefully
you can use this as a benchmark for your upcoming dynasty rookie
drafts so you have some idea what to expect.
The only sure-pick in this draft class is at pick 1 with Hall. While
the landing spot is not perfect, Hall is a terrific prospect both
from a production and athletic standpoint. Include the high draft
capital at a shallow position in this class and he is an easy top
pick for me.
After Hall it gets a little cloudy but the next three (London/Burks/Wilson)
make up Tier 2, as excellent prospects who also have great draft
capital and solid landing spots.
The rest of the first round I can see going in almost any order.
Guys like Watson and Moore ended up in great landing spots but had
worse draft capital and were less heralded than a guy like Jameson Williams who ended up in a rough spot but could have the talent
to overcome it.
Walker and Cook are the only other two running backs with first
round consideration but each comes with risk based on landing spots
and less than perfect scouting reports.
I could see zero quarterbacks taken in Round 1 of rookie drafts
but Pickett slips in here and I think that is fine for QB-needy
teams, as he was the only QB (surprisingly) drafted in the first
round of the NFL Draft and actually landed in a QB-friendly team
with the Steelers.
If you have a pick in the first round this year, outside of the
top 4, I would probably advise trading up to a top 4 pick (preferably
1), or perhaps trading down (or out) to maximize your value, as
it becomes a big cluster after the top four players.
Six running backs go in this round and that is almost entirely based
on juicy landing spots, as really none of these guys are highly
rated prospects. That being said, sometimes all it takes is opportunity
and all six could get a crack at significant work by early 2023,
if not sooner.
The only tight end taken, McBride had good draft capital and was
seen by most as the best player at his position this year. While
his landing spot has pros (QB play, pass-first offense) and cons
(Ertz, target competition), mid-2nd round feels like decent value
for a position that is thin overall in fantasy.
After many had Malik Willis pegged as a 1st round NFL Draft pick,
his draft day slide put a damper on his fantasy prospects, but
is probably decent value here considering his enormous upside
as a running quarterback and a potential starting job in 2023
if Ryan Tannehill leaves.
The 2nd round is mostly about opportunity based on landing spots
and not as much on actual talent. This means I would try to trade
up into the first round, or trade out of this round completely if
I had a pick here, as most of these guys will likely be long-term
One thing to note, I do not think Superflex formats change the draft
much this year. Maybe QB’s get moved up a pick or two and
maybe Matt Corral (Panthers) gets taken late, but NFL teams have
clearly soured on this class so it is likely Dynasty owners will
Overall, I am not that excited about this class outside of maybe
7-8 guys. That is not to say more won’t have relevance,
but I do not see this class as having many superstars or even
many consistent, long-term fantasy plays.
As I mentioned above, my strategy is to pay up for pick 1, pay slightly
less for picks 2-4, or try and trade back/out entirely. Draft fever
always hits the dynasty community this time of year and I would
not hesitate to target those in your league who you know have the
highest temperature and use that to your advantage.
As always, assess your team and where it stands as far as being
a competitor or a rebuild project and plan accordingly. If you are
competing for a championship this year I would not hesitate to trade
out of this draft for an established veteran who can help you bring
home the trophy now. If you are in rebuild mode hopefully you have
a top 4 pick or can get into that range, otherwise this may not
be the year to have a bunch of rookie draft picks.