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It was a snake draft, and I had pick 1.11, so I had the 11th pick in odd numbered rounds and the 2nd pick in even numbered rounds. As you can see on the draft board below, I held onto 12 of my 20 selections. I’ll give credit to my league-mates, this was an extremely active trade market heading into the draft. I did not pull the trigger on any deals prior to the draft, as I wanted to see how things would shake out in the draft before I could place an appropriate value on the draft picks. Once the draft began, I became more active in the trade market.
I am a serial trade-backer, so when opportunities arose for me to move back and get slightly lesser picks plus future picks, I took advantage. Especially when I didn’t like anyone at their current average draft positions (ADP) when I was on the clock- which happened often. I didn’t want to get stuck drafting someone I didn’t really like or overdrafting a player I liked even though I thought they’d be available in later rounds.
I typically don’t try to win my dynasty leagues in year one. To me, given the nature of injuries and randomness, it’s a huge gamble. I like to think in three-year windows in dynasty, so my intent was to build a competitive team, with enough youth, upside and future picks to be better in years two and three. Looking back at my draft, I think I succeeded and minus a few small misses here and there. Overall I was satisfied with how the draft played out.
In case you hadn’t noticed, drafts are going a little RB heavy early this year. I wasn’t sure who would fall to me at 1.11, and I was elated to see Kareem Hunt still on the board. I had Hunt as the #4 overall rookie last year and coming off of his excellent rookie campaign I was ecstatic to get him this late. Coming back in round two, I saw an opportunity to trade back (a theme you’ll see as we go on) and still get another top back. I moved back from 2.02 to 2.08 where I was able to grab Christian McCaffery. In a PPR league, starting with Hunt and McCaffrey, who combined for 133 receptions last year, was as good as I could have expected, and I acquired a future pick when I moved back too.
I traded back again and moved out of the third round entirely, also getting another future pick in the process. I was slightly concerned to move out of such an early pick in a startup, but I came back with Larry Fitzgerald & Demaryius Thomas in the subsequent rounds. They’re both a little long in the tooth but are still productive. With my newly acquired early picks next year, I can attack young wide receivers in the WR-heavy 2019 draft class.
In between those picks, I sandwiched Deshaun Watson. I’m usually a late-round-QB guy, but in many of my existing dynasty leagues, I was lucky enough to grab Russell Wilson years ago. Grabbing a young quarterback who will presumably have a starting job for the next decade is a huge stress relief. I’m not as huge of a Watson fan as many in the industry. However, lots of folks who I respect love him, and his upside enamors me. I have no shares of him anywhere else, so I thought I’d take a chance on him here. Aside from keeping a single back up, I (hopefully) won’t have to address the position again until sometime around 2025.
I won’t bore you with a round by round breakdown of my picks, if you’re curious, check out the draft board below. I waited on wide receiver and traded back, and still landed five teams’ pre-season #1 wide receivers.
I mentioned (repeatedly) how I traded back often and acquired future picks. What did I get in return? I accumulated three seconds, and an extra third, fourth, and fifth. I was also able to move up and out of rounds six and seven too. If you’ve played dynasty for some time, you’ll know the talent typically dries up half-way through round three, so dumping off those late picks to move up a round or two was worth it. There is a roster cut down after year one, were we’ll go from 20 players to 16. With the small roster size those late round picks essentially worthless in a league without taxi squads.
These future selections will allow me to either package them together or with a player, to move up next year if there is someone I particularly covet. I can also flip them for veteran help if I’m pushing for a championship. My trades enabled me to have some flexibility both this year and during next year’s rookie drafts. I can go several directions between today and the 2020 draft that other owners probably can’t.
I don’t have many running backs, but the ones I have are young. While on the other hand, my receivers are a bit on the older side. With the 2019 class looking to be very top-heavy at receiver and the 2020 class likely to be top-heavy at running back, I think I’m set up well draft pick-wise to address both of those positions going forward. In a 20-round draft, to come away with what I feel is a very competitive lineup with 21 players and five of the first 24 picks in next year’s rookie draft, it’s hard not to be happy about the results. I’m sure I’ll also be trying to package a few of the later picks together in the 2019 rookie draft for more picks in 2020 as well.
Overall, including my future picks, I’m pretty happy with the team I built. I’m going to need my running backs to stay healthy, and as of this writing Kenneth Dixon is once again injured, but I’m active on waivers and should be able to address any problems that arise there. I’m fortunate none of my current backs have the same bye weeks, so even if I lose a guy or two, I should be able to field a full, competitive roster each week. I like the players I have, but this position is probably the weak point of my team.
At quarterback, I like the high ceiling Watson brings, but I backed him up with the always reliable Philip Rivers. If Watson struggles or misses any early time, I can easily pivot to Rivers and not miss a beat. As a single QB league, there will always be somebody on the waiver wire if complete disaster strikes and I lose both for a period of time.
My wide receivers are old, but they’re still productive and have a little left in the tank. I didn’t intend to target older receivers going into the draft, but I also didn’t care if it played out like that being aware that I would be able to get at least two of the young receivers in the 2019 class. Stockpiling the future picks made that an easier strategy decision as the draft went on. The other thing I like about my receivers is their position on their respective teams’ depth charts. Demaryius Thomas, Larry Fitzgerald, Allen Hurns, Kelvin Benjamin and Robby Anderson are all their team’s number one receivers.
I’ll be honest. I hate both of my tight ends. I’m holding out hope that Eric Ebron can build off of the way he ended 2017 and lives up to his top-10 draft pick. In Indianapolis, under Frank Reich, I’m hoping he sees a little more of the move tight end role Reich used when he was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. That may propel him into top-12 fantasy territory, but I’m not confident. I hate Jared Cook. Usually, I adhere to a strict “do not draft Jared Cook” policy, and I violated it. My thought was with the new John Gruden/Greg Olsen west coast coaching combo and the departure of Michael Crabtree; Cook might finally be productive. I have no faith in that happening, but it was worth a late dart throw. If not, he’s an easy cut as I stream TEs or have other positional needs to fill.
I don’t play in many leagues with defenses or kickers anymore, so this becomes a little unique in that sense. Minnesota was one of the better fantasy defenses last years, so I was happy to grab them. I like their defensive line and secondary, both of which should help contribute fantasy points via sacks and interceptions. At kicker, I went with Matt Bryant. I will always try to get a kicker who plays in a domed stadium, eliminating wind and weather from being factors in half of the games. As a team in the NFC South, Atlanta also plays at New Orleans once per year (also in a dome), and once at Tampa Bay and Carolina, not snowy or typically windy environments which would be detrimental to the kicking game.
Time will tell, but I felt like I had a successful draft. Hopefully, I can sneak into the playoffs this season and can build on an already competitive roster with future picks. And again, be sure to check out the DFF leagues on FFPC. Good luck this season.