Navigating a Devy Startup

If you are reading this article, you probably already know the importance of youth for a Dynasty Devy roster. You need your studs, but you also need that young core to stabilize your team for the foreseeable future. The only difference is that Devy calls for you to manage a future that stretches much farther in advance. The most critical time for a Devy is the startup draft because not even a last place finish can guarantee you an Ezekiel Elliott or even Leonard Fournette.
To help you with your startup I have put together a few Do’s and Don’ts based around a recent Devy startup I partook in.
1) Don’t take the first Devy player
This year Leonard Fournette is widely coveted as the top Devy player and you will get little argument from anyone on that. An argument can be made for Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Derrius Guice (Fournette’s backup), and a slew of receivers, but in almost every case Fournette is the first college player off the board and holds the most trade weight. I fall into the majority that believes Fournette is the best player on the board from college and likely will be the best pro, yet I will almost certainly never draft him in a Devy startup. Taking Fournette in a startup all but guarantees you are the first owner to take a Devy player this year and also guarantees that you must have passed up proven talent.
Ex. In the startup I recently participated in Fournette was taken in the backend of the 3rd round (35th overall). It is rare for any Devy player to go that early, even someone with Fournette’s skillset, but to any extent, people are definitely reaching on Fournette this year. Doug Martin offers similar fantasy appeal to Fournette in terms of a running back with more of a traditional downhill running style and less involved with the passing game. Martin finished 2nd in rushing yards last year to Peterson, yet I was able to scoop him up with the 52nd overall pick. Devonta Freeman was then taken with the 53rd overall pick after finishing as the #1 RB in PPR last year. It is fair to have doubts about both running backs continuing their 2015 success seamlessly into 2016, but it still makes sense to grab your favorite RB from that tier (Ingram went 49th overall and Hyde went 56th overall) before you jump the gun and take Fournette. Even if all of those players are gone you shouldn’t draft Fournette. I promise you someone will reach on Fournette and meanwhile you can capture whatever proven commodities are available in the market.
2) Don’t find yourself in the middle of a Devy run
Not only will I not own Fournette, but I will also probably not acquire Chubb or Cook, and I am a huge Cook truther. It seems like once someone breaks the “Fournette Seal” that justifies every other owner to immediately start taking the best available Devy players. You may have wondered how it was possible for Ingram, Martin, Freeman, and Hyde to be taken so late, and the reason is because the “Fournette Seal” was broken and led to 4 of the following 11 picks to be on other Devy players. It happens to different extents in every draft, but people get Devy crazy and jump the gun to get high caliber Devy players. It doesn’t work like that.
Naturally as someone who thinks the first Devy player is a reach seeing another Devy player within 5 picks is going to make me cringe. Devy is not comparable to a position such as running back. With running backs, I mentioned several 2nd tier Dynasty running backs who all should be drafted near each other and all have similar trade value. Elite Devy’s are not like that. Each one is a dramatic step down from the player before them. I love Dalvin Cook, but as someone who would rather take Mark Ingram over Leonard Fournette, I’m also going to want Ingram over Cook obviously. Instead of trailing the run, wait until it dies down and find with Devy’s later on.
Ex. I took the 10th and 11th overall Devy players, but I waited until the 106th and 111th overall picks to select Calvin Ridley and Saquon Barkley. Both players are not eligible for the draft until 2018, but in lieu of picking Devy’s too early I was able to secure a core of NFL players that I expect to be around more than long enough, while also getting 2 of the Top 10 collegiate talents.
3) Do save a Devy spot late in your draft
There are a lot of configurations in Devy, but this is true regardless of how many Devy spots you are allowed to carry. After the top 10 Devy players, the rest of the field is somewhat of a crapshoot and carry a high level of draft variance. Taking a look at DLF’s ADP for Devy mocks it is clear that there is a less rigid ranking for Devy players than anywhere else in Dynasty.
While I realize that each month alone has only a few mocks and can cause sporadic ADP, the summer should in theory have little change on the stock of elite college players, barring injury and thus compiling all of the offseason ADP’s can serve as a nice basis of where players generally are being taken. By taking all of your Devy players early you sacrifice significant value for college players that may not even translate to the next level. If you take a Devy in the 9th round you are picking a college player over proven NFL starters like Stefon Diggs or Coby Fleener for example, but if you take a Devy in the 19th round you are only missing out on talents such as; Seth Roberts and Mike Thomas. While the trade off in NFL talent is pretty apparent, the trade off in your Devy pick may not be very apparent.
If you look at the DLF Mocks you will see that occasionally Devy players will take large jumps in ADP from month to month creating opportunity for you as an owner to strike. The goal of using the ADP is to get a basis of where Devy players should be drafted roughly among their peers so that you can detect when a player falls significantly below his expected value.
Ex. On DLF Travin Dural has an ADP of anywhere between 4 and 14.33 overall since February (after the end of College Football season) yet in our deep Devy league he was the 75th Devy player taken, even falling behind 2 high school players. This is an extreme example but players at all positions will fall. Even if you think Dural will bust it is in your best interest to take him that late in hopes that he maintains his Round 1-3 draft grade and you can flip him following next year’s NFL Draft. The point of any startup drafts is to find value and generate as much value as you can and using all of your Devy picks early will handicap you from Devy value, which is far greater than the value you can find late in any specific position of NFL players.
4) Do Make Trades
Devy means that the cream of the crop won’t be available in future college and rookie drafts, so you should utilize your draft picks as weapons to trade up because at best they should be viewed in the same light as a 2018/2019 1st. 1st round picks are often included in trades spanning the first 3 rounds. If you can take 2 stud receivers and then move back up into the 2nd to grab Brandin Cooks, Keenan Allen, Alshon Jeffery, or even T.Y Hilton then don’t be afraid to pull the trigger, after all the whole point of these premier Devy picks is to hopefully find a talent like one of these.
On the other side of the scale, trading down can also be very effective strategy in a Devy startup. My favorite time to trade down is right after the first Devy player goes off the board. Not only will you avoid the dreaded Devy run, but the Devy picks will water down the list of selected players and leave a lot of players on the board a few picks longer than expected.
Ex. I saw Fournette get taken with the 35th pick and immediately moved out of the 39th pick. Of the picks I got back, not only did I get Doug Martin who I prefer to Fournette, much less the player my pick was taken with, but I also acquired Drew Brees in the 8th round of a 2 QB league and Nelson Agholor in the 14th round which is a gamble I’m happy making with on a player who was taken with a first round NFL pick just last year. The point being is that you avoid a Devy run while subsequently benefitting from the Devy run because each pick is worth a round earlier in a typical startup due to of all the Devy players being selected.
I will finish by harping on the line of “let the other owner’s go Devy crazy”. I promise you someone will reach for Fournette and others will shortly follow. You will be able to find solid Devy players later in your draft and your real focus should be creating a competitive Dynasty roster. Value drives everything in fantasy football and in Devy, right now the move seems to be shorting Devy picks.
As always thanks for reading! You can find me on Twitter @DFF_Sully.


Writer for Dynasty Football Factory. #DynastyValues l Houston Texans Fan l Talent finds situation. Buy talent not situation.

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