I have played fantasy football for over 20 years and there is nothing like the brand new startup draft. After several years off from commissioning a league, I decided to get back on the horse and start a 14 team $200 dynasty league. The vet draft started at the end of February and the rookie draft began two weeks after the NFL Draft. Draft position got determined by the Kentucky Derby format where all owners emails get placed in a random number generator and whomever drew the first gets to choose their draft spot until the last owner is left with the last spot available. We are using the three round reversal in both drafts for the first year and the team that picked 14th in vet draft will get to pick first in the rookie draft. This made the 14th pick a coveted selection as that team gets four huge picks: the vet 1.14, 2.1,3.1, and rookie 1.1.
The starting lineups are as follows: 1-2 QBs, 2-3 RBs, 3-4 WRs, 1-2 TEs, 2-3 DLs, 2-3 DBs, and 3-4 LBs, so basically everyone starts one offensive flex (that could be a QB) and one defensive flex. You can find the league here: http://www99.myfantasyleague.com/2014/home/63805#0
The league has four first time dynasty owners and the rest of the league owners have three plus years of dynasty experience, but once the picks start flying all that is out the window. Return yardage counts the same as rushing or receiving .1 points per yard, backs get .5 points per reception (PPR), wide receivers get 1 PPR, tight ends get 1.5 PPR, and all touchdowns are worth six points other than passing touchdowns (only worth five). Let’s take a look at the first twelve rounds to see where you can find good values and not so good values, but keep in mind you can flex a quarterback (15 of them were in the top 25 scorers in 2013).
1.11 RB Giovani Bernard, Bengals- The running back was a great value here. The young back will turn 23 in November and has plenty of tread on his tires. The run of quarterbacks in this scoring pushed him down the board.
1.09 QB Nick Foles, Eagles- The young quarterback had a good year with Chip Kelly, but I’m not convinced his numbers are sustainable. He was the fifth quarterback drafted after Rodgers, Luck, Newton, and Stafford. Foles is a bit overvalued here.
2.05 WR Josh Gordon, Browns- Sure this young man has his demons, but he was great value coming off the board as the sixth wide receiver. Gordon is a top ten pick that fell in the draft. He is the epitome of a high risk, high reward guy (remember this happened in end of February).
2.13 RB Montee Ball, Broncos- The second year back was the ninth back off the board. Matt Forte and Demarco Murray were both available when he got selected. Either of them were a better choice than the unproven Ball who will have to hold off CJ Anderson.
3.12 WR Keenan Allen, Chargers- This second year wide receiver was impressive last season and looks to improve on his 2013 numbers. He was the thirteenth wide out taken and represents great value here. My runner-up for value in the third round was Percy Harvin at the 3.14.
3.10 RB Zac Stacy, Rams- I had hoped for Demarco Murray to fall one more spot, but wanted to make sure I got a running back and set my pre-draft to pick this way. Stacy is a solid back, but not exactly what you want as an RB1. If the Rams go to a more wide open offense, his numbers will take a hit (in retrospect, this pick took more of a hit with the draft pick of Tre Mason).
4.12 DE JJ Watt, Texans- In a league where sacks score five points each, the young powerful defensive dynamo is a huge value here. Many owners thought about him, but only one was willing to pull the trigger.
4.01 TE Julius Thomas, Broncos- With 1.5 PPR scoring tight end values increase, but with Peyton Manning perhaps only lasting another year or two, I have a hard time with Thomas being the third tight end selected.
5.13 WR Michael Floyd, Cardinals –The third year wide out appears to have turned the corner in the second half of 2013. In five of his last seven games, Floyd either had at least 90 yards receiving or a touchdown or both. He is great value at the end of the fifth round.
5.04 RB Trent Richardson, Colts- Sure the trade to the Colts in September was a shock to his system, but Richardson did not look like the same back from his glory Alabama days. Both Shane Vereen and Reggie Bush were much better values as they both went shortly after TRich did.
6.02 WR DeAndre Hopkins, Texans-New Head Coach Bill O’Brien is a Belichick disciple and I think Hopkins fits his offensive mindset. Look what O’Brien did with Allen Robinson at Penn State last season. The second year wide out is worth his top 25 selection.
6.01 TE Jason Witten, Cowboys- He was the fifth tight end picked despite turning 32 in May. There is more value in Vernon Davis, Marcus Bennett, Dennis Pitta, and about three others that should go before him.
7.12 RB Marcus Lattimore, 49ers- This often injured college superstar could be the value pick of the draft here as reports have all been positive so far. If he gets a decent slice of the 49ers carries, his owners will be very happy (it doesn’t look like that is going to happen now).
7.09 WR Marvin Jones, Bengals- There was better value to be had at receiver than this. Tavon Austin and Wes Welker went within a round of this selection. Sure Welker is old and Austin was only real helpful as a returner (this league rewards return yardage), but both are valuable cogs of their offenses. Jones had one spectacular game and his offensive coordinator left town. I image AJ Green and Gio Bernard will be the main focus of the balanced Bengals offense.
8.12 WR Wes Welker, Broncos– As earlier discussed, Welker is an older asset that produces at a high level while the rest of your team has a chance to develop and is a good value here.
8.09 LB Navorro Bowman, 49ers- Coming off the board as the number six linebacker after his horrific playoff knee injury is an over-reach. Knee injuries are tricky for backs and backers that have to flow quickly. I would not be comfortable taking him in a start-up as anything more than a low LB2.
9.03 TE Ladarius Green, Chargers- Although the young tight end hasn’t done much yet, he is a good pick as the 11th tight end off the board. I agree with many of my colleagues that he will become a top eight option at his position.
9.12 CB Patrick Peterson, Cardinals- Sorry to go on a rant here, but defensive backs are the kickers of the IDPs. There values fluctuate so much from year to year that investing a pick this early is silly, especially at corner. Yes Peterson gets added value by doing punt returns, but it wasn’t enough to justify this early selection. Harrison Smith is my runner-up pick here for the same reasons, but at least he is a safety on a team with only one talented linebacker.
10.05 TE Zach Ertz, Eagles- He was the 16th tight end off the board, but he really started to gel with the offense at the end of the season. Ertz is a better fit for Kelly’s offense than Brent Celek and may end up in the top ten tight ends before the end of 2014 which is a huge value in a 1.5 PPR tight end premium league.
10.02 RB Latavius Murray, Raiders- The second year running back spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve, so this was a major reach at this spot as he is nowhere near the athlete that Lattimore is. Darren McFadden was on the board when this pick got made which makes this even more confusing (this got worse with the signing of MJD).
11.08 WR Hakeem Nicks, Colts- The 26-year-old receiver had two impressive seasons in 2010 and 2011 with over 75 catches, a thousand yards receiving, and at least seven touchdowns each year. Injuries and concentration issues crept in the past two underperforming seasons. Nicks needs a new start and is an exciting WR3-4 value playing in Indianapolis.
11.01 TE Travis Kelce, Chiefs- The second year tight end spent the last season on injured reserve and has some character concerns. With Jermichael Finley and Coby Fleener still on the board, this selection is a head scratcher.
12.08 RB David Wilson, Giants– This could be the best upside pick or a wasted one. Off season reports are sketchy at best. Wilson has the quicks and wiggle to be an impact runner in the NFL, but then again so did Javid Best. The pick was a little too early for me, but I certainly understand it.
Hopefully this will help dynasty owners see early trends and act on them. Good luck! Tomorrow we will review the rookie draft for this league.
For further questions or comments, please contact me on twitter @AndrewMiley or @Dynasty_Blitz.