As much as I try to push aside the football side of me, being in a dynasty league for 14 years keeps me gently tethered. I’ve found over my time following the sport that a lot of people prefer the offseason to the regular season, or at least find it as fascinating and intriguing. In a dynasty league that’s where you do the work that pays off during the regular season. Let’s look at my 2019 rookie draft.
I’ve found that I think about fantasy football failures more than success. You may say “well that’s your story” but we generally play in leagues in which one out of 12 owners win. Well in 14 seasons of a dynasty league you’d think that I would have hoisted the virtual trophy once or twice but sadly that has yet to pass. My team is the Tennessee Titans, after all. Last year I lost in the semifinals when I started broken-shoulder Cam Newton over “points de garbage” Sam Darnold and watched my team fall short by a couple of points. The year before I lost in the same round due to a Tampa Bay linebacker getting 13 solo tackles in a Monday Night contest. If I had won I would have probably written “yeah, I won, barely remember that”.
So I had the 10th pick in the first through fifth rounds. I traded my 6th round pick for Josh McCown last summer. The bummer is (a) McCown never started for the Jets and (b) I let him go in our league’s free agency period. In the end, I made a trade to get that 6th round pick back.
My success last year seemed to lean on a few things. I had a RB who had a monster second half of the season (McCaffery), I tended to choose correctly on my WRs (started Corey Davis all of his good weeks and benched him most of the bad, plus Tyler Lockett), my TE broke out in a big way (George Kittle, undrafted when I took still young but probably never breaking out David Njoku early), and I got lucky with Darius Leonard.
I felt like the IDP side of rookie drafts was top-heavy so I ignored my usual DE/LB picks in the 4th through 6th rounds. This felt like a balanced rookie class, shy on top-end talent but possible that a guy you got in the third round went in the first elsewhere. Here’s my take.
1.10: TJ Hockenson — We can start more than one TE, and the WR class was one of the most befuddling ones in history. I had Kyler Murray locked in and thought instead why not go with a position in which I can start more than one guy in a good TE year when the position in general still kind of sucks.
2.10: Myles Boykin — It doesn’t look good on the surface with the Ravens appearing to run the 1980s Oklahoma triple option offense but Boykin has the tools and I think he’ll get more targets than Marquise Brown, although the latter’s may be more valuable overall.
3.10: Alexander Mattison — Remember when RB mattered in fantasy? In super deep dynasty leagues you are scooping up RB3s on teams where you might get that Damien Williams late-season breakout. Or you could be me, have Spencer Ware and watch him get passed up. Mattison’s in position to be the RB2 in Minnesota and I think they actually have an offensive line this year.
4.10: Bennie Snell — Again a RB3 on a good offense that might not completely forget that running the ball is a thing that you can do. I have all of our historical draft picks in a spreadsheet and it’s a horrorshow so I know the downside is he’ll do absolutely nothing.
5.10: Preston Williams — It’s rare for a UDFA WR to do anything. We see RBs break out once or twice a year but the WR position is tough. Williams has the athletic pedigree and it’s just as likely that he is the next Colt Lyerla.
6.08: Bruce Anderson — I had an offer for 6.08 for Ricky Seals-Jones earlier that I passed on and #rookiederangementsyndrome hit me so I picked up another UDFA. I listened to the wisdom of Matt Waldman and picked up Peyton Barber as a rookie. Barber made it to RB1 but unfortunately that position hasn’t been too valuable. You should be dancing in the streets if a guy outside of the 72 drafted rookies becomes an RB3 but you’re always looking for those replacements.
The post-draft auctions are fun too but at the moment I only have Alex Barnes. Last year I took the wisdom of #drafttwitter and picked up Akrum Wadley who turned into absolutely nothing. I mean not even another NFL team took a shot on him. He did make the AAF.