Fantasy Football Mock Draft (Dynasty Start-Up)
The draft is always important, but it’s most important in dynasty leagues. Rosters are deeper, the free agent pool is weaker, and there’s no reset button year after year. No reason to fear, because the FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator is a powerful research tool for all levels of fantasy gamers to better understand and manage draft day expectations and strategy.
Dynasty league formats vary from typical re-draft leagues. Two-QB and superflex league formats favor higher scoring and flexible roster construction more so than traditional standard re-draft formats. Most players often treat each fantasy draft as one size fits all, but understanding dynasty league nuances on draft day will pay off in the future. Constructing a roster that is optimized for the league/scoring format typically provides players a competitive edge over the rest of the field.
I recently completed a 12-team dynasty start-up mock draft; I’ll walk through my selections and process. Below is a snapshot of draft settings and number of roster positions. I randomized draft position and received the sixth pick. ADPs are based upon the expert consensus rankings (ECR) on FantasyPros.com.
Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)
With the sixth pick, I was targeting Gurley or Dalvin Cook as I’m not as high on Alvin Kamara, but somehow Zeke fell to me due to three WRs going in the top five. If I’m slotted to pick in the top half of Round 1 of any draft format, I’m targeting one of the bell-cow running backs atop most rankings. I was lucky Zeke fell to me at six and I didn’t think twice about taking him. Situationally, he has commanded one of the highest team opportunity shares among running backs and most importantly, he is still young (will be 24 in July). I’m extremely satisfied to come away with a cornerstone RB1.
Amari Cooper (WR – DAL)
Ideally, I’d like to address both the WR and RB position in the first two rounds of a dynasty draft, preferably younger, high draft-capital profiles with clear paths to production. The early run on young, prolific receivers in Rounds 1 & 2 made my selection tough. I swear I am not a Dallas Cowboys fan, but it felt necessary to take Cooper or Mike Evans given nine WRs had been selected prior to my second pick. Cooper fits the profile I’m looking for — a great route runner and supreme athlete who expects WR1 target share. I have a few doubts about my pick as Cooper hasn’t produced consistently in real-game situations or in fantasy, however, I was able to fill my WR1 with a young player who the team has invested in and has a clear path to opportunity.
George Kittle (TE – SF)
I found myself at a crossroads with my pick in Round 3. Generally, I don’t target players coming off a breakout season baked into the price. However, with fewer bench spots (eight) than typical dynasty drafts, spending early draft capital on a top-tier TE didn’t feel too egregious. Kittle nearly racked up 1,400 yards last season (finished with the most yards among TEs) presenting a safe floor option, but he only had five touchdowns at a position reliant on TD volume. It wasn’t due to a lack of opportunity, as he finished in the top-five in both red zone and end zone targets at his position, according to PlayerProfiler.com. He should see a higher TD% rate in 2019 offsetting any regression in receiving volume production.
Derrius Guice (RB – WAS) | Will Fuller (WR – HOU) | Rashaad Penny (RB – SEA) | Christian Kirk (WR – ARI) | Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE)
Rounds 4 through 8 I loaded up on some of my favorite skill position players. Again, if you haven’t caught on to the theme yet, I’m targeting younger skill players who were selected with high draft capital. Given Guice’s injury and path to playing time, he might be the biggest reach for me in Round 4, but he is another young, talented RB that fits the bell-cow profile. Rashaad Penny and Christian Kirk are my two mid-draft auto picks – both should see increased volume in their second seasons. Kareem Hunt’s future after 2019 is murky, but I love his price tag in the eighth round. He will benefit from signing his second contract at a younger age than most young running backs entering their second contract season.
Mitch Trubisky (QB – CHI)
On the surface, Trubisky isn’t a sexy fantasy pick. Entering his third year, the second under Matt Nagy’s system, I’m a believer he’ll improve his passing efficiency and production while continuing to be a threat on the ground. He accumulated 421 rushing yards and three TDs last year, and also averaged the seventh-most fantasy points per dropback last year. He only started 13 games in college and is still relatively green at the position. Love his upside.
Dede Westbrook (WR – JAC) | Austin Hooper (TE – ATL) | Carlos Hyde (RB – KC)
All three of these picks were depth picks that won’t likely be in my starting roster most weeks, but each have paths to outperforming their current cost. Westbrook is arguably the WR1 in Jacksonville and gets a major upgrade in Nick Foles. Hooper is an undervalued TE in a prolific offense who is available in the later rounds that I’m targeting frequently. I am a proponent of buying cheap pieces in the Falcons’ and Chiefs’ offenses in all fantasy formats.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (WR – Rookie) | Miles Sanders (RB – Rookie) | Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)
This last run of picks on position players might be my favorite. I may have missed out on 2019 rookies due to some familiarity bias at the time with current rostered NFL players given the fact I don’t know where these rookies will land. However, I snagged two of my favorite 2019 rookies, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Miles Sanders.
Sanders is considered as an RB1 by many metric-based evaluators and it’s hard to ignore his athletic profile. He has the prerequisite athletic testing that successful workhorse RBs have possessed. Whiteside is poised to be a serious red-zone threat and is expected to go on day two or early day three of the NFL draft. The favorite pick of my draft – Lamar Jackson. Wheels up on Jackson as he has a legitimate possibility of breaking 1,000 yards rushing this year, matching only Michael Vick. Passing production is the major concern for Jackson, but the Ravens could and should upgrade the WR position through the draft to provide a security blanket for Jackson. I was thrilled to snag him in the 15th round of a dynasty draft.
I went Ravens heavy with my last three picks – Lamar Jackson, Justin Tucker, and Ravens DST.
This was the first of many mock drafts I will complete through the mock draft simulator. I shared my results based upon FantasyPros draft analysis tools and grading system. This is a great barometer to evaluate feedback and process for dynasty formats. Building a strategy and understanding ADP is beneficial as the fantasy season progresses. My dynasty draft strategy is to lean towards a younger roster. However, keeping a balanced approach to roster-age can be equally as, if not more, effective as you will likely be able to draft “older” players at a discount due to the nature of dynasty draft philosophy. Having an approach and strategy on draft day will give someone a major competitive advantage over the field.