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How to Prepare for Your Dynasty League Rookie Draft (Fantasy Football)

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
Feb 8, 2020

Getting yourself familiar with top prospects is the first step to preparing for any dynasty league rookie draft

One of the most entertaining, engaging, and anticipated parts of any dynasty league is the rookie draft. However, preparing for your dynasty league rookie drafts can be a difficult and sometimes bewildering process. With that in mind, we have laid out some necessary steps to dominating your rookie draft. Let’s dig in. 

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Familiarize Yourself with Prospects

The first step to preparing for any dynasty league rookie draft is to get yourself familiar with the top prospects at each position. Generally you want to compile a list of 50-60 names to monitor. This can be done prior to or after the NFL Draft. To start, you will want to find out the names of the top 15-20 wide receivers, the top 15-20 running backs, the top 10 quarterbacks, and the top 10 tight ends. Getting an early start on this will entice you to be more proactive about acquiring additional rookie drafts, or simply moving up during the season. Generally speaking, the closer you draw to your league’s actual draft, the more information your rival owners will have, and the harder it may be to pry a target pick away from them. 

Evaluate Prospects

Evaluating prospects is the next step. Since you watch football already, you will be able to recognize some of the hallmarks of a good prospect. Film and data should be combined, as they add much-needed context to each other and fill in knowledge gaps. 

When someone says “watch film,” this means watching actual game tape as opposed to the two-to-eight minute highlight package of all of the best plays from a players season or career. Highlight packages do not give you the full picture of a player. If you are looking for game film you can simply search the players name with the corresponding year behind it. If you are willing to spend a little to hasten this process significantly, consider signing up for Dynasty Nerds. They have a film room with cut-ups of the top prospects from the next three draft classes.

Analytics is just as important as watching film and is often the preferred mode for those who may not have the time and/or inclination to watch film to form their own opinions. These owners will instead rely on others to watch film and dig into the analytics. Analyzing prospects from a myriad of teams and conferences (and sometimes divisions) is no easy task. With that in mind, “market share” and “dominator rating” have become popular analytic tools. Market share is used to evaluate prospects against one another, and dominator rating is used to find breakout age. Market share is a percentage of a team’s receptions, receiving yards, or receiving touchdowns. There is also market share for rushing stats, but it is not as helpful. I prefer receiving-yard market share as my comparative metric. Breakout age is the age when a player reaches a certain percentage threshold of a team’s receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns combined. If you would like free market share data courtesy of Peter Howard and Zeno Muscarella (two of my colleagues from the recently acquired FFStatistics) you can find it here. If you are looking for free breakout data, you can find individual numbers here, and if you are looking for receiver numbers specifically, check out this tweet by Jesse Reeves.

Evaluate Landing Spots

Evaluating landing spots is simply a matter of projecting depth charts. This of course is not as easy as it sounds for some, so our Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) will be of huge help. When evaluating landing spots, it is important to take a long-term view as only redraft managers should be looking at the strength of the landing spot for the upcoming season alone as a differentiating tool to separate and tier rookies. If you desire further help evaluating landing spots, there are some great names to follow on twitter. Here are my top-15: 

Mike Tagliere – Lead FantasyPros NFL Analyst
Kyle Yates – FantasyPros Analyst
Bobby Sylvester – FantasyPros Analyst
Raju Byfield – FantasyPros Writer
Jared Wackerly – Dynasty Nerds Writer/Former D1 QB
Ray Garvin – Dynasty League Football Writer
Garrett Price – Dynasty Nerds Writer
Ryan McDowell – Rotoworld writer/Dynasty League Football part owner/writer
Travis May – RotoViz writer
David Willsey – Dynasty League Football writer
DraftGenius – Dynasty Nerds writer
Jesse Reeves – Rotounderwold writer
Jeff Smith – Dynasty League Football writer
Peter Howard – Dynasty League Football writer
Phillip Caldwell – RotoViz contributor

Mock Draft

Rookie mock drafts are an essential tool in preparing for your rookie draft. Completing a one-person mock where you make picks based on your rival owners’ preferences and tendencies is a great tool that should not be ignored. The greatest resource, however may be the FantasyPros DraftWizard. Via the draft simulator, you can complete an entire rookie mock in less than five minutes. This allows you to test out different strategies and potentially differing opinions to help formulate your picks in the mock. 

ADP and ECR

Dynasty Average Draft Position (ADP) and ECR are key tools that can help you prepare for your rookie draft. The ADP data shows us where certain players are coming off the board in the drafts that make up the sample. Many will use this ADP data to inform their own rookie draft selections, so you need to be at least cognizant of it so as to not be placed at a competitive disadvantage. The site DynastyLeagueFootball.com hosts mock drafts and collects ADP data and is worth a subscription for ADP data alone. The ECR comprises the combined rankings of numerous experts, averaged out to form a consensus. FantasyPros continues to grow in popularity on a daily basis, and you will very often find multiple managers in every league drafting directly based on FantasyPros ECR (and this applies for all sports), making it an invaluable resource so as to once again not be placed in a position of competitive disadvantage.

Bonus 

Clipcast

If podcasts are your favorite medium for information collection, Clipcast has you covered. Clipcast is a podcast search tool that allows you to search for certain keywords, and to get results showing specific clips based on that search term. 

Devy Leagues

Devy leagues are where those who participate in dynasty leagues often gain the biggest competitive edge. Devy leagues are leagues where you draft the rights to players still in college. Participating in drafts like this forces owners to familiarize themselves with the top prospects in college football well ahead of schedule. This will considerably cut down your learning curve when said players enter a particular draft class. 

Dynasty Rookie Draft Pick Trade Advice Column

If you are participating in a rookie draft, you will need to know and understand the nuances not only of trading, but of trading for rookie draft picks specifically. This piece breaks it down from many angles and is recommended reading for all dynasty managers whether new or old.

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his profile and follow him @FantasyContext.

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