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Dynasty Start-Up Mock Draft (2020 Fantasy Football)

Jun 12, 2020

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To kick things off, we have a group of writers that took part in a mock dynasty start-up draft. Below you’ll find the full draft board, team rosters, and feedback on our writers on the draft and their top takeaway. This includes seven of our writers while the five remaining teams were drafted by our simulator. This is for a 1QB dynasty fantasy football league.

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Full Draft Board

Full Team Rosters

What was your favorite pick of the draft?

I could be humble and go with another team’s pick, but I’m gonna keep it here and say D’Andre Swift at 4.11. I realize that Detroit isn’t the ideal landing spot, but we know the Lions hate Kerryon Johnson. Swift will be part of a timeshare as a rookie before taking over completely in 2021. I doubt the Lions bring Kerryon back after his rookie deal expires.
– Jason Katz (@jasonkatz13)

I enjoyed watching Jason Katz put his running back committee together in the first four rounds of the mock draft with Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Taylor, and D’Andre Swift. That’s one hell of a pull for the future, but I was pretty content with Dalvin Cook, J.K. Dobbins, and David Montgomery myself. I added Alexander Mattison, Duke Johnson, and Justice Hill as handcuff running backs for the next few years. The best pick, at least to me, was Brian Rzeppa’s selection of Joe Burrow at 13.06. I was eyeing him at 13.07, so that selection stung a bit, but it was a key for his team’s present and future success after taking Carson Wentz at 8.07 knowing his injury history. I landed Tua Tagovailoa instead to replace Patrick Mahomes if need be, and I wouldn’t consider that a loss for me, but rather a solid steal by Brian.
– Vaughn Dalzell (@VaughnDalzell)

While his ADP is more likely to see a bigger spike in redraft as the summer progresses, Raheem Mostert at 6.10 is highway robbery. It’d be difficult for Mostert’s offseason to have gone any better for his fantasy value in 2020 and beyond. During Day Three of the 2020 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers traded for All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams and parted ways with backfield-buddy Matt Breida, thus making 142 touches available for Kyle Shanahan’s robust running game. The stigma surrounding San Francisco’s jam-packed backfield is completely unwarranted. I’m not going to waste your time with your numbers, Mostert ran circles around Tevin Coleman last year in essentially every statistical measure. Also, fellow backfield member Jerick McKinnon just can’t seem to ditch the obstacles with his ongoing recovery from a torn ACL in 2018. When you consider the system he plays in, the sheer volume available in this backfield, and the lack of competition for touches, Mostert is one of the most cost-effective selections in 2020 regardless of format.
– Rob Searles (@robbob17)

I was pretty excited to get Terry McLaurin near the end of the fourth round. I am a huge fan of his ability, and I think he’ll be extremely valuable long-term, assuming Washington solves its quarterback conundrum. I’d also like to give props to Vaughn for the Michael Pittman Jr., pick. I had a chance to take him three picks earlier in Round 9, but I opted to go with Denzel Mims thinking that I could double-dip. I regretted the decision immediately. Pittman stood out to me as a receiver with real pro traits. He’s not incredibly athletic, but he has great instincts and even better hands. He knows how to get open and I think he enters a good situation in Indianapolis. I think he has a legitimate shot to produce early in his career. Thanks for ruining my grand plan, Vaughn!
– Matt Barbato (@RealMattBarbato)

This may not be popular, but I judge a pick’s value by the potential reward versus the cost. In the 17th round of a startup dynasty draft, Antonio Brown is a steal. It’s possible that he never plays again, but the upside of his potential return is too great to pass up that late down the board. If he returns to any team, he’s immediately a top-20 wide receiver with the potential to finish as a WR1. If he doesn’t play, you can easily drop him given the small investment. It’s all about opportunity cost, and taking Antonio Brown over fourth-string veterans and late-round rookies is a no-brainer. For an honorable mention, Matt Barbato’s pick of Tyler Higbee in the 13th round is one of my favorites. Higbee was the TE1 over the last five weeks of the season and could easily become a top-five tight end this year if Sean McVay stays true to the scheme change he made towards the end of last season.
– Dan Ambrosino (@AmbrosinoNFL)

There is some uncertainty regarding his future (to the say the least), and the fact that he isn’t currently employed by an NFL team, but Dan’s pick of Antonio Brown in the 17th round has to be considered one of the highest upside picks in the draft. Just looking in the picks surrounding him, I would take Brown over Teddy Bridgewater, DeeJay Dallas, or John Ross every single time. There’s a chance that he never plays again, but if Brown does manage to get onto the field, he has the potential to be a WR1.
– Brian Rzeppa (@brianrzeppa)

I think Kareem Hunt is getting slept on in dynasty leagues at the moment. Still just 24 years old, Hunt was pretty effective in a part-time role when he debuted with the Browns late last year. In eight games with Cleveland, he averaged 12.7 PPR points per game, totaling 37 receptions in just half of a season. That’s despite playing with another high-end running back in Nick Chubb. The reason to buy Hunt in dynasty leagues right now isn’t just for his 2020 value, though. The former fantasy superstar is a free agent at season’s end. If he winds up with a backfield to himself next offseason, Hunt will still be young enough to have several seasons worth of elite play. In 27 games with the Chiefs from 2017 to 2018, he averaged 19.5 PPR points per game. Snagging him in the fifth round of this mock seems like a nice gamble to me.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

What was the most surprising part of the draft?

The most surprising part of the draft was how poorly the computer teams drafted. Team 8, in particular, is just dead on arrival. A Josh JacobsChris GodwinAllen Robinson start is great, but then the wheels fell off. Melvin Gordon and Mark Ingram went way too high at 4.05 and 6.05, respectively. The next two picks were tight end and quarterback, which don’t really move the needle. Then, the computer took a bunch of older or very low upside assets, such as John Brown and Matt Breida.
– Jason Katz (@jasonkatz13)

I was very surprised to see how late quarterbacks went in this draft, mostly because I was the first to select a signal-caller by taking Patrick Mahomes at 2.06. Lamar Jackson was next off the board at 3.09 and Russell Wilson at 7.01, which were also surprises. Having an MVP-type player can set you apart, but I could have selected Nick Chubb, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, or Mike Evans to name a few present and future studs, but I reached for Mahomes instead. Luckily, Mahomes can make up for a lack of fantasy production from other picks, and the same can be said for Team 9, who also has a subpar receiving core like myself but drafted Jackson. Antonio Brown in the 17th round had to be the most surprising move of all. He could be the steal of anyone’s draft if he ever plays again.
– Vaughn Dalzell (@VaughnDalzell)

I was surprised to see Evan Engram go as early as he did at 6.01. Not only did I cringe when I saw where he was picked, but to make matters worse, Brendan Tuma opted for Engram six selections before Zach Ertz. Engram has missed a combined 13 games over the past two years, so miss me with this sixth-round dart throw over a proven commodity like Ertz. Just some food for thought, as someone who prioritizes elite tight ends on an annual basis, it’s usually in your best interest to wait on the position if you don’t land Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Zach Ertz, and/or Mark Andrews. There’s much better value to be had towards the back half of the draft with someone like Hayden Hurst. Hurst’s value saw a significant bump during the offseason after the Atlanta Falcons traded a second-round draft pick for him to replace Austin Hooper and his 97 targets over 13 games in 2019. Kudos to Vaughn Dalzell for snagging Hurst in the 11th round.
– Rob Searles (@robbob17)

I was surprised that Russell Wilson — not Kyler Murray — was taken as the QB3. I thought that Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson were drafted appropriately. I was shocked to see Team 1 take Wilson over Murray, but I respect it. Wilson is still a great quarterback, but I’m curious how much longer he’ll play at such a high level. While there’s so much to be excited about with the second-year passer, I still need to see more before truly buying in. Jason got excellent value for Murray at the top of the seventh round. At that price, Murray doesn’t have to be a top-five quarterback for the pick to pay off.
– Matt Barbato (@RealMattBarbato)

The most surprising part of the draft to me was how many quarterbacks came off of the board early on. Ten quarterbacks were drafted before the end of Round 8, and while I understand wanting to have a long-term answer at the position, I felt that was considerably early given this is a single-quarterback league. I chose to wait until the 14th and 15th rounds to address the position, where I selected Jared Goff and Sam Darnold. Given that many in the fantasy community preach a late-round quarterback strategy, I was surprised to see a run on the position happen so early.
– Dan Ambrosino (@AmbrosinoNFL)

While it was surely aided by the fact that it was an autopicked team, I was pretty stunned to see Melvin Gordon come off of the board in the middle of the fourth round. Running backs are naturally going to go a bit higher in a dynasty format, but I can’t see the logic in taking a guy like Gordon that early considering his down year last season and that he’s going to be joining a tandem with the talented Phillip Lindsay. I would much, much rather have Lindsay in the ninth than Gordon in the fourth.
– Brian Rzeppa (@brianrzeppa)

I was surprised to see CeeDee Lamb fall until the beginning of the fifth round, 15 picks after fellow rookie Jerry Jeudy was selected. If picking between the two, I’d rather have Lamb. I’d certainly be interested in Lamb within the first four rounds of a dynasty startup. There are a lot of analysts who don’t like Lamb’s landing spot because the Cowboys already have Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. However, Dallas could be without both of them as early as 2022, so Lamb’s path to WR1 status isn’t as cloudy as it initially appears. Additionally, the former Oklahoma Sooner should have a plethora of opportunities right away as this is an offense that gave the corpse of Randall Cobb 83 targets a season ago. Add in the possibility that Lamb surpasses Gallup sooner rather than later on the depth chart, and I think we could see Dallas’ first-round pick going far earlier in 2021 dynasty startups.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

What is your top takeaway from this mock draft?

Pound running back early and often. Wide receivers have much longer shelf lives, but there are also way more passable receivers available late in the draft. After rounds five or six, you really start to feel uneasy about any running back. Meanwhile, receivers like Sammy Watkins and Hunter Renfrow went in the 15th round. Neither of those guys are great, but you can start them and probably not get zero points. As for the running backs, everyone after round nine is pretty much just a dart throw that’s more likely to be worthless than useful.
– Jason Katz (@jasonkatz13)

In dynasty leagues, the running backs go early, so you have to establish if you’re a buyer in backs or if you’re taking your business elsewhere from the start. This mock was no different with five teams taking three running backs in the first five rounds, two of those being computer-managed squads. Because I took three backs and selected a quarterback first out of all teams, I landed D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Boyd, Brandin Cooks, Michael Pittman Jr., KJ Hamler, and Corey Davis as my receiving corps, which is probably bottom-third overall in the league. If you’re going to select three running backs early, have a plan at wide receiver, and find a way to secure enough talent for now and later.
– Vaughn Dalzell (@VaughnDalzell)

My biggest takeaway from this draft was just how you don’t necessarily always have to neglect the other parts of your roster when you decide to go after a difference-maker at tight end in the early rounds. While implementing this draft strategy, it typically requires a specific plan in order to find value for the remaining spots in your starting lineup later in the draft. In this particular case, it didn’t bring any internal conflict to round out my receiving corps with Robert Woods and Keenan Allen after I started with D.J. Moore in the second round. I know this is cliché to say after a mock draft, but I wouldn’t be complaining one bit if you handed me this roster with some coin on the line.
– Rob Searles (@robbob17)

You never truly realize how deep the wide receiver position is until you do a 12-team dynasty mock draft. There are a ton of viable starting receivers on a weekly basis available. Case in point: Cooper Kupp, last year’s No. 4 wideout in half-PPR leagues, was taken in Round 4 as the 19th receiver. And this influx of rookie talent only adds more depth to the pile, especially in dynasty formats. However, with all of that talent comes plenty of uncertainty. For that reason, I still recommend getting at least one top-12 talent in the first few rounds. My receiving corps is led by a proven stud in Michael Thomas and supported by two high-upside candidates in A.J. Brown and Terry McLaurin. But if you’d rather snag some tailbacks early on, you can certainly assemble a competitive group at wide receiver later.
– Matt Barbato (@RealMattBarbato)

Running back is more shallow than you think, so you need to grab additional depth at that position early. It’s extremely tempting to select the big-name wide receivers at the top of the draft, but the drop-off at running back is significant after the top-30 players at the position. To put that in perspective, 30 running backs were taken in the first six rounds compared to 33 wide receivers. In the following two rounds, only three running backs were drafted compared to nine wide receivers. Even though people are hesitant to place a heavy investment in the running back position in dynasty leagues given their shelf life, it’s best to spend high capital on the position and wait for the wide receiver depth down the board.
– Dan Ambrosino (@AmbrosinoNFL)

To echo the sentiments of some of my fellow writers, I was pretty taken back by how quickly the well dried up at the running back position. As noted, there will naturally be a bit of preference toward running backs in a dynasty format, but I didn’t expect things to be so barren even by the sixth or seventh round. In retrospect, taking a D’Andre Swift instead of Cooper Kupp in the fourth would have likely been my better course of action. In future dynasty drafts this year, I’m definitely going to be trying to grab a pair of backs before the fourth round is over.
– Brian Rzeppa (@brianrzeppa)

I came into this mock draft planning to wait at the quarterback position. This was for a 1QB fantasy league, and we know how replaceable that position is. In dynasty leagues, it can be tempting to pay up for Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson since they can give you a decade’s worth of production and are seen as “safe.” Still, I’m very glad I waited. In fact, I wish I held out even longer. I wound up selecting Daniel Jones in the 11th, Ryan Tannehill in the 15th, and Jimmy Garoppolo in the 18th. I would’ve been fine coming away with just the latter two. There were still plenty of viable options to be had after I took “Danny Dimes.” The lesson? Be patient when it comes to drafting quarterbacks, even in keeper/dynasty formats.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

Mock Draft Results

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