Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Dynasty Startup (2020)
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Dynasty leagues are gaining in popularity but the approach to a start-up draft differs from a traditional redraft. I once again used the FantasyPros’ Mock Draft Simulator for a dynasty start-up mock draft and I have to say: This is one of the only tools in the industry for doing such an exercise. Being able to utilize a simulator for dynasty leagues is just another way FantasyPros stands out among the rest.
For this draft, I randomized the order and I am drafting out of the eighth spot. This is right around where most of the stud running backs are off the board so it should be interesting to see how the team shakes out – Here we go!
1.08 – Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)
Picking in the latter half of the draft means the workhorse running backs are likely gone so it was nice seeing Kamara here. Touchdown regression hit him hard last year but he had 81 receptions for the third consecutive year and over 1300 total yards. There was a report that he was playing with a leg injury last year which may explain some of his dropoff. Kamara is still just 24 and a PPR dynamo. I will happily snap him up at this spot.
Other Players Considered: Joe Mixon
2.05 – Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
This was a tough choice because there were a couple of receivers who were appealing. I had an internal debate: Is the injury-prone nature of the running back position enough of a reason to avoid taking one here? In looking at what was available, wide receiver is much deeper than running back and the opportunity to get Sanders, who is just 23, was too much to pass up. I’ll look to fill the receiver position over the next couple of rounds.
3.08 – Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC)
I am going to swerve here and take Mahomes and forget about the QB position for the next 10 years. I know conventional wisdom says to wait on QB but I wasn’t in love with the receivers available over the weekly upside of Mahomes. It might come back to bite me that I passed up on Calvin Ridley or DK Metcalf, but Mahomes gives me a massive edge over 98% of the players at his position.
Other Players Considered: Calvin Ridley, DK Metcalf
4.05 – Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL)
Oh yes. Look who was there in round four. After debating him the pick prior to this one, Ridley falls into my lap here. No one threw to their receivers more than the Falcons in 2019 (416 targets, 23 more than then next closest team) and Ridley is looking like a prime candidate to blast off. This might be my favorite pick of the draft.
Other Players Considered: None
5.08 – Deebo Samuel (WR – SF)
I have no shares of Samuel in dynasty so I was happy to snag him in the fifth round. He wasn’t a target hog but he catches everything thrown to him (67% catch rate) and he also contributes in the running game (159 yards, 3 touchdowns). With Kyle Shanahan calling plays, Samuel’s arrow is pointing straight up.
6.05 – Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN)
At this point, I am just running well. For the second time in three picks a player I considered a round earlier falls to me. Boyd took the mantle of WR1 in Cincinnati last fall and turned in his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. Even with AJ Green’s impending return, Boyd should continue to be a focal point of the passing game and the arrival of Joe Burrow only brightens his outlook.
Other Players Considered: None
7.08 – Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE)
This is the first pick where I had to scrape around a bit to see what direction I wanted to go. I’ve locked in weekly starters at RB and WR so the board was open here. Hunt will have a solid role in Cleveland as a pass catcher this year and if Nick Chubb were to go down he would become an elite option. He is still just 24 and assuming he signs somewhere to be the feature back in 2021, this pick will look like one of the best values of the draft.
8.05 – Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT)
I may have reached a round early here but Johnson is one of those guys I don’t want to leave a dynasty draft without. He was Pittsburgh’s best receiver last year and despite the borderline horrific quarterback play still managed almost 700 yards and six touchdowns. Pittsburgh has a strong track record of receivers making a leap statistically beginning with their sophomore season. Johnson will be the next.
Other Players Considered: Michael Pittman, James Conner
9.08 – Darius Slayton (WR – NYG)
Where some see a risky investment, I see a high upside receiver who can be the top target in the Giants’ offense. Yes, Evan Engram, Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard are still there but Slayton had great chemistry with Daniel Jones and he had the second-best touchdown rate (16.7%) of any receiver in the NFL. He has just started scratching the surface of his potential and as he should only get better as he continues to develop.
10.05 – Preston Williams (WR – MIA)
Prior to his ACL injury, Williams was on pace for a 1,000-yard season as his 6’5 frame and freakish athletic ability were a consistent issue for NFL defenses. An UDFA from Colorado State, he was once a 5-star recruit at Tennessee. Williams will be the number two option in the passing game once again this season for a Miami team that figures to throw the ball plenty. With Tua Tagovailoa in the fold, Williams is a player worth investing in at this point in a start-up.
11.08 – Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN)
I saw on social media where Mattison went in the fifth round of high stakes start-up this week. Even with the Dalvin Cook news, that price is a little too rich for my blood but the 11th round seems like a steal. Looking at the Vikings’ salary cap situation, giving Cook a massive extension is going to take some creativity on their part. Enter Mattison, who was a capable backup last season and could see a massive workload in 2020 and beyond. At this stage of the draft, chasing upside makes the most sense and Mattison could be a home run pick.
Other Players Considered: None
12.05 – Tyler Higbee (TE – LAR)
I gambled in waiting on tight end but here Higbee is a guy I am high on heading into 2020. He is the only tight end in league history to have five straight games with 84+ yards receiving and he finished last season as the TE1 over his last six games. Jared Goff was the league leader in attempts last season and with Brandon Cooks and Todd Gurley out of the picture, Higbee figures to see plenty of targets. If he can establish himself in the red zone, he will be elite.
13.08 – Jonnu Smith (TE – TEN)
This is a luxury pick but Smith is being pegged by a lot of people to break out in 2020 and for good reason. He ranked third among tight ends in missed tackles forced and second in yards after the catch despite being targeted just 44 times last season. The Titans don’t have a lot of ancillary passing game weapons outside of AJ Brown so Smith should see additional volume. You can do much worse in the 13th round.
14.05 – Damien Harris (RB – NE)
The Patriots invested a 2019 third-round pick on Harris so conventional wisdom says he will have more of a role this year. Of course, conventional wisdom doesn’t always apply to New England so there’s that. The news that Sony Michel is recovering from foot surgery gives Harris late-round appeal.
15.08 – San Francisco Defense
16.05 – Michael Badgley (K – SD)
As per the usual, I took a defense and kicker last. Badgley is just 24 and should have plenty of opportunities to rack up points with the Chargers. That said, most dynasty leagues I play in do not require a team defense but, rather, offer Individual Defensive Players (IDP) at different positions. I will be writing about IDP leagues next week so here is a shameless plug for that.
Full Draft Board
In dynasty drafts, positional values differ so much from standard redrafts that you have to take a stand on how you construct your roster. Running backs are pushed up the board so you either have to be ok with taking one or two early or live with not having an elite option at the position. I am of the opinion that finding dynasty wide receivers is an easier game to play than trying to nail down running backs that have legitimate workloads. The waiver wire in most competitive dynasty leagues is crazy active and handcuffs are expensive in terms of FAAB budget. I would much prefer to walk away from the draft stocked at running back than try to capture lightning in a bottle.
Wide receiver is deep. Case in point: I got Darius Slayton and Preston Williams in the ninth and 10th rounds, respectively. Those guys are a weekly lock and load WR3 but are the fifth and sixth receivers on my roster. This is why I am ok with chasing running backs early on and it also boosts the case for taking Patrick Mahomes in the third round.
Speaking of Mahomes, I am ok with jumping up and taking him where I did. There is some comfort for me in knowing I can tuck that position away for the life of the league and it opens up some things strategy-wise. For starters, I don’t have to carry another quarterback on the roster and play the matchup game. Mahomes is going to outscore anyone not named Lamar Jackson on a weekly basis so there is definitely a positional advantage to having him. Additionally, for future rookie drafts, I can focus my efforts on running backs and wide receivers.
The position I think it makes the most sense to wait on is tight end. Tyler Higbee and Jonnu Smith will form a fine combo for me and there isn’t much difference between the TE6 and the TE14. Sure, you can invest in the safety of one of the big three early on but Kelce will be 31 in October and Ertz will be 30 in November. I would much prefer to wait and stock up elsewhere.