Dynasty Startup Mock Draft: PPR – Late Pick (2021 Fantasy Football)
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Dynasty Startups Drafts are always fun. The players you are drafting, theoretically, are yours for their entire careers. You’re tied to them, you will watch them year after year as the young guys you drafted blossom into superstars, and you’ll watch as your older guys retire and make bids for the Hall of Fame…
Yeah right, like it’s that easy.
Chances are, 50 percent of your startup roster isn’t even on your team two years from now. Some of these guys you draft in your startup won’t even be on your team to start this season. That’s what makes dynasty startup drafts so fun; what will your strategy be? Are you going to go with all young guys and essentially take the L in year one, or will you go the veteran route and try to win now? Maybe you want to draft wide receivers early because they have longer careers, or maybe you want to go running back heavy because running backs are still king in fantasy?
Whatever your strategy, the startup draft is sure to have its fair share of surprises. Here is my 22-round PPR dynasty startup. Enjoy…
1.12 WR A.J. Brown (TEN)
I decided to go with young wide receivers early to shore up that position for the next 8-to-10 years. Brown is a stud, and he is just getting started.
Speaking of just getting started, Justin Jefferson broke rookie wide receiver records last year, and his future is bright. Drafting him means I’ve shored up two spots at the wide receiver position, and I can set it and forget it for the next decade. I was really tempted to take Nick Chubb here, who went one pick later, but I wanted the long-term value of Jefferson.
Getting breakout star James Robinson in the third-round is an amazing value. He was a top-10 running back in 2020, and this offense is only going to improve with Trevor Lawrence.
Speaking of top-10 running backs, Montgomery was a top-5 RB in 2020, and yes, his numbers were a little skewed with the season-long injury to Tarik Cohen, but getting an RB1 in the fourth-round to be my RB2 on this team is exciting. I was tempted to make Chris Godwin or Allen Robinson my WR3 here, but I knew after Montgomery there weren’t going to be too many running backs that are every week starters.
Normally I’ll draft a high-upside young wide receiver when I draft my WR3 in a startup, but Robert Woods in the fifth was just too good to pass up. He will be a solid veteran that will give me a few good years while my younger guys I draft later develop.
6.01 RB A.J. Dillon (GB)
This was the first pick where I could end up regretting at the start of the season. As it stands now, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are still free agents, and after what Dillon showed us to close the 2020 season, I think the Packers may let Jones walk. If that’s the case, then Dillon steps into the first and second down role in a high-powered offense. Upside, upside, upside.
I don’t usually go quarterback this early in a startup draft, but Justin Herbert was just staring me in the face begging me to draft him. The 2020 offensive rookie of the year, Herbert not only showed promise in fantasy, but he was also an outright stud already. I was tempted to go tight end here, knowing there was likely going to be a run on tight ends soon, but now I have my quarterback for a decade, if not more.
Sitting here at the 8.01, I had a choice. Go with one of the top-level tight ends, knowing that none of them were likely to make it back to me in the ninth, or go with a prospect wide receiver that doesn’t have a landing spot yet. I was looking at Noah Fant, Dallas Goedert, and Hunter Henry, but I ultimately took Waddle and the upside he has as a top-3 fantasy wide receiver in this class.
I was ecstatic to land my RB3 in the 2021 class in the ninth round. In the right landing spot, Williams could end up being an every-down running back at the next level. My player comp to him is Nick Chubb; high praise, to say the least, but if it comes to fruition, I passed on Nick Chubb in the second round, maybe I just landed the “next Nick Chubb” in the ninth?
10.01 WR Robby Anderson (CAR)
Anderson started 2020 on fire before fading a little bit but still finished the season as a solid WR2. Getting him as WR5 is a steal. If Carolina upgrades their quarterback situation in the next 2 seasons, his value could be even higher.
11.12 TE Irv Smith Jr. (MIN)
I knew when I drafted Waddle in the eighth that I wouldn’t be getting one of the top-tier tight ends. However, to my surprise, my No. 10 ranked dynasty tight end was still available to me in the 11th. This was an easy pick for me. Anyone who follows me knows how high I’ve been on ISJ since he came into the league. We started to see flashes of his potential to end the 2020 season. Hopefully, he can carry that trend into 2021 and beyond.
12.01 WR Darius Slayton (NYG)
I had a few players here that I liked. It came down to prospect running back Kenny Gainwell, quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and Slayton. I decided, in a 1QB league, there were still enough quarterbacks on the board that I could get for a backup later in the draft. I eliminated Gainwell based on the fact I don’t know his landing spot yet, and that could greatly affect a player like him. I ultimately landed on Slayton, who I think can still be a WR2 in fantasy, despite his disappointing 2020 season.
13.12 RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (SF)
Both Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman are free agents this offseason, and it’s very unlikely either one signs with the 49ers, leaving Raheem Mostert and the newly re-signed Wilson the top two running backs on the depth chart. The backfield in San Francisco is always frustrating when they are all healthy. It’s a good thing they are rarely all healthy.
14.01 QB Trevor Lawrence (RK)
After almost taking Lawrence at 12.01, seeing him still on the board at 14.01 was a no-brainer pick. I don’t usually like to back up a young QB like Herbert with another young QB, but the potential of Lawrence made this an easy pick.
15.12 RB Javian Hawkins (RK)
A smaller back best suited for a passing-down role in the NFL, Hawkins was a high-upside pick for a PPR league. In the right landing spot, Hawkins has a ceiling of James White.
16.01 WR Van Jefferson (LAR)
In the 16th round, you are truly throwing darts. Jefferson showed some signs in his rookie season that he could be something special. With his main competition, Josh Reynolds, likely leaving via free agency, Jefferson should step into the WR3 role in what should be an improved offense with Matthew Stafford under center.
17.12 WR Quintez Cephus (DET)
Another wide receiver that could benefit from the guys in front of him on the depth chart leaving via free agency. All of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Marvin Hall, and Danny Amendola are potentially playing for a team other than the Lions next season — basically leaving Cephus as the last mand standing. I’d expect the Lions to bring someone else in to be the No. 1 receiver, but even if Cephus is the No. 2, I’d be happy with that in the 17th round.
18.01 TE Tyler Higbee (LAR)
This pick was more about taking the best available player to be my backup tight end. After Higbee’s huge end to the season in 2019, he largely disappointed in 2020. Maybe a new QB and the potential departure of free agent Gerald Evertt make him a viable fantasy option in 2021.
19.12 WR Tre’Quan Smith (NO)
Visions of Jameis Winston chucking the ball relentlessly down the field has me excited about the prospects of Smith. However, it’s February, and it could just as easily end up Taysom Hill, which is far less appealing.
20.01 WR Collin Johnson (JAX)
I feel like a broken record, but DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault are the only Jags wide receivers under contract in 2021 — well, except Collin Johnson. He didn’t get a chance to showcase much in 2020, but he is huge at 6-foot-6 220lbs, and he will be getting an upgrade at quarterback.
21.12 TE Pat Freiermuth (RK)
A stash at tight end, Freiermuth is currently my TE2 in this class behind Kyle Pitts. A receiving tight end with above-average athleticism. As with all tight ends, he will take a couple of years before he pays fantasy dividends.
22.01 WR Nico Collins (RK)
I was ecstatic to get Nico Collins as my last pick. I just got done with my film study on him, and I comped him to Vincent Jackson before the tragic news of his passing. However, the comp is still a good one. He is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, and is a red zone monster.
You can see the entire draft below:
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