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Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Dynasty Startup Picks & Predictions (2023)

Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Dynasty Startup Picks & Predictions (2023)

The NFL season has started and all the teams have returned to begin OTA’s. While the teams begin training for the grueling 2023 season, we as fantasy managers, begin to draft for all styles of fantasy football leagues. Today, we will focus our mock draft on a dynasty start-up. We will take you round by round through a build from the 11th spot in a 12-team 1QB PPR dynasty league. This article will help you learn how to navigate the turn while maximizing your roster to fit your needs. It’s also important to practice using mock drafts. There’s no better way to do that than using our FREE mock draft simulator!

Fantasy Football Mock Draft

There will be no trades within this mock draft. However, it’s a beneficial draft style to trade and “trust the process” for 2024. We want to teach you how to compete from the beginning. Let’s break down the picks starting with our first pick at 1.11 with a Miami Dolphins wide receiver.

Jaylen Waddle (WR – MIA) Pick 1.11

Jaylen Waddle is sometimes overlooked, with Tyreek Hill on the same offense. However, this offense is structured around a high-flying aerial attack which allowed Waddle to land as the WR12 in fantasy last season. He was also top ten in the yard after catch (YAC), seventh in receiving yards, and just outside the top ten for touchdowns. He accumulated all these stats with an injury-prone-filled season from his starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Waddle is only 24 years old, and with another year within this system, we expect more of the same for this year and in the future. Investing in second or third-year wide receivers is a great way to start your dynasty start-up.

Chris Olave (WR – NO) Pick 2.02

The turn was kind to our fantasy team as we lost access to Amon-Ra St. Brown and Cooper Kupp, but we were left with the alpha wide receiver in New Orleans, Chris Olave. Last season, with Andy Dalton under center Olave commanded a 25%target share and was a top-ten-ranked wide receiver with air yards share (38%). He also landed inside the top ten for yards per route run (YPRR) and target rate per route run. Once again, we are targeting a young stud wide receiver early in his NFL career, now receiving a quarterback upgrade with Derek Carr. The beauty of Olave is he provides value for the long term while facing a 2023 schedule that brings in the bottom two divisions in the NFL with the NFC South and the AFC South.

Nick Chubb (RB – CLE) Pick 3.11

There is a point in every dynasty draft where you decide between trying to win now or playing for the future. With the selection of 27-year-old Nick Chubb, we are looking to compete in 2023. Usually, one of my favorite rules is to wait on running backs and use future capital to acquire veterans. However, Chubb has the potential to blow the roof off the fantasy doors in 2023. Kareem Hunt has left town, leaving Chubb alone in this backfield to acquire even more of the rushing attempts and now some of the passing work. With Deshaun Watson a year removed from the suspended season in this offense, expect lighter boxes for the best rusher in the NFL to light up the fantasy scoreboards.

Chubb does have a potential out in his contract for 2024, and even if the Cleveland Browns keep him, he is a free agent in 2025. This selection has a shelf life of two more seasons which has transitioned our build into a win-now type roster.

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI) Pick 4.02

We could have waited for a quarterback with this draft being a 1QB league. However, when a player with the skill set of Jalen Hurts falls to you, it would be foolish to skip past him for the players around him (the next picks were Calvin Ridley and Jaxon Smith-Njiba). Hurts provides a Konami Code that could elevate your roster from the beginning and keep a safe floor in your fantasy league for years. Last season he rushed for 13 touchdowns to add to a 22:6 TD-to-Int ratio. The Eagles have A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert as their trio to surround their young stud quarterback. Don’t expect a negative regression from one of the best young quarterbacks tied to one of the best offenses in the league.

Jordan Addison (WR – MIN) Pick 5.11

One of my favorite fantasy football rules is to draft the alpha wide receiver for a team. However, rules can be broken, especially in a dynasty where you play for multiple years. Jordan Addison falls within this exception to the rule as he is the WR2 to Justin Jefferson. Addison can run a route tree with the best of them and create separation, and with Adam Thielen leaving town, which leaves 107 targets and a 17% target share available to Addison, this pick can pay dividends from day one.

Addison also entered an offense that was second in 2022 with a passing rate within the red zone. With teams focusing on Justin Jefferson and big-bodied T.J. Hockenson, Addison could have sneaky potential within this offense for multiple years.

With this selection of Addison, we skipped over Marquise Brown, one of my favorite acquisitions in the dynasty. The reason for this move was that we are looking to compete in year one, and there is a strong possibility that Arizona’s offense will slow down to protect their inept defense while struggling even to produce enough targets for Brown to take off in 2023.

Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS) Pick 6.02

We just missed out on Jahan Dotson one pick before we drafted Addison, and now we sit here still having a chance at the alpha wide receiver for the Washington Commanders. Dotson may be the new hotness, but Terry McLaurin is the steady production lineups crave weekly in a dynasty season. The biggest issue we face with McLaurin is his quarterback play. However, he has never had a consistent quarterback and still produces season after season.

With his dip in ADP this season, he is a player to keep on your radar for all styles of drafts. Also, if week 18 indicated McLaurin’s success with Sam Howell, he saw a 33% target share in that game. As a flex option for this fantasy team, if McLaurin can see a number like that again, our team is in good shape.

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Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN*) Pick 7.11

* At the time of this article

Since we are winning now, this is a “risk it for the biscuit” type pick. The writing is on the wall for Dalvin Cook to be released from Minnesota. Rumors state that the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys are two teams interested in his services. Even if he stays in Minnesota, he should see enough carries and targets to produce as an RB2 for our fantasy team. Cook is 27 years old, so this play is for the next one to two years of our dynasty league, but as a win now, that’s precisely the window we are looking for with this build.

Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL) Pick 8.02
Alvin Kamara (RB – NO) Pick 9.11
Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA) 10.02

Outside of tight end, our starting roster is built, which means we need to develop depth on our team to make it through the grueling NFL season. That’s precisely what we did with the next three picks for this dynasty start-up draft. Rashod Bateman is returning from injury and provides an upside that if he reaches this ceiling, we can upgrade our fantasy roster. In weeks 1-3 last season, he was WR34 and sported an 18.8% target share and 30.3% air yard share. With Baltimore’s new offensive coordinator in town, expect more passing and less ground and pound, allowing Bateman to reach his potential.

The next pick is risky with Alvin Kamara as we obtain another aging running back who could be suspended for some games in 2023. This draft selection is high risk/ high reward. However, in this round of a fantasy draft where we are trying to compete now, taking the risk on someone who had a down season and still finished RB15 is worth the risk.

The final pick is Tyler Lockett and no matter the year, Lockett is slept on, first with DK Metcalf coming to town and now with Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Even at age 30 last season, he was the WR16 in fantasy points per game. He drew a 22% target share and a 30.5% air yard share. Lockett should provide at least one more year of this level of production within this Seattle offense, and with his ADP dropping him into the tenth round for this win-now team, we should be comfortable adding another member to the AARP fantasy squad.

Darren Waller (TE – NYG) 11.11
Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT) 12.02

In the following two picks, we decided to solidify our tight end room for this dynasty start-up team. First, we drafted the talented veteran Darren Waller, who is entering his first season with the New York Giants. The Giants added a lot of pass-catching options. However, most of them fit the stereotype of smaller slot wide receivers leaving Waller as one of the bigger targets on the team. Standing at 6’6 and weighing 255 lbs makes him a potential goldmine in the redzone in New York. Expect Daniel Jones to find his body-body passing option and allow him to dominate over the defense throughout 2023.

As for Pat Freiermuth, he brings youth to our tight-end room as he is only 24 years old. Although his touchdowns regressed last season from seven to two, Freiermuth drew 98 targets and finished with 63 receptions for 723 yards. He brings a solid fantasy floor to benefit our team for the next few seasons.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

Anthony Richardson (QB – IND) Pick 13.11

Considering we have Jalen Hurts on this team, we were able to drift away from the quarterback room for multiple rounds. However, mobile quarterbacks can get injured, so we must have a contingency plan in place. Enter Anthony Richardson. The rookie quarterback looks and plays like he was made in a lab. Richardson landed with Jalen Hurt’s former offensive coordinator in, Shane Steichen. If Steichen can give us another Hurts for our team, the quarterback room will be solid for years in this dynasty league.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC) Pick 14.02
Romeo Doubs (WR – GB) Pick 15.11
Deuce Vaughn (RB – DAL) Pick 16.02

The end of the dynasty draft is never fun. It’s always filled with players you may cut bait with after week four of the season. However, searching for an upside player in this section of the draft is crucial to your success. One of those players with a possible upside is Clyde Edwards Helaire (CEH).

CEH could be on his way out when it comes to being a part of one of the most potent offenses in the NFL in Kanas City. However, he is still there, which means he can be used within the game plan. In 2022, he did finish as a top-15 running back for three of the eight weeks he played. It’s not a pretty pick, but one injury in camp can give CEH the potential for a higher ceiling within this offense.

Romeo Doubs can be one of the top three targets for Jordan Love within the Green Bay offense. Currently, Jaylen Reed is slotted as the slot wide receiver in Green Bay, which could allow Doubs to still be the WR2 in two wide receiver sets during the year.

The final pick of Duece Vaughn is pure upside. The Dallas Cowboys has yet to bring anyone into a running back room with Tony Pollard coming off an injury. Pollard also has never been the workhorse back in his career, and Vaughn has the chance to beat out players such as Ronald Jones and Malik Davis for the RB2 position within an offense where the coach has stated he wants to slow the game down and allow his defense to rest. The only way to do that is to run the ball more and bleed the clock; Vaughn could spell Pollard, or if Pollard starts out the gates slowly could command more of the offense. For a final pick, the risk is worth the reward.

Mock Draft Recap

That is our team within this dynasty start-up mock draft. The draft analyzer graded us with a B+ and told us we have strengths in our QB, Flex, WR, and bench. It also said that we show no weakness as a fantasy squad. The projections place us with the fourth-highest total for this draft. If you want to see this draft’s advanced analysis, click here and read all the info plus see the draft log to watch each pick play out.

Remember to read all the fantastic work at FantasyPros and contact me on Twitter at @jpep20 if you ever need help with a fantasy decision. Good luck with your dynasty rosters and in 2023! Let’s win some championships!

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