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How To Prepare for Your Dynasty Rookie Draft: February (2024 Fantasy Football)

How To Prepare for Your Dynasty Rookie Draft: February (2024 Fantasy Football)

Everyone loves winning their fantasy football league. However, the thing that makes dynasty more enjoyable than redraft is the offseason activities. Between free agency and the NFL Draft, fantasy players could see their team have a drastic change in outlook in less than 24 hours.

While free agency plays a massive role, the NFL Draft is the most significant event in the offseason for dynasty fantasy players. Your fantasy teams could find themselves in an outstanding or horrible position, depending on what happens during the NFL Draft.

Furthermore, how you prepare for your rookie drafts can make or break your team for the next several seasons. You don’t want to “play it by ear” or assume anything, so here are five helpful recommendations to help you ace your 2024 rookie drafts.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

How To Prepare for Your Rookie Draft (2024)

Know the Rules

First, you need to know how the rookie draft works. Ask your commissioner or check the league’s settings if you don’t know the rules. It seems obvious, but at least one person in every league is unaware of some rule and makes themselves look stupid every year. Don’t be that guy and give your league mates an advantage or a good laugh.

Make sure you’re aware of the timer. Is it a slow or fast draft? Most leagues are slow drafts with an eight-hour or longer clock for each selection. However, that’s not the case in every league. Also, make sure the picks are linear and not a snake. Rookie drafts should never be linear. Sometimes, leagues will be a reversal after the third round, but that’s typically for startup drafts.

Do you know how many rounds are in your rookie draft? Most rookie drafts are four or five rounds. However, depending on your league size and roster construction, the draft could be as little as three rounds or up to 12. If your league has IDP players, your rookie draft will likely be six or more rounds. More importantly, make sure you can trade during the draft. The best time to make trades is during the rookie draft. It gives you a chance to improve your roster in multiple ways.

Evaluate Your Squad & Draft Capital

What kind of team do you have? Is it a contender or a rebuilding project? Hopefully, it’s not barely good enough to make the playoffs but incapable of winning the title. More importantly, what kind of draft capital do you have?

Contending squads with a mid-draft pick will want to consider trading away the selection for a win-now player. The rookie might take a year or so to make an impact. They could also be a complete bust and off your roster in three years. Instead, consider trading the draft pick for a young veteran with some experience and production in the NFL.

Meanwhile, rebuilding squads should acquire as much draft capital as possible, even if you must trade away veterans with something left in the tank. Unless a veteran has several high-end production years left in his career, it’s time to trade them away. Remember the New England Patriots mindset – it’s better to trade away a player a year early than a year too late.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

Do Some Homework

You don’t take the most significant test of your life without studying. That should also apply to your rookie drafts. Ideally, you would have the time to watch every game in every prospect’s college career. Yet, no one has that much time, especially when they aren’t getting paid to scout prospects. However, the more you can watch, the better.

Your own opinion on the prospects is the most important. Ideally, you want to do your own research and not just watch short highlight reels on YouTube – you need to see a player’s good and bad moments on tape. If you only see the highlight plays, you won’t have a solid opinion of the prospect. Furthermore, don’t limit yourself to the top guys in the draft class. The players who will get drafted in the later rounds of your rookie draft could become league winners like Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams.

If you don’t have the time to watch the prospects yourself or only get to watch the top few players, find a group of experts you trust. However, don’t only pick fantasy football experts. You want a combination of fantasy football, NFL Draft, and college football experts to give you opinions from three different sources. The more opinions you can get, the better, but remember, no one is perfect. Even the best of the best will be wrong roughly half the time.

Scout the Trade Market

Trading during the rookie draft is always fun. Yet, trading before the draft starts is one of the best times to make a deal. Many fantasy players overvalue draft selection and undervalue veterans the closer we get to the NFL Draft. Contending teams should take advantage of their mindset and make trades to add players to help them win this upcoming season.

However, contending teams should have some draft picks every year. While you want to trade picks away to help you win now, having middle or later-round selections to take dart throw shots on players is critical. Had you spent a mid-round selection on Tank Dell or Rashee Rice last year, that could have been the difference between repeating as the championship or coming in second place.

It’s never too early to start trade negotiations. Have trade talks about moving up or down during the draft and potential blockbuster packages. The months and weeks leading up to the draft are an ideal time to make trades.

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Prepare for the Draft

Practice makes perfect, right? The best way to prepare for your rookie draft is to do mock drafts. Yet, don’t only use a simulator, but also do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper. Look at the teams picking before you in the draft and identify their needs. Work your way through every potential scenario for the draft. If the team picking at 1.01 selects Caleb Williams and the team picking at 1.02 takes Marvin Harrison Jr., what will you do with the 1.03 selection? What will you do if Williams and Jayden Daniels are the first two picks – do you take Harrison or Drake Maye?

Your league mates won’t tell you which players they plan on drafting or what trade talks they have had with other teams. However, you ideally want to have conversations with every other team in your league. Fantasy players can get an idea of what positions they are targeting or what type of trades they are trying to put together. Furthermore, having trade talks with your league mates is an excellent way to get the ball moving on draft-day deals and moves centered around future rookie draft selections.

It is human nature to get excited about the here and now. Therefore, the best time to acquire future rookie picks is during the draft. If you offer your 2.01 pick for someone’s 2025 first-round pick today, it will likely get declined. However, that offer might get accepted during the rookie draft when your league mate is desperate to trade up for a particular player. It’s also the time to trade for veterans for the same reason. The rookie draft is about adding youth to your roster. However, don’t be shortsighted – consider all options before you pick.

More Dynasty Rookie Draft Advice

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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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