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Dynasty Rookie Draft Advice: How to Prepare (2024 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Rookie Draft Advice: How to Prepare (2024 Fantasy Football)

Everyone loves winning their dynasty league. The thing that makes dynasty leagues more fun than redraft leagues is the offseason. Between NFL free agency and the NFL Draft, fantasy teams could have their outlook drastically change overnight.

While free agency plays a significant role, the NFL Draft is the most critical event in the offseason for dynasty players. Fantasy players could find their team in an outstanding or dreadful position, depending on what happens during the draft.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

How fantasy players prepare for their rookie drafts can make or break their team for the next several years. The last thing you want to do is “wing it” or assume anything, so here are five helpful tips to help you crush your 2024 dynasty rookie drafts.

How to Prepare for Your Rookie Draft (2024)

Know Your League’s Draft Rules

First and foremost, you need to know how the rookie draft works. If you don’t know the rules, check the league’s settings or ask the commissioner. It seems obvious, but every year, one person in every league is unaware of some rule and looks like a fool. Don’t be that guy and give your league mates an advantage.

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 pick. However, that’s not the case in all leagues. Also, make sure the picks are linear and not a snake. Rookie drafts should never be linear.

Do you know how many rounds are in your rookie draft? Most rookie drafts are four or five rounds. Depending on the league size and roster construction, your 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, as it gives you a chance to improve your roster in multiple ways.

Evaluate Your Team & Draft Capital

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

Contending teams with an early draft pick will want to consider trading away the selection for a win-now veteran. 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 a top draft pick for a young veteran with some success in the NFL. As great as everyone expects Caleb Williams to be, contending teams should flip the 1.01 pick for a young quarterback like Jordan Love and additional draft capital.

Meanwhile, rebuilding teams should acquire as much draft capital as possible, even if you must trade away veterans with something left in the tank. Unless the veterans have several high-end production years left in their careers, it’s time to trade them away. Remember the Bill Belichick way — it’s better to trade away a player a year early than a year too late.

Do Your Homework

You don’t take the most important test of your life without studying. That also applies 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 prospects is the most important. While it’s ideal to do your own research, don’t just watch short highlight reels on YouTube. You should see the good and bad moments with the rookie class. 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, ask anyone who picked Puka Nacua in the fourth or fifth round last year.

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. That way, you can get opinions from three different types of 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.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

Explore 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 picks 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, even 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 Puka Nacua last year, that could have been the difference between winning the championship or coming in third place.

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

Prepare for the Rookie Draft

Practice makes perfect, right? The best way to prepare for your rookie draft is to do mock drafts. However, don’t just use a simulator. Instead, do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper. Look at the teams picking ahead of you in the draft and determine 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 Jayden Daniels, what will you do with the 1.03 pick? Should you take Marvin Harrison Jr. despite having a massive need at quarterback? Or do you keep the quarterback run going and select Drake Maye?

Your league mates are unlikely to 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. You 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 picks.

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 2.03 pick to a team for their 2025 first-round pick today, it will likely get rejected. However, that offer might get accepted during the rookie draft when your league mate is desperate to trade up for a particular prospect.

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, especially this year. Last year’s rookie class produced several later-round players who had impressive seasons. Unfortunately, that won’t happen every year. If someone is willing to trade you a young enough veteran you feel can rebound in 2024 (like Diontae Johnson) for a mid-round pick or two, make the deal.

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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