Revisiting the rookie dynasty draft
Posted Jul. 05 at 10:47 PM
May and even June are too early for drafts to be held, but what are you gonna do; some of us need to get magazines into the printer. The same can't be said for dynasty leagues, but a lot of rookie drafts are held that early, too.
Mine was held the weekend of May 1st, and looking back at it two months later -- after team minicamps and a lot of offseason training activities have been completed -- I think things might have gone differently. Here's how it went two months ago, followed by how I think things should have gone. (Note: non-rostered veterans like Early Doucet were also eligible.)
1.01 Ryan Mathews, Chargers
1.02 C.J. Spiller, Bills
1.03 Dez Bryant, Cowboys
1.04 Jahvid Best, Lions
1.05 Ben Tate, Texans
1.06 Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
1.07 Arrelious Benn, Buccaneers
1.08 Montario Hardesty, Browns
1.09 Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
1.10 Golden Tate, Seahawks
1.11 Sam Bradford, Rams
1.12 Dexter McCluster, Kansas City
2.01 Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
2.02 Toby Gerhart, Vikings
2.03 Joe McKnight, Jets
2.04 Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2.05 Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
2.06 Mike Williams, Buccaneers
2.07 Anthony Dixon, 49ers
2.08 Jimmy Clausen, Panthers
2.09 Brandon LaFell, Panthers
2.10 Mardy Gilyard, Rams
2.11 Taylor Price, Patriots
2.12 Damian Williams, Titans
3.01 Jimmy Graham, Saints
3.02 Eric Decker, Broncos
3.03 Charlie Whitehurst, Seahawks
3.04 Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers
3.05 Tim Tebow, Broncos
3.06 Deji Karim, Jaguars
3.07 James Starks, Packers
3.08 Ed Dickson, Ravens
3.09 Early Doucet, Cardinals
3.10 Andre Roberts, Cardinals
3.11 LeGarrette Blount, Titans
3.12 Colt McCoy, Browns
If you've seen the magazine, you know we like Spiller long-term more than Mathews. But, it's not a huge edge, and we don't think Best is very far behind the other two first-rounders. I can't argue with those top 4 picks.
Hardesty was impressive running with the first-team offense in Cleveland. Ben Tate had a hamstring injury and has thus far been behind Arian Foster (who played well down the stretch) and Steve Slaton (who reportedly will not be limited by offseason neck surgery once training camp begins). There's enough uncertainty in Houston, and positive reports in Cleveland, that Hardesty should have gone ahead of Tate, I think. In the magazine we noted that durability concerns were all that caused him to slip behind the Texans rookie.
The wide receiver pecking order is definitely questionable. Williams, not Benn, has been the standout in Tampa Bay's offseason work. We slotted Williams earlier based on that; it was only character issues that caused him to be drafted two rounds later. And taking Benn ahead of Golden Tate looked questionable then and now.
The early part of the second round has a lot of questionable picks, especially now. None of those players has turned heads in the offseason thus far, and McCluster and McKnight in particular look to be just situational types of players -- not fantasy starters. The only reason to draft Gerhart, I think, is as a Peterson handcuff.
The same team drafted both Patriots tight ends. Thus far it appears that Hernandez will be on the field only on a part-time basis, so I think Gronkowski remains the guy to target -- a safer bet to be on the field full-time. New England's recent track record picking receivers of any kind is shaky enough that drafting either player ahead of New Orleans' Jimmy Graham looks like a mistake. Graham has been impressive in the offseason; though raw, he might turn out to be the steal of the rookie draft.
The third round? Well, by that point you're taking a lot of shots in the dark. At a glance though, Tim Tebow's fall to 3.06 is just as surprising now as it was two months ago. Yes he might never amount to anything, but he's a possible franchise quarterback in a dynasty league -- at least, the Broncos see him as that by trading up into the first to take him -- and he'll get his shot.
Another late-draft gem, or possible gem, looks like Green Bay's James Starks. The Packers need somebody else to give the offense another dimension in the running game. Ryan Grant doesn't catch well enough, and he doesn't have anything special behind him as a runner, either. I like Starks as a deep sleeper.
The bottom line is that later drafts are better than earlier ones, not only in re-draft leagues but in dynasty formats. I'm well aware of the anxiousness to get a season started; there were people in my league who wanted to hold the rookie draft even earlier.
But there's a lot more information available in July and August than May and June. This applies to veterans (Vincent Jackson, anyone?) and rookies too. Patience isn't only a virtue; it can save you from making a mistake that you'll regret for -- yes -- years.
Posted by DAVID GARRICK | Jul. 06 at 05:34 AM
I don't agree that it's better to wait on dynasty rookie drafts. My four dynasty leagues have their rookie drafts the Monday after the NFL draft every year. We don't want holdouts or minicamp performances to taint the process. We want to draft right along with the NFL general managers, and knowing that you will draft on Monday makes the NFL draft dramatically more exciting.
Posted by Travis Billman | Jul. 06 at 07:32 AM
I disagree, I believe more information is always better. I'm in a dynasty league where we try to have the rookie draft as close to the season as possible. If you remember in 2008, Chris Johnson (5th RB drafted) had a great rookie offseason and really impressed coaches with his speed. Matt Forte (5th RB drafted) also impressed in his offseason. Both went on to outperform expectations; which you probably kicked yourself (that year) for drafting the "gimme" prospect of Darren McFadden. Also holdouts can turn out to be a HUGE advantage when drafting in Dynasty leagues. I love it when I get to steal a player and own him for the rest of his career because people were scared that he would miss a few games in his rookie year due to a holdout (Michael Crabtree).
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Jul. 06 at 12:05 PM
I admit I'm too eager for that rookie draft to wait too long for it to happen. And it works both ways; I personally drafted Chris Johnson at 1.09 two years ago because of the early draft. So sometimes you benefit from the less information that everyone has. Maybe your feelings on it are colored by whether you get helped more, or hurt more, by drafting early. I was loading the magazine league rosters just this morning and saw some guys who went too early or were paid too much because of our mid-May auction and draft. Vincent Jackson, of course, and also LenDale White. Anyway. In theory later drafts are better, but in reality I'm not particularly patient myself.
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