My dynasty league rookie draft commences on Friday. It's a 12-team league with PPR scoring, and tight ends get 1.5 points per reception. Each year, on the weekend after the completion of the NFL Draft, we have a three-round draft to select incoming rookies. Here's how I think the draft will go down.
1.01. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville
1.02. Corey Davis, Tennessee
1.03. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina
I won't pretend to to know the exact order these three players will go in, but I'm about 90 percent certain they'll be the top 3. I think there are a couple of Vikings fans in the league, so maybe Dalvin Cook sneaks up here. But these three guys, liked enough by NFL teams to all be drafted in the top 8 picks, will very probably go 1-2-3. If it were me picking, I believe this is the order I would take them, although Davis being a wide receiver and likely to enjoy a longer career merits consideration for the top pick.
1.04. Mike Williams, San Diego
1.05. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota
1.06. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati
1.07. John Ross, Cincinnati
1.08. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay
Again, I'm a little sketchy on the order, but I suspect these will be the next five players. They were drafted earliest in the actual draft, and they're all loaded with talent. Working against Williams are his name (not rationally, I know) and San Diego's crowded receiver depth chart. I could see Ross going before him and maybe he should.
Mixon is discussed elsewhere on the page and I'm not sure what else needs to be said. Watch his tape and his talent is obvious, and there's little doubt he'll push Jeremy Hill out of the lineup and maybe off the roster right quick. This is a friendly league and some owners may not want to be the one to draft him, but somebody certainly will, or they'll trade out of the pick. Howard maybe gets hurt (as I believe he was in the actual NFL Draft) by the fact that there are 3-4 other potential franchise tight ends available; if you can get a really good one in the next round, maybe you don't leap at selecting Howard.
By the way, I personally packaged my first-round pick in this draft a year ago for David Johnson. The pick would have been 1.11, and obviously I would make that deal again, and again and again. I do have four second-round picks, so I'm confident I'll come out of this with some good players.
1.09. David Njoku, Cleveland
1.10. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans
1.11. Evan Engram, N.Y. Giants
1.12. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh
The value of tight ends in this league ensures Njoku and Engram will go by the end of the first round. Prior to the NFL draft I traded Michael Crabtree for pick 2.04, hoping it would get me high enough to draft one of the top 3 tight ends. Engram's sweet landing spot with the Giants means there is zero chance of that happening. Friend of mine traded back from 1.05 to 1.12 thinking he'd still get one of the tight ends. I'm not sure he will.
I have Mark Ingram and hope whoever drafts Kamara is interested in trading for him. I'm done with Saints running backs. I was kind of lukewarm on Kamara anyway and while I concede he'll have some PPR value in New Orleans, his ceiling is capped by a committee that likes to let fullbacks and tight ends score touchdowns. No thanks.
2.01. Curtis Samuel, Carolina
2.02. Zay Jones, Buffalo
2.03. Carlos Henderson, Denver
2.04 Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay
I'm expecting a little run on wide receivers here. All four are intriguing for different reasons. I tend to love hybrid slot receiver/running backs like Samuel, Randall Cobb and Percy Harvin. Wish he were on a different team than the one that also has McCaffrey, but what can you do. The news that Buffalo is declining Sammy Watkins' option makes Jones extra appealing. With Henderson, you're taking the long view that he'll emerge as a starter once one of the guys ahead of him breaks down. Godwin's a tough, physical receiver in the Steve Smith mode. I'm picking at 2.04 and 2.07 and suspect one or two of these players will be on my team.
2.05. Marlon Mack, Indianapolis
2.06. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City
2.07. Jamaal Williams, Green Bay
2.08. Joe Williams, San Francisco
2.09. Samaje Perine, Washington
The run on running backs should ensue midway through the second round (maybe a little earlier). Everyone of these players could be starting by 2018, if not sooner. I have Robert Kelley and am required to consider Perine if available. Strategically, though, I prefer to either a) cast my lot with one player and hope I chose wisely, or b) trade my player to the other owner and let him use two roster spots on one backfield. Right now Hunt is the one who interests me most, but we'll see.
2.10. Deshaun Watson, Houston
2.11. Cooper Kupp, L.A. Rams
2.12. D'Onta Foreman, Houston
Quarterbacks seldom go early in rookie drafts. We all have 1-2 decent starting quarterbacks already, and with no sure-thing passers, this is about where I expect the first quarterback to go (except for Andrew Luck and RG3, no quarterback has gone earlier than 1.12 (me, Cam Newton) in the 10-year history of this league). Watson will likely start soonest and run most. Kupp would have been more appealing on literally any other team, which has a number of other bodies at receiver and routinely gets less than they should out of them. I drafted Pharoh Cooper around here a year ago and he didn't make it to October on my roster.
3.01. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago
3.02. Gerald Everett, L.A. Rams
3.03. Jeremy McNichols, Tampa Bay
3.04. Aaron Jones, Green Bay
3.05. Adam Shaheen, Chicago
3.06. Jake Butt, Denver
3.07. Jonnu Smith, Tennessee
3.08. Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville
3.09. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City
3.10. Kenny Golladay, Detroit
3.11. Wayne Gallman, N.Y. Giants
3.12. Michael Roberts, Detroit
By the third round, people will like different players and it's hard to be sure how the order will go. Just like the actual draft, there's some nice depth of talent here and I expect some good players not even to be drafted -- and be available to be signed when the waiver wire opens.
After my draft is complete -- probably next Monday -- I'll post the actual results and we'll see how things went.