My main dynasty league had its annual rookie draft over the weekend. It's arguably the best part of the league; it's up there, anyway. Sort of Christmas morning for dynasty leagues, unwrapping the presents you'll enjoy for years to come (or stick behind the couch or put out on the curb a month or two down the road).
Last Thursday I mocked how I thought the draft would go, and did fairly well. Most notably, I got 11 of the 12 first-round picks correct, and eight of the 12 in their correct spot or within 1 pick. Either everyone in the league read the column and wanted to make me look good, or there's just not a lot of debate over the consensus order. Anyway, it's just one draft. This is how it went in our active, 10-year-old league, and this is probably in the ballpark of how yours might go, too.
Two quick notes. My picks are in bold. I originally had two additional picks, 2.12 and 3.12, and traded them for 2nd- and 3rd-round picks next year. There was nobody left I absolutely had to have with them, and decided I'd just as soon have picks next year as a player I'd either have to cut or that would force me to cut someone else. Second note is that unrostered veterans were also fair game in this draft; thus, Marshawn Lynch and Carson Palmer were selected.
|1.01||Leonard Fournette, Jac.||RB|
|1.02||Corey Davis, Tenn.||WR|
|1.03||Christian McCaffrey, Car.||RB|
|1.04||Joe Mixon, Cin.||RB|
|1.05||Dalvin Cook, Minn.||RB|
I might have taken Davis at 1.01. If both guys are great (and I think they might be) Davis, as potentially the No. 1 working with an emerging young quarterback, will be great for 3-5 years longer than the running back. But I would have been happy with either player. Things got a little kooky the next three picks. Same owner had 1.03 and 1.05. He liked Mixon more than McCaffrey but thought he could get Mixon at 1.05; McCaffrey no chance. So he took McCaffrey, another owner took Mixon, and they ended up trading them for each other a few minutes later. So the moral is, just take the player you want more.
|1.06||O.J. Howard, T.B.||TE|
|1.07||Mike Williams, LAC||WR|
|1.08||John Ross, Cin.||WR|
|1.09||David Njoku, Clev.||TE|
|1.10||Evan Engram, NYG||TE|
|1.11||Alvin Kamara, N.O.||RB|
|1.12||Zay Jones, Buff.||WR|
Tight ends get 1.5 points per reception in this league. I can't argue with all three of the big ones going from picks 1.06-1.10. I'm not a big Kamara fan in part because I don't trust Sean Payton to use his backfield in a fantasy-friendly way.
A friend of mine had the pick at 1.12. The last four rookie drafts he's selected LeVeon Bell, Devonta Freeman and Ezekiel Elliott. I know, right? So he wasn't going to take a running back there, and with the three best tight ends gone, he was thinking wideout. But there doesn't seem to be a clear No. 4. Zay Jones got the nod for talent, opportunity, draft position, and maybe because he stands to pay more immediate dividends than the other wide receiver prospects. In any case, it's a tough draft position right now, especially if you don't need a running back.
|2.01||Samaje Perine, Wash.||RB|
|2.02||D'Onta Foreman, Hou.||RB|
|2.03||JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pitt.||WR|
|2.04||Curtis Samuel, Car.||WR|
|2.05||Kareem Hunt, K.C.||RB|
|2.06||Chris Godwin, T.B.||WR|
|2.07||Joe Williams, S.F.||RB|
|2.08||James Conner, Pitt.||RB|
|2.09||Adam Shaheen, Chi.||TE|
|2.10||Deshaun Watson, Hou.||QB|
|2.11||Cooper Kupp, LAR||WR|
|2.12||Bucky Hodges, Minn.||TE|
In my ideal world I would have got Hunt or Perine at 2.04 and Samuel at 2.07. But Perine was gone and I simply like Samuel more; it's a weakness of mine, these hybrid WR/RB types. I like the fact that he'll catch a bunch of short passes, hit on some big plays (4.31 speed) ala departed Ted Ginn Jr., and even get some cheap yardage as a runner, potentially. So I took Samuel, Hunt was immediately snatched up as the clear best available (to the guy who has Bell-Freeman-Elliott, no less), and then the other wide receiver I really like, Godwin, was also drafted. So I was left with Williams as the running back I liked most. To be honest I am kind of trusting Kyle Shanahan here, who told Peter King he'd have been sick to miss out on him. Carlos Hyde's in a contract year, Shanahan (and his family tree) has had some success with running backs, Williams' off-field negatives don't seem quite as bad when you read King's article at MMQB.com. So we will see.
My quarterbacks in this league are Philip Rivers and Blake Bortles. They've served me very well the past couple of years, but I was hoping to add another one to coach up with Rivers aging and Bortles on the hot seat. I originally had pick 2.11 and 2.12 and would definitely have taken Watson had he been there, on the idea that he'll play right away and contribute as a runner, giving him some good fantasy weeks. But Watson was taken so I drafted Kupp, who was highly productive in college (including against big schools) and will likely start in the slot right away. Sadly, he's a Ram, but maybe Sean McVay can get their passing game functional.
Had I kept pick 2.12, I'd have taken either Carlos Henderson or Patrick Mahomes. I traded the pick for a second-rounder next year for two reasons. One, that pick can't be worse than 2.12 and will probably be a little better. Two, roster spots are precious and I'm not very patient, so I didn't want to draft either player and have to wait two years for them to do anything.
|3.01||Patrick Mahomes, K.C.||QB|
|3.02||Marlon Mack, Ind.||RB|
|3.03||Gerald Everett, LAR||TE|
|3.04||Josh Reynolds, LAR||WR|
|3.05||Carlos Henderson, Den.||WR|
|3.06||Wayne Gallman, NYG||RB|
|3.07||Jeremy McNichols, T.B.||RB|
|3.08||Marshawn Lynch, Oak.||RB|
|3.09||Carson Palmer, Ariz.||QB|
|3.10||Jonnu Smith, Tenn.||TE|
|3.11||Jamaal Williams, G.B.||RB|
|3.12||ArDarius Stewart, NYJ||WR|
Picks I liked most here were Mahomes, Everett (another Ram, but perhaps the fourth-best tight end in the draft; I considered him when I took Kupp) and Henderson. Mack certainly has opportunity in Indianapolis behind creaky Frank Gore. Also liked Jonnu Smith and would have used my pick at 3.12 if he were available. But with those two tight ends gone, I decided to offer up the pick for a next year 3rd. There were a 3-4 rookies I still like and figure I can get at least one of them when the waiver wire opens in a couple of weeks, so why spend a pick if there's not one clear favorite?
Lynch is an interesting case; he could certainly be a top-15 or 20 or better running back this year. But I didn't want to use 2.12 on a guy who might play one year and maybe not even that if things go sour for Oakland. I'll manage without him. Same for Palmer; I'm going to bring in a quarterback older than Rivers? Nah.
So that's the draft. Let me know if you see any glaring reaches or steals. You'll probably note a handful of names who you are surprised weren't drafted; they'll be added quickly once the waiver wire opens. Hopefully I'll get one.