Now that the 2017 NFL Draft has come to an end, rookie drafts can officially commence. Regardless of experience level or knowledge related to dynasty fantasy football, it is imperative to understand the methodology behind a rookie draft in comparison to that of a startup format. In this article, I offer ten strategic tips to utilize for rookie drafts this season. Enjoy!
Take The Best Player Available
Regardless of depth on a roster or roster construction strategies, always take the best player available in a rookie draft. If a roster ends up with a surplus at one skill positon, a trade can be made in the future to balance it out. However, it is impossible to go back in time to select a more appealing player if he is passed on in favor of filling a need at another position to submit a starting lineup.
For example, if a dynasty owner has Ezekiel Elliot and David Johnson rostered in a league and somehow is presented with the opportunity to select Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey or Joe Mixon in a rookie draft, then do so with absolutely no hesitation. The same could be said for a team that already owns Odell Beckham and Mike Evans on a roster, as there is no harm in selecting Corey Davis or Mike Williams with a rookie draft pick.
Utilize A Three-Year Window
Unless it is evident that a player is a clear bust such as Bishop Sankey or Trent Richardson, allow three years for a rookie draft pick to pan out in the NFL. A sound approach to remaining patient with developing talent is to enable taxi squads in a dynasty league, as it will allow teams to stash players with two years or fewer of NFL experience on an inactive roster. A taxi squad is virtually equivalent to a practice squad in the NFL, so it warrants serious consideration for dynasty enthusiasts.
Create Overall & Positional Tiers
It is imperative to create or utilize overall and positional tiers for a rookie draft in order to identify gaps in value across different rounds. Printing out rookie ADP from Dynasty Nerds and creating subjective tiers is a terrific way to identify the market value of players.
Participate In Mock Drafts
Conducting multiple mocks drafts with the actual picks that are held in a rookie draft is an ideal method of practice to experiment with. After all, it is impossible to predict the players that will be available in a draft until an owner is on the clock. Selecting from different slots in a serpentine format could prove to be a beneficial form of preparation to combat uncertainty for when an actual rookie draft takes place.
Analyzing metrics from the NFL Scouting Combine is important, but dissecting collegiate film of a player is an entirely different method of evaluation. Utilize draftbreakdown.com or even YouTube clips to gain familiarity with the 2017 rookie class before participating in an actual rookie draft. Do not blindly select a rookie because of his lucrative ADP or positive offseason buzz. Watch tape before ultimately making a selection, as a draft pick in dynasty is intended to make a long-term impact on a roster.
Analyze Collegiate Production
While film study is an integral component of assessing the value of a player, reflecting on their actual performance in college is of utmost importance. Heading into the NFL Draft, Dalvin Cook stood out as a glaring example of an individual with excellent output on the collegiate gridiron. At the same time, he tested poorly at the NFL Scouting Combine. Therein lies the question, which player assessment tool is more indicative of success in the NFL? Although answers will vary, I find it difficult to argue against players that have a successful resume at the collegiate level.
Assess NFL Landing Spots
Offseason speculation can be overwhelming at times due to a wide variety of NFL mock drafts and rumors. Now that the actual NFL Draft has passed, all conjecture is thrown out the window. Actual landing spots can be assessed, and rookie ADP is almost certain to fluctuate in the coming months.
Determine Rookie Roles
This notion is correlated with assessing landing spots, as rookie value and respective roles can only be speculated with players on actual teams. Don’t be surprised to see ADP change drastically due to unexpected landing spots. That being said, it is best to wait a few weeks before holding an actual rookie draft in order to digest all of the information from the NFL Draft and logically consume it from a dynasty perspective.
Consider The Value Of Previous & Future Rookie Classes
It’s perfectly fine to prefer the value of players from a prior or future rookie class. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to shop rookie draft picks due to discomfort with selections after the 1.01 – 1.06 range, because that is the cream of the crop in this year’s rookie class.
Don’t Be Afraid To Trade Back Or Out Of A Rookie Draft
If an individual does indeed come to the conclusion that prior or future rookie classes hold more value in dynasty circles than in 2017, do not be afraid to trade back or out of a rookie draft altogether. Remember, NFL franchises think and operate under this philosophy at all times in order to provide a team with the best short-term and long-term opportunity of success. The same logic applies in the dynasty landscape, as finding a balance between present success and longevity is instrumental for efficient roster construction.