In this series, the Nerds are taking you through their thoughts on building a dynasty team from all twelve spots of a Superflex Startup draft. This article is my take; I will do it from the third draft slot.
So first off, I want to take you through the three things I like to have handy when participating in a dynasty startup draft. 1. My rankings/tiers/clusters; 2. Keeptradecut.com (KTC); & 3. Ourlads.com depth charts.
You don’t have to do your own rankings; you can find some rankings from someone you trust. It’s important because you can try and create some value in the differences between average draft position (ADP) and your rankings. If you want to take it to the next level, take your rankings and break them into tiers or clusters. Tiers and Clusters will help you decide when to take certain positions and what positions you can wait on.
Also, I like having KTC open in a tab next to the draft board. Whatever your team looks like after you finish the draft, that’s not what it has to look like when the season rolls around. A big part of Dynasty FF is trading, and KTC is a good barometer for market prices. And finally, I like to have Ourlads.com depth charts open to get a feel for situations. Depth charts can be handy to scan before you make those later picks.
Superflex Startup Format
Here is the setup. ADP data is from Sleeper, drafting from the 1.03 position, and the draft will be fifteen rounds. The league is a twelve-team Superflex (SF) & Tight-End premium (TEP) league. The roster settings are QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, SF, Flex, Flex, & five bench spots.
Draft Spot 1.03: Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers
Other options: None
There is a top tier of QBs in Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Herbert. At 1.03 in Superflex drafts, you get whichever one is left over, and I’d be happy with any of those guys. The one thing that stands out in Herbert’s favor vs. the other two is that he is two years younger. Not that that matters too much when looking at QBs, but it helps from a dynasty perspective. Herbert hit ~23 PPG last season. And he has a great supporting cast in Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams. Off to a great start!
Draft Spot 2.10: Breece Hall, RB, Jets
Other Options: A.J. Brown, Trey Lance
The Jets drafted rookie Hall in the early second round of this year’s NFL draft. The Jets seem to be building something special on offense, and Hall is a big part of that. I have him in a cluster with second-year players Javonte Williams and Najee Harris, both of which have ADP about a complete round earlier. Hall is the consensus rookie Superflex 1.01. The guy produced in college, but I didn’t think we knew what kind of athlete he was until we saw what he did at the combine. He scores at the top end of my RB prospect model, and I’m excited to get him at the end of the second round.
Draft Spot 3.03: Justin Fields, QB, Bears
Other Options: Jaylen Waddle, Tee Higgins
In Dynasty Superflex, I subscribe to the principle of securing your QBs early. It’s nearly impossible to trade for good QBs in SF, so you must get them when possible. At pick 3.03, I’m going with Justin Fields. He was the 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft. Fields had an okay rookie season but showed enough to have people excited for what year two can bring. Unfortunately, the Bears don’t seem to be in that great of a place as an organization. After the season, the Bears fired their head coach and GM. So, Fields will be dealing with a new coaching staff this year. Also, the front office didn’t add much help to the Bears’ offense this offseason. But I think Fields can overcome these challenges and smash from a fantasy perspective this year. ESPN’s 2022 projections are at 16 PPG for Fields, but I believe that number has an upside. If Fields can put up excellent numbers in year two, we may soon have to move him up to the elite QB tier. It’s Justin Fields SZN!
Draft Spot 4.10: Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers
Other Options: J.K. Dobbins
Johnson has been one of my favorite buys this offseason. According to ESPN, he is in store for some PPG reversion this year. From 17 PPG in 2021 to 14 PPG in 2022. I have to say, I usually agree with 2022 projections, but here I’m afraid I have to disagree. ESPN may be thinking his QB situation didn’t improve much, but I’d have to say even though I’m not super high on either Trubisky or Pickett, it has to be better than the last few years playing with aging Ben Roethlisberger. Despite the drop in PPG estimates, Diontae still has upside.
Draft Spot 5.03: DJ Moore, WR, Panthers
Other Options: Travis Etienne, Michael Pittman Jr.
Moore has been on my buy list for the past few seasons. I think he has elite-level talent. The issue is he hasn’t had good QB play since he entered the league. Even with poor QB play, Moore puts up adequate numbers. This year the Panthers are going into training camp with Sam Darnold and rookie Matt Corral competing for the starting spot. I’m not sure that inspires much confidence. I do, however, have faith that at some point, Moore will get an opportunity to play with a better QB. Remember, this is Dynasty, and situations are bound to change over time, so I will bet on the talent.
Draft Spot 6.10: Leonard Fournette, RB, Buccaneers
Other Options: Keenan Allen, Elijah Moore
Fournette has also been one of my favorite buys this offseason. Although there was some uncertainty, he re-signed with the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers for this year. The Bucs drafted Rashaad White this year as a complementary back, but I think Fournette’s job will be safe for the next couple of years. In 2021, Fournette averaged 18 PPG; this year, ESPN is projecting 17 PPG. He can be a real difference-maker in our RB2 starting position at those PPG levels.
Draft Spot 7.03: Marquise Brown, WR, Cardinals
Other Options: Rashod Bateman, Skyy Moore
Hollywood has also been one of my favorite buys this offseason. The Ravens traded Brown to the Cardinals in the first round of this year’s NFL draft. Now Hollywood is paired up with his former college QB Kyler Murray, and I expect an immediate connection. Pair that with D’Andre Hopkins receiving a suspension for the first eight games of this season, and I think there is tremendous upside for Brown this season.
Draft Spot 8.10: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers
Other Options: Courtland Sutton, Juju Smith-Schuster
Aiyuk had one of the best rookie seasons for a WR. Then for some reason, he ended up in the Kyle Shanahan doghouse. I’m not sure what to make of that, but midway through the season, it seemed like Aiyuk moved out of the doghouse to a more prominent role again. I’d look for that to continue into 2022, especially with the dynamic Trey Lance taking over the reins at QB.
Draft Spot 9.03: Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans
Other Options: Allen Robinson, Miles Sanders
Cooks continues to be one of the cheapest good WRs in the league year after year. Sure, there have been some concussion concerns, but he showed he could put together an entire season of high-caliber play last year. I’d look for second-year QB Davis Mills to improve this year, and there isn’t that much to work with on the Houston Texans offense. So I’d expect Cooks to continue to be the guy.
Draft Spot 10.10: Noah Fant, TE, Seahawks
Other Options: Cole Kmet
This selection fills our last open starting position. And I’m excited about this selection as I think there is tremendous value in grabbing Fant in the tenth round. Fant was a loser this offseason as the Broncos traded him to Seattle in the Russell Wilson trade, and there is some uncertainty about who his QB will be this year. Is it going to be Geno Smith, Drew Lock, or somebody not even on the team right now? Regardless, this is dynasty FF, not redraft, and I’ll take the best TE available and hope his QB situation improves at some point and we can reap the rewards.
Draft Spot 11.03: Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
Other Options: Tyler Lockett, David Bell
We all know Pete Carroll wants to pound the rock in Seattle. Unfortunately, that’s all they may be able to do with Wilson moving on from the team. The Seahawks invested in the RB position in this year’s draft with the high selection of Kenneth Walker III out of Michigan State. I’m looking for Walker and Penny to split the backfield work with Chris Carson primarily out of the mix. Penny put up some great games last year after what has to be considered a disappointing start to his career, given the high expectations of being picked in the first round of the NFL draft. But I’m looking for last year’s successes to carry over to this year and for Penny to be a big part of the Seahawks’ run game.
Draft Spot 12.10: Rondale Moore, WR, Cardinals
Other Options: Melvin Gordon
Rondale Moore had some flashes last year, but overall it was a somewhat disappointing rookie year. The setup this year seems a bit more promising with Christian Kirk off to the Jaguars, Hopkins suspended for the first eight games this season, and AJ Green one year older. The Cardinals made a trade for Kyler Murray’s college teammate in Brown and invested in the TE position. It does seem like there is an opportunity for Moore to carve out a piece of this offense early on. Moore is a risk/reward type guy, but if he pans out, he could be someone that helps you win your fantasy championship, and we are getting him in the 12th round.
Draft Spot 13.03: Jarvis Landry, WR, Saints
Other Options: Brian Robinson, Wan’Dale Robinson
Folks, Landry still has it. In most leagues, Landry is almost free. Last month, he decided to sign with the Saints. He’ll be catching balls from Jameis Winston this season and playing with fellow WRs Michael Thomas and newcomer Chris Olave. Even with the target competition, Landry likely puts up 10-12 PPG this season, and we are getting him in the 13th round. Yes, please!
Draft Spot 14.10: Laviska Shenault, WR, Jaguars
Other Options: Khalil Herbert
Viska is somebody I’m pretty high on, except for the situation. The Jaguars spent a lot of money on Christian Kirk and Zay Jones in free agency. Pair those guys with Marvin Jones, and it’s hard to see how Viska gets enough of the offense to matter. That being said, his situation may change. He could outplay someone ahead of him on the depth chart and take a more significant role, or he could get traded to a new team and potentially a better situation. I’m taking a shot on him with my 14th pick as a guy with high upside if he can carve out a share of whatever offense he ends up playing in.
Draft Spot 15.03: Baker Mayfield, QB, Unknown
Other Options: Rob Gronkowski, Brevin Jordan, Odell Beckham Jr.
Mayfield has played relatively well since entering the league. Then this summer, the Browns ended up winning the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes (not sure most people would consider this a win), and Mayfield wanted out. Now we are in limbo; he is still a Brown but won’t play for the team, so we are waiting for a trade or a cut so Mayfield can get his next shot.
I firmly believe he is good enough to be one of the 32 starting QBs in the NFL; it’s hard to pin down where it makes sense. Now, it could be Seattle or Carolina, but it’s very uncertain at the movement; Mayfield may even have to sit out this season. So this is a risky pick, but one that could pay out in spades if he becomes a starting QB in the league again.
One of the essential rules for startup SF drafts in Dynasty is to secure QB. There are only a limited amount of options, and the ones you select in your startup could be yours for a long time. We knocked it out of the park with our first two selections in Herbert and Fields. Herbert is a consensus top-three dynasty QB, so duh, and I think Fields has a shot at getting to an elite tier over time with his rushing capabilities and his tremendous talent. We rounded out this group with Mayfield in the 15th round. It’s a risk/reward pick, but I think he will be starting in the league again. And when he does, his value will increase tremendously.
The RB Room
The rule on RBs in Dynasty is to focus on them last; they should be the last part of the puzzle because their shelf life isn’t long. There will always be a new batch of RBs coming the following year. That said, if you are going to take an RB, try making them young upside guys. Those RBs tend to hold their value vs. guys approaching the age cliff (25-26 years old when talking about RBs).
The depth at the RB position is a little worrying, and if this draft went past round 15, I’d be hammering the RB position, trying to find some lottery tickets. So I went with Hall early as my young long-term option and paired him with the proven producer in Fournette in the sixth. Then I took Penny as my lone backup at the RB position, a RB that struggled with injuries over the years but put up some good numbers in a few games last year. I’m excited to see what he can do this year.
WRs and TEs
I love this WR group. Johnson, Moore, Hollywood, and Aiyuk are all young-ish and in line for great seasons. Moore and Shenault are young and are great risk/reward players for late-round selections. Then we filled out the group with Cooks and Landry as my aces in the hole; their going to put up consistent points and be my reliable WRs week in and week out.
And finally, the TEs. I think Fant is a great value right now. I struggled to decide between him and Kmet, but I can’t give up on Fant’s elite upside if he ever gets decent QB play. Not much depth here. If I had another pick, I probably would have gone with Rob Gronkowski or Brevin Jordan to round out the position group. But the way I’m playing it, I didn’t take a stud TE at the top of the draft, so when Fant isn’t playing, I’ll plan on streaming the best available TE that week, and it probably won’t be that big a point differential.
That’s it. I hope you enjoyed the example startup draft from the 1.03 spot.
If you are interested in learning more about Dynasty/Devy fantasy football, please follow along on Twitter @_jasonstein and let me know what questions you have and how I can help.
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