Startup drafts are arguably one of the most exciting parts of a dynasty, an opportunity to mold a team that you will hopefully be holding onto for a long time. As we enter dynasty summer and the rookie draft season begins to close, we all feel a strange itch for startups. Fantasy players love drafting, and if your rookie drafts have come to a close but redraft leagues haven’t begun population yet, that leaves a chance for new startups. In this series, we will examine a startup and discuss strategies to help us win in year one and the long term.
For this startup, we are doing a Superflex/Tight-End premium league. We will be drafting from the 1.01. This draft was 15 rounds long. Roster settings are QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, FLEX, FLEX, SUPERFLEX.
Draft Spot 1.04: Kyler Murray, QB, ARI
Other Options: Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow
To start my dynasty squad, I wasn’t going to go with any position besides QB in the first round. I had to decide between Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Kyler Murray. I have all three in the same tier, and the tiebreaker goes to Murray due to age. There is some uncertainty for him and Lamar going forward, but I am confident both will work out long-term deals with their respective franchises.
Draft Spot 2.09: Russell Wilson, QB, DEN
Other Options: Jalen Hurts, Stefon Diggs
I was hoping to nail a tier-one WR here, but unfortunately, they were all selected before my pick. So we must pivot and grab our second QB. Wilson may fall on the older end of the QB spectrum, but he is set up to have an excellent year. He is finally getting out of the Pete Carroll offense and has the chance to be fully unlocked. This Denver team will be on must-see television every week.
Draft Spot 3.04: Breece Hall, RB, NYJ
Other Options: Davante Adams, Dalvin Cook
Hall is in an exciting position in startup drafts right now. He falls at the tail end of the elite RBs, but a successful season will find him at the top of that tier. He is only 21 years old and makes an excellent anchor as the RB1 for this dynasty squad. The New York Jets are on the rise, and hopefully, Breece can have an outstanding rookie season.
Draft Spot 4.09: Diontae Johnson, WR, PIT
Other Options: JK Dobbins, DJ Moore
Our first WR came around in the fourth round. Johnson is in a particular tier of talented young WRs with concerns about the QB position. That tier also belongs to DJ Moore and Terry McLaurin. The optimist in me likes to think that alphas eat first, and he will be able to overcome any QB play. If Allen Robinson could do it for all those years, I am sure Johnson can as well.
Draft Spot 5.04: Michael Pittman Jr, WR, IND
Other Options: Travis Etienne, Mike Evans
I was tempted to grab Etienne and solidify my RB room with two young, possibly elite players. Still, since we start three WRs, I must continue picking up young players at that position. Pittman has all of the traits of an alpha. He is now paired with Matt Ryan, who has a propensity to pepper his alpha with plenty of targets.
Draft Spot 6.09: Keenan Allen, WR, LAC
Other Options: Josh Jacobs, Darnell Mooney
Allen makes the most sense here for our third starting WR. We already have two young pieces on the verge of breakouts. Mooney would have been the selection if I had drafted a veteran before this.
Draft Spot 7.04: Rashod Bateman, WR, BAL
Other Options: Skyy Moore, Courtland Sutton
As stated before this selection, we must balance veterans with youth. Last round, we picked up Allen to provide some veteran stability, so it is back to the youth and upside play. With the departure of Marquise Brown, Bateman is set up to have a breakout year as Lamar Jackson’s alpha wide receiver. It may be a low-volume passing attack, but targets will be consolidated between Bateman and Andrews.
Draft Spot 8.09: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KC
Other Options: Miles Sanders, DeAndre Hopkins
We eventually had to fill the hole at our second RB position and think this was the perfect time to do so. Edwards-Helaire has very little value in the dynasty community right now, which explains his availability at the end of the eighth round. If reports of his lack of weight due to stomach surgery are true, he should be in for a bounce-back season. We should also see more targets for the running back position in Kansas City this season.
Draft Spot 9.04: Allen Robinson, WR, LAR
Other Options: Tony Pollard, Kareem Hunt
As mentioned earlier with Johnson, Robinson has been dealing with subpar QB play his entire career. The list isn’t great: Blake Bortles, Nick Foles, Mitch Trubisky. Now he gets paired with Matthew Stafford and this high-volume Rams passing attack. Robinson is in for a big year and will be an excellent veteran piece if one of our younger players doesn’t produce like we hope this upcoming year.
Draft Spot 10.09: Michael Gallup, WR, DAL
Other Options: Ryan Tannehill, Cole Kmet
Gallup was just signed long-term in Dallas, and it appears it will be him and CeeDee Lamb for the foreseeable future. Gallup will likely start the season on the PUP, but that is okay. He provides a nice youth piece that can eventually replace the production we are getting from Allen or Robinson. Gallup landing on the PUP will also free up a bench spot for us early in the year to pick up and break out rookies on waivers.
Draft Spot 11.04: Matt Ryan, QB, IND
Other Options: Adam Thielen, Rashad Penny
Ryan will be the perfect third QB option for this squad. He will provide stability during bye weeks, and god forbid any injuries to arise. He will also be an excellent stacking option with Pittman when plugged into our starting lineup. This is the best roster he has had in a long time, and he should produce QB2 numbers week in and week out.
Draft Spot 12.09: Tyrion Davis-Price, RB, SF
Other Options: Melvin Gordon, Jalen Tolbert
With our draft strategy going so light on RBs, we must take multiple dart throws in the later rounds with ultimate upside. There is no upside better than a Kyle Shanahan RB. Elijah Mitchell had a fantastic rookie year last year as a sixth-round NFL draft pick. He was able to relegate third-rounder Trey Sermon to the bench. Can Davis-Price pull off the same feat? I honestly don’t know, but in the twelfth round, it is a lottery ticket I am willing to buy.
Draft Spot 13.04: David Njoku, TE, CLE
Other Options: Allen Lazard, Russel Gage
Njoku is my late-round breakout TE this season, and I am drafting him everywhere. The departures of Austin Hooper and Jarvis Landry open up many targets in this offense. We are also in round thirteen of a startup, so if this gamble doesn’t pay off, we don’t have too great of an investment in this selection.
Draft Spot 14.09: Marlon Mack, RB, HOU
Other Options: Gus Edwards, Marquez Valdes-Scantling
To end the draft, we will double-tapping our biggest weakness, the RB room. Early reports are that Marlon Mack is leading this backfield. That might not be worth much, considering the state of the Houston Texans roster. Mack has the talent to produce.
Draft Spot 15.04: Trey Sermon, RB, SF
Other Options: Donovan Peoples-Jones, Brevin Jordan
With our final pick, we grab another Shanahan lottery ticket. As mentioned, Sermon was an early-round selection in the 2021 NFL draft but was supplanted by Mitchell. Were we a year too early on Sermon? For the price tag of the fifteenth round, it doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t see a significant snap share in Week One, we can drop him for a waiver wire pick-up.
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