My newest article gives a Heavy RB or Zero-WR strategy to a dynasty startup mock. I figured it would be helpful to provide different strategies to a startup so you know which works best for you. I did a 15-round dynasty mock draft in a 12-team league and took my first wide receiver in round seven. Let’s walk through it, and I will explain each of the 15 rounds, which players could have been available, and why I chose who I chose.
Round 1 (1.03) – Jalen Hurts, QB PHI
Potential options: Justin Jefferson, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert
I made it slightly more complicated to do zero-WR or heavy-RB, whichever way I want to say this strategy. It was an easy first-round pick as I had access to some of the top five dynasty quarterbacks and Jefferson. I chose Hurts since I wanted to shore up my quarterback spot. Hurts also has an upside over Burrow and Herbert due to the rushing floor he offers. As I mentioned in a previous article, taking a running back in round one is never a good idea. You should ensure the pick will be with you over three to four seasons.
Round 2 (2.10) –Kenneth Walker, RB SEA
Potential options: Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler, Travis Kelce
In round two, I had three outstanding running backs to select – Ekeler, Walker, or Barkley. I choose Walker because he is only 22 years old, and the other backs are on the wrong side of 26 now. Walker may not have the upside that Ekeler and Barkley possess, but he showed he could be a low-end RB1 in fantasy. Now I begin my process to go heavy running back.
Round 3 (3.03) – Austin Ekeler, RB LAC
Potential options: Travis Etienne, Josh Jacobs, Tee Higgins
In the third round, I continued with my strategy and selected Ekeler. I chose him over Etienne and Jacobs because I already grabbed a young back in Walker. Ekeler has a top-five fantasy season upside that will give me an advantage over my fellow owners. When doing this strategy, it’s essential to go with young elite and, in general, elite running backs.
Round 4 (4.10) – Nick Chubb, RB CLE
Potential options: Deebo Samuel, Christian Watson, Joe Mixon
The heavy running back approach takes form. I selected Chubb, and he should be in for a fantastic season without Kareem Hunt there. Chubb will bring a high floor to my flex spot, which Joe Mixon hasn’t been able to do. The receivers at this time are high-upside players, but they don’t have a low floor. Chubb is a weekly set-it-and-forget-it player that will make you feel great when Ekeler or Walker is out for the week.
Round 5 (5.03) – Daniel Jones, QB NYG
Potential options: Tony Pollard, DJ Moore, George Pickens
The fifth round had a variety of players I could have taken here. I could have chosen Pollard, but there are limits in this strategy that getting a first bench player doesn’t make sense. Moore and Pickens are solid receivers that I could have taken as my WR1, but the quarterback market was starting to fade. I have a love/hate feeling for Jones, but he is a solid QB2 for a Superflex team. He has the rushing upside you like, and hopefully, the new weapons will improve his game.
Round 6 (6.10) – Dallas Goedert, TE PHI
Potential options: Diontae Johnson, Brandin Aiyuk, Christian Kirk
There wasn’t a running back worth grabbing in the sixth round, so I decided to wait. The receivers above were all solid WR2/3 for fantasy, so I felt like I could continue to wait, as hopefully, one of them would be there with my next pick. I shored up my tight end position by taking Goedert because he is the end of the elite tight end group, in my opinion. I also get the stack with him and Hurts, which is always good.
Round 7 (7.03) – Christian Kirk, WR JAX
Potential options: Aaron Jones, Rachaad White, Jahan Dotson
Finally, I took my first receiver off the board in the seventh round. I could have taken two good running backs, Jones or White. It’s been a few rounds since I took a running back, but I already have three top-ten backs. It’s time to fill out the rest of the starting lineup. Kirk had a breakout season and should be in line for another strong season with Trevor Lawrence. The arrival of Calvin Ridley will help and not hurt Kirk’s fantasy value.
Round 8 (8.10) – Gabe Davis, WR BUF
Potential options: David Montgomery, Geno Smith, Juju Smith-Shuster
In the eighth round, I selected the upside value that Davis could give for my fantasy team. With the heavy RB strategy, the receiver group isn’t going to have the same elite talent at this point of the draft. Davis was disappointed in 2022, but he can take steps forward. This is still an elite offense with few other options outside Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox. Davis, as my WR2, is the risky upside I need for this team.
Round 9 (9.03) – Elijah Moore, WR CLE
Potential options: Derek Carr, Jakobi Meyers, Zeke Elliott
I took Moore in round nine, and now he is with the Cleveland Browns. Moore has a chance to restart his career with a star quarterback in DeShaun Watson. I didn’t need to grab Carr or the aging Elliot here. You’ve seen what I’ve done with the last two rounds: I took upside plays with Davis and Moore over Smith-Shuster or Meyers. You know you have elite production at the running backs and flex, so grabbing upside receivers is an excellent way to go.
Round 10 (10.10) – Jamaal Williams, RB NO
Potential options: Darnell Mooney, Michael Thomas, WanDale Robinson
Now that my starters are filled, I’m back to getting more running backs in Williams. Grabbing a veteran running back like Williams gives solid depth and potential trade value during the season. This pick gets even better for my 2023 season, as he is now with the Saints. The Saints always work a two-running back system, and with Alvin Kamara’s situation, Williams can be a solid ten-point fantasy player. You can still say there are good receivers to take at this point of the draft, so I’ll continue waiting on that position.
Round 11 (11.03) – Kenneth Gainwell, RB PHI
Potential options: Skyy Moore, Devin Singletary, Aaron Rodgers
Back to the running back position in round 11 by taking Gainwell, a younger back, to mesh with the older back in Williams. Gainwell’s situation is excellent, with the Eagles signing Rashaad Penny, but he has been unable to stay healthy for an entire season or may never get on the field in 2023. Gainwell has been underused in the Eagles’ offense and should see an expanded role in 2023. Getting a running back this low with starting upside is fantastic. I may regret not taking Moore, but it’s okay.
Round 12 (12.10) – KJ Osborn, WR MIN
Potential options: Damien Harris, D’Onta Foreman, Michael Gallup.
You can always find wide receiver gems late in startup drafts. Osborn has a strong shot to be the WR2 for the Vikings and take another step in his development. Osborn has put together back-to-back 500-yard seasons, and now that Adam Theilen is gone, he should be ready to break out. I could have taken another RB here, but Harris and Foreman likely wouldn’t see my starting lineup. They don’t have the upside that Osborn could take in 2023.
Round 13 (13.03) – Jordan Love, QB GB
Potential options: Nico Collins, Chubba Hubbard, Hunter Renfrow
No matter what type of strategy I use in a startup, I always grab three quarterbacks. Love is expected to be the new starter for the Green Bay Packers. He was raw coming into the league but sitting behind a Hall of Fame quarterback has to have learned the game. He’ll have enough weapons and a strong run game to be a solid QB3.
Round 14 (14.10) – Samaje Perine, RB DEN
Potential options: Cade Otton, Jeff Wilson, Curtis Samuel
The players in this area of the draft didn’t scream must-own players, but Perine has an upside in 2023. The trick with this strategy is that you will likely trade a few of these running backs to profit during the season. Perine has a good shot to start the season’s first six to eight games. Fantasy owners go nuts trying to find capable running backs to start. As a fantasy owner, you will have plenty now, and Perine could bring good value to your team by being traded.
Round 15 (15.07) – Jerome Ford, RB CLE
Potential options: Isaiah Hodgins, James Robinson, Kyren Williams
In the last pick of this draft, I selected a guy with significant upside in a good run game. Ford was my fourth-ranked running back in the 2022 draft. He has upside as a receiver and runs well. Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson are gone, with Ford as the RB2 behind Chubb. He’s another strong running back piece that could be valuable via trade.
Draft Recap and Roster
This isn’t a strategy that I’m not particularly eager to use in a startup, as I prefer the zero RB approach more. I wanted viewers to see how this strategy works and its positives and negatives. This team has running back talent, but the wide receivers are not so much. You’ll need to find gems for the rest of the draft and on waivers to keep the receivers consistent.
|QB||Jalen Hurts||Jordan Love|
|RB||Kenneth Walker||Jamaal Wiliams||Jerome Ford|
|RB||Austin Ekeler||Kenneth Gainwell|
|WR||Christian Kirk||KJ Osborn|
|FLEX||Nick Chubb||Samaje Perine|
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