If you follow me on Twitter (@Dynastymad) you might notice I talk about startups now and then. I’ll be the first to admit that startups are almost an addiction for me. One of my preferred platforms, Sleeper, has only made the problem worse by releasing their average draft positions throughout the summer. Looking at their latest positions, now seemed like a good time to break down some startup ideas and strategies I love to do.
For the purposes of this mock, I assume Standard Superflex – 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WRs, TE, FLEX, SFLEX.
The Main Man: Pick 1.11 Deshaun Watson, QB CLE
Typically, if you’re picking in this slot, it isn’t by choice. However, I love drafting from this position because there’s value here. Watson in a Superflex draft at 1.11 is still a bargain. While he was an even bigger bargain in 2022, there’s no reason he should be drafted behind Joe Burrow, if we’re being honest. When healthy, Watson has never finished outside the top-five at the position in a season. Headed to a loaded Browns team, I see Watson dominating at the position, barring suspension. Watson is my locked and loaded favorite pick at the tail end of the first round, but I have also seen him drop into the backend of the second.
The 2.02: Christian McCaffrey, RB CAR
I’ll be honest; it’s easy to get caught up playing the age game when building a dynasty in Superflex. When I see people post on their Twitter boasting about their young players, part of me cringes. According to the Sleeper ADP, players flock to Javonte Williams in place of McCaffrey. While the injuries are a concern, let’s not act as though Williams has ever played an entire season as a lead back in college or the pros. We’ve seen McCaffrey’s ceiling, and we’ve only seen one impressive game with Williams as the lead back.
The 3.11: Travis Kelce, TE KCC
Again, give me the stud TE here. Last season, Kelce was going inside the top 15 in startup drafts. Fast forward one year with his main rival for targets gone, and we’ve discounted him almost a whole round because of one year of age. Did Kelce match his ridiculous 2020 numbers? No. Did Kelce finish in the top two at this position? Yes. This is an easy pick at the backend of the third for a positional advantage.
Pick 4.02: Diontae Johnson, WR PIT
I’m reaching on this pick, I’ll admit it. However, when doing a startup or any draft, it’s essential to look at the players that will go between now and your next pick. With Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs going just before my pick here, I’m cornered taking what I believe is a tier break. Johnson is an elite separator and could almost win you weeks with his receptions and yardage alone. I’ll admit I’m worried about the QB position, but Johnson has gotten it done with Mason Rudolph at the helm.
Pick 5.11: Terry McLaurin, WR WAS
This is one of my favorite trade candidates this off-season and a great grab in the fifth. The main argument many have against McLaurin is that he has never finished top 12 at the position. However, we should consider that he’s never had a top 12 signal-caller. McLaurin has put up solid numbers, with the many faces of Uncle Rico caliber play. Carson Wentz isn’t a sexy name, but he’s the best QB McLaurin has had. I think this propels him to a top 15 finish at the position this season.
Pick 6.02: Aaron Jones, RB GBP
The ADP sleeper has given us has me feeling like this team should be the favorite for the first year. Jones steps into a situation in Green Bay with vacated targets galore and little competition for those targets. While many grow concerned with AJ Dillon, I believe Jones has locked down the pass-catching role and will still be the leading man in the backfield. The age and the Dillon panic make Jones an excellent grab here to round out the RB room.
Pick 7.11: Tom Brady, QB TBB
ADP says Brady should be available to us in the eighth. I’ve always lived by the mantra of taking your guy if you want him, and Brady is my guy here. I have little doubt Brady will continue to do Brady things this season with Mike Evans still around. I also believe Gronk will end up coming back. Maybe we’ll see some “Last Dance” cryptic messaging similar to what we saw from Rodgers and Adams last season. In either case, Brady, paired with Watson, makes the quarterback room lethal for this season. The plan for next season should be to refill the bucket at QB with an above-average class on the horizon.
Pick 8.02: Mike Williams, WR LAC
It’s an absolute steal here with Williams being available in the eighth round. Williams averaged eight targets per game last season, with one of the best QBs in the league. Nothing has changed this season. With Herbert gaining even more experience, I’ll reach for Williams at the top of round eight every single time.
Pick 9.11: Brandin Cooks, WR HOU
Another easy target for me. Last season the Texans were competitive but not great. While 2020 wasn’t great, Houston did show promise. Davis Mills looked like possibly one of the best QBs out of the class, and his go-to target was Cooks. Last season. he received almost 25% of the target share in Houston and was the only player to go over the millennium mark. Cooks is continuously underrated in the dynasty community.
Pick 10.02: Kareem Hunt, RB CLE
Just last season, I was selling Hunt for first-round picks every which way I could try and slice it. The fact is that Hunt is still an impressive back which I felt was overpriced last year and now is underpriced this year. Much like Antonio Gibson, it appears as though Hunt is going to a competition in Cleveland. Hunt is still the primary backup behind Nick Chubb and is a bargain in the tenth round.
Pick 11.11: Carson Wentz, QB WAS
Wentz gets way too much hate from the fantasy community, as I mentioned earlier. He’s not an elite QB but is a solid QB2. An excellent fill-in for Watson for however long his suspension is in our case. In three of the last four seasons, Wentz has had over 20 touchdowns while having a 3-1 touchdown to interception ratio. He took an awful Eagles team to the playoffs in 2019 without a 500-yard receiver. For me, the biggest detriment for Wentz is game-winning drives and health. I think 2022 will be a comeback player of the year type season for Wentz, who has a talented WR room. I’d argue the talent in Washington is better suited for Wentz’s playstyle than Indianapolis was last season.
Pick 12.02: Alexander Mattison, RB MIN
This off-season, a lot of the focus centers around Watson and Alvin Kamara and the length of their suspensions. However, nothing is ever mentioned about Dalvin Cook, and what if he misses time? Mattison has shown us he is a competent fill-in for Cook, who has an extensive injury history. Mattison is a potential league winner should Cook be cut, traded, or injured.
Pick 13.11: Zamir White, RB LVR
Finally, we get a decent price on a rookie. I feel comfortable getting White in this spot and think it’s a tremendous value. Josh Jacobs has been hurt during OTA’s so far this offseason and has struggled to stay healthy the last two seasons. Combine this with the fact that the Raiders have declined Jacob’s fifth-year option, and you’ve got yourself a potential steal in White.
Pick 14.02: Darrell Henderson, RB LAR
I’ll stick to my guns and suspicion that Henderson is the best option for Los Angeles this season. Cam Akers did not re-establish his prowess during the Rams playoff run, and in fact, Henderson looked like the superior back during the SuperBowl catching passes out of the backfield. Henderson is my dark horse RB to emerge out of training camp, being the lead back.
Final Mock Pick 15.11: Evan Engram, TE JAC
You’re honestly looking for upside when you get to the 15th round. Engram has enormous talent, and he could be a legit threat for this offense should he stay healthy. Doug Pederson has already demonstrated to us in Philadelphia that he enjoys TEs. This is the final chance for Engram, but I think he outperforms ADP and establishes himself as an excellent bargain bin candidate this off-season.
While this is the end of the mock, as you can tell, I’m thin at WR. As the draft continues, I’d continue finding the best values at WR if they’re available. Below is what the final looks like, and I think we should be favorites to win in year 1 with this all-star lineup.
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