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The Classiest Dynasty League Case Study Part 1: The Start-up Draft

Have you botched a start-up draft or have a team in the dumps? You need to check out this case study over how @Jsnake_DFF turned a dumpster fire team to a 3rd place team in one year. Here’s part 1: The Start-up Draft.

This will be my 2nd case study of three over my dynasty teams. This league is a SF, dynasty league that has 14 teams and is standard PPR. I thought I could compete after the start-up draft, but I quickly turned into a rebuild/retool after I realized I had made mistakes. After one year, my team went from 11th place out of 14th to a 3rd place finish. Also, I drafted this roster with the intention of it being a high upside, but I made multiple BAD picks that had very little upside and all downside. Throughout this case study, I will talk about the strategy I had going into each part of the season from start-up to the rookie draft and the good, the bad, and the ugly of my strategy. I will also talk about the trades and waiver moves I made that set my teams apart. Lastly, I will talk about my top tips for the start-up to set your teams up for the future.

If you want to read part 1 of my first case study over getting a productive struggle team to a championship, click here.

Superflex Dynasty Start-up: March 2020

As I mentioned before, I went into the draft focusing on drafting high upside young players, but I really messed it up. Also, one thing to note is that the start-up draft happened before the NFL draft, so rookie picks for the 2020 season were draftable (and you didn’t know where the rookies went yet).


1.05- Michael Thomas, WR

I drafted Michael Thomas after his top season as the WR1. Looking back, I am fine with drafting him as the 1.05, but I should have drafted a QB in a 14 team league. I had a couple of QB options like Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, or Josh Allen. Looking at how the draft fell, I reached at QB multiple times, which hurt my team’s production and overall value. So, in a 14 team start-up, I would always look to make a move at QB when possible, especially during the first three rounds.

2.10- Odell Beckham Jr., WR

OBJ is another player that I am fine drafting where I did, but I still think going for the 1.01 in the rookie draft would have been a better call or going for a QB. I drafted OBJ as the 24th overall player, and his ADP, according to DLF at the time of the draft, had a first-round ADP. Luckily, I made a great trade to move OBJ, which helped my team a lot.

3.05- Courtland Sutton, WR

Courtland Sutton fantasy
Credit: (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

I was high on Sutton at the end of the 2018 season and going into the 2019 season, which has shown not to work out. After looking at the ADP, I drafted Sutton a couple of rounds earlier than I should have. I am still very much a person to say go after your guys, but I still think it is important to base picks by ADP and how much you like the player. I should have drafted 2020 1.03. To be honest, I have realized the rookie picks were drafted late in this league, and I should have picked a rookie pick at almost every pick I had.

4.10- Sam Darnold

The lure of Darnold was age, but I have since learned that age for QBs is not an important metric to look at. Stability is infinitely more important than age. Darnold was the QB25 and QB27 over his first two seasons, so he was a face plant for TWO years, and I still drafted him. Yet again, the pick at this time was a rookie pick or a WR. If I had drafted a QB earlier in the draft, I could have focused more on value and getting rookie picks and WRs.

5.05- Stefon Diggs

This pick worked out great for my team and led to a slam dunk trade during the season! Looking back, you can always find better picks, but I am happy with Diggs in the 5th.

6.10- Kerryon Johnson


GROSS pick by me! I reached for an RB with a ton of question marks, especially after missing eight games in 2019. I should have realized I did not need to reach for any positions and that no RB is safe from the NFL draft. Kerryon lost all of his value after Swift was drafted, and I had to move him for practically nothing. If you ever make a mistake as I did, do not be afraid to move the player at his current value and not at the value I drafted him.

7.05- Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky was yet another reach at QB to try and get starters. By now, I had realized I messed up by not drafting QBs earlier, and I did not have any early rookie picks to draft a QB with either. I did not focus on security at the QB position and instead looked at age. I could have drafted Robert Woods, Marquise Brown, or 2020 1.12. Rookies were really the answer multiple times!

8.10- Le’Veon Bell

Credit: (Clutch Points)

I am actually really happy with this Bell pick. He had just signed with the Jets the season before and was looking to be on the Jets for the season to come. In 2019, Bell was the RB16 in PPR, so I liked the potential of drafting him as a high upside RB.


2020 9.05 & 2021 3rd FOR 2020 9.03

9.03 – Jacoby Brissett

Brissett was yet AGAIN a reach at QB. It looked like he could have been the next QB of the Colts, but Rivers ended up being that QB. I kept making the same mistake, and I was lucky to turn this team around! The real pick yet again was rookie picks.

10.10- Marvin Jones

11.05 Tarik Cohen

Focus of Rounds 12-28

Rounds 12-28 were just a bunch of trying to draft high upside players. None of them worked out, and I do not have any good reasons why who I picked would have worked. After looking at the draft board, I should have focused on the high upside vets that could produce fantasy points to push for a championship or move for draft picks. One pick that I made that I do like is drafting the 2.11 (14 team league).


QB- Sam Darnold

RB- Kerryon Johnson

RB- Le’Veon Bell

WR- Michael Thomas

WR- Odell Beckham

TE- Jace Sternberger

Flex- Courtland Sutton

Flex- Stefon Diggs

Superflex- Mitch Trubisky

If you look at my team with 2022 offseason values, it is an absolute shit show. None of the players are top 2 round start-up picks, and five of the players are not even close to worth starting. I made some excellent moves before the first rookie draft that saved this team!


  1. Especially in 14 team leagues, it is crucial to grab at least 1 QB in the first three rounds so that you do not feel the need to reach for a QB. I would also remember not to try and fill a starting roster until August.
  2. If rookie picks are draftable, always make a push to get them because their value will only go up, and they give you security to make moves for known players.
  3. Drafting RBs in the mid to late rounds is a bad play in start-up drafts because they can lose all of their value from the NFL draft.

In part 2, I will discuss the trades and draft picks I made in the 2020 rookie draft.

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