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 1.01: Josh Allen, QB, BUF
Other Options: Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert
Here we have the opportunity to take who we think is the best player in fantasy football. In Superflex leagues, that is none other than Josh Allen for me. The 26-year-old QB recently signed a long-term deal to remain a Bill, and he will have his best bud, Stefon Diggs, beside him through the 2027 season. In this scenario, we are making no trades; otherwise, I would be trying to get a king’s ransom for this pick.
Draft Spot 2.12: Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF
Other Options: Joe Mixon, Davante Adams
Speaking of Allen’s best friend, we can secure the Allen-Diggs stack at the tail end of the second round. The same stack that single handily won many fantasy titles in the 2020 season. While I may have had other players around this ADP in a similar tier, I am always doing it if I can organically grab a stack. And organically, I mean not reaching for a player to force a stack in place.
Draft Spot 3.01: Matthew Stafford, QB, LAR
Other Options: Jalen Hurts, Tyreek Hill
At this pick, I found myself at a personal tier drop at QB. Stafford and Jalen Hurts I have in the same tier, but in the end, I leaned into the stability that Stafford brings. Allen provides the immense QB1 upside I need, while Stafford is perfect in the Superflex spot. He will finish weekly as a low-end QB1 with the occasional spike week thrown in.
Draft Spot 4.12: J.K. Dobbins, RB, BAL
Other Options: Treylon Burks, Diontae Johnson
As we reach the back-end of the fourth round, I am still without an RB. And that turned out quite alright. I selected J.K. Dobbins at the end of the fourth round. Just like Stafford at the QB position, I could grab the end of a tier at the RB position. This is precisely how you want all of your drafts to go. With this pick and the next, I could secure two young RBs starting for me for the next few seasons.
Draft Spot 5.01: Travis Etienne, RB, JAX
Other Options: DJ Moore, Michael Pittman Jr.
I have a type regarding RBs in this startup draft. I like them young and coming off of an injury. That is a fancy way of saying they are great values at ADPs. I couldn’t be happier with this draft.
Draft Spot 6.12: Keenan Allen, WR, LAC
Other Options: Elijah Mitchell, Jameson Williams
With two RBs and QBs secured, it is time to gobble up value on WRs. Keenan Allen has been deemed “old” for a few seasons now. This is a shame because he just got over the “injury-prone” label despite missing only four games in the past four seasons. What Allen does have going for him is the type of receiver he is. He is a route technician, and these players tend to age more gracefully than the outside jump-ball receivers like Julio Jones.
Draft Spot 7.01: Rashod Bateman, WR, BAL
Other Options: Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore
At the end of the sixth, we went stability from a vet, and to begin the seventh, we will go with the youth with breakout potential. Bateman is the defacto WR1 on this Baltimore offense after Marquise Brown was traded to the Cardinals. He is ready to seize that role and is primed for a breakout season. Baltimore has 267 vacated targets, and Mark Andrews is near his target ceiling.
Draft Spot 8.12: Allen Robinson, WR, LAR
Other Options: Michael Thomas, Hunter Renfrow
As mentioned earlier, I love to stack. Especially when you can take advantage of the organic stack and let value fall to you, this right here is extreme value. Allen Robinson is being disrespected by his ADP in all formats and is a must-grab before Week One. He, Stafford, and this Rams’ offense are in for a big season in 2022.
Draft Spot 9.01: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KC
Other Options: Miles Sanders, Damien Harris
Having a successful championship team with only two RBs on the roster is impossible. So in the ninth round of this startup, we can grab the starting back for the Kansas City Chiefs. Much of the community is low on Edwards-Helaire after a disappointing rookie and sophomore campaign. However, recent news has surfaced that Clyde was playing at a much lower weight than usual last season due to gallbladder surgery. Either way, look at it; it is a high upside pick this deep in a draft.
Draft Spot 10.12: Zach Ertz, TE, ARI
Other Options: Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam
For TE, regardless of the league, I got by the mantra to “Go Great or Late.” We missed the elite options earlier in the draft while taking cornerstone QBs, WRs, and RBs. I am fine going late with the roster we have put together at TE. Ertz may be on the older side but is set up for success on a dynasty squad that looks like a contender in year one.
Draft Spot 11.1: Michael Gallup, WR, DAL
Other Options: Christian Kirk, Chase Edmonds
Gallup is a player falling in startup drafts due to his current injury. Fortunately for us, we won’t need Gallup right away. Ideally, he will begin the season on the PUP, and we can stash him in the IR to free up a bench spot. Regardless of the injury, he recently signed a long-term extension to stay in Dallas. It will be him and CeeDee paired with Dak for the foreseeable future. Once he returns to health, he will contribute as a WR2 on this team.
Draft Spot 12.12: David Njoku, TE, CLE
Other Options: Melvin Gordon, Allen Lazard
We must grab a few when going late on TE and hope one pan out. David Njoku is one TE I am higher on than most going into the 2022 season and beyond. The former first-rounder just signed a massive extension with the Browns and will benefit from a QB upgrade. Whether that is this season or the next remains to be seen. This offense featured a TE on every snap except for two last season, and I would expect that trend to continue.
Draft Spot 13.1: Matt Ryan, QB, IND
Other Options: Jameis Winston, Daniel Jones
Since this team appears to be a contender for a title in year one, we must secure a solid QB3. Matt Ryan is the perfect guy to fill in either on bye weeks or in the case of injury. He may not carry the upside of a player like Daniel Jones or Jameis Winston, but all we want out of this position is some stability in case we need a spot start.
Draft Spot 14.12: Marques Valdes-Scantling, WR, KC
Other Options: Hassan Haskins, Marlon Mack
You want to chase some upside in the final two rounds of a startup. If reports from Chiefs training camp are accurate, the upside here is WR1 for Patrick Mahomes. This pick could quickly not turn out well, so Valdes-Scantling will be an easy drop during the season to add any waiver wire breakouts.
Draft Spot 15.1: Evan Engram, TE, JAX
Other Options: Gus Edwards, Kenny Golladay
Finding a former first-rounder in the 15th round of a startup draft should be a blessing. I don’t know if I would say that about Engram, but he does have a ton of upside. Unable to stay on the field the past two years, the former Ole Miss star has the athletic ability to be a weapon for Trevor Lawrence. If that is not the case, he will be the first player we drop when making waiver wire claims in the season.
I did not go into this startup with the idea of building a contender for this year, but you must be flexible enough to let the draft board come to you. We have a team set at QB for at least the next two seasons, which will give us flexibility as we go into our rookie drafts in the years to come.
An area of concern for our title run this year will be TE and a lack of depth at RB. Both of these can easily be solved through the trade market. As this team enters year three and beyond, the area of concern will be the age of the WR. Older RBs and TEs can always be acquired for future draft capital. But a lot can change in two years, so for the time being, let’s get that ship!
It’s the rookie draft time! Want exclusive access to my rankings and those of over twenty fellow analysts? Subscribe to the #NerdHerd, where you get exclusive content, dynasty/rookie rankings, and DynastyGM! If you want 15% off ANY SUBSCRIPTION, USE PROMO CODE ‘LUNA’ or CLICK HERE.
I hope you enjoyed this startup mock draft. For more content like this, be sure to give me a follow on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for any questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!