For this article, I would like to detail one of the most unique draft systems I have encountered in dynasty fantasy football. Two of my best friends, Nick Heim and Jason Winterling, devised a different way to conduct rookie drafts. I like to call it the Nostradamus System in honor of the medieval prognosticator.
In this system, the first two rounds of the rookie draft are conducted BEFORE the NFL draft. The last three rounds of the draft are done in August at the end of the preseason. By completing the draft in this manner, the early third-round picks hold considerably more value than in a standard format. To make the fourth and fifth-round picks worth something, they are the only players eligible for taxi spots in the league.
We recently finished the first two rounds of our 2022 rookie draft. It is a 12-team Super-Flex, Tight End Premium league with a starting requirement of QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, SF, FLX, FLX, D. I would like to detail the draft and the trades which took place in a series of articles. First, we will examine the picks and trades before the NFL draft.
In the follow-up article, I would like to see how the values change after the NFL draft and then detail the last three rounds later in the summer. I will say that conducting the draft this way gives the NFL Draft a new level of excitement as you watch how well you did based on the landing spots of your first and second-round picks. Without further ado, let us examine how the draft unfolded.
1.01 – Bijan Robinson, RB Texas
(Trade Alert: The 1.01 was traded for the 1.02 and 1.12) The original team that held the top pick in this year’s draft is in full-blown rebuild mode. To that end, they traded back one spot with one of the better teams in the league while picking up a late first in the process. Robinson was the obvious pick with this year’s top selection. He is a generational talent who should contend for RB1 for six years or more.
1.02 – CJ Stroud, QB Ohio State
As mentioned above, the team initially held the top selection was in full-blown rebuild mode. He moved back to the second spot and selected who he believed to be this year’s top quarterback. Not knowing the landing spot makes it challenging when ranking similar players. Regarding the top four quarterbacks, Stroud appears to have the highest floor and is the safest pick. He offers a decade or more of QB1 potential.
1.03 – Bryce Young, QB Alabama
(Trade Alert: In a surprise move, the rebuilding team at no.3 moved 1.03, 2.10, and a future fourth for Nick Chubb and Tony Pollard.) The owner who acquired the pick had been searching for a QB for some time. To fill the void on his roster, he selected the Alabama product. I am unsure if he considered Anthony Richardson’s or Will Levis’s higher upside before making this move. No matter, he acquired a safe QB, who, barring injury, should be an NFL starter for the foreseeable future in the NFL.
1.04 – Anthony Richardson, QB Florida
With the top two signal callers off the board, the team sitting at four made the first of several selections he had in this draft. Richardson has immense upside, and for a team in the later stages of a rebuild, he was an excellent addition to a quarterback room already consisting of Justin Fields, Kenny Pickett, and Trey Lance. Richardson is a boom-or-bust prospect, but that boom could be QB1 overall.
1.05 – Will Levis, QB Kentucky
(Trade Alert: This was a pick I held coming into the draft. I was short on QB but needed multiple assets, with this being the second draft of a rebuilding effort. So I traded 1.05 for Jordan Love, Darren Waller, and 1.12) Now for the most polarizing quarterback in the class. I am a fan of Levis. However, having needs all over my team, I thought it best to take a shot on Love with the other pieces. Levis has a big arm, excellent mobility, and intangibles to boot. He could be a top-five NFL pick and a slam dunk at 1.05.
1.06 – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR Ohio State
This was one of the easiest picks in the entire draft. Smith-Njigba is the top receiver in the class, hands down. Not knowing the landing spots on the running backs makes them much more of a gamble than the safe pass catcher from Ohio State. He fell to a team already loaded at RB with Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker, Austin Ekeler, David Montgomery, Tyler Algier, and others. This was a home run swing and an easy pick.
1.07 – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB Alabama
At this point in the draft, we were almost following a chalk format. Gibbs is seen by most as the RB2 in the entire class. He flashed his enticing skill set at Alabama against elite SEC competition. He is a particularly adept pass catcher making him an ideal PPR running back. The team selecting him was loaded with picks this year and was happy to get Gibbs after selecting Richardson earlier.
1.08 – Quentin Johnston, WR TCU
Johnston is one of the more polarizing players in this year’s draft. Some analysts love him for his top-end size and athletic measurables. Others have raised legitimate concerns about his level of competition and overall craft. No matter how you feel about him, Johnston offers tantalizing skills that the owner who selected him hopes translate to his new NFL team and dynasty points.
1.09 – Sean Tucker, RB Syracuse
This was the biggest stretch of the draft to this point. Tucker had a fine career at Syracuse breaking records held by the likes of Jim Brown and Ernie Davis. He displayed a three-down skill set that would allow him not to come off the field at the next level. However, a mysterious medical red flag kept him from participating in the NFL Combine and the Syracuse Pro Day. We will eventually know what NFL teams think of the flag by how highly he is drafted. Either way, with the owner of this pick having already selected Richardson and Gibbs, he decided to get his guy at 1.09.
1.10 – Zach Charbonnet, RB UCLA
(Trade Alert: I traded the 1.12 and Brandin Cooks for moving up two spots here to draft the RB out of UCLA.) After what I thought was a mistake, allowing Charbonnet to fall in favor of Tucker, I decided to make a move up the draft board. My current squad is much deeper at WR, and I needed to add some running backs to my stable of Miles Sanders, Khalil Herbert, and Zeke Elliott. To that end, I selected my second-favorite running back in the draft. Charbonnet is big, athletic, has soft hands, and can pass block. Aside from Bijan, he is the closest thing to a true three-down runner in this class. I didn’t want to risk losing him over the next two picks, so I was happy to give Cooks in exchange for the upgrade.
1.11 – Kendre Miller, RB TCU
After I traded up to 1.10 to select Charbonnet, I was informed by the owner at 1.11 that I had stolen his pick. He, too, is in the middle stages of a rebuild and is beginning to add runners to his squad. Passing over some smaller and more dynamic running backs, this owner picked Miller. This kid has all the tools you want coming out of college. He is big, has good speed, and carried his team to the National Championship game. Depending on where he lands in the NFL Draft, he could be a steal or a reach at this pick.
1.12 – WR Jordan Addison, WR USC
While not a super dynamic athlete, Addison does all the little things on a football team well. He has excellent technique and is a terrific route runner. These skills propelled him to the Biletnikoff award two years ago while playing with Kenny Pickett at Pitt. Addison will go somewhere in the first two days of the NFL Draft. How highly he is selected and where will likely dictate his overall value. This was a quality pick to round out the first.
2.01 – Hendon Hooker, QB Tennessee
(Trade Alert: I was one of the more active traders in this year’s draft. In this move, I traded the 2.01 for Terrace Marshall along with a 2024 first and second-round pick.) As the second round got underway, I found myself on the clock. I had initially traded my 2024 first for this pick and Brandin Cooks. I was considering several different players at this spot, but when I was offered my 2024 first back, plus Terrace Marshall and a second, I couldn’t find a way to say no. The manager who bought the pick has a stranglehold on next year’s first round but wanted to get a head start on his rebuild by nabbing the last potential early-round quarterback in this year’s group.
Before his injury, Hooker was considered on par with most of this year’s top signal callers. His advanced age, 25, and injury history give some cause for concern. However, there is no denying that he blossomed after moving to Tennessee from Virginia Tech. It was a gamble selecting him here but one that could pay off handsomely.
2.02 – Zay Flowers, WR Boston College
Flowers is one of the most dynamic pass catchers in the 2023 class. For my money, he is the best receiver at creating separation within the class. He will be a natural slot receiver at the NFL level. There is an outside chance that his skills could allow him to dominate on the outside, somewhat like Antonio Brown. This owner added another dynamic playmaker to his haul of Richardson, Gibbs, and Tucker. There is more to come later from this owner as well.
2.03 – Jalin Hyatt, WR Tennessee
Receivers were going hot and heavy at the beginning of the second round. To that end, Hyatt went off the board at 2.03. While not the biggest player in the world, he displayed fine playmaking ability as Hooker’s top target in 2022. He put up over 1,200 yards and 15 TDs on his way to winning the Biletnikoff award in 2022, the second player in this draft to win the award as College Football’s top receiver. If he gets day one or two draft capital, Hyatt should be a fine asset for his NFL team and dynasty squads.
2.04 – Michael Mayer, TE Notre Dame
We finally saw our first Tight End go off the board in the middle of the second round. Notre Dame’s Mayer has long been considered the top Tight End in this draft class. His post-collegiate career athletic testing left something to be desired, especially when compared to some of his fellow draft mates. However, just put on some of his game films, and you will see an NFL-ready player who should be one of the top players selected at his position in the upcoming NFL draft.
2.05 – Devon Achane, RB Texas A&M
Following the Mayer selection, our draft saw a mini run on the running back position. Not knowing landing spots makes drafting running backs an extremely risky proposition. That is why the second round is typically loaded with managers taking their shots at prospects they like the best. The first player in this group was Texas A&M’s Achane. Despite his diminutive size, he was able to lay down a pair of highly producing seasons in the SEC. His 4.32 40 time at the combine was blistering and will undoubtedly entice some teams to take him as a space back who drips big play potential.
2.06 – Tyjae Spears, RB Tulane
(Trade Alert: Once again, I was personally active in the trade market. With my original target at 2.01 still on the board, I decided to make a move for my guy and traded the 2024 first I acquired earlier in the draft.) Spears has been one of my favorite prospects in this year’s class. He had a fine career at Tulane but came to my attention during his Cotton Bowl game against USC and the Senior Bowl. In both incidents, Spears rose to the occasion and was the star of the show, particularly at practice in the Senior Bowl. While he is not the biggest guy in the world, he has just enough size to get the job done and elite athleticism to make him stand out. Watching him, I see a bigger, faster Warrick Dunn. I was happy to get a share of Spears here at 2.06.
2.07 – Roschon Johnson, RB Texas
(Trade Alert: With RBs going hot and heavy, one of our owners traded his 2025 second, third, fourth, and fifth-round picks for this pick to select the Texas running back.) The owner seemed initially shocked that his offer was taken as he told me he felt like a dog that caught the car he was chasing. Johnson is a player who has been gaining steam throughout the draft process. His profile has been suppressed by the fact that he played behind Bijan. His skill set seems to fit the NFL, but we will see how much NFL teams like him at the draft.
2.08 – Zach Evans, RB Ole Miss
The trend of taking RBs continued at 2.08. This time it was Ole Miss’s Evans. Once considered on equal ground to Bijan, Evans has endured a circuitous route to the NFL, beginning his college career at TCU before eventually playing out his time in the SEC. Evans has flashed elite potential along with maddening inconsistency. It will be interesting to see if an NFL coach decides to attempt unlocking the elite potential he once promised coming out of High School.
2.09 – Kayshon Boutte, WR LSU
(Trade Alert: This was another of my trades. I moved the 2.09 along with the 5.12 to another owner in exchange for Baker Mayfield and Elijah Moore.) Boutte was an interesting selection here at 2.09. I had several targets I was interested in before trading this pick, and I must say Boutte wasn’t one of them. His athletic testing was somewhat underwhelming, as was his production on the field. However, college production isn’t always the best indicator of NFL success. This owner believed in the player and acquired his target before the NFL draft.
2.10 – Josh Downs, WR North Carolina
(Trade Alert: To extend his run at the top of the league, one of our owners traded his 2025 first in exchange for this pick to select the UNC product.) Downs would have been the receiver I targeted at the previous pick. The manager who drafted Downs here has been in the final for the past two years, winning in 2021. He was looking to extend his run at the top and, to that end, was not worried about dealing away future picks to gain another young and high-upside receiver,
Image ℅ chargerswire.usatoday.com
2.11 – Dalton Kincaid, TE Utah
Being a TE premium league, Kincaid was an excellent value at 2.11. The owner who went into this draft with the most selections topped off his haul of Richardson, Gibbs, Tucker, Flowers, and Mayer. Kincaid is a favorite of our boss here at Dynasty Nerds, Rich Dotson. He is a smooth, natural pass catcher who should be an excellent Tight End at the NFL level. This might be the best value pick of the entire draft. Certainly, a player to target if you need help at the TE position.
2.12 – Tank Bigsby, RB Auburn
I held the last pick in this draft. I came into this blind draft needing lots of help at running back. When I surveyed the available talent left on the board, Bigsby stood out like a sore thumb. He was one of the top High School recruits in his class coming to Auburn. Bigsby’s time in the SEC was up and down, but it seemed to mirror the struggles of the program as a whole. I am willing to gamble on the talent I saw him repeatedly flash at Auburn.
Overall, I thought this draft greatly affected most current rookie rankings. Tucker and Hooker were the biggest reaches, according to our Dynasty Nerds rankings. This is an enjoyable way to run your rookie drafts. It can be tough on managers new to this game we all love.
I was happy with what I was able to do in the draft. I came into this holding the 1.05, 2.01, 2.10, and 2.12. Those picks turned into Jordan Love, Baker Mayfield, Zach Charbonnet, Tyjae Spears, Tank Bigsby, Terrace Marshall, Elijah Moore, Darren Waller, and a 2024 second-round pick. Not a bad day’s work if I do say so myself.
Now we will all look toward the NFL draft to find out who the real winners and losers are from this draft. If you have a group of friends who are experienced managers, or big-time college football enthusiasts, I cannot recommend this draft format enough. It adds an element of excitement to the game. We will return sometime in August to finish the last three rounds.
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