Dynasty Start Up 101

Hello Heat Seekers welcome to episode 81 of Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast.  I hope that everyone is doing well.  Thanks for being here.

Today is a special episode that I have been meaning to get to for weeks and finally have managed to sort it all out and record this.  This is an episode that I am very excited about and the biggest reason for this is that, this episode is a listener request episode. A few weeks back Al Preziosi reached out to me in the RotoHeat Dynasty Fantasy Football Community on Facebook. 

A little back story on my man Al here.  Al joined our community on May 12 of this year.  He took the leap into Dynasty Fantasy Football a year ago taking over an orphan team, and he is currently preparing for this first startup draft. Al is trying to absorb as much dynasty content as possible preparing for this startup draft. This will be his first dynasty startup.  He let me know that there is not that much content out there about startup drafts and he was wondering if my audience would be interested.  Well Al, we are about to find out my man.

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I can tell you all that in my brief chats with Al via Facebook Messenger that he is way more prepared for his first startup than I was for mine. 

He has a BPA (best player available),approach. His league is a .5 PPR, .1 PPC, 1 QB League. In this startup Al has the 6th pick.  He mentioned to me that he intends to try and trade back, he wants to go RB early as he has noticed that RB’s fly off the board early and you are left with crap after the first few rounds.  He trust’s his ability to nail a late round WR much more than a RB.  He generally waits on TE and even longer on QB.

See I told y’all Al was prepared. 

In addition, Al was looking for some value picks, specifically my favorite value picks, especially deep sleepers in startups. So, Al has really put me to work here, and I love it.  I am going to tackle this, this way.

I will start off with my rules for Dynasty Start-ups, things that I believe are important and thing I focus on when I compete my stat ups.  I should say, I don’t consider myself the best drafter in the world, I’m good but I am not a Guru my any means.  My specialty is the rebuild and I might just have to do another podcast on that topic. But that is a story for another day.

Then I am going to mock the first 6 rounds of your upcoming draft.  Talk about each of you top 6 picks out of the 6 hole and players that I believe will be there for you.

Wrap it up with some deep sleepers guys to target in the later rounds of your draft.  Al’s league up is 25 man roster so we will go shopping in round 23 and see what is there.  Should be a blast.

OK lets go, Sully’s Dynasty Start-Up 101

1. Know your leagues rules and the scoring system. 

It sounds simple, but there are a lot of leagues with variations of starting spots, scoring settings, and other quirks that make each league unique. I can take this a step further, know the bylaws as well and to be honest you should know all this stuff before you join the league let alone your startup.

Good news here is Al has this covered.  As we discussed this is a .5 PPR, .1 PPC, 1 QB League.  Starting lineup are 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1 TE, 2 Flex.  Having this sorted out is crucial.  You must know what you are trying to accomplish.  Your rules and scoring are your road map, without it you are lost and will wonder how the hell you ended up where you ended up.  I can’t tell you how many times in the middle of drafts that an owner will post is this a PPR league in the group chat.  I don’t know if I will be winning those leagues anytime soon, but I can assure you those owners won’t be.

Look, Superflex or 2QB formats which allow or even require starting two quarterbacks every week greatly increase the value of quarterbacks. Even in 1QB formats, a league that starts two wide receivers vs. one that starts three or four wide receivers can tilt the dynamics of running back value vs. wide receiver value.

Many diverse scoring rules also exist. Tight end premium (TE prem) formats in which tight ends receive more points-per-reception than running backs or wide receivers increase the value of tight ends, whereas point-per-carry (PPC) scoring formats that award points for each rushing attempt place a premium on workhorse running backs.

These are fairly obvious statements but again only if you know they exist.  Try kicking a field goal without knowing where the uprights are. 

Dynasty Start-Up 101
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 12: Keenan Allen #13 of the San Diego Chargers scores a fourth quarter touchdown against Michael Huff #29 of the Denver Broncos during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Dynasty Start-Up 101

Knowing that Travis Kelce outscored Keenan Allen by nearly 60 points in TE premium formats last year or knowing that Mark Ingram outscored DeAndre Hopkins by nearly 30 points in PPC formats last year can create massive value opportunities if league mates are following standard ADP data during the start-up draft.  Al in  your case I wouldn’t let the .1 points per carry really sway you that much.  RB’s as you stated are already highly target and I don’t think .1 ppc (points per carry), changes much.

In 2019  the top 5 RB’s averaged 293.4 carries, in your scoring format that is an extra 29.34 fantasy points.  No to dismiss those entirely but Derrick Henry, Zeke, Nick Chubb, Christian McCaffrey, and Joe Mixon are going to go in your draft and go early, ppc carry kicker or not.

Where the PPC kicker can be beneficial is if it applies to other positions especially QB.  Running QB’s already have more value especially in 4 pt. per passing leagues like Al’s, and this point kicker gives you a little extra incentive to grab one. 

2. Picks are Cheaper Than actual Players During a Startup Draft

The start-up 2.04 for example isn’t valued nearly as much as D.J. More. Owners will generally sell start-up picks for less prior to that pick becoming an actual player on their roster.  If you really believe that a player is undervalued or just really love a player that’s still available, don’t be afraid to trade up to draft him. That player will likely cost far more to acquire once he’s on a dynasty team.  This leads to the third point.

3. Trading During the Startup is Key

This is also the reason I am not the best Dynasty drafter.  Quite simply put I am not good at this.  But I know those that are.  Jacob Wallace a valued member of the RotoHeat team is an excellent resource here.  JayWall just dropped his Art of the Trade Negotiations article The Art of Trade Negotiations 101 on our website, it’s a must read. 

The fact that players are generally cheapest to acquire during the start-up draft leads directly to this point.Trade early and often during the dynasty football start-up draft. This is your chance to immediately build a roster exactly how you want.

Most redraft formats don’t allow trading during the draft, so the ability to be flexible can be a huge advantage…as long as you select the right players.

Be aware of current market value and ADP for various players, as it could be wise to select a player that you don’t particularly like but that others love. For example Aaron Jones is a player many covet, me not so much, I think he is overvalued, With this in mind if I see an opportunity to trade up and grab him in a spot that is a value for him I will try.  My personal opinion on players a side, I would still target them in start-up drafts if I believe that I can get them at a value and then sell them for profit.

4. What kind of an Owner are you

This one is a little repetitive, but it requires a call out.  Are you the type of owner that seeks to win the first year of the league, are you one the wants to target youth and rookies to build for the future or are you a combination of the two.  Typically, I am a marathon not a sprint kind of drafter and I’d be lying if I didn’t make this decision after the first few rounds of the draft.  Perhaps another reason why I’m not the greatest drafter.  This leads to the nest two points.

5. Age Matters

Dynasty formats devalue older players who are projected to decline, especially those nearing or past the age of 30. Players like Julio Jones, who were once slam dunk top 12 dynasty assets are now ranked far below younger players like Kenny Golladay and Chris Godwin.

In a Dynasty start-up the players you are drafting in theory are players you want to have for a long period of time.  Even if you are planning to make trades to sell these players down the line, their market price may quickly dip far below what you paid to acquire them, if you are trying to deal Julio vs. Kenny G for example.

6. Age isn’t Everything

With all that being said, veterans can become undervalued buys if the pendulum swings too far. For teams who have built a strong roster through the first few rounds of the startup draft that is poised to immediately contend, it may be beneficial to then take a calculated risk in targeting some older veteran players.

Dynasty Start-Up 101
CINCINNATI, OH – OCTOBER 28: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs onto the field before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Dynasty Start-Up 101

A veteran wide receiver like A.J. Green or Golden Tate may not fetch much in a trade, but for teams ready to immediately contend, their short-term production may outweigh their impending decline in value.

If one or two more seasons of fantasy WR1 or WR2 or even WR3 production from such a veteran wins you a fantasy title, then it hardly matters if they become ineffective or retire while still on your dynasty roster shortly thereafter. Remember Flags fly forever!

7. Do your Homework

Most fantasy football players partake in some measure of research for redraft formats, but in Dynasty it’s a whole different level.

I used to show up to redraft leagues with a pencil and a rankings sheet, and off we went.  Remember when I said Al was more prepared for his first Dynasty draft than I was. This should give you an indication as to how I prepared I was. 

Rather than just looking up rankings and sleeper articles prior to a draft, many offseason trade or rookie draft opportunities must be capitalized upon in a timely manner. Timing is everything in dynasty, and two big areas of dynasty research are player contracts and coaching changes.

Player contracts and team salary cap data are all readily available, but it requires time and effort to sift through impending free agents and potential landing spots based on which teams have both the need and available salary cap to pay for them. Knowing the future of a player you covet in terms of his contract can and should impact his value.  Amari Cooper on a 5 year 100-million-dollar deal is much more valuable than if Amari Cooper was playing 2020 on the Franchise Tag.  In redraft who cares, in Dynasty we all should.

The other area that sometimes requires deep dives into research are coaching changes, and even then their impact is hard to project.

Head coaching hires like Matt Rhule in Carolina and Joe Judge in New York are often exciting for fan bases, but their impact on the offense and specific players’ fantasy production is difficult to divine. But coaching changes go far deeper than just the head coach level. An offensive coordinator change like Alex Van Pelt in Cleveland working alongside new head coach Kevin Stefanski makes Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and Odell Beckham Jr. dynasty buys for me. The addition of Pat Shurmur in Denver has me in love with the majority of that offense. 

Don’t use my rankings or anyone else’s rankings in your drafts.  Make your own and add tiers.  The player you have at 19 and 30 likely isn’t there.  Have a tier for each group of players in that range, one of them will be there and you’ll quickly identify value to deal for if a player in one of your tiers drops into another.

Going even further past the coordinator level, supporting coaches can greatly impact fantasy production as well, but I will be the first to admit, I am not that up on the leagues WR coaches and O line guys.  If you are you are likely more prepared than those that are not. 

8. Get Your Guy!

After all this is your team, and a team you obviously will have a rooting interest in.  Nothing wrong with building a roster with some of “your guys”.  Value still matters.  I have a soft spot for Phillip Rivers, but I am not drafting him until extremely late in my drafts.  Rivers is going to make me look like a genius in 2020, and I will look even smarter than I am buy adding him in round 22 versus round 18 for example.

It’s okay to ignore ADP sometimes in a dynasty start-up drafts to acquire the players that you truly believe in and want on your team. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s fun and sometimes it pays off.

9. Have Fun!

This might be the most important rule of all of fantasy football regardless of the format. Each season provides you with 16 weeks of competition. In dynasty it’s a 365 day a year battle.  Enjoy it, build relationships with your league mates, after all some of them may be your competition for years to come.    

Have fun, trash talk but always be respectful of your fellow league mates.  You never know when you will need them to be on the other end of trade talks.  Nothing is worse than burning a bridge, trust me I have and it took years to come back from and several deals that I got killed on in the process.  We’re all in it to win it, but maintaining civility and respect in your leagues should be a top priority. Don’t ruin the league for yourself and/or everyone else.

Remember these guidelines as you enter your dynasty start-up draft. But this is your start up, draft it however you want to draft it.  After all, it’ll be your dynasty team not mine. Enjoy the process, to me there is nothing better than draft day!

Mock Draft

Dynasty Start-Up 101
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 25: Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball for a 26-yard touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Dynasty Start-Up 101

6. At six I would anticipate that CMC. Barkley, Michael Thomas, and Zeke are gone.  If by chance Thomas makes it to you, he is my pick.  You are likely looking at a group of Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Devante Adams and Joe Mixon types.  You mentioned the desire to trade back to grab a RB, here I think I would just grab the back.  Now if you can trade back to 1.07 or 1.08 and elevate your standing later in the draft do it.  

19. Assuming you selected a RB in round 1, at 19 the Best player available rule should ring thru your ears.  There are a ton of great assets available here, take the one you value the most.  Don’t worry about your roster construction, plenty of time for that.  There will still be a ton of value at pick 30 when you are OTC next.  So a quick look at ADP as a guide and I would select DJ Moore, Miles Sanders if they fall here and if they go as expected prior to your pick, I like Mike Evans, Amari Cooper or even Derrick Henry here.  ADP will want you to grab George Kittle or Patrick Mahomes here, avoid that pressure. 

30. 11 picks later and with let’s say Dalvin Cook and Mike Evans are on your roster its time to add to your team.  Kenny Golladay, Julio Jones, Aaron Jones, and perhaps AJ Brown, Austin Ekeler have fallen here.  Take the BPA, use your tier based ranking sheet you prepared and lets rock and role.  For me since I am in charge here, I am taking Kenny Golladay, who I have at 9 in my dynasty rankings and a player I value more than others. 

Before we get to pick 43 you may notice I have been avoiding the rookies here.  I want established players and even though there are rookies I really like; I believe the top ones are extremely over valued.  I go rookie hunting later in the draft when I see value.  There are likely 4 rookie RB;s gone by pick 30, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift and Cam Akers.  All 4 in the top 30 is bonkers in my opinion.

43. Round 4, there are 4 players in this ADP range that jump out at me.  Calvin Ridley, Kenyan Drake, Keenan Allen, and Mark Andrews.  Its too early for a TE value wise even if I do really value Andrews, Ridley is likely gone, so we are down to Allen and Drake. Both have upside and some uncertainty, and, in the end, Drake is my man here.  Excellent value at pick 43.

54. Quick turn around here into round 5.  If any other the players mentioned at pick 43 fall here, this pick should be an easy one.  Assuming they are all gone; Kyler Murray, Justin Jefferson, Todd Gurley Tyler Lockett, Devin Singletary etc. are likely your options.  I really want to trade back here. Simply put I don’t love anyone at this value.  For the purpose of this exercise I’ll make a pick.  For me I will grab a player I didn’t mention and that is Terry McLaurin.  I am grabbing Terry with the intent on trading him.  I believe this value is greatly overstated and I am going to cash in on it.

67. Pick 6, this is about the start of the fun in start-ups, basically shit is about to get real.  You should have an idea of how your league mates are drafting and can course correct your plan. Adjust your tiers accordingly.  I’m going to guess that the RB position is really picked over by now.  This likely has caused value to fall to you, use those rankings and tiers and capitalize. You have great balance in your lineup thus far, and 5 solid assets to start.  The part I mentioned earlier about the rookies and waiting on value, its time.  Two in particular I like here Ke’Shawn Vaugh and Michael Pittman.  You can also start thinking QB here.  I know its early but with the PPC kicker in your league, Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson might be too hard to pass up.  In the end I will grab one here.  Dak if he’s still there and Wilson if he isn’t.

Sleepers

Dynasty Start-Up 101
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – NOVEMBER 17: Josh Oliver #89 of the Jacksonville Jaguars makes a first down catch during the first quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) Dynasty Start-Up 101

Rounds 23-25.  It’s time for a little dumpster diving.  Forget about age here this is dart throw country and you are trying to find players with upside.  By this portion of the draft if you are looking for players to rely on its time to start thinking about you upcoming rebuild.

270.  Look for late round rookies and players with upside that are free agents.  If you are into handcuffs its probably a little late but hey who knows.  Based on ADP here are a few I see as value.  The biggest value I see here is Tyrod Taylor even in a 1QB league.  He can run and he will start likely the first half minimum of 2020.  Josh Oliver is interesting, Jimmy Graham and even Josh Gordon.  I will go with Oliver; I think he presents the best valve now and in the years to come.  If Gordon comes back, he’s the best player available but I have gone down that road too many times before to want to do it again.

283. a lot of the same guys mentioned above could be lingering here and players like Wayne Gallman, Phillip Dorsett, Travis Homer are of interest to me as well.  All need bad things to happen to be relevant.  Of this group, I will grab Gallman.  He may be of mild interest to the Saquon owner as a handcuff and has some standalone value albeit slight if Saquon misses anytime. 

294.  Round 25 your last pick of the draft.  Pick 294 lol  should be fun.  Guys like LeSean McCoy, Marquise Goodwin, Marcus Mariota, Olabisi Johnson etc.  Literally nothing to get excited about.  For me I am grabbing Mariota here.  He is likely going to get a shot in Las Vegas at some point and if by the grace of god is remotely productive, he reboots his career.  In the 25th round I am throwing this dart rather easily.

Well that’s going to do it for this episode. 

Thank you for listening to episode 81 – Dynasty Start-Up 101

f you have yet to subscribe to Sully’s 2 Cents Dynasty Fantasy Football Podcast you can do so by searching for it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Podbean, Spotify, Google Play, and now Player FM. 

In addition, you can find me on twitter @RotoHeatSully, in the RotoHeat Dynasty Fantasy Football Community on Facebook and I am @Sully in our Discord chat as well.

Stay safe, and healthy Heat Seekers. 

Take care.

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