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Dynasty Startup Mock Draft

By Jared Smola | Updated on Wed, 03 Jul 2024 . 4:07 PM EDT
Dynasty Startup Mock Draft: How Top Experts Draft


What happens when you get 12 top dynasty analysts together for a dynasty startup mock draft? 

You learn a lot about dynasty draft strategy, roster-building styles, and player valuations.

The Setup

This was a 20-round dynasty startup mock draft with PPR scoring and the following starting requirements:

  • 1 QB
  • 2 RBs
  • 3 WRs
  • 1 TE
  • 1 Flex

The Drafters:

  • Kyle Borgognoni, Fantasy Footballers
  • Jakob Sanderson, Thinking About Thinking
  • Kevin English, Draft Sharks
  • Theo Gremminger, PlayerProfiler
  • Matt Schauf, Draft Sharks
  • Alex Korff, Draft Sharks
  • Jeff Bell, Footballguys
  • Alan Seslowsky, Rotowire
  • Anthony Amico, Establish The Run
  • Jared Smola, Draft Sharks
  • Matt Price, Dynasty League Football
  • Shane Hallam, Draft Sharks

Below we'll take a look at the full draft results, examine each team's final roster, and get some thoughts from each participant on how the draft played out.


Dynasty Startup Mock Draft Results

Dynasty startup mock draft: Rounds 1 through 10
Dynasty startup mock draft: Rounds 11 through 20


1.01 - J. Jefferson WR MIN

1.02 - J. Chase WR CIN

1.03 - C. Lamb WR DAL

1.04 - B. Robinson RB ATL

1.05 - A. St. Brown WR DET

1.06 - B. Hall RB NYJ

1.07 - M. Harrison Jr. WR ARI

1.08 - J. Gibbs RB DET

1.09 - M. Nabers WR NYG

1.10 - P. Nacua WR LAR

1.11 - A.J. Brown WR PHI

1.12 - G. Wilson WR NYJ

2.01 - C. McCaffrey RB SF

2.02 - C. Olave WR NO

2.03 - T. Hill WR MIA

2.04 - D. London WR ATL

2.05 - R. Odunze WR CHI

2.06 - S. LaPorta TE DET

2.07 - B. Aiyuk WR SF

2.08 - J. Waddle WR MIA

2.09 - J. Taylor RB IND

2.10 - D. Smith WR PHI

2.11 - N. Collins WR HOU

2.12 - T. Etienne RB JAC

3.01 - J. Allen QB BUF

3.02 - T. McBride TE ARI

3.03 - P. Mahomes QB KC

3.04 - G. Pickens QB PIT

3.05 - M. Pittman WR IND

3.06 - D.K. Metcalf WR SEA

3.07 - D. Kincaid TE BUF

3.08 - T. Higgins WR CIN

3.09 - T. Dell WR HOU

3.10 - D.J. Moore WR CHI

3.11 - Z. Flowers WR BAL

3.12 - J. Addison WR MIN

Click to see picks in Rounds 4 through 20

4.01 - D. Achane RB MIA

4.02 - X. Worthy WR MIA

4.03 - S. Barkley RB PHI

4.04 - B. Bowers TE LV

4.05 - J. Hurts QB PHI

4.06 - B. Thomas WR JAC

4.07 - D. Samuel WR SF

4.08 - R. Rice WR KC

4.09 - K. Pitts TE ATL

4.10 - M. Andrews TE BAL

4.11 - J. Reed WR GB

4.12 - J. Smith-Njigba WR SEA

5.01 - K. Coleman WR BUF

5.02 - L. McConkey WR LAC

5.03 - D. Adams WR LV

5.04 - C.J. Stroud QB HOU

5.05 - C. Godwin WR TB

5.06 - L. Jackson QB BAL

5.07 - C. Williams QB CHI

5.08 - M. Evans QB TB

5.09 - T. Kelce TE KC

5.10 - S. Diggs WR HOU

5.11 - A. Richardson QB IND

5.12 - J. Burrow QB CIN

6.01 - J. Brooks RB CAR

6.02 - C. Kupp WR LAR

6.03 - K. Williams RB LAR

6.04 - J. Cook RB BUF

6.05 - M. Brown WR KC

6.06 - K. Walker.RB SEA

6.07 - I. Pacheco RB KC

6.08 - D. Henry RB BAL

6.09 - J. Williams WR DET

6.10 - J. Jacobs RB LV

6.11 - R. White RB TB

6.12 - C. Kirk WR JAC

7.01 - T.Benson RB ARI

7.02 - D. Johnson WR CAR

7.03 - T. McLaurin WR WAS

7.04 - A. Cooper WR CLE

7.05 - T.J. Hockenson TE MIN

7.06 - C. Ridley WR JAC

7.07 - R. Pearsall WR SF

7.08 - D'Andre Swift RB CHI

7.09 - A. Mitchell WR IND

7.10 - C. Watson WR GB

7.11 - J. Downs WR IND

7.12 - D. Njoku TE CLE

8.01 - J. Jeudy WR CLE

8.02 - D. Wicks WR GB

8.03 - J. Daniels QB WAS

8.04 - A. Kamara RB NO

8.05 - J. Burton WR CIN

8.06 - X. Legette WR CAR

8.07 - K. Allen WR CHI

8.08 - K. Murray QB ARI

8.09 - J. Warren RB PIT

8.10 - J. Polk WR NE

8.11 - J. Mixon RB CIN

8.12 - J. Dotson WR WAS

9.01 - D. Montgomery RB DET

9.02 - G. Kittle TE SF

9.03 - T. Spears RB TEN

9.04 - T. Franklin WR DEN

9.05 - E. Engram TE JAC

9.06 - J. Ferguson TE DAL

9.07 - J. Love QB GB

9.08 - D. Goedert TE PHI

9.09 - J. Herbert QB LAC

9.10 - J. Williams RB DEN

9.11 - B. Robinson RB WAS

9.12 - R. Stevenson RB NE

10.01 - R. Wilson WR PIT

10.02 - Z. Charbonnet RB SEA

10.03 - C. Sutton WR DEN

10.04 - T. Pollard RB TEN

10.05 - B. Corum RB LAR

10.06 - K. Shakir WR BUF

10.07 - N. Harris RB PIT

10.08 - J. Conner RB ARI

10.09 - D. Hopkins WR TEN

10.10 - Q. Johnston WR LAC

10.11 - A. Jones RB MIN

10.12 - M. LLoyd RB GB

11.01 - T. Lawrence QB JAC

11.02 - Z. White RB LV

11.03 - K. Miller RB NO

11.04 - M. Corley WR NYJ

11.05 - M. Mims WR DEN

11.06 - N. Chubb RB CLE

11.07 - J. Wright RB MIA

11.08 - B. Sinnott TE WAS

11.09 - L. McCaffrey WR WAS

11.10 - P. Freiermuth TE PIT

11.11 - R. Davis RB BUF

11.12 - C. Brown RB CIN

12.01 - Z. Moss RB CIN

12.02 - L. Musgrave TE GB

12.03 - C. Samuel WR BUF

12.04 - D. Maye QB NE

12.05 - M. Wilson WR ARI

12.06 - D. Prescott QB DAL

12.07 - A. Ekeler RB WAS

12.08 - D. Douglas WR NE

12.09 - J. Baker WR NE

12.10 - J. McMillan WR TB

12.11 - B. Purdy QB SF

12.12 - D. Singletary RB NYG

13.01 - I. Likely TE BAL

13.02 - J.J. McCarthy QB MIN

13.03 - B. Irving RB TB

13.04 - J. Meyers WR LV

13.05 - J. McLaughlin RB DEN

13.06 - R. Mostert RB MIA

13.07 - R. Doubs WR GB

13.08 - W. Robinson WR NYG

13.09 - J. Hyatt WR NYG

13.10 - T. Tagovailoa QB MIA

13.11 - G. Edwards RB LAC

13.12 - C. Kmet TE CHI

14.01 - G. Davis WR JAC

14.02 - K. Vidal RB LAC

14.03 - M. Williams WR NYJ

14.04 - R. Shaheed WR NO

14.05 - J. Goff QB DET

14.06 - J. Ford RB CLE

14.07 - D. Schultz TE HOU

14.08 - A. Gibson RB NE

14.09 - T. Allgeier RB ATL

14.10 - T. Tracy RB NYG

14.11 - T. Lockett WR SEA

14.12 - B. Allen RB NYJ

15.01 - D. Mooney WR ATL

15.02 - D. Watson QB CLE

15.03 - R. Bateman WR BAL

15.04 - R. Johnson RB CHI

15.05 - B. Young QB CAR

15.06 - B. Cooks WR DAL

15.07 - T. Chandler RB MIN

15.08 - J.K. Dobbins RB BAL

15.09 - J. Sanders TE CAR

15.10 - J. Palmer WR LAC

15.11 - R. Dowdle RB DAL

15.12 - B. Nix QB DEN

16.01 - J. Tolbert WR DAL

16.02 - E. Elliott RB DAL

16.03 - A. Estime RB DEN

16.04 - A. Iosivas WR CIN

16.05 - C. Hubbard RB CAR

16.06 - W. Shipley RB PHI

16.07 - M. Penix QB ATL

16.08 - R. Ali RB BAL

16.09 - W. Levis QB TEN

16.10 - T. Johnson TE NYG

16.11 - D. Walker WR BAL

16.12 - T. Bigsby RB JAC

17.01 - M. Mayer TE LV

17.02 - J. Fields QB PIT

17.03 - M. Washington WR MIA

17.04 - I. Guerendo RB SF

17.05 - T. Burks WR TEN

17.06 - K. Mitchell RB BAL

17.07 - D. Laube RB LV

17.08 - B. Rice WR LAC

17.09 - K. Herbert RB CHI

17.10 - T. Kraft TE GB

17.11 - K. Cousins QB ATL

17.12 - D. Pierce RB HOU

18.01 - R. Moore WR ATL

18.02 - N. Fant TE SEA

18.03 - E. Moore WR CLE

18.04 - D. Foreman RB CLE

18.05 - E. Gray RB NYG

18.06 - E. Mitchell RB SF

18.07 - A. Thielen WR CAR

18.08 - G. Dulcich TE DEN

18.09 - C. Otton TE TB

18.10 - J. Cowing WR SF

18.11 - E. Hull RB IND

18.12 - C. Okonkwo TE TEN

19.01 - G. Smith QB SEA

19.02 - C. Edwards-HelaireRB KC

19.03 - E. All TE CIN

19.04 - J. Woods TE IND

19.05 - D. Vaughn RB DAL

19.06 - O. Beckham WR MIA

19.07 - B. Watson RB DEN

19.08 - J. Mingo WR CAR

19.09 - A. Perry WR NO

19.10 - C. Stover TE HOU

19.11 - H. Henry TE NE

19.12 - C. Claypool WR BUF

20.01 - D. Bellinger TE NYG

20.02 - J. Wiley TE KC

20.03 - C. Tillman WR CLE

20.04 - I. Davis RB NYJ

20.05 - C. Schrader RB SF

20.06 - T. Conklin TE NYJ

20.07 - T. Boyd WR TEN

20.08 - T. Sermon RB IND

20.09 - J. Metchie WR HOU

20.10 - M. Stafford QB LAR

20.11 - C. Rodriguez RB WAS

20.12 - G. Dortch WR ARI


Dynasty Startup Mock Draft: Post-Draft Analysis

Here's a look at how these rosters stack up in terms of total 3D+ value, our proprietary measure of dynasty value.

You can also see where each team ranks in strength at each position, as well as each team's average age.

Post-draft analysis of this dynasty startup mock draft.


Get a full analysis of YOUR dynasty team by syncing your league.


Dynasty Startup Mock Draft: Team-by-Team Analysis

Below you'll find each team's roster -- as well as answers to a couple of questions about their draft.

Kyle Borgognoni, Fantasy Footballers

Josh Allen (3.01) Travis Etienne (2.12) Justin Jefferson (1.01) Travis Kelce (5.09)
Trevor Lawrence (11.01) Trey Benson (7.01) Keon Coleman (5.01) Isaiah Likely (13.01)
Geno Smith (19.01) Alvin Kamara (8.04) Christian Kirk (6.12) Michael Mayer (17.01)
David Montgomery (9.01) Jahan Dotson (8.12) Chig Okonkwo (18.12)
Devin Singletary (12.12) Darnell Mooney (15.01)
Braelon Allen (14.12) Greg Dortch (20.12)
Tank Bigsby (16.12)

You made Josh Allen the first QB off the board at 3.01. Are you generally looking to secure an elite QB in dynasty startups? Are you willing to take Allen even earlier than the 2-3 turn?

In a 1-QB draft, I generally like waiting on the QB position. But Allen fell to a place where I felt comfortable locking in a player who finished as the QB1 in points per game four years in a row. His rushing floor is absurd with the second-most rushing TDs of all time for a QB in only 94 career games. I don't love being the first person taking a QB, but I do think Allen is a set-it-and-forget-it for another five-plus years at minimum. Securing his WR1 (Keon Coleman) as a stack also was in the back of my mind.

How big a premium do you put on stacking in dynasty startup drafts?

Normally, I like stacking by first selecting the stud WR and then following that up later on with a discounted QB. However, with Allen being a true difference maker, I shifted my attention in the middle rounds to trying to find his WR1. Dalton Kincaid was taken earlier than I expected and thus Coleman leapt onto my radar at the 4-5 turn. It is a bit of a gamble on an unknown player, but the Bills are vacating the sixth-most targets of any team over the last five years. Stacking should not be forced in startups, but when you have the option to do it with one of the NFL's premier offenses, it felt like an added bonus where I selected Coleman.


Jakob Sanderson, Thinking About Thinking

Brock Purdy (12.11) Rachaad White (6.11) Ja'Marr Chase (1.02) Trey McBride (3.02)
J.J. McCarthy (13.02) Joe Mixon (8.11) Nico Collins (2.11) George Kittle (9.02)
Deshaun Watson (15.02) Aaron Jones (10.11) Jayden Reed (4.11)
Justin Fields (17.02) Zamir White (11.02) Ladd McConkey (5.02)
Evan Hull (18.11) Diontae Johnson (7.02)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (19.02) Tyler Lockett (14.11)
Chris Rodriguez (20.11) Devontez Walker (16.11)

You made Trey McBride the second TE off the board at 3.02. Are you generally looking to secure an elite TE in dynasty startups? 

Yes, especially so in a 1-QB format where TE becomes the position with the steepest value-over-replacement curve. In 1-QB dynasty (relative to superflex), QB becomes substantially devalued, WR becomes the ‘default’ position (there are several options, but you also need the most of them), and TE is the scarcity position with a steep drop off that’s hard to emulate after the first few options off the board.

I wanted to secure a legitimate edge at TE, while building out WR depth and addressing RB with some veterans who are likely to outproduce their cost at least in Year 1.

You were the last team to take a QB, grabbing Brock Purdy at 12.11. You were also the only team to take 4 QBs. Talk a little about the thought process there.

In single-QB, I either want to be the team grabbing the truly elite QB or waiting it out. Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts have proven themselves to separate enough from the pack that they’re worth investing in. Once they were gone, I didn’t want to pay the premium, especially knowing I could push QB way down the board since most drafters wouldn’t be looking to prioritize a QB2. 

I locked in Purdy, who I see as a high-floor option to be a fringe QB1, and then took shots at cheaper upside bets to surpass that with McCarthy, Watson, and Fields. Should Watson regain his form and stay healthy, or Fields take over for Russ at some point, I should project in the mid-QB1 range at a negligible cost.


Kevin English, Draft Sharks

Patrick Mahomes (3.03) Josh Jacobs (6.10) CeeDee Lamb (1.03) Mark Andrews (4.10)
Matthew Stafford (20.10) Tyjae Spears (9.03) DeVonta Smith (2.10) Theo Johnson (16.10)
Kendre Miller (11.03) Davante Adams (5.03) Erick All (19.03)
Bucky Irving (13.03) Terry McLaurin (7.03)
Tyrone Tracy (14.10) Ja'Lynn Polk (8.10)
Quentin Johnston (10.10)
Jalen McMillan (12.10)
Rashod Bateman (15.03)
Malik Washington (17.03)
Jacob Cowing (18.10)

You used third- and fourth-round picks on Patrick Mahomes and Mark Andrews. Are you generally looking to secure elites at the ‘onesie’ positions in dynasty startup drafts?

It depends on how the board shakes out and where tiers drop off. 

Looking back, it was either Mahomes or Michael Pittman in the third. I opted for a long-term QB1 over a would-be WR3 in Pittman. Davante Adams later joined the squad as my WR3 in Round 5.

Andrews slots in third in our dynasty TE rankings. The value was right here, with the Raven arriving as the TE6.

Eight of your 20 picks were spent on rookies. Talk about how you value rookies vs. vets in startup drafts.

I'm OK exiting a startup draft counting on several veteran pieces. I did that with Andrews, Adams, Terry McLaurin, and Josh Jacobs.

To counterbalance mid- and late-career players, I’ll look to grab first- or second-year guys with the potential to eventually replace the vets.

Some of my favorites in this draft: Ja'Lynn Polk (for his polished skill set and opportunity) and Tyrone Tracy (for his pass-catching ability and opportunity).


Theo Gremminger, PlayerProfiler

C.J. Stroud (5.04) Bijan Robinson (1.04) George Pickens (3.04) Kyle Pitts (4.09)
Will Levis (16.09) Jonathon Taylor (2.09) Jameson Williams (6.09) Cade Otton (18.09)
Jaylen Warren (8.09) Amari Cooper (7.04) Jelani Woods (19.04)
Tyler Allgeier (14.09) Troy Franklin (9.04)
Roschon Johnson (15.04) DeAndre Hopkins (10.09)
Isaac Guerendo (17.04) Malachi Corley (11.04)
Javon Baker (12.09)
Jakobi Meyers (13.04)
John Metchie (20.09)

Six RBs went in the first two rounds of this draft. You took two of them: Bijan Robinson and Jonathan Taylor. Are you generally seeing value in elite RBs in dynasty startups right now?

I usually start my single-QB dynasty startups with a WR in the first round for long-term stability at the position.

Bijan Robinson is the exception. He is 22 years old, has potential to be this year’s RB1 overall, and should maintain this potential for a few seasons. The one knock on Robinson last season was his receiving upside, and he finished with the eighth-most targets all time for a rookie in a single season.

Rankings wise, I have him ahead of any WR in this range. 

As for Taylor, it was a value-based decision and the opportunity to have the strongest set of RBs in this league. The WR steam was real with this set of drafters and it made sense to draft Taylor instead of pushing up a WR because of a positional run.

Starting RB-RB can be risky, but with Taylor’s role and contract insulation, he is one of the safer options in dynasty. 

You took George Pickens at 3.04 – a round or two ahead of ADP. Talk about why you’re so high on Pickens.

Pickens was an upside bet where I took him. I believe in the profile and role. The only concern is passing volume and targets, but the threat of Arthur Smith to Pickens could be overblown. We have a larger sample size of WR1s excelling in Mike Tomlin-led offenses.

I prefer Pickens to Michael Pittman and D.K. Metcalf (the two WRs selected after him) in dynasty.


Matt Schauf, Draft Sharks

Kyler Murray (8.08) Derrick Henry (6.08) Amon-Ra St. Brown (1.05) T.J. Hockenson (7.05)
Bryce Young (15.05) James Conner (10.08) Jaylen Waddle (2.08) Evan Engram (9.05)
Jaleel McLaughlin (13.05) Michael Pittman (3.05) Greg Dulcich (18.08)
Antonio Gibson (14.08) Rashee Rice (4.08)
Rasheen Ali (16.08) Chris Godwin (5.05)
Deuce Vaughn (19.05) Marvin Mims (11.05)
Trey Sermon (20.08) Demario Douglas (12.08)
Treylon Burks (17.05)

You opened your draft with five straight WRs. Is that a strategy you’re specifically looking to deploy in startup drafts?

I am looking to lean on WRs early in dynasty startup drafts. Exactly how many I take will depend on the specific players who reach me and how the rest of the league is drafting. 

There’s a small top shelf at RB right now – guys who combine high immediate ceilings with attractive ages and reliable workloads. Solid-to-good veteran RBs, meanwhile, always slide down a startup board. So I know I can get worthwhile 2024 starters at the position later (here: Derrick Henry in Round 6; James Conner in Round 10) and then fortify with rookies over the next couple of years. 

In this draft specifically, only one other drafter opened with four WR picks. And then Chris Godwin made it to my fifth turn as the WR35. The guy’s heading into just his age-28 season with plenty of proven production behind him.

I’d have been fine subbing in a TE for my Round 4 WR, but I believe Rashee Rice was pushed too far down the board in this particular draft – and probably overall on the market right now – for the off-field stuff. He’s a low-risk bet as my WR4.

There were also only four QBs off the board by my Round 5 turn. So I felt no pressure to address that position ahead of Godwin. I wound up landing Kyler Murray – a key reason I felt comfy waiting – in the middle of Round 8. But I’d have also been fine leading that position with Jordan Love, Trevor Lawrence, or Dak Prescott even later.

Your top two RBs, Derrick Henry and James Conner, are 30 and 29 years old, respectively. How do you think about age when drafting RBs in dynasty startups?

I know heading in that productive older RBs will go later than they probably should. RB overall is not a position where we should bet on long-term contributions. So I’m less interested in reaching for someone such as Rachaad White or even Travis Etienne just because he’s young. 

Etienne’s obviously a better bet to produce for longer from this point than Henry or Conner. But is he four rounds more valuable than Henry? Eight more than Conner? Is Etienne going to stay good for fantasy beyond his 2025 fifth-year option season? I’d rather wait and bet on safer positions.

Finally, on the older guys: I didn’t draft "a 30-year-old RB" and "a 29-year-old RB." I drafted Henry and Conner specifically. Both remained highly effective players in 2023. Henry’s situation then improved, and he’s been a physical outlier throughout his playing career. Conner has been perennially underrated in Arizona and should find himself in a better offense this year.

Beyond 2024? I don't need to have that figured out at RB right now.


Alex Korff, Draft Sharks

Lamar Jackson (5.06) Breece Hall (1.06) Brandon Aiyuk (2.07) Jake Ferguson (9.06)
Michael Penix (16.07) Isiah Pacheco (6.07) D.K. Metcalf (3.06) Dalton Schultz (14.07)
Najee Harris (10.07) Deebo Samuel (4.07)
Nick Chubb (11.06) Calvin Ridley (7.06)
Austin Ekeler (12.07) Keenan Allen (8.07)
Raheem Mostert (13.06) Brandin Cooks (15.06)
Keaton Mitchell (17.06) Adam Thielen (18.07)
Odell Beckham (19.06)
Tyler Boyd (20.07)

You drafted the oldest team in the league, with an average age of 27.4 years. Talk about how age factors into your strategy in dynasty startups.

What can I say? I like ‘em old. (Winks.) 

This team looks older on paper than it is when you dig in. If you look at my starters, they are all very young but established. Besides Keenan Allen, I anticipate all these guys to still be at the top of their positions for the next three years. 

My team does look old because I acquired bench value from many older players who were dropping. But that also means I likely have easy drops next year for those incoming rookies. That tends to be my strategy in startups. Start young in the first ~9 rounds and then grab rental guys that can be dropped for room the following year.

What are your expectations for Michael Penix, your QB2, in 2024 and beyond?

Shrug emoji.

If Lamar gets hurt, I don’t love my chances for 2024. Penix was a future play.

In hindsight, I wished I had not picked him and grabbed Stafford in the 19th ahead of Kevin. I love that pick for depth. But not for the future. I guess it is a balance. Penix has a very uncertain future but seemed fine in the 16th round. I prefer his upside to the garbage that was drafted around him.


Jeff Bell, Footballguys

Caleb Williams (5.07) Ken Walker (6.06) Marvin Harrison (1.07) Sam LaPorta (2.06)
Jordan Love (9.07) Jaylen Wright (11.07) Brian Thomas Jr. (4.06) Dalton Kincaid (3.07)
Dak Prescott (12.06) Jerome Ford (14.06) Ricky Pearsall (7.07) Tyler Conklin (20.06)
Ty Chandler (15.07) Xavier Legette (8.06)
Will Shipley (16.06) Khalil Shakir (10.06)
Dylan Laube (17.07) Romeo Doubs (13.07)
Elijah Mitchell (18.06)
Blake Watson (19.07)

The elephant in the room: You took TEs in both the second and third rounds. Is “Bully TE” a strategy you like to deploy in startup drafts? Or was this just a case of LaPorta and Kincaid being the best available players on your board?

We’ll go ahead and call this an accidental bully. 

In Round 2, I was sniped hard, seeing Drake London and Rome Odunze go off the board right before my pick. That cleared the young WRs I wanted to target to start my draft and left me choosing between leaving the production window to pair with Marvin Harrison Jr. or breaking the seal on the TE position. I was OK with any one of Sam LaPorta, Trey McBride, and Dalton Kincaid. But with 12 picks before I hit the clock in Round 3, I wanted to avoid getting closed out. 

I avoided getting closed out, with Kincaid standing as the best player available when I swung back in Round 3. The lack of premium scoring on the position makes this build less than ideal, but both LaPorta and Kincaid will perform at the top of their position for their careers. 

No one will accuse my team of being good in Year 1, but TE and QB are locked in the long term on this build, and a productive struggle will augment production at other positions.

You took just one RB in the first 10 rounds … and then seven over the final 10 rounds. Is this how you typically build your RB rooms in dynasty startups?

A Zero-RB or Hero-RB approach is very standard for my drafts. One look down dynasty RB rankings has Kyren Williams and Zamir White flirting with top 20 value and Zack Moss rising from the dynasty dead. 

I feel OK with Jerome Ford as my Week 1 RB2, and I just need one of Jaylen Wright, Blake Watson, Dylan Laube, or Will Shipley to hit fantasy utility to feel comfortable heading into the offseason. 

In rookie drafts, I prefer targeting WRs early and continuing to backfill RB with later picks. Hammering youth at WR and a productive struggle in Year 1 is a strategy with rookie drafts that has continually paid dividends for me in Year 2 and beyond.


Alan Seslowsky, Rotowire

Jalen Hurts (4.05) Jahmyr Gibbs (1.08) Rome Odunze (2.05) Dallas Goedert (9.08)
Jared Goff (14.05) D'Andre Swift (7.08) Tee Higgins (3.08) Ben Sinnott (11.08)
Blake Corum (10.05) Mike Evans (5.08)
J.K. Dobbins (15.08) Marquise Brown (6.05)
Chuba Hubbard (16.05) Jermaine Burton (8.05)
Eric Gray (18.05) Michael Wilson (12.05)
Cody Schrader (20.05) Wan'Dale Robinson (13.08)
Brenden Rice (17.08)
Jonathan Mingo (19.08)

You opted for Jahmyr Gibbs over a WR at 1.08. Talk about why you think Gibbs is the pick there.

Drafting a RB in Round 1 is an uncomfortable pick. The young WRs that are alternative options project to have a longer, more liquid dynasty life than the RBs. 

But there are three RBs (Bijan Robinson, Breece Hall, and Jahmyr Gibbs) who I view similarly to the WRs available. At age 22, owning first-round NFL draft pedigree and elite pass-catching upside, Gibbs solves your RB position. He should be a high-end asset for a few years, and is the type of rare RB who can secure a second contract giving him some longevity. 

When you take a Round 1 RB, you’re committing to “older” WRs later in the draft to fill out your WR2 and WR3 spots.

You took Jermaine Burton a few rounds ahead of ADP. What has you so excited about this rookie?

Reaching for rookies that the dynasty market likes is a strategy I have recently experimented with. 

I don’t have a strong feeling one way or another about Burton, but he is a popular “upside” pick. Rookies were flying off the board in our draft, so I was adjusting to the appetite of the room. 

If Burton does earn the No. 3 WR spot for the Bengals and shows anything in the first month of the season, he’ll be a desirable asset that allows me to “tier up” or possibly liquidate for a first-round rookie pick next season. If Burton doesn't earn snaps early on, I might be sitting on a flat-tire pick. 

The opportunity cost of taking Burton was not that prohibitive in my judgment. I passed on a flat tier of RBs like Najee Harris, Aaron Jones, and James Conner. Those types of players are unlikely to allow me to cash out for a 2025 first-round rookie pick, even if they are productive.


Anthony Amico, Establish The Run

Justin Herbert (9.09) James Cook (6.04) Malik Nabers (1.09) Brock Bowers (4.04)
Drake Maye (12.04) Tony Pollard (10.04) Drake London (2.04) Ja'Tavion Sanders (15.09)
MarShawn Lloyd (10.12) Tank Dell (3.09)
Khalil Herbert (17.09) Jaxon Smith-Njigba (4.12)
D'Onta Foreman (18.04) Adonai Mitchell (7.09)
Isaiah Davis (20.04) Luke McCaffrey (11.09)
Jalin Hyatt (13.09)
Rashid Shaheed (14.04)
Andrei Iosivas (16.04)
A.T. Perry (19.09)

You drafted the youngest team in the league, with an average age of 23.6 years. Talk about how age factors into your strategy in dynasty startups.

The startup draft is going to be your best opportunity to acquire young talent. In my experience, once the league starts, the sub-25 year-old group becomes very expensive in the trade market.

Especially in the early rounds, I want young cornerstones. Later on if I see some Year 1 value slipping, I’m happy to scoop that up.

Andrei Iosivas was an interesting late-round pick. What are your expectations for him in 2024 and beyond?

Iosivas is a fun flier in dynasty since he seems forgotten after the Bengals selected Jermaine Burton in the draft.

Tyler Boyd’s departure opens up some immediate opportunity, and Iosivas played well with his chances last year.

Tee Higgins is all but gone in 2025. So even if Burton ends up hitting, there are plenty of open targets behind Ja’Marr Chase.


Jared Smola, Draft Sharks

Jayden Daniels (8.03) Christian McCaffrey (2.01) Garrett Wilson (1.12) Pat Freiermuth (11.10)
Tua Tagovailoa (13.10) De'Von Achane (4.01) D.J. Moore (3.10) Tucker Kraft (17.10)
Kyren Williams (6.03) Stefon Diggs (5.10) Cade Stover (19.10)
Javonte Williams (9.10) Christian Watson (7.10)
Audric Estime (16.03) Courtland Sutton (10.03)
Curtis Samuel (12.03)
Mike Williams (14.03)
Josh Palmer (15.10)
Elijah Moore (18.03)
Cedric Tillman (20.03)

You traded down a couple of spots in Round 1, from 1.10 to 1.12. What was thought process there?

Dynasty rankings are nice, but dynasty tiers are where it’s at. This trade was a case of staying within a tier, while picking up a little extra draft capital.

When I got on the clock at 1.10, Puka Nacua, Tyreek Hill, Garrett Wilson, A.J. Brown, and Christian McCaffrey were the top players on my board. But they’re all in the same tier for me. So I sent trade offers to the teams picking behind me to see if I could trade down a spot or two. Shane was willing to make the move.

I gave:

  • 1.10
  • 2.03
  • 4.03

I received:

  • 1.12
  • 2.01
  • 4.01

That allowed me to lock up two players in that tier of five – while also moving up a couple of spots in the fourth round.

You were the only team to take three RBs inside the first six rounds. Talk about how that played out.

This was a case of taking what the draft gave me. I generally prefer to go more WR-heavy in dynasty startup drafts – but this was a WR-crazed draft.

That left Christian McCaffrey at 2.01, De’Von Achane at 4.01, and Kyren Williams at 6.03 as the best available players at those respective picks.

Achane (31st overall) and Williams (34th), in particular, sit significantly higher in our dynasty rankings. In fact, had I known those two would have been available at those spots, I'd have taken Tyreek Hill over McCaffrey at 2.01.

I like to think about dynasty startups as accumulating assets rather than assembling a fantasy team. If I can acquire more value than the rest of the league in the startup, I can use that excess value to fill specific roster holes down the road.


Matt Price, Dynasty League Football

Anthony Richardson (5.11) Brian Robinson (9.11) A.J. Brown (1.11) Luke Musgrave (12.02)
Kirk Cousins (17.11) Zach Charbonnet (10.02) Chris Olave (2.02) Noah Fant (18.02)
Ray Davis (11.11) Zay Flowers (3.11) Hunter Henry (19.11)
Gus Edwards (13.11) Xavier Worthy (4.02) Jared Wiley (20.02)
Kimani Vidal (14.02) Cooper Kupp (6.02)
Rico Dowdle (15.11) Josh Downs (7.11)
Ezekiel Elliott (16.02) Dontayvion Wicks (8.02)

You were the last team to take a RB, waiting until 9.11 to snag Brian Robinson. Is that a strategy you typically like to deploy in dynasty startup drafts?

Yeah, especially this season where I view Bijan Robinson, Breece Hall, Jahmyr Gibbs, and De’Von Achane as the only four backs I’m willing to draft in the first 2-3 rounds. In general I don’t like to take what, in my view, are declining assets in the first 5-7 rounds unless there is significant value.

You took two Chargers RBs in Rounds 13 and 14 and a pair of Cowboys RBs in Rounds 15 and 16. Was that by design or just how the board fell?

A little bit of both. In general, I like to target ambiguous backfields. In those specific cases, the board just kind of fell that way.

With Chargers backs, I really like Kimani Vidal but recognize that Gus Edwards (or J.K. Dobbins or Isaiah Spiller) might get the first crack.

For the Cowboys backs, I do think one or both of those guys will be relevant because of how good the passing offense should be and the TD equity for the backs close to the goal line. I’m not particularly high on either guy, but at cost I think they can combine for solid RB2/flex production.


Shane Hallam, Draft Sharks

Joe Burrow (5.12) Saquon Barkley (4.03) Puka Nacua (1.10) David Njoku (7.12)
Bo Nix (15.12) Jonathon Brooks (6.01) Tyreek Hill (2.03) Cole Kmet (13.12)
Rhamondre Stevenson (9.12) Jordan Addison (3.12) Daniel Bellinger (20.01)
Chase Brown (11.12) Jerry Jeudy (8.01)
Zack Moss (12.01) Roman Wilson (10.01)
Dameon Pierce (17.12) Gabe Davis (14.01)
Jalen Tolbert (16.01)
Rondale Moore (18.01)
Chase Claypool (19.12)

You made a two-pick trade-up in Round 1 to secure Puka Nacua at 10th overall. Talk about your outlook for Nacua and what factors you consider when deciding to make a trade-up

Deciding to move up in a startup is twofold for me:

  1. Am I likely to miss out on a higher tier if I stand pat?
  2. Is the price worthwhile?

For me, Nacua was the end of a second tier of WRs with the rookies (Marvin Harrison and Malik Nabers). Moving up two picks in the first to ensure I could nab him at the cost of two slight bump downs later was worth it, as those didn’t remove me from tier breaks.

Nacua’s rookie season puts him in historic company, hitting over 100 receptions and 1,400 yards. That type of production at 22 years old makes it unlikely Nacua ends up a bust. He’ll be tied to the great Sean McVay offense and still has room to improve in terms of his route running and football IQ.

With a good floor and an even higher ceiling, I am all in.

You made Jonathon Brooks the ninth RB off the board. What has you so excited about this rookie?

Brooks was a riskier pick than a few of the RBs who went after him (Kyren Williams, James Cook, etc.), but I love the upside Brooks brings to the table. His 10 games as a college starter is a small sample, but he was absolutely electrifying as a runner. With the Panthers upgrading their offensive line, Brooks has a long-term outlook as a potential top fantasy RB for years to come.

Seeing HC Dave Canales utilize Rachaad White as both a runner and receiver has me excited for the more talented Brooks. Once 100% healthy, Brooks should become a three-down RB. 

Rookies also hold their dynasty value better than older prospects. It's doubtful that Brooks goes Round 6 or later next season, even if his 2024 season is slightly disappointing. I’ll take the stable value of a young RB and go from there.


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Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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