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FFPC Dynasty Startup Recap


How much is a rookie-draft pick worth?

You can certainly find answers to that question right now. But the full answer – really – is “we’ll see.” Because the true value of that pick depends on how that currently undefined player winds up performing for you.

I recently started a slow startup draft in a $250 FFPC dynasty superflex best-ball league, and I just might be putting that draft-pick question to the test.

Normally we do these draft recaps primarily to show where players went. The format here adds a couple of layers, though. A good pick for 2022 might be questionable long term because he’s near the end of his football usefulness. A particular decision might make sense for the round but be a poorer fit for the way that specific team is being built.

I’ll get to the actual picks later, but we’re also going to look at some overall strategy here.

First of all, I consider the FFPC dynasty format more of a “keeper” league than true dynasty. A dynasty setup commonly allows you a deep roster (30+ players) and lets you roll over basically the whole thing year to year.

FFPC dynasty rosters start smaller than that: 20 players in the “standard” format. This best-ball format opens with a 26-round draft, but we’ll need to cut down to 22 players for the regular season and then 16 players by the end of each March – all including kickers and team defenses.

Keeper vs. Dynasty might seem like mere semantics, and the title itself doesn’t matter. But there’s a big difference between building a roster I’ll roll over year to year and building one that I know will shed at least 38% of its players by the following March. I know I’ll be cutting players I would prefer to keep. And I know there will be worthwhile veterans available in next year’s “rookie” draft. That’s a key difference here vs. typical fantasy formats, and that will come into play for plenty of decisions in the startup draft.

We also have a 2 other specifics to this format that will steer the strategy:

1) Superflex
2) Best Ball

You’re probably familiar with superflex by now. But just in case, it means that in addition to the QB starter, you can start up to 1 more QB in a flex spot each week. Ideally, you’d like to have 2 QBs in your lineup every week, because that position scores the most points.

What’s that mean for drafting? Obviously, it makes the position more important and pushes QBs earlier.

Securing 1-2 high-ceiling, young QBs would be ideal, and you’ll want to avoid panicking and chasing at the position if the pool seems to be getting shallow.


The best-ball setting here doesn’t change a whole lot (other than saving me the time and frustration of setting weekly lineups). But it does make stacking QBs with their pass-catchers more worthwhile, and it helps players in timeshare or otherwise unclear situations.

The best-ball format also makes it more important to think about the number of players to roster at each position, which we’ll weigh against the type of players rostered. For example, if I skip over the high-volume options at RB, then it’ll make more sense to grab an extra player or 2 at that position to help my weekly fantasy-point ceilings.

Otherwise, this format follows regular FFPC rules. The lineup:

QB
RB
RB
WR
WR
TE
Flex
(Super)Flex
K
DST

Scoring is PPR, with 1.5 points per TE reception (“TE premium”). So we can expect TEs to also go earlier than they would elsewhere.

Now let’s get to how this specific draft is playing out.


Trades

In my experience, some folks just can’t wait to start trading in dynasty, and plenty took place early here. Here are the trades that have not involved my team:

– Pick 2.12 and 2023 first-rounder FOR Pick 1.04

– 2023 first-rounder FOR Pick 6.09 and Pick 11.04

– Pick 3.06, Pick 6.07 and 2023 first-rounder FOR Pick 1.07 and Pick 5.07

– Pick 2.11 and Pick 3.02 FOR Picks 3.12, 4.01 and 7.12 and 2023 third-rounder

– Pick 3.10, Pick 8.03 and 2023 first-rounder FOR Pick 1.09 and Pick 9.09

– Pick 4.05, Pick 5.08 and 2023 first-rounder FOR Pick 3.06 and Pick 3.07

– Pick 6.11 FOR Pick 8.07 and 2023 second-rounder

– Picks 5.12, 6.01 and 6.09 FOR Najee Harris, Pick 9.08 and Pick 10.05

– Pick 6.11, Pick 9.06 and 2023 third-rounder FOR Pick 5.09 and Pick 11.09

– Pick 7.08 and 2023 second-rounder FOR Pick 6.12 and 2023 fourth-rounder

– Picks 8.09, 12.09 and 14.09 FOR Pick 7.01

-- Pick 7.09 and Pick 10.04 FOR Pick 10.08 and 2023 first-rounder

-- Pick 8.06 FOR Pick 9.04 and 2023 third-rounder

-- Pick 14.11 and Pick 15.02 FOR Pick 9.01

-- Pick 11.06, Pick 13.06 and 2023 4th-rounder FOR Pick 10.09 and Pick 14.04

-- Pick 11.04 FOR 2023 second-rounder

The move that surprised me the most among those was the Harris trade, because that owner had selected Harris in the 1st round as the 1st RB off the board. That probably battles the final trade listed for biggest overpay.

Now for my trades …

Trade 1

Give: Pick 6.10, Pick 9.03, 2023 first-rounder
Get: Pick 3.04, Pick 10.09

In hindsight, I probably overpaid here. But I was on the clock at 3.03 and struggling with a choice between 2 players that I believe will be key building blocks for me. (I’ll get to them later.) So I’m OK with it … especially because I plan on making that an end-of-the-round rookie pick. (:sunglasses emoji:)

Trade 2

Give: 2023 second-rounder
Get: Pick 5.01

I think this overpay went the other way. The offer was made to me, and I smashed accept.

Trade 3

Give: Pick 5.03 and 2023 third-rounder
Get: Pick 4.09

My turn was coming at 4.10, and I again wanted 2 players. Were this a larger-roster situation with all other league settings the same, I’d be less focused on securing specific players early. But studs gain some value when I only get 22 in-season roster spots for a 10-slot best-ball lineup, and gain again when I have to cut that down to 16 in the offseason.

Clearly I’m not nearly as attached to future rookie picks as many other dynasty players are. Frankly, though, if you’re overly attached to a 3rd-round rookie pick then you should probably seek professional help – or at least go outside a little more often.


Draft

Now for the player picks in this 12-team snake draft:

Round 1

1.01: Josh Allen, QB, Bills
1.02: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
1.03: Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers
1.04: Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals
1.05: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals
1.06: Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
1.07: Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings
1.08: Najee Harris, RB, Steelers
1.09: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts
1.10: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
1.11 Deshaun Watson, QB, Browns
1.12 Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons

Young, high-ceiling QB – Check. I prefer Herbert over Burrow for the rushing production, and I think Herbert is at least even with Mahomes now that Tyreek Hill has moved on. Herbert hasn’t yet put up the monster season that Mahomes enjoyed in 2018, but his 2 years to date have beaten 2 of Mahomes’ 4 years in fantasy points per game. Herbert also now features more easily available and attractive stacking options than Mahomes.

Round 2

2.01: D’Andre Swift, RB, Lions
2.02: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
2.03: Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
2.04: Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles
2.05: Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
2.06: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys
2.07: Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams
2.08: Trey Lance, QB, 49ers
2.09: Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos
2.10: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
2.11: A.J. Brown, WR, Eagles
2.12: Breece Hall, RB, Jets

Is there a chance that a year from now I’ll regret taking a veteran who has lost 23 games to injuries the past 2 years over Hall? Sure. It’s easy to forget, though, that McCaffrey has remained terrific when on the field. He finished 5th among RBs in PPR points per game last season, even if you include the 2 games he left early with injuries. Take those out, and he led the position. He’s also still just 26. According to the Aging Performance table we use to guide our new dynasty projections format, Year 6 RBs can still be expected to produce at 95% of their peak.

Round 3

3.01: Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings
3.02: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jaguars
3.03: Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens
3.04: Justin Fields, QB, Bears

3.05: Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers
3.06: Matthew Stafford, QB, Rams
3.07: Davante Adams, WR, Packers
3.08: Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers
3.09: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Dolphins
3.10: Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals
3.11: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks
3.12: Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants

Here’s the result of my 1st trade. Andrews and Fields both gain value in the format. Andrews doesn’t turn 27 until September, so we should get at least several more years. Fields could go either way with his career, but his combo of running ability and deep-ball upside mean that if he works out in real life, his fantasy ceiling will be vaulted.

Each should remain keepers for me for at least the next few years. Herbert and Fields could have me set at QB for a long time.

Round 4

4.01: Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals
4.02: Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills
4.03: D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
4.04: Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
4.05: Cam Akers, RB, Rams
4.06: Drake London, WR, Falcons
4.07: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
4.08: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins
4.09: Tyreek Hill, WR, Dolphins
4.10: Travis Etienne, RB, Jaguars

4.11: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ravens
4.12: Nick Chubb, RB, Browns

Trade #2 stopped the slide of Hill at 14th WR off the board. He’s 28 and got a 4-year extension from the Dolphins. So Hill will need to crash to not pay off at this price. I certainly don’t mind betting on the talent – especially in best ball.

Etienne gives me a younger RB to pair with McCaffrey, and a guy I believe carries tremendous upside into his 2nd season (especially in full PPR). Do I expect him to outscore Alvin Kamara and Derrick Henry this year? No. Could he? Sure. And Etienne has 3+ years on each of them.

Round 5

5.01: Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
5.02: Antonio Gibson, RB, Commanders
5.03: Kenneth Walker, RB, Seahawks
5.04: Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets
5.05: Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers
5.06: George Kittle, TE, 49ers
5.07: Terry McLaurin, WR, Commanders
5.08: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Colts
5.09: Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
5.10: Treylon Burks, WR, Titans
5.11: Elijah Moore, WR, Jets
5.12: Jameson Williams, WR, Lions

Kamara as RB15? Yeah, I’ll go ahead and take that. Grabbing 3 RBs this early probably isn’t optimal for a dynasty format. This is where best ball comes into play for me, though. I know I can go a little lighter at the position overall now and draft volume at WR. And plenty of quality WR options remain over these next few rounds for me to start that collection.

This is the pick I got for a 2nd-rounder in the 2023 rookie draft. That could turn into a player I regret passing on for Kamara. It’s at least as likely to be a guy who returns no special value. We’ll see whether I chose the right player, but the trade was a no-brainer.

Kamara’s contract is locked in for at least 2 more years, and New Orleans’ offense can’t get much worse than it was last year. Even if Kamara’s down to 1 more good fantasy season, 1 league win here would cover the next 6 entry fees.

Round 6

6.01: Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
6.02: Rashod Bateman, WR, Ravens
6.03: Marquise Brown, WR, Cardinals
6.04: Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers
6.05: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Broncos
6.06: Mac Jones, QB, Patriots
6.07: Zach Wilson, QB, Jets
6.08: DeVonta Smith, WR, Eagles
6.09: Pat Freiermuth, TE, Steelers
6.10: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions
6.11: Darren Waller, TE, Raiders
6.12: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Cardinals

Round 7

7.01: Chris Olave, WR, Saints
7.02: David Montgomery, RB, Bears
7.03: Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
7.04: Kenny Pickett, QB, Steelers
7.05: Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos
7.06: Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders
7.07: Skyy Moore, WR, Chiefs
7.08: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Lions
7.09: AJ Dillon, RB, Packers
7.10: Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings
7.11: Amari Cooper, WR, Browns
7.12: Darnell Mooney, WR, Bears

I tried (unsuccessfully) to re-acquire a 6th-round pick. I’ll take settling for Evans as my WR2 and the 29th wideout off the board in this draft.

Round 8

8.01: Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
8.02: Leonard Fournette, RB, Buccaneers
8.03: Mike Williams, WR, Chargers
8.04: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
8.05: Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers
8.06: Christian Watson, WR, Packers
8.07: Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
8.08: Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys
8.09: Michael Carter, RB, Jets
8.10: Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles
8.11: Allen Robinson, WR, Rams
8.12: Dalton Schultz, TE, Cowboys

TRADE!

Give: Pick 8.10 and Pick 10.09
Get: Pick 8.03 and Pick 13.09

I considered drafting Mike Williams over Mike Evans back in Round 7 for the stack with Justin Herbert. They're just 2 spots apart in our dynasty WR rankings. A lot more players separated them in the ADP of the draft room, though. So I decided to take a chance that I could get them both -- thinking I had a pretty good shot at seeing at least 1 among Williams, Keenan Allen and Darnell Mooney (I have Fields, remember) make it back to me.

But then 5 WRs went among the final 8 picks of Round 7, and Allen opened Round 8. I offered the Fournette drafter first, and then worked out the deal above with the team at 8.03 (which also owned Pick 8.04). I'm happy to accept that 3-round move down to secure Williams, a 27-year-old (until October) who just signed a 3-year deal to stay with my top QB.

Round 9

9.01: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans
9.02: Noah Fant, TE, Seahawks
9.03: James Cook, RB, Bills
9.04: Cole Kmet, TE, Bears
9.05: James Conner, RB, Cardinals
9.06: Tom Brady, QB, Buccaneers
9.07: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Chargers
9.08: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers
9.09: Gabriel Davis, WR, Bills
9.10: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Chiefs
9.11: Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
9.12: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Chiefs

I think it's worth noting that just 23 QBs had left the board by the end of Round 9. So in this superflex draft, not every team has even a 2nd QB yet. That picks up next round.

Round 10

10.01: Jameis Winston, QB, Saints
10.02: Matt Ryan, QB, Colts
10.03: Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans
10.04: Desmond Ridder, QB, Falcons
10.05: Kadarius Toney, WR, Giants
10.06: Malik Willis, QB, Titans
10.07: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Patriots
10.08: George Pickens, WR, Steelers
10.09: Damien Harris, RB, Patriots
10.10: Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins
10.11: Christian Kirk, WR, Jaguars
10.12: Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks

Here it seems noteworthy to mention that just 12 TEs have come off the board through 10 rounds in this TE-premium (1.5 points per TE reception) format. And Gesicki is my 2nd player at the position, so not every team has a "starter" yet. (Remember, it's best ball.)

As for my pick: I don't think there's anything exciting about Gesicki, but he just makes sense in this range. He'll turn 27 in October and is back with Miami on the franchise tag. So he'll either get a longer-term deal before the season or land next year with a team that would obviously be buying him as a receiver. The aging performance table we use to curve our new dynasty projections shows a historical Year 4 peak for TEs, but also production remaining at the 90% level or better through Year 8. Gesicki just finished his 4th season.

Round 11

11.01: Hunter Renfrow, WR, Raiders
11.02: Davis Mills, QB, Texans
11.03: Kareem Hunt, RB, Browns
11.04: Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
11.05: Dameon Pierce, RB, Texans
11.06: Jahan Dotson, WR, Commanders
11.07: Tyler Allgeier, RB, Falcons
11.08: Chase Edmonds, RB, Dolphins
11.09: Daniel Jones, QB, Giants
11.10: Chase Claypool, WR, Steelers
11.11: Rachaad White, RB, Buccaneers
11.12: Dawson Knox, TE, Bills

There are still 3 teams with 0 TEs at this point in the draft. I would bet this plays out differently in a lineup-setting format. It also underscores, though, the lack of clarity/excitement at the position beyond the top options. (And that helped motivate my move to secure Andrews earlier.)

Wondering why I didn't have a pick here? I actually ACQUIRED a rookie pick for a change ...

*** TRADE ***

Give: Pick 11.03 and Pick 16.10
Get: Pick 14.09 and 2023 second-rounder

I was offered the rookie pick for the 11th-rounder. I countered to add the 2-round move up. Even without that, though, I think the value is decent-to-good on sending an 11th-rounder for the rookie pick.

For comparison's sake, these 12 players went in Round 2 of the rookie draft we already completed in the Draft Sharks $77 superflex FFPC dynasty league (not best ball):

George Pickens
Jahan Dotson
Desmond Ridder
Malik Willis
Matt Corral
Trey McBride
David Bell
Albert Okwuegbunam
Dameon Pierce
Tyler Allgeier
Isaiah Spiller
John Metchie

Four of those players were gone in this draft before I would have picked at 11.03. Another 3 went inside Round 11.

We've already established that I don't mind selling rookie picks for established production. But we also have more draft rounds (26) than regular-season roster spots (22) and will have to cut down further after the season (16). So there's obvious value to carrying the rookie-draft picks, even beyond the specific player that pick becomes.

Round 12

12.01: Carson Wentz, QB, Commanders
12.02: Melvin Gordon, RB, Broncos
12.03: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Broncos
12.04: Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Falcons
12.05: Jared Goff, QB, Lions
12.06: Irv Smith, TE, Vikings
12.07: Tyler Higbee, TE, Rams
12.08: Trey McBride, TE, Cardinals
12.09: Hunter Henry, TE, Patriots
12.10: Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
12.11: Robert Woods, WR, Titans
12.12: Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings

Ridley is not a guy you want on your 2022 roster for this format. He's a dead spot. A roster clogger. But unless he gets the itch to bet F1 or WNBA while sitting idle, he'll be back at some point. And 2023 will still be just his age-28 season. (He turns 28 this Dec. 20.)

An active Ridley probably would have been a 5th-round pick in this draft. So I think he's worth a shot here.

Round 13

13.01: Allen Lazard, WR, Packers
13.02: Devin Singletary, RB, Bills
13.03: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
13.04: Alec Pierce, WR, Colts
13.05: Evan Engram, TE, Jaguars
13.06: Ronald Jones, RB, Chiefs
13.07: Zamir White, RB, Raiders
13.08: Rondale Moore, WR, Cardinals
13.09: Baker Mayfield, QB, ???
13.10: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Eagles
13.11: David Bell, WR, Browns
13.12: John Metchie, WR, Texans

No trade for me in this round; the extra pick came from an earlier trade.

Lockett sat behind Metchie, Moore and probably a couple others on my MVP board at this turn. Heading into his age-30 season (birthday Sept. 28), Lockett almost certainly has fewer years left than both those young WRs. But he also carries a much higher ceiling for whatever time remains in his career. I considered Adam Thielen for the same reason and would bet on him outscoring Lockett this season. But Thielen's recent lower-body injuries and the fact that he's 2 years older than Lockett pushed me toward the Seahawk.

One other tiny factor was taking a shot on stacking Lockett with Mayfield. The QB in April called Seattle a sensible destination -- and it probably edges Carolina as MOST sensible after the Panthers drafted Matt Corral in Round 3. (At least we don't know yet whether he's worse than Drew Lock or Geno Smith.)

That said, this is just a bet that Mayfield gets another starting shot somewhere -- rather than a Seattle-specific prayer. He has played 4 seasons so far: 2 of them found him ranking 12th or better in Pro Football Focus passing grade. Last year, of course, found him playing through a worsening left-shoulder injury that he initially hurt in Week 2.

Round 14

14.01: Khalil Herbert, RB, Bears
14.02: Rob Gronkowski, TE, ???
14.03: Jakobi Meyers, WR, Patriots
14.04: Zach Ertz, TE, Cardinals
14.05: James Robinson, RB, Jaguars
14.06: Matt Corral, QB, Panthers
14.07: Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings
14.08: Brian Robinson, RB, Commanders
14.09: David Njoku, TE, Browns
14.10: Marques Valdes-Scantling, WR, Chiefs
14.11: Marlon Mack, RB, Texans
14.12: Jalen Tolbert, WR, Cowboys

It's pretty fun to have back-to-back picks in a startup draft.

Njoku feels like a steal as the 22nd TE off the board in a TE-premium format. Cleveland's application of the franchise tag clearly indicates a desire to extend him long term. And despite already having 5 NFL seasons behind him, Njoku turns just 26 in July.

MVS could have easily been 1 of several wideouts, including a couple that remain available as of this writing. As the #61 WR in this draft, Valdes-Scantling carries a lot more upside than risk -- especially given the best-ball format here.

I gave Corral a long look each of the previous 2 rounds. A year from now, he could be starting in an offense boasting D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey, and looking like a terrific value. Or he could be a 2nd-year guy who failed to push Sam Darnold out of the way. The positive side of that is well worth the shot here.

Interestingly, Corral landed with the only team to draft 4 QBs to this point. His drafter also picked Mac Jones, Zach Wilson and Malik Willis. Nine other teams have 3 QBs, 1 has 2 of them, and the other team has only Kenny Pickett at the position (:wide eyes blushing emoji:).

Elsewhere in the round: Gronk was the 1st TE selected by his team. Three other squads also sport just 1 TE through 14 rounds, including the Pickett team. Five rosters have 2 TEs. One other and I left Round 14 with 3 TEs, while the remaining team is about to draft its TE3 in Round 15 ...

Round 15

15.01: Marcus Mariota, QB, Falcons
15.02: Evan McPherson, K, Bengals
15.03: Van Jefferson, WR, Rams
15.04: Tyrion Davis-Price, RB, 49ers
15.05: Trey Sermon, RB, 49ers
15.06: D.J. Chark, WR, Lions
15.07: Jelani Woods, TE, Colts
15.08: Bryan Edwards, WR, Falcons
15.09: Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
15.10: Russell Gage, WR, Buccaneers
15.11: Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
15.12: Laviska Shenault, WR, Jaguars

Another couple of WRs were in the mix with Jefferson here. The 3rd-year Ram won out because he's younger than the other 2 contenders, already has an upside role in the offense that ran more 3-WR sets than any other last season and has handcuff-type upside in the case of either Cooper Kupp or Allen Robinson going down.

Wanna know the other 2 I'm considering? Too bad. I'm not naming either, because I'd like to see them get through Round 16 (when I don't have a pick).

As for the other Round 15 selections: Davis-Price vs. Sermon will be interesting this summer.

And I could maybe see taking the 1st kicker at this stage if we were playing a hands-off best-ball league. But this one includes weekly waivers. So I'm not close to bothering with that position.

Round 16

16.01: Sam Darnold, QB, Panthers
16.02: Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts
16.03: Brevin Jordan, TE, Texans
16.04: Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants
16.05: Los Angeles Rams DST
16.06: Wan'Dale Robinson, WR, Giants
16.07: Justin Tucker, K, Ravens
16.08: Sam Howell, QB, Commanders
16.09: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers
16.10: Hayden Hurst, TE, Bengals
16.11: Robert Tonyan, TE, Packers
16.12: Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs

This is probably later than Hines should have gone. It's not that he has a particularly attractive ceiling, but the best-ball format makes him a more usable piece, and the Colts sound determined to rebound his touches vs. last year's count. Hines came off the board after Marlon Mack, Kenneth Gainwell (who hopes to become Hines) and Khalil Herbert, among others at the position.

Round 17

17.01: Terrace Marshall, WR, Panthers
17.02: Justyn Ross, WR, Chiefs
17.03: William Fuller, WR, ???
17.04: Calvin Austin, WR, Steelers
17.05: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Steelers
17.06: Kenyan Drake, RB, Raiders
17.07: Drew Lock, QB, Seahawks
17.08: Daniel Carlson, K, Raiders
17.09: Jamaal Williams, RB, Lions
17.10: Pierre Strong, RB, Patriots
17.11: Logan Thomas, TE, Commanders
17.12: D'Onta Foreman, RB, Panthers

Round 18

18.01: DeVante Parker, WR, Patriots
18.02: Sony Michel, RB, Dolphins
18.03: Nico Collins, WR, Texans
18.04: Gerald Everett, TE, Chargers
18.05: Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST
18.06: Buffalo Bills DST
18.07: Jarvis Landry, WR, Saints
18.08: Harrison Bryant, TE, Browns
18.09: Tyler Huntley, QB, Ravens
18.10: Corey Davis, WR, Jets
18.11: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, ???
18.12: Harrison Butler, K, Chiefs

There's still a higher ceiling to Beckham than Davis, but I already have Calvin Ridley as a 2022 roster clogger. So I didn't give OBJ much consideration here. Davis might well fall behind both Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson in targets this year. But he also might not. And at WR79 here, there's no risk.

Davis is also heading into just his age-27 season and could land with a new team as soon as next season. His current contract carries a 2023 cap hit of $11.2 million, with just less than $670K in dead cap if he's cut or traded next offseason.

Round 19

19.01: Los Angeles Rams DST
19.02: Julio Jones, WR, ???
19.03: Darrel Williams, RB, Cardinals
19.04: Greg Dulcich, TE, Broncos
19.05: Tyler Badie, RB, Ravens
19.06: Cleveland Browns DST
19.07: Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Browns
19.08: Matt Gay, K, Rams
19.09: Curtis Samuel, WR, Commanders
19.10: Joshua Palmer, WR, Chargers
19.11: Tim Patrick, WR, Broncos
19.12: Indianapolis Colts DST

With 3 RBs to this point, I'm more interested in a player with 2022 upside than a longer-term option. None of the RBs still on the board is likely to make his way into my group of 14 non-kicker/DST keepers for 2023. So I'll take Williams and his #2 role behind James Conner.

Elsewhere in this round, Dulcich at TE30 is a nice value -- 7 rounds after Albert Okwuegbunam went as TE14. There are signals already that Dulcich could challenge Albert O for the target lead among Broncos TEs this season. I'd have considered him with my pick more strongly if I didn't already have 3 TEs (and just 3 TEs).

Round 20

20.01: Adam Trautman, TE, Saints
20.02: K.J. Hamler, WR, Broncos
20.03: Velus Jones, WR, Bears
20.04: Raheem Mostert, RB, Dolphins
20.05: Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks
20.06: Amari Rodgers, WR, Packers
20.07: Jamison Crowder, WR, Bills
20.08: Hassan Haskins, RB, Titans
20.09: Jordan Love, QB, Packers
20.10: Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens
20.11: K.J. Osborn, WR, Vikings
20.12: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Panthers

Ditto last round.

Round 21

21.01: Jonnu Smith, TE, Patriots
21.02: Baltimore Ravens DST
21.03: New Orleans Saints DST
21.04: Tyler Bass, K, Bills
21.05: Devin Duvernay, WR, Ravens
21.06: Pittsburgh Steelers DST
21.07: Green Bay Packers DST
21.08: New England Patriots DST
21.09: Austin Hooper, TE, Titans
21.10: Karen Williams, RB, Rams
21.11: Brandon McManus, K, Broncos
21.12: Parris Campbell, WR, Colts

I have to start a team D every week in this lineup. I have no reason to believe any DST will make for a good year-to-year keeper. So my plan here was to wait and then draft on early 2022 schedule. The Saints open:

at Atlanta
vs. Tampa Bay
at Carolina
vs. Minnesota
vs. Seattle
vs. Cincinnati

I'll probably roll with that defense for at least the 1st 5 weeks. The Buccaneers and Vikings look like the worst matchups in that stretch, and both come at home. The Saints have fared well against Tom Brady over the past 2 years. After that I'll just stream. (Even though it's best ball, we do have in-season waivers.)

Round 22

22.01: Jason Sanders, K, Dolphins
22.02: San Francisco 49ers DST
22.03: Romeo Doubs, WR, Packers
22.04: Washington Commanders DST
22.05: Denver Broncos DST
22.06: Keaontay Ingram, RB, Cardinals
22.07: J.D. McKissic, RB, Commanders
22.08: Cincinnati Bengals DST
22.09 Tyquan Thornton, WR, Patriots
22.10: Robby Anderson, WR, Panthers
22.11: Taysom Hill, TE, Saints
22.12: Khalil Shakir, WR, Bills

I could have easily taken Anderson earlier than this, but I didn't need to for 2 reasons:

1) Corey Davis was my 9th wideout in Round 18.
2) I knew Anderson would linger because everyone hates him now.

He sucked last year. His QB situation continues to suck. But there's absolutely no downside from a WR95 draft position here.

Anderson's PPR finishes, dating back from last season, have gone:

WR50
WR21
WR40
WR37
WR18
WR66

Looking beyond the scope of this particular draft, don't be surprised if Anderson ranks among the win-rate leaders in 2022 fantasy football.

Round 23

23.01: Dallas Cowboys DST
23.02: Kansas City Chiefs DST
23.03: O.J. Howard, TE, Bills
23.04: Samori Toure, WR, Packers
23.05: Ryan Succop, K, Buccaneers
23.06: Matt Prater, K, Cardinals
23.07: Younghoe Koo, K, Falcons
23.08: Nick Folk, K, Patriots
23.09: Sammy Watkins, WR, Packers
23.10: Philadelphia Eagles DST
23.11: Geno Smith, QB, Seahawks
23.12: Eno Benjamin, RB, Cardinals

If Dawson Knox goes down before the season starts, I've got a gold bar. Howard is also a late TE3 target for me in non-keeper best-ball drafts and a dynasty hold as well. He still doesn't turn 28 until mid-November. There's a chance he hits restart on a previously promising career in Buffalo. And if he doesn't? Nothing lost.

I have also just realized that 5 teams in the league have selected 2 defenses, including 1 that's hoarding FOUR of them -- along with 3 kickers.

There is no possible strategy within this format that makes this approach a good idea. (Let me know in the comments if you think of one.) But I'm glad he's employing it.

Round 24

24.01: Wil Lutz, K, Saints
24.02: Jacoby Brissett, QB, Browns
24.03: Dustin Hopkins, K, Chargers
24.04: Robbie Gould, K, 49ers
24.05: Miami Dolphins DST
24.06: Isaih Pacheco, RB, Chiefs
24.07: Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Colts
24.08: Jamal Agnew, WR, Jaguars
24.09: Kevin Harris, RB, 49ers
24.10: Rodrigo Blankenship, K, Colts
24.11: Greg Zuerlein, K, Jets
24.12: Brandon Allen, QB, Bengals

Almost there.

Round 25

25.01: Dan Arnold, TE, Jaguars
25.02: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Jets
25.03: Abram Smith, RB, Saints
25.04: Jerome Ford, RB, Browns
25.05: Ty Chandler, RB, Vikings
25.06: D'Ernest Johnson, RB, Browns
25.07: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, WR, Titans
25.08: Greg Joseph, K, Vikings
25.09: Arizona Cardinals DST
25.10: Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
25.11: Snoop Conner, RB, Jaguars
25.12: New York Giants DST

Round 26

26.01: Cade Otton, TE, Buccaneers
26.02: Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers
26.03: Anthony Schwartz, WR, Browns
26.04: Gardner Minshew, QB, Eagles
26.05: Marquez Callaway, WR, Saints
26.06: Chris Boswell, K, Steelers
26.07: Marvin Jones, WR, Jaguars
26.08: Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, Buccaneers
26.09: Seattle Seahawks DST
26.10: Andy Dalton, QB, Saints
26.11: Mason Crosby, K, Packers
26.12: James Washington, WR, Cowboys

I'll need to dump 4 guys from my roster before the season starts, and each of these final 2 picks will obviously be candidates. That's part of why I leaned toward these particular players here. If Alvin Kamara's legal trouble takes games away, Smith could be in for immediate opportunity. If Kamara avoids suspension, Smith will probably be easy to dump. If Jameis Winston's repaired knee (or anything related) sidelines him before Week 1, Dalton becomes a superflex sleeper.

If this were a true dynasty format -- whole roster rolling over to next year -- I'd have opted for Bucs QB Kyle Trask instead. There appears to be a real chance that he succeeds Tom Brady, which could be as soon as next year. (Or maybe Trask ends up retiring before Brady. We'll see.) Trask is well worth a stash where possible.

My final roster:

QB Justin Herbert, Chargers
QB Justin Fields, Bears
QB Baker Mayfield, ???
QB Andy Dalton, Saints
RB Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
RB Alvin Kamara, Saints
RB Travis Etienne, Jaguars
RB Darrel Williams, Cardinals
RB Gus Edwards, Ravens
RB Abram Smith, Saints
WR Tyreek Hill, Dolphins
WR Mike Evans, Buccaneers
WR Mike Williams, Chargers
WR Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons
WR Corey Davis, Jets
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Chiefs
WR William Fuller, ???
WR Van Jefferson, Rams
WR Robby Anderson, Panthers
TE Mark Andrews, Ravens
TE Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
TE David Njoku, Browns
TE O.J. Howard, Bills
K Rodrigo Blankenship, Colts
DST Saints