This offseason, I had the honor of participating in The Dynasty Depot Masters League. This was an invitation-only dynasty startup featuring some of the best and most active dynasty players in the FFPC. There will be no weak opponents in this league, but there will be plenty of cutthroat competition week in and week out. Startup dynasty drafts are always tricky, but as an added wrinkle, the draft took place in April, well before the NFL Draft. We did not have the luxury of knowing rookie landing spots, we could only judge the incoming class on their merits.
FFPC Dynasty Formats are 20-man rosters, with PPR and TE Premium Scoring (1.5 points per reception for TEs). There are two Flex spots.
For my draft process, I used the Player Profiler Dynasty Dominator App when evaluating trades. It is a fantastic tool for any dynasty player, and the only trade calculator I use.
My goal was to come away with a team that was set to compete for the league title in 2021, but not have too many players past dangerous age apex levels at their positions. All in all, I was very pleased with how my team turned out. In this article, I wanted to share my thought process in how I determined my selections. You can find the draft board here.
1.05) Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota
Predictively and deservedly, Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley went 1-2-3. I expect these three to remain locked into the start of dynasty drafts in almost every single FFPC startup.
Cam Akers went as the 1.04. This may seem aggressive, but Akers is in an ideal situation in terms of volume and opportunity, and is attached to a very strong offense. He has the draft pedigree and talent to take off this year. At 21 years old, he is the type of building block RB that is desired in a dynasty format. I would have considered him at the 1.05.
For my pick, I honed in on three players: Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook and D’Andre Swift. With my additional second round pick, I felt no pressure to consider an elite foundational WR like A.J. Brown or Justin Jefferson, who went 1.07 and 1.09, respectively.
Dalvin Cook has started to drop in the https://t.co/JtvRe0BFSp Dynasty Rankings 🚨
Are you still IN?
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) April 9, 2021
I ultimately decided to go with Cook. He offers RB1 overall upside in 2021, and at 25.6 years old, he should have a great shot at maintaining elite production for at least a two year window (and hopefully longer). The Saints QB questions and Detroit’s lack of offensive juice put Kamara and Swift slightly behind Cook for me, but either would have been an acceptable pick here. This was a safe pick, and I was happy to get Cook.
Round 1 Standout Selection: Akers at the 1.04 was an aggressive but calculated play. A lot of very sharp people are betting on a year two massive season from the young back.
2.08) Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo
With the FFPC’s TE Premium scoring, we start to see TEs go off the board as George Kittle and Travis Kelce go to the same manager at 2.05 and 2.07 respectively. We also see two more RBs (J.K. Dobbins and Travis Etienne) go off the board back to back at 2.02 and 2.03- I would have considered either of them here. At 2.08, I have multiple great options to consider: I could go with Darren Waller and lock down TE, I could take an established alpha WR1 in Stefon Diggs, or I could go with a workhorse RB in Nick Chubb.
Stefon Diggs was the #3 WR in the 2012 Recruting Class, and finished with 848 receiving yards, and 6 touchdowns as a true freshman at Maryland ⚡
❕ Stefon Diggs was drafted in the 5th Round of the NFL Draft.
❕ In 2021, Diggs led the NFL in Receptions and Yards. pic.twitter.com/L14lZn1wlI
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) April 11, 2021
I ended up going with Diggs. At 27 years old, he should be able to maintain his production for the considerable future. What is not to like about one of the most talented WRs in the league attached to one of the best QBs in the league in Josh Allen? Last year, Diggs had 127 catches on 166 targets. This is exactly the sort of workload I want in my WR1, and with Diggs and Cook rostered, I can go in any direction with my next pick at the 2.11.
Round 2 Standout Selection: Kyle Pitts at the 2.10 is too high for me. I love his potential to be an upper echelon star at the TE position, but at 20 years old, it is hard to see him returning value in 2021 at this high a pick.
2.11) Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland
Waller went off the board at the 2.09, and Kyle Pitts went 2.10. Pitts is looking like a top 4 pick in every FFPC rookie draft. He is a rocket ship AD-wise after an incredible pro day. At 2.11, I considered Calvin Ridley, who I view as a WR1 for the near future, or incoming WR Ja’Marr Chase, but instead went with Chubb.
Nick Chubb has finished Top 10 in rushing all 3 years in the NFL ⚡ pic.twitter.com/b8lNRX4BAE
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) March 15, 2021
He will not be a top 3 RB due to his low receiving volume, but he is pretty much a lock for RB1 numbers, and at 25 years old, is considerably younger than Derrick Henry. With Chubb and Cook, I now have two 25 year old RBs and I am hopefully set on my RB1 and RB2 for the next two seasons.
3.05) Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta
My pick of Chubb started a RB run. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Javonte Williams, Derrick Henry, and Miles Sanders all went off the board. I have Chubb ahead of each of them, and I feel better about my selection and choice to go RB. Taking Chubb is not exciting, but it was the pragmatic selection.
In the previous round, I had considered Ja’Marr Chase, who I view as a can’t miss future WR1 that can quickly provide WR2 numbers even at age 21, and 26-year old Calvin Ridley, who is coming off of a career year and looks to be a WR1 for the considerable future. I was locked into taking either one of them here. The 3.04 selection made my decision easy, as BipCoin traded up to acquire Chase. With his multiple 2022 first-rounders combined with Chase, he could have a monster squad for years to come.
Calvin Ridley finished with 100+ yards in 8 of 15 games in 2020 😳 pic.twitter.com/n2CaPbDPOz
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) March 24, 2021
I turned down a few generous offers, and instead of taking a deal I was not thrilled with, I grabbed the receiver I almost took at the 2.11 in Ridley. I now had two RBs and two WRs and a very balanced, win-now team.
The rest of the league immediately went back to RBs with Ezekiel Eliott, Aaron Jones, Joe Mixon, Austin Ekeler, James Robinson, Josh Jacobs, and David Montgomery. Of the first 36 selections in this draft, 23 were RBs, including 12 out of the previous 14 picks.
Round 3 Standout Selection: Ja’Marr Chase at the 3.04 seems like great value. He looks like a can’t miss prospect. He could go higher in startups after we know the landing spot.
4TH ROUND) NO PICK
(Pre draft trade: 2022 first-rounder and the 4.08 for the 2.11 and 2022 third and fourth-rounders)
With no pick in the fourth round, I stayed an active participant. I floated two trades – neither of which were accepted. My trade targets were Tee Higgins and Brandon Aiyuk, two players I view as future WR1s in the league. Higgins went 4.08 and Aiyuk went 4.12.
Round 4 Standout Selection: Michael Thomas at the 4.01 could pay off huge this year. He was a top 8 selection in FFPC Dynasty Startup Drafts in 2020, and has fallen 25-plus spots. He could have a big bounceback season.
5.05) Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay
The fifth round started and Keenan Allen, Devonta Smith and Diontae Johnson all continued the WR run we saw in the fourth round. Wide receivers have now been taken with 11 of the last 13 picks. I would have liked to take Amari Cooper here, but he was picked at the 5.04. Cooper is one of the better value picks so far in this draft. I now had to pivot. A few names stood out: Evans, Chase Claypool and Noah Fant.
I ultimately went with Evans. He presented week winning upside as my WR3/Flex that no TE or RB would give me at this point of the draft. At 27 years old, he should be able to maintain some value as long as he is attached to Tom Brady and the highly efficient Tampa Bay offense.
Round 5 Standout Selection: Kenny Gainwell at the 5.10 was an aggressive play that speaks more to positional scarcity than Gainwell gaining value from his landing spot. I really like the player, but this seemed high. RB dries up very quickly in terms of promising young players, and I can understand the aggressive move.
6.05) Dak Prescott QB Dallas
(Traded picks 6.08, 9.05 and a 2022 fourth-rounder for pick 6.05, 10.07 and a 2022 sixth-rounder)
@GoatDistrict and @OvrHypedSleeper took Lamar Jackson at the 6.02 as the third QB off the board. Anticipating a QB run, I immediately started sending trade offers for Kyler Murray. Martin Kahler traded up and selected Murray at the 6.04. I ended up making a deal with Taco Corp to acquire the 6.05 and took Dak Prescott. I was very happy to get Prescott, and did not mind a slight mathematical trade loss. Prescott has QB1 overall potential and should lead one of the best offenses in the league.
Round 6 Standout Selection: The QB run as a whole stands out in this round. There is a clear top tier of QBs in both redraft and dynasty this year and it showed. As soon as QB2 is drafted, be ready to pounce if you want one of the top dogs.
7.05) Irv Smith, TE, Minnesota
With the 7.05, I could go a number of directions, but in the FFPC, TE premium scoring makes the position very valuable and this felt like a flat tier where I should square off a one-off position. With Noah Fant and Dallas Goedert long gone, I took Irv Smith.
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) April 18, 2021
Smith is entering his third season, but is only 22 years old. He has tremendous upside and also gives me a player that fits my win now approach. The only other TE I would have considered here is Mike Gesicki, but Smith seems like more of a polished player that could offer me more long term production. I will have Smith ranked as a top 12 TE in 2021, and he should see an increased role in the offense with Kyle Rudolph signing with The Giants.
8.08) Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati
The eight round saw a great deal of value drop off from the sixth and seventh. I looked to Tyler Boyd as an ideal WR depth/Flex selection. Boyd is 26 years old, and coming off of 79 and 90-catch seasons. The Bengals play in 3 WR sets as much as any team in the league, and Boyd should have similar production in 2021. Players like Adam Thielen, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham went immediately after my selection of Boyd, and the WRs who have been productive in the league are all starting to get scooped up. Boyd felt like a real value here.
Round 8 Standout Selection: Beckham, Julion and Thielen closing out the round was as low as we have seen them go in dynasty startups in recent years.
9TH ROUND) NO PICK
I attempted to trade up and take Tony Pollard with the 9.04, but Smokin Joes had the exact same idea and made a better offer. Pollard is tremendous value here. He is young, explosive and one play away from taking over as the starting RB in one of the league’s best offenses. I will have a lot of Pollard in redraft and in dynasty this season.
10.07) Brevin Jordan, TE, Florida (rookie)
Pat Freiermuth went off the board at the 10.01. I would have loved to have taken him here. Justin Fields and Tylan Wallace were also selected in this round. I was yet to take a rookie, and focused in on one that I am higher on most in athletic move TE Brevin Jordan. His underwhelming pro day may scare a few away, but he reminds me of an Irv Smith/Evan Engram-type move TE who could be highly productive. I like his chances of becoming a TE1, and with Irv already on the team, I can keep Jordan on the bench.
Top Class of 2021 TE College Dominators 🔥
1️⃣ Quintin Morris: 38.0%
2️⃣ Cary Angeline: 33.0%
3️⃣ Kyle Pitts: 32.3%
4️⃣ Brevin Jordan: 31.5% pic.twitter.com/8iSkYf9p5l
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) April 8, 2021
10.10) Jonnu Smith, TE, New England Patriots
I was able to square up TE with Jonnu Smith, who signed a massive free agent deal with New England this past offseason. The Pats then went and double tapped free agent TEs with Hunter Henry. This feels like a tricky situation for fantasy. Both TEs could be top 15 plays, while neither will have a consistent enough Target Share to be a weekly difference maker. It is still hard to ignore the potential that Smith is a useful fantasy asset. In the late 10th round, he seemed like a reasonable bet.
11.03) Kenyan Drake, RB, Las Vegas
After my selection of Jonnu Smith, Henry Ruggs, Kylin Hill, and Jermar Jefferson all went off the board. Instead of chasing youth, I looked to add RB depth with a veteran. I considered Mike Davis, Raheem Mostert, David Johnson and Kenyan Drake. None are exciting in a dynasty startup, but if my team has a two year window to win a title, all four could help. I ultimately went with Drake. I am optimistic on him having a nice role in 2021. The Raiders gave him a huge contract and I have concerns about Josh Jacobs’ shoulder.
12.08) David Johnson, RB, Houston
I continued to add RBs. I did not want to have to roll the dice in the late rounds on a player I would probably cut in August. Johnson was extended by The Texans, and Phillip Lindsay’s addition could have been worse from a competition standpoint. Johnson could finish as an RB2 once again. Houston showed their confidence in Johnson with an extension on his contract this past offseason.
Most Red Zone Targets in 2020
💰 Alvin Kamara: 17
💰 David Johnson: 14 pic.twitter.com/i0ddJe3Dep
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) April 18, 2021
13.05) Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis
I felt like Hines was exceptional value at the 13.05. He finished as RB15 in total points 2020, but is being treated like he finished RB45. Carson Wentz had issues on short passes to Miles Sanders, and Jonathan Taylor is the unquestioned focal point in Indianapolis, but Hines will be a very useful player to have on my bench.
14.08) Phillip Lindsay, RB, Houston
I continued to build RB depth with Lindsay. I am fairly confident that between he and David Johnson, I will have the RB1 for Houston for the majority of the season. There is always a chance that they could draft a back as well, but they have a lot more issues than RB on that roster.
15.05) Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State (rookie)
I love the value of Lance here in the 15th round. I have him as my QB3 in this class. He offers a big arm with scrambling ability. Draft capital-wise, he should land among the top eight picks in the draft. I have zero need to play him early with Dak Prescott already rostered, but this is a luxury pick that should gain value.
16.08) Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State (rookie)
Terry has lost steam in rookie rankings, but he has a chance to be a Day 2 draft pick. He has size and athletic ability, and if he lands in the right spot, he has a chance to hit.
17.05) Nelson Agholor, WR, New England
Agholor signed a big money deal to be New England’s No. 1 wide receiver. The 17th round seemed like a good place to take him. Despite the low passing volume in New England, Agholor has a shot at finishing as a WR3 or better once again. He could end up being a Flex play.
Nelson Agholor had 100+ Air Yards in 5 of the last 7 games in Las Vegas 🚀 pic.twitter.com/FMTfqyWNRy
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) March 23, 2021
18.08) Will Lutz, PK, New Orleans
FFPC requires you to take a kicker. I could do far worse than Lutz.
19.05) Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame (rookie)
This was a luxury pick for me. Tremble is now my TE4. I am hopeful for him to have a nice Day 2 landing spot and see his stock rise. At only 20 years old, Tremble has some upside. If the landing spot is terrible, I can cut him and add someone off the waiver wire. The 19th round is always a crapshoot in FFPC startups, but this pick could pan out.
Tommy Tremble had 3+ receptions in 5 of 19 games at Notre Dame 🥶 pic.twitter.com/CKJRFH4FVt
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) March 24, 2021
20.08) Buffalo Defense
I was required to draft a defense. Buffalo was the best value on the board.