By Calvin Danger
When thinking about this article I was going to follow my previous Dynasty 101 mold and just list a bunch of different strategies for an IDP Dynasty Startup draft. I could rattle off things like Zero RB, Late QB, WR Hoarding, Late IDP, Boom and Bust, but what good will that do you when holding your first startup draft. Everyone out there has a little bit different way of going about their draft, some building their team with exclusively young players, others going with proven veterans. The perfect roster should have a combination of both. The most important aspect of drafting is to find value with every pick.
Before going any further, there is one thing to mention. Know your rules. As IDP is in somewhat of it’s infancy (at least mainstream) there will be a wide variety of how your league may be scored. Make sure to find out if you are, Tackle Heavy or Big Play as these will considerably alter some, if not most, of the defensive players’ value.
The past few years have seen a trend towards NFL rookies being more heavily weighted when selecting a team. This proves to have it’s advantages down the road, but you should enter your startup draft with a win now approach. There is a ton of value that can be found in all rounds by taking a player that may be a 2-3 years older than someone at a comparable ADP. Potential is great, but I’ll take proven production any day.
Let’s take a look at Arian Foster. His RB rankings since he broke out as an UDFA are 1, 2, 2, 20, 4. The only season in which he finished outside the top 4 for running backs is in 2013 where he only played 8 games, and he still was a top 20 option. Right now his startup ADP is a whopping 48.17, meaning a 5th(!) round pick for a guy that is all but guaranteed to be in the top 5 at his position for at least 2-3 more seasons. He is being picked behind guys like Todd Gurley (22.83) and Melvin Gordon (31.00) who have never taken a snap at the pro level, Carlos Hyde (35.17) who is still yet to prove he can be an effective NFL player, and CJ Anderson (38.83) who has yet to produce a full season of fantasy relevance; nevermind the Peyton bump which only has about a season left. I will take the guaranteed production of Foster in the 4th round all day long.
There is also the belief that within an IDP startup draft, that defensive players should be taken after just about every offensive skill position. This is also an incorrect way to draft. Looking at the past 3 champions in my own dynasty league their starting linebackers are 2014 – Lavonte David, Luke Kuechley, CJ Mosley 2013 – Navorro Bowman, Vontaze Burfict, Jerrell Freeman 2012 – Lavonte David, Luke Kuechley, Daryl Washington. Notice a trend, all three champions had all 3 linebackers score in the top 10 at their position in that respective year. Now that is not to say you should go spend your top 3 picks on stud linebackers, but just like any other position group, if you have quality talent then you can and should be successful.
However, there is a widely accepted strategy that I do agree with. That is to make sure you stockpile quality talent at the WR position. This is the position group that has the most longevity, can put up huge amounts of points on any given week, are less injury prone compared to other position groups, and are easy to predict weekly relative to their matchup. Being able to plug a guy like Antonio Brown into your lineup every week for years is a very comfortable experience.