A Look at Drafting 1.01 in a Dynasty Startup

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If you are new to dynasty format or starting a new dynasty league this year, I wanted to take a look at who should be drafted #1 overall and a few options for the round 2/3 turn. Most current rankings have Odell Beckham Jr. listed as the number one pick but lets take a look at a few other candidates.

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Because this is dynasty and you keep a player for their entire career(unless traded), age plays an important role in player selection, especially in the first round or two. One key metric to look at is the history of player career lengths. This chart shows that an elite player should play nearly 12 years. If a player comes in at age 21, they should play until 33. However, we also need to take in to account statistical data about declining production as well.

This data from Doug Driner and Ty Schlater shows that running backs in particular decline around age 28 and this article by Mike Tagliere goes over the decline of wide receivers. So while you may have a running back until they are 33 you should really be looking at holding them until 26-27 and unloading them while receivers tend to hold on until their age 33 season. Let’s keep this in mind as we look at options for 1.01.

Deandre Hopkins

It doesn’t seem to matter who throws the ball to Deandre Hopkins, he just catches it. His target numbers are ridiculous seeing 192, 151, and 174 the last three seasons. With a consistent quarterback in Deshaun Watson he should be able to put up more consistent numbers than in years past.

The knock here is going to be the inconsistency over his career so far coupled with the fact he really only has 6 more years left of elite production. If we ignore the inconsistency due to the carousel at quarterback for the Texans and assume 200 points a year that puts him around 1200 points for the remainder of his career, far short of our other options.

Todd Gurley

Gurley is just 24 years old and coming off a career year, so what’s not to love? Well, regression for one. The Rams had an amazing 2017 season and it’s entirely possible they do it again, but improbable.

Gurley should have 3-4 years of top tier production left and while he had 300+ points last year, his previous two were under 200 which should concern us. If the Rams see more negative game scripts and/or Goff regresses any this could hurt Gurley’s production.

I believe it’s safe to put his floor in that 300 range which would give him around 1200 points over the remainder of his peak years. While this is equal to Deandre Hokpins projection (over 6 years) I believe Gurley’s upside is higher.

Ezekiel Elliot

All Elliot does is produce. A talented runner and pass catcher behind an elite offensive line he’s averaged over 19 PPR points per game when he’s played. At 23 years old he has 5 elite years left before his stats decline. Extrapolated out to include his suspension last year he has averaged 300 points in standard leagues and 330+ in PPR leagues. Over 5 years you would be looking at a minimum of 1500 points.

More upside includes his elite offensive line and the fact the Cowboys have little choice but to lean on him in 2018. His yards and catches should both increase this year.

Where we start to lose Elliot is the new 2 strike rule for domestic violence in the NFL. Elliot already has one strike with last years suspension. Any misstep, however small, could result in his banishment from the league with the chance to be reinstated after one year. That immaturity is concerning and limits my being all in on his being my dynasty cornerstone.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham is a freak athlete who has proven over 2 seasons he can produce at an elite level in the NFL. At just 25 years old we can roughly project he will have 7-8 years remaining of elite production. Given he missed 2017 with an ankle injury lets assume he’ll give us 8 solid years.

From 2014-2016 Beckham averaged 207 points in standard leagues and 303 points in PPR leagues. using that average and our 8 years of remaining production we can see he could potentially produce 1656 points in standard leagues and 2429 in PPR leagues. He also has been a monster in targets over that same time trending up each year(sans 2017): 130, 158, 169 respectively.

The downsides to Beckham are his quarterback and his immaturity issues. Eli Manning is 37 so it bears watching how Kyle Lauletta matures in the system and if he can be a suitable starter when Eli retires. Beckham’s issues are another story. In 2015 he was suspended one game for getting 3 personal foul penalties in one game and in 2016 was closing in on another suspension after a blindside block during a game against the Saints. In March 2018 videos surfaced of him in bed with what appeared to possibly be marijuana and cocaine on the bed. And of course we all remember his fight with a kicking net.

Beckham’s elite production make him incredibly hard to overlook here but his issues give me some pause when considering him for my dynasty cornerstone.

Saquon Barkley

Barkley is just 21 years old and is being touted as a generational talent. He’s roughly the same size as Elliot, 9 pounds heavier, but with better hands. He legitimately could be the next Le’Veon Bell. From all accounts Saquon is a stand up kid with a strong work ethic. His projections have him around 280 points but I believe he can exceed that.

There are some obvious concerns but they aren’t really Barkley’s fault. For one he’s never played an NFL snap but that doesn’t change his talent. The other is the Giants offensive line. They were bad last year. Really bad. But they also suffered from injuries in a lost season for the entire team. This year they’ve strengthened that line and should be better than the middle of the pack.

If Barkley can truly outperform his current projections even minimally to around 300 points, projected out over the next 7 seasons would be 2100 points. With a clean nose, smart moves from his GM, and consistency from the rest of the offense, Saquon Barkley could become the next Le’Veon Bell.

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