Fantasy Football Live Blog: Twitter Invitational Startup Draft
Last week, Dynasty League Football's Ryan McDowell got a handful of fantasy football analysts together and said, "Let's do a superflex best ball startup." And 11 of us said, "Sure, what else is there to do?"
Setting up the league probably wasn't that simple, but with everyone cooped up for the foreseeable future, now seems like the perfect time to start up a dynasty league.
The rules for the league aren't totally standard. It's a best-ball league, so there's no setting lineups -- the optimal lineup is created for you each week. That lineup consists of one quarterback, one running back, one wide receiver, one tight end, six flex spots (running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends can be used here), and one superflex spot (quarterbacks can be used). Scoring is standard at quarterback, and players get a full point per reception.
The league managers participating are:
1. JJ Zachariason - FanDuel/numberFire
2. Scott Barrett - Formerly Pro Football Focus
3. Rich Hribar - Sharp Football Analysis
4. Pat Thorman - Establish the Run
5. Graham Barfield - Formerly NFL Network
6. Jake Ciely - The Athletic
7. Peter Overzet - RotoGrinders and 4for4
8. Scott Fish - SafeLeagues
9. Matthew Berry - ESPN
10. Matt Kelley - RotoUnderworld/Player Profiler
11. Ryan McDowell - Dynasty League Football
12. Evan Silva - Establish the Run
I'll be updating the draft below -- at least the first 10 or so rounds -- with commentary.
1. JJ Zachariason - Christian McCaffrey (RB1)
2. Scott Barrett - Patrick Mahomes (QB1)
3. Scott Barrett (Trade with Hribar) - Lamar Jackson (QB2)
4. Pat Thorman - Saquon Barkley (RB2)
5. Graham Barfield - Michael Thomas (WR1)
6. Jake Ciely - Ezekiel Elliott (RB3)
7. Ryan McDowell (Trade with Overzet) - Kyler Murray (QB3)
8. Scott Fish - Deshaun Watson (QB4)
9. Matthew Berry - Dalvin Cook (RB4)
10. Matthew Berry (Trade with Kelley) - Dak Prescott (QB5)
11. Peter Overzet (Trade with McDowell) - Alvin Kamara (RB5)
12. Evan Silva - Tyreek Hill (WR2)
1. Hribar gives Pick 1.03, Pick 29.04 to Barrett for Pick 2.11, Pick 9.03, 2021 first-round rookie pick
2. Overzet gives Pick 1.07, Pick 6.06, Pick 8.06 to McDowell for Pick 1.11, Pick 6.02, Pick 8.02, 2021 second-round rookie pick
3. Kelley gives up Pick 1.10, 2021 fourth-round rookie pick to Berry for Pick 4.04, 2021 first-round rookie pick, 2021 third-round rookie pick
There's been a lot of chatter amongst league managers about moving down in the draft, and I was part of that discussion. I wanted out of the first overall pick. The choice was between Patrick Mahomes and Christian McCaffrey, and in a normal format, I'd probably go with Mahomes. But there were two reasons I drafted CMC instead. The first was that the league has a good number of non-quarterback roster spots so, from a supply-and-demand perspective, that shifts the demand for other positions as well. (For more on this, I did a huge superflex study a couple of years ago.) Quarterbacks are still valuable -- especially given the longevity of the position in a dynasty format -- but I thought it was important to not overstate that value given the number of flex spots.
It's also a best-ball league. When you're actually setting lineups in a normal superflex league, you're almost always using a passer in the superflex spot. In a best-ball league, though, you could theoretically -- very easily -- utilize, say, a wide receiver in that spot. No, no -- I'm not saying a Patrick Mahomes' performance is completely replaceable with a Robby Anderson outing week in and week out. I just mean that best ball also pushes down the importance to lock in Mahomes when the opportunity cost is someone as incredible as McCaffrey.
Quarterbacks did drop off the board a little faster than I expected, with five going in Round 1. Barrett went with the approach of gobbling up the top-two signal-callers in fantasy, so he won't have to worry about the position for the rest of the draft. Or, at least, until much later. McDowell got Kyler Murray at QB3, and it's hard to fault him -- that's where I've got Murray in dynasty, too.
13. Evan Silva - Davante Adams (WR3)
14. Ryan McDowell - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.01
15. Matt Kelley - Joe Mixon (RB6)
16. Matthew Berry - DeAndre Hopkins (WR4)
17. Scott Fish - George Kittle (TE1)
18. Graham Barfield (Trade with Overzet) - Chris Godwin (WR5)
19. Jake Ciely - Russell Wilson (QB6)
20. Peter Overzet (Trade with Barfield) - DJ Moore (WR6)
21. Pat Thorman - JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR7)
22. Rich Hribar - Josh Jacobs (RB7)
23. Rich Hribar (Trade with Barrett) - Nick Chubb (RB8)
24. JJ Zachariason - Mike Evans (WR8)
1. Barfield gives Pick 2.08, second-round rookie pick to Overzet for Pick 2.06
McDowell took the first rookie pick in the 14th overall spot, which may be surprising to some. It means that he probably really likes either Joe Burrow or maybe Jonathan Taylor. But it's important to keep flexibility in mind with a pick like that. Depending on how the rest of his draft shakes out, he'll be able to fill holes with that pick once the rookie draft goes down. So there's a little more value there than simply it being the first pick in a rookie draft.
After Russell Wilson was drafted to Ciely, it became very clear that I wouldn't take a quarterback at the 2-3 turn. Wilson's at the end of a tier -- you get into more questionable players like Josh Allen and Carson Wentz after him. So I went with two wide receivers with my second- and third-round picks. One's a veteran in Mike Evans, while the other, as you can see below, was the up-and-coming A.J. Brown.
25. JJ Zachariason - AJ Brown (WR9)
26. Scott Barrett - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.02
27. Rich Hribar - Miles Sanders (RB9)
28. Pat Thorman - Amari Cooper (WR10)
29. Graham Barfield - Carson Wentz (QB7)
30. Jake Ciely - Travis Kelce (TE2)
31. Graham Barfield (Trade with Overzet) - Odell Beckham (WR11)
32. Scott Fish - Courtland Sutton (WR12)
33. Matthew Berry - Kenny Golladay (WR13)
34. Scott Fish (Trade with Kelley) - DK Metcalf (WR14)
35. Ryan McDowell - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.03
36. Evan Silva - Calvin Ridley (WR15)
1. Barfield gives Pick 4.08, Pick 6.08, 2021 first-round rookie pick to Overzet for Pick 3.07, Pick 7.07
2. Kelley gives Pick 3.10, Pick 13.10 to Fish for Pick 6.05, Pick 18.05, 2021 first-round rookie pick
We saw a fairly predictable third round. Fish traded up to snag D.K. Metcalf as the WR14 to give him a really strong pairing of Metcalf and Courtland Sutton, and Berry ended up snagging my man Kenny Golladay, who I was actually considering at the 2-3 turn. Only one quarterback fell off the board after the "Big 6", with Barfield going with Carson Wentz. He then traded up and got Odell Beckham, giving him a strong start of Wentz, OBJ, Chris Godwin, and Michael Thomas.
37. Evan Silva - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.04
38. Ryan McDowell - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.05
39. Matt Kelley - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.06
40. Matt Kelley (Trade with Berry) - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.07
41. Scott Fish - Josh Allen (QB8)
42. Scott Barrett (Trade with Overzet) - Aaron Jones (RB10)
43. Jake Ciely - Cooper Kupp (WR16)
44. Peter Overzet (Trade with Barfield) - Stefon Diggs (WR17)
45. Pat Thorman - Derrick Henry (RB11)
46. Rich Hribar - Mark Andrews (TE3)
47. Peter Overzet (Trade with Barrett) - Julio Jones (WR18)
48. JJ Zachariason - Baker Mayfield (QB9)
1. Overzet gives Pick 4.06, Pick 8.02 to Barrett for Pick 4.11, Pick 6.11
Holy rookie pick run! Silva started things off by taking the fourth pick in the rookie draft at 37th overall. To reiterate what I said above, that allows a team to have a lot of flexibility post-draft. If, let's say, Evan sees a hole at wide receiver, then he can go with Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb. If he needs a running back, one should be available. That gives those picks a little extra juice in the middle of a startup.
The run continued all the way until rookie pick 1.07, though. That makes sense if you consider both Lamb and Jeudy, Joe Burrow, and then the top running backs (Jonathan Taylor, D'Andre Swift, JK Dobbins, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and maybe Cam Akers) as the safest options in rookie drafts right now. Once you get to the tail-end of the first in rookie drafts this year, things get a little less secure. It's reminiscent of rookie drafts from 2018.
As you can see, I decided to take my first quarterback at the end of the fourth with Baker Mayfield. Clearly I'm a believer that he'll rebound a bit, but it's also nice to have youth at the position in one of my spots. Quarterbacks should be a little devalued in this format than most superflex dynasty leagues given it's best ball (I talked about that in the Round 1 blurb above), but quarterbacks are still currency in superflex leagues. Being at the turn makes me vulnerable to really missing out at the position.
49. JJ Zachariason - Leonard Fournette (RB12)
50. Scott Barrett - Austin Ekeler (RB13)
51. Rich Hribar - Allen Robinson (WR19)
52. Rich Hribar (Trade with Thorman) - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.08
53. Graham Barfield - Kenyan Drake (RB14)
54. Jake Ciely - Aaron Rodgers (QB10)
55. Peter Overzet - Daniel Jones (QB11)
56. Scott Fish - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.09
57. Matthew Berry - Devin Singletary (RB15)
58. Matt Kelley - DJ Chark (WR20)
59. Ryan McDowell - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.10
60. Evan Silva - Adam Thielen (WR21)
1. Hribar gives Allen Robinson, 2021 fourth-round rookie pick to Thorman for Pick 52.
If you're curious as to why Hribar drafted Allen Robinson and then immediately traded him, it's because he realized that Robinson didn't fit what he was trying to do. He made a mistake and fixed it quickly. Given the moves Hribar had made up until that point in the draft, he was clearly thinking more into the future and building young. Robinson didn't quite work into those plans, so he sent him to Thorman along with a relatively worthless draft pick.
Speaking of rookie picks, this was the round that solidified the fact that I wouldn't have a 2020 first-round pick. Going with CMC in the first round meant I have to win now, and with the biggest impact rookie picks falling off the board fairly early, it just didn't (and doesn't) make sense for me to spend a high-equity pick on an unknown. The strategy will work well for other managers, but my team build is different.
Had I gone with Patrick Mahomes with the first pick in the draft, things would likely be different. But with a win-now mentality, I'm making selections like Leonard Fournette. I did see his RB12 pricetag as fair, but it was a struggle choosing between Fournette and Austin Ekeler, who went with the next pick to Scott Barrett. I love Ekeler as a player, don't get me wrong. But the possibility of the Chargers spending at the running back position in the draft later this month combined with the unknown of what a quarterback change will do to his bottom line is a little scary. Fournette should provide solid production for at least a couple more seasons.
61. Evan Silva - Zach Ertz (TE4)
62. Peter Overzet (Trade with McDowell) - Terry McLaurin (WR22)
63. Matt Kelley - Derrius Guice (RB16)
64. Matthew Berry - Deebo Samuel (WR23)
65. Matt Kelley (Trade with Fish) - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.11
66. Ryan McDowell (Trade with Overzet) - Keenan Allen (WR24)
67. Jake Ciely - Melvin Gordon (RB17)
68. Peter Overzet (Trade with Barfield) - Matt Ryan (QB12)
69. Pat Thorman - Matthew Stafford (QB13)
70. Rich Hribar - Marquise Brown (WR25)
71. Peter Overzet (Trade with Barrett) - Tyler Boyd (WR26)
72. JJ Zachariason - Michael Gallup (WR27)
All trades shown in Round 6 were completed prior to Round 6.
There's an interesting tier of wide receivers that fell off the board in Round 6. To be honest, I considered trading up in order to lock in Michael Gallup, but risked it and was fortunate that he fell to me at the 6-7 turn. The wideouts taken in front of him were logical, he's just one of the better buys in dynasty right now after coming off a season where his production was really similar to teammate Amari Cooper's. And he's only 24 years old.
Ciely took Melvin Gordon here, giving him another "win now" piece. Up until this point, along with Gordon, he's drafted Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Kelce, and Amari Cooper. That means none of his first six picks will be playing their 2020 season under the age of 25. There's long-term risk to that approach, but it should make him competitive in Year 1 and 2.
73. JJ Zachariason - Jared Goff (QB14)
74. Scott Barrett - Evan Engram (TE5)
75. Rich Hribar - Sam Darnold (QB15)
76. Pat Thorman - 2020 Rookie Pick 1.12
77. Graham Barfield - Robert Woods (WR28)
78. Jake Ciely - Darren Waller (TE6)
79. Matthew Berry (Trade with Barfield) - Tyler Lockett (WR29)
80. Scott Fish - Noah Fant (TE7)
81. Matthew Berry - Tom Brady (QB16)
82. Matt Kelley - 2020 Rookie Pick 2.01
83. Ryan McDowell - DeVante Parker (WR30)
84. Evan Silva - Kirk Cousins (QB17)
1. Barfield gives Pick 7.07, Pick 10.08 and Pick 12.08 to Berry for Pick 8.04, Pick 10.04, Pick 12.04
Looking at how things went down in Round 7, I'm glad I ended up taking Jared Goff at the turn. I generally am cool with waiting at the position in a format like this (without getting too crazy), but as I mentioned earlier when I took Mayfield, having a pick at the turn means it's usually smarter to play it safe. Goff isn't the most thrilling fantasy asset in the world, but the combination of him and Mayfield give me youth at the position, so I likely won't have to worry about quarterback much in the short term.
Kelley continues to gobble up rookie picks in this draft. He took the first pick of the second round of this year's rookie draft at 82 overall, giving him four rookie picks in the first seven rounds of the draft. Kelley and Ryan McDowell own eight of the top-13 picks through seven.
85. Evan Silva - Ryan Tannehill (QB18)
86. Jake Ciely (Trade with Barrett) - Christian Kirk (WR31)
87. Matt Kelley - Jimmy Garoppolo (QB19)
88. Rich Hribar (Trade with Barfield) - Jarvis Landry (WR32)
89. Scott Fish - Darius Slayton (WR33)
90. Ryan McDowell (Trade with Overzet) - Darrell Henderson (RB18)
91. Graham Barfield (Trade with Ciely) - Hunter Henry (TE8)
92. Graham Barfield - Dallas Goedert (TE9)
93. Pat Thorman - Marlon Mack (RB19)
94. Jake Ciely (Trade with Barfield) - Todd Gurley (RB20)
95. Scott Barrett - David Montgomery (RB21)
96. JJ Zachariason - Kerryon Johnson (RB22)
1. Ciely gives Pick 8.07, Pick 9.05 to Barfield for Pick 8.10, Pick 9.02
We had a long streak of picks without a running back, and then McDowell took Darrell Henderson. And four of us decided to follow suit. Even though, on my podcast, I've talked about the Lions as a sneaky team to pick an early-ish round running back in this year's draft, the Kerryon Johnson pick came down to what was left at running back and a scenario where the Lions decide to make him the workhorse in 2020. Am I thrilled? No, I've mostly sold Johnson where I have him this offseason. But I'm building a team to win now, and he fit as an RB3 behind McCaffrey and Fournette.
I thought the best pick of this round was the trade up from Hribar to snag Jarvis Landry. I had a similar thought, but didn't pull the trigger. Landry has yet to finish an NFL season with fewer than 80 receptions, and he hasn't been below the 970-yard mark since his rookie year. He's one of the more undervalued assets in dynasty. He would've been nice to pair with Mayfield.
97. JJ Zachariason - 2020 Rookie Pick 2.02
98. Peter Overzet (Trade with Ciely) - TJ Hockenson (TE10)
99. Rich Hribar - Teddy Bridgewater (QB20)
100. Pat Thorman - Austin Hooper (TE11)
101. Rich Hribar (Trade with Barfield) - Tyler Higbee (TE12)
102. Graham Barfield (Trade with Ciely) - Drew Brees (QB21)
103. Jake Ciely (Trade with Overzet) - TY Hilton (WR34)
104. Scott Fish - Preston Williams (WR35)
105. Matthew Berry - Drew Lock (QB21)
106. Matt Kelley - Diontae Johnson (WR36)
107. Ryan McDowell - Mecole Hardman (WR37)
108. Evan Silva - Le'Veon Bell (RB23)
1. Overzet gives Ciely Pick 9.07, Pick 12.06 for Pick 9.02, 13.06
After getting Kerryon Johnson at the turn, my choice came down to either the 2.02 rookie pick or Diontae Johnson. In hindsight, I wish I went Johnson, but in superflex leagues, I'm a fan of the type of receivers who should be available in the early second round of rookie drafts this year. It's nice to have some investment in the rookie draft in this league, too. But, like I've talked about on shows all offseason, Johnson is a fantastic buy -- he led a great rookie group of wide receivers last year in receptions with a mess at quarterback.
Ciely continued to build a super win-now team with his T.Y. Hilton pick. Through nine rounds, the only player on his team who won't be at least 25 years old at some point during the 2020 season is Christian Kirk. In the short term, the squad is looking good, though.
109. Evan Silva - Kareem Hunt (RB24)
110. Ryan McDowell - Ben Roethlisberger (QB22)
111. Matt Kelley - 2020 Rookie Pick 2.03
112. Scott Barrett (Traded with Barfield) - Will Fuller (WR38)
113. Scott Fish - Gardner Minshew (QB23)
114. Peter Overzet - N'Keal Harry (WR39)
115. Graham Barfield (Trade with Barrett) - David Johnson (RB25)
116. Matthew Berry (Trade with Barfield) - Chris Carson (RB26)
117. Pat Thorman - Mike Gesicki (TE13)
118. Graham Barfield (Trade with Hribar) - 2020 Rookie Pick 2.04
119. Scott Barrett - Irv Smith Jr. (TE14)
120. JJ Zachariason - OJ Howard (TE15)
1. Barrett gives Barfield Pick 10.07, 13.02, 15.02 for 10.04, 13.05, 15.05