Breaking Down A Real Dynasty Owner Draft Strategy by Round

Author: Jay Poundsee

Heading into my first dynasty owner draft, I felt nervous even being what most consider a pretty avid Fantasy Football player/nerd depending on who you have the pleasure of speaking too. I can sit and talk football or even better fantasy football all day every day, just ask my fiancée shell surely to agree. I had done plenty of mocks heading up to my first ever draft and felt I was as prepared as I could be heading into a format like this. After all, I have read every article Steve Van Tassel has written as well as listened to every podcast I could find with Steve and Tim. I brought my assistant fantasy manager (my 9-year-old son Bentley) up to speed and we were ready to find out our draft position. After hours of anxiously waiting, we finally get word from the guys at dynasty owner 3rd overall it is.

I was not thrilled with 3rd as I knew I would more than likely face the daunting task of drafting or passing on Patrick Mahomes, whose salary skyrockets to around $45 million next season. The thought of trying to build a team with his salary still gives me nightmares but at the end of the day someone must do it, luckily it was not me as the team before me took him. Though it would be a fascinating challenge to try to build around and win with Mahomes on my roster I was thankful the opportunity did not present itself. In Dynasty Owner it seems the draft can go many ways and it is a format where it is imperative to let the draft come to you. I thought I went in with a plan and that plan was in shreds before I even had the chance to pick.

ROUNDS 1-3

Rounds 1-3 are where you set the tone for your team going forward, meaning if you take Michael Thomas ($19,250,000) or Zeke ($15,000,000) you need to start thinking younger and cheaper moving forward. The first 2 picks went Lamar Jackson and Mahomes leaving me non-other than Christian McCaffery at ($4,000,000) with a new contract looming. The thought of having to budget after taking my first player was one, I was not fond of, but when its CMC you take him and let him carry you to a championship. The rest of round one was a good mix of Quarterbacks and Running backs with no Receivers or tight ends taken. Interestingly, only one team spent over 9 million in the first. We started out round two with a nice mix of younger cheap players, as well as a few expensive veterans. Michael Thomas ($19,250,000) went at 13, followed by Joe Burrow ($9,047,543) and Miles Sanders at ($1,337,544).

The end of the second round I watched Deandre Hopkins ($16,200,000) go the pick just ahead of me. At this point my plan was just draft well enough to be able to compete while McCaffery is in his prime, as well as keep him and resign my rookies next year. Staring me in the face was Joe Mixon ($1,362,544) with only one year left or the love of Tim’s life D.J. Moore ($2,792,829). It was my first tough decision of the draft and being a firm believer in Running backs win championships, I went with Mixon. Joe Mixon worries me as well with this being the final year of his contract, in what is sure to be an improved offense he is a sure bet to get paid. Cincinnati also gets last years, their 2019 first round left tackle, Jonah Williams back, which can only help Mixon produce this season. I took my first quarterback, New York Giants Quarterback Daniel Jones ($6,416,014) in the third round. Jones flashed real potential last season as a rookie on a pretty bad football team, so I was okay with him being my QB1 needing as much flexibility as possible to retain Mixon and CMC next season. 

I knew from all my mock drafts not getting at least one Quarterback on a rookie deal would put me into a cap nightmare moving forward. I would, no doubt, must amnesty one to have any type of flexibility going into next season. At this point I had no clue where to go next with 2 of my 3 most important pieces going into a contract year. I decided to try to just let the draft come to me as best as I could.

Rounds 4-7

I knew my 4th round pick was going to be crucial to how the rest of this draft would play out for me. I watched the 2 players I was hoping would fall to me Deandre Swift ($2,124,728) and Calvin Ridley ($2,725,178) get sniped just picks ahead of me. As it becomes my selection, I look at my screen and laugh as I see another potential top 5 running back staring me in the face, Kareem Hunt at ($3,259,000) and the kicker 1 year left on his contract just like my other guys. I looked over at my son, who I knew would have no idea what I was talking about, I said “Son I think I found an odd strategy that just might work.” He got excited and said, “let’s try it Dad.” I smashed draft on Kareem Hunt and had a somewhat clear plan.

The rest of the draft I was going to spend good money to lock down a few solid wide receivers and target players on 1-year deals with high upside. This will free up cap space for next season and give me options of who to keep and who to let go based on performance and outlook this off season in my running back room. Example, if Pittsburgh lets James Connor walk at the end of the year and signs Hunt, then Hunt becomes a no brainier to keep next season. If he flops this year or stays behind Chubb, I just opened cap space for CMC or Mixon’s new deals. When it came time to pick again, I felt like a kindergartner at snack time I was so excited. Julio Jones at a hefty$22,000,000 fell right into my lap. I had zero issue spending big to pair Julio with the CMC, Mixon, Jones, and Hunt, giving me a great core to compete this year. The 6th was what seemed another no brainer for me with Leonard Fournette ($6,787,711) and 1 year remaining (see a trend?). Taking Fournette at this pick was simple because it gave me potentially 4 stud Running backs this season as well as my pick of the litter with these four going into next season with them all on expiring contracts. As my 7th pick was approaching quickly, I noticed almost all the young cheap signal callers were gone, so I decided to reach and go with Sam Darnold ($7,561,929).

I know Darnold is not an attractive pick here, but he has flashed some positive potential and the Jets played considerably better when Darnold was on the field last season vs. when he was out with mono. Pair that with an upgraded line and receiving core it may lead to a solid year from the Jets QB. At this point I am feeling good with where my team is but knew I would need another wide-out plus some younger depth due to Julio’s age and huge contract (amnesty candidate). Also, if I have learned one sneaky good piece of advice it’s don’t be scared of an aging contract who can help win now like Julio Jones, because the amnesty provision is there when needed.

Rounds 8-13

I have to say, I have never gone into the 8th round of a fantasy football draft as anxious as I was in my Dynasty Owner draft. I watched Tyler Lockett ($10,250,000), CeeDee Lamb ($3,502,503), and Justin Jefferson $3,280,701 come off the draft board praying it was not the start of a receiver run before my next selection. Luckily, Devante Parker ($7,625,000), who I am extremely high on, was available and I do not think I could have hit draft fast enough. This gave me what I feel is a very solid floor at the two premier positions in Fantasy Football with CMC, Mixon, Julio, and Parker on top of a ton of cap space still available if I really wanted to spice things up. In the following rounds I really wanted to start adding some young talent with promising careers to my roster, so I went with one of my favorite rookies in Michael Pittman Jr. ($2,153,212). I love Pittman’s situation in Indy with him set to take on a big role this year and replace the oft-injured T.Y. Hilton full time as soon as next season. On the clock with the 118th pick, I selected the man with tree trunks for legs, A.J. Dillion ($1,321,458) running back for the Green Bay Packers. While Aaron Rodgers may not be a fan of the pick, I absolutely love Dillion as a prospect, as a pure between the tackles, old school goal line runner and feel he will have long term success in his career. Dillon has the chance to be a successful Ron Dayne.

In most fantasy drafts as well as this one, I almost always find myself waiting until later in the draft to shoot for the typical breakout tight end season we tend to see every year. One of my breakout candidates this year is Dallas Goedert ($1,406,068) with the horrible injury luck of the Eagles, it seems Philly’s tight ends are due for an even bigger year than originally expected. Alshon Jeffery seems to be starting this season on the PUP list and Desean Jackson may want to consider signing on with bubble wrap at this point; he is so fragile. I see Philly running a ton of 12 personal this season with their number 1 wide-out being a rookie in a shortened off season. This spells big things to come for Dallas Goedert and Philly’s tight end room. At pick number 142 sat The Running Back One for 3 weeks of last season (when Kamara went down) none other than Latavius Murray ($3,600,000). I find Murray to be a great upside piece for my roster especially if Alvin Kamara goes down. He is also someone who will always help with the 20% bench scoring feature here on Dynasty Owner with some standalone value. Round 13 came and I had two things on my mind Talent and cap flexibility. Anthony Miller ($1,338,425) was the selection, I have heard reports on how Miller relied heavily on pure talent in college and his rookie season, and that last year was a bit of a wake up call for him on how important attention to detail and putting in work off the field is. Needless to say it sounds like it’s a make it or break it year for Miller and those are pieces I love on my team, especially with only one year remaining giving me the ability to cut ties freely if needed this off season.

Rounds 14-18

Once you get to this point in most drafts, you are simply looking for two things, depth, and upside. The thing is this is not most drafts. There are so many ways your draft can go at this point from needing to find no-name super cheap players to even out your top-heavy cap or having plenty of room and zero worries. I was here thinking I need to find guys on 1 or 2-year deals who can produce now giving me the flexibility I need going forward. With pick number 166 I took a flier on Justin Jackson ($5,700,000). The kid has seemed to flash greatness at times averaging 6.9 yards per carry last season. I followed that up with Sammy Watkins ($9,000,000) for bench scoring, bye weeks, and cap space next season. Watkins happens to play with a quarterback named Mahomes, so I had no issue taking a chance this late on a piece of Andy Reid’s offense. This is where things started to dry up in the draft knowing I could not spend big unless they were on a one-year deal because of the need to keep as many running backs as possible next season.

My plan was to look for a few handcuffs for my players in the next few rounds. I am not typically a fan of my own handcuffs, but with Covid-19 going nowhere I feel it is necessary this season and possibly next. I took Russel Gauge ($654,049) as a potential handcuff for Julio Jones. I know Gauge would not be the direct beneficiary as that goes to Calvin Ridley, but Gauge would become an easy start each week in Dirk Koetter’s pass happy offense with Julio or Ridley going down. Ryquell Armstead was my next selection as Fournette’s handcuff. I felt he was an easy choice here as there seems to be little competition for Armstead as the Jaguars backup. Chris Thompson is there but outside of a few passing situations he does not worry me even having the shower narrative with his old coach Jay Gruden. In the 18th round I selected rookie running back for the Miami Dolphins Malcom Perry ($842,622). Perry is nothing more than a practice squad player that I hope will pan out over his rookie deal in a young talented offense.

Rounds 18-25

I will do my best not to bore you with the bottom rounds as there is not a whole lot of strategy involved, aside from finding players you feel are talented. There are a few curve balls in this format if you have cap space as players like Marvin Jones ($8,000,000), Carson Wentz ($32,000,000) and Matt Ryan ($30,000,000) were never even drafted. Quintez Cephus ($734,822) was the player I took next. I find Cephus extremely intriguing over a singular statement. The statement came from Detroit Lions corner back Jeff Okudah where Okudah was asked who the best receiver he has ever faced, Okudah replied “Quintez Cephus” being a Buckeyes fan that is enough for me to take a flier.  I selected tight end Will Dissly ($777,568) at my next spot. Dissly has had a few disappointing injuries the past 2 seasons but when healthy he has showed promise and Russel Wilson seems to love the guy. He also seems to be superhuman with how quickly he recovers from significant injuries. Famous Jameis Winston was the next pick for me. I love the thought of Winston working with Sean Payton and Drew Brees and potentially taking over. He also had Lasik eye surgery this season which may be the cause of some of the mind-numbing interceptions he has thrown throughout his career.

I wanted to take a kicker earlier than normal in this format because I wanted to make sure I got solid production without having to spend a few million. Greg Joseph ($660,000) was the pick. I am a big fan of the Titans offense going into this season. The Titans were one of the most efficient teams in NFL history on offense last season when Tannehill took over which will hopefully lead to easy freebies for my kicker with him at the helm for the foreseeable future. Jared Cook ($7,500,000) was still on the board at pick number 267 which was extremely surprising to me. With only 1 year left on his contract in a particularly good offense, I figured it was a win win with production and free cap space next year. With my final two selections of my very first Dynasty Owner draft, I took two more kickers. Brett Maher ($750,000) for the New York Jets and Matt Prater ($3,800,000). Prater was a bit more than I planned to spend on a kicker, but he plays for a good offense. I remember reading an article by Steve Van Tassel, who mentioned how important having 3 kickers was in Dynasty Owner. The reason for this is because of the 20 percent bench scoring each week, if you only have 2 kickers you will take 2 big fat ZEROs on your bench for bye weeks.

Summary and Free Agent Pickups

After the draft I was looking over my team, deciding how to spend the rest of my cap space in a responsible manner. I knew anyone I picked up had to be on a one-year deal, so I am not on the hook past this season, after all they were not drafted. Corey Davis ($6,348,672) was available and I needed more potential production at receiver, so I placed a bid and got him. Shortly after the guys from Dynasty Owner announced $2 Million in extra cap space so I placed a bid for Marvin Jones and his 1 year $8,000,000 salary. I knew Jones if healthy would offer me that extra upside and depth I need at wide out. I was surprised that I was able to pick up a player with the upside of Marvin Jones in a potential top 10 offense with the Detroit Lions for the minimum bid of 1,000,000 Dynasty Dollars. My overall draft experience here on dynasty owner was nothing short of phenomenal and addicting. There are so many different strategies to go with and most happen on the fly while drafting which makes it a lot of fun.

The strategy I went with in my draft was too get uber talented players with 1 year left on their deals in return my team only has $53,000,000 in cap space committed next season giving me plenty of freedom to do what I want next off season on top of signing my rookies. Overall, I have to say I am hooked on the in-depth year-round strategy this format takes to succeed and cannot wait for future seasons to see how my team performs, as well as running a few more teams. I hope this article helps you get a sense of what the draft process is like and gives you a somewhat in-depth look at the problems and thought process you will face in your upcoming drafts. One last takeaway from my draft and the research I have done recently for articles is that I have never seen such differences in where players are drafted as well as surprises on a draft-by-draft basis than you will find here at Dynasty Owner.  As always good luck on your Chase for The Ring!

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