Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!
By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)
That’s how they start the Indianapolis 500 and seems like an appropriate way to get started with the 2023 Dynasty Owner season. True, it’s still the off-season as no NFL teams have started training camps and we don’t even know the entire schedule yet. The full schedule will be out on May 11th, so it may have already happened by the time you’re reading this.
That doesn’t matter because it’s finally time for Dynasty Owner startup drafts to begin for everyone. New and returning Dynasty Owners drafted in the first startup drafts of the 2023 season this past weekend and I have the full draft results from five of those startups so that I can dig into some real draft data. The results of these five drafts are not a complete look at how Dynasty Owner startup drafts, or rookie drafts, will proceed for the rest of the season.
Dynasty Owner cannot have any startup drafts until after the NFL Draft is completed in order to know the salaries of drafted (and undrafted) rookies. In case you are new to Dynasty Owner, the uniqueness of our format and the use of real NFL contracts and salaries makes our startup drafts much different than an off-season startup draft conducted in a “regular” dynasty fantasy football league. Expensive veteran players are far more likely to be drafted late, or not drafted at all. Rookies from 2023 plus undrafted rookie free agents and late round NFL Draft picks from previous seasons are much more valuable and taken far earlier in Dynasty Owner than other dynasty formats. That’s been true in the previous Dynasty Owner seasons, and we’ll find out if that’s the case in these inaugural startup drafts.
The results of these five startup drafts are from the first weekend of drafting on Dynasty Owner (May 6th and May 7th). The player’s Average Draft Position (ADP) was calculated using these five drafts and differs from the ADP that appears on Dynasty Owner. Any position ranking data and stats listed are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the updated Dynasty Owner Constitution.
Standard Dynasty Owner scoring gives you .1 points for every yard rushing or receiving, .1 point for every 2 yards passing, 1 point per reception, 6 points for a rushing, receiving or passing touchdown and 2 points for a successful 2-point conversion (rushing, receiving, or passing). Interceptions or fumbles lost cost you 3 points, while a fumble that is recovered by the player’s team is a loss of only 1 point. Bonus points are available for 100-199 yards rushing (2 points), 200 yards rushing or receiving (6 points), 300-399 yards passing (1 point) and 400 yards passing (4 points). There is also a 3 point bonus for clutch scoring, which is a score that results in a lead change in the final two minutes of the 4th quarter or overtime. Kickoff and punt return touchdowns are worth 6 points for the player and kickoff and punt returns are worth 1 point for every 40 yards.
All salaries and roster percentages listed were current as of the afternoon of May 10th. Salary information for rookies who have not officially signed their rookie contract comes from the Spotrac NFL 2023 Draft Tracker page (https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/draft/) and is subject to change and updating.
In previous Dynasty Owner seasons, this was a question with a fairly straightforward answer as traditionally, a player who produces at a high level with an inexpensive salary and more than one year left on his contract is the top selection. Back in 2020, it was Lamar Jackson ($52,000,000) as he had finished as the top player in Dynasty Owner in 2019 with 514.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and had an extremely affordable contract of $2,367,912 at the time.
In both 2021 and 2022, Jonathan Taylor ($1,957,287) was the consensus overall #1 pick in Dynasty Owner startup drafts. In 2021, he had a 2.3 ADP in all Dynasty Owner startup drafts, which was a slight bit higher than his 1.9 ADP in the initial weekend startup drafts. His ADP was slightly better in 2022 at 1.8 after his RB1 finish in Dynasty Owner in 2021 with 389.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points.
This year, it’s anyone’s guess who will be taken with the first overall pick. Taylor may have been at the top again, but he stumbled in 2022 due to injuries, only played in 11 games and finished with just 147.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. The top two scorers in Dynasty Owner in 2022 were Patrick Mahomes ($45,000,000) and Josh Allen ($43,005,667), but their expensive contracts could make them unlikely choices for the first overall pick. Jalen Hurts ($1,506,292) has a dirt-cheap 2023 salary and finished fourth overall in scoring last year with 452.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points despite missing two games. However, he recently signed a 5-year, $255 million contract extension with the Eagles. His contract on Dynasty Owner will explode to $51 million starting in 2024. Drafting Hurts will give your startup team a top player for little money this year, but you’ll be paying almost $49.5 million more for him next season.
Only one team went this route with the first pick (Mad Rabbit in League #206158) as they selected Ja’Marr Chase ($7,704,910). We had three other players taken with the first overall pick in the other four startup drafts that we are looking at from the first weekend of drafts.
- Bijan Robinson (RB – ATL): 4 years/$5,489,633 (League #206160 by Dirty Birds)
- Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN): 1 year/$3,280,701 (League #206156 by Ground Toast)
- Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC): 9 years/$45,000,000 (League #219521 by Journeymen and League #219525 by Lamar’s Brinks Truck)
Mahomes being a first round pick is unconventional, but to take him as the overall #1 pick is completely different than what has happened mostly in the past. While he did lead the Chiefs to the Super Bowl and can lead your Dynasty Owner startup team to its League Championship, it is more difficult to do because of the salary limitations that come with spending $45 million on the first player in the draft. Admittedly, Mahomes is likely not coming back to your team at the end of the second round because he had an ADP of 7.6 and was taken in the first round in four out of the five of the startup drafts we are focusing on. If he’s “your guy” and you got the first pick, you have to draft him if you want him on your team. Just be aware if you do it, then drafting in the middle and later rounds will be more difficult.
First Round Draft Selections
With all leagues having 12 teams, we know that at least a dozen players will be first round draft picks. However, not every startup Dynasty Owner draft will feature the same 12 first round selections and this year, we had 22 different players taken in the first round. Five players were drafted in the first round of all five startup drafts. Interestingly, none of those five players are a QB.
Garrett Wilson was a surprise to me, but probably not Jay Pounds who had Wilson as the #12 pick in last week’s first mock draft article before these startup drafts took place. Did Jay’s article and explanation for including Wilson influence these Dynasty Owners or did they come to the same conclusion? I don’t know the answer, but it’ll be interesting to see if Wilson continues to be a first round pick as more startup leagues start drafting.
Another thing these five players have in common is that they are on their rookie contracts. We had very few Dynasty Owners take a player who makes more than $10 million with their first round pick. Only eight of them did it in total with four players chosen. Patrick Mahomes is obvious as we had two Dynasty Owners draft him with the #1 overall pick, but two other Dynasty Owners also took Mahomes in the first round. Two took Christian McCaffrey ($16,015,875) with their first round pick, while one Dynasty Owner took Josh Allen with the #2 overall pick, and it was in one of the leagues (League #219521) in which Mahomes was the top pick. Finally, one Dynasty Owner drafted A.J. Brown ($25,000,000) with the overall #9 pick. That pick was a complete outlier as no other Dynasty Owner has drafted Brown so far with as much as the last pick of the second round (pick #24) and his ADP in these five startup drafts was 31.8. That Dynasty Owner must really love A.J. Brown as much as some other Dynasty Owners love certain players.
Fan Club Presidents Meeting
If you really like a guy and draft him early, the joke is that you are the President of his Fan Club. Back in 2019, I was the President of the Jimmy Garoppolo Fan Club since I was in four leagues (two redraft, one regular dynasty and Dynasty Owner) and had him in all four. The Dynasty Owner (MassageMyWatson) who took A.J. Brown with the ninth overall pick has been nominated for A.J. Brown Fan Club President.
While we may poke fun at these Dynasty Owners for these selections, it doesn’t mean they are bad Dynasty Owners. The 2021 Fan Club President winner (The Oracle 🙌) drafted Kirk Cousins ($35,000,000) in the sixth round with the #69 pick. Don’t worry as The Oracle 🙌 got his revenge as his League #71014 team finished in fourth place overall in the 2022 Chase for the Ring standings and was only one of three teams to go undefeated for the entire season.
In the same spirit, I would like to nominate the following Dynasty Owners as President of the Fan Club of the following players. To be nominated, you had to draft a player at least two full rounds before he was drafted in any other startup draft. You also had to draft him a full round ahead of his ADP. For example, if you took Player A in the first round with the #10 pick and based on the other startup drafts, he would have been available with your #34 pick and his ADP was 22.0 or higher, then you’re nominated for President of that guy’s Fan Club. Without further delay, here are the nominees (in team name order):
- Arizona Phoenix (League #206156) – Bengals K Evan McPherson ($955,928)
- Bugslayer17 (League #219525) – Chargers WR Keenan Allen ($20,025,000)
- Hyenas (League #219521) – Ravens QB Lamar Jackson ($52,000,000)
- iss The Baby (League #216160) – Cowboys QB Dak Prescott ($40,000,000)
- Lamar’s Brinks Truck (League #219525) – Ravens WR Odell Beckham Jr. ($15,000,000)
- Sooner (League #206156) – Jaguars RB Tank Bigsby ($1,348,229)
- Two Minute Warning (League #206158) – Giants QB Daniel Jones ($40,000,000)
- Ubuntu (League #206156) – Saints WR Rashid Shaheed ($750,000)
Drafting an inexpensive kicker in the middle rounds before other teams draft a player at the position is a Dynasty Owner strategy that I advocate and believe in. However, Arizona Phoenix took it a little further by grabbing Evan McPherson in the seventh round with the #76 pick. His ADP is 120.6 and he was taken in the 10th to 13th rounds in the other drafts, so he likely would have been around for a couple of more rounds if Arizona Phoenix had to have him.
Bugslayer17 took Keenan Allen with their fifth round pick (pick #58). They didn’t know that would be eight rounds before anyone else in the other four drafts did. Allen wasn’t even drafted in League #219521 which had their startup draft on the same day. Allen had an ADP of 163.0, which would be even higher if Bugslayer17 hadn’t taken him so early.
Several teams in League #219521 drafted expensive QBs much earlier than the teams in other startup leagues. Kcmiami2023 took Josh Allen with the overall #2 pick, right after Patrick Mahomes was taken with the first pick by Journeymen. Hyenas saw Mahomes and Allen go first and second, then six other QBs were drafted when they decided to use their #34 overall pick in the third round on Lamar Jackson. Maybe they would have waited if they knew his ADP would be 106.0 at the conclusion of these startup drafts and no other Dynasty Owner would take Lamar before the seventh round.
Dak Prescott was a third round selection (#35 pick) by Kiss The Baby in League #206160. However, he went undrafted in League #206156 and was taken in the last round (pick #298) in League #206158.
Daniel Jones was selected in only three of these five startup drafts. While Dynasty Owners in two leagues don’t want him and his $40 million salary, the same cannot be said for Two Minute Warning who scooped him up with their sixth round pick (pick #68). They also drafted Isaiah Hodgins ($870,000) later on so it’s probably just a good feeling about the Jones-Hodgins connection in 2023.
Rashid Shaheed is a feel-good story. As an undrafted rookie free agent from Weber State, he didn’t even make the Saints roster out of training camp last year. He signed with their practice squad at the end of August and before the end of October, he had a rushing TD on his first NFL carry and a receiving TD on his first NFL catch. Unbuntu liked Shaheed’s story (and his $750,000 salary) so much that they drafted him with the #29 pick in the League #206156 startup draft. That may have been a reach with a third round pick considering he wasn’t drafted until near the start of the 11th round at the earliest in the other startup drafts.
Finally, we come to the Fan Club Presidents for rookies. Tank Bigsby went to Auburn and was born and graduated from high school in Georgia. I was hoping for an Oklahoma connection that made Sooner pick him in the eighth round (pick #89) when no one else took him before the 11th round and his ADP in these startup drafts was 133.0. Maybe Sooner just knows something good about Bigsby that nobody else in these drafts knows, or maybe Sooner just has a case of Rookie Fever. More on that later.
Those are all fine Fan Club Presidents, but we have a winner, and it wasn’t even close. You may have already guessed who it is since we skipped them in the order. The undisputed #1 Fan Club President so far this year easily goes to Lamar’s Brinks Truck. They drafted Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) with the final pick in the second round (pick #24 overall). Beckham wasn’t drafted at all in one Dynasty Owner league and his second highest draft position wasn’t until the 23rd round (pick #272). He was also drafted in the 24th round (pick #284) and the 25th and final round (pick #292). His ADP of 218.0, but it would have been higher in the 200s if it hadn’t been for his Fan Club President Lamar’s Brinks Truck. Congratulations!
After what The Oracle 🙌 accomplished last year after “winning” this title in 2021, it’s clear that this is all in good fun. It’ll be sweet revenge for Lamar’s Brinks Truck if OBJ leads them to their League Championship this year or if they appear on the Chase for the Ring Leaderboard at any point during the upcoming season.
The order that rookies are selected in startup drafts are definitely helpful in drawing insights into how the rookie drafts will go in a few weeks, but they don’t give us a complete picture. The startup drafts have the full salary cap of $157.36 million to use and acquire rookies, while teams in established leagues already have players on their rosters and may not have enough salary cap room for all of the rookies they want to draft. Teams in established leagues are able to cut down their roster, but still must have at least 25 players plus draft picks on their roster at all times. Those players take up salary cap space and may leave Dynasty Owners with limitations on who they can draft.
For example, if you have $12 million in salary cap space and two draft picks, you can select Bryce Young ($9,488,767) with your first rookie draft pick, but you will be limited to players with salaries of $2,511,233 or less for your second pick. All of the remaining NFL first round draft picks, as well as second round NFL Draft picks Will Levis ($2,385,541) and a pair of TEs, Sam LaPorta ($2,366,497) and Michael Mayer ($2,328,411), are all too expensive. This restriction doesn’t come into play until the end of startup drafts as most of the prized rookies are taken fairly early.
Here are the ADP for all of the rookies with a startup draft ADP of under 100.0 in the first five startup drafts. All drafted rookies have four years on their rookie contracts at the listed 2023 salary.
There are 14 rookies with an ADP of under 96.0, which is the end of the eighth round. On average, if you want any of these rookies, you need to draft them in the first eight rounds of your Dynasty Owner startup draft or you might miss out on them. The biggest surprise isn’t Bijan Robinson with an ADP of 2.6, even though that’s pretty amazing. For me, the biggest surprise is Jaxon Smith-Njigba as a late third round pick (ADP 34.2). This is slightly inflated by his selection with the ninth overall pick in one startup draft. However, the latest he was drafted in any of the five startup drafts was with the 52nd pick. Even if we removed the draft in which he was taken ninth, his ADP would still be 40.5 and better than both Stroud and Young.
Two first round picks were taken on average behind a Day 2 or Day 3 NFL Draft pick. They were Dalton Kincaid who was taken on average about two picks after Zach Charbonnet and Zay Flowers who was behind Charbonnet, Kincaid and Devon Achane in startup draft ADP. Considering the landing spot in Seattle for Charbonnet with Ken Walker ($2,110,395) already on the Seahawks’ roster, it’s surprising to see him as the top Day 2 or Day 3 NFL draft pick with an ADP of 72.4. That’s not much higher than Devon Achane’s ADP of 76.6 and Achane was a third round NFL Draft pick while Charbonnet was drafted in the second round.
In case you were wondering about all of the Day 3 picks and who’s the top one in terms of startup draft ADP, I have your answer. The first Day 3 drafted rookie is also the rookie with the best ADP who has a salary of under $1 million. It’s Dallas RB Deuce Vaughn ($993,333) who was taken with the 212th pick in the NFL Draft, but had an ADP of 134.4 in these five Dynasty Owner startup drafts. My guess for this honor would have been Kayshon Boutte ($1,007,450) but I’m a biased Patriots fan and he had an ADP of 187.2, which is over four rounds later than Vaughn on average.
Where in Dynasty Owner Are the Expensive QBs?
With apologies to Carmen Sandiego, but in large part, they aren’t on a lot of Dynasty Owner rosters. Believe it or not, there are only 16 QBs currently on NFL rosters with a salary of $10 million or more on the Dynasty Owner platform. The lowest paid of these $10 million plus QBs is Jimmy Garoppolo ($24,250,000), but the reason for using the $10 million mark is that all NFL QBs still on a rookie deal make less than that amount. The highest paid QB under $10 million is the 2023 overall #1 pick Bryce Young.
After Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, we have to drop all the way down to Lamar Jackson before we find a QB making more than $10 million in these rankings. For comparison, Mahomes had an ADP of 7.6, Allen’s ADP was 25.4 and there are 13 QBs on rookie contracts before we get to Jackson (ADP 106.0). Don’t cry for Lamar as he was at least drafted in all of these startup drafts.
That’s a lot more than the following five expensive QBs can say. None of them were taken in any of the five Dynasty Owner startup drafts we are looking at. Here’s the list (in order from highest to lowest salary):
|Player||Age||Team||Years Left||2023 Salary|
That’s not to say that one of the handful of teams with enough salary cap room to fit one of these QBs didn’t go get them off the Free Agent Auction and they are now on a startup team roster. However, they weren’t drafted at all.
The rest of these expensive QBs were drafted in between three to five startup drafts. The list of expensive QBs taken in all five startup drafts is short and contains only Geno Smith ($25,000,000) who had an ADP of 110.6 and Jimmy Garoppolo ($24,250,000) who had a much higher ADP of 199.2. Not surprisingly, those two are at the bottom of the expensive QB list.
Daniel Jones was only taken in three startup drafts and his ADP of 140.0 was the best. Deshaun Watson ($46,000,000) was next among the QBs taken in three startup drafts with a 162.7 ADP. Derek Carr ($37,500,000) brings up the rear among these QBs with an ADP of 209.3 despite the fact that he was drafted with the 92nd pick in one startup draft.
Both of the NFC North QBs in this group were taken in four out of five startup drafts. Kirk Cousins had a lower ADP (158.3) than Jared Goff ($33,500,000) who was taken just over two and a half rounds later on average (ADP 189.0). The other QB who was taken four times is Dak Prescott ($40,000,000) and he had quite a range of draft possibilities as we saw earlier.
Dynasty Owner has kickers. Sorry to all of you who don’t like kickers or prefer to not have them on your fantasy football team, but they are a part of Dynasty Owner. A total of 39 kickers were drafted overall including 11 who were Free Agents at the time of these startup drafts.
In order to show that we appreciate and value our kickers in Dynasty Owner, here is some information about them in regard to these five startup drafts.
- Kicker with the lowest ADP – Evan McPherson of the Bengals who had an ADP of 120.6. This is not a surprise as McPherson has the second lowest salary for a kicker who is pretty much guaranteed to be his NFL team’s kicker in Week 1. McPherson still has two years on his rookie contract and finished his rookie season of 2021 as the fourth ranked kicker in Dynasty Owner (144.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points) and followed it up as the 12th ranked kicker in 2022 (113.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points).
- First kicker drafted in any league – It was Ravens kicker Justin Tucker ($6,000,000) who got the first nod by Fire405 in the sixth round with the 62nd overall pick in League #206156. Tucker may be the most expensive kicker in Dynasty Owner, but he also hasn’t finished outside of the top 5 kickers in the four years of Dynasty Owner.
So far, a total of 394players have been drafted in these five startup drafts, including five players who have the special title of Mr. Irrelevant (aka the last player chosen in each Dynasty Owner startup draft). All of these teams are hoping that this pick works out as well as the San Francisco 49ers’ selection of Brock Purdy ($934,252) as Mr. Irrelevant of the 2022 NFL Draft.
- Giants WR Darius Slayton ($6,000,000) – League #206156 by Boomer Bashers
- Jets RB Zonovan Knight ($750,000) – League #206158 by Baltimore Ravens
- Colts WR Isaiah McKenzie ($1,232,500) – League #206160 by No Integrity
- Ravens WR Nelson Agholor ($3,250,000) – League #219521 by Thrills Mafia
- Titans QB Malik Willis ($1,290,025) – League #219525 by what’s a salary cap?
Congratulations to all five players for being selected in those Dynasty Owner startup drafts, even if it was with the last pick. And good luck to the Dynasty Owners who selected them and everyone else who drafted on the first startup draft weekend of 2023.
What did we learn, if anything, from this analysis of these five Dynasty Owner startup drafts?
The two main lessons learned are that no two leagues are the same and there is no consensus #1 overall pick. The Dynasty Owner startup draft order is randomized and selected 12 hours before your draft time. If you really want a specific player on your roster, you may not need one of the top picks to acquire him. It’s also ok to be a Fan Club President and take a guy “too early”. Somebody might make a joke or two, but if the player does well, you’re just ahead of the curve or a better judge of talent than almost everybody else.
If you didn’t get into a Dynasty Owner startup draft on the first weekend, don’t worry. There are startup drafts coming this weekend, throughout the rest of May, and the entire summer until the start of the NFL season. Go to your D.O. Store and click on New Team for 2023 to see when you can draft this coming weekend.
Dynasty Owner has plenty of content to help you with your Dynasty Owner startup team or any of your established Dynasty Owner teams. Matt Morrison – The Jerk had his second Best Case, Worse Case article published earlier this week, while Jay Pounds and I did a couple of articles recapping the NFL Draft with one devoted to all of the first round picks and a second article highlighting some of the Day 2 and Day 3 selections. There will be more articles all off-season from the three of us.
Jay and I also do a weekly Dynasty Owner podcast, while I get to join Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer on the weekly Friday Livestream. We did a live mock draft during the Livestream last week and if you missed that, go see what happened on the Dynasty Owner YouTube channel. Finally, don’t forget to follow Dynasty Owner on Twitter. Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner
Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner