Author: Steven Van Tassell
It was exactly 3:20 PM (EDT) on Sunday, June 14th, 2020 when Belichick’s Hoodies (Sean Fournier) made the historical first pick in Dynasty Owner history by taking Lamar Jackson in the first all 12-team Dynasty Owner leagues. It ended about three hours and fifteen minutes later with the selection of Dante Pettis as the first Dynasty Owner Mr. Irrelevant with the last pick (#300 overall) by Hillbilly Trash Trucks (Matt Montgomery). I was honored to be a part of this historic event which will take its place in history between the first moon walk by Neil Armstrong in 1969 and the creation of toilet paper by Joseph Gayetty in 1857.
In addition to being the first league to draft, Beta League 3 is composed of some pretty heavy hitters from the 2019 Dynasty Owner beta season. The league is highlighted by New York’s Strongest (Eddie Driscoll), who finished the regular season at 14-0 and at the top of the Chase for the Ring leaderboard. For those of you new to Dynasty Owner, Eddie finished off his perfect season with two victories in his league playoffs to become the only player to finish the season undefeated (16-0) and win the Ring.
We also have Yorkshire Roses (Dan Clarke) who went 9-5 in his regular season, but had the most points in his league. Dan proceeded to win his league playoffs, had the most points of any team in the final week and finished in 4th place in the final Chase standings – moving up from 10th place after the semi-finals and 18th place after the regular season.
Overall, the league has eight owners who won 10 or more regular season games, five league Champions from 2019 (all of whom finished in the Top 25 in the final Chase for the Ring standings), and two owners who lost in their league finals (including myself – damn you Teddy MF’in Ruxpin). Everyone played in 2019 and all but one drafted last year. Not a lot of slouches in Beta League 3.
We will be citing mock draft ADP in this article. Please note that all mock draft ADPs listed were current as of Noon (Eastern) on Thursday, June 18, 2020.
An Early Run on Running Backs
How many times have you done a fantasy draft – either redraft or dynasty – and there’s been a pretty long run on one position? For me, it’s probably every draft when this happens where six or seven people in a row grab players at a certain position and the draft board starts lighting up with one color in a long row. Back in the day, it was colored stickers that CBS Sportsline sent the Commissioner of my redraft league. We would have one of the spouses of a league owner putting up stickers on the board like Vanna White turning the letters on Wheel of Fortune. Now, it’s on the Live Draft Board that will appear on your Dynasty Owner league draft page.
Well, this draft had probably the longest run that I’ve even seen at one position and possibly the longest run that any Dynasty Owner league will have in 2020. That’s because we saw 13 running backs taken in a row in the first and second round of this draft. Starting with Saquon Barkley with the 5th pick and ending with Dalvin Cook with the 17th pick, we had an epic early run on running backs. Congratulations to The Jerk (Matt Morrison) for stopping the madness by drafting Michael Thomas with his second round pick. As you can see from the draft board, there was a lot of green (RBs) selected in the first two rounds.
Not only was it 13 RBs in a row, but 15 out of 16 RBs selected by the last eight teams in the draft order. As we would say back in the redraft league, “Vanna’s putting up a lot of green stickers”.
The next longest runs on a single position were two separate runs of five WRs, one at the end of the fifth round and beginning of the sixth round and another near the end of the draft in the 24th round. There was also a spot in the middle of the 12th round when seven out of nine picks were TEs.
The List of Firsts
Since this was the first 12-team Dynasty Owner draft, there were many firsts. Here’s a list of some of the most “important” ones:
- First Pick: Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)
- First QB Taken – Lamar Jackson (#1 – Belichick’s Hoodies)
- First RB Taken – Christian McCaffrey (#2 – Vantastics)
- First WR Taken – Michael Thomas (#18 – The Jerk)
- First TE Taken – Travis Kelce (#27 – VIP Club Dub)
- First K Taken – Justin Tucker (#166 – VIP Club Dub)
- First Comment about Someone Going Too Slow – Belichick’s Hoodies with the comment “Steve OTC” at 3:21:33 after selecting Lamar Jackson and it took a few seconds for my selection of Christian McCaffrey to register. It’s disputable if that was a comment to draft faster, so if not then it came less than four minutes later when Mafia Power 83 (Bruno Carina-Goncalves) posted “Come on Jerk really” at 3:25:29 while waiting for The Jerk to make his first pick. It was later discovered that he was drafting on his phone using the app, thus making him draft slower than everyone else who was on a desktop.
- First Happy Dynasty Owner about a Player Slipping to His Selection – Eddie typed “God Bless You Yorkshire!!!!” after Yorkshire Roses picked Kyler Murray with the #4 pick, leaving Saquon Barkley available for Eddie to grab with the #5 pick. And for the record, Eddie really did use four exclamation points like a teenage girl chatting with her friend about some cute boy looking at her in algebra class.
- First Mention of Regret for Picking Someone – After 13 RBs were drafted in a row, Yorkshire Roses typed in the chat “If I’d known every single running back would have been taken, I probably wouldn’t have had Kyler at #4”. For the record, he ended up picking his first RB (Devin Singletary) with the #21 pick.
- First Compliment – These were few and far between with this group, but Bruno gave props to Eddie after he drafted J.K. Dobbins with the #20 pick in the draft. He also invited him to join him on his “boat”. Since I’m not from the New York area, I’m not sure if that’s code for something.
- First Snipe – It may not have been first, but the first snipe comment in the chat was at 3:39 by Bruno when he commented about Kraft Yankaroni & Cheats (Patrick Wood) when Patrick selected David Montgomery in the 3rd round with the #30 pick. In case you aren’t seeing the pattern, Bruno was exceptionally chatty during the draft (not a criticism, I was pretty chatty too since I was drafting in the #2 spot and had lots of time between selections).
The Rise and the Fall of a Pair of TEs Playing in Florida
The ADP listed in the mock draft rooms is the live ADP from all of the mock drafts that have been taking place. Since a lot of the guys in this league have been doing a lot of mock drafts and I mean A LOT of mock drafts, it would stand to reason that this first draft would trend closely with the mock draft ADP. That didn’t happen. There were a few players who got drafted earlier than they have been going in the mock drafts and more who went later.
Here are some of the biggest risers in the first 2020 Dynasty Owner draft:
- Melvin Gordon: On average, Gordon’s been a mid-4th round mock draft selection with an ADP of 43.2, but New York’s Strongest decided that he couldn’t wait and took him with the 5th pick in Round 3 (#29 overall).
- Ke’Shawn Vaughn: The Tampa Bay rookie RB went two full rounds earlier than his ADP dictated. The Jerk must have really wanted him as he was the #31 overall selection, even though his mock draft ADP was 55.7.
- Zack Moss: Dirty Hippy Farmer (Andrew Gilkin) must really like Moss. Why else would he take him with the #82 pick in the real draft when his mock draft ADP was 114.4?
- Mike Gesicki: Gesicki was drafted with the #66 overall selection (5th TE – after Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Mark Andrews and Zach Ertz), but his ADP in mock drafts was 102.4, good for being the 11th TE in mocks. The Jerk must feel strongly about Gesicki getting a lot of throws from rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa as he was the one who made the early move on him.
There were more players who fell significantly than rose significantly. Here are some of the biggest fallers in the first 2020 Dynasty Owner draft:
- Deshaun Watson: The Texans QB was the first victim of the wild 13 RB run and fell from ADP 7.2 in mock drafts to the #23 selection – a difference of 15.8 positions. The Vantastics, that’s me, were ecstatic to get him with their 2nd pick.
- Dak Prescott: New York’s Strongest pulled the trigger on drafting Dak with the #77 pick in the seventh round. His mock draft ADP of 47.4 had him taken near the end of the 4th round on average.
- The G.O.A.T.: His ADP of 94.7 in mock drafts seems high for a dynasty league, but his $25 million salary is lower than a lot of other QBs, so it’s understandable. However, in this first draft, Tom was the first selection of the 15th round by Belichick’s Hoodies, or six full rounds later than his average mock draft position.
- James White: A favorite of the G.O.A.T. out of the backfield, White got a similar downgrade as Tom in the first Dynasty Owner draft. The Vantastics scooped him up with the #143 pick, three full rounds lower than his 107.1 mock draft ADP.
- Lynn Bowden: One of the few rookies to fall. Drafted by the Vantastics with the #215 pick, Bowden has a mock draft ADP of 167.3.
- DeAndre Hopkins: It took twice as long for someone (Mafia Power 83) to draft Hopkins in the real Dynasty Owner draft (#40 overall) than he usually went in mock drafts (ADP 19.4).
- T.Y. Hilton: Did everyone but Yorkshire Roses forget about T.Y. or did salary cap restraints cause his plunge to the 18th round? Hilton was skipped in plenty of rounds before Dan took him with the #213 pick. His average ADP was almost nine full rounds earlier at 105.3.
- Darren Waller: Waller was one of the three anti-Gesicki TEs. He was 5th TE taken in mock drafts on average with an ADP of 73.4, but in our draft, he fell sharply and was chosen with the #117 selection, the 12th TE taken overall. Yorkshire Roses was the beneficiary of this drop.
- Hunter Henry: Henry also dropped pretty significantly – down to the #207 pick by Quaranteam (Nick Larmore) from his ADP of 113.9.
- Rob Gronkowski: Another former Patriot turned Buccaneer who dropped in the first real Dynasty Owner draft. Gronk was being selected at the end of the 10th round in the average mock draft (ADP 119.6). However, Wannabees (David Brady) grabbed him with the #233 pick in the 20th round in our draft.
Why Dynasty Owner is Different than a Regular Dynasty League?
For everyone new to Dynasty Owner, you will read and hear a lot about how Dynasty Owner is different than a “regular” dynasty league. At first, you may not believe it, but once you start mock drafting or get in your first live draft, you’ll soon discover that it’s impossible to fit all of the players you want under the $110 million salary cap. In a “regular” dynasty league, you can draft Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million), Julio Jones ($22 million), Travis Kelce ($9.4 million) and Russell Wilson ($35 million) in the first four rounds. Probably not so in Dynasty Owner as the rest of your team will be made up of low-cost players since you’ll only have around $28.6 million left under the salary cap for 21 more selections. Good luck with that!
As a result, players who would normally be high or middle round draft picks in a “regular” dynasty league might even go undrafted in Dynasty Owner. If you don’t believe me, here’s a list of undrafted players the first 12-team Dynasty Owner draft in history. They are ranked here by average ADP from the Fantasy Pros (https://www.fantasypros.com/nfl/rankings/dynasty-overall.php). Their Dynasty Owner salary is listed in parentheses.
- WR Adam Thielen ($16,050,000) – ADP 67.5
- WR Brandin Cooks ($16,200,000) – ADP 96.2
- TE Austin Hooper ($10,500,000) – ADP 102.2
- WR A.J. Green ($17,971,000) – ADP 104.3
- QB Matt Ryan ($30,000,000) – ADP 115.4
- QB Aaron Rodgers ($33,500,000) – ADP 123.6
- QB Kirk Cousins ($33,000,000) – ADP 145.8
- WR Julian Edelman ($7,750,000) – ADP 146.2
- QB Ryan Tannehill ($29,500,000) – ADP152.8
- WR Sammy Watkins ($9,000,000) – ADP 153.2
- WR Golden Tate ($9,375,000) – ADP 160.2
- TE Eric Ebron ($6,000,000) – ADP 186.1
- RB Chris Thompson ($1,400,000) – ADP 267.1
- RB Rex Burkhead ($3,250,000) – ADP 293.0
- K Ka’imi Fairbairn ($4,412,500) – ADP 307.2 (sixth highest among kickers)
- K Mason Crosby ($4,300,000) – ADP 310.6 (tenth highest among kickers)
Thielen is on average a mid-5th round pick in a 12-team “regular” dynasty league, but nobody had the salary cap room for him in the first 12-team Dynasty Owner draft, while Cooks is a late 8th round/early 9th round pick on average. However, because of their relative high salaries (over $16 million each), they went undrafted. Thielen was picked up in the Free Agent Auction after the draft, but VIP Club Dub (Anthony Huether) had to drop Robby Anderson and his $10 million salary to pick him up and fit him under the salary cap.
Not a terrible team of undrafted players. Ryan, Rodgers and Cousins make up a good trio of QBs and there are some quality starting WRs plus a fine TE in Hooper and a decent backup in Ebron. The only questionable spot is RB with Chris Thompson and Rex Burkhead as the best available. Remember, all of these players are still available in this Dynasty Owner league and will likely be so for most, if not all of the 2020 season even though all of them are easily worthy of a spot on your “regular” dynasty league roster.
Who Took My Advice?
In my 2020 draft tips article (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/05/draft-tips-2020/), two suggestions for Dynasty Owners were to draft three QBs and three kickers so you have a Starter and Bench QB and kicker for bye weeks. With 12-teams per Dynasty Owner league and only 32 starting QBs and kickers, a few teams would be left out and need to pick up a backup QB or kicker who surprisingly makes an NFL roster in training camp. To show you how much people in my own league value my “advice”, only two other teams drafted three kickers as recommended. Thanks to Dirty Hippy Farmer and VIP Club Dub for the vote of confidence!
Not only did three-quarters of the league not follow my draft three kickers advice, two teams – Wannabees and New York’s Strongest – only drafted one kicker. Wannabees only drafted Brandon McManus and has a mere $517,518 left in salary cap room to add another kicker in the Free Agent Auction. Unfortunately for him, the rookie salary minimum for 2020 is $610,000 so he can’t even pick up a second kicker without dropping another player. At least New York’s Strongest has enough cap room ($1,755,208 at the end of the draft) to pick up another kicker, or maybe two.
Three teams will be braving the 2020 Dynasty Owner season with only two QBs right now. Belichick’s Hoodies feels comfortable enough with the #1 overall pick in Lamar Jackson that he took the 42-year old G.O.A.T. Tom Brady as his only backup QB. Quaranteam has Sam Darnold as his starter and rookie Jordan Love as his backup. Fortunately for Nick, he drafted wisely and has almost $28.5 million in salary cap room available right now. That’s not enough to pick up Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan or even Kirk Cousins without dropping another player, but he could fit Derek Carr for $25 million on his roster as presently constructed. Either that, or he’ll have to clear some salary cap space via trade or by dropping a player.
Drafting Philosophy – Everyone’s Got One, Here’s Two of Them
In every 12-team fantasy football draft, regardless of the format, you are likely to have 12 people with 12 different draft strategies. Some are well crafted in advance with hours of thought and time spent pouring over mock draft data. Other strategies come up on the fly after a few rounds or with the selection of a specific player or players. For example, because I drafted Derrick Henry and he might sign a long-term deal before the season starts, I wanted to leave the draft with at least $5 million in salary cap room as a buffer. Henry and the Titans have until July 15th to sign a new long-term deal since he was franchise tagged early in the off-season (https://www.nfl.com/news/titans-gm-contract-talks-with-derrick-henry-have-been-positive). If that happens, I will need room to pay him this season and didn’t want to have to fit his new salary in under the Dynasty Owner salary cap without cutting anyone already on my roster. That wasn’t my plan initially, but when Henry was available in the 3rd round and I decided to take him, I figured that I needed some cap room available in case he gets a new contract.
My team, Vantastics, spent the just barely over $2 million ($2.01 million) on three kickers. Only three teams spent less on kickers than me and all three of them have just two kickers. My kicker spending was also below both teams who only drafted one kicker. My reasoning for this is that there was very little separation between kickers in 2019 Dynasty Owner season and probably will remain as so due to the Dynasty Owner scoring system. As a result, I didn’t want to spend millions on kickers when they appear to be pretty interchangeable and preferred to use the millions that I saved by getting three cheap kickers on other positions. The downside to this strategy is that I had to draft those kickers earlier than most people did. I spent picks in Rounds 15, 17 and 20 on kickers, which was earlier than most owners, including Bruno who drafted his first kicker after I had three of them.
We also had one team (Quaranteam) who “only” spent $81.55 million out of a $110 million salary cap on Draft Day. Some of you might be asking, “Why in the heck did he do that?” Well, I asked Nick and here’s what he had to say in response to my question:
- At first I was calculating for next year with re-signing my RBs and Kittle as the draft was going on. By round 6, I figured I had the absolute highest salary even though the numbers didn’t show it. Then as the draft went on I was trying to pick players so at the end I can afford Aaron Rodgers. Then realized I didn’t need him and since it’s a 6 team playoff versus a 4, I can wait and go all in if I need to at positions when it’s playoff time. Whether it be WR or QB, I have time to determine that. Or take advantage of anyone else with salary cap issues as the year goes on.
There are other people who appear to have a strategy as well based on their draft. Hillbilly Trash Trucks only has one player (Adrian Peterson) playing on a one-year deal. The Jerk is apparently bullish on the return of Ben Roethlisberger since he drafted five Steelers, but not Big Ben himself. New York’s Strongest appears to like this year’s rookie class as he drafted 11 players from it – the most of any team and three more than anybody else. Yorkshire Roses must have a trip to Vegas planned or some quid bet on them (he’s British and can do that legally). Why else would he draft three Raiders pass catchers in a row (Henry Ruggs, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow) and four overall when you add in Foster Moreau. Finally, I assuming that Bruno and Sean like WRs. How do I know that? Both drafted 11 of them!
Will any of these strategies pay dividends during the 2020 Dynasty Owner season? That’s why we play the game, so check back in at the end of the season and see whose strategy was the best.
Being part of Dynasty Owner history on Sunday afternoon was great. We weren’t supposed to be the first newly constructed beta league to draft, but the four scheduled before us got postponed and we lucked into the spot. For me and hopefully others, it was a lot of fun with some good back and forth in the chat. I had my laptop and phone fully charges plus paper and pen ready to manually log all of the picks. Some guys reported using multiple devices and didn’t participate much in the chat. Others are old-school and mentioned using paper and pencil and even magazines. And one other league owner called it “the hardest draft I have ever been in. I was exhausted after it was done.” Hopefully, he got a nap afterwards.
There were a lot of firsts to go along with a lot of surprises. It’s doubtful that anyone would have predicted that 13 RBs would be drafted in a row or that Adam Thielen would go undrafted. For me, I didn’t think I had a chance at drafting my QB from last year (Deshaun Watson) since I had the #2 pick, but when the big run on RBs kept going and going, I was able to get him. Maybe Watson wasn’t part of anyone’s draft strategy but mine. That could be so since it appears most everyone in this league didn’t pay attention to my quality article “advice”. Most of you reading this probably haven’t drafted yet, so you still have time to get yourself into one of the mock drafts going on every 15 minutes. We will have new articles soon from the rest of the Dynasty Owner writing team – Milos Ljubic (@LjubicMilos on Twitter) and Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21 on Twitter) as well as the first of the monthly Dynasty Owner Top 300 coming very soon. All of this great content is available to help you win your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!
Steven Van Tassell is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.