The 32 NFL teams drafted like they hate Fantasy Football owners. The first ever virtual draft should actually only be remembered as the Value Massacre of 2020. Nothing captures the kick in the crotch more than the very deep running back class proving more panic than hope for those at the top of their drafts.
Matthew Berry put out his Love/Hate List for the post-draft, which is of course always great material to check out as he is the God of Fantasy Football. At this point it would be pretty safe to say you know how much your team has cratered because of the draft. In fact, the way the draft went has clearly altered strategies in our Dynasty League.
Right now the clear number one draft pick for rookie drafts is CEH. Shocker, the very first back that went to the most potent offense should be the top pick in the rookie draft. The way it normally goes in our league is the top tier of backs are drafted, then the top WR crop and then crap hits the fan. However, after pick one it’s a bit up in the air and that has caused top teams to look to punch out of the top of the draft.
Pick number three has been already traded and is on the block again, pick number one is on the block and post-draft has led to a lot more chatter in the group thread as teams are definitely not as happy about things as they were last week. Don’t get me wrong, as the pick number two owner I was expecting to get an impact back to help me compete for my first playoff spot in 2020 and things are up in the air.
However, if you find yourself at the end of the first round or early second I would be pretty excited because the uncertainties of the running back position means they’re inevitably going to slide. In my Dynasty League once there start to be questions about running backs they slide, Derrius Guice fell to the end of the first round because of his injury. While normally you wouldn’t expect to get a solid RB if you’re picking outside of the top five-ish, this year you may get someone you have to wait on but solid nonetheless.
ESPN’s rookie rankings have J. K. Dobbins #11, Cam Akers #12, Zack Moss #17 and Ke'Shawn Vaugh #19. In a 12 team draft like ours those are some solid RBs that COULD be available in round two. While the top of the first round may be bailing out that may be reason to be aggressive in moving up to those picks because of the post-draft value massacre.
I made a trade for Noah Fant which cost me two 2nd round picks so I have four 3rd round picks (30, 31, 33 and 36). Projected at those picks are Jordan Love (pass at this point with Wentz and Jackson), Tyler Johnson at Tampa (pass because of where the Tampa receiving depth chart is), La'Mical Perine for the Jets (could be interesting with his speed) and Joshua Kelly for the Chargers (who I think is interesting with Melvin Gordon leaving town). In that area as well is WR Antonio Gandy-Golden who went to a depleted Washington depth chart and has been talked about to potentially be this year’s Scary Terry and TE Adam Trautman who would be a very interesting long term TE with the Saints.
Look no further at what the value massacre has done to alter strategies then one of the bottom teams in the league. The original owner of third overall pick traded that, a 2nd this year, a 1st and 2nd in 2021 as he has gone all in to try and trade his way to contention. Now, the first thought may be that’s not smart as you should use those premiere picks to try and slowly build a young core but that hasn’t exactly worked out.
There have really only be two teams that have hit on enough young players to dig themselves out of the bottom and one is because he got Dalvin Cook and Saquon Barkley along with a shrewd pick up of Darren Waller before cuts last season. The other team took a major hit since he owns Phillip Lindsay, Devin Singeltary, Royce Freeman and Marlon Mack. That’s the Value Massacre of 2020.
The bottom team traded for Kenyan Drake, James Connor, Matt Brieda and Deshaun Watson to go with Courtland Sutton, A.J. Brown, Will Fuller, N'Keal Harry and Mark Andrews. He still has what should be an early 2nd in 2021, but he has firmly put himself in conetntion for a playoff spot. In the league riddled with the uncertainty, and now the draft, it’s a bold strategy but a direction. What has put teams in tough spots has been not choosing a direction. The team that took a hit on all their running backs has avoided big trades and now will be in a tough spot without a trade.
One team traded away James Connor for a future first and Guice but then flipped another 1st for Leveon Bell. Is that competiting or retooling? There are plenty of teams that will sit still, be relatively competitive but not move up the ladder and this year’s value massacre will highlight again those so make sure you pick a direction and stick with it.
Conventional thinking is you can build a young core through draft picks, but it doesn’t necessarily work that way. One of the best teams in the league has had great luck picking at the end of the 1st round getting Corey Brown, Mike Williams, Derrius Guice and other’s, but has ended flipping them as they haven’t panned out. While you hope you can get contributing young players, this year especially, ought to make the though process simple; young players are assets just like draft picks.
While the bottom team trying to buy his roster may give you initial pause the strategy may actually be the way to go. Get young proven players, still a gamble, and bite the bullet for a few drafts to get in to contention so that you don’t have to depend on those draft picks as much. Most importantly, standing pat isn’t the way you win a championship.