Dynasty draft kicks off

I know people have asked for more Dynasty League content, and while I think we cover young and emerging players very well, which can obviously be applied to Dynasty, the fact is I’ve never even played in this format. So when a subscriber and MB poster randomly sent me a tweet to see if I’d be interested in joining a new Dynasty league with all FantasyGuru.com subscribers, I figured I’d give it a shot, specifically to help with our content in this area.

The first step is to cover the draft, which kicked off last night. I will continue to cover this slow draft (16 hour deadline for each pick) throughout the rest of the spring and summer, and as we move along I will cover my team, pickups, drops, etc. Hopefully, this will help me become a little more aware of the whole dynasty thing.

I drew pick 1.03 in this 12-team PPR league. All TDs are 6 points.

My pick was Cam Newton.

This was a really tough call for me because I initially wanted one of the elite RBs, and LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice were there for the taking. Calvin Johnson was a consideration. The first thing I’ve noticed about a dynasty league draft, especially a start-up one, is that Dynasty can cause paralysis by over-analysis. There are a lot of things to consider, and the more I thought about it, the more the RBs concerned me. Even worse, I couldn’t decide between Rice and McCoy. Picking this high, there are a lot of options; too many options. I would have felt better about the pick if passing TDs were 4 points, but 4000+ yards passing as a rookie and 35 TDs are what they are, and those are fantastic totals for a first-year player who didn’t even have a full off-season in his initial NFL campaign.

Here’s a quick overview of why I took Newton:

Cam Newton may actually be Superman

He’s extremely young – In a league driven by QBs, Newton has a chance to carry this team for over a decade while revolutionizing the position. Rice probably has 4-5 big years left, at the most, and McCoy maybe 1-2 years more than that. With McCoy, I considered the Eagle’s situation at QB. Once Michael Vick is gone, which could actually be as early as 2013 if he doesn’t play well this year, what are the Eagles going to do at QB? I have no idea, and that was something I considered. I’d be worrying about my #1 pick in the coming years if I had taken a RB or WR. With Newton, I’m probably sleeping like a baby for the next decade. In fact, by the time Newton – who was 6 years old when I started this site – starts slowing down, I may not even be in this business anymore. You have to look at the future in a dynasty league, and Newton just turned 23. You also can’t ignore the present, and Newton averaged 27.6 fantasy PPG in 2011.

He’s safe – RBs are obviously more prone to injury than most QBs, and Newton is a huge man who showed zero signs of having durability issues last year. Calvin has definitely had some injury issues, and his success is tied to a guy in Matt Stafford, who has had clear injury concerns.

He’s really good – Although Newton has done it for only one year, this isn’t a reach. This isn’t Vince Young circa 2007 or even Vick. His 14 rushing TDs were great, but he may never duplicate that. This is a player who showed elite qualities as a PASSER in his rookie season. He has a rocket for an arm and he can make all the throws, including timing/rhythm, and touch passes. There are no limitations to his passing whatsoever, and last year he wasn’t afraid to stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball down the field to his receivers. Obviously, his rushing potential is a huge factor, but for me it starts with his passing. Between his excellent passing and his unique size and running ability, the NFL has never seen a player like Newton, which is why I think he has a chance to revolutionize the position. Hall of Famer Steve Young was a great passer and also a very good runner, but he needed years to develop and wasn’t anywhere near the threat Newton is on top of the goal, given Newton’s great size. Newton’s rookie season may have been the most impressive one in this history of the NFL.

I’m big on not screwing up ones first pick, and while it was very tempting to take a stud RB for right now and target some of the cheaper QBs I like a lot for the long-term later in the draft, I ultimately took Newton because he’s safe – and he also has massive upside. That’s really appealing. It’s actually easy at times to fill in holes at RB, whereas one can be screwed at the QB position, possibly even for multiple years in a dynasty league, so I decided to lock things down at this position for the next decade. I’ll still grab one of those young QBs I love for the long-term, too, and could wind up trading him for another position player. Newton’s supporting cast at receiver may not be fantastic, but his OL is solid and he’s a player who can make his receivers better – possibly a lot better.

Just ask Steve Smith.

So far the draft is

1.01 Rodgers, Aaron
1.02 Foster, Arian
1.03 Newton, Cam
1.04 Johnson, Calvin
1.05 Rice, Ray
1.06 McCoy, LeSean
1.07 Stafford, Matthew
1.08 Green, A.J.
1.09 Richardson, Trent
1.10 Mathews, Ryan SDC RB

Category: Fantasy Football


18 Responses

  1. Dallas Sharks says:

    Nice column and thank you for the explanation.
    I agree with nearly all of your statements.
    Looking forward to the remainder of the draft.
    FWIW: Newton would not have lasted beyond the 6th pick in any case, as McCoy, Calvin and Cam were my targets there.

  2. Brewtown says:

    I’m a little surprised to see MJD outside of the top 10 picks. Long-term thinking is great, but its hard to predict what will happen any further out than 2-3 years. I’d think MJD remains a great contributor in that time-frame, even with his contract status up in the air right now.

  3. TD_Vulture says:

    I’m trying to undertand the “He’s Safe” section. He has played one year in the NFL.

  4. John Hansen says:

    NP, Dallas.

    Brew, I love MJD and even know the guy, but no way he should go that early given the workload he’s handled the last 3 years, and with 6 years in the league already.

    TD, unless Newton gets hurt, and he looks extremely durable, I believe that he showed more than enough NFL QB attributes last year to be incredibly confident. And if not, well, he’ll run for 700 yards and score 8-10 rushing TDs. Even Tim Tebow, who’s an awful passer, is relatively safe if he’s the guy due to his running. And “safe” in a dynasty league has a lot to do with age, and the guy was born in 1989.

  5. Boyd Dowler says:


    I’m in a 6th year dynasty league and long time FGuru subscriber. I do enjoy your site it often lends to dynasty decisions. Especially rookie profiles in prep for rookie/FA drafts. I’ll be digging any additional dynasty perspective that comes out of this.

    What is the size of your leagues roster and does your league use an IR?



  6. John Hansen says:

    Good to hear because my contention has always been that we really cover the crux of what people need for dynasty, though I know people like to see specific dynasty stuff, which is why I’m doing this league. It can be tough covering everything when you have to do rankings for the season, for a given week, for a regular keeper, and for dynasty.

    It’s 12-teams and no IR that I can see.

  7. CCBiggs says:

    Nice article John. This is almost the exact same reasoning that I used to pick Stafford @ 1.07. He’s extremely young, He’s safe (meaning; same system, same coaches, Calvin, upgraded O-line) and He’s really good! (I think Matt & Cam are the cornerstones for the next group of young QB’s) It may have been a little early to pick him, but I knew he wasn’t going to last to my 2nd round pick. I also had to take into account the 6 pts for TD passes.

  8. Stork says:

    I’d have gone Calvin Johnson at 3. He’s the one guy that seems most likely to separate from others at his position over the next 5-10 years.

    Agreed that there is huge risk on RB at that point. RBs shelf life is too short in a dynasty league. Newton is a special young talent but you could get a similar young QB in round 2/3 (Stafford) or take an older stud later (Brady, Brees, Vick, Romo, etc.) and back him up with an up and comer (Griffin, Luck, Locker, etc.)

  9. Doctor Gamble says:

    Wow John, glad to see you’re finally doing a dynasty league. Now we just need you to man up and do an auction league (the only way to draft IMO). We usually have an opening or two in the FG Auction Analysis league (run by Horn).

    As for the dynasty, one rule I live by is to not think beyond the current year that early in the draft. It’s hard enough predicting the upcoming year let alone the seasons to follow. The future guys can be addressed later in the draft and in trades.

  10. Don says:

    Now that you’re finally playing dynasty after all this time I hope you’ll start playing IDP as well. Your site covers a lot of things well, but IDP has always been the weak spot. I’ve never been impressed by any of the endless carousel of IDP writers here. You need to find a good one because there aren’t that many, and pay him well. Almost all hard-core ff players prefer IDP in addition to offensive players. Keep up with the times!

  11. Purple_Haze says:

    I’ve been playing in a dynasty league for a few years and I LOVE IT. Probably my favorite league now which I never expected when I started. Building up your team year after year (including the offseason) is loads of fun. When I joined this league I took over the last place team and have had a winning record every year since. When I took over the WR1 was Lee Evans… Now I’m stacked at WR. It’s been a ton of fun building up this roster.

    I think once you get into dynasty you’re hooked.

  12. John Hansen says:

    Stork: Stafford and Brady went in the 1st round, and Brees was taken before my next pick.

    Gamble: 93% of our customers prefer regular drafting, according to our latest subscriber survey. That’s a lot of people who need to “man up.”

    Don: Our Joe Dolan is becoming quite good with IDP, and last year’s addition, the IDP Monk improved our WW report substantially, I felt. Still less than 10% of our customers, according to our latest survey, are into IDPs.

    Purple: You get GM of the year for taking over a team with Lee Evans as the #1 and not getting your ass handed to you.

  13. Don says:

    John, it may be a what came first situation, the chicken or the egg as far as less than 10% of your subscribers playing IDPs. I started paying for your site in 1999 but didn’t start playing IDP until 2004. I’ve stuck with your site because it’s mostly excellent when it comes to offensive players, but I rarely use it for IDP information. If it had better and more consistent IDP content (for example a writer or two who actually stuck around longer than a year and who inter-acted with your subscribers as far as their questions and comments) you might find that you would get more IDP players signing up. I don’t know any serious fantasy players anymore who still just play basic redraft or one or two keeper leagues with team defenses. Those that stay with the hobby on a long-term basis are into variations of dynasty IDP leagues (some are even into salary cap leagues with rookie contracts, RFA and FA auctions, etc.). Maybe your target audience is more beginners and medium-level players, but there’s definitely a need on the internet for better IDP content.

  14. John Hansen says:

    Oh, we’re trying. Tom Simons has been contributing IDP for 7-8 years. Monk was new last year and again I found to be very good. Dolan is a full-time guy and is becoming well-versed in IDP. I had one IDP guy drop off the face of the earth a few years ago, so not much I can do there. We’re also adding tools to help with IDP, like the new player comparison.

    I understand your points but it’s a challenge to bring the IDP content up to the offensive level for a variety of reasons. I think things are definitely improving with Tom, Monk, and Dolan spearheading it and sticking and staying.

  15. Doctor Gamble says:

    John, no doubt the vast majority of fantasy players at least “think” they prefer regular drafting…possibly because that’s all they’ve ever tried. Or because it’s just easier and doesn’t require much preparation. And that’s all good…to each his own. Quite honestly though, I think you’re the only person I’ve ever heard of who claims to have tried an auction before and still preferred the regular draft over it. I know when my main league switched to auction about 12 years ago the handful of owners that had reservations at the time would never even dream of going back. I’m pretty much convinced that if 100 people tried an auction and stuck with it for 2-3 years, 90 of them would never want to go back to a regular draft.

    It’s fine though. I subscribe to Guru for the information…even though the auction-specific content is lacking, most of the information can be applied to auctions. And it’s great having guys like Horn and McDonald around.

  16. John Hansen says:

    I do think that the vast majority of our preseason content can be utilized for an Auction Draft. It would take a lot of time to have the auction content mirror the regular content, most of it would be redundant, but if you have any specific ideas in terms of things we’re not doing now, let me know.

  17. Doctor Gamble says:

    John, one of the reasons I’ve been a 10+ year subscriber is your willingness to take suggestions from lowly subscribers like myself and being open to new things.

    That said, one of my favorite auction-related articles of the year is the one Mike Horn puts together where he goes over various potential “scenarios” of different core rosters. So perhaps some type of expansion on that…I’m not sure…I’ll have to think about it.

  18. Frank says:

    In my 12-team dynasty league, last year (2011) I picked third having traded up and that pick was Cam Newton. He got me into the playoffs. I am very happy to have him.

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