Two of the best things about this time of year are Dynasty mailbags and prospect evaluations. We are still pretty early in the prospect evaluation period, but I do want you to know what it coming soon. In the next couple of months Dave Richard, Dan Schneier, and myself will write full prospect profiles for the top 20 2024 NFL Draft prospects. You will be able to find those over on thestarting after the Super Bowl.
New this year, we will be incorporating those prospect profiles into the Fantasy Football Today Dynasty podcast. Expect those to start showing up around the NFL Combine.
This week, by far the most popular subject in the mailbag is the value of rookie picks. This will be evolving a lot over the next three months, but I’m taking my first stab at some initial thoughts today. Officially, I will start incorprating specific picks into the Dynasty Trade Chart in February. The actual players themselves will be added after the draft. The first week of March is a good time to expect my first top-20 ranking of 2024 NFL Draft prospects.
For now, let’s start with my initial thoughts on pick value.
Value of 2024 rookie picks
So, like I said, I don’t actually have a top 12 yet and I haven’t tiered the class yet either, so I don’t have an exact value for picks in the trade chart. My initial thoughts are that wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabors, and tight end Brock Bowers are the top three picks in a one-QB league. Quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Drake Maye make a pretty clear cut top five in Superflex, with Williams as the No. 1 pick in that format. If Jayden Daniels goes top five in the NFL Draft, that makes six in Superflex. With the right surroundings he could jump higher than QB3.
With those thoughts in mind, if I had 1.01 and wanted to diversify for a rebuild in a Superflex league, I would look to trade for a pick between pick three and five, six if everything falls right for Daniels. if I could get a 2025 first in that deal I would feel pretty good about it. If I was staying in the top three I would take a couple of early seconds. Which means that for me, right now, Davante Adams is enough to get from 1.03 to 1.01 but only if the 1.01 acquired this pick by trade. Because the value of Adams for a team in a rebuild is significantly lower.
As for where I would value them in a one-QB start-up, I would start around the one-two turn for Harrison Jr. in one QB, with Nabors a round later. Bowers is probably in Round 4 or 5 for me, with the next two picks not far behind. In Superflex, the top three picks would all be top-25, with four falling to late Round 3 and five somewhere in Round 4.
Again, this is all developing, so check back for updated thoughts.
Taking over an abandoned team
The first thing I do is try to figure out my timeline. Is this team a potential 2024 contender? If not, do they have all of their future draft picks? I would lean towards rebuild with most takeovers, but if I decide it is actually a contender then I separate the players/picks into three piles: Players who can help me win a title this year, assets that have more value to rebuilders than me, dumps that I don’t want on my roster.
More likely, the takeover is going to be a rebuild. Decide if it is a one-year rebuild or a multi-year project. Identify the players who you still want on your team when it’s time to compete, if any. Aggressively market everyone else. Read that last sentence again.
Market? Yes. Sell? Maybe.
This time of year is generally not the best time of year to get the most value for a veteran. Wise managers don’t want to hold all that risk for the next six months. Unwise managers may not even be paying attention this time of year. Still, a new team entering the league and advertising a fire sale could pique interest. Know which players you’re willing to sell at a discount, and which players you’re comfortable holding onto until the trade deadline during the regular season.
Note, I am more aggressive selling players before the season if I am forced to take the points they score. In Year 1 it’s not worth maximizing value if I’m losing more value in the rookie draft by accidentally winning games. But even then you don’t have to sell them now. You’ll have a chance during the rookie draft and in the preseason.
Regardless of which path you’re taking, this is a great time to get familiar with your leaguemates. Find out how they value your players, especially those that don’t fit your path More importantly, see who the true contenders are, who the posers are, and who seems to be aware they are in a rebuild.
Salary Cap values
I would do my best to come up with a projected value for every player, and then be ready to adjust that figure based on how the draft goes. My method is generally to use my trade chart values, modified for the the total amount of money available under the salary cap and the total number of players rostered. As a rule I find that big early bids are more likely to win a player than long drawn out bidding wars. Keep track of what each player goes for in the auction so you can better predict what it is going to take to win a player and then jump the bidding to that number early in the process.
How aggressive you are should be at least partially dictated by the level of your competition. If this is more of a home league where you think you have an edge I would be more tempted to go with a stars and scrubs assuming you’ll get cheap values late and do a better job of adding talent in-season than most.
As fr Nico Collins and Amon-Ra St. Brown, the ratio seems very evenly matched, but they both seem pretty cheap. Assuming that’s true I would definitely keep St. Brown. The other question wold be opportunity cost. Does the $1.7 million difference change your other keepers? If so, my answer could change.
A more complete to the question about how to pursue QBs in a mock draft can be found in our recent Dynasty Superflex mock draft. In short, I’m not reaching for a QB2 in the format. That approach applies in a rookie draft as well. I’ll start drafting QBs mid-round QBs when there’s literally no one else I want to draft. This means after my sleepers as well. You don’t want to be right about a Puka Nacua or a Tank Dell but miss them because you chose the positional value of a Will Levis.
As for tiering up from guys like Baker Mayfield, I think that’s a really good idea and a good question. In most leagues you’re going to have to aim one of two directions, either for an older QB, or for a flawed younger QB. If you’re a true contender then I would aim for the Dak Prescott manager, he’s a couple of years older with a slightly uncertain future. Aaron Rodgers is less appealing, but probably an upgrade in 2024. Kirk Cousins as well if he’s healthy.
If you’re a year away I would test the waters on guys like Kyler Murray, Justin Fields, and Tua Tagovaolia. Their value is lower than it was in the recent past and it doesn’t hurt to check in. You’ll have to pay up with a nice piece in addition to Mayfield, but maybe not quite as nice as what it would have taken a year ago.
Brock Bowers and other tight ends
As I said above, I have Bowers at No. 3 right now in terms of non-QBs in the 2024 class. So I wouldn’t take him over Harrison or Nabors at No. 2, but I would definitely take him if he fell to five or seven no matter who I have on my roster.
Also, Michael Mayer is a good offseason buy and a great waiver wire pickup. I wrote about him in my most recent update of myand Jagger May talked about him on our last episode of FFT Dynasty: