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Draft Strategy and Sleepers for New Dynasty Leagues

By Mike Morris (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In our first two 2014 fantasy football draft strategy articles we looked at standard league drafts and PPR leagues. In this article we will break down draft strategy for dynasty leagues, and throw in some sleepers as well.

These dynasty leagues can be tricky as it is possible that many players are already kept, but for our purposes here, we will give you strategy as if this is the start to your dynasty league (may your reign be a long and prosperous one). Good luck RotoBallers.


Fresh Dynasty League Draft Strategy

Early Draft Rounds (1-4)

RotoBaller-NFL-News-Fantasy-Football-Bill-BelichickMuch like standard drafts, running backs will be the focus of the early rounds. Players like Peterson, McCoy, Charles, and Lacy should be the top players off of the board. However, the big change could be in the end of the first round.

In standard one season leagues, players like Peyton Manning, Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster will be popular selections. But in dynasty leagues their age and injury history should push them to much later rounds. Targets at the end of round one should be young running backs such as Montee Ball, Giovani Bernard and Le’Veon Bell.

After round one it would be a good idea to look at the prime receiving options like Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones or A.J. Green. These players not only top their positions now, but should continue to do so for at least the next five seasons.

Quarterbacks could also be a target as you move into the third and fourth rounds with Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers being the top choices as they figure to outlast current stars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. One position that should be avoided is tight end. Outside of Jimmy Graham, there simply is not a player who combines his talent and age who is worth an early pick.


Middle Draft Rounds (5-10)

In what should be your bargain rounds, keep your eye out for aging veterans that may not have a long career left, but still can provide good value for at least the next two seasons. If you are able to get a good core of running backs and receivers early, these rounds can be used to take a steady quarterback such as Matthew Stafford who still has several years left in his prime. If you were not able to get the needed running back depth, there should be solid contributors available here.

New Jets running back Chris Johnson is not the CJ2K that fantasy owners used to drool over, however he is still productive with five games over 90 yards rushing last season. This year he should continue to see a majority of touches in a system that emphasizes the run.

Receivers to look at here are T.Y. Hilton (5 100+ yard receiving games last year), Mike Wallace (4 100+ yard receiving games last year) and Danny Amendola who could should return to 100+ receptions. Tight end may come into play in these rounds of your draft, with Rob Gronkowski being an injury risk year to year but has a ton of talent, and Jordan Cameron who exploded early last year and has the potential to be a player you can count on for numerous years to come.                                                                                               


Later Draft Rounds (11+)

RotoBaller-NFL-News-Fantasy-Football-Vince-LombardiIn the final rounds I am focusing on two things; aging veterans who may only have 1-2 years of good production left and extremely talented young players who could turn out to be top round talents in the near future.

Running backs to focus on are Bernard Pierce who is a Ray Rice injury away from being the lead back in Baltimore for years to come and Khiry Robinson who should be given more opportunities in New Orleans and with only 7 men in the box nearly all of the game should have holes.

Receivers to keep your eye on are Tavon Austin who could easily take over the top role in St. Louis and build a great relationship with Sam Bradford and Reggie Wayne who was having a great season in Indy last year before a torn ACL. Like Wayne, Greg Jennings is no longer a number one receiving option, but he is also far too talented to let go if you can pick them up in these rounds.

I will also be picking a tight end in these rounds with my targets being Zach Ertz and Eric Ebron who both possess massive upside and play in offenses that love to pass the ball all over the yard. Lastly, I am picking a defense and a kicker in the final two rounds. Although both are important to your team, so much changes season to season with these positions that they would simply waste selections any sooner.

Rookie kickers often come out of nowhere to dominant (see Blair Walsh) and defenses can go from worst to first and vice versa in just a year or two.  If you want to be especially bold, don't even select a kicker - it will let you load up on one extra roster spot during the draft, and you can drop or trade your worst player depending on how the preseason unfolds.


Fresh Dynasty League Sleepers

Top Rookie Sleeper

Jordan Matthews was an absolute force in his last two seasons at Vanderbilt. In those two years he caught 206 receptions and 2,800 yards to go along with 15 receiving touchdowns. The Eagles took him in round two which means coach Chip Kelly saw something in him that he liked. Last year Kelly’s offense put up huge numbers and is now without top receiver DeSean Jackson. Even though Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper will be starting, Matthews should see the field a ton and it would not be surprising if he quickly became Nick Foles favorite target.


Top Veteran Sleeper

I know this is a bit of a stretch given the current outlook, but let's roll with it. Josh Gordon is certainly a huge gamble as he is facing a season long suspension, and it is no sure thing that he ever plays another game. However, with that said the 2013 NFL leader in receiving certainly has the talent to be a top option as in just 14 games last year he had 1,646 yards and 87 receptions. Because he will just be a wasted roster spot this year he should fall in the draft, but if you can get him late you may have a number one receiver at a number three receiver price for many years after this one.