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Way Too Early Dynasty Mock Draft Analysis - Round One

There's an old adage that goes "fantasy football fans start preparing in August. Fantasy football champions start preparing in July." Well folks, the obsessive nerds like myself prepare all year round. That's what the purpose of RotoBaller's Dynasty League Mock Draft is all about.

Here we'll be taking a look at the first round action with the picks pictured below. No point in ramping up the preamble, let's get to the selections.

Ed. Note: For continual coverage of NFL free agency news and its fantasy impact, keep tuned to RotoBaller!


Round 1

Odell Beckham Jr. was the first selection made and of course it's a rock solid choice. Personally, I would have went running back first since they're so few and far between, but you can't go wrong with OBJ. He's still only 24 years old and there's absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He's far too young and far too good not to take early and often in dynasty formats.

The next two picks were two of the three top-flight running backs. Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson are the best RBs in football alongside Le'Veon Bell. We'll get to Bell falling when my pick comes up, but let's hone in on Zeke and DJ real quick. There are going to be a ton of debates over the summer surrounding what running back should be the first one off the board in redraft leagues. For dynasty, though, I think Zeke is the right way to go. He has two less years of wear and tear on his body, he's playing with the best offensive line in football, and he's on a better team than Johnson. There's no telling how high Zeke's ceiling is right now so jump on in if you're swimming in dynasty. Zeke gets the edge here.

As for Johnson himself, that week 17 knee injury was a terrifying look for Arizona's star rusher. Fortunately, it didn't turn out to be anything too serious and there's no doubts about his availability in 2017. Scoring DJ with the third pick is about as good as it gets.

Pick No. 4 saw our second wide receiver taken with Mike Evans of Tampa Bay. Evans has had two stellar years sandwiched around one dud due to a lack of touchdowns. He also had such a good year in 2016 that he's clearly joined the first-class group of WR with Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, and Julio Jones. That tier was once a three-man show but this past season turned it into a quartet. Throw in the fact that Evans is the youngest of the bunch and you got yourself a stud to build your team around.

I was up next at five and was absolutely thrilled to score Le'Veon Bell at that spot. We touched on the debate between him, Zeke, and DJ but I actually side with Le'Veon as the best back in the game. My theory as to why he fell to fifth is the combination of his off-the-field issues and two previous knee injuries. That'll put some dents into his dynasty draft value, sure, but I don't think it's a deal-breaker. Bell at five would be perfect for me and I actually had to decide between him and...

...Antonio Brown. If Bell at five is a stunner, Antonio at six is every bit of a jaw-dropper. This duo is by far the best offensive one-two punch in the league so you could really argue either over the other. Antonio was just two grabs shy of the reception title this past season with Larry Fitzgerald barely edging him out. By no means does that translate to Antonio disappointing anyone, though. He's the safest pick of the bunch and now that he just landed a contract extension, his career outlook is set in stone.

Every remaining pick of the first round ended up being a wide receiver and with good reason. Not only are receivers more consistent on a year-to-year basis but great wideouts also have more longevity than great running backs. Let's run through each pick one-by-one shall we?

Amari Cooper stands out as the biggest surprise of the round. I would have expected him to go early in round two rather than the middle of round one. I understand the rationale; he's young, has a great QB throwing to him, and is only going to get better. That said, he was still outplayed by Michael Crabtree in 2016. It'll be interesting to see if his career really does take a sharp turn upwards.

Not much to say about Julio Jones and A.J. Green. They were the top two receivers of their real life NFL draft classes and the dynasty mock isn't all that far off in that regard.

We go from solid to disappointing with the Green/Julio pairing to total, complete, busts in 2016. Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins crushed fantasy owners with down years, albeit by no fault of their own. I'd be concerned building my team around a receiver with huge question marks at quarterback. Even with Osweiler gone, who exactly is going to be passing the ball in Houston? The talent is most certainly there for both guys to be top-10 every single year but the QB woes stick out like a sore thumb.

Last but not least we have the oft-injured Sammy Watkins. I'm a big fan of this pick because I think his ailments are overstated. He's a stud when he's on the field and Tyrod Taylor is a good enough passer. Taylor gets ragged on because he's not a superstar but who else are the Bills going to get? Tony Romo? Jay Cutler? Not in the cards for them. Anyway, Watkins is a good foundation for a dynasty team as he's young and can burn any DB in the NFL.


Biggest Reach

Amari Cooper (WR, OAK) - Too early in the first for my liking. He's one of the top, young receivers in the league for sure, but he probably could have been taken a little later. I suppose you should take the player you want if you're worried he won't last, but last year's production doesn't justify a first-round pick in this case.


Biggest Steals

Le'Veon Bell (RB, PIT) and Antonio Brown (WR, PIT) - Can we call this a push? I think it's a tie between the Steelers, Bell and Brown. I say that without bias because I was never expecting to land Bell at five. Brown is in the exact same boat as him one pick later, considering he was the consensus top overall pick last season.

Look for the next segment of our dynasty draft recap tomorrow and stay tuned to RotoBaller for the rest of our mock recaps throughout the coming weeks!


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