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Thu May 30th 2019

Grading my Reality Sports Online rookie draft

My Two-Time Champion Salary Cap League

It's time to report on my third 2019 rookie draft.  You can read about my first and second draft reviews on those links.  My hope is sharing these draft reviews is that you can learn a bit from the strategies I was deploying in these leagues and the value placed on the players I picked or did not pick. I post the entire draft below too, so that it can help you consider the ADP of players in your upcoming rookie drafts.  These are drafts with smart and active dynasty owners so you can learn a lot by just looking at where teams drafted players. 

This is the report on my Reality Sports Online league (RSO).  This is a super intense salary cap league with free agency auction drafts.  I heard about RSO leagues for a few years, mostly on ads I heard on podcasts.  I was intrigued and wanted to test my metal in a league like this.  So did my great friend and fantasy freek, Dave Brown, who has been in fantasy leagues with me since 1995.  We decided to join a league and co-manage a team two years ago, and it has been a blast.  It has been my first time to co-manage a team.  It has been really fun too.  Dave and I are similar enough to agree most of the time and different enough to challenge each other's opinions.  We respect each other and have had a great time co-managing our team for the last two years.

Two years ago the league started with a 4-round rookie draft.  Like in the NFL, rookies are given cheap initial contracts.  In this league, rookies are given 3-year contracts and the contract prices are slotted automatically based on draft capital.  In our first rookie draft, we drafted Alvin Kamara, OJ Howard, ArDarius Stewart, and Elijah McGuire.  Kamara and Howard are still on our team while Stewart and McGuire were dropped.

Two years ago, after the rookie draft, we had an auction draft for all of the veteran players.  Dave and I met for a half-day before the draft to create tiers and price points for players.  The auction draft lasted 8 hours, and it was one of the most fun things I've ever done in fantasy football, especially with a great friend.  We killed it in the draft and won the league (and the money) our first year.

Our second rookie draft, after trading our 1st round pick, we drafted Anthony Miller. DaeSean Hamilton, Keke Coutee, and Daurice Fountain (Mr. Irrelevant).  Miller, Hamilton, and Coutee are still on our team, though we rarely had to start them because our team was so stacked.  We're hoping 1-2 of these guys can become an every week fantasy starter because the contracts on some of our starting WRs are coming due at the end of this year.

Our second auction draft was for all of the players no longer under contract.  We were conservative with our money because our team was so good already.  We mostly drafted for depth and offered one-year contracts apart from Jimmy Garoppolo and Kenny Stills whom we offered two-year contracts and Robby Anderson whom we wisely signed to a three-year contract.  Early in the season we picked up Phillip Lindsay for a minimum bid and extended his cheap contract for 4 years.  Our starters were almost all the same from the previous year and we won the year (and the money) for the second year in a row.

Before I share my roster, let me explain the details and scoring for our RSO league.  It's a $40 buy-in each year (we've won $500 so far after two years).  It's a 12-team league with PPR scoring, bonuses for yardage thresholds, rosters 24 players per team with 3 IR spots. We start 9 players - QB, 2 RB, 3 WR,  3 Flex, TE, and a DST (no kickers).

Here is was our roster at skilled positions looked like before this year's rookie draft.  The parenthesis indicates how many years are left on their contracts.  In RSO leagues, you can cut guys with years left on their contracts so every team has a different number of players on their rosters coming into the rookie draft and the free agency auction which happens in August.

  • QB: Aaron Rodgers (1), Jimmy Garoppolo (1)
  • RB: Alvin Kamara (1), Todd Gurley (2), Phillip Lindsay (3), James White (1), D'Onta Foreman (1), Chris Thompson (1)
  • WR: Devante Adams (1), TY Hilton (2), Robert Woods (1), Robby Anderson (2), DaeSean Hamilton (2), Anthony Miller (2), Keke Coutee (2), Kenny Stills (1)
  • TE: OJ Howard (2)

Before The Draft

Dave and I feel like our team is ready to win a third championship in a row.  We decided to go all in on this year, even though most of our player's contracts expire at the end of this year.  We did not feel like we had any particular needs because our starters were already super strong.  We were pretty much planned on going with the best player available at RB and WR with each pick.  We felt like we could get depth at QB and TE in the free agency auction in August.

You can extend the contract of one player, which we intend to do with Devante Adams.  We have TY Hilton and Robby Anderson for one more year, so we still have protection next year if none of our WRs hit.  We'll have to let Woods, who has been a stud for us (and cheap contract) go after this year.

We have Gurley for another year and were not too concerned about his injuries (though we may be a bit more concerned now) and we plan to franchise Kamara so we can keep him another year.   We have Lindsay for 3 more years.  Our real hope was to trade our first round pick for a 2020 first round pick because we need young RBs and love the 2020 RB class.

Finally, we know we're not going to spend a lot in the free agency auction draft in August because if we keep the rookies we drafted, we only have 3 more roster spots available and we want to save our money because while we're the team with the least amount of salary cap this year (though plenty to use on FAAB during the season), we'll be about equal with almost all of the teams in salary cap after this year.  It's another win-now-year for us.  We plan to win our third championship and want this rookie class to develop, but not play for us this year.

Reality Sports Online 2019 Rookie Draft

Round #1
1.    Schulaag (via Team 12) – Josh Jacobs
2.    Premature – David Montgomery
3.    Villan – N’Keal Harry
4.    Team 8 – Miles Sanders
5.    Inmates – AJ Brown
6.    253Coug (via Manitoba) – Parris Campbell
7.    Embrace – Kyler Murray
8.    Team 12 (via Team 8) – Darrell Henderson
9.    253Coug (via Tenacious) – DK Metcalf
10.    Embrace (via Schulaag) – Hakeem Butler
11.    Mounty Bounty – Deebo Samuel
12.    253Coug (via 40 Acre) – Marquise Brown

  • We did exactly what we hoped to do here.  We traded our 2019 1.12 for a 2020 1st round pick so that next year we can possibly take 2 RBs in the first round.  The pick we attained is from a good team so it will likely be a middle of the pack pick.  Still, we just wanted 2 picks in the 2020 draft.

Round #2
13.    Team 12 – Mecole Hardman
14.    Embrace the Darkside (via Premature) – Devin Singletary
15.    Villan – Noah Fant
16.    253Coug (via Team 8) – TJ Hockenson
17.    Inmates – JJ Arcega Whiteside
18.    Tenacious D (via Manitoba, 253Coug) – Justice Hill
19.    Team 8 (via Embrace) – Andy Isabella
20.    Premature (via 253Coug – Mile Boykin)
21.    Manitoba (via Tenacious) – Alexander Mattison 
22.    Team 12 (via Schulaag) – Damien Harris
23.    Mounty Bounty – Kelvin Harmon
24.    Team 12 (via 40 Acre, Embrace) – Ryquell Armstead

  •  We like Damien Harris and considered trading up to get him in this round since he fell so far from where we had him graded, but we could not find a trade.
  • We traded this 2019 second round pick last year to trade up for Anthony Miller last year.  We still really liked him then and still do today, and we hope he can rise above Allen Robinson and become the number one WR in Chicago.

Round #3
25.    Embrace (via Team 12, Schulaag) – Irv Smith 
26.    Premature – Diontae Johnson
27.    Villan – Dwayne Haskins
28.    Team 12  (via Team 8, Embrace) – Dexter Williams 
29.    Inmates – Rodney Anderson
30.    Manitoba – Benny Snell
31.    40 Acre (via Embrace) – Terry McLaurin

  • Finally, we get a pick here in the third round.  Honestly, I can't remember what we traded to get this pick.  It was not a pick we traded for during the draft, but we knew we had two third round picks this year and wanted to make the most of them.  We really wanted to get a player who was in a situation where they could become a starter quickly.  We were also considered Darwin Thompson here and Tenacious offered us a trade to move up to this pick whom he picked in this round after we declined the trade.  We felt like we wanted a player who could make a quicker impact on their team and wanted WRs more than RBs in this draft so we stuck with McLaurin.  We hope his connection with Haskins, his college and now pro QB, could keep their connection strong.

32.    Team 12 (via 253Coug, Team 8) – Myles Gaskin 
33.    Tenacious – Darwin Thompson
34.    Embrace (via Schulaag) – Bryce Love 
35.    Mounty Bounty – Jace Sternberger
36.    40 Acre – Qadree Ollison

  • We wanted an RB too in this draft, particularly if they could prove themselves quickly.  We're skeptical about Freeman's ability to stay healthy and did not think Ito Smith proved himself to be an every-down RB last year when given the opportunity.  We think Atlanta drafted Ollison to be the #2 RB behind Freeman and keep Ito Smith in his supplementary role.  I loved Ollison's film at Pitt and told Dave I really liked him here.  He trusted my evaluation. 

Round #4
37.    Team 12 – Trayveon Williams
38.    Team 12 (via Premature) – Mike Weber
39.    Villan – Daniel Jones
40.    Team 8 – Ty Johnson
41.    Inmates – Drew Lock
42.    Manitoba – Riley Ridley
43.    Team 12 (via Team 8) – Bruce Anderson
44.    Team 8 (via 253Coug) – Kahale Warring
45.    Tenacious – Damarea Crockett
46.    Schulaag – Hunter Renfro
47.    Mounty Bounty – Devine Ozigbo
48.    40 Acres – Gary Jennings

  • We were thrilled to get Jennings here as our Mr. Irrelevent.  I have him ranked at my #36 rookie and here we got him at #48.  Like McLaurin, he has an open opportunity on his team's weak WR corp.  We also love that Pete Carroll cares not about draft capital.  He always starts the players that win this job, so as a last pick in the draft, we figured we'd know early on if we should keep him or free up a roster spot.

Overall Assessment

I'll admit that our draft does not look good on paper, but given the depth of our team, we're not concerned. We picked up a few WRs that have a chance to prove themselves in open WR corps.  We have Anthony Miller from last year's draft and like his opportunity though he has only two more years on his contract with us.  Most importantly, we grabbed the 2020 1st round pick, giving us two 1st round picks in 2020 to get more youth and cheap contracts at RB.  If two of our WRs finally break through, we'd love our team next year too.

Even so, next year's team should (while lacking a QBs which we've learned are easy to pick up in free agency) have Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, Phillip Lindsay, Devonte Adams, TY Hilton, Robby Anderson, and OJ Howard.  If our second-year players like Anthony Miller, DaeSean Hamilton, and Keke Coutee and rookies Qadree Ollison, Terry McLaurin, and Gary Jennings develop or burst in the year or two to come, we'll win even more consecututive championships!

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