Our first $1,000 annual entry fee Dynasty Fantasy Football World Championship draft of the season has been taking place this week and there were plenty of surprises and interesting picks. We are going to take a look and recap the first round for you pick by pick.
Jamar Chase (WR) Cincinnati Bengals
With the first-overall pick in the draft Chase comes off the board. I firmly believe he should be the dynasty WR1 over Justin Jefferson so you can’t go wrong with him here. His future looks as secure as any future can be in this league situationally. He’s the clear-cut WR1 on an ascending offense with a quarterback in Joe Burrow who is just 25 years old and has all the makings of a superstar for the foreseeable long-term future.
Beyond his situation, his talent is overwhelming. I graded him out as the best wide receiver prospect since Mike Evans in 2014. He did not disappoint with an incredible rookie season catching 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. The scary thing is he has only scratched the surface of his potential coming into the league in 2021 following a year off from football.
Jonathan Taylor (RB) Indianapolis Colts
Taylor is the no-brainer No. 2 pick here. I lean slightly towards running backs so he’d be my first-overall pick, but you can’t go wrong with either of those guys. Especially when you consider how true bell-cow backs are becoming rarer and rarer in today’s NFL. He saw 372 touches last season and I don’t anticipate any dip in his usage moving forward. It could even increase.
With all those touches he rushed for over 1,800 yards and 18 TDs in 2021 and tacked on 40 receptions for 360 yards and two TDs through the air. He is as gifted a running back as there is in the league perhaps with exception of Derrick Henry and he gets to run behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. This is a home run pick.
Justin Jefferson (WR) Minnesota Vikings
After Chase, Jefferson is the obvious WR2 in dynasty currently. This is the exact spot he should be drafted at in every draft. In just two professional seasons he’s already amassed 196 receptions for over 3,000 yards and 17 TDs. After an impressive 88 receptions for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns during his rookie campaign in 2020, he improved across the board catching 108 passes for 1,616 yards and 10 TDs in 2021.
With Adam Theilen now on the downside of his career at age 31, Jefferson should only see his role increase particularly in the end zone. With his skill set, he could easily become a 15 TD receiver. The only question surrounding him is the quarterback situation. Kirk Cousins is not an issue for Jefferson’s production, however, he’ll be 34 when this season starts, and rumors constantly swirl each offseason about the possibility of Minnesota moving on from him. The good news is, he’s not a special talent so it’s not like he’d be irreplaceable if he did make his exit.
Najee Harris (RB) Pittsburgh Steelers
If this was the Steelers’ offense of even just three years ago, Harris would be the first-overall pick. The talent is there and the opportunity for touches is massive. Unfortunately, there are a ton of questions surrounding this offense now. The quarterback situation is in flux heading into the 2022 NFL Draft and the offensive line has gone from elite to among the worst in the league at a rapid pace.
The offensive line is a huge concern. The loss of Ben Roethlisberger- not so much for me. Whether the quarterback moving forward is Mitch Trubisky, another acquired veteran or they draft a rookie at some point soon; I don’t see it as a detriment. Big Ben has been awful the past few years and declining quickly. I see Trubisky this year, who is the likely Week 1 starter, as an improvement from the Roethlisberger we saw in 2021.
Kyle Pitts (TE) Atlanta Falcons
Many won’t want to draft a tight end this high. I strongly disagree. Pitts is so far ahead of the pack at this position I wouldn’t let him drop anywhere past pick 1.6 and have no issues with him going at the 1.5. He’s a freak talent and at just 21 years old there is no one close to as valuable. With Travis Kelce turning 33 in October and Mark Andrews kicking off Week 1 at 27, the advantage Pitts gives you over any other tight end is almost unfathomable.
Pitts caught 68 passes for over 1,000 yards and a TD as a rookie at a position where players typically approve by leaps and bounds in years two, three, and four. The quarterback situation is concerning, but being that he’s the clear top target and the perfect security blanket for either a rookie or weak-armed Marcus Mariota, I’m not too concerned about it.
Ceedee Lamb (WR) Dallas Cowboys
The departure of Amari Cooper from Dallas and a healthy Dak Prescott now a full season removed from injury should bode well for Lamb in Dallas. He caught 79 passes last season, topping 1,100 yards and six TDs. I expect all of those numbers to improve significantly this season and expect consistency from him year in and year out moving forward. There’s not much more to say about this pick. He’s ultra-talented with a solid quarterback and a creative offensive coordinator who will make every effort to get the ball in his hands as the now undisputed top weapon on the team.
Javonte Williams (WR) Denver Broncos
I love this pick and have him ranked Lamb and just about dead even with Pitts. He split time with Melvin Gordon last year as a rookie so his numbers won’t blow you away. He rushed for 903 yards on 203 carries and caught 43 passes for 316 yards with a total of seven TDs. Nonetheless, Gordon is now gone and I don’t think it would matter if he wasn’t. Williams is an ascending young stud with the versatility and skill set to be a fantasy stud. With the offense now featuring a scary WR corps and Russell Wilson under center, there should be a lot more fantasy value to go around in Denver moving forward.
Breece Hall (RB) 2022 NFL Draft
This is about as risky a pick as you can make here. That doesn’t make it a bad pick, but it’s scary. I do currently have him ranked as the top rookie running back, nevertheless, he hasn’t been drafted yet and his landing spot can vastly impact his value. I love the talent, but without having any idea regarding his NFL situation it’s tough to judge this pick. The owner swung for the fences though and may come out looking a genius or a fool.
Christian McCaffrey (RB) Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey has become one of the most polarizing players in fantasy following another injury-plagued campaign last season. His upside is immense, but the risk is just as evident. I hate this pick. I’m not touching McCaffrey in the first round, especially in a dynasty format this season. I completely understand why owners are drafting him here, however, I couldn’t do it.
After a strong rookie season in 2017, McCaffrey saw his usage go through the rook the next two seasons. In 2018 and 2019 he saw a combined 506 carries and 266 targets. Combine that with his 590 carries in his final two seasons at Stanford and it’s clear to see why he’s breaking down so rapidly.
He will be 26 this season and his injuries generally aren’t just freak accidents. We are seeing soft-tissue injuries and signs of wear and tear. Over the past two seasons, he’s played just 10 games due to a plethora of injuries and he’s always a risk to leave early on any given week. He’s totaled just 157 combined carries during that time. This isn’t an outlier, it’s a trend. Particularly in dynasty when you hope to have a stud for years to come. Let him be someone else’s headache.
Tee Higgins (WR) Cincinnati Bengals
I love Higgins’ talent, but don’t think I could draft him this high. He’s a safe choice due to his talent and quarterback situation, but him being the clear WR2 caps his upside. I’d rather shoot for a potential league winner here and Higgins just isn’t that. He’s a guy who will give you solid production posting about 1,000-1,200 yards and 5-8 TDs on a yearly basis. I also believe there is some recency bias after what we just saw him do in the Super Bowl, which is understandable, but perhaps a bit short-sited.
A.J. Brown (WR) Tennessee Titans
The only concern with Brown is his ability to stay healthy to this point in his career. Other than that he’s a slam dunk pick at the 11 spot. Nonetheless, I’m ready to call Brown injury prone just yet so I love this pick. He suffered a knee injury in 2020 which seemed to have lingered into 2021. Let’s see how he looks this year. If he’s healthy and plays all 17 games his floor is 1,000-plus yards and pushing double-digit touchdowns and his ceiling is the fantasy WR1.
Jaylen Waddle (WR) Miami Dolphins
I was surprised to see Waddle sneak into the first round. I love the pick and think he’s going to be a stud in this league for a long time, but I thought the acquisition of Tyreek Hill would push him further down draft boards. Being that his production came from volume, Hill’s presence can be a bit ominous. I do believe however that there will be plenty of production to go around between Waddle and Hill. I also believe that Tua has the talent to sustain two fantasy-relevant wideouts in Mike McDaniel’s system if the offensive line isn’t once again historically bad, which it shouldn’t be moving forward.
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