I’ve been spending a bit of time putting together my cheat sheet for the draft, reading articles and checking out rankings on various sites. During the week, some of the guys in the dynasty league (many of whom are also first-timers like myself) proposed that we do a mock draft – primarily so we could get our heads around timing and try out our cheat sheets.
Now part of me hates this idea. Why would I want to take part in a mock and give away all of my picks in advance of the actual draft? The early rounds are not as much of a big deal for me as the later rounds. It will be in the later rounds that I will be trying to pick up all of my potential sleepers – so (depending on how it plays out), I may just “fudge” the later rounds and take the players that are at the top of the board and note down when the guys that I am targeting are taken by other owners.
The very first draft of a dynasty league is an important one. It is about striking a balance between “right now” and “the future.” It is also about ensuring that you have a good mix of young and old, starters and backups, depth and the capacity to be instantly competitive. Look, I love the idea of competing in a dynasty league, but I’m not going to draft so that I am set up to win in a few years’ time – I want to be “in the mix” right away.
To get the ball rolling, here is my list of top quarterbacks for the opening draft. For this list, I am only ranking the top-12. I know that may seem to be too shallow, but my intention is really to get a quarterback that can lead my team for a good few years – and with that in mind, I intend to pick one up fairly early. There is certainly lots of merit in having a marquee quarterback leading your team (no matter what format you play). In a dynasty league, I feel that it is even more important.
1. Aaron Rodgers
Not much to really say about having Rodgers at No. 1 on my quarterback draft board. Rodgers is still young at 29 years old and he is in a great system. He tossed for just more than 4,000 yards, 39 touchdowns with only eight interceptions last season.
2. Cam Newton
Now I will stress that this is my list! I’ve seen lists out there that have Andrew Luck at No. 2, and that is a fair call from a dynasty perspective. I do think that it is a little bold. I’ll talk about Luck in a moment!
Newton had his struggles last year but in the second half of the year showed a maturity and presence that (frankly) he needed to! At just 24 years old, he should play at a high level for many years to come. The threat that he presents to defenses through the air as well as on the ground is incredible. Let’s face it, with the backfield that Carolina has, Newton is the goal line back!
In fairness, I think I have a bit of a “man-crush” on Newton! I have had him in winning leagues two years straight, so would love to get him for my dynasty team. The Carolina wide receiver corps is a worry, though, and Steve Smith is getting older – this is something they will need to address via the draft or free agency very soon!
3. Drew Brees
Perhaps Brees is rated a bit high on my list. After all, he is now 34 years old. However, I think the attraction is that in a quarterback like Brees, you get an elite guy that will put up monster stat lines for at least a few years to come. Plenty of time to draft a rookie or even in this draft, to draft a couple of developmental guys like Ryan Tannehill or Matt Barkley with this in mind. Last year, Brees threw for more than 5,000 yards, 43 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Coach Sean Peyton coming back is a huge plus. In addition, it helps that the Saints are a passing team – their backfield is a mess (unless you count Darren Sproles – and for the record, he is more of a wide receiver than a running back).
4. Matthew Stafford
He just signed a new contract. At 25 years old, he has plenty of years in him and threw for more than 10,000 yards the last two years combined. Again, some will argue that I have him too high. He has the best wide receiver in football at his disposal and a decent running game. Detroit’s “other” wide receivers are a concern, however, but the situation could only get better.
5. Andrew Luck
Incredible rookie year. At 23, could anchor a dynasty team for 15 more years, potentially! I’m a little worried about the “sophomore slump,” but Luck is the real deal. Threw for more than 4,000 yards, 23 touchdowns and 19 interceptions, but ran another five in himself. I like the fact that he is primarily a pure passer, which means that he will last a much longer in the league than Robert Griffin III (in all likelihood).
I know that there will likely be some owners who have him ranked 1 or 2 and go very early for Luck. This doesn’t worry me, but it will definitely be a signal to me that I need to move reasonably quickly on my quarterback pick.