Round 1: "The Foundation"

The rookie draft in a fantasy football dynasty league is akin to opening a treasure chest filled with potential. Every selection holds the promise of future stardom or the risk of disappointment. In my 12-team Superflex, half-PPR league, where quarterbacks hold significant value, the dynamics of the draft are even more intriguing. Let's delve into the analysis of Round 1 picks of my most recent 2024 rookie draft, dissecting each selection's rationale and its potential impact on team rosters. 

Also, at the end of every pick, I’ll add a “pick score” on a scale 1-5, with 1 indicating a terrible pick or a “reach”, 3 being within one pick of where most projections had the player going, and 5 being a steal. Hopefully this will help guide you during your drafts, as there’s always value to be had, even in the 1st round.

Pick 1.01 - Caleb Williams - QB - USC

The first pick of the draft often carries immense pressure, but in this case, it was a no-brainer. USC QB Caleb Williams,, the generational talent out of Clemson, landed with the Chicago Bears. With a combination of size, arm talent, and football IQ, Williams is poised to be the cornerstone of fantasy teams for years to come. His dual-threat ability adds an extra dimension, making him a top-tier option in Superflex leagues. Expect him to deliver high-end QB1 production right out of the gate. Sure enough, the owner in our league took the plunge, and drafted Williams first overall, adding to his already impressive QB stash with Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence. This owner has positioned himself well to be solid at the QB spot for years to come. Pick score: 3 (Close to projection)

Pick 1.02 - Marvin Harrison Jr. - WR - Ohio State

Following closely behind Williams is another player with immense upside, and that is Marvin Harrison Jr.. Despite slipping slightly in the NFL Draft, Harrison possesses all the tools to succeed at the next level. Landing with the Arizona Cardinals, Harrison has an opportunity to showcase his elite potential immediately. To that end, most Superflex draft analysts expect him to go in the top 2, and indeed he did, as the same owner who drafted Williams with the 1st pick took Harrison immediately with the 2nd. This was a great move by this owner, and he succeeded in setting his franchise up for long-term success. Pick Score: 3 (Close To Projection)

Pick 1.03 - Keon Coleman - WR - Florida State

The Buffalo Bills drafted WR Keon Coleman from Florida State, and it puts him in an excellent landing spot for fantasy purposes. With both Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis no longer in Buffalo, the expected targets are there for Coleman to make an impact. While there may be a bit of a learning curve, the expectation is that Coleman will contribute sooner rather than later. While Coleman may take time to grow in the NFL, this was the first stretch pick of my Superflex league, as many owners did not expect Coleman to go this early. This pick set the stage for other surprise picks further down the line, and allowed some steals to occur that otherwise may not have happened. Coleman would later be traded with a 2025 1st for a veteran QB in Aaron Rodgers. Pick Score: 1 (Major Reach)

Pick 1.04 - Malik Nabers - WR - LSU

The New York Giants selected WR Malik Nabers in the 1st round of the NFL draft, and he’s immediately expected to make an impact at the NFL level. Nabers slots in as the de-facto WR1 for the G-men, and should have a very good rookie year regardless of who’s throwing him the ball. At 1.04, the owner who had picks 1.01 & 1.02 also had this pick, and ended up trading it away for Travis Etienne. Once the pick was dealt, Nabers went immediately at the 1.04, as the team who traded for him was in desperate need of receiver help. As projected, Nabers went within the top-5 of this Superflex league. Pick Score: 3 (Close To Projection)

Pick 1.05 - Jayden Daniels - QB - LSU

The 2nd QB taken off the board by the Washington Commanders and a consensus Top-5 Superflex pick, Daniels went at 1.05 in our league. This was my pick, and when I saw Daniels was still available at the middle of the 1st round, I immediately pounced. Part of this was due to Daniels falling this far in a SuperFlex draft and being a bit of a discount, but also because I needed help at QB (currently my starters are Anthony Richardson & DeShaun Watson). In this league I’m attempting to have multiple rushing QB’s and Daniels helps solidify my starters while fitting in well with this current strategy. Daniels also provides me with much needed insurance in case Watson isn’t fully recovered by the beginning of the season. Pick Score: 4 (Slight Steal)

Pick 1.06 - Rome Odunze - WR - Washington

Drafted by the Chicago Bears at 1.09 overall, Odunze is projected be in a similar tier of elite WR talent as Harrison and Nabers, and most fantasy analysts agree that he should go within the top-8 of most SuperFlex formats. In this specific league, he fell to the 1.06, and the owner immediately picked him. This pick isn’t considered a stretch by any means as there are some who believe Odunze could end up being the best WR of the big three, and Odunze went about where he was projected. Additionally, this owner is currently in rebuilding mode and looking to add young WR talent to his team. This was a great pick for him at that position. Pick Score: 3 (Close To Projection)

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Pick 1.07 - Xavier Worthy - WR - Texas

The Kansas City Chiefs traded up to get receiver Xavier Worthy from Texas. Worthy had an incredible combine, breaking all kinds of speed records, and his landing place with the Chiefs has many fantasy owners drooling at the pairing with QB Patrick Mahomes. In most Superflex drafts, many analysts have him going in the mid-to-late 1st round. That is close to where he went here. The owner who drafted him also rosters Mahomes, so this pick made sense from the perspective that it now gives this owner the Mahomes-Worthy stack. While this move has the potential to pay off, it could also take some time to reap these dividends, as the Chiefs still have Rashee Rice (for now), and Travis Kelce, who currently isn't expected to retire. Those two will most likely continue to hog most of the targets for the time being, thus capping Worthy’s immediate upside. Pick Score: 3 (Close To Projection)

Pick 1.08 - Brock Bowers - TE - Georgia

When the Las Vegas Raiders drafted Georgia TE Brock Bowers in the middle of the 1st round, there was a gasp in the fantasy community. Bowers is projected to be one of the best TE’s of this decade, yet his landing spot in Las Vegas currently leaves much to be desired. The Raiders already had a competent TE in Michael Mayer, and this move crushes his fantasy value. That said, Bowers was still projected by many to be drafted within the first 8 picks of a Superflex league (some had him going as high as the 1.06), and that is exactly where he ended up. At this stage in the draft, the owner that drafted Bowers clearly felt he was the best option available, as his team is relatively set at QB with Lamar Jackson and Tua Tagovailoa (although the argument can be made that with Drake Maye still on the board, the owner would’ve been better off taking a QB). While not a stretch pick by any means, it is possible there were better players available at this point. Pick Score: 3 (Close To Projection)

Pick 1.09 - Jonathan Brooks - RB - Texas

Texas RB Jonathan Brooks was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 2nd round of this year’s NFL draft, and projects to eventually take over the starting role from incumbents Miles Sanders and Chubba Hubbard. The fantasy community is drooling over this possibility, as the new head coach for the Panthers, Dave Canales, has a history of developing and utilizing talented RBs (think Rachaad White last year). To that end, the owner in this league who had the 1.09 felt that Joe Burrow and Russell Wilson were both good enough starting options to warrant taking arguably the best available RB. Some fantasy analysts think that Brooks going at the 1.09 in Superflex is a bit of a stretch, especially with QB’s Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy, and Bo Nix all still available. However, clearly this owner couldn’t pass up what he felt was a great opportunity to acquire a potentially solid RB at a reasonable cost. Pick Score: 2 (A Bit of A Reach)

Pick 1.10 - J.J. McCarthy - QB - Michigan

QB J.J. McCarthy is now the starting QB in Minnesota after the Vikings selected him in the 1st round of the NFL Draft, and the fantasy community is abuzz about his opportunity to sling the pigskin to fantasy stud Justin Jefferson. As a result, in most Superflex formats, McCarthy has been projected to go somewhere in the mid 1st round. Here he went at the 1.10, which could be considered slightly later than anticipated. The owner who drafted McCarthy was also able to acquire Xavier Worthy three picks earlier via trade, so kudos to him for being able to acquire such assets. With both WR’s and RB’s going much higher than projected in this league, naturally it dropped McCarthy and the two other remaining QB’s down a bit, therefore this pick has to be considered a steal at the 1.10. Pick Score: 4 (Slight Steal)

Pick 1.11 - Drake Maye - QB - UNC

When the Patriots selected Maye 3rd overall in the NFL draft, it clearly signaled their intent to build a new offense around their new philosophy and coaching staff. Based on his high draft capital in the NFL, most of the fantasy analysts have Maye ranked as a top-5 pick in Superflex (with some saying he’s going to be better than fellow rookie Jayden Daniels). To that end, Maye at 1.11 has to be considered the steal of the draft. Even though the owner who drafted Maye still has two solid QB’s in Jalen Hurts and Daniel Jones, he clearly felt there was no way he could pass on Maye after the rookie slipped this far down the draft board. Additionally, this owner was looking to add some depth at the QB position, something that was definitely accomplished. Overall, this is an incredible pick at this point of the rookie draft. Pick Score: 5 (Major Steal)

Pick 1.12 - Brian Thomas Jr. - WR - LSU

Rounding out the first round is WR Brian Thomas, whom Jacksonville drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft. In most Superflex formats, many fantasy analysts agree that Thomas is the 4th-5th best WR after the big three of Harrison, Nabers, and Odunze. Some also believe he’s a safer pick than Worthy, who went at the 1.07 in this draft. Most agree that Thomas should be drafted somewhere near the end of the 1st round, and that’s exactly where he went. This was my 2nd pick of the 1st round, and I had actually acquired it in a trade with another owner where I gave up the 1.11 (which ended up being Maye) for this pick and Jerome Ford, as I was in need of a young RB. I also made the trade earlier in the draft, before it was evident that Maye was going to be available at the 1.11. Had I known that Maye could’ve been taken at 1.11, it would’ve been a lot harder for me to trade down. However, I ended up with Brian Thomas and Ford, and that could be a solid return for a young rookie QB who may experience some growing pains in his first year. Pick Score: 3 (Close To Projection)

Charting the Course: Round 1 Wrap-Up

Round 1 of a rookie dynasty draft sets the foundation for fantasy teams' future success, and this draft was no exception. Each pick represents a calculated gamble on potential and opportunity., with some of these picks being reaches and others being steals. When Keon Coleman was drafted at 1.03 overall, it set off a domino effect, and changed the course of the entire draft considerably. As these rookies embark on their NFL careers, fantasy owners will eagerly monitor their progress, hoping to unearth the next fantasy superstar. Whether it's the high-upside quarterbacks, dynamic playmaking running backs, or game-changing wide receivers, the first round is filled with promise and uncertainty—a perfect reflection of the unpredictable nature of fantasy football. This draft was certainly no exception, and hopefully this gives you an idea of where some of these players may go in your rookie drafts. Next up will be round 2!