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Dynasty Football: Draft Day Diamonds

General View of an NFL Football
Credit: NFL.com

Draft day always brings tough decisions. What strategies we are going to adopt?; having to choose between a star running back or a star wide receiver with the clock ticking down. Picking out some deep sleepers is also vital to build a deep squad and to help get the team over the line come the playoffs. We all try a bit of research, scout out players and try to ensure we draft more diamonds than duds come dynasty football draft day. Either with those ‘way too early drafts’ or with last-minute picks, in the current challenging times, we need something to keep us occupied. What could possibly be better than dynasty drafting?

Below I have listed a few diamonds for those drafting their dynasty football teams. I decided to try and avoid the obvious stars usually taken in the first round. Instead, I will try and represent a few players that may go under the radar. These players should represent value as the options run thin as the draft progresses.

Quarterback

Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee Titans) QB

ADP: 77.5

Ryan Tannehill took over the QB spot from Marcus Mariota in Week 7 of the 2019 season. Since then the Titans have not looked back. They have been to the Playoffs in back-to-back years. The Titans have found great success with a play-action game established thanks to Derrick Henry’s ferocious running style. Tannehill’s pinpoint accuracy and great consistency is also a factor in his success. His pairing with up and coming Offensive Coordinator and new Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith also helped the Titans growth this past season. Tannehill threw multiple interceptions just once since taking over in 2019. This happened when he threw two picks against the Green Bay Packers in Week 16 of the 2020 season.

Star WR AJ Brown has been a bright light in the Tennessee offense, with back-to-back 1,000 receiving yards since being drafted in 2019. Running back Derrick Henry has earned the honor of having the most rush yards in the NFL in back-to-back seasons. With these solid weapons, I cannot see Tannehill’s fantasy value diminishing any time soon. With an ADP of 77.5, he represents tremendous value and could hold his own as a QB1 option. He could provide better value than some quarterbacks who will come off the board much sooner.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) attempts a pass during the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Nissan Stadium.
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Running Back

Austin Ekeler (Los Angeles Chargers) RB

ADP: 23.5

Austin Ekeler owners last year suffered badly from a mixture of troubles with injuries, coaching issues and Quarterback problems. The QB issues are solved after rookie Justin Herbert became starter and made the position his own. Going into next season the Chargers will have a new Head Coach, which could help allow the Chargers offense live up to its potential. Justin Herbert is established as starting Quarterback and will be keen to keep hitting new heights. Ekeler should be healthy once more as the Chargers look to bounce back.

As a pass-catching back, Austin Ekeler looks incredibly appealing in PPR formats as he looks to continue to build a rapport with Justin Herbert. He can pick up some yards after the catch (his speciality) to go with his yardage in the ground game. If back to his best I see Ekeler becoming one of the top RB options. Ekeler has an ADP of 23.5. You should be looking to grab him late in the second round and then watch him flourish for the Chargers under new management in 2021.

Austin Ekeler evades a tackle en route to a Touchdown
Credit: Wilfredo Lee-Associated Press

Wide Receiver

Michael Pittman (Indianapolis Colts) WR

ADP: 69.2

Drafted with the second pick of the second round almost one year ago, Michael Pittman did not have the stats he may have been hoping for last season. Pittman, however, also suffered from injury problems missing three games with a calf injury. Upon his return, Pittman started seeing an increase in snaps and managed to show glimpses of what he can do as a receiver, even having 7 Receptions for 101 Yards in Week 10 at Tennessee. In his first playoff appearance, Pittman also turned in an impressive performance with 5 Receptions for 90 Yards as he showed he can be a key player in the Colts offense going forward.

There are question marks over who will be throwing the ball to Michael Pittman next year. Rumors persist that Philip Rivers will announce his retirement in the off-season. It is possible the Colts will move on from impending free agent TY Hilton who has long been their WR1. There is a possibility of increased playtime and targets and also a new QB for Pittman next season. Add in the flashes of brilliance Pittman has shown in his rookie season, a possible breakout year for Michael Pittman is on the cards. With an ADP of 69.2, he is well worth the pickup and could be an addition that sparkles in your dynasty football squad for many years to come.

Michael Pittman breaks a tackle as he surges ahead
Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End

Cole Kmet (Chicago Bears) TE

ADP: 115.1

Another youngster, Cole Kmet drafted 43rd Overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. In his first year, Kmet never set the world alight. However, that was down to limited opportunities. He was behind veteran red zone target, Jimmy Graham, on the depth chart, not a bad player to learn from. He did not receive an increased number of snaps until later in the season. After the bye week in Week 11, Kmet got more opportunities and proved to everyone that he is capable of becoming a starter. He showed a particular ability to gain yardage after the catch with a rare blend of speed and strength at the TE position.

All signs lead to Cole Kmet emerging as a TE1 in the next couple of years. There is no guarantee that Jimmy Graham will return to Chicago next season. Even if he does, the emergence of Kmet could relegate him to second in the depth chart. As a result, Cole Kmet is an excellent pick up for Dynasty football owners; 115.1 is his ADP. Cole could be a breakout star with TE1 potential in the near future.

Cole Kmet in practice
Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, it is not always possible to draft who you want. There is always the possibility of someone snatching your target from right under your nose. If some of those guys are still on the board when you’re running out of ideas you should seriously consider drafting them. They will boost your roster and edge you closer to building that dominant dynasty football squad you have always dreamed of.

Written by Cameron Gregg

I am a Cleveland Browns fan, NFL and Fantasy Football fanatic and lover of the majority of sports.

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