A lot is talked in Dynasty circles about great buy low options and the best players to buy low. However, I often think the best asset to master trading is draft picks. Particularly if you can gain value by acquiring a future dynasty rookie pick.
Draft picks go through huge cycles of when they’re most and least valuable. Lots of people have discussed this at length. It’s not rocket science to understand that they peak in value around your rookie draft and plummet in value mid-season.
However, I still think there is a gap in the market when targeting a future dynasty rookie pick.
Currently, 2022 picks aren’t very high in value. People don’t want to wait a year for the pick to turn into something of value. I recently ran a series of polls on Twitter. The results were pretty comprehensive. 56.6% of people would rather have the 1.09 in 2021 than a random 2022 pick. And 51.2% of people polled would rather have the 1.10 in 2021 rather than a 2023 pick. The value of a future dynasty rookie pick is significantly lower than a pick in this year’s draft.
I appreciate there is a little bit of bias tied in. The 2021 draft is projected to be particularly deep whereas the 2022 class is very light in top-end talent. The majority of comments from people were that they didn’t want to wait a season for the pick to be a usable asset. However, for me, I think there is a flaw in that logic.
Future picks don’t have to be used to draft a player
If you were to wait out the entire season to use the 2022 pick on a player in the draft. You are likely to get a higher pick than the 1.09 in 2021. Because you have a 66% chance it is pick 1.01-1.08. However, you have waited an entire year for that asset to assume value. So you could easily argue that the year of waiting offsets the rise in value.
For me, though I am not looking at that 2022 1st round pick and thinking I am going to use it on a player in the 2022 draft. If you look at that pick as an asset to use in a trade it changes the thinking significantly.
If we were to say that the 2022 pick is valued around the 1.09 currently that gives us a baseline for value. However in 3 months’ time that 2022 pick is no longer a future pick and instead is now a current year pick as rookie drafts are in the rearview mirror and people are focusing on the 2021 season.
The value of a 1st round pick in season
So what would that 2022 pick be worth after your 2021 rookie draft? Well taking all elements of the league standing out of the window I value a random 1st around the 1.05. This is because the value of the 1.01 and 1.02 is so significant that the chances of landing those picks lean the value slightly higher than the median 1.06/1.07.
If just prior to the season you can then use that 2022 pick in a trade. You are far more likely to get more than the 1.09 it is currently worth. What you have also gained by waiting for the pick is flexibility. You’re not tying up roster value in a player that can get injured or disappoint (or increase hugely in value to be fair, although unlikely in the preseason).
If you decide to hold the pick into the season you can use this flexibility to your advantage. If you’re competing you can trade the asset for a winnow piece to a team rebuilding. It also allows you to outbid rivals should a high-valued player on a rebuilding team become available.
Play the draft pick game
Now I want to be clear I’m not out here advising you to go and trade your 2021 draft picks for 2022 picks. That’s not a transaction I’d be comfortable making. What I am recommending is being more flexible around what picks you’re receiving back when making a trade. If you’re looking to sell a player right now, it is almost impossible to persuade a league mate to part with a 2021 draft pick they’re like gold dust!
However, if you switch your focus to acquiring 2022 picks you’re likely to have a much easier job selling the player and far more likely to get more back in return.
One additional thing is worth mentioning, almost every owner in dynasty overvalues their roster. So the majority of league mates will value their 2022 draft picks as late picks because they think they will be in championship contention (the truth is half the league won’t make the playoffs).
2021 rookie picks are at their absolute peak in value right now but if you’re putting together trades don’t rule out acquiring a future dynasty rookie pick. They’re highly likely to gain value over the next few months without doing anything. That’s a lot more than can be said for the majority of assets in dynasty. Also remember just because it’s a draft pick doesn’t mean it can only be used to acquire a player via the draft.