2022 RSO Writer’s League Rookie Draft

Updated: May 16th 2022

Rookie drafts for Reality Sports Online teams involve a number of considerations different than a normal dynasty league.  Selected rookies are typically given three or four year contracts at, hopefully, a below market contract.  RSO GMs then have the option of extending a player with franchise tags, extensions, or final year options (depending on the chosen settings in your league) which usually are near or above market value for a given player.  This makes the initial rookie contract years potentially extremely valuable and the real measure of worth for a rookie player.

The RSO Writer’s League recently finished our three round rookie draft with results posted below. The league is a 10-team Superflex PPR format.  This article analyzes some general thoughts on the draft in comparison to other drafts and my own pick decisions along with a couple of other interesting players.

Writer’s League Draft

Overall Draft Thoughts

The Writer’s league draft likely mirrors other drafts in many ways.  The players of picks 1-7 probably remain the same in most formats, in some order, with maybe one or two surprises sneaking in.  Likewise, the 8-13 tier in this draft represents players likely seen in most superflex drafts for this range.  Things get very interesting afterwards.  I wouldn’t be surprised by any of around fifteen to twenty names go next in the draft, a true crap-shoot.  It’s a very broad tier of players where team fit and individual evaluation will drive selections.  This group is highlighted with role-specific running backs, 3rd round NFL quarterbacks who might never be even the short-term answers, and the top tight ends who are notoriously slow developing for fantasy football.

It’s also worth comparing this rookie class to last year’s group.  The lack of legitimate starting quarterback prospects really lowers the potential of a rookie class in superflex leagues.  One could reasonably make the argument that every 1st round pick from 2021 would be in consideration for a top-five spot in this year’s draft.  The afore-mentioned lack of highly drafted quarterbacks contributes to some intriguing dart throws potentially available in the 3rd round of drafts.  Willis and Ridder offer excellent athletic upside (and with it fantasy upside) if they ever get starting QB consideration by their teams.  The sheer amount of mid-round running backs taken by the NFL in this year’s draft makes for a lot of potential committee backs with significant chances of some relevance for fantasy leagues.

Notes on Selected Picks

1.08, Kenny Pickett QB

Pickett earns the distinction as the only quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL draft with the 20th selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He could start as early as this season with an uninspiring Steelers quarterback depth chart.  The Pittsburgh product showed excellent accuracy on and off platform.  Pickett made one of the most dramatic leaps we have ever seen from a college quarterback.  The following excerpt from PFF’s Draft Guide displays just how big of an improvement Pickett made last season.

There are a host of potential downsides.  The question is was last season a one year wonder?  Pickett provides adequate arm strength and mobility but nothing that will “wow” anyone while also struggling with pressure at times.  Does he possess a fantasy ceiling of more than a moderately useful QB2?  Pittsburgh might also end unexpectedly bad in a stacked AFC leading to a high draft pick next season.  NFL teams have shown a willingness to move on quickly from these mid-first type quarterbacks if they don’t pan out.  That makes his job security very questionable at this stage.

1.10, Skyy Moore WR

My first pick ended up with the new Kansas City wide receiver, my WR6 both pre and post-NFL Draft.  The Central Michigan product and James Jones favorite gets to play with one of the top quarterbacks in the league on his rookie deal. Moore brings inside outside versatility despite a smaller frame with a solid build, big confident hands, and explosive play-making routes.  He rated among the top wide receivers in the draft for open percentage and catch rate statistics per The Analyst.  There’s also room for improvement to Moore’s game as he only converted to wide receiver in college.  The Kansas City provides lots of opportunity, especially after this season, as all the primary wide receivers are in the final contract year or have contract outs after the 2022 season.

The major concern with Moore, and small school prospects in general, is how they translate to the NFL after winning against lesser athletic competition in college.  Moore’s 4.41 forty-time and elite-level 10-yard split helps alleviate that concern to a degree by showing off enough athleticism to win at the next level.

2.02, Jahan Dotson WR

Dotson seems a player that the NFL was always higher on when compared to the fantasy community.  Multiple reports predicted him going in the first round before the draft.  Dotson is another smaller receiver who nonetheless played a lot in the outside in college (a lot more than players like Burks and London).  Many film analysts grade Dotson with the best hands in the draft and he had to utilize those skills regularly thanks to some of the worst college quarterbacking from a major school last year.  The former Penn State star produced a fabulous third year and could have entered the draft after it if he wanted. He should start immediately for the Commanders and Washington doesn’t have anything locked in at wide receiver for the future as Terry McLaurin still has no extension.

Size likely presents obstacles to Dotson ever becoming an upper-level after-the-catch receiver and also showed up as an issue when faced with physical corners.  His college contested wins may not materialize against bigger, more athletic corners in the NFL.

2.03, James Cook  RB

Cook is easily one of the most fascinating players in rookie drafts.  Most draft analysts considered Cook a mid round undersized committee back at the NFL level. He routinely went in the late second round of fantasy drafts before surprising second round draft capital by the Buffalo Bills but has seen a meteoric rise since.  This is as late as I have seen him go in rookie drafts after the NFL draft.  Cook rates as the top receiving back by many.  He looks a lot like his brother Dalvin when running outside showing off easy speed and fluid movement skills.

The real question for Cook is what role he plays for the Bills.  Is Buffalo expecting a primary back, a role he never played in college and one we don’t see often at his size?  Will he be primarily used on passing downs? If so, Buffalo ranked bottom-five in running back target percentage the last two seasons when Josh Allen emerged as a top quarterback.  The Bills clearly wanted to upgrade the receiving back position after signing J.D. McKissic before he backed out of the deal.  Is Allen suddenly going to be a lower depth-of-target thrower and reduce his role near the endzone?  Overall, there are a lot of questions on what Cook actually does for Buffalo and how that translates to fantasy football but also a ton of upside if he takes a big role on a top-tier offense.


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

Slow Auctions

Updated: May 7th 2022

Slow Auctions are now available on the site! I’ll walk through the various aspects of the slow auctions and my own thoughts on they will play out.

How it Works

Each team in your league gets their own auction to run.  Each of these auctions individually run just like the auctions of old with the exception that you’re the only one nominating players for your auction.  The bid countdown resets with each bid, exactly like the quick auctions, so there’s no blind bidding and there’s no value to waiting till the last second to bid.  The commish tools of pausing and resuming the auction functions across all auctions, not individually.  You pause/resume them all at once.

Auction Settings

The auction nomination and bid timers can now go up to a max of 86400 seconds (1 day).  The bid timer settings are what matter for the purposes of making it a slow auction, anything at an hour (3600) or more for that setting will be considered a slow auction.  You can update these timers if you pause your auction, but you can’t swap from a fast auction to a slow auction or vice versa without resetting the whole auction.  Honestly this is something we’ll probably add in the future (at least going from a fast auction to a slow one).  It was something that didn’t even cross my mind until earlier this week and just didn’t have time to implement it before auction season.

I personally wouldn’t go over 12 hours for a bid timer.  Anything more than that and your auctions have the potential to last a very, very long time.  If you go shorter than 8 hours you can of course pause the auction overnight and resume it in the morning.  You could also pause the auction each night, set a longer bid timer, and then resume the auction right away if you wanted it running overnight.  Pausing the auction does reset any currently running countdowns, so it seems like it’d be less work to just pause the auction overnight since it’s likely that nothing definitive would happen overnight, but that’s ultimately up to you and your league.

These style auctions do have the potential to take a long time (worst case scenario it would literally take months) depending on your league settings (roster sizes, open roster spots, bid timer, etc.), but the biggest determining factor will be if you’re messing around with tiny bid increments and/or letting the bid timer wind down before bidding.  Don’t mess around with the low bids early on.  Be sure to use the manual bid to jump it early and they will go much quicker.  There’s also no value in these auctions to waiting till the last moment to bid, so I’d recommend simply bidding when you can.

Auction UI

Honestly don’t think there’s a ton to talk about here, hopefully it’s pretty intuitive.  For these slow auctions you’ll see an additional area towards the top where you can switch between the multiple auction instances that are occurring in your league.  They are color coded to indicate roughly what state each of them are in.  Blue is waiting for something, either the auction to start, a nomination to occur, or signifies that the auction is complete.  Yellow is there’s currently a player up for negotiations and you’re not currently the high bid.  Green is there’s currently a player up for negotiations and you are currently the high bid.  Otherwise everything else should be the same as the auctions you’re used to.

Other Functionality/Thoughts

A few other small things and edge cases I should mention.  You’re max bid and available contract durations are affected by any current high bids your team has out there.  If your league only allows one four year contract, and you bid a four year contract on a player, you can’t then offer another four year contract to a different player.  You’d gain back the ability to place another 4 year contract on a player if you’re outbid.  The same goes for your roster limit.  If you only have one open spot left, and you’re currently the high bid on a player, you can’t offer a contract to any other player until you’re outbid on the first.

Our auctions have never held tight to league positional requirements/limits for bidding on players and it’s no different now.  You’ll just want to be more mindful of your roster composition since there’s more auctions going on at once.

Slow auctions do have email notifications around a few events since the point is to not have to be in the auction room the whole time.  You’ll get an email when it’s your time to nominate a player, when you’re outbid on a player, and when you win a player.

More Analysis by Kyle English

Inaugural High Stakes League ’22 Update 1

Updated: April 30th 2022

I’ve been away too long, my friends.  It’s been almost 4 months.  Of course, not one game of football has been played during that time but if you are here with me on the RSO site, you know how exciting an offseason can be.  So much has happened, in fact, that I’ve realized there are things we need to talk about.  That brings me here today.  It’s NFL draft week and I’d like to get one update in before the draft concludes

This one is all about movement.  Trades.  Glorious trades.  Every single team is making moves trying to position themselves for the upcoming season and it all starts with your draft.  Each week, and perhaps every day, there seems to be impactful information coming to light regarding players and/or possible draft picks.  That means every day values are changing, representing new opportunities to trade.  There’s really not much better than an active fantasy football league that takes advantage of all of these opportunities.  I’m happy to report that our league is indeed one of them.  As I write this, our league has already made twenty-two trades.  Each team has made at least one.  One team has made nine.  Pretty impressive.  How many trades have gone down in your leagues so far?  I’m genuinely curious to know.  Please comment on my Twitter or Facebook post when this article goes live.  I love feedback.  I would also love your opinion as to whether a higher entry fee correlates with higher trade activity.

Last year’s semi-finalist, Y-Town, has been our most active trader.  This is a team that seemingly prefers to work with proven players and utilizes draft picks as trade bait to shore up a safer starting lineup each year.  Well, as soon as RSO flipped the switch on ’22, Y-Town found himself with three new ’24 draft picks and it was game on from there.  This squad consummated their first deal on March 1st and has not gone more than two weeks without completing one since then.  He was my huckleberry for the only two trades I made this offseason.  Just slinging big names and picks all over town.

So, what else has been happening since our last chat?  Our league has one new owner this season.  This means we have at least one new team name.  I hope this one doesn’t get confusing but we now have a team called Philadelphia Bell.  This is in addition to the already existing Philadelphia Freeways.  This upcoming season may determine who gets to keep the Philly moniker.  I’ve also changed my name now that we are in the offseason and it’s safe to do so while not affecting my positive vibes.  I went back to my superstition regarding naming my team after one of the players currently on my roster.  I combined my superstition with my love of Pink Floyd and we now have Dark Side of the Mooney.  I feel real good about where these vibes are going to take me in 2022.

There it is, fellow owners.   A brief update just to get us back in the groove. I am going to enjoy that NFL draft now and see where it takes my team.  I put all the good vibes in place.  Now….. we watch the drama unfold.  Eek!


RSO High Stakes League Storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell

2021 RSO IDP Defensive Back Review

Updated: April 24th 2022

For our last article in the 2021 IDP review, we are taking a look at the last line of defense on the NFL field, the secondary. Sometimes the least sexy of the IDP positions, but one that can just as easily win you a week (looking at you, week 2 Mike Edwards and your pair of pick-6s) or they can deliver week-to-week value that supports your run to a championship (thank you Logan Ryan and your IDP production of 11+ in all 15 games you played!). You know what the method is here though, let’s take a look at our top performers from the 2021 season and a surface level review how we got there!

To note, this is a combined Defensive Back set of rankings (safeties and cornerbacks together) and not True Position. There are some pretty big distinctions in how you break down each position individually, but we will try and cover it as a group idea more so today. Here is our top 24 from RSO’s 2021 season with IDP123 scoring:

Some quick takeaways from this chart? Cornerbacks don’t represent or make up much of this list (5 of the 24) but Kenny Moore II did manage to be the top-scoring DB. This will align with positioning on the field and how his team utilizes him (we will see a similar story for Jalen Ramsey). Other CBs on this list are ones that posted impressive interception numbers (Diggs, 11, and Jackson,8). This is something that you can look back several years to see the similar type of results and as for big plays, that is generally not a consistent stat for Cornerbacks and IDP purposes. We are better off looking at two things. The first, we have stated multiple times and will always continue to call out. Check out those snap numbers!! Are the playing volumes of snaps? Are they getting 90%? 95%? 100%??? (We see you playing every snap in 2021 Xavier Woods) After finding out who is taking the snaps and getting the opportunities, who has the best opportunity to make the most out of those snaps? As for this one, we just want to simplify this down to, who is closest to the ball and has the best chance to be involved in as many plays as possible.

What does this mean? We want to find what one of the finest IDP minds calls, getting those “Sweet Spot” snaps (thanks @PFF_Macri!) based on their snap alignment. Those sweet spots are Slot, Defensive Line, and Box. As a quick knowledge drop for those uncertain what that means on the field, the slot is the when the line up inside of the outside cornerback. The defensive line is exactly what it sounds like, they get right up in line with the DLs. And the box is when they are lining up like a linebacker in the second level of the defense, behind the DLs. The trick is finding an IDP DB who plays as many snaps in these given alignments. This does not guarantee success for the players, however, it gives them the best chance to succeed! As we look at our top 24 from the previous season, we will see that they consistently play 40% or more (some up into the 60’s, 70’s even) of their snaps in one of these alignments. There are of course always outliers to this but generally, there is some other piece of information that helps us understand.

A quick look at some of these would be Minkah Fitzpatrick at #5 only played 20% of his snaps in the sweet spot and #8 Xavier Woods only played 38% of his snaps in there. Minkah’s supporting cast on his defense in the second level was one of the weakest this last season allowing him to make more plays from the deep safety alignment and he capitalized with a career-best 124 tackles. Minkah has been a solid IDP piece even from the deep safety alignment previously due to his big-play ability, but this year he moved up even more thanks to the strong tackle production. Xavier was a pure volume play, with lower than average tackle efficiency of around 8%, he lead the entire NFL in defensive snaps played and never missed a single play all season for his team. Sometimes the best ability is truly avail-“ability”.

Hopefully, these recaps help you understand why the top performers were able to produce for IDP the way they did at each level, and what to look for as you go forward for either redraft, dynasty, or contract style IDP leagues too. Stay tuned as coming up we will put together some information around the IDP rookies from the NFL draft, the start of season previews, and other articles. I will be participating in a live mock draft as well for the IDP Show after the NFL draft, so make sure to be checking out their content regularly for that and just great IDP news and entertainment as well at TheIDPshow.com.

More Analysis by Jake

2021 RSO IDP Linebacker Review

Updated: April 24th 2022

With the defensive linemen in our rear-view mirror, let’s maneuver our way to the second level like the crafty little scat backs we all are and weave ourselves into some glorious IDP information. Let’s take a look at the 2021 linebackers for RSO and recap what we saw.

As we look at the world of linebackers, we have a bit of the conundrum we saw in the previous article with OLBs who are truly edge rushers (or pass rushers) but end up with the designation of LB, which only muddies our ability to try and makes our analysis a bit more tricky, but we will get there! For those LBs who are in that pass-rushing role, please take a peek at the previous article, 2021 DL Review, for thoughts on how to look at players in that role and designation.

So what did the top 24 LBs look on the RealitySportsOnline platform this last year for IDP123 scoring?

An interesting list with a solid mix of players who are talented NFL performers, some LBs that I like to consider “warm body” LBs, and a few others that you were wondering how are they on this list?!? How do we identify this talent if it is not based on just NFL talent? In this case, we circle back to our first and consistent IDP indicator, the volume of snaps! Snaps! Snaps! And more snaps! #SpoilerAlert, this will come up again in the review of defensive backs in the next article too!

With linebackers, it is not just the volume of the snaps that help indicate the potential success of an IDP linebacker, there are other pieces that are solid indicators to look into. One of the first ones that stand out for me is the number of zone snaps a linebacker takes on a given week and season. This helps show us who is playing on the field for most of the snaps and the very important third-down snaps (and getting that 3-down role on their team). That doesn’t mean we don’t want to see a baseline for just overall snaps and we should be looking for players that are getting close to that 1,000+ snap baseline (which equates to around 58 snaps per game, based on a 17-game season). Lastly, you want to look at the number of snaps per game a team’s defense is actually taking on a per-game basis to understand these baselines for a defender to achieve.

Here is what some of these top performers look like in terms of these numbers. Of course, these are not gospel and the only way to determine things, there are most certainly outliers to any process, some examples not shown are Kamu Grugier-Hill and Alex Singleton both failed to surpass 800+ total snaps on the year but managed to still break the top 24 with above average tackle efficiency (average tends to show around 12-13% for league average) and some massive week performances to boot.

Moving forward with these thoughts, what are you looking for in building out your roster this year and the following ones? You want to focus on teams that keep their LBs in a strong amount of zone coverage snaps and the LBs who are getting those snaps (pay attention to who is running the defense and how they have historically). See what teams are getting enough snaps to hopefully hit that 1,000 total snap threshold based on the number of defensive snaps they are taking and the snaps a defender is getting (big hint, getting 100% of the team’s snaps is good!). Lastly, tackle efficiency helps us identify outliers a bit more as well with very high tackle efficiencies being an indication of over-production in the majority of instances (think high TD totals for a WR and how those generally are not a sticky stat).

I hope this helps you gain a better understanding of what you can look for based on what we have seen from players in the past as you get ready for your drafts this off-season. As always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@jakekohlhagen) with any thoughts, comments, or general discussions and happy drafting!

More Analysis by Jake

2021 RSO IDP Defensive Line Review

Updated: April 7th 2022

Welcome back you IDP connaisseurs! Let’s continue our journey into the IDP world of fantasy football. We will kick off our review of the 2021 season, with the DL position group. If you recall from our intro to IDP, the DL position(s) is one that can be dictated by two key factors, the first, and most important for all IDP success, is the volume (as it is for most fantasy positions). The second factor is the NFL player’s ability to win their one-on-one matchup at the line of scrimmage. The defensive line is the unique position of IDP that generally correlates IDP success based on NFL success, similar to the offensive side of the ball. These will be things we want to keep in mind as we go forward through IDP.

Before we look at those top-performing pass-rushers from 2021, we must look at who is designated as a DE or DT. Figuring that out though is tough because defense in today’s era of the NFL is not the same kind of football from 1990 through 2010 or even just 5 years ago. Part of that understanding is that so many times people throw around the term “3-4 base” or “4-3 base” as a point of how to identify or designate players. However, thanks to the talented Tom Kislingbury (@tomkislingbury on Twitter), this base defense generally doesn’t account for more than roughly 8,000 snaps across ALL TEAMS AND 17 GAMES! Down from nearly 12,500 in just 2014! The point of this tangent is to call out that NFL defenses run so many different packages and looks, just like NFL offenses do and that has left us in a precarious situation in which we are not always accurately identifying or designating defensive players. And the greatest offender to this is in the DL position group.

Let’s get back on course and take a look at our top 24 (ish) “defensive linemen”, and you will see the top 12 on RSO based on designation and then the other “DL” or “EDGE” players that get LB designation (scoring is based on IDP123 scoring):

Top pass rushers 2021

Cool, a table that shows the top 12 DL in RSO and those you can’t use due to designation, you say. But the table highlights our initial article about understanding your league’s roster composition and the difference between elite DLs and those at the replacement level. If you got inside the top 5 for this position, you were very happy with the production of your DL spot(s). It also showcases the need to understand positional designation for your leagues as well. Then, how do we get it so you can identify these players for you so you can get them on your roster?

For IDP, the first piece is getting on the field, and understanding an IDP’s snap counts is the first step to finding those who will succeed. The next step at the DL level is those who are winning their reps as much as possible each play. When you find that intersection you will see the top of your list here.

Baseline Analytics

After this elite level, you see things start to mix up with either higher snap counts (800+ total or ~50 per game) or consistent QB Pressures ( 50+ total or ~ 3 per game). These are baselines and basic analytics you want to search for to help you with your search for consistent IDP DL production. As for the Pass Rush Win Rate, this is a PFF analytical stat, so you can rely on a source like them to provide this via their site or you can use the eye-test if you are able to watch enough games or replays to see which defensive linemen are winning those snaps each play at a consistent rate and getting to the QB. I like the mix of this to help round out my search for my IDP assets.

Well, picking out All-Pro and Pro Bowl players is easy because that is what this list looks like. While you are correct, there are outliers and information in both directions that can help us avoid making mistakes or help us find the next top performer. Looking at players who had an abnormal amount of snaps (Cameron Heyward is up almost 125+ snaps based on previous 4 seasons’ averages) or one who showed consistent success with QB pressures but just did not find a way to convert this into statistical success. Examples from this past year would be Maxx Crosby (100 pressures, first in the league) and Rashan Gary (81 pressures, third in the league).

The last point I want to call out is to pay attention to players’ and coaches’ movements when it comes to IDP position designation. This is still an inexact science at this point and as you can see from the first table, there are players who are true pass rushers but have that LB designation so they don’t get to score at a DL position. And as defensive coaches and schemes change, LB and DE position changes can change along with it like Chandler Jones moving from Arizona’s “3-4 base” to Las Vegas’s “4-3 base”, will he stay with the LB tag? Will he shift to DE? And the inverse for Danielle Hunter (assuming he stays with Minnesota), where will his designation end up?

I hope this gives you some insight as to who the 2021 successes were, how they got there, and how you can work to understand it going forward for your drafts, trades, or anything else IDP related!

If you ever want to discuss IDP thoughts, IDP strategies, or just talk about fantasy football, you can reach out to me on Twitter @jakekohlhagen.

More Analysis by Jake