@Guinness it is absolutely not safe to assume that the top 32 players won’t be available. We know for a fact that this assumption is false, as the original poster has 5 of the top 32 players, so at the very least 3 of the top 32 will be available. It is highly likely that other teams will own more than 2 of the top 32, while others will have one or none of the top 32. So that’s a bad assumption.
You also seem to assume, despite believing that the top 32 players are being kept, that everyone will retain their first round picks. It is entirely possible (though not probable) that our friend could pick 8th and be getting his pick of Zeke and Brown anyway because picks 1-7 could have surrendered their first round picks for keepers.
@Ddkrutsinger a very valuable exercise would be to look at your opponents and project who they will be keeping. Of critical importance is knowing what other elite players might be returning to the pool and how many of your opponents will likely retain their first round picks. A main question you are considering is whether it makes sense to retain your first round pick; we need to know what your chances are of getting back an elite player in the first if you make that choice, and without knowing the above we are kind of blindly guessing here.
@BusterD, yes, having Zeke and Hunt would be a huge competitive advantage. But having Zeke, Hunt and Thomas would be more of an advantage, no? You can’t simply look at the two keepers, you need to compare the two scenarios, something which you are completely ignoring. The fact that you are getting Thomas in a round where you usually choose kickers doesn’t negate that fact, it amplifies it. Now to be clear, I’m not saying that he can get Zeke, Hunt and Thomas (though it is possible), I’m saying you need to compare whether you prefer Zeke and Hunt to Zeke, Thomas and player X or Hunt, Thomas and player Y. Basically your analysis is incomplete.
@DFWB, to a certain extent you are talking out of both sides of your mouth: on the one hand you say it’s all about value, so you need to take Thomas, but then you ignore the value of Hunt and say taking Hunt over Zeke is an enormous mistake. So are we maximizing value or not? Or do you believe Zeke in the first is better value than Hunt in the 3rd?
Here’s how I see it. I completely agree with DFWB and others, the value of getting an elite wr1 like Thomas in the 13th is impossible to get away from. I’m not taking Brown because I prefer Zeke in the first. I’m not taking McKinnon because to me Hunt is a better value in the 3rd than Mckinnon in the 9th, because although there is a greater round differential with McKinnon, there is a decreasing marginal value associated with picks and I believe that the value difference between Hunt and McKinnon is greater than the value difference between a third and a ninth round pick.
That leaves us with Hunt and Zeke, and there i can’t give you a clear answer. Zeke is unquestionably the safer choice, both because you know for certain what player you are getting with your first round pick and because we can have more confidence in Zeke meeting expectations this season, whereas Hunt has more question marks. That being said, i think the Hunt paranoia is somwhat overblown, and to the extent you have Huntphobia, his value is still his value: you can take him as a 3rd round value pick and trade him, retaining that first round value. Moreover, I would prefer Hunt and Zeke/Brown/Barkley, for example, over Zeke and whoever I might get in the third. So again, figuring out the chances of landing an elite player if you keep your first round pick is incredibly important. I guess in the end it depends on your risk tolerance.