Fantasy Football 101: 5 Tips for Dynasty Managers
For the longest time, I avoided playing in dynasty fantasy football leagues. I was concerned the rules would be too confusing, I would embarrass myself due to my lack of dynasty knowledge, and I just was not sure I would be able to jump from redraft to dynasty. I have no idea what I was waiting on because I found my first dynasty experience pleasant, and continue to play in dynasty leagues, even four years after joining the first one.
To help you better understand how to be the best dynasty manager you possibly can be, I have provided five tips for dynasty managers that helped me win a championship last season. Some of these may seem like givens, but even givens can be overlooked.
Dynasty Doesn’t Sleep
I’ve played in my fair share of dynasty leagues, and one of the essential pieces of advice I can give anyone who is dipping their toes in the dynasty game is to make sure you have the time. Being in one dynasty league was not a burden on me in the time department, but once I started joining more leagues, it got a tad out of control.
Not every person has the time commitment issue, but for those people like me who are already terrible with the use of their time, being in multiple dynasty leagues could end up not being enjoyable.
I have been whittling down my leagues to have a quantity in which I feel comfortable managing to my full extent. Dynasty is a year-round process, and there is no off-season. Go into dynasty with the mindset that you’ll need a healthy chunk of time to focus on your teams, and you will be fine. Don’t let me scare you off, thinking 24-hours of your day will focus solely on your dynasty league. It is just more of a time commitment than redraft, obviously, and you will be paying way more attention to your rosters than usual.
Know Your League Rules & Settings
Before you get started playing in a dynasty league, make sure you take a look at your league’s rules. Leagues can have all varieties of settings and rules you may not be familiar with, so reviewing them will help you when drafting.
Some leagues are Superflex, meaning a quarterback can be placed in that flex spot. Leagues are starting to go more and more the PPR (or half-PPR) route, so check your rules to see what kind of scoring is posted.
Another trend as of late is TE premium, indicating the tight end will receive more points per reception than other positions (usually in 0.25 increments). Again, you will need to check for this in your league’s settings and rules section.
The biggest reason you need to know your league’s settings is that it will benefit you in the startup or rookie draft. In a 1QB league, quarterbacks may come off the board late instead of earlier in a 2QB or Superflex league where there’s more importance placed on the position. If it is a TE premium league, you might consider Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Darren Waller, and the other solid tight ends earlier than you would in a TE standard league.
When you view your settings, also note how many taxi spots, if any, your league allows. A taxi squad is your fantasy roster’s practice squad. You can designate a select number of rookies to the taxi squad, and they will not count towards your active roster. If you move a player from the taxi squad to your active roster, you will have to make room for the incoming player if you do not have any available roster spots.
Some leagues have complex settings and throw in a few wrinkles to their rules, so make sure you take the time to read over the league’s rules and settings before committing to the league. If the league settings aren’t your cup of tea, better to find that out before joining the league.
Make Trades & Be Active
One of my favorite aspects of dynasty is how engaged the leagues are. Most of my dynasty leagues have league chats set up, and those chats are great communication tools. Some leagues have in their rules that you have to be active to stay in the league, so you must respond to message board posts and trade requests promptly.
If you are used to redraft leagues where little to no trading ever goes down, you will be shocked to notice how many trades happen. Again, you will need to check your league’s settings to see the period for trading, as some leagues have a set time while others are open year-round.
There are all kinds of scenarios where trades happen, but don’t be surprised when they happen. And when they happen all the time.
When you first join dynasty, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the trade process and how to make trades that benefit your team. Trading is not a one size fits all kind of action. Your player’s valuation may be significantly different from how someone else in your league values that same player. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t make a trade work.
If you want to trade with another manager but aren’t sure what you should be offering, take a look at their roster. See if they have any holes that need filling. Are they weak at a position? Also, research to see if they have an abundance of the position you need. Check trade bait and message boards for information on what players are on the trade block. Working out a trade that seems fair on both sides can be done, but it can sometimes be time-consuming. And never be afraid to send a counteroffer if you feel like your side deserves more.
Don’t Be Scared to Get “Your Guy”
So there is a specific player you would love to have on your roster, but you are not convinced he will fall back to you in your draft. Don’t be afraid to take a shot on a player you see potential in, especially in later rounds of the draft where it is always hit or miss.
You may need to make in-draft trades to move up a little to obtain the sleeper you’ve had your eye on. Please don’t go overboard with it like I did the first year I played dynasty; picks are your friends, and you don’t need to give them all away unless you feel confident in what you are getting back.
These players have the potential to be on your roster until they retire if you decide to keep them for their entire career. You want to make sure your roster is one that you can feel confident in right now and long term. If it isn’t to your liking, know that this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Every year is a new adventure, so enjoy the ride. Have fun building your roster and learning more about the players on your team. Winning is enjoyable, but so is constructing a roster that is all yours. You will feel like you accomplished something special when you see how you’ve pieced together your team. Your roster is a piece of art.
Youth is Important, But Less Important at Quarterback
Quarterbacks are incredibly significant in 2QB and Superflex leagues, as noted earlier, so having older quarterbacks on your roster almost seems inevitable. Quarterbacks such as Tom Brady (QB8 in 2020), Ben Roethlisberger (QB14 in 2020), and Ryan Fitzpatrick (starting for Washington in 2021) have all been viable fantasy options over the years. All of those quarterbacks are over 37-years-old.
Philip Rivers and Drew Brees both retired in the offseason, so their time as fantasy options has ended. If you had either of these players on your fantasy roster, you often found yourself in a solid situation. Rivers threw for 63,440 yards and 421 touchdowns over his 17-year career. Brees went for 80,358 yards and 571 touchdowns spanning his 20 seasons in the league.
Having guaranteed starters that put up incredible numbers year in and year out will put you at ease, so don’t feel dejected if your roster doesn’t look as young at the quarterback position as you would like. If you draft older quarterbacks, do make sure you have a game plan if they end up injured or retiring out of the blue. Going from two starters to none can happen at the drop of a hat, so try to have a system if your roster gets turned upside-down. If you can have a younger quarterback in the mix, that will help if an unexpected bump in the road happens.
Taking these tips into consideration, you should find yourself in a prime position to make a run for the championship trophy. Time is a crucial component of dynasty leagues, so don’t be discouraged if your team isn’t blowing you away at the moment. Making moves and being active will help you get where you want to be. And at the end of the day, dynasty is an exciting experience. Yes, winning is super delightful, but the journey there is quite lovely.