Fantasy Football 101: How to Start a Dynasty League

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If you are reading this article right now, then dynasty fantasy football is for you.  Are you craving football right now during the offseason?  Check.  You’ll LOVE dynasty fantasy football, I promise.  The key is to be in a good league.  Before we get into how to get into a good league, I want to address a few things that I was worried about when I got into dynasty.

Hand up, I’m not a college football guy.  I’m not really a rookie film grinder either.  And I’m not a football historian.  I got into fantasy football to connect with some friends when I graduated from college a decade ago, and that catapulted me into a world of NFL obsession beyond my local team.  I was hesitant to get into dynasty fantasy football because I was worried I’d be bad at it, and I didn’t know how to get into a league that had the same energy as my home league with college friends.

Ultimately, a few of my friends from my original home league decided to get into dynasty because after the SuperBowl…we wanted more.  We wanted to get deeper into the world of fantasy football.  Additionally, I was looking for an escape.  This was three years ago.  We created a league with others we knew that shared our obsession.  Simultaneously, I also joined a #FootClan fantasy football league.  As an added bonus, this was a tremendous outlet to escape from some of the challenging things going on in my life.  I put together a video outlining why I got into dynasty fantasy football below.


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Dynasty fantasy football is really not that different from redraft (“normal”) fantasy football.  Dynasty is fun because it provides you with an opportunity to craft your perfect team as a GM.  In dynasty, trading is fairly common during the NFL offseason and you become more invested in the NFL draft.  For these reasons, dynasty is non-stop.

Starting a Dynasty League

The most important part of starting a dynasty league is doing so with others who are as committed as you are.  You may be able to do that with friends.  You may be able to do that with your family.  Or maybe you’re looking to find others who share your enthusiasm for fantasy football.

Do NOT invite the type of player that forgets to set their roster in your normal redraft league.  Invite the type of player that can trash talk and shoots you trade offers in your redraft league.  I have made the mistake of inviting more casual players, and it’s not fun for them either.

There are a lot of resources available to connect with the thousands of other fantasy degenerates that are looking for a dynasty league too.  I highly recommend joining a #FootClanLeague.  I joined one three years ago, and it’s still going strong with all the original members (shout out Trent Richardson Memorial League on Sleeper).  In fact, many of the people in the league know more about fringe players and rookies than I do.

Roster Structure

If you’re playing dynasty, each team’s roster should be at least 25 players deep.  The point of dynasty is to win now, but you’re also planning a couple of years out into the future.  That means drafting rookie tight ends who won’t pan out for three years or taking a shot on someone like Jordan Love that you think could be a contributor in the future.  Deep rosters are essential in order to do this.

My personal favorite type of league is 10-team ½-PPR Superflex with the following roster construction: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 QB/RB/WR/TE, 1 RB/WR/TE, 1 DEF, and 20 Bench spots.  There are hundreds of different ways to play.  For example, many in the fantasy industry have been touting Tight End Premium leagues where tight ends receive an extra ½ point per reception compared to wide receivers or running backs.

Some leagues use “taxi squads”, which I am a fan of.  Taxi squads are essentially extended rosters that can ONLY be used for Rookies and sophomores.  Typically, taxi squads are three to five players deep.  The concept of a taxi squad is that you can take your shot on unpopular rookies and wait a couple of years to see if they pan out.  At any point in their rookie or sophomore season, you can graduate a player from their taxi squad onto your regular roster.  This is required for you to be able to actually use the player in your lineup.  However, once a player has graduated from your taxi squad, they cannot go back.

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My favorite platform for fantasy (including dynasty) is Sleeper.  It’s user-friendly, simple, and Sleeper is constantly improving its user experience based on feedback.  #NotASponsor but #CouldBeASponsor .  My Fantasy League is another popular platform that is not as user-friendly but it’s incredibly customizable.  You can play on other common platforms as well, but I recommend using Sleeper.

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When to Start a Dynasty League

You can really start a dynasty league anytime.  Just like with redraft, you can draft in March and everyone is drafting from an even playing field.  The best time to do a dynasty league is probably after the NFL draft in April because this event introduces the most change as it relates to fantasy player values.  I would recommend waiting a few weeks (at a minimum) after the NFL draft to begin your startup draft so that you have an early feel for each team’s offensive weapons.  Alternatively, you could do your startup draft before the NFL draft and then set up the rookie draft in reverse order.

Startup draft” refers to the initial draft when your dynasty league begins.  After the startup draft, each team keeps their players forever – unless of course they trade them or dump them on the waiver wire.

Rookie draft” refers to subsequent fantasy drafts each year where league-mates draft only rookies.  Typically, rookie drafts are three to five rounds deep.

Final Thoughts

While there are a ton of resources available for people interested in dynasty fantasy football, one of the best ones available is Twitter.  For the most part, the fantasy football community is incredibly kind and inviting.  Twitter is a popular platform to chat about dynasty football and have fun discussions.  Reach out to our writers on Twitter, we’d love to chat!  You can find me on Twitter @TheFantasyEng .  Enjoy!


Kevin Simms says:

I’m planning on starting a dynasty league this year. I’m trying to decide if I should have a super flex spot because I’m worried that if I do, people may stack QB’s on their roster to make an unfair advantage to other players. What are your thoughts on this?

Bradley Ostendorf says:

How do you handle draft picks in a dynasty league when teams don’t want to drop players equal to the number of picks they have?

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