Dynasty leagues are one of the most exciting league formats for fantasy owners who want a new challenge beyond the typical redraft or keeper leagues. In a dynasty league, your roster carries over with you from year-to-year, making your core group of players from the initial draft extremely important. Dynasty leagues also add in the excitement of a rookie only draft each off-season. Drafting those rookies, who could be on your roster for the duration of their NFL career, brings new and exciting challenges to the fantasy season. Adding to the excitement of building your dynasty, dynasty leagues see far more trading taking place compared to redraft and keeper leagues as owners make a championship run or trade away veterans to rebuild with youth. It’s obvious why so many fantasy owners will wade into the dynasty waters as they look to expand their fantasy football experience.
While correctly setting up a fantasy league is important for the integrity of any league, in dynasty formats it’s crucial that the commissioner sets the league up accurately before the team building process. There are a handful of core settings that, if done wrong, have a major and often detrimental impact on the league if they have to be changed. Once teams are drafted in a dynasty league, attempting to change these core settings can impact some owners so significantly more than others that they will leave the league. This article is going to focus on those core settings, why it is important to get it right the first time, and how you can fix them in the last resort.
The scoring format of the league impacts draft strategy as much as any other setting in the league. Player values are determined by their potential to score points in both the short and long term. If the league is started as a standard, converting to half or full PPR significantly changes the value of RBs and WRs. If you started with one setup and want to implement changes, it’s best to do so over a long period, such as 2-3 seasons. If moving from standard to PPR, consider moving in .25 increments to get there slowly, giving owners time to adjust and make trades.
Even more than scoring, the starting lineup is the setting that has the most significant impact on the draft strategy. Owners will enter the start-up draft with a roster construction plan in place based on the leagues starting lineup. A league with only one starting QB may see owners delay their drafting of a QB until the later rounds similar to a redraft league. Once a league is up and running, requests to change the starting lineup may look collusive to some owners, if the proposed new lineup clearly benefits some owners more than others.
One of the things that I’ve mentioned in many of my articles is pushing toward the use of a Superflex position in fantasy leagues. A second QB can be used in the Superflex position and moving an existing one QB dynasty league over to Superflex may seem like a daunting task. It will clearly benefit some owners more than others, particularly those who have been streaming two or three QBs versus those who rostered a top QB and less depth. The best way to do this is to propose and agree to move to Superflex, but not implement until a future season. A common plan is to give owners at least two rookie drafts and a full season before the league actually makes the switch. As an example: if your current league wanted to move to Superflex, you would not put it in place until the 2020 season. This plan would give owners the 2019 and 2020 rookie drafts, two off-seasons of free agency and a full year of play to make moves to set themselves up for the switch.
Number of Teams/Owners
The number of owners in a league may seem like the easiest part of this list to change after a dynasty league has kicked off. However, it does create its own set of challenges. As a dynasty commissioner, it is imperative to always be thinking ahead and get a league approved plan for league expansion or contraction.
Of the two league size changes, expansion is the more difficult one. There are many ways to go about an expansion draft, but many will center around forcing owners to make a few of their top players available to the new teams. In this format, existing owners will be allowed to protect a few players but are often limited to how many they can protect at each position to make sure the new teams can build a reasonably competitive team. Once the expansion draft kicks off, when an owner loses a player to a new team, they are given the ability to protect a previously unprotected player. Expanding the league by more than two teams can dramatically change the makeup of the league. Depending on the number of teams being added, it may be best to fold the current rosters and perform a new startup draft.
Shrinking your league down is relatively straight forward in most cases. A downsizing league is usually a result of owners leaving or being removed. At this point, the deserted players are made available in a dispersal draft or a combined Rookie/Veteran draft. Dispersal drafts can follow the league’s rookie draft order, or, if run separately, inverse order of the rookie draft order.
No other fantasy football format is as tied to its original setup as a dynasty league. Being a dynasty commissioner who can be forward thinking is crucial to creating a league that can stand the test of time.
If you’re looking for other fantasy football commissioner resources, check out some of my other articles, including The Importance of Written Rules, Rules to Eliminate from Your League, and The Commissioner’s Guide to 2019 League Adjustments.