Dynasty 101: A Different Kind of Fantasy Football League
Every fantasy manager has felt it. The depressing thought of a fantasy season coming to an end and having to wait nearly eight months before you can turn your fantasy football brain back on and feel life’s total fulfillment once again.
Enter dynasty leagues.
What’s So Different About Dynasty?
Overall, with a dynasty league the game of fantasy football stays the same. Fantasy managers are still working to build the best team, score the most fantasy points in their weekly matchups, and take home the league trophy at the end of the season. Similar to redraft or keeper leagues, being a savvy dynasty manager requires a deep knowledge of NFL rosters and an even better sense of when players will emerge into fantasy-relevant roles.
However, dynasty leagues differ in several main ways: Longevity, Draft, Roster Composition, and Year-Round Schedule.
Let’s tackle each main difference in detail.
Dynasty fantasy football takes the parts of year-to-year redraft or keeper leagues that everyone loves and magnifies them on a grand scale. Similar to a keeper format, dynasty players are allowed to stick with their fantasy managers year after year. Have you ever had that awesome year in a redraft league where every instinct you had was right? Instead of having to give that awesome roster up after the end of each season, your roster stays the same in perpetuity.
Yes, channel your inner Smalls:
In dynasty leagues, fantasy rosters don’t turn over every year. Instead, they stay together more like an actual NFL franchise. That continuity allows dynasty managers to make decisions more like general managers and build their rosters from the ground up to establish a team that can compete for a championship every season for years to come.
Since fantasy managers are able to hold onto players for basically their entire playing career, the key strategy is getting players that will appreciate in value while being willing to move off of the same player before that value begins to depreciate. There’s no exact science to it, which is why the long-term effects of free agent signings or the NFL draft create another layer of complexity to the dynasty game.
Like any good fantasy format, dynasty is all in the drafting. Where redraft and keeper leagues have annual drafts just before the start of the NFL regular season, dynasty leagues have two very different draft processes: startup draft and rookie drafts.
The startup draft is exactly what it sounds like – the draft to start the league. This one-time draft will have every player available for teams to fill their rosters for the initial season. Startup drafts will run from 20 to 30 rounds, depending on what the league decides.
There are different ways to approach building your roster through the startup draft since there is more nuance in the aforementioned longevity of a dynasty league. Managers have to find a balance between putting together a roster that can win games while thinking in a two to three-year window how much each player will be worth. For instance, loading up on RBs like Derrick Henry or Ezekiel Elliott could prove productive in the short term, but their shelf life is limited as older players near the back end of their careers. The alternative can be said for investing in younger but unproven players that may never reach be staples in your roster.
Rookie drafts are the more unique aspect of a dynasty league. Since rosters stay with fantasy managers every year, just like the NFL, dynasty leagues will have a draft only for the incoming rookie class. Typically, these are three to four rounds depending on the league’s design and take place soon after the actual NFL draft. The rookie draft is one of the many ways to take your roster to the next level on a championship run or add to a roster that is building for the future.
One of the biggest differences in dynasty from redraft and keeper leagues is the size of the rosters that you maintain. Typically redraft and keeper leagues will have a maximum roster range from 13 to 16 spots including bench and IR. Since dynasty leagues have no limits to when players leave rosters, fantasy managers are allowed anywhere from 20 to 30 players.
A unique aspect of dynasty rosters is the taxi squad. Think of the taxi squad as the equivalent of the NFL’s practice squad. This is a small group of players – usually two or three – who aren’t expected to be included in the team’s regular selection pool, but players that the team wants to keep the rights to. The main difference in the taxi squad is that most leagues will put a cap on how many years of experience a player can have to remain stashed, and most taxi squads will lock after a certain time during the season, which prevents players from being added to it.
Even though league settings may differ, there are a few universal truths about different positions when it comes to dynasty. In redraft and keeper leagues, it’s typical for RBs to be valued the highest, but when it comes to putting together a dynasty roster, WRs have the leg up because of the wider window for elite production they offer compared to the three to five-year window most RBs can give a fantasy manager. QBs can also carry different weight in dynasty formats since a 10-year career isn’t an abnormal reality for top-tier NFL starters.
Remember how in Drumline halftime was game time?
In dynasty, when you’re not in the regular season it’s still busy.
One of the best aspects of getting to build a dynasty roster comes with offseason trading and rookie picks that are moved to either try and load up to make a run heading into the next season, or begin trying to build for the future through the draft. Due to larger rosters, most dynasty waiver wires aren’t ripe with players worth adding, so most of the action for dynasty managers will have to come via the trade market. Trades can be with current players on a roster or current/future draft picks.
How To Get Started?
For Footclan members, the best way to get started is to find an opening on the Fantasy Footballers Discord channel. Whether it’s in a totally new league or picking up an orphaned team, the best first step if you’re interested in furthering your love for fantasy football is taking the plunge and giving dynasty a shot.