I love playing fantasy football, but I prefer playing dynasty fantasy football. For those of you who are not familiar with dynasty leagues, the concept is very similar to a keeper league, but instead of keeping just one, three, or five players, you’re able to keep all of your players. The reason I play in a dynasty league is because of the additional strategy that is involved in these types of leagues. Many dynasty league players will cite the challenge, as most dynasty leagues have very serious owners. Dynasty leagues are basically a year-round league and are as close to owning an NFL franchise as most of us will ever come close to doing.
After your league holds its yearly draft you have to decide whether the players you’ve just drafted are more valuable than those already on your roster because you have to cut players from your roster to get down to the roster limit prior to the first game of the season (or whenever your league has set the deadline). When making your player evaluations for the draft or roster cuts or free agent pickups, you have to be conscious of whether the decision you are making is a short-term solution or a long-term investment and then weigh the consequences of each. You do not want to fill your roster with aging veterans and cripple your team for years to come, (which you can do in a keeper league for instant success and still recover the following year with a good draft). Nor do you want to load up on first and second-year players, as this would hinder you from competing in the upcoming season. You need a nice blend of players that provide the best opportunity to succeed in both the short-term and long-term. You also want to be aggressive in trading away aging players prior to any dramatic decline in their value. And you want to have a continuum of developing players on your bench who can be a bye week fill-in today and potential future studs. It’s not easy to manage a dynasty league team as there are factors, and strategies, that you do not have to consider when making decisions in a keeper or redraft league.
Even the best fantasy football players draft a bad team every now and then. While a bad draft often means a losing season in redraft leagues, owners of lousy teams can still build for the future in dynasty and keeper leagues. This article will focus on strategies for managing a dynasty league
WIN NOW OR WIN LATER
The first thing one must decide when rebuilding a dynasty team is whether to try to win now or later. If your team is loaded with promising rookies and second-year players then you may want to try to package some of those guys in trades with other owners for established stars. This is one obvious way to make your team an instant contender. However, trading away your youth may leave you hurting in future years. More importantly, it is unlikely that a bad team will have enough assets to trade for a solid starting lineup. Winning now is ideal, but it is not always a possibility and owners with truly awful teams are often better served by planning for the future. Losing can be frustrating, but rebuilding a franchise usually requires patience. And just like the NFL, it’s hard to win year in and year out, so you have to rebuild your franchise.
PAY ATTENTION TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND KNOW THE TOP ROOKIES
This is important in identifying which players will help you build your team. You should pay attention to the key players, and huge playmakers each week. By doing this you will have an idea of who the top players are before the NFL draft begins in April. Before the NFL draft actually rolls around, you should already know which players you want to target in your draft (know who are the top QBs, RBs, and WRs coming out). You can search the Internet for draft analysis and rumors, and get information on the top available rookies. Watch the draft or at least study post-draft analysis of where the player was drafted and the impact he will have on the team that drafted him. Having all this data allows you to compare the rookies to those players currently on your roster, and this will assist you in determining which players you might want to target in the draft or attempt trades to get on your team to help build your dynasty.
WHEN TO TRADE THEM
This is the hardest thing about a dynasty league: knowing when! When do you play for this year, or when do you play for the future? If before the season you think you have a quality team, go ahead and play for now, and if midseason rolls around finding you at the bottom, well it’s time to build for the future! Just the same, if before the season you can tell your team will not be very competitive, well it’s time to trade a few older marquee players for some future younger players or draft picks so you can rebuild for the long term.
The first step to rebuilding your dynasty is deciding which players to keep and which players to let go, either by trading them or outright releasing them. It should be easy to identify the star players of your team and once you’ve identified them you’ll need to decide what to do with them. While a guy like Tom Brady, Ezekiel Elliott, Keenan Allen, or Zach Ertz might be nice to have this season, you could be better off trading either of them away for younger players. Why? Although they are great players they are aging players, and it’s unlikely they will be producing a few years down the line when your team is competitive. It is better to trade older guys now while they still have value. Your team should have some veterans to trade and some younger guys to keep. The main point here is that you need to try to project whether or not a given player will still be able to help you to a championship in a few seasons. If the answer is yes, keep the player. If the answer is no, trade him. Remember no one likes to lose, but you are building a dynasty so that you can win consistently for several years.
WHEN TO WAIVE HIM
You have to know when a player will never become that marquee player you had envisioned when you acquired him. This is the time to try to move him via trade or even waive him. You only want players on your roster who are either already one of those marquee players or has the potential to be one down the road. Use this information from this site, twitter, and others, to help you to determine whether the players may never break out. These players may have trade value to the other owners in your league, or you may just have to cut him because he never lived up to the potential you envisioned (maybe it was injuries, coaching philosophy change on the team that drafted him, or whatever). In building a dynasty league team you need your roster spots to be filled with a nice blend of star players that produce, mixed in with backups that can fill spots on bye weeks or injuries, and a few rookies for the future, as this will provide the best opportunity for your team to succeed now and in the future.
Most drafts in a dynasty league are only a few rounds since each team already has a complete roster and mainly are only drafting rookies (or maybe a few breakout players from the previous season that peaked after the waiver wire pickup deadline). The only great thing about having a bad team in a dynasty league is that you should get one of the top picks in the draft for the next season. Teams in rebuilding mode should probably plan to choose an RB early in the draft because good RB prospects are much more difficult to obtain than good WR prospects. Each draft class produces several fantasy studs and it would be a mistake to kill your chances at getting one of the top rookies that can help your team for several years.
By having one of the top picks, it’s almost guaranteed that you will be approached by a few of the other owners with a trade offer. Let everyone know you are open to offers, sometimes you will get an offer of a marquee player and another pick to move down in the draft (similar to what the NFL teams do). Weigh each offer, and if one is appealing and can help you—take it! If not, stick with taking a stud RB that will carry your team to several championships in the coming years. Getting numerous draft picks can also help you rebuild, so be active in trading. Offer an older name veteran for another first-round pick to one of the better teams that only needs a third RB or third WR. Remember rebuilding takes time and depending on how bad your team is, then it could take a few years.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
A dynasty team is not like teams in other leagues, because building a winner requires patience. Don’t be discouraged if your team takes a while to get going because it will eventually come together as long as you keep plugging along, adding good prospects, making good trades, and doing your homework. Some fantasy players will almost certainly get an urge to trade away their youngsters for current stars if they see their teams stumble out of the gates, but it’s important to resist this temptation unless you are certain that you can get enough players to contend immediately. Just because a stud player or two does not pan out or is injured does not indicate that it is time for wholesale changes. You have to remember that these are the players you will have to play with next year too. An injured or underperforming player one season still has fantasy value for the following seasons. It takes a couple of years for your draft picks to mature. It takes a couple of years to build your franchise to contend this year and next. Be patient as it takes time to build a dynasty league team, because as the old saying goes “Rome was not built in a day”.
As you might have figured out dynasty league fantasy football is a year-round activity, more so than redraft and keeper leagues. The leagues are for serious owners, the competition is more fierce, the strategy is more involved, and a mistake can cost you several years. You can be on top one year and at the bottom the next year. And that is why I enjoy dynasty leagues more than other types of leagues. It will take time to wheel and deal to acquire some quality players, and it takes time for your draft picks to mature. It might even take a couple of years to build your franchise to contend year to year. But don’t lose your patience. No one likes to lose in fantasy football, but dynasty leagues are for the long haul. With patience, smart trading, good drafting, and reading FulltimeFantasy, you can turn your last-place team into a powerhouse in just a season or two, and a consistent winner from year to year!
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