Posted 8/23 by Mike Anderson, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
You've been playing Fantasy Football for a few years now. You're addicted,
it's OK, we all are. Up to now, you've mastered the basics of drafting a dominating
team, trash talking the other owners in your league, and collecting your prize
money. At some point, the guys in your league got their heads together and decided
that they wanted to keep players like Shawn Alexander, Randy Moss, and Peyton
Manning on their teams. At that point, your league went to a keeper format,
where you each held a handful of players from year to year. Your team stayed
strong behind the power of the great players you drafted and kept. Up until
now, you might have thought that your league had progressed as far as it could.
There is another step. Do you want your league to better reflect the NFL? Are
you ready to find the next unknown Kurt Warner and ride him to the Super Bowl
while the rest of the owners in your league wonder how you did it? Do you want
to be fully rewarded for the time and dedication you've put into your team while
other owners just ripped a cheatsheet of out a magazine on draft day? Then you're
ready to play in a Dynasty League.
Quite simply, Dynasty is keeping each and every player on your roster from
year to year. You build, well, a Dynasty as the great players on your team carry
over to the next season. You want to have a team with the likes of Dante Culpepper,
LaDainian Tomlinson, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, and Terrell Owens? You
can have all of them at the same time in a Dynasty League. It won't be easy,
not in the slightest, and it will take a few years slowly crafting your juggernaught,
but you can build the greatest Fantasy Football team the world has ever known
in this format. Dynasty goes 365 day a year. You manage your team in the off
season just like you do in the regular season.
If there is a goal in a Dynasty league, it's to win the championship two, three,
even more times in a row. You want the other owners in your league to say, "not
the Folsom Felons this week? That's a guaranteed loss".
There are two ways to set up your Dynasty League. The first is what most leagues
do; they simply convert their Keeper league and start holding every player on
the roster. This is popular because once you've owned Randy Moss for a year
or two in your keeper league, the last thing you want to do is risk giving him
up and start all over. Unfortunately, the teams in your league with poor rosters
or that are loaded with older players are at a disadvantage day one. The fair
and recommended way is to start over entirely with a new draft, or better yet
an auction. In an auction, each owner has a pre-set amount of dollars to bid
with, and every player goes to the highest bidder. You're the greatest Seahawks
fan in the world, and you just have to have Shawn Alexander? You can get him,
but it might cost you. That's the advantage of an auction. In a Dynasty league,
it's possible that you might have a player on your team for 10 or 15 years.
If you want Shawn Alexander, and you drew the #11 spot out of hat in a draft,
you might never get him on your team before he retires.
If you start over from scratch, throw every player in the NFL into the pool
of players for the draft or auction. As you draft or bid, remember that while
Priest Holmes may still be one of the best RBs in the league this season, this
might be his last year before he retires. How you draft is going to change dramatically.
Because of the number of seasons that each will play RBs like Julius Jones and
Steven Jackson are far more valuable than Tiki Barber and Priest Holmes. If
your league decides to jump to a Dynasty Format right out of last season, then
each team will be holding every player it had last year, and you will only have
a rookie/free agent draft. In this draft, every rookie and player not on a roster
at the end of last season is put in the player pool, and you run a straight
draft from worst to first. The worst team in the league last season gets the
first pick in every round of this draft. The best team or Super Bowl winner
gets the last pick in every round. Even if you start completely over this season,
this is how your annual draft will run from here on out. Don't be surprised
when the top of your rookie draft is almost entirely RBs. Almost expect that
the owners in your league will reach for RBs Frank Gore and Eric Sheldon long
before top WRs Mike Williams and Troy Williamson are off the board. RBs are
the scarcest commodity in Fantasy Football, and although he might be great down
the road, QB Aaron Rodgers isn't starting for Green Bay any time soon. As a
Dynasty Football Shark, take advantage of this, and be prepared to trade up
in the rookie draft to grab these great non-RB talents that are falling. Your
rookie draft can go for as many rounds as the guys in your league want to draft.
It won't matter in the end result. If your league's roster size is say 24 spots,
then before the first game of the season, every team in your league will need
to cut down to 24 players whether you drafted 5, 7, 12, or even 20 rounds deep
in the rookie draft. In the KBBFL, a Dynasty league I've played in since 1990,
Terrell Davis was drafted in the 9th round of the rookie draft, and went on
to start for that owner until he retired. It's better to give every owner a
chance to find greatness by drafting deep.
In a Dynasty league, the roster sizes are greatly expanded. The typical Dynasty
team has 22 or more players on the squad, many more if you also play IDP (individual
defensive players instead of just having the entire defensive team). The reason
that you need more roster space is that you will have players like QB Aaron
Rodgers where you have zero expectation that they will play this season. In
a redraft league, having a guy like Rodgers is a waste of a roster spot. He
isn't going to play. However, in a Dynasty league, Rodgers is exactly the type
of player you want on the roster. He should be the starting QB for the Packers
in the future, and he shouldn't be expensive to acquire and hold for a few years.
When he becomes the starter in Green Bay, you could have a great young QB, which
you developed on your bench. No redraft league owner in the world had Tom Brady
on their roster before he won the starting job. Let me assure you that he was
on a few Dynasty team rosters. In Dynasty, if you truly believed that Barry
Sanders was coming back, you can pick him up and carry him for the next 3 years.
It will cost you a valuable roster spot, but that is your choice to make. Rocket
Ismael was carried in one of my leagues for the two years he was in the CFL.
As long as they are not in College, and they are eligible for the NFL, they
are free game. That is what you want to accomplish. Find a virtually unknown
player with tons of potential, stash him away, and build a stronger team year
after year as the other owners in your league wonder how you do it.
You always want to be thinking about and planning for the future in a Dynasty
League. In a redraft league, securing certain situations is good strategy. You
might go after Jay Fielder and AJ Feeley so you can have the Miami QB situation.
The Vikings RBs are another example. That's really a one-year strategy to ensure
you have a starter for bye weeks and injuries. In a Dynasty league, you will
get burned chasing these combinations because the situation will change from
year to year. Most likely an NFL team will use a top pick in the draft to fill
a position of weakness like this, and next season you will be caught holding
a number of mediocre back up level players.
After converting your league, or drafting new teams from scratch, the art of
trading players is the most important skill in a Dynasty League. In this format,
a great trade can propel you into league championship after league championship.
A poor trade will haunt you for years to come. One of the most rewarding and
enjoyable aspects in all of Fantasy Football is trading to fix holes in your
roster, and create a stronger team. In your redraft league, you might have found
that getting a trade done is rather difficult. This will not be the case in
a Dynasty league. In fact, expect trading to happen at an almost feverish pace
right after the NFL season is over, right before your league's rookie draft,
and all throughout the regular season. Remember the annual rookie draft? In
that draft, you have picks just like the NFL teams, and you can trade them just
like NFL teams. Say it's week 5, and your #1 RB just went down for the season.
You have a surplus of WR talent, and you want to trade a WR for a RB. You contact
various owners in the league, and try and get a deal done. We've all heard the
dreaded "It's a close deal, I just need a little more" from other
owners. In a redraft league, with smaller rosters, you often don't have that
"little extra" to trade and still have a team with a shot at the title.
So you are stuck with giving away too much and hurting your team, or not trading
at all. It's a no win situation. In a Dynasty league, you have tons of firepower
to trade with. First, you have an expanded roster, and a number of developmental
players that you aren't using this season that can be traded away without hurting
your chances at the title. Secondly, you have draft picks in the upcoming annual
draft. The other owner needs a little more? Throw him your second round pick
in next year's draft to even out the trade. You are the greatest Raiders fan
on the planet and you HAVE to have Randy Moss in Silver and Black? Offer a WR
and your first round draft pick for the next two or three years. You will get
Moss. Build your team however you want to. It becomes fun as any player in the
league suddenly becomes tradable for the right price, and although it might
cost you dearly, you have the ability to meet that "right price" with
all the extra players and draft picks in your possession. When trading away
future draft picks, make sure that you have a plan in place if an owner trades
away a lot of their future, and decides to simply quit the league instead of
work on rebuilding. If an owner trades away a future draft pick, they must go
ahead and pay their entrance fee for that season. If you want to trade away
a 3rd round pick in 2007, then you need to pay your league dues for 2005, 06,
Dynasty takes more thought and skill as you build an unstoppable juggernaught
capable of winning year after year. If you've already mastered redrafting every
year, it's time to start building your Fantasy Football franchise.