Dynasty fantasy football is just like your standard annual redraft fantasy league. Except it does not end. And you only draft veteran players once. And you roster players until you trade or release them. And the only annual draft typically involves just rookies.
So dynasty fantasy football is only nominally like your standard annual redraft fantasy football league. Let's unpack it.
What: Is Dynasty Fantasy Football?
Dynasty is a fantasy game where managers roll over rosters in infinity (or until the league decides on a natural conclusion). Rosters are typically much deeper than an average annual league, usually between 25 to 30 roster spots. Starting lineups are generally deeper, with ten starters as a standard number. Most leagues will feature a Superflex position that allows you to start any position, usually reserved for a second quarterback in lineups.
When: Is Dynasty Fantasy Football Played?
Year-round! The NFL has transitioned to a year-round sport, and dynasty fantasy leagues follow the trend. In-season refers to the time the games are occurring. In-season in dynasty typically follows the calendar of an annual redraft league, with 13 or 14 weeks of regular season play leading into playoffs that typically end Week 17.
Off-season (or non-points-scoring season in many dynasty circles) happens between the end of the playoffs and the start of the next regular season. Highlights during the off-season are NFL free agency, which plays into player values and can change the value of a dynasty roster, and the NFL draft. The NFL draft takes on increased importance with dynasty leagues. Draft picks are usually decided based on the prior year's standing, drafts are typically a linear fashion compared to a snake draft that flips order per round, and draft picks take on increased importance as trade pieces. Mirroring the NFL, a dynasty league only sees one major infusion of talent per year with the league's rookie draft.
Player valuation is vital to playing a dynasty. In the off-season, every team has an eye on the future, and hope abounds. This mindset increases the value of draft picks and young players. Most dynasty managers are simply looking to improve the future value of their roster in this timeframe. During the season, winning comes first. Veteran players provide immediate production, and the draft is on everyone's mind. Teams contending for championships will look to best position their teams for playoff success during this period.
Where: Can You Play Dynasty Fantasy Football?
FFPC, Sleeper, and MyFantasyLeague are the most popular sites that offer this format. If you are looking for a league to join, the Footballguys Shark Tank message board can help you find a league.
How: Do You Play Dynasty Fantasy Football?
The two most popular paths are immediate contention or rebuilding for the future. A startup draft occurs when starting a new league. Younger, elite-level players will go first in these drafts, building a talent base. Then it is up to the manager to choose the discount on older players or to opt for a riskier approach and bet on young talent's growing value but uncertain immediate production.
In a veteran-based, win-now strategy, the value is winning the league in the first year. This approach aims to win the league in one of the first couple of years, covering future entry fees and entering a rebuilding phase. This strategy will typically be more running back focused as the shorter shelf lives of the position serve to drive the value down.
In a youth-based approach, commonly called a productive struggle, the opposite is the standard approach. This approach embraces the risk involved in young players, who could end up not ever returning fantasy value. The idea in this approach is to finish last in the league, securing a high rookie draft pick and position for an extended window of contention in the league's future.
There is no correct choice between the two approaches. Both have positives and negatives. But it is crucial to choose a path and build towards that strategy. Each side can value players and future draft picks differently, and dynasty managers can get stuck if they try to straddle both sides.
Why: Play Dynasty Football?
It's fun! Dynasty leagues are for fantasy players looking for a more immersive experience. Decisions stick for years. Leagues work best if they are active; trading is essential in this format. If you want a lasting reward for sleepers who hit or want to experience team building through multiple years, a dynasty league is for you.
- Startup Draft: The initial draft of a new dynasty league. It can be a snake or a salary cap draft.
- Dispersal Draft: A draft occurs when multiple managers have left the league in one year, and players are redistributed among new teams.
- Rookie Draft: Annual draft where rookies enter the league
- Rookie Picks: Draft picks reserved for the rookie draft.
- Supplemental Draft: A secondary draft for leagues restricting roster movement during the year.
- Superflex: League format that allows all players in a flex position, including a second quarterback.
- Tight End Premium: Scoring setting that awards additional points for tight end receptions above other positions.
- IDP123 Scoring: Scoring system that simplifies the individual defensive player format with three positions and balanced scoring across positions.
- Empire League: League with a predetermined ending triggered by an event, such as a manager winning back-to-back championships.
- IDP League: Individual defensive players. Format uses defensive line, linebacker, defensive back at the base level and specializes up to defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback, and safety.
- Devy League: League that rosters players still in college.
- Taxi Squad: Lineup positions that allow additional players to be held based upon specific rules. Many leagues reserve these spots for rookies or players in their first two years and restrict the ability to move them into starting roster positions.
- Orphan: A leftover team after a manager has departed a league.
- Trade Calculator: Software that calculates dynasty trade values.
- Sell High: Trading a player at the peak of their value.
- Buy Low: Trading for a player at the bottom of their value.
- Hold: A player with unsettled value likely to be determined shortly.
- Draft Capital: The round of a rookie's selection in the NFL's draft.
- Rebuild: A period of accumulating young players and draft picks to attempt and win in the future.
- Contender: A team ready to contend for a championship.
- Productive Struggle: Drafting a young team in a startup draft to finish last and earn a high rookie pick the following offseason.
- Non-Points-Scoring Season: The NFL offseason.
- Consensus: The standard view on a player.
- Analytical Profile: A combination of statistics and metrics to create a data-based view of a player.
- Face Planter: A rookie who struggles in their first season.
- Running Back Plateau: The age where running back production has historically fallen off.
- Roster Clogger: A veteran player who is difficult to trade but too productive to release.
- Early Declare: A rookie who enters the NFL before their fourth season.
- In A Vacuum: The value of a player removing any scoring settings or other external factors.