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If you primarily play in redraft leagues, dynasty may be a foreign concept to you. You may have heard of the format from either content here at Footballguys or league-mates, but you have been hesitant to join a league. However, if you are ready to take the next step in your fantasy football journey, you should join a dynasty league this off-season. This article will guide you on how to approach that journey.
What is Dynasty League?
In a dynasty fantasy football league, you keep all your players yearly while being the de facto general manager over your fake football team. If injuries derail your redraft league, it makes for a lifeless season followed by inevitable defeat. If injuries derail your dynasty team, you can make moves like a real-life general manager to put yourself in contention to compete or tank and start rebuilding. Every decision you make can affect the fortune of your teams and add to the excitement of the league.
How to Find a League
Finding the right league to play in is the most essential part of the process. In dynasty, you want to find managers committed to the league who will stick around for multiple years, Something that has plagued the format recently. You can find and join a dynasty league in three ways.
1. Join a Startup League
If you are new to the format, I recommend you join a league with other managers who are also new to the format. I always advocate if you recruit friends, family, and other redraft managers whom you have played with for a long time, that is the best option for joining a league. That way, you learn the format together and are all at the same skill level, especially in the initial startup draft. If there are not enough managers for a complete startup, you can always find a league thats starting on various message boards. Sleeper, DLF, Footballguys, and League Safe will always have forums where managers can go and look for any startups occurring. I have linked the appropriate forums. If you go this route, please vet the commissioner and only join a league where the money is collected on Leaguesafe. Do not join that league if the commissioner wants to collect money elsewhere.
2. Take Over an Orphan
One thing that happens to dynasty leagues is managers leave, leaving an open team. There could be an opportunity for you to jump right into the league and take over a team that poses a unique challenge for you as a manager. You will likely be rebuilding a team that has been struggling, which could be problematic. This is a challenging way to join a dynasty league and could make you lose interest in the format if you take a bad team.
3. Start Your Own Dynasty League
Lastly, if you can't quite find the right league or you would like to be a commissioner, you could start your own league. Here are sample bylaws for you to use and make a copy of. Feel free to edit them to suit best what kind of league you are creating, but these are the same bylaws I use for all the leagues I commish.
Settings for Your Own Dynasty League
Whether you decide to start your own league or join a startup, there are some decisions you will need to make regarding settings in your leagues. Let's dive into the specifics:
1QB Dynasty Leagues
These leagues are what I refer to as dynasty with training wheels. The usual starting positions are: (1QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 3 Flex, 1TE). With these positions and starting only one quarterback, it closely mirrors what redraft players are used to in regular redraft leagues. Since you only start one quarterback, the position isn't overvalued like in Superflex leagues, where you can start up to two quarterbacks. In 1QB leagues, your startup drafts will most closely reflect drafts you are accustomed to in redraft leagues outside the adjustments for age.
Superflex Dynasty Leagues
These leagues are considered standard for dynasty leagues; the usual starting positions are: (1QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 3 Flex, 1 SF). The SF spot is usually a quarterback, but any position can be played in that spot. The most challenging part of this format is understanding quarterback values, primarily if you aren’t used to superflex leagues. My advice is that having two elite quarterback options is ideal. Using our Footballguys rankings will help guide your draft selections, and be sure to plug in the league dominator in your draft.
Superflex/TE Premium Leagues
These leagues have the same format as above, except the tight end position gets a scoring bump. They sometimes receive 1.50 points per catch or as many as 2 points per catch. The idea behind this scoring format is to balance the league regarding the quarterback and tight end positions. It also helps balance the initial startup because you can find value in multiple positions, including quarterback.
IDP Dynasty Leagues
These leagues include one of the following offensive settings above, and they add in Individual Defensive Players replacing your traditional defenses. If you have never heard of IDP, check out our Footballguys IDP articles. If you want a more immersive format that opens up both sides of the ball, IDP could be for you. Here are sample bylaws you can use as a framework courtesy of Kraig Rueth, the IDP guru at Roto Heat Fantasy.
If you are a college football fan or want to add a little extra to your leagues, you could add a devy element to your dynasty leagues. Devy is short for developmental in that you will select college players who are not eligible for the draft in a separate draft outside the initial startup. These leagues can go as deep or as shallow as you want, but they can be fun. After drafting these college players, they become tradeable assets, which means there can be a ton of strategy for roster construction. If you are interested in this league format, I have created sample bylaws you can find here, and here is a link to my YouTube channel where I lay it out in much more detail.
Startup Draft Options
When to start your dynasty league is another critical aspect of the league. If you start your league before the NFL draft, you have a few options available. One option is to include all rookies in your startup from the start. For example, you make Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr. draftable assets. Those players will be added to the database in some host platforms by late January. You can use any other player as a placeholder if unavailable. Most leagues will use Kickers as placeholders. A second option is to make the draft picks themselves a draftable asset, for example, the 1.01, 1.02, etc…. As the NFL draft process changes, including the actual picks rather than the players is safer. If you do that, you can use the same type of placeholder as above for picks throughout the startup draft. You would then hold your league’s rookie draft after the NFL draft.
The best option for any new startup is to wait until after the draft in April and include every player in the startup. That way, you know where the rookies have landed and what their draft capital/roles could be at the NFL level. It’s also after the NFL free agency period; most questions have been answered regarding NFL rosters. This is the best way to start a dynasty league to make the playing field as fair as possible.
After selecting when you will draft, you'll need to determine what draft position everyone gets. The best way to have managers select their draft position is to enter each team in this generator. After each team gets a position, you can either use those positions or have the manager who finishes first pick what position he wants to draft from. We call this the Kentucky Derby Style draft positions. After the first team picks, each subsequent team picks where they want to draft. This adds a layer of strategy and also gives managers a say in what area of the draft they want to draft from. For example, someone who gets the first pick on the generator may want the 1.12 because they prefer that draft spot.
Annual Rookie Draft
After the initial startup, you will then have a rookie draft after every season. You will need to decide if you have that draft before the actual NFL draft or after the Draft. I recommend holding your rookie draft after the NFL draft so that you know what prospects' draft capital is and their landing spots, especially if this is your first dynasty league. However, after gaining experience in the format, it is always fun to see how great your scouting ability is and host your rookie draft before the NFL draft. It adds a fun wrinkle to your leagues.
The lifeline of any dynasty league is trading. Unlike redraft, where you might have a few trades throughout the season, you should see multiple trades throughout the entirety of the season. A healthy league will have a ton of activity, but it's essential to join a league that clearly states in the bylaws what their approval process is. If all trades require a commissioner's approval, ensure it’s in the bylaws. The best leagues allow trades to go through immediately, but regardless of your choice, make sure they include these details in the bylaws.
In most leagues, you must decide how many years of future picks managers can trade. If you are just starting a league, limit the number of years to just one. For example, if they start a league this year, they can only move 2025 picks. This is incredibly important when dealing with people possibly leaving your leagues. Some managers will trade all their future draft capital in hopes of winning a league, only to lose in the playoffs and then leave the league. Minimizing the capital they can move will make filling the orphaned teams easier, keeping the league from folding. Another way to mitigate these problems is to require any manager who moves one of their picks to pay the following season's dues. That way, you can fill their roster, and whoever takes over their team gets one year free.
As a league, you must decide whether you will have a trade deadline. Most league's deadlines will kick in the week before the playoffs. I prefer no trade deadlines because it allow rebuilding teams to capitalize on player value spikes in the playoffs. Regardless of your decision, ensure it is written in the bylaws.
The best way to run waivers in your league is by utilizing the blind bid option. Every member of your league is allocated a set number of funds, which is the amount you get for the entire season. You can then make blind bids on those players throughout the year. Blind Bid money can also be a tradeable asset, allowing another layer to roster-building strategies.
As I’ve made aware throughout this article, ensuring you have committed managers in your league is essential. One way to ensure the commitment is to require every manager to pay two years' dues upfront before you start drafting in the startup.
Picking a league host is also important. Not every site, like ESPN, allows you to host dynasty leagues. My top picks are listed from top to bottom below.
If you want the easiest way to set up a dynasty league, it is on Sleeper. It has its own app and is user-friendly. The only drawback is its desktop functionality could be better.
Fantrax allows for customizable leagues and has an app. If you are looking for a desktop option, Fantrax is your best option.
Fleaflicker allows you to customize your leagues and is suitable for desktops.
MyFantasyLeague used to be the premier option for fantasy managers for dynasty leagues due to its full customization options. However, there hasn't been much development here lately, and lately, the dynasty community has trended to other options.
How to Build Your Dynasty
Now that you have the framework to either start a dynasty league or join one, you must know how to build your rosters. We are striving to provide you with the resources to do just that here at the site. We aim to guide you in building one of the best teams in your dynasty league. Here are some of my favorite resources and analysts to get you started:
- Footballguys Dynasty Show
- Dynasty Rankings
- Dynasty Trade Value Chart
- Adam Harstad
- Jeff Bell
- Christian Williams
- Chad Parsons
- Kevin Coleman
- Jordan McNamara
- Sigmund Bloom
- Jeff Tefertiller
- Darin Tietgen
- Matt Waldman
- Corey Spala
- Dave Kluge
- Zareh Kantzabedian
As always, I am always available to help out with your dynasty questions or league questions. Good luck on your dynasty journey.
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