There comes a time in every fantasy footballer’s fantasy career when they ask themselves the question: where do I go from here? Some like to spice up their redraft leagues by adding keepers or going to a format such as Superflex. Others try their first BestBall league or give apps such as DraftKings a shot. Then there’s a group of people who are looking for more than even what those options have to offer. Those people look into a dynasty league.
What is a Dynasty League?
Simply put, a dynasty league is forever fantasy football. It’s franchise mode on Madden in a fantasy football setting. You draft a team and you keep that team forever, with the yearly draft consisting of the incoming rookies and possibly the veterans in the free agent pool of your league. There are still waivers in a dynasty league—just like in redraft—but can be much more trade-focused than a redraft league, including trading draft picks in upcoming rookie drafts.
We’ll get into many more specifics here in this article about what to expect from a dynasty league. The description above about what a dynasty league is is simplistic, but also accurate: if you don’t like the idea of keeping the same team forever and drafting rookies, read no further. If this idea sounds interesting and you want to learn more, we’re about to get into some things that look out for as you find your first dynasty league.
Know Your League Type
In dynasty, you’ll find that there are many different types of leagues. There are fairly standard setups, with 1 QB, a couple of RBs and WRs, maybe a flex spot or two, TE, K and defense. There can be slight variations, such as perhaps not having a K or team defense. If you’ve got some experience playing redraft, a setup like this will feel familiar to you.
Superflex, for those that familiar, is a type of league where you can start a second QB in the “Superflex” spot. It doesn’t have to be a QB, but why wouldn’t you want to start a second quarterback and rack up all those extra points?
Key things to know about Superflex leagues: Quarterbacks go very early in the startup draft. If you’re used to drafting Tom Brady in the 9th round of your redraft league, that’s not going to happen here. Follow the trends in your startup draft and get your starters before all of them are gone. After the draft, QBs will have incredibly high trade value. Nobody is giving up a starting QB without getting a nice haul in return.
Next up is Tight End Premium, or TEP for short. TEP has become a popular setting to incorporate in your dynasty league, often pared with settings such as Superflex. In TEP leagues, receptions count more for TEs than they do for other types of players. For example, if a WR gets 1 point per reception, a TE might get 1.5 points per reception.
Key things to know about TEP leagues: In your startup, the top 5 Tight Ends will get drafted early and then the massive talent drop off hits. If you can get a Kelce, Andrews, Pitts, Kittle or Waller, you will be the envy of your league mates and many of them will aggressively pursue your stud in trade offers for quite some time.
IDP, or individual defensive player leagues, are another common type of dynasty league, but they aren’t for everyone. There’s a big learning curve with IDP because even as hardcore football fans, we often aren’t as knowledgeable about as many players on the other side of the ball and exactly what their stats look like. You will hear a lot of people say that they don’t enjoy IDP just because it can be a lot. In this writer’s opinion, I often suggest that those new to dynasty don’t try IDP right out of the gate, but rather wait until they have a year or two of dynasty under their belts and are looking to add a little more.
Key things to know about IDP: Pay close attention to the scoring and then compare it to other IDP leagues. If the scoring is low, defensive players might not be worth as much points wise as their offensive counterparts. If the scoring is fairly standard, you’ll find that sacks, tackles and interceptions can bring you a ton of points and you can strategize accordingly.
The last league type I want to look at is salary cap leagues. This is the hardest of all, but it’s the closest thing most of us will ever get to being an actual NFL GM. To be blunt, salary cap leagues require the most strategy. You can’t go out and draft/trade for all the studs you can dream of rostering, because those studs have huge contracts. You’re balling on a budget and have to plan accordingly.
Key things to know about salary cap leagues: Understand the contracts and prepare a budget. Probably not the best league type for a first timer but rather something to try once you’re looking to add to your dynasty portfolio.
Your Own Personal Strategy
Two things I commonly see from new to dynasty players is either a) going too youth heavy in the startup or b) paying no attention to age and drafting a team that is full of players you won’t have in 2-3 years. To be clear, there’s nothing inherently wrong with either of those scenarios. Drafting a really young team in the startup draft means you’ll have those players for a long time while drafting a team full of vets means you’re trying to win now. But when you’re in a dynasty league, we must think about today, tomorrow, and the day after.
Another crucial element to consider in your own personal strategy for the startup draft is if you targeting specific positions early or going best player available? Depending on the league type, you might want to make sure you do target certain positions early. This is all completely up to you, and while there are many different types of strategies out there, I’m just exploring those in their first dynasty league to have one for the purpose of this particular article.
How’s the Commish/Know the League
Odds are, you may not personally know your first dynasty league Commish, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions. Do they Commish any other leagues? How long have those leagues been together? How many people in those leagues are originals and how many have joined at some point since the league started?
A Commish doesn’t have to be flawless—it’s a hard job after all—but a bad Commish can kill a league. Bylaws are crucial. Has the Commish written out bylaws? Do you know if you have to cut players at the end of the season, if there’s any trade deadlines or how far in advance can you trade rookie picks? A good Commish will have answers to these questions before a league starts. As a general rule, the more detail the better.
Are you still interested in joining your first dynasty league after reading this? I hope you are. Dynasty is my preferred form of fantasy football these days. There’s really nothing like building a team for years and years and trying to win year after year with that team. It’s a satisfaction I don’t get staring over each year.
Hopefully this has provided some insight into things you need to know before joining your first dynasty league. Have any specific questions or things you would like to see me go more in depth about? Try me a line in the comments and we’ll make it happen!