In nature, the concept of symbiosis is when two organisms work together for their mutual benefit. This is different from parasitism where one organism is harmed while the other is helped. An example of parasitism is a tick on a dog. An example of symbiosis is the lichen. Cyanobacteria (algae) live in harmony with a fungus. The fungus receives some of the nutrients the algae makes during photosynthesis while protecting said algae and giving it an anchor. They both benefit from living together, hence symbiotic.
Why the science lesson in a fantasy football article? Because the concept of symbiosis abounds in the fantasy football ecosystem. There are obvious examples like wide receivers and quarterbacks. There are also concepts we see play out on the field every game, like the running game setting up play action. Even players of the same position can have a symbiotic relationship; two wide receivers can benefit from one another if their different roles in an offense can draw defenders from each other. In a much broader sense, different fantasy formats can also be symbiotic. Two such formats which outwardly have only a little in common are in fact quite symbiotic: redraft or seasonal leagues and dynasty leagues.
Dynasty Helps You Play Redraft: The Cyanobacteria
There is a strong chance that if you play dynasty your career started with a redraft league. If you are anything like me, you played for a few years, had some fun and maybe some success, became more involved in the fantasy ecosystem, and before you knew it, you were recording the combine and watching every pick of the NFL Draft. If that or something similar is true, you probably noticed some benefits of playing in dynasty that helped in redraft.
Everyone playing fantasy knew that Saquon Barkley was going to be great, or at least have that opportunity when he was drafted second overall by the Giants in last year. However, it was the savvy dynasty player that picked Nick Chubb later and stashed him for a few weeks until he exploded. Because dynasty players love the rookie draft and the prep for it, we pay more attention to college football, the combine, and especially landing spot and fit during the NFL Draft. This gives those dynasty players an edge at those potential league-winning breakout rookies.
Get Locked In
If you are a dynasty league-er and reading an article such as this in the middle of March, I’m going to assume you are pretty locked into what is going on in the NFL. Dynasty fantasy football players frequently say, “There is no offseason.” We say this because it’s true. After football is over, there are research and scouting, the combine, the NFL Draft, start-up drafts, rookie drafts, and, of course, trade negotiations to fill in the downtime. Because of this, let’s be polite and call it “passion,” the typical dynasty player pays tons of attention to all the moves that are made around the league all offseason. They follow coaching changes because these moves can have major implications for fantasy players. They examine free agency acquisitions and trades for the same reasons. And they discuss (read: argue) with other fantasy gamers about what will happen next year, what rookies will/should go where, and how to value trades. To run a successful dynasty team, players have to be locked into these different aspects and more. All of this knowledge helps you form opinions with which you can arm yourself going into your seasonal league’s draft. And like the show said, “Knowledge is power!”
Quick, how many of your redraft leagues have twenty or more bench spots? I’m guessing none, but most dynasty leagues have bench spots for days. While this can make for a tedious dynasty startup draft, it does force you to do something that is important for redraft leagues: have an opinion on every player. From the 1.01 to the 29.12, a dynasty league-er has to know what players they can’t live without, which ones they kind of want, and which ones they want to avoid. A dynasty player can take that knowledge and apply it to the later rounds in seasonal drafts. Which later-round guys have your confidence? Who do you feel strongly will break out? Who isn’t worth grabbing even late? Jot some of those names down and bring them to the draft for a late round leg up.
Thanks, as always, for reading. I will send out the follow up to this article about how playing in redraft leagues helps you as a dynasty player shortly. If you have anything to add or want to generally discuss fantasy football, you can find me on Twitter @DFF_sbt1030. Thanks again!