It’s probably a fair assumption to make that if you are reading this article, you, too, enjoy fantasy football. Perhaps you already play in dynasty leagues (thanks for reading anyway), and already know it’s the best format of fantasy football (it’s a fact, not opinion). But if you don’t, and you’ve only ever played in a typical redraft league, my hope is that by the time you are through reading this article, you’ll be joining a dynasty start-up this offseason.
What is a dynasty league?
At its most fundamental level, a dynasty league involves you drafting your fantasy team in a so-called “start-up draft” and retaining the rights to those players from one season to the next. Then, each offseason your team is replenished with rookies who enter the NFL through a rookie draft, typically 4 rounds long with the order determined in reverse order of last season’s standings. Just like the NFL, the worst team has the right to pick first and the champion picks last.
This simple concept can be manifested in an infinite number of weird and wonderful ways, including auction and salary cap leagues, contract leagues, developmental leagues (in which team owners draft college prospects and hold them until they join an NFL roster), bankroll leagues, IDP leagues, and best-ball leagues. This isn’t even an exhaustive list of the different types of dynasty leagues out there, but hopefully, you are starting to imagine the endless possibilities that the simple concept of fantasy football can be shaped into something more.
Most of us were introduced to fantasy in a regular redraft format offered by providers such as Yahoo! or ESPN. You and some buddies get together, form a league, and draft your team each year. You probably have no more than 2 minutes per pick and the entire draft might be all said and done within an hour. There’s usually some no-show scrub who auto-drafts and ends up with three kickers, 2 defenses and has the cheek to moan about it after the fact. And all of this happens after an offseason that seems to last forever…
Maybe you finished last and have been subjected to a barrage of abuse and torment by your so-called “friends” all offseason. Maybe you’re the reigning league champion and can’t wait to flex those muscles over the peasants masquerading as your competition again. Either way, no matter what happened last year, you all start again from the same place, draft new teams and embark on a quest for glory.
Is that draft enjoyable? Sure, in the moment. While it’s happening. But are you really left satisfied? Has that fantasy football-shaped hole inside you, the one that’s been empty for so long, really been filled?
Dynasty > Redraft
Redraft is a bit like a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Sure, it’s a bit tasty. You feel pretty good whilst you are eating it. But when you are done, are you really happy? Has it really left you fulfilled?
If you’re honest with yourself, the answer is probably no. It didn’t quite hit the spot.
But what if I told you it didn’t need to be this way? (I hope you read that last sentence in your best Morpheus voice)
What if there was a way to stay involved in fantasy football year round? A longer lasting and more fulfilling experience, leaving you satisfied long after you started it. A Five Guys of fantasy football, if you were.
If redraft is a McDonald’s cheeseburger, dynasty is undoubtedly a Five Guys masterpiece, and there are three elements that set the two formats apart: Drafting, trading, and the offseason.
Firstly, the start-up draft of a dynasty league is far more rewarding. Each pick has multiple layers of complexity, just like each bite in those delicious, juicy burgers. Players typically get multiple hours on the clock to make their selection or negotiate a trade with other teams.
How will you construct your roster? Will you push all the chips into the middle of the table and try to win in the first season? Or will you choose to draft younger players with potential, trading back to acquire future assets, to try and assemble a dominant roster for years to come? Everyone has their preferred strategy, but whatever the strategy you choose to take, success can only be achieved through trading.
Trading is the best part of dynasty, and the party gets started as soon as the draft begins (I’m currently in the 4th round of a start-up and have already made five trades). Also, it typically doesn’t stop until the trade deadline. There is no downtime. Unlike your typical redraft league, trading is frequent. In any given season, teams will be heading in different directions, opening up endless possibilities of trades – especially when future year rookie picks are added into the equation. Every time I successfully negotiate a trade, I get a little rush. My heart race elevates ever so slightly as I click accept. Perhaps I just acquired a player I hope will breakout next season, or sold a player at the height of his value. Maybe my team’s prospects in the current season are bleak, and I just sold a veteran for a future rookie pick. The best thing about trades in a dynasty league? You can make them nearly all year long, getting that fix whenever you need it.
Finally, when you play dynasty, there is no offseason. Sure, you might stop setting line-ups, but once the league champion has been decided, it’s time to start scouting the incoming rookie class. Maybe you didn’t have time to watch much college ball during the season? No problem. Now you have time to grind tape, read up on stats, or listen to expert opinions on podcasts. The fantasy football industry is full of up-and-coming scouts, analytics wizards, or draft strategists (including here at Dynasty Football Factory). From the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine to the NFL draft and minicamps, dynasty gives you something to be invested in throughout the entirety of the offseason. It’s surprising how much more you care about a prospects’ 3 cone drill when you have a rookie draft coming up… But even if you don’t care about rookies, your league-mates will undoubtedly fancy themselves the next great talent evaluator. Everyone has “their guys”. So that means trading. Lots, and lots of trading. Did I mention trading is a big part of dynasty?
Redraft is fun. It certainly has its place in the fantasy football landscape. But dynasty is a different beast altogether. It’s year-round, more challenging, more fun, and more rewarding.
So if you’re tired of McDonald’s, and want to give dynasty a try, hit me up on Twitter @FF_DownUnder and I will help you find a Five Guys experience you won’t regret.