One of my favorite parts of the dynasty fantasy football league community is the unique league formats. There are salary cap leagues, there are PPR, PPC, IDP, Superflex, vampire, best ball, capitalist pigs, rolling bankroll leagues, auction everything, etc. The list goes on and on.
One thing I had never heard of prior to this season, that in my opinion, takes the cake. The league I’m going to gush about for a while today is called:
Pokémon Dynasty League (Simple title, bonkers implementation)
I had seen plenty of themed leagues, mainly because MFL provides great customization. This league is definitely decked out in customizable league graphics/team graphics. See the example below:
Huge shout out to the commissioner for adding these graphics, as well as Pokémon sound effects specific to the team on each team page. This makes for a very aesthetically pleasing time on the page. Aesthetics don’t even scratch the surface of how cool this league is. Come with me on a journey through how the commissioner blended in incredible amounts of thematic Pokémon content into the league.
The Starting Requirements
2 Superflex spots(QB/RB/WR/TE)
4 Flex spots(RB/WR/TE)
You might already notice that this is a small starting lineup. This is done for a couple of reasons-
- In the Pokémon games, you can only have six total on hand at any point.
- Scoring in this league (to be covered shortly) will dictate a ton of weekly matchup-based players subbing into the lineup.
Other Roster Rules
20 total players on the active roster (The size of a PC box in the games).
Taxi squad is adorably named “Day Care” in reference to the place in the games you leave your Pokémon to be leveled up while not in your active care.
Other Theme-Specific Items
Each player has opportunities to have a random number draw, determining if their Pokémon gets to be displayed on the league page as its “Shiny” form. For those who don’t follow, there is a very small chance to catch a Pokémon with a different aesthetic than what they typically have. Example:
People were given free “Shiny Rolls” for being among the fastest startup and rookie drafters. Additionally, you can purchase “Shiny Rolls” for actual money contributed toward the “Elite Four” fund, which everyone has the chance to win.
The Elite Four
Here is a picture of the bylaws describing how this goes down.
TL: DR on this aspect. It’s a cool side pot on an alternate contest.
Each member will select a Pokémon, and Pokémon type to represent their team.
The league is broken up into seven divisions (named for the regions of the Pokémon universe) of four teams. 28 total teams, two player copies.
Now, for the main event of what makes this league the coolest.
You may be familiar with all the various Pokémon types: Grass, Fire, Water, etc.. The typing of your chosen Pokémon to represent your team determines your fantasy “defense” so to speak. Each actual NFL team is assigned a specific type so that any player you roster from the L.A. Chargers will be Electric type. In the Pokémon games, types of Pokémon have advantages over other types.
Let’s use an example. Pikachu, an Electric-type, when using his type’s moves, is “Super Effective” when attacking Squirtle (Water type). Let’s say for the purposes of this example that I had picked Squirtle to represent my team. When my opponent starts Keenan Allen (Charger; Electric type) against me in a given week, his score is doubled to reflect being “Super Effective” against my water typing.
Fire types are “Not Very Effective” against water types. When an opponent starts DeAndre Hopkins (Texans- Fire-type, some type assignments fit better than others, some were randomly assigned to assure all were represented) against me, he scores half points. If for example, my chosen Pokémon were Gengar (Ghost-type), and somebody starts N’Keal Harry (Patriots- Normal-type), Harry would score 0 points that week, because Normal is “Not Effective” against Ghost-types. In a given week, your best players could be in line to have an extra bye week of sorts if you draw a bad matchup. It adds a TON of nuance to selecting your Pokémon to represent your team, and also in roster construction. Here is the breakdown of all the NFL teams and their type associations, so you can chuckle at how some of them tie together.
Arizona Cardinals – Flying
Atlanta Falcons – Dark
Baltimore Ravens – Dark
Buffalo Bills – Grass
Carolina Panthers – Poison
Chicago Bears – Fairy
Cincinnati Bengals – Fire
Cleveland Browns – Psychic
Dallas Cowboys – Fairy
Denver Broncos – Ground
Detroit Lions – Bug
Green Bay Packers – Ice
Houston Texans – Fire
Indianapolis Colts – Ground
Jacksonville Jaguars – Poison
Kansas City Chiefs – Ghost
Los Angeles Chargers – Electric
Los Angeles Rams – Rock
Miami Dolphins – Water
Minnesota Vikings – Ice
New England Patriots – Normal
New Orleans Saints – Psychic
New York Giants – Dragon
New York Jets – Steel
Oakland Raiders – Fighting
Philadelphia Eagles – Flying
Pittsburgh Steelers – Steel
San Francisco 49ers – Rock
Seattle Seahawks – Water
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Fighting
Tennessee Titans – Electric
Washington Redskins – Ghost
(Grass, Bug, Dragon, Normal only one team)
I know some of you Pokémon fans out there are screaming at your device that you are reading this on “Take a steel Pokémon to represent your team! It’s the best defensive typing!” Well luckily for you, our commissioner team recognized this and outlawed Steel-types from representing your team, due to the number of plus matchups that would represent.
Now for some initial thoughts about how this format is different from other leagues with regard to draft stock, and roster construction. This league just completed its startup draft, so we don’t know how to really game the system moving forward. But I plan to give updates as more commonly held beliefs emerge.
How Pokémon typing affected the draft stock of certain players
The first player this affected, was Saquon Barkley. The New York Giants are Dragon-type, meaning he would only get double points in weeks facing Dragon-type Pokémon and will put up zero points in any week facing a Fairy-type Pokémon. For this reason, he was not the 1.01 overall in the startup draft. He fell to 1.04 and 1.06 (reminder, this is a two copy player league) respectively. I actually drafted him with the 1.06, but then when divisions were revealed after the midpoint of the startup draft, I was devastated to find out that a Fairy type was put in my division. This was dooming Barkley to be useless a minimum of 2 weeks out of any given year moving forward. I eventually worked a deal for Ezekiel Elliott plus a few rookie draft picks. This worked out great for me, as Zeke has better typing against my division mates and 2019 schedule of opponents overall.
Another player this affects negatively in this format is N’Keal Harry. He fell to me at the 1.13 in the rookie draft due almost entirely to his typing. He is a Normal type. Normal types do not have any matchups where they score double points, they score 50% points against Rock types, and score zero points against Ghost-types. It’s a big plus to be able to have players on your team you can sub in for double points with how small the starting lineup is.
How I chose my Pokémon to represent my team
There is a limit of two owners in the league who can choose any given type, and by the time I joined, some of my top typing choices were gone already. Some chose to be types of Pokémon who were strong against the current powerhouse NFL teams (Chiefs, Saints, etc.), or weak against teams with bad offenses (at the time, Raiders, Buccaneers, etc.). I chose to fade this a little bit, on the premise that in the NFL, the power structure changes year to year, or close to it. I didn’t want to hitch my wagon to a typing that would be good now but potentially bad in the future. I looked at the total amount of teams each type available was strong against, and weak to, and made my decision to minimize my weaknesses and maximize my strengths. I chose to be Nidoking, a Poison-type. Poison types are only weak to 2 types (Ground and Psychic), while the two types including the Colts and Saints, being weak to only 4/32 teams as opposed to other teams who are weak to 9/32 teams was preferable. Poison is also resistant to 5 total types(8 teams), meaning I have 25% of the NFL who will score half points when deployed against me.
How some owners used Pokémon typing to influence their players chosen
I went into the startup draft with the intention to grab prominent Colts and Saints players, to own a share of players who would score double against me, partially covering the weakness, so to speak. I also tried very hard to not overvalue typing during the draft, as players change teams regularly. Typing was a VERY convenient tiebreaker when stuck between 2 players of similar cost/value to my team. I didn’t end up getting any Colts or Saints on my squad, because the ranges the players went in feeling like reaches every time I would come up. Other owners took players to cover their weaknesses, certainly a valuable strategy.
I was much more inclined to take players better suited for “best ball” formats. Boom or bust players, like Tarik Cohen for example, will be prime plays in weeks where they score double points. Boom or bust turns into Superboom or safe floor in those weeks. Additionally, in weeks where Cohen and other boom or bust players are slated to score half points, you’re probably not going to end up with them in your starting lineup anyway.
Just a super awesome idea, and execution on part of the commissioner team for the league. Props to Ian @kickboxingL on twitter and to Alex @Bricky_T on twitter. I can already tell this is going to be a great league, with super interesting decisions I’ve never had to make before with my dynasty league rosters. I’m excited to see it all play out over the course of the upcoming years. It’s a super awesome group of people in the league as well. It’s already become my favorite league of any that I’m in, and I’m sure it will be hard to overtake that title moving forward.
I would like to say thank you to all who have read this far and hope you all have a “Super Effective” rest of your day.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my work. Hit me up on Twitter @DFF_Mike2 and let’s talk about why I’m probably wrong!