For those who have chosen to embark on the invigorating journey of Dynasty League participation & franchise ownership the road can be a treacherous one. However, unlike seasonal or keeper leagues, patience & vigilance are part of a mantra that will serve you well. Therefore, in order to keep the thrill of the hunt in pursuit of that elusive league championship a continuous one, it is paramount to have created a pseudo-formulaic plan of attack that you adhere to.
Make no mistake, for the attentive Dynasty owner this experience is much like running your own business. In most cases, and just like in business, equity, emotion and the devilish dollar tops the list of areas that warrant top-end consideration.
This is the business you have chosen. The key now is to run your business with maximum efficiency & glorify your accomplishments through competitive consistency. For this exercise, we will be reviewing the ins and outs of navigating the turbulent waters of the Dynasty experience, through a vehicle I call, “The Action Calendar.”
Much like a business, whereas the fiscal year is divided into four quarters, the Dynasty Action Calendar also breaks down in a similar way. Let’s begin…
Setting the Stage
Your leagues rookie draft has ended or perhaps it’s a start-up Dynasty League, in which your inaugural draft has ended and now you are ready to begin your Dynasty dictatorship.
Q1 – Encompasses the first 4 weeks of the NFL season
It is during this first 4 weeks that you will not only be evaluating your invested equity of drafted players, but also the players on other teams, including hot button free agent players, rookies & veterans alike, which were left undrafted and are marinating in free agency. So begin making a list of players of interest (much like when NFL teams bring in players to try out for their emergency list). Pay less attention to the big names and more to the lesser known players and/or the players you can add for free or on the cheap. Late round rookie picks are cheap offerings to add a player you have identified as a hot button target, with upside. Know who is on who’s practice squad and keep tabs on the SPARQ freaks. It’s is equally important to gain an understanding of all players NFL contract situations. This will assist you during your Buy/Sell process. Finally, low-end incremental depth moves are advisable. Remember to always be building production depth or untapped youthful upside.
Of course we all want to “win” but it is important to remember that in Dynasty, its not a sprint but a slow incremental crawl towards sustainable success that should guide you. Therefore, do not let emotions dictate your dictatorship. That will be your first mistake. Become a master of your emotional intelligence and you will have won the hardest battle of all. Never sell equity for less than your investment based on injury, bye-weeks or “he’s on my favorite team” etc. The first 4 weeks are intended for steady evaluation. Be sure to lock up premium RB handcuffs (see my Handcuff post for more information) as early as possible so you have one less worry should injury to your RB1 occur.
Conclusion: Q1 is purposed for the philosophy of “steady as she goes”.
Q2 – Weeks 5-8 of the NFL season
You now have a better read on where your team sits. You have identified your strengths, weaknesses and can see where your competition is headed and whom of their players you have kept a watchful eye on for possible trade considerations. You have also gained a greater understanding of your hot button free agents and how they are performing. Perhaps you have even added a couple by this time. Continue your waiver wire warrior ways by scouring for player’s possibly elevating in their situation & continue to focus on cuffing your RB’s with production premiums.
Roster restrictions aside, make sure to not allow yourself to “jump ship” from an equity player too soon, especially in a Dynasty format. Trade negotiations (See my Trade Master article for more information) are a vital weapon in your arsenal. One mans trash is another mans treasure. Always keep that in mind and never underestimate/under sell the value of a player simply because they are not performing up to immediate expectations.
Conclusion: Q2 is the time to sharpen your claws in preparation for the deadly pounce as you begin to bridge the mid-way point of the season.
Q3 – Weeks 9-12 of the NFL season
Your trade deadline is fast approaching and the pecking order of the league has likely fleshed itself out for the most part. Therefore, this is the time to set the trap, as you either begin your quest for a championship or begin building for the future by getting a pirate’s bounty for some of your expendable veterans. However, when making trade offers it is paramount to find the right type of trade partner. Always ask for what you want and never do the negotiating for the other owner by only sending out an offer you think he will take. This is a fast way to lose your equity and negate the building or roster insulation process.
Conclusion: Q3 is intended to empower the savvy Dynasty owner towards becoming aggressive, in either acquiring production depth or difference making talent for the playoff push, by allowing yourselves to detach from the emotional investment and reap the benefits of selling off all expendable veterans to contenders for future considerations and youthful players with high upside.
Q4 – Weeks 13-16 of the NFL season
The fantasy playoffs, for most leagues, begin in week 14 of the NFL season and although the trade deadline has since passed the waiver wire is still alive. For those teams out of contention this is the best time to purge your “end of the bench” production hopefuls, which you couldn’t sell and start acquiring the upside youth of next season, who are primed for an uptick in production. Having remained steadfast in your pursuit of knowledge, throughout the season, by tracking practice squads, player contracts and perhaps even the forgotten, suspended or disenfranchised players, you are ready to strike and start snatching these possible diamonds off the wire.
For the contenders, its all about the Benjamin’s now. Although, the hope is you haven’t sold your Dynasty soul for the chance at the ‘Ship and are littered with veterans that can’t be easily parlayed at seasons end, there is a remedy. In the event this describes your team then congratulations! The fantasy season can be a fickle beast and you have proven yourself worthy of the challenge. Here’s to you and hoping you can take home the top prize! With that said, it is important to keep in mind that it will be a busy off-season, as you work your way either back into the draft or through navigating all sell high opportunities. Hopefully you can identify a lesser informed Dynasty owner who maybe hoping to capture lightening in a bottle.
Conclusion: Q4 is a time when the contenders are playing for the now, while the non-contenders are playing for the future. The point being is that you are all still playing for something. No Retreat, No Surrender.
The regular season dynasty calendar can be too much for some and still not enough for the dynasty addict. In order to keep your wits about you and focused on a directive, these simple guidelines can be of great assistance. There are no guarantees or assurances in dynasty/fantasy football and there is very little power, we as owners, have at all. In fact, the only thing in dynasty/fantasy football that you can control are your own actions, and by extension, our own emotions. Therefore, and its worth stating again, become a master of your emotional intelligence and choose wisely the path you take, while considering all variables, in making those decisions. If not, you increase the likihood of becoming a franchise in constant rebuild mode, while remaining constantly frustrated.
Thanks for reading. You can find me on Twitter @DynastyFFactory.