What is a dynasty fantasy football league?
The difference between a dynasty league and a redraft or keeper league is that a dynasty league allows you to keep most or all of your players from year to year – sometimes indefinitely. A keeper league is similar, but generally just one or two players are retained from the previous season. A dynasty football league is forever.
Rosters are deeper, which gives owners a chance to develop younger players. Instead of 15 to 20 player rosters, rosters are more commonly 25-30 players.
Dynasty leagues require owners with a deep level of commitment due to the added strategy, more complex rules and the likelihood of delayed gratification.
What are dynasty fantasy football rules?
In season rules are pretty much the same as any other league. The difference is the draft, free agency and offseason rules. In a dynasty league, most of the best players will already be on a roster, therefore, the draft only involves players not on a roster and rookies, although some leagues will hold a separate draft for rookies only. I played in one particular dynasty league where the rookie draft was held in two parts – part one was one week before the NFL draft in April and part 2 was held one week after the NFL draft.
The draft is a free agent draft held prior to the season between June and August. This is the key opportunity for owners to pick players who may be moving into a starting role or have switched NFL teams, which could lead to more playing time, thus more fantasy points.
Starting positions involve an IDP, in addition to a team defense. An IDP is individual defensive player, such as a defensive end, linebacker or safety. Individual points are awarded for sacks, tackles, fumble recoveries and interceptions. This adds another level of strategy.
A common component of a fantasy football dynasty league is the salary cap. Even in most re-draft auction leagues, the salary cap is not utilized during the season. In a dynasty league, the salary cap may be enforced throughout the year, not just during the draft. More specifically, players can be dropped from a roster to relieve cap space, but 25% to 75% of the player’s salary may be charged to the owner, depending when the transaction was made. Each league will have a calendar stating that players dropped prior to April 1st will have no cap hit. While players dropped during the may require owners to eat 75% of the salary, for example.
Although players may be kept indefinitely, some leagues institute player contracts, which vary in length. Contracts may be 2-5 years, include a signing bonus, and entail salary penalties for early termination.
Dynasty leagues may allow trading of future draft picks. This is a lot of fun. Instead of allowing player for player trades, offering draft picks makes it even more fun to wheel and deal. This gives owners a better chance to compete in the near-term or future, depending on their time-horizon goals.
One particular rule that I like is setting aside 20% of the annual entry fee money for a dynasty champ. The dynasty champ is the team that wins the title in back to back seasons. At that point, the champ wins the side pot and rosters reset to zero, followed by a complete redraft. This helps to keep struggling owners interested because there could be a large bonus pot after several seasons of unique champions.
Pros and Cons of dynasty league fantasy football
- It increases the ownership feeling of your team. Let’s face it, when you draft a player, he’s like one of your children. You want to see him succeed. You hate to see him hurt. Personally, I even feel a little pride when one of my players conducts an interview following an outstanding game. Dynasty fantasy football leagues only increase these feelings.
- It’s fun to build a winner over the long haul. It’s more satisfying than to have a single year run to the title.
- It adds more strategy. Drafting takes a good deal of homework and there are many strategies involved. Knowing that each player will impact your team not only this year, but potentially for years to come, only adds to that strategy. Older players have less value and owners will target rookies and potential breakout candidates. Mistakes or success can affect league results for many years. Be ready to do plenty on research on rookies during the annual NFL draft.
- Owners are engaged all year long.
- Due to the tight waiver wire market, in-season trades are more common. Similar to baseball, teams outside of contention may be willing to part with a star player in an effort to rebuild for the following season.
- Less luck involved.
- A few teams may dominate for multiple years. This is great if your team is the dynasty, but if it’s another owner, life can be miserable. At least with a redraft league, everyone starts fresh every year. In a dynasty league, some owners can lose interest knowing that their team will stink for many years, which can lead to more owner turnover. Most owners can tolerate a down season, but knowing that several more years may pass before competing for a championship can be demoralizing.
- The draft is not as fun because most of the star players are already rostered. Only the rookies and non-rostered free agents can be drafted.
- The only way to change your roster is by a rookie draft, free agency or player trade.
- Dynasties requires more of the owners time.
- It’s a multi-year commitment.
How to setup a fantasy football dynasty league
- Select 7-11 friends that share the same passion for fantasy football
- Decide on league rules, particularly roster size and positions, rookie draft, free agency, salary cap, number of keepers, and trades. Type up the rules into the league bylaws.
- Choose a website that will accommodate the league rules.
- Schedule the initial draft or auction.
- Enter the rosters.
- Build a dynasty. Have fun.
Fantasy Football Dynasty Rankings
My top 15 dynasty fantasy football rankings are as follows:
- Aaron Rodgers
- Jamaal Charles
- Eddie Lacy
- Doug Martin
- Josh Gordon
- Andrew Luck
- Julio Jones
- Alshon Jefferey
- AJ Green
- Geo Bernard
- Calvin Johnson
- Keenan Allen
- Cam Newton
- Russell Wilson
- Nick Foles
It’s important to choose a website that provides salary cap management, manages contracts, carries over players and statistics between seasons, and contains features that accommodate a flexible offseason calendar. I recommend taking a look at My Fantasy League (myfantasyleague.com). MFL offers some the best flexibility in league management.
Joining an existing league can be tough. Be ready for delayed gratification. It’s better if you can compile a group of friends and start from scratch. If you can find seven to 11 similar fantasy football fanatics, I suggest giving dynasty fantasy football a try.
If you have more suggestions for dynasty fantasy football tips, please login and share them with the community. Thanks and good luck!