Dynasty fantasy football draft strategies evolve with each season, and navigating the landscape of Dynasty drafts requires a keen understanding of the details. This article delves into essential tips and tricks for fantasy gamers looking to take on a Dynasty fantasy football startup draft this offseason.
From deciphering league settings and team-building philosophies to the intricacies of player valuations and age dynamics, we explore key strategies that can shape a formidable Dynasty roster. Whether you’re a seasoned manager or new to the world of Dynasty leagues, these insights aim to equip you with the knowledge to make smart decisions and build a perennially competitive fantasy team.
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.1 – Know the League Settings
It seems simple, but fantasy managers constantly neglect to factor in every league setting in a startup draft. Is it Superflex? How many flex positions? Is the league TE Premium? Are there more obscure settings such as points per carry or points per first down? These can dramatically affect a draft, and fantasy managers never want to find out late they missed something. Consider if the league is Tight End Premium – some leagues include an extra point per reception for tight ends only.
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.2 – Competing or Rebuilding?
The biggest difference between Dynasty and redraft leagues is that not every fantasy manager is trying to win the championship in a given year in Dynasty leagues. It is common for Dynasty managers to want to draft a young team and/or acquire future draft picks. While managers don’t need to enter a draft with a set strategy, the direction of the team must be decided early on in the draft.
This is because there are a lot of players fantasy managers will want to target or avoid based on their team build. For instance, running backs are more susceptible to injuries and generally have shorter careers than other positions. As a result, managers taking a rebuilding approach will want to avoid most running backs early on in a startup draft. On the other hand, managers looking to compete right away should target productive veterans who are being discounted due to their age.
The most important thing is to stay consistent and have a clear goal in mind. Rebuilding managers should be thinking in three-year windows and focus on drafting players that will increase or maintain their fantasy value over that span. Wide receivers and quarterbacks (in Superflex) are great cornerstone assets to build on for the long term.
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.3 – Your Fantasy Football Team is just Currency
“Scoring season,” as fantasy managers call it, is only 20 weeks out of the year. This means the other 32 weeks, no points are being scored, but players are still losing or gaining value. When fantasy managers are drafting this offseason, they should be treating their fantasy football team like they would a bank account. Instead of focusing on filling out a starting lineup in a fantasy draft, managers should be accumulating the most fantasy football value possible. This means taking the best player available with every pick, regardless of position. If a drafter ends up taking nine straight receivers to begin his draft, that isn’t a problem.
There is a whole offseason to make trades to fill out your lineup for Week One, and accumulating as much capital as possible allows managers to build a better lineup. Look ahead and consider drafting players that will increase in value throughout the offseason. That includes players in more volatile situations or late-season surprises that other managers aren’t unfamiliar with.
Dynasty fantasy football is basically playing the stock market but with more gaslighting involved
— FantasyScape Podcast (@FantasyScape_) January 24, 2024
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.4 – Wide Receivers Are King
The basis of any great dynasty roster is the wide receiver position. Dynasty managers should think of running backs as a risky stock such as cryptocurrency, whereas wide receivers are a much safer asset such as Apple. Running backs are essential to winning in any fantasy football league, but fantasy managers should be careful not to spend too much draft capital on the position.
Instead, fantasy managers should target the wide receiver position early and often regardless of team build. These players can be on your dynasty roster for years to come and don’t lose value as quickly. This is the best way to build a team’s value or “currency” that we discussed above.
— Seth Diewold (@seth_diewold) January 24, 2024
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.5 – Superflex or 1QB?
Whether or not a Dynasty fantasy football draft is Superflex or 1QB will dramatically affect managers’ draft strategies as well. In 1QB formats, young and productive wide receivers are going to be the most valuable fantasy assets. However, given how quarterbacks are the highest-scoring position, they jump to the forefront in Superflex formats.
Similar to wide receivers, quarterbacks are also generally safe assets and stay productive for long periods. They have much less value in 1QB leagues, though, due to the abundance of options in a typical 12-team league. This is not the case in Superflex leagues, and it is notoriously difficult to acquire quarterbacks after the startup draft.
This is why I target quarterbacks early in Superflex leagues. Selecting two quarterbacks in my first two or three picks is a common strategy I deploy. This gives me two strong players at a position that typically has a high bust rate in the NFL Draft. This will give fantasy managers an advantage over leaguemates who will be scrambling to replace the position each year. Be warned, though; this isn’t always the case, as drafters of players like Daniel Jones and Mitchell Trubisky would attest. Be wary and don’t be afraid to target the safer option because quarterbacks with a high floor are valuable too.
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.6 – The Age Cliff
Fantasy players more accustomed to redraft leagues likely won’t be as accustomed to obsessing over a player’s age. However, in Dynasty fantasy football leagues, it is discussed to no end. Without diving into too much detail, the age apex for a running back (when they have their peak production) is less than 25 years old and around 27 for wide receivers. The “age cliff” or total fall-off in production occurs on average around a running back’s age 28 season and 29-31 for wide receivers.
While age is important in Dynasty leagues, often fantasy managers make too much of it. These are simply average ages listed above, and star players often stay productive long past their average cliff age. Great values can be found in dynasty drafts because of this, particularly early on in the offseason. Players this offseason such as Alvin Kamara, Mike Evans, and Stefon Diggs will likely be available deeper into drafts despite projecting to have very productive seasons in 2024.
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.7 – Trading
Trading in a Dynasty start-up is more difficult than it sounds, and I would advise brand new Dynasty gamers avoid it. Late-round fantasy picks are hard to value. Often, there is a player who fell to a particular spot that no one thought would be available. Fantasy managers often don’t place enough value on these later selections. It is imperative for new Dynasty gamers to get an accurate view of who will be available when acquiring or trading away upcoming picks.
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.8 – Future Rookie Picks
Many fantasy managers tend to overvalue or undervalue future rookie picks in a start-up draft. Either they are throwing their picks out the door or acquiring too many in what will be an endless rebuild. Depending on a manager’s team build, acquiring future picks can be a sound strategy. However, keep in mind that this can also prolong your rebuild because many players need time to develop.
In trade discussions, treat every future pick as a later pick (like the team is going to make the playoffs). It is very hard to judge a team before the season. Too many managers spend too much to acquire a team’s pick just for that manager to have more success than anticipated.
Nonetheless, it goes both ways. Other managers give away their future picks for far too cheap. Injuries and disappointments can derail any team, and there isn’t a worse feeling than missing the playoffs and someone else having your first-round pick. Be smart, and don’t feel pressure to deal away picks even when everyone else is in a startup draft.
You can build a dynasty fantasy football team around ONE of these 5 players:
Who do you choose?pic.twitter.com/i8RYGqM7z5
— Moody (@EricNMoody) January 24, 2024
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.9 – Handcuffing Running Backs
There are few better values than handcuff running backs at the end of a Dynasty draft. Starting running backs perennially face injury risk and shifts in depth charts. Consequently, second and third-string running backs can swiftly transform from afterthoughts to pivotal assets on a championship-winning fantasy football team.
A prime illustration of this phenomenon is Kyren Williams from the past season. Fantasy managers grabbed him off the waiver wire in numerous leagues last summer, and he would have been drafted only in the deepest leagues. Such narratives unfold each year, emphasizing the importance of late-round running back selections which hold considerably higher potential for impact than the fourth or fifth wide receiver on a team.
Dynasty Draft Strategy No.10 – Throwing ADP Out the Window
The dynasty landscape undergoes constant evolution, rendering the average draft position (ADP) on any fantasy platform outdated and insufficient in reflecting the latest information. Fantasy managers should leverage this fluidity to their advantage. Amid the pressure to adhere to players at the top of their draft board, many managers fail to take the best player available. Crafting personalized rankings or relying on trusted Dynasty rankings, such as those provided by PlayerProfiler here, are the two best strategies. It’s essential to recognize that the ADP on any fantasy website serves merely as a guide and should not be construed as accurate rankings.