The bulk of this summer’s dynasty projects are about to begin. With that in mind, we wanted to create a Dynasty Starter Guide for those starting new Leagues. Especially since there will be a lot of new people to the format, it is essential to provide these people with a knowledge base. It’s very different from the best ball and redraft leagues, so you’ll be drafting very differently as well.
In this guide, I’ll discuss some of the most important things to consider for those just entering the Dynasty landscape. For more experienced players, this will give you a different perspective. All the strategies may not be for you, but hopefully there is some valuable information out there for everyone. So you are on time! When you start your draft, use this information to highlight what makes this particular format unique, and have fun!
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Adapt to Every Dynasty Draft
Being adaptable is the most essential advice I can give in a dynasty startup. Every draft will be different, so it’s important not to jump into a set strategy. Indeed, each draft will be composed of different people. While some managers might want to win now, other drafts might feature owners targeting young people. No matter what happens, there will be unique ways for you to take advantage of it. Being able to adjust and maximize the value/potential of your team is essential. If done correctly, you can come out of the draft with a significant head start over the rest of your league.
For example, a draft with new managers could approximate a standard draft league. If so, take advantage of the young talent drop. You can build a contender for years, although you may have to wait a season. With more experienced managers, many will focus more on youngsters or undertake a rebuild from the start.
That’s when valuable veterans who can win you a championship this season will hit the draft boards. The same principle can also be applied in other areas. There will be drafts, you will find people give future choices cheaply. In others, you might find it could be quarterbacks dropping in a superflex format. Either way, capitalize on the valuable opportunities your league provides.
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— 14 staff members (@14P_Fantasy) February 8, 2022
Draft the best player available
I also want to sign the best player available in my ranks, regardless of position. Filling out starting rosters and drafting based on positional runs will result in missed opportunities. I did superflex drafts where my first seven picks were quarterbacks. Although this may be an extreme example, this is an easy way to accumulate assets; if people are underestimating something, be it Quarterbacks or Wide Receivers, don’t be afraid to hoard.
You can find business suitors later on and look for a higher return on the capital project you have invested. However, it is essential to note that managers will not want these players immediately; otherwise, they would have written them. Be aggressive and look for opportunities to build your starting lineups. Be patient, as this may take some time. Making the right trade is more important than a quick trade in this situation.
Look for a balanced list
The apparent mistake that many managers make in a startup is too much for older veterans or young up-and-comers. People on both sides of the spectrum are always preparing their rosters for failure. Above all, take the best player available, but you want a roster of players with varying levels of experience.
If every player you draft is in their rookie or second season, it may take a while before you compete. Many managers make this mistake because it is common to overvalue youngsters when the goal should be to win. If you’re constantly trading valuable coins for the next candidate in breakout groups, you might still find yourself in a middle team.
On the other hand, it is also not a good idea to invest capital in a significant amount of older assets. Once a player reaches a certain age (more on that below), their value will start to decline. If they suffer an injury or anything, their value will never rebound. These are what-if scenarios, and what players can do for your fantasy team is more important.
However, this puts your team in a very precarious position if these players fail to deliver the expected fantasy production. If, for example, you start a draft with Mixon, Ekeler and Kamara, it will be amazing this season. By next year though, they will be untradable. If they all start to decline, you could be in for a very long rebuild. Finding that perfect balance between players is key to creating a consistently competitive team.
Valuing youth upside down
Despite all my advice, youth must still be prioritized. I’m looking at a three-year window with most of my teams. Particularly in early drafts, I want players who will maintain or increase value throughout a three-season window. Although winning the first year is fantastic, I also want my team to improve every season.
Starting with a youthful base and adding winning elements later is a great strategy. Waivers, rookie drafts, and trades will always give you the opportunity to find valuable starters. However, having a base of young talent already will put you in a position where any small move could take you over the top.
Additionally, only three Running Backs 27 or older have finished as RB1s in the past three seasons. Only four wide receivers over that span have finished as WR1s at age 29 or older. Although every player is different, we can see a trend as players begin to decline. With my early picks, I avoid players in those age brackets for that reason. The dynasty value of these players in the community is very volatile.
A serious injury or drop in production with a 27-year-old Running Back and his Dynasty value will plummet. Young players are much more isolated, as they have longer career windows. Therefore, the upside is also considerably higher. Young prospects are more likely to start longer for your team, surpass their expected fantasy production, and increase their dynasty value compared to experienced players.
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Decide on a Plan Early in Dynasty Drafts
While staying flexible at the beginning of a project, you want to start developing a plan. The first decision should be whether your team will compete immediately or not. You don’t want to be in 12 rounds, and half your team is older veterans and the other half is rookies. While trading is certainly possible, it puts you in a tough spot. Ideally, after my first selections, I take stock.
If I have selected players with a significant advantage for the upcoming season, I will aim to win quickly. Knowing this will allow you to maximize potential veterans falling on the draft boards. If my players are younger and need more time to reach their potential, I will look to a rebuild. This allows you to focus on drafting young players on the rise and acquiring future picks.
Make every choice count
Too often, in deeper dynasty leagues, managers lose interest at the end of drafts. While 30 spins can be a grueling task, fantastic boons can be found in every spin. Since we know there will be valuable waiver takedowns even in the deeper leagues, the goal should be to identify these players ahead of time.
One of my favorite strategies is to handcuff the Running Backs into a big attack. They are one injury away from a huge role and can be immediately incorporated into your lineup. Examples of these types of players last year were Rashaad Penny and Rhamondre Stevenson. Even if they’re just an entry for you for just a week, that’s all we’re looking for deep in the drafts. Don’t be self-drafting and have a reason for making each selection.
Don’t be fooled by Dynasty Draft ADP
Dive deeper into the leaderboards as pre-made ADP lists on fantasy platforms quickly become outdated. They are also very fragile after the top 100 players or so. Don’t be afraid to “reach out” to certain players accordingly, and just avoid drafting the top names on the roster. For example, I selected Daniel Bellinger in the 20th round in two recent Dynasty Drafts, which I found to be incredible value.
He gets a lot of hype as a potential starter and it’s the kind of upside-down pick I seek so deeply in the drafts. His ADP is currently at round 21-22 on Sleeper, and I expect that to increase significantly as we enter August. Although you may disagree with my assessment of the player, the premise remains the same. You can always find an underrated player with almost any selection.
Thanks for reading, everyone! I couldn’t see everything in this article, so keep looking if you’re a beginner. Also, keep an eye out for more Dynasty Strategy articles that will continue to appear over the summer.