The 2021 Fantasy Football Strategy season is upon us. This Fantasy Football 101 Series will cover a myriad of topics to give you confidence heading into your Fantasy Football draft season. This column will be geared towards the 2021 Fantasy Football Strategy: Dynasty Leagues.
Just like any other league type, you need to know the rules and format. Never is it as important as it is in Dynasty Leagues though.
Be mindful of the number of keepers you can have. Make sure you know how the contracts or signing of players works. And be sure to track every single owner’s history of success and failure in the league.
This is particularly important if you are joining a Dynasty League that is already underway. Look at the league history and study how each team was built. You can learn so much about the members this way.
Know Your Dynasty League (Rules, Members, History)
Dig deep into the league rules and determine if there are any weird roster restrictions or if there is bonus scoring involved in your league. Make sure to take notes on how many players you can have at each position, if your league allows for a deep bench, or if there are taxi spots and injured reserve designations.
Know your opponent’s weaknesses. Does Mitch get frazzled when you talk to him when he is going to pick soon? Do your league members have terrible poker faces when someone is selected that they wanted? Write these things down and take note of any reactions you see. Especially if that person picks around where you select. It could be the “tell” you need to decipher his next position target.
Look up the league history and see if there are any drafting trends for each owner. In a few leagues, I know members that constantly choose a quarterback early whether it is the optimal choice that year. Other leagues have members in them where they select as many players as they can from their favorite team.
These are all edges that you can use to your advantage.
Unlike Redraft Leagues, focusing on the long-term upside is critical. When you make your Dynasty League Rankings list (or use our free updated rankings), they need to be ranked in terms of what your needs are.
If you are rebuilding, rank your players for their long-term upside and potential. If you need to win now and you are in your “competition window”, then be sure to adjust rankings to mirror your current goal.
Make sure you know which members have surpluses or deficits at each position. Figure out who is playing to win this season and who is potentially in a rebuilding phase. In Dynasty Leagues, you will often see three types of league members.
First, you will see competition mode. Those people are trying to win this season. Next, you will find the “trying to do it all” owners. Those players are trying to rebuild and compete at the same time. Lastly, you will find the members who are completely rebuilding from scratch.
All have their strengths and weaknesses; all can be taken advantage of as well. Figure out what category everyone falls into and pounce.
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Tier Players by Long Term Upside and Value
Just like we do in our Redraft Leagues, you need to Tier players. Just be sure to do so with your roster needs in mind.
Do not clump together a bunch of mixed values into a Tier. While they might be equal talents and provide similar stats, or at least have the probability to do so, they likely do not carry the same value.
Does one of them have long-term potential? Does one of them have more upside in the near future? Is one on the descent while the other is ascending as a player?
Likely, the player on the descent will come at a bargain for the member who needs to win now. While the player on the ascent is going to cost a bit more in a Dynasty League. Same statistics and current talent or situation, two incredibly different values.
It’s often an underutilized strategy in Dynasty Leagues. Simply pay attention to the contracts of players. For instance, you can find out a lot about Running Backs by doing so based on contract year and guaranteed money on hand.
If a player is entering their contract year as a running back, often you will see them play with a ridiculous amount of passion and energy. These guys often will not miss games for smaller issues, as their playing for their next contract. Depending on the position, sometimes it will be their last contract they ever sign.
Wide receivers on the other hand do not always hit their full potential until their second contract is signed. These guys often are rising talents and entering their third or fourth year in the NFL. Those are critical years for most wide receivers. This is when they put it all together or kind of show that they have hit their ceiling.
Players that have signed their second contract already normally do not have a hidden upside.
You cannot enter a Dynasty League draft without a game plan. Truly, it needs to be the most specific plan you have ever created. You need to identify the exact type of talent and value you are looking for depending on your need and then you must plan out how you want to acquire said players.
By creating a road map, you ensure that during the draft keep your eyes on your destination and get the results you need for success.
Are you close to winning a title or competing in your league right now? Well, then you need to draft for immediate success. This also applies to anybody starting a Dynasty league. You play to win. Draft to win this season. Worry about the rest as you go.
Are you in a rebuilding phase? Then you need to avoid players at the end of their career or coming off a substantial injury. They are either going to fade into the night or likely just carry too much long-term concern to bother rostering.
You need valuable assets and a lot of them. Draft for the future. Take home run swings and hope you land that random young Running Back or Wide Receiver that puts you in contention annually for years to come.
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