Building a Fantasy Football Dynasty
I love playing fantasy football, but I prefer playing in a Dynasty League. For those of you who are not familiar with dynasty leagues, the concept is very similar to a keeper league, but instead of keeping just one, three or five players, you're able to keep all of your players. The reason I play in a dynasty league is because of the additional strategy that is involved in these types of leagues. Many dynasty league players will cite the challenge, as most dynasty leagues have very serious owners. Dynasty leagues are basically a year round league and are as close to owning an NFL franchise as most of us will ever come close to doing.
After your league holds its yearly draft you have to decide whether the players you've just drafted are more valuable than those already on your roster, because you have to cut players from your roster to get down to the roster limit prior to the first game of the season (or whenever your league has set the deadline). When making your player evaluations for the draft or roster cuts or free agent pickups, you have to be conscious of whether the decision you are making is a short-term solution or a long-term investment and then weigh the consequences of each. You do not want to fill your roster with aging veterans and cripple your team for years to come, (which you can do in a keeper league for instant success and still recover the following year with a good draft). Nor do you want to load up on first and second year players, as this would hinder you from competing in the upcoming season. You need a nice blend of players that provide the best opportunity to succeed in both the short-term and long-term. You also want to be aggressive in trading away aging players prior to any dramatic decline in their value. And you want to have a continuum of developing players on your bench who can be a bye week fill-in today and a potential future studs. It's not easy to manage a dynasty league team as there are factors, and strategies, that you do not have to consider when making decisions in a keeper or redraft league.
Even the best fantasy football players draft a bad team every now and then. While a bad draft often means a losing season in redraft leagues, owners of lousy teams can still build for the future in dynasty and keeper leagues. This article will focus on strategies of managing a dynasty league
Win Now or Win LaterThe first thing one must decide when rebuilding a dynasty team is whether to try to win now or later. If your team is loaded with promising rookies and second year players then you may want to try to package some of those guys in trades with other owners for established stars. This is one obvious way to make your team an instant contender. However, trading away your youth may leave you hurting in future years. More importantly, it is unlikely that a bad team will have enough assets to trade for a solid starting lineup. Winning now is ideal, but it is not always a possibility and owners with truly awful teams are often better served by planning for the future. Losing can be frustrating, but rebuilding a franchise usually requires patience. And just like the NFL, its hard to win year in and year out, so you have to rebuild your franchise.
Pay attention to College Football and know the top rookiesThis is important in identifying which players will help you build your team. You should pay attention to the key players, and huge playmakers each week. By doing this you will have an idea of who the top players are before the NFL draft begins in April. Before the NFL draft actually rolls around, you should already know which players you want to target in your draft (know who are the top QBs, RBs and WRs coming out). You can search the Internet for draft analysis and rumors, and get information on the top available rookies. Watch the draft or at least study post draft analysis of where the player was drafted and the impact he will have for the team that drafted him. Having all this data allows you to compare the rookies to those players currently on your roster, and this will assist you in determining which players you might want to target in the draft or attempt trades to get on your team to help build your dynasty.
When to trade themThis is the hardest thing about a dynasty league: knowing when! When do you play for this year, or when do you play for the future? If before the season you think you have a quality team, go ahead and play for now, and if midseason rolls around finding you at the bottom, well its time to build for the future! Just the same, if before the season you can tell your team will not be very competitive, well its time to trade a few older marquee players for some future younger players or draft picks so you can rebuild for the long term.
The first step to rebuilding your dynasty is deciding which players to keep and which players to let go, either by trading them or out right releasing them. It should be easy to identify the star players of your team and once you've identified them you'll need to decide what to do with them. While a guy like Fred Taylor, Corey Dillon, Tiki Barber, Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, Joe Horn, or Joey Galloway might be a nice to have this season, you could be better off trading either of them away for younger players. Why? Although they are great players they are aging players, and it's unlikely they will be productive a few years down the line when your team is competitive. It is better to trade older guys now while they still have value. Your team should have some veterans to trade and some younger guys to keep. The main point here is that you need to try to project whether or not a given player will still be able to help you to a championship in a few seasons. If the answer is yes, keep the player. If the answer is no, trade him. Remember no one likes to lose, but you are building a dynasty so that you can win consistently for several years.
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