Dynasty Football Draft Strategy

by Taylor Michel
Dynasty Football Draft Strategy

Dynasty leagues have surged in popularity among fantasy football enthusiasts, offering numerous startup opportunities each year. In a dynasty startup, you step into the role of an NFL GM, tasked with building a team geared for long-term success, competing with the same roster over multiple seasons. Having the right Draft Strategy in your Dynasty Football league is key to success.

Dynasty leagues present a more complex and engaging challenge compared to redraft leagues, as the action never truly stops. You'll find yourself scouting future prospects, analyzing advanced statistics, and executing strategic trades. This format not only deepens your knowledge of the game but also increases your investment in the sport.

There are various ways to build your initial roster. Let's get into the Dynasty Football Draft Strategy. Of course, you should also check out our Dynasty Rankings to get a leg up.

Dynasty Football Draft Strategy

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Step 1: Know Your League Settings

It may sound obvious, but having a deep understanding of your specific league settings is going to majorly impact the way in which you should be drafting. Is it Superflex or single QB? Is there a point premium for tight-end receptions? Do running backs get an added bonus for every carry they get? Do not go into your startup draft without knowing everything you need to about your league's settings.
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Step 2: Draft for Value

We all have players we are higher or lower on, and it is very tempting to reach for "your guys" in any fantasy football draft, but dynasty football draft strategies are different. You want to study the dynasty market prior to your draft. Understand how the community at large values certain players and establish your own set of rankings by combining this knowledge with your own player evaluation.

A big mistake that is made in nearly every startup draft is: "Okay, I have drafted two wide receivers in a row so I should go reach for this running back because I need one desperately." Will you be able to compete if you do this? Yes, but the purpose of a start up draft is to extract as much value as you can no matter what your team needs may be. You will always be able to trade your assets for needs after the draft.
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Step 3: Competing or Rebuilding

Perhaps the biggest difference between a normal Redraft league and a Dynasty league is that not every team is trying to win the championship each year. Some leagues will have 5-6 real contending teams while the rest of the league is "rebuilding."

The rebuilders will probably trade away multiple startup picks in order to acquire future rookie picks, and will draft young players who may not be fully proven in the NFL just yet. These teams are making it a priority to put their teams in a position to compete next year and beyond and not really worrying about this year.

Contenders are watching the rebuilders take all the young players off the board and just letting veterans fall in their laps each round with the goal to compete for a title right away.

The rebuilders and contenders should really start to become obvious in the early rounds of your start up draft, but you'll want to go into your draft with both a rebuilding strategy and contending strategy if you want to really have your best draft possible.

If 9 out of 12 teams go into the startup with the mindset that they want to rebuild then it will be much tougher to accomplish your goal of squeezing out the value you want to from the draft because 8 other managers are trying to employ the same exact strategy that you are. Zig when everyone else is zagging and you'll find a little more success.
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Step 4: Trading

Trading during a dynasty startup can get a little wild, and I typically recommend that first time dynasty gamers avoid any trading in the startup. However, if you are maybe headed into your second or third startup and want to experiment I will briefly touch on a few strategies that are proven.

  • If you are in a league with deep rosters (Superflex, 3WR, 3FLEX) trading down is king. By trading down you can acquire more draft capital in the startup which will give you a deeper team. In a league where you are starting 11-12 guys every week, it can be a huge advantage to have some quality options to play in the FLEX.
  • You can also trade down in order to acquire future rookie picks if you are committing to a rebuild.
  • In leagues where you are starting 8-9 players each week trading up becomes a good option. Having as many top-notch stars as you can in these leagues trumps depth so sacrificing your later startup picks to move up for studs is the way to go.
  • Avoid moving your future rookie picks if possible, but it can be worth it if you are getting players who are top 5-10 at their positions.

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Step 5: Rookie Pick and Player Values

The value of your rookie picks will always go up as we get closer to the NFL Draft. If you want to get the most value for your future picks in a trade then you do not want to trade them until after the current NFL Season is over.

Player values will go up and down frequently. Trades, contract extensions, injuries, age. All of these things will factor into a players value. So in your startup drafts you need to try and forecast things like: Is this player susceptible to injury? How many years are left on their current contract? Are they approaching an age cliff?

Have Fun With It

Always remain flexible with your strategy. Do not stress if your initial plan doesn't work out. If you focus on accruing the most value you can out of the startup then you will be able to eventually build the dynasty team you want.


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