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Building a Dynasty

The Dynasty Difference

by Ryan McDowell
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

“What’s the difference between redraft and dynasty?” This is a very common question for those fantasy footballers who have yet to dip their toes into the dynasty waters. While dynasty leagues may seem intimidating to some, there are really a few very simple differences between the two popular forms of fantasy football. If you agree that these are minor adjustments to the game you love, then maybe now is the time to give a dynasty league a chance.



Dynasty Differences


1.    Keeping Players


If you’re familiar with the concept of dynasty fantasy football at all, you already are aware of this feature, but may not fully understand how this works. Obviously, in a redraft or yearly league, once the season is over, you are finished with your team and will draft a brand new team from scratch the next season. In dynasty leagues though, your entire roster carries over from year to year.


That doesn’t mean you’re tied to these players forever. You can still trade or make waiver wire moves, just like in other leagues, but if you choose, a player could be on your team for his entire career. In my longest running dynasty league, I’ve owned Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson for his entire career, and don’t see that changing anytime soon.


Is dynasty right for you?


If you’ve ever had the urge to want to keep all of your players from one year to the next, dynasty is right for you. This may be due to the fact that you put together a killer lineup and you want to hoard it for as long as you can. Regardless, if you’ve ever had that thought, now might be the time to try a dynasty league.


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2.    Activity Level


A dynasty league requires a much higher level of activity than the typical redraft league. In most cases, the span of attention expected of participants in a redraft league coincides with the length of the fantasy football season, or from Week one through Week 16. Unfortunately for many leagues, once a player finds themselves out of the running for the playoffs, they often give up and simply stop doing the necessary acts an owner is responsible for: submitting lineups, responding to trades, etc. This doesn’t happen in dynasty leagues. There is always something to play for in a dynasty league, even if that payoff may come a year or two down the road. Owners in these leagues are forced to keep up with their competition and continue to work the waiver wire and be an active participant in the trade market. This is good for the entirety of the league.


In most cases though, this increased activity is centered on the off-season. Dynasty players must focus on the spring NFL draft and all that comes with it. This can include the February NFL Combine, as well as pro days leading up to NFL Draft weekend. In the most competitive dynasty leagues, rookie drafts are held the same weekend as the NFL draft, or very soon after.


Along with the NFL Draft, dynasty owners also follow free agency and other off-season transactions, along with other injury news or even off-the-field happenings around the league. Redraft owners have the luxury of catching up to the news and reacting accordingly weeks, or even months after the event, but dynasty owners already know the players making up their team. When those players get arrested or blow out their knee playing basketball in the off-season, the time to react is now.


Finally, if you play any fantasy sports, you know the exciting feeling of receiving a trade offer in your e-mail inbox. Now, imagine talking trade on a nearly year round basis. I have to admit, it’s pretty fun making a trade at a Christmas party, even when you know the payoff is several months away.


Is dynasty right for you?


This one is easy. If you miss fantasy football at the conclusion of the season, dynasty is right for you. Every year, if you’re the first one trying to organize your annual redraft league draft party, dynasty is right for you. If you set aside an entire spring weekend to watch the NFL Draft, dynasty is right for you.


For rankings, projections, exclusive columns, mock drafts and tons more, check out our jam-packed online Draft Guide or Draft Guide iOS app, or follow Rotoworld Football on Twitter for the latest training camp news.


3.    Age Based Value


In yearly leagues, very little attention is given to a player’s age as a determining factor when drafting or making a trade.  After all, it’s a fairly safe assumption that Peyton Manning will end the season as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Andre Johnson and Roddy White seem to be in line for another year of starting wide receiver level fantasy production, so does it matter that both are over 30 years old? Not at all.


And what about the new rookie in town? In redraft leagues, the majority of rookies are afterthoughts. The unknown is viewed as a negative with such a short window to consider, and in most cases, a fantasy player would rather count on the known production they’ve witnessed in the past.


In dynasty, it’s a different story. Rookies are valued just like the lottery tickets they are. They could pay off big, or be a big disappointment. Either way, it’s the thrill of the chase as dynasty owners search for the next stud player that will lead their fantasy team to the ultimate goal … multiple championships.


On the other hand, those veterans that are so easy to count on are often viewed as chumps in dynasty leagues. With many owners using a three-year window to assess the value of players, most veterans fall down the ranks. How many more years will Tom Brady really play? Can Adrian Peterson hold up another two years? These are the types of questions many dynasty owners constantly ponder and many times, they choose to err on the side of youth.


Is dynasty right for you?


If you enjoy scouting, or even just watching college football, dynasty is right for you. I’ve always enjoyed watching college football, but once I began playing in dynasty leagues, that feeling was intensified. I was the general manager of my own dynasty team and wanted to be sure I was prepared to make the right draft pick when the time came.


4.    Larger Rosters


While redraft leagues are struggling to find enough roster space for their annual “sleeper,” dynasty owners are usually dumpster diving on the waiver wire to fill their 22, 24 or even 30 man fantasy roster. You read that right, dynasty rosters are HUGE! They should be. After all, not only are dynasty players trotting out a weekly starting lineup with the same goal as any fantasy player … winning that week, but they also have to consider a player’s potential for years down the road.


A normal dynasty roster will consist of somewhere between 12 and 16 players that an owner might consider inserting into their weekly starting lineup, and after that, you can find a player or two who hasn’t even played a down all year. It’s not out of the question that some dynasty owners will hold that under-the-radar player all season long, even though he’s yet to score a single fantasy point.


Finally, one other difference in roster composition deals with the dreaded season ending injury. In a redraft league, the decision is simple, although painful. Once a player has been ruled out for the year, he’s gone from your roster, and the best you can hope for is to grab his replacement off the waiver wire. In dynasty leagues though, that player usually still demands a spot on your team. After all, would you dump Matt Forte forever just because he’s missing the remainder of the season? Of course not, you still need him in 2015. So, he remains on your roster, clogging up a spot. Oh, want more bad news? Someone else in your league already has Ka’Deem Carey.


Is dynasty right for you?


If you have the deepest draft cheat sheet, dynasty is right for you. If you make draft picks that cause other owners in your league to condescendingly snarl “Who?”, then dynasty is right for you.


5.    Additional Strategies


This is perhaps the best part of a dynasty league. In a redraft league, the ultimate goal is the same for all teams … to win the league championship that year. The path teams may travel to attempt that goal are a bit different, but the overall strategies are the same.


In dynasty leagues, specifically in a dynasty startup draft, the endgame can be quite different based on the owner’s strategy. Some will draft their team with a plan to “win now,” meaning they want to win the title in the first year and place little value on what happens in the upcoming seasons. These teams would look very similar to the redraft teams being drafted in later August.


Other teams are on the other end of the spectrum. With an eye three or even five years into the future, these owners are attempting to build a team that can withstand the test of time, often at the expense of the league’s first season. These owners are opting for the young, high-upside players and bypassing anyone on the wrong side of 30.


These are two basic startup draft strategies, and I’ll touch on what type of results these strategies could bring in an upcoming article, but an active dynasty league breeds even more competition and therefore, requires enhanced strategy in order to stay one step ahead of your league mates. This could deal with waiver moves, trades or even your weekly lineup submission. All of these require a unique strategy, which can differ from a yearly league.


Is dynasty right for you?


Very simply, if you love fantasy football, but feel bored with your redraft league, dynasty is right for you.


Although dynasty leagues usually do require a year-round commitment, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get started. With just about a month left until meaningful games are played, now’s your chance to form a dynasty league and find out for yourself just what is the dynasty difference.