Dynasty leagues are a whole different animal and require even more work than your regular ol' redraft league. Even if you’re the most committed owner in the world, it’s still tough to even keep a Dynasty format together. They are a lot of fun, but you really need to make sure you’re going to be set with owners for the long run.
Why? If you’re bringing on an incapable owner, they’re probably not going to draft a good team. Yes, things come up for even the best owners and they’ll have to quit or take some time away from the league. People meet significant others, have things come up in their jobs, have babies or maybe they have a new puppy driving them wild. For now, let’s assume you can get great owners everywhere.
One thing I always suggest is to make sure these good owners know quitting is a big deal. Obviously it’s OK and it’s no reason to lose a friendship, but they should give you serious notice. You should have several months to try and find a good replacement. In a perfect world, you have like 4-8 candidates to replace the lost owner, then your league can vote on who gets in. The last time someone quit from a dynasty league of mine, we had four candidates write up a paragraph to say why they’re good for the league. We voted, and then that was that. It worked out, too.
You absolutely need to make sure your owners are knowledgable and committed. Basically, each of them should have mentioned to you at some point that they’re interested in a keeper/dynasty league. You also should have played with each of them for multiple seasons leading up to forming a dynasty/keeper format.
If you have a bad owner, they’re almost certainly going to have a bad team when they quit. That means it’s going to be even tougher to pawn off that team to a new owner. Yes, there are a lot of prospective owners who take pride in turning a team around and it could be fun to pull off a string of deals to turn a team around a la Sam Hinkie. Still, you want to avoid this. Make sure you’re careful and do your due diligence on adding an owner.
One other thing I want to touch on is knowing the difference between keeper and dynasty formats. We throw these around interchangeably, but they’re a little different. A straight dynasty league basically has just one draft with all the players and then you’ll have the new rookies, overseas players, D-Leagues and scrubs become eligible for a new draft every offseason. Your league owners need to be rock solid to do this.
There are endless amounts of keeper formats. If you’re in a committed league, you can do straight keepers. The more you are confident in your league’s solidarity, the more keepers you can put on each team.
Another way I like is to make it cost more to keep guys year after year. In other words, if you selected a guy in the third round in 2014, make it cost a second rounder in 2015 and a first rounder in 2016. That means you can’t keep your first round picks year after year. This will prevent a team from becoming totally stacked. Could you imagine a team with Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis for the next 10 years? They could blow their draft and they’d still be the favorite to win almost every season. Also, I make round 7-9 cost two rounds the next year, and double-digit rounds cost three rounds more. That’s just me and my preference, so feel free to come up with your own.
Last tip: Don't change a format unless it is unanimous.
Auction drafts are really awesome and we’ll talk about that in a future column.
OK, so now that you have your league all set, let’s go over how to build a roster. Here are some of the main strategies I like to use on my dynasty/keeper teams.
Draft for balance
We always talk about punting categories and it’s become an even more viable plan with guys like Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan exploding on the scene. However, drafting those guys eliminates any chance of drafting strong foul shooters and also big men who shoot well also lose a lot of value to those teams.
Yes, drafting for balance means teams will probably know who you won’t draft, but that’s fine. Teams not knowing you’re going to take like three or four players is a lot better than the other way around.
Chances are someone in your league is gushing over Andre Drummond and isn’t thinking about this. That means it’s not like his value is going to slide so badly that you’re going to regret it. I live by drafting strong percentages because it's so easy to fill the other needs through trades or the waiver wire.
Youth isn’t wasted
You’ve heard the old expression of youth being wasted on the young and it’s for good reason. Personally, I’m obsessed with drafting youth and I will almost never take an older guy unless it’s a silly value — in leagues with a lot of keeper slots or straight dynasty leagues.
Let’s say there is a 20 percent chance you hit the jackpot on a keeper — don’t you love made up stats? That would mean if you roll the dice three times, you’re giving yourself a 48.2 percent chance to hit on one. Yes, that’s still not a very good chance and these are just made up numbers anyway. All I’m saying is you need to roll the dice several times to try and hit a home run.
Additionally, it’s all about supply and demand. Everyone in your league is going to want to have the next young, sexy pick on their team. If you have to reach a round or two earlier to get him, who cares about drafting that safe guy with a somewhat low ceiling and shorter shelf life? No risk, no reward.
If you somehow hit a home run on a guy in the late rounds, you’re going to be totally set. A couple example for me were Paul George and Nicolas Batum. Both guys didn’t have much going for them heading into their NBA careers, but now they’re absolute studs (get well, 24).
Know your format inside and out
This one is dumb, I know. You have to know exactly how your format works heading into your draft. If you’re doing a straight keeper and you only keep two guys, there is almost no chance you’re going to be keeping a guy you’re taking in the 12th round. That means you should basically treat the fifth round and beyond like a redraft. It’s alright to draft older guys, if you want.
Know who complements the fantasy teams
Obviously, it’s important to know your own team, but it’s also more important to know the other teams, too. This relates back to the drafting for balance point because teams who punt also make it clear what they’re going for. Basically, it’s all about revealing information and the more people know about your team, the better they can adjust their strategy around you. Those teams could take the player you want right in front of you and they could also ask for more in a trade because you want them more than anyone else — the right player anyway. Of course, that works both ways and it helps you get a leg up on those predictable teams.
Know if you’re buying or selling
Another obvious one, the sooner you know if you’re buying or selling, the better off you’ll be. If you can beat the rush among the sellers or buyers, you have less competition to get a deal done.
Also if you’re selling, then sell everything. If you’re only keeping four guys, you should do everything in your power to trade everything else away. If it’s for a 15th-round pick, so be it. This is another reason to start dealing sooner. It’s nice to know which owners have interest in certain players.
That’s it for now. If you have a question, hit me up in Twitter @MikeSGallagher.