Dynasty strategy 101: Drafting a New Team

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

I know some people love daily fantasy sports, because they get to change it up every week and they don’t feel locked in to a team. For me though dynasty fantasy football is my favorite by far. Personally I love the sense of ownership I have over my team. I love building a team that dominates more than the Patriots, without the cheating part, and rubbing it in my friends face when I win the championship again and again. While winning money is always nice, I play dynasty more for the pure joy beating my friends. I have been in one dynasty league for over 20 years now and there is something cool about being able to say Maurice Jones Drew played his entire career with me. Or Marshawn Lynch, AJ Green, and Matt Ryan have all won 3 championships while on my team. So as the football season is fast approaching I have been seeing a lot of questions involving dynasty leagues. A lot of people looking to join one, some looking to start a new one, advice on trades, and of course the crown jewel of dynasty rookie drafts. I could write an entire book on dynasty leagues, and one day I actually hope too, but for now in this article I am going to focus on drafting a new team in a new league. Some things you should do and some things you should not do.

The first thing I always tell people when joining a start up league is to make sure you understand the scoring system, sometimes people get pretty creative with their scoring system. It is really sound advice for any style of fantasy sports but in dynasty it is really important. It is really important to dynasty because you are drafting guys for the long term. Remember this in not DFS where I can’t just go get a new team next week. These are guys that could potentially be with you for 5 or more years. For example if a league heavily rewards QB’s with maybe six points per passing TD, in that league I might target my QB as early as the third round. Or if the league has a superflex spot I might make sure I lock down two good QB’s early. If scoring is pretty standard for QB’s I typically wait to draft sometimes as late as round 10. Some leagues value touchdowns more than other stats giving a power back more value than the scat back that gets extra receptions. Bottom line you want to draft players that will get the most out of your scoring system.

So once you have a handle on scoring, but before you start making your cheatsheets, do the math. For example in a 10 man league that starts only one quarterback you have to figure only 20 – 22 might get rostered. So there is no urgency for QB’s, because even in free agency you will have options to help you get by. In a 14 team league though that 28 – 30 will for sure get rostered, you might not want to wait too long for a QB or you end up with guys that week to week might not even starting for the respective team by season end. This is not just for QB’s either, it is important to know how many RB’s, WR’s and TE’s are potentially getting drafted. If the league can start four WR each week than you can assume each team will have at least six on their roster. Multiply that by the number of teams, 60 in a 10 man or 84 in a 14 man league and that will help you determine how important each position is. You don’t want to get caught with four of your receivers ranked in the lower half of 84. Otherwise you will be playing the waiver wire trying find that diamond in the rough that becomes a top 25 WR for you to make up for your poor draft, and that could take a year or two to fix if things don’t go your way.

Moving on to one of the more difficult things to manage in a startup dynasty is the age of the leagues current top players and how long do you think they will perform. If you draft too many aging superstars you might have a great season or two, but you will get bad draft picks and as those older players retire you are stuck with middle of the road guys and your team could suffer for a few seasons while you build up some good draft picks and rebuild your team. On the flip side if you draft too many rookies or first year players you run the risk of minimal performance while these guys earn their stripes. So how do you determine who you should draft? For me I like to view players in a three to five year window. Quarterbacks, receivers, and tight ends I like to get closer to five years out of them and running backs I want to feel like I will get three years out of them for me to consider drafting them. This mostly goes for my core players. If I feel I have a solid group of core guys I will take a few more risks with younger guys and sprinkle in some still productive veterans for my bench.

Be sure to be on the lookout for more dynasty advice throughout the spring. In the meantime you can checkout mine and the rest of the Goingfor2.com team’s dynasty rankings here: Dynasty Rankings
Also be sure to check out my Facebook group Dynasty League Problems where we talk fantasy football all year long or follow me on twitter @mikekelleydlp.

Michael Kelley is a member of the Going For 2 team. You can check out his website Dynasty League Problems for more writings or find him on Twitter @mikekelleydlp spreading fantasy knowledge for the masses.

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I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

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