What The Heck Is A Dynasty League?

by Steve Rippy (revised 2/17/2024)

With the 2023 NFL & Fantasy Season wrapped up, we transition from Redraft Leagues to Dynasty Leagues during the offseason. Usually around this time of season I get a lot of people asking... "What is dynasty?", "How can I play?" or "Where can I play?" And from many of the responses I get about dynasty rankings, it's evident that there's some confusion surrounding the format from those new to Dynasty Rankings. They think I've gone mad if I don't have Tyreek Hill or Christian McCaffrey ranked 1 and 2 in my dynasty rankings. So, let's delve into the essence of a dynasty league. One thing is for certain: once you dip your toes into dynasty, you'll never see redrafts the same way again.

"Once you dip your toes into dynasty, you'll never see redrafts the same way again."
Steve Rippy — Fantasy Guides

Dynasty leagues involve a comprehensive approach to fantasy football, with each league presenting its unique twists and turns. Some leagues delve into advanced strategies such as salary caps, minimum player ownership periods, or taxi squads for rookies. However, for this discussion, let's focus on the fundamental aspects of a basic dynasty league, envisioning a 12-team setup with 30 roster spots.

Think of a dynasty league as a dynamic iteration of a keeper league. Unlike traditional keeper leagues where only a select few players are retained, in dynasty, you hold onto EVERY player year after year. Essentially, you step into the shoes of a team's general manager, tasked with both short-term success and long-term planning.

Here are some key distinctions between redraft and dynasty leagues:

  1. Timeframe: While redraft leagues typically run from Week 1 to Week 17, dynasty leagues operate year-round. You can execute trades, add and drop players throughout the entire year.

  2. Roster Size: Redraft leagues usually boast around 15-16 players, whereas dynasty leagues demand a more robust roster, typically comprising a minimum of 20 players, often reaching 30 or more.

  3. Draft Dynamics: In dynasty leagues, you commence with a "Startup Draft," akin to a redraft draft but on a grander scale. While redraft drafts start and finish in a single afternoon or evening, startup dynasty drafts are usually conducted in a slower, methodical manner, spanning several days, weeks or even months.

  4. Rookie Draft: After the inaugural season, dynasty leagues transition to rookie drafts. Since all players are retained on rosters, these drafts primarily feature incoming rookies and available free agents. Typically 4 rounds. In all honesty, rookie draft season is probably my favorite part about playing in dynasty leagues and it's a perfect little oasis of excitement during the middle of the fantasy football offseason.

  5. Draft Order: Unlike redraft leagues where draft order may be random, in dynasty, it mirrors the NFL model. Teams select in order of their prior year's performance, incentivizing strategic planning and skillful management.

  6. Draft Type: While redraft leagues typically employ a Snake Draft format, dynasty rookie drafts adhere to a set order throughout each round, unless draft picks are traded.

  7. Trading Dynamics: Trading in dynasty leagues resembles redraft leagues, with a significant twist—draft picks for upcoming seasons can be traded, offering expanded strategic possibilities and long-term planning.

  8. Player Values: Age plays a crucial role in dynasty leagues, impacting player values significantly. Veterans like Tyreek Hill or Christian McCaffrey may see their draft stock decrease even after pinnacle years compared to younger talents on the up-and-up like Puka Nacua or Kyren Williams, reflecting the long-term outlook of dynasty play.

These differences highlight the dynamic nature of dynasty leagues and the strategic depth they offer. While there's much more to explore in the realm of dynasty fantasy football, these fundamentals provide a solid foundation for understanding the format's intricacies.

If you're intrigued by the prospect of year-round fantasy football and crave the strategic challenges of dynasty play, consider joining a league. The offseason holds as much excitement as the regular season, if not more. Once you immerse yourself in dynasty, redraft leagues will seem like child's play.

If you're looking to get started in dynasty, go to the platforms SLEEPER or FANTRAX as they are set up perfectly for this format. You can get access to our dynasty guide FREE through Sleeper when you use promo code guides when creating a new account.

Steve is the creator and owner of Fantasy Guides. He's been a Denver Broncos' fan since 1986 and he's been playing Fantasy Football since 2006. After multiple titles playing in Redraft & Dynasty leagues, he decided he just had to make a living writing about and giving advice on fantasy football. He started Fantasy Guides in 2019 and has been working to perfect his process ever since.

Dynasty Guide

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