Working in the fantasy football industry, you get used to getting asked the same group of questions over and over, including how many leagues do you do and what’s your favorite format?
I’m usually only in 6 leagues. I always claim I’m going to lower that number, but come draft season, am never able to. Of those, two are dynasty leagues, 3 are keeper leagues, and one is an auction format redraft league. I prefer auction to snake drafts, and dynasty leagues are by far my favorite format to play.
Given you have to have the right group of guys to pull one off, but the football knowledge required to participate in a dynasty league is far superior than any other format. It also most closely replicates actually running a team. You have to manage a much larger roster, draft and stash players, decide when to sell veterans to build for next year, etc…
This article will help you decide if a dynasty league is right for your group of owners, and, if so, will walk you through what you need to start your own league.
Is a Dynasty Format Right for My League?
To a league commissioner the answer to this question may seem obvious. Your the commish, so you obviously are committed to the league. However, if the owners in your league aren’t as committed as you or aren’t all-in on the idea of a dynasty league, the idea will be doomed from the start.
Running a dynasty league is a massive undertaking. Depending on whether or not you include 1 or more than one IDP, your year one draft will include 22-30 players per team. Assuming you have 12 owners, that’s 264-360 total draft picks!
Beyond just the year one draft, owners will be responsible for shaping a longterm plan for their team. To balance near term success and building for the future. If an owner bombs the year one draft and realizes he has to keep the majority of this team indefinitely, he may bail and you have to find a new owner to take over a bad team. You can incentivize the new owner with added draft picks, but turnover will ultimately hurt your league.
It’s a big commitment, but I can tell you from experience that competing year in and year out with one roster, against a solid group of guys, is one of the most rewarding fantasy football experiences you can have.
Dynasty League Rules
We highly recommend that you get together with the other owners in your league to develop and vote on a specific set of rules for your dynasty league. These are our recommendations, but they are only a starting point.
Roster structure has become a controversial topic over the past few years. We have made the argument that redraft and daily leagues should not include kickers. However, the goal with dynasty fantasy football is to replicate running a team as closely as possible. This should at least include starting a kicker and team defense, but for an added level of difficulty you could include 1-3 IDP’s.
Here is the roster structure we use most often for our dynasty leagues: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, Flex, TE, K, Def. Common variations from this include starting two QB’s, starting 1 RB and 1 WR and adding a flex position, removing team defense and adding defensive players… Come up with a roster format that your league agrees on, but this is something that can be voted on in future seasons and tweaked if need be.
Year One Draft
Completing your year one draft is quite the task. To give you a general idea, we use the roster structure above, and have a 28 player roster. You can have either a serpentine or auction draft, which will be run by whatever website you choose to host the league one (more on that to come) or can be completed offline.
If you choose to do an auction draft, we recommend emailing reminders and pricing guides to league members so nobody comes into draft night completely unprepared.
Your league will set up roster minimums for each position, but it’s really up to the owners to decide how they want to structure their roster. We simply keep our minimums at 2x the number of players you start at each position. So 2 QB’s, 4 RB’s, 6 WR’s, 2 TE’s, 2 K’s, and 2 Def’s.
Free agency is best handled with a blind bidding system. In this system, each owner start the season with a certain number of free agency dollars. Players on the waiver wire are bid on each week, with the highest bidder winning the free agent, but losing the number of FA dollars they bid.
Free agency closes during the last week of the season and the remaining players in the free agent pool are added to the next season’s rookie/free agent draft.
Your league’s annual free/agent rookie draft is going to be smaller than the typical fantasy football draft as the pool of players is limited to those that aren’t already on a roster. For our leagues, we have a 7 round draft that expands the offseason rosters to 35 players. Rosters have to be cut back down to 28 by the start of week one games, and waiver wires open after week one is complete.
Where to Host Your Dynasty League
This is probably the most common question we get regarding dynasty leagues. Really, it’s up to you, but we have two sites that we prefer. If you are looking for loads of dynasty-specific features, MyFantasyLeague.com is as good as it gets. It does a great job of handling the functions that matter most to a dynasty league.
The one area that MFL is lacking in is UI… which is pretty important given the amount of time your owners are going to spend on the league pages. If your day-to-day user experience is worth a little more work from the commish to keep the league running smooth, then just host the league on Yahoo.
Hopefully this gets your dynasty league started, but if you have any questions post them in the comments section below.