By Jeff Melbostad (@Jeff_DFW)

So you’ve been asked to join a dynasty league.  Be it online or with close friends there are a number of differences with dynasty and redraft that must be considered.  The vast majority of people compete only in (or at least start off only in) redraft leagues but dynasty is an entirely different animal.  Our rankings provide a good base for those of you joining a new league or taking over for a team in an existing one.  I’ll lay out a few additional things to consider to get you started.

1)   You’re in it for the long haul

When you join a dynasty league it’s expected that you be in it “for good”.  Don’t join a league if you aren’t certain that you’ll be able to commit.  There is nothing more deadly to a dynasty league than turnover.  When a player quits a replacement must be found because all of the teams are already set.  This becomes very difficult when leagues are “out of whack” competitively.  I’ve seen too many players who end up with a bad team and simply quit the league.  Not acceptable.  You can rebuild and come back.  To me that is part of the fun of dynasty.  Top teams are cyclical just like in real life.  No one stays on top forever.

In essence what I’m saying is consider the league as a whole when you make a decision to join.  If you can commit for the long haul you’ll have a ton of fun.  If not then it’s best just to pass on the invite and let someone else more committed join the league.

2)   Emphasize youth but don’t over-emphasize youth

In my experience two things happen when someone new joins a dynasty league.  Either they go crazy emphasizing youth or they focus on winning this year and treat it almost as a redraft type of draft.  If you’re joining a brand new dynasty league this can be especially dangerous because you are starting with the draft and building your team up from nothing.  If you are taking over an existing team the same logic applies but to a lesser extent because you probably have a mix of young and old on your team already.

Now don’t get me wrong.  There’s a difficult balance between youth and veterans even for the most seasoned of dynasty leaguers to achieve.  To put it simply you need both.  So my advice for those just starting in dynasty is to make it easier on yourself.  Draft or acquire both.  Maybe go 50-50 youth vs veterans or 60-40 whatever you are comfortable with.  Just be sure not to overcompensate one way or another.  For every Mark Ingram or Antonio Brown you draft or acquire make sure to complement him with a Frank Gore or Reggie Wayne to start.  This is obviously overly simplistic but until you get your feet wet it’s a good rule of thumb.

3)   Keep active in trading

Another necessity (and something I consider a major plus for dynasty leagues) is being active in the trading market.  Don’t sit on your team or it will surely pass you by.  We all know from redraft that things vary significantly from year to year.  Well in dynasty we’re talking a much larger time period than one year.  You need to be able to adapt to the changing landscape.  Other than rookie picks the only way to do so in a dynasty league is to be active in trades.  If your team is getting old try and trade your vets for youth to a team looking to win now and vice-versa.  Just don’t let your team stagnate or you will be simply contributing your entry fee to the winner each year.

4)   Don’t overvalue rookie picks outside the top 2 or 3

My previous point about being active in trading leads me to this bullet.  Don’t overvalue rookie picks.  It is an extremely easy trap to fall into.  Dynasty leaguers analyze and over-analyze rookies because they are the only new entries that you draft every year.  Basically the rookie draft takes place of your standard league draft.  As such you’ll see people (including us at DFW) hyping rookie picks that may or may not end up as stars.  It is necessary because established teams need to look for that diamond in the ruff but it’s also dangerous because new players tend to take it to the extreme.

My best advice here is if your team has “earned” one of the top 2-3 picks by doing poorly be very hesitant to move those picks.  I know I said you shouldn’t overvalue rookie picks but the top 2 or 3 (depending on the year of course) tend to be top tier talents that are worth keeping on a rebuilding team.  After those top picks we are talking about 2nd, 3rd and 4th round NFL draft talent and the chances of them becoming a stud on your fantasy team just aren’t that great.  Use anything out of those first few picks to improve your team and try and hang on to the very top picks unless you can get an outrageous package for them.

Likewise if your team is good and you’re looking to acquire a rookie draft pick don’t overpay for anything outside of the top few picks.  Again they are highly speculative.  Some will work out and some will not.  If you want to make a big splash for 1.01 or 1.02 I can’t fault you but moving a proven veteran for 1.05 or 1.06 has hurt a fantasy team more times than I’ve seen it help.

5)   Prepare to be bored with redraft

As I said earlier in the article redraft and dynasty are totally different animals.  A dynasty leaguer tends to focus on talent over situation.  On the better player not the top point-getter.  As such there is really a different mindset that takes place.  You aren’t so quick to dump young players who don’t produce.  You aren’t so quick to jump on the hottest player right now.   You need to consider how a move would affect your team not only right now but in the future.  There’s a whole other level of analysis.  One that makes the redraft mindset seem overly simplistic.  Redraft becomes a race for points not an analysis of the best talent in the league.

As such I’ve seen many a dynasty leaguer become disenchanted with redraft.   It doesn’t have the same feel.  Dynasty gives you a much greater sense of “team” and “ownership”.  It brings a whole new level of fun to fantasy football.   Be prepared to cut down on your membership in redraft leagues.  Sure the draft is a blast and probably a lot of the reason most people do fantasy football.  Dynasty is for the hard core football fans.  Those that want to go the extra mile and build a winning franchise for years to come (thus the term dynasty I suppose).

So if you’ve made it this far through the article you’re likely committed to the idea of dynasty football.  If you’ve considered the previous five points and still want to join have at it.  We here at DFW will be with you every step of the way and always willing to help you out.  Who knows… maybe I’ll be lucky enough to see you in one of my leagues some day.