Written by DFW Contributor Scott Sutton a.k.a The Gunslinger

By and large what separates average Dynasty League FF players from poor Dynasty League FF players is keeping on top of current news.  Ten years ago that meant utilizing the relatively new invention of the internet to get current news days ahead of those still relying on Sportscenter and print media for their information.  In today’s FF landscape, the savvy owner relies on Twitter feeds from beat writers covering their local team to get a mere few hours head start on owners who rely on FF sites to post the information in a concise location.  Needless to say, the window for “information whipping” your league mates has shrunken precipitously.  Now, what separates the average Dynasty League FF player from the exceptional?  It might surprise you to know that leverage in trading is what can change the face of your franchise faster than any other factor in play.

In the next several articles, I will unveil a brief glimpse into the mind of your average league mate.  It is not so much about guessing which players are going to exceed their current projections, as it is about knowing which players are going to elicit an emotional response to the members in your league.  IT IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE FOR YOU TO REMOVE EMOTION WHEN BUILDING YOUR TEAM.  Emotion only ruins instinct.  You must learn how to use the emotions of your competition against them!

Why does one play Dynasty League Football instead of re-draft alone?  The most common reason is that EVERYONE believes they are better at this endeavor than everyone else.  The same applies to sports wagering in general.  However, it is not enough to know we are better, we must prove it to the world…. or at least 11 of our buddies!  What better format to display our genius than in an arena that allows us to draft a team from scratch, make free-agent acquisitions, trade our players, scout college players, and retain the rights of all of our efforts in perpetuity!  Dynasty!  Visions of Dominance! Recognize who your Daddy is!!!  It is competition at its roots and it is competition the feeds the male psyche.  Competition breeds emotion.  The only way to gain an edge in today’s FF landscape is to better understand how to make incremental improvements to your team by knowing when to trade you know who to whom.

Part 1: Draft Picks (Craziness at its finest hour)

Please do not misunderstand me when I say draft picks are worthless, they are not worthless, they are just a poor way to build your Dynasty team.  They have value in that they are coveted by your league mates.  They are worthless in that the top 36 rookies each year produce about 10-12 useable fantasy commodities.  With the rare exception, (2014) 67% worthless.  So why do people love rookie picks?  Because scouting, discussing, analyzing, pontificating, and projecting college players is fun and there is no football being played.  This and the notion that Ryan Broyles may be the next Wes Welker and I “stole him” in the early third round makes us feel good about our incredible intelligence!  Here’s a news flash:  You work in an office complex in suburbia or a Wal-mart in Arkansas.  You do not know a damn thing about how to predict which college prospects will become NFL stars.  How do I know?  Because the NFL scouting community only hits on about 25% of their picks and they are paid well to focus on the finer points of scouting athletes year round.

Golden Rule of Trading:  Never trade FOR a draft pick between the Superbowl and your rookie draft.

Once the NFL season ends, Dynasty leaguers have nothing to do with their time than to start reading up on this year’s crop of draft eligible prospects.  Considering there are roughly 4-7 months of time to occupy this part of the off-season, depending on when your league has its annual rookie draft, I think it is safe to assume everyone has had an opportunity to become smitten with many prospects.  This is a bad thing.  I won’t deny that it is fun, but it is harmful to your team.  Even the most cerebral and intellectually superior Fantasy player can’t help but develop a man crush when they watch Bernard Scott rip off 50 yard runs against Arkansas Pine-Bluff to the tune of Young Jeezy on YouTube.  This man crush will lead you to trade away known commodities for pick 2.3 and a chance to land Bernard in your draft.  It’s an old saying but it is 100% applicable to Fantasy Football:  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  In our terms, Kelvin Benjamin is worth more than Duron Carter and DeVante Parker.  Does that mean that Duron Carter won’t become an elite WR?  No.  It means that the odds are against him becoming an elite WR and Kelvin Benjamin has already shown that he can be.

It is really very simple.  Once the NFL season begins and actual games are being played, you should start acquiring draft picks from your league mates.  How?  Use psychology.


1. The teams that finished in the top 4 of your league last year believe that they have arrived and that their teams will continue to dominate the league.  They will 100% certainly undervalue their first round draft pick for next season because they are 100% sure it will be pick 1.11 or 1.12.  The fact is, it is likely to be pick 1.5 to pick 1.9.  They will include their 1st rounders as throw- ins in many cases.


2. Never accept a trade during the season without including a 2nd round pick from your trading partner.  EVERYONE undervalues 2nd round picks during the season and then over values them in the days leading up to your rookie draft.  Very few people will reject a trade on the basis of the inclusion of their 2nd round pick from next year.


3. Once the season has ended, trade ALL of your draft picks in the month before your rookie draft for the most that you can get for them.  Ok, maybe not all of them, but you should be shopping them.  If the core aspect of building a dynasty roster is “buy low, sell high”, then selling your rookie picks right before the draft is the slam dunk of stock market moves.


4. This is a rare scenario and a small window to act that allows for trading away draft picks in-season.  Around weeks 8-10 you will notice that two or three teams have separated themselves from the pack in the wrong direction.  They are already out of play-off contention and have officially entered into the unique position that scoring points and winning games will adversely affect their draft position next year.  It is now in their best interest to lose games.  Now, most leagues will not and should not tolerate tanking, but there are no rules that preclude owners from trading their current players for future draft picks.  This is the only scenario I would advocate dishing –off future draft  picks for known commodities in season.


5. Trade current 2nd rounders for future 1st rounders.  This strategy only works during the draft.  When you are on the clock at pick 2.3, offer to the rest of the league that you will give up the pick for their 1st round pick next year.  This is why I was telling you to collect as many 2nd rounders as possible during the season when they aren’t coveted.  You will always get a taker.  Early second round picks are usually made up of either a top TE or QB or players that slipped out of the first round due to people picking erratically in the 1st round making 1st round talent available in the 2nd.  Draftniks simply can’t handle this and will give up anything to capitalize on the ignorance of the rest of the league.  Even if you only improve marginally, it is still worth it in the long run and you can always end up with a top 3 pick in the next season as well.

Knowing the psychology behind your opponents moves and how to capitalize on it is truly the ultimate advantage.  Utilizing these tips will keep you competitive year in and year out.