Ah, dynasty fantasy football. Also known as the closest you’ll ever get to being a real football owner or coach. And there are numerous dynasty startup draft strategies you can employ to turn your team into a perennial powerhouse.
Dynasty management has a bit of everything: Short- and long-term planning, rookie development, trades, rebuilds, win-nows, and more. The variety is why dynasty is among the most popular forms of fantasy football.
If you’re starting a dynasty team from scratch, there are several different approaches you can deploy for your startup draft. But which is the best? This article looks at the pros and cons of the most popular dynasty startup draft strategies and reveals how you can use the RotoViz rankings, tools, and articles to their full potential to help you win your dynasty league’s startup draft.
Best Player Available
Why it’s good: You’ll never overdraft players and you’ll inevitably grab some good value along the way. It’s also low stress. When it’s your turn to draft, just scoop up whatever player is ranked highest in your dynasty rankings.
Why it’s bad: Do you like autodraft? Didn’t think so. Your team might make not much sense in the end with this strategy — such as player combinations that don’t work — and you might miss out on value relative to your roster by strictly following Best Player Available.
How RotoViz can help: Obviously, check out our dynasty rankings. You should also read up on players to avoid in dynasty startups. Jacob Rickrode also gives you some tips for a successful dynasty startup.
Why it’s good: Your team will probably look (and be) better than everyone else’s the first year or two. It will make you feel really, really good at fantasy football while you squish the competition and their puny rookies that almost never see the field.
Why it’s bad: Assuming you drafted older players and/or traded future assets for higher draft picks, your team will probably struggle to stay competitive within a few years.
How RotoViz can help: If you go with “win now” and you want to try to “win later” too, you’ll need to maximize your trade value. Patrick Kerrane also put together a great list of what he calls “high risk holds” at WR; these are the kinds of players you’d want to be targeting with a win now strategy.1
Why it’s good: Generally speaking, most football players do not stay good for long and most fantasy players are keen on winning now, opening the door for you to zig while they zag.
Lean into the chaos that is fantasy football and draft rookies, load up on future assets, and set yourself up for a long run of success. Your team will definitely not be good at first, but will be good soon — and if you play your cards right, it will stay good. With additional assets, you’ll be able to trade for players at the optimal time, such as just before a player’s second year.
Why it’s bad: Winning is fun. Losing is not fun. A true “win later” approach can take 2-3 years to come to fruition, and if you’re paying league dues, it means you’re willingly signing up just to lose money for several years, just for the opportunity to win them back over the course of several more years.
How RotoViz can help: Dynasty Rookies Are Free Money is a must-read for any serious dynasty player. Read it. You must also read about age curves and NFL breakouts.2 A serious long-term planner must also check out our Devy Rankings.
Mix and Match
Why it’s good: You aren’t putting all of your eggs into one basket. A solid mix of young/old, safe/risky, and upside/floor should net you a solid squad right from the start with a promising future.
Why it’s bad: Your team might not have much of an identity. If you’re trying to win now and win later right from the start, you might turn into the Jeff Fisher of your league.
By taking fewer upside risks, you have less of a chance to hit big. By taking more safe floor players, you’re limiting your upside. This is the true “down the middle” approach; you probably won’t be the worst team in the league, but you probably won’t be the best, either.
How RotoViz can help: If you are going mix and match, you’ll probably find flaws in your team pretty fast and will need to swing some trades to shore things up. Check out historical trade values by position to help make the best deal. You’ll also want to get in on Year 2 breakouts to make sure your team gets better — not worse.
Image Credit: Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.
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