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The 2020 Dynasty Workshop: How to Create a Permanent Championship Window

Shawn Siegele is most associated with his high stakes victories in redraft and incredible luck in the MFL10 of Death, but dynasty is the format where his strategic insights can yield the greatest dividends over time. In this introduction to the Dynasty Workshop, he’ll preview the series and explain how you can create a permanent championship window.

With the Super Bowl this Sunday, we’ve officially reached the best time of the fantasy year: dynasty season. As a companion to all of the great work from our dynasty team, I’m going to be writing the Dynasty Workshop, a series of 15 lessons that explore how you can use perpetual reloading to compete for titles on a yearly basis

Before we jump into the Workshop preview and provide a first look at the lessons, I want to share some of our exciting 2020 news in the dynasty space.

The Arrival of Dynasty Command Center

2020 is an exciting time for RotoViz as we bring the Dynasty Command Center into the fold. With the addition of DCC, we will feature even more dynasty, NFL draft, and devy content on the site itself, plus we’ll continue to offer the famous DCC Rookie Guide.

RotoViz has been at the forefront of prospect analysis since the very beginning with industry-changing work from the Fantasy Douche, Jon Moore, Matthew Freedman, and more. Our current managing editor, Blair Andrews, maintains that tradition with the best prospect and dynasty analytics column in the industry. If you’ve missed out on The Wrong Read, don’t wait another day.

It’s exciting to have our dynasty coordinator, Curtis Patrick, and our devy coordinator, Travis May, back for their second seasons in those roles. They have big plans for Year 2, and their work with both RotoViz and DCC gives them unique backgrounds and leadership in the industry. They’re joined by top dynasty minds like John Lapinski, T.J. Calkins, Devin McIntyre, and Patrick Kerrane.

Readers of our 2020 NFL Prospects Series have already been treated to profiles from our deep cast of prospect analysts headlined by Matt Wispe, Hasan Rahim, Neil Dutton, Ryan Bobbitt, and Stefan Lako.

Mike Beers and Dave Caban both added tools to our dynasty suite last season, and the tools are about to receive another big upgrade. We’ll have face lifts and completely new offerings.1 Having seen what Mike is up to behind the scenes, I can’t wait for our users to get a look at the new dynasty tools. The upgraded RB Prospect Lab will be the first to arrive. Look for it any day now.

The Dynasty Workshop

I’ll be writing prospect articles, participating in mock drafts, preparing rankings tiers, and providing new research this offseason, but my contributions will start with the Dynasty Workshop. Similar to last year’s Best Ball Workshop, we’ll address dynasty strategy concepts on a lesson-by-lesson basis. These lessons will be targeted at all levels of dynasty experience, giving novices a chance to immediately compete with the experts and allowing seasoned owners to make the jump to consistent champions.

As was the case in the Best Ball Workshop, we’ll find that some of the conventional wisdom is correct, but much of it is flawed. I’ll ask you to challenge your preconceptions and consider whether you can go beyond your current techniques.

The workshop will include lessons that cover these ideas and more:

  • Building a win-now/win-always team in the startup draft
  • Turning a bad trade offer to your advantage
  • Avoiding the “championship window” trap
  • Why increasing your trade volume is the key to dynasty titles and how to do so through win-win trades
  • Supercharging your roster with future rookie picks
  • A blueprint for making the most selections in your rookie draft every year … without any rookie picks
  • Why holding onto your studs is costing you an uber-squad
  • Developing the confidence to make trades you might lose
  • Rebuild faster by trading the “wrong” players
  • Taking over an orphan and why the reward is worth the challenge

The Best Ball Workshop provides a competitive advantage because it relies on evidence from our tools and research. But fantasy owners know how easy it is to draw the wrong conclusions if you don’t have experience in the area. When I put together our workshops, I draw on experience from my own leagues, and readers have the right to know if that experience has been successful.

Throughout the course of any fantasy season, I spend easily the most time on dynasty. Startups, dispersals, rookie drafts, trade conversations, all of the things that make dynasty the most fun format in fantasy also take place during the time of year when we’re desperate for anything NFL.

Over the last decade I’ve played in a wide variety of formats, chosen competitive leagues with great commissioners, and even take on a handful of orphans if the format/commissioner was a combination I believed in. These were my 2019 results along with some notes about format. Obviously there are a great many things in life more interesting than someone else’s fantasy teams. It probably only requires a quick perusal for most readers, but I want Workshop readers to feel comfortable knowing that I follow the lessons in my own leagues and that those lessons will lead to true dynasties.

2019 Dynasty Results

Titles

Kitchen Cinco

Features: auction, contracts, superflex, TE premium, devy, four conferences
Length of Participation: 3 years

I’m lucky enough to have teams in three Kitchen Sink leagues, and you can see why I love Ryan McDowell’s signature creation when you scan the list of features. Kitchen Cinco is a true monster of dynasty with 48 teams in four conferences. Led by Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, my KS5 team was able to take down the Super Bowl, besting the three other conference winners on the strength of late Week 16 heroics from Andy Dalton and Tyler Boyd.2

RDL 2.0

Features: superflex, TE premium
Length of Participation: Startup

The RotoViz Dynasty League rebooted this season under the adept leadership of humorist extraordinaire John Solis. It was hard to give up my McCaffrey-Alvin KamaraDalvin Cook roster, but I was able to get Kamara back and add Michael Thomas. Lamar Jackson and A.J. Brown offer excitement for the future in this Superflex league.

HyperActive 3

Features: two conferences
Length of Participation: 3 Years (dispersal draft)

I joined HyperActive3 through a dispersal draft three years ago and have now won the Hyper title in back-to-back seasons. This year’s team went 11-1 in the regular season and eked out a 197-196.55 victory in the Hyper championship. Unfortunately, this title team did suffer a playoff loss in our Super Bowl, falling by three points after Chris Carson, Will Fuller, and D.J. Moore all went out early in Week 16.

3rd Place/Semifinals

Iron Throne

Features: Deep IDP, half PPR
Participation: 7 years

As my Casterly Rock Lannister squad tried to defend its 2018 title, everything looked good until, like their namesakes, an unfortunate turn in the penultimate episode led to ruin.

That loss was the hardest of the year, as this was my most dominant 2019 team. The Lannisters lost only once behind a deep IDP lineup and a McCaffrey-Austin EkelerAaron Jones triumvirate that provided plenty of firepower at RB. Unfortunately, Le’Veon Bell’s reticence to play in Week 14 led to a close semifinal defeat.

6-Month Best Ball

Features: best ball
Participation: 3 years

It’s fun to have a best-ball dynasty team, especially when it’s run by former RV great, Ben Gretch. My team lost to Rich Hribar in the first title game and has fallen in the semifinals the last two seasons. Moving Odell Beckham before the season for Calvin Ridley and Robert Woods offers an enhanced floor and ceiling going forward.

Industry Developmental Dynasty

Features: 14-team, devy
Participation: 4 years

Wes Huber’s 14-team devy league also requires deep starting lineups, and my Dalvin Cook-led squad looked good in Year 4 with Courtland Sutton slotting in at WR6 even after a second-year breakout.

Following losses in the semifinal and third-place matchups a year ago, Stefon Diggs and company were able to sneak out third place this time around. I was looking forward to a first-round bye in 2020 with the advent of the Travis Etienne era, but sadly that’s been put on hold for another year.

PFF Friends and Family

Features: deep IDP, half PPR
Participation: 8 years

This is my always-the-bridesmaid league. I’ve made the title game in half of the eight seasons but have come home with four second-place finishes.3

Quarterfinals

Kitchen Sink 4

Features: auction, contracts, superflex, TE premium, devy, two conferences
Participation: 2 years (dispersal auction)

After participating in the 2018 dispersal auction, my squad has been one of the top scorers over the past two years but has failed to advance beyond the quarters. Hopefully the schedule won’t be such a perfect storm in 2020. Cook, Ekeler, Diggs, Travis Kelce, and Philip Rivers were all on the bye during our first playoff round in Week 12.4

Faked Goods

Features: two conferences
Participation: 3 years (dispersal draft)

A terrific league run by Rich Hribar, Faked Goods is home to a great group of owners. After reaching the Goods finals a year ago, this team took a step back after injuries decimated the gang down the stretch. With Sutton sliding in as my WR5 and RB depth to go with Patrick Mahomes and Evan Engram at the onesie positions, this squad is one of my most varied. After trading Adam Thielen and Tyler Lockett before the season, it’s loaded with youth.

Missed Playoffs

Kitchen Sink 3

Features: auction, contracts, superflex, TE premium, devy, two conferences
Participation: 1 year (dispersal auction)

I joined my third KS league last offseason, and I was high on its chances following a four-team dispersal auction. Unfortunately, QB gambles didn’t pay off, especially after giving up Matt Ryan in a trade that brought back Leonard Fournette and Gardner Minshew. With A.J. Brown, Mecole Hardman, and T.J. Hockenson ready to join the fray upon their elevation from the taxi squad, there’s a lot to be excited about, especially if I can rectify the QB troubles in a Superflex league where signal-callers tend to gap the field in total points.

Image Credit: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Christian McCaffrey.

  1. Long a leader in the best ball space, Mike’s 2019 tools were a sensation. The NFL Stat Explorer is a ridiculous font of raw and advanced stats with all of the visuals you need to put them in context.  (back)
  2. The KS5 Super Bowl is a two-week affair where three of the four competitors scored over 390 points. To pull off the 402-398 victory, my starters had to average 20 points over Weeks 15 and 16.  (back)
  3. Before taking on RotoViz full time, I used to moonlight with PFF under Mike Clay’s leadership. He still maintains this league in its eighth season.  (back)
  4. It could be a fun 2020 with both Kelce and George Kittle in this TE-premium format, not to mention the possible contribution of current taxi members like N’Keal Harry and CeeDee Lamb.  (back)

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