Welcome to our Knowledge Base article on Dynasty for Beginners! Below we outline the general format, basic strategy, and what makes it different from other fantasy league types.

League Format

Eventually, many fantasy footballers make their way to the dynasty league format. This usually happens after playing in redraft leagues for at least a few years. Dynasty leagues require a multiple year commitment from team managers. Most leagues have no set time period and rosters are continuous from one year to the next. After the inaugural full team draft the following season’s drafts typically consist of rookies coming into the NFL.

The format for competition throughout the season is most often the same as redraft, head-to head matchups each week. The top teams in the league, typically six or eight teams, depending on league settings, advance to the playoffs. Matchups between the highest and lowest ranking teams are played in week one of the playoffs with winners advancing to play in the next round. After all teams except one is eliminated the champion is crowned. The regular season usually runs from Week one through week 14. The playoffs generally are played weeks 15, 16, and 17.

In dynasty leagues, only the first year’s draft involves all players. Subsequent drafts each year are for rookies that are entering the  NFL. In some leagues free agents are available to draft in the rookie draft. Be sure to check your leagues settings for who is allowed to be drafted in your annual rookie draft. Draft order for the following year is typically determined for playoff teams by how they finished. The league champion has the lowest pick in the next year’s rookie draft with the other teams placed in descending order by their playoff finish.

For non-playoff teams there are multiple ways that are used but there are two that stand out. Many leagues have non-playoff teams’ draft order set by their finish the previous regular season, akin to how it works for teams that made the playoffs. The other option that is gaining popularity is for non-playoff teams to be seeded by possible points. This is basically the same as if the non-playoff teams were playing in a best ball league. The team with the highest possible points gets the lowest pick after the playoff teams and it goes in order until the team with the lowest possible points is slotted for the first pick in the draft.

The dynasty format requires the biggest time commitment and knowledge of players. The inaugural draft is incredibly important as it sets the foundation of your team and will affect your success, or lack thereof, for years to come. There are many strategies for the inaugural draft in a franchise league. It all depends on your preferences and how you value players.

Basic Strategy

In dynasty fantasy football managing rosters involves forward thinking. With players remaining on rosters year to year after they have been drafted, there are many more factors to consider when drafting a player in dynasty. Age, offensive scheme, team makeup, and organizational priorities are all things to consider when choosing players for your team. Your own personal preferences for what is more valuable in a player and roster are also very important.

Some managers value youth more than others, while some prefer established performance. It is best to determine what you value in players before your draft starts to help develop your rankings and strategy. It is also important to determine whether you are looking to win immediately or are you looking to build a roster who’s championship window may be a few years away.

There are three pretty clear strategies when drafting a team in a dynasty league. Draft to win now. Draft for youth. Draft for the most value. I will briefly cover each strategy below. For more in depth looks on theses strategies check out our Draft Strategy article (tbd).

Drafting to win now is a strategy that focuses on taking the highest scoring players regardless of age. The idea is to assemble a team to win the league right out of the gate. Older players who are at their peak or on the backside of their careers are often bypassed in favor of youth in dynasty league drafts. Great players fall and team managers looking to win now can assemble impressive squads that will be top teams for the next one to three years after the draft. If you are looking for proof of the fantasy community valuing youth/potential over proven production look no further than Trevor Lawrence and Aaron Rodgers ADP.

When drafting for youth, managers are looking for young guys who have great potential. Rookies and sophomores are the building blocks of these franchises. These managers’ goal is to build a team who has championship possibilities down the road. They forgo the idea of competing for a championship for the first two or three years to build a team they feel will have a much longer championship window. There is an incredible amount of risk versus reward in this strategy. If they get it right they may have a dominant squad for many years. For a more in depth look at this strategy check out our July Mock Draft and pay special attention to Scherber’s draft notes.

The last of the strategies is to draft the most valuable player available. This requires a balancing act of youth versus production. Value is a subjective thing and to use this strategy it is best to determine what you find makes a player valuable. What managers are looking to do with this strategy is to draft players to start for their teams who will produce but aren’t in the backend of their careers. Bench players are a hodge podge of high upside youngsters and proven vets to round out their rosters. One of the easiest ways for newer players to execute this strategy is to find rankings from a trusted source and use them to guide their selections.


For many team managers dynasty leagues are the crem de la crem of fantasy football. They are able to show their prowess, superior knowledge, and insights to beat out their competition over multiple seasons. Dynasty leagues do not reset every year like redraft and best ball leagues. 

The time commitment for dynasty leagues is much higher than others. Team managers are expected to be active nearly year round as there is now almost year round activity in the NFL. Researching incoming rookies is a must because there are rookie drafts every year after the inaugural full team draft. In fact one of the busiest times in many dynasty leagues is in the month leading up to the draft.

For some people who play fantasy football dynasty leagues expect too much. For others, dynasty leagues offer the opportunity to fulfill their dream of being the general manager of an organization. If you are willing to commit the time and are familiar with fantasy football in general I highly suggest you give dynasty fantasy football a try.

Additional Information

Have you played in Dynasty Leagues, or are you thinking of testing the waters? Let us know your thoughts, and if you’ve played – how has it worked out for you? Join the conversation and drop us a comment!

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