Dynasty fantasy football leagues have been blowing up the past few years. And why not? It’s arguably the most challenging fantasy format. You want to win this year, but you also always have your eye on the future in the form of trades and potential keepers. This isn’t a check-your-lineup-once-a-week league; It’s a pay-attention-to-the-NFL-365-days-a-year league. As such, fantasy owners are always looking for advice and draft strategy tips when putting together their dynasty rankings and cheat sheets.
Because many dynasty leagues have wildly different settings, there’s no way we can cover every scenario you might encounter. However, below are some general tips that can help you have success in any dynasty format.
MORE FANTASY ALARM: 2019 Draft Guide
Fantasy Football Dynasty League Tips
Remember when I said finding the balance between winning now and preparing for the future is imperative in dynasty leagues? Contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should pick as many rookies as possible. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take any rookies, of course. Just last year we Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Phillip Lindsay and Calvin Ridley have fantastic rookie campaigns, but reaching for first-year players can throw off the “win-now” part of that delicate balancing act.
The 2019 rookie class doesn’t feature a “sure thing” like Saquon Barkley was last year. Depending on your keeper settings, you might not see a rookie go off the board until the fourth or fifth round this season. Yes, youth is your friend, but too many rookies means you’ll spend more time thinking about the future than actually enjoying this season. Think best player available in the first four or five rounds (assuming the players aren’t all 35), and then start focusing more on age.
Fantasy Football Dynasty League Strategy
Many dynasty league owners wonder if certain positions are better targets than others. Quarterbacks tend to be more desirable, in part because they will the longest careers. Tom Brady and Drew Brees, two QBs in their 40s, are the exception, but most good QBs can play into their mid-30s. The best strategy might be to focus on a couple younger guys and try to nab at least one (think Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, or Baker Mayfield). After that, grab a reliable veteran like Philip Rivers who slides because of his age, and then grab an unproven youngster like Daniel Jones, Drew Lock or Will Grier just to have around as a backup. They could eventually grow into a starter.
Running back is tougher to evaluate because their careers generally aren’t as long. If you have a top-five pick, you should draft one of the elite young backs. However, if you have a late-first-round pick, it might make more sense to take a receiver. Every season several RBs come out of nowhere to have fantasy value (think James Conner, Phillip Lindsay, and Damien Williams). They lead the list of guys who were afterthoughts last August and now are being taken in the first few rounds. You obviously can’t ignore RB, but you can reasonably expect a few surprises to break out. If you’re active on the waiver wire, you can lock down some solid keepers.
Wide receivers are relatively stable, at least compared to running backs. It seems like rule changes make life easier for WRs every season, so we’re starting to see longer, more productive careers. You’ll want to target WRs 26 or younger, at least for your two or three of your receiver spots. From there, you can look for veterans that provide more short-term value.
Tight end is a roll of the dice. You will want one of the top seven or eight, although you’ll have to invest a lot of draft capital if you want Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Zach Ertz. You can get by with someone like O.J. Howard, Evan Engram or David Njoku. Getting a rookie or second-year TE as your backup is a good way to round out the position. Rookie TEs usually struggle, but this year’s crop of T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, and a few others have a lot of long-term upside. Again, it’s all about balancing this season and the future, and no position embodies that more than TE.