Doc’s note: Lawrence practices what he preaches over at his Dynasty league NJFFL. Check it out!
As a fellow fantasy football player, league founder and Dynasty league commissioner I spend lots of time pondering my next steps for various league issues whether they are my own or someone elses. There are many aspects of football that you need to be tuned into. As a dynasty league player you should be well versed on NCAA players of every level, the incoming Rookie class and the Top 300 Offensive players and IDP in your current dynasty league(s). If you are new to Dynasty league formats you will notice that everything you did in your Redraft league was nothing compared to what you will be exposed to in the Dynasty realm of fantasy football. This isn’t your daddy’s fantasy league.
Dynasty ownership is nothing to fool around with. These owners are hungry, attentive, ear-to-the-ground type people. They nurture and assemble some of the greatest teams one could ever imagine..on paper that is. Some leagues are open year round and sometimes trades are made in March, April and May (very non-football months for casual gamers) using multiple draft picks to seal a deal. This is great for those who can keep up but for others it means dynasty league doom and gloom. Most casual players don’t feel the need to follow any sort of NFL or NCAA headlines until August. This is a huge no-no for Dynasty leagues. You need to learn to swim if you’re gonna hang with the big boys. Don’t think just because you won your ESPN Redraft league with 6 buddies from work for the last 3 years that you’re ready for the upgrade to dynasty either. There are hell of a lot more fantasy football addicts out there than your office can even shake a stick at, and there good too. Fantasy football is a multi-million dollar industry and is growing every year. It gives you a chance to prove your mettle against friends, strangers, co-workers and even family members. But If you think fantasy games are won on Sunday…YOU’RE CRAZY!!! There are some formats where guys like Andre Johnson, Patrick Willis and Chris Johnson aren’t even the best option to start at their position. You wouldn’t have known that had you never been pushed out of the fantasy womb and into a dynasty league. Yes, you will collect you’re W or L on either Sunday or Monday nights but most games are done by the time you set, or for some lowly gamers, NOT set your lineup.
-Let’s go over a few pointers for the “New Dynasty Owner” to follow for a successful Rookie campaign
1. Look Both Ways Before Crossing
As a potentially new league mate it is your responsibility to make sure you understand the league format, rules, scoring system and upcoming league dates that you are joining. I’ve seen too many guys join leagues, think their hot s#!t and then not do well because they didn’t realize that special teams was a statistical category. Do yourself and your league a favor and make sure you understand everything before you dive head first. Commissioners know the most about their leagues so it’s always a good idea to pick their brain until you’re satisfied with the answer. Chances are they will help you until you can tread water.
2. Know Thy Neighbor
It’s always a good idea to send your new mates an email or reply so you don’t seem like the guy no one will ever be able to get a hold of. There’s one in almost every league. If you’re Commish doesn’t put some kind of welcome email or message board post together feel free to do it on your own. It will show that you are interested in the league and also looking forward to the challenge of building a franchise with these other owners. If you’re not completely surrounded by Code Monkeys you should get a pleasant response welcoming you to the league from a majority of the owners.
So this is the reason you jumped on board. If you’re like most dynasty leagues you will be able to keep more than half of the roster you put together during the course of the season. This is great because you just drafted the next Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning and Larry Fitzgerald right? Uh yeah… Not so fast. First rule of Fight Club is….be patient? Yes, patient. In this day and age patience is a very limited resource. It’s going to take you at least 2 to 3 years to get yourself together and then after you do that you’re not even guaranteed the last two years worth of Rookie draft picks will be worth the paper they’re printed on. If you land yourself a stud whether it’s through a free agency signing period or rookie draft it’s probably in your best interest to build your team around your best player. There will be more established teams looking to add that player in exchange for depth because chances are they don’t have room on their roster for 3 or 4 mid-level players that could be more “effective” on your squad. BOTTOM LINE : Keep your studs. Period. If you want to move them, shop them. Don’t just take the first offer that comes your way.
4. …Keep Your Enemies Closer
Unless your league has a tiered playoff system or multiple divisions, chances are you will have to scratch tooth and nail to see the post season as a new team joining an existing league. The chances of you taking down your more established counterparts in your first year of service are unlikely. The best way to handle some of this adversity is to prepare to beat the teams that are closer to you in experience and team skill. As your team grows it will tackle more and more sleeping opponents and your success level will improve as well. Take your favorite rankings system and trade up the board until you can’t anymore or are satisfied with your first year team. Doing this will at the very least, give you a better chance than your closest opponent at winning. I’m definitely not saying use your rankings as your only means of measuring your team. Use them to get where you want to go and keep your gut feelings in mind when determining whether or not to draft or trade for a certain player.
With that in mind, the rookie owner in an established league has a much tougher road than one in a new league. Here are some things to think about when you are contemplating over which side to join.
-The established league has rules that are time and battle tested. Sometimes newer leagues don’t have the right rules to fit the format they want to play in. This turns into new rules before the draft, mid-season and off season. It’s a lot to keep up with if you are not used to the constant changes.
-The start-up dynasty leagues will come fairly cheaper. Everyone is at the same level and the attraction is the same to all parties. Established leagues can be pricey because you are jumping into a system that has seen their prices increase over time and you are just getting in at the ground floor. Start up leagues can cost anywhere between $25 and up. Established leagues can charge much more depending on the level of players involved. Better players usually want better prizes after awhile.
I hope this helps all you rookie owners out there. Good luck in all your fantasy football endeavors! Be on the look-out for the second installment of this article which focuses on Dynasty strategies for established owners.