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.

3.  Jeepers-Keepers

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.

  1. Greg says:

    The best line of the article “First rule of Fight Club is….be patient? ”

    Doc, I 100% agree. Ppl have a tendency to drop, trade, move their players b4 they can pan out…. and I’m that guy that loves to get those players from those “newbies”….. great piece! keep the fantasy talk going… I’m dying for more fantasy!!

  2. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Greg: All credit goes to Lawrence, he’s the author.

  3. 'Cue Pork State of Mind says:

    Can anybody recommend a good resource for dynasty league rules?

    I’m looking to start up a new dynasty league, and there are so, so many sites out there with conflicting information. I’d like to do an auction style initial draft, but nothing insanely complicated as to salary rules. I don’t entirely grasp how to integrate a rookie draft into that style, and maybe auction drafting gets too messy.

    Obviously it’s crucial to get the rules right out of the gate, and I’d love a good resource that compares the various options for dynasty (and keeper) leagues, what rules work best, what rules don’t, and how different setups create different styles of leagues.

  4. Lawrence

    Lawrence says:

    Feel free to visit our website and download the NJFFL Today file. There you will see our entire format, rules, rosters, you name it. If anything you can use it to create your own.


  5. Greg says:

    Sorry Lawrence didnt mean to slight ya…nice piece…. I’m not used to Doc having another writer :)

  6. Lawrence

    Lawrence says:

    No worries…glad to help too!


  7. Isles Guru says:

    Aren’t you the same guy who gave Michael Bush away for some Saltines?

  8. Isles Guru says:

    My last message was for Greg.

  9. Greg says:

    nah Bush was given away for a Big Mac Wrap…..$1.49…..was against the cap my man….also the same guy that has Brees, MJD, Jennings, and Gates on the same team…

  10. al koholic says:

    @Doc: i like the draft recap,you seem to have the rb crush going but i tend to also,last year i got really lucky at qb with Ben and Brett,wont be counting on ben this year and although still a decent play brett cant repeat,plus warner is gone,whats your early thoughts on sims-walker?


    these rules work well on yahoo

    1-Check to see if your Commissioner has a profile that shows he been running leagues for years – If he shows a new profile I would stay away from the league
    many end up joining leagues that the commisisoner locks out players for his own benifit

    2-Check to see if there are message board posting on the league message board – there should be at least a message from the commissioner welcome you to the league

    3-Make sure that the E-Mail is shown before joing up in the league

    4-Check profile of all players in league – if they for instance have a bunch of players have a profile rating of 31% there is a chance that that they will not stay active

    5-JOIN THE BEST LEAGUE – come on every advertisment is the same – how does the commisioner know its the best league – the season has not started

    6-Join a keeper league – come on how many players will end of retunring next year including the commisioner – You are better just drafting for this year

    This is my advise – The Mayan Calendar prdicts the end of the world on December 21, 2012 – if you look closely they also predict the end of your keeper league at the end of the first season

  12. ETMcgee says:

    never played in a dynasty league before, but i do play in 1 keeper league (baseball, basketball, football). I took over for a team in basketball and in the first year won by beating a team that has Lebron, Durant, and CP3.

    Dynasty football might be a little to much for a token FF player like myself (although i do well, don’t really care as much about football), but i will use these tips when trying to join a dynasty basketball league this fall.

  13. Doc

    Doc says:

    @al koholic: He is their best receiver of course, but I don’t like Garrard, which makes him high upside mid-tier. I think we’ll still see inconsistency from him.

  14. al koholic says:

    @Doc: yeah,i like him but your right,thanks

  15. Drunken Wolverine says:

    In a 12 team ppr dynasty league, Would you do this :
    Send Ryan Matthews and Jacoby jones
    Calvin Johnson and Felix jones

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