Dynasty Fantasy Football Start-up Guide

Dynasty Fantasy Football has to be one of, if not the most enjoyable, way to play fantasy football with true hardcore fans. The key in dynasty fantasy football is that your team is your team forever. While there are variations, the general gist of things is that you have an actual franchise. This means massive rosters and no re-draft every year. The only draft that will be taking place is a rookie draft, similar to the actual NFL.

Dynasty fantasy football is for those of you who love fantasy and want to be able to enjoy it year-round. There is no real offseason as you have to scout rookies, make offseason moves, and in general, you get to enjoy being a general manager of your team for all months of the year.

Find Dedicated Players

The first thing you need to do when making a dynasty league is to make sure to find dedicated players that you trust. This is a multi-year commitment. A dynasty league is never meant to end, and therefore players have to always be playing for the future.

It is also a massive pain to find someone to take over an orphan team when a teammate leaves. This is the first thing you need to do before you even create the dynasty league. You need dedicated, smart, and trustworthy players.

There is also the fact that dynasty takes a lot of effort, and it is just so much more fun when you’re playing it with other players putting in that effort and dedication. You want your league to be active and fun so that it does not die out, especially since there is so much weight being put on the future in a dynasty team.

Agree to Thorough Rule Set

The last thing you want to come up in a dynasty league is issues with the interpretation of the rules. While this is always going to happen in some capacity at some point, you want to agree to a very thorough rule set that minimizes this discussion.

You want to clearly state the scoring settings, roster settings, rules for trades (especially draft picks), taxi squad, waivers, scheduling, and more. You will also want to collect down payments for future seasons if you are in a paid league. This is to discourage those from just up and leaving, and at the very least, you will get a heads up.

Roster Sizes

The roster size is an interesting part of dynasty fantasy football. For one, I highly highly recommend no defense or kickers. That just complicates and adds randomness that should not be there, especially in dynasty fantasy football. If you want to add individual defensive players (IDP), you can; however, I do not recommend it.

The roster size itself is going to be massive. For 12-team leagues, you are looking at a total size of at least 25, most likely closer to 30. Then, you also have the taxi squad. For 10-team leagues, the roster size should be at least 30, again with a taxi squad. This is because you want teams built like NFL teams. You want to have deep rosters as there is not as much available on the waivers in dynasty. This is one more aspect that makes dynasty engaging but difficult.

Here are my recommended roster settings for 10-team and 12-team leagues when it comes to dynasty.

10-Team Roster Settings

  • 1QB, 2WR, 2RB, 1TE, 4W/R/T Flex, 1Q/W/R/T Flex, 20BEN, 2IR
  • 4 Taxi/practice squad players
  • IR spots are reserved for players on teams’ injured reserved list
  • You cannot drop a player on your bench once the game starts

12-Team Roster Settings

  • 1QB, 2WR, 2RB, 1TE, 3W/R/T Flex, 16BEN, 2IR
  • 3 Taxi/practice squad players
  • IR spots are reserved for players on teams’ injured reserved list
  • You cannot drop a player on your bench once the game starts

Start-up Draft

Due to the massive roster size, the startup draft is going to be lengthy. Make sure to plan accordingly. This will take around twice as long as a normal re-draft draft. However, even though it is already long, you should not pressure people into making fast picks. Again, this is the entire foundation of your team for the foreseeable future, and everyone is going to have tough decisions to make.

You should allow draft-pick trading during your startup as it adds a whole new dimension to the draft. Often times rookie picks and other assets get moved all around during this massive draft, which simply adds more to the great experience.

Reccomended Scoring Settings

First of all, if you have a set of scoring that works and your league mates like, then stick to it. You do not need to have a special scoring system for dynasty. However, I would do zero experimentation with scoring settings when doing a dynasty league. There is one start-up draft, and that is setting your roster and your foundation for this franchise. You CANNOT later change the scoring settings unless it is a unanimous vote with every league mate agreeing.

My dynasty leagues have used the following scoring settings and have had nothing but rave reviews. It balances out everyone rather well.

Standard scoring except for the following:
(i) .5 points per Rushing/Receiving first downs
(ii) .5 points per reception
(iii) 6 Point passing TD
(iv) 1 point per 25 yards on returns

Full List:

Passing Yards: 0.04 per yard
Passing TD: 6 Points
2-pt Conversion: 2 points
Pass intercepted: -2
Rushing Yards: 0.1 per yard
Rushing TD: 6 Points
Rushing first down: 0.5 Points
2-Pt Conversion: 2 Points
Reception: 0.5 points
Receiving Yards: 0.1 per yard
Receiving TD: 6 Points
Receiving First Down: 0.5 Points
2-Pt Conversion: 2 Points
Special Teams Player:
Special Teams TD: 6 Points
Special Teams Forced Fumble: 1 point
Special Teams Fumble Recovery: 1 Point
Punt Return Yards: 0.04 per yard
Kick Return Yards: 0.04 per yard
Fumble: -1 Point
Fumble Lost: -1 Points
(1 point is lost for a fumble if it is lost, an additional 1 point is lost)

FAAB Waivers

The best way to play all fantasy football is with free-agent auction bidding when it comes to waivers. However, in dynasty, it is extra important that you use this method as it is the most fair and balanced way for teams to bid for undrafted free agent rookies, as well as waiver-wire guys in the offseason.

With FAAB, each team gets a set amount of money to bid on players that appear on the waiver wire. The bidding is a silent auction, and the team who bid the most wins the player. This is especially useful with undrafted rookies as it will allow you to mimic the UDFA process of the NFL.

I recommend starting with $250 of bidding money (FAAB Cash, not real money) and then adding $100 for every team following the UDFA process each year. So, a couple of weeks after the rookie draft.

This makes FAAB management very interesting and an integral part of the dynasty league.

Rookie Draft

Each year you are going to have a rookie draft that welcomes and distributes the new NFL rookies to their teams. With the recommended roster settings above, you should do a 3-4 round draft for 12-team leagues and a 4-5 round draft for 10-team leagues. However, this is really up to you and how many viable undrafted rookies you would like to have.

The rookie draft is pretty straightforward, but the key is how you determine the picking order. Your league is similar to the NFL, where bad teams would stay bad unless they get good draft capital. The best way to balance rewarding bad teams with good picks and not having teams throwing is to use potential points as the marker for the rookie draft order.

In our rules, it states: The order for the rookie draft will be by potential points (Max points for) for teams who miss playoffs.
(i) Example:
1. The least amount of potential points
2. The second least amount
3. Etc.

Example of how this works to stop tanking:
It stops you from benching your top RB to lose a game. This is because the 20 points he gets will still count towards your potential points. There will be no reason to bench your best guys.

Another key is that the draft will be straight and NOT SNAKE. The 1st overall pick should get the 2.01, 3.01, etc.

While teams may still trade assets to make their team weaker, this is dynasty, and if you do that, you are sacrificing a lot and better get a good return to help with your rebuild.

Taxi Squad

The taxi squad, also known as a practice squad, should be designated for rookie picks. This is a place to stash rookies without taking up a roster spot on your active roster. Once a player is brought up to your main roster after the deadline (usually a week before NFL Kick-off), they cannot go back on your taxi squad. I recommend allowing these rookies to stay on the taxi squad for a max of two years. That should be plenty of time to see if they can add something to your roster.

I recommend using the number of taxi squad spots to match the number of rookie draft rounds. I.e., 3 round rookie drafts should have three taxi spots.

Where to Play

My number one recommendation is Sleeper App. There really is no other season-long fantasy football application or platform that matches the level of customization that Sleeper offers. On top of that, it is much more stable than the smaller companies that sometimes get thrown around when discussing dynasty football.

FleaFlicker would be my second choice. They also offer a lot of customization, and the platform is pretty solid. The interface is just a massive step behind Sleeper, especially on the mobile side of things.

Matthew is a UC Berkeley economic and philosophy graduate. He has played DFS, Football pools, and survival leagues for most of his adult life. Matthew brings to the table great strategies for both your GPP and Cash plays as well as a winning track record with his picks of the week.

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