Roster Construction 102: Dynasty

July 5, 2021

If you haven’t read Part I yet, make sure you check it out. While it isn’t required reading for this part, I do reference many of the concepts discussed there.

Dynasty leagues are my favorite way to play. I feel like they give you the most flexibility to build your roster to your style.

Dynasty brings into play draft picks. Everyone values them differently. Some see them as a valuable commodity, others as almost worthless until it’s time to draft. Those that covet draft picks often go with a youth-centric approach. The thinking there is you want to be in contention as long as possible, and the “best” way to do that is to have a young team that will only get better over time. (It doesn’t always (hardly) work that way.)

Almost all leagues allow you to trade your draft picks and that’s where the fun comes in for me. I like having lots of picks heading into a draft so that I can move around in the draft. If I see a player I like falling, I want to be able to go up and get him. Similarly, if it’s coming up on my turn to pick and I don’t see anyone I like on the board, I’ll trade down or out and acquire more picks.

Dynasty leagues will generally have two drafts, the startup where you select your initial roster, and the typical rookie draft where you select players that are coming in from college. Depending on your league, your first-year rookie picks could be something that is selectable in the startup draft. Others will simply reverse the startup order. I prefer to select the picks, I find that more fun, but I’m a degenerate.

Auctions

I really should have covered auctions in the redraft article, but we’ll hit them here. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Everyone is given money to bid on every player. It’s up to you to budget your cash and build the best team you can. Now, I would definitely employ a variation of tiered-based drafting with this. One $15 player is pretty much just like another, so tiers is the way to go.

Auctions really are kind of their own thing and there is plenty of sub-approaches that you can find out there. Some advocate to only throw out dudes that you would never bid on. Others say go hard after studs. Still others like to play chicken, driving up prices to see who is actually willing to pull the trigger. I will shoot my shot on players that I want, but mostly, I’m bargain hunting in auctions. If I think Player X is worth $20 and I see bids at $10-13, I’m going to get in there and mix it up.

Youth-oriented approach

There’s plenty of pundits out there that will tell you in dynasty that youth is king. I see their post. If you are going to be playing over multiple years, you want players that will A. appreciate in value, and B. not see a steep drop-off in production.

The concept is simple. Pound youth early and often. You are looking for upside and long-term value. Even if a player is down the depth chart, if there’s a possibility in the future he can take over the starting role, that’s what you want. Generally, wide receiver is the emphasis here, with younger players finding it easier to get targets. They also tend to be more trade-able assets over time.

I’ve seen this applied over and over again. You know what I haven’t seen? This approach win consistently. Yeah, you might catch lightning in a bottle, but a lot of times these high-upside plays end up on the bust side and your left just spinning your wheels.

Win now approach

This is the way I tend to play. I do this for a couple of reasons. One, with so many managers going crazy over youth, I can get plenty of production at a bargain. Two, you never know when a league is going to fold. The typical dynasty league lasts three years or less. Playing the long game is fine if it’s an established league, but if it’s a group of random people from the internet, odds are not in your favor.

Now, this doesn’t mean you are only seeking out geezers. This method merely means that you aren’t discounting someone because of their age. Many managers, and real-life GMs, say they would rather cut loose a dude a year too early than hang on to him a year too long. I have no problem with rostering a guy knowing full well that he might be with me next year. I’ll squeeze those last points out of him and then cut bait.

The next part of this series, I’ll be looking at Keeper leagues. If this series gets enough traction, I’ll add waivers and trades as well.