How Dynasty Fantasy Football Works? Beginners Guide, Tips, Explained

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How Dynasty Fantasy Football Works? Beginners Guide, Tips, Explained

Dynasty fantasy football is a popular way for people to enjoy sports whether or not they watch the games live at the stadium or on TV. 

Dynasty fantasy football is also a great way to learn how to manage a team in real life, gamify the NFL, and create a long-standing competition that can last years or even decades. 

What is Dynasty Fantasy Football?

Dynasty fantasy football is for the ultimate fantasy football fan. These leagues allow owners to retain the majority of their players from year-to-year. 

In most dynasty leagues, owners can keep almost the entirety of their roster. This puts a huge emphasis on the initial or startup draft for the league, as the subsequent years have drafts only for the incoming rookies and free agents in the league. 

Team owners in this format can truly create dynasties that are dominant in the league every season. 

Besides keeping essentially all of the players on your team every year, the fantasy football season works exactly the same as any other fantasy football league would.

How Does Dynasty Fantasy Football Work?

The initial dynasty fantasy football season will work like any other fantasy football league. 

There is the startup draft where owners can select any player that they want in a snake draft, or commonly now an auction draft, and leagues will draft larger teams that have between 20-30 players on each roster. 

Then, the season plays out like a normal fantasy football season would. The main difference comes after the season where owners keep almost all of their players on their roster for the second season of the league.

There is then a rookie and free agent draft for the new NFL rookies and players who are not owned in the league. After these drafts, it is just like another regular fantasy football season.

The Dynasty Nerds Calendar below offers a good overview of how a year in Dynasty looks:

What are Dynasty Fantasy Football Leagues?

The main concept to understand when entering a dynasty fantasy football league is that you will be keeping the majority of the players that you draft in the initial league draft. 

You will also have significantly more players on your roster. These leagues can last forever if you want, or they can have a set deadline or be chosen to be ended after any season. 

Due to the concept of keeping your players and only drafting rookies, it is truly like owning a real team. 

Team owners can make trades, only draft rookies like the real NFL does, and also play the familiar concept of fantasy football with the roster they assemble. 

Teams who draft well to set their team up for years of success can become dynasties that win the league or are competitive every season. 

Other teams that draft players that get injured a lot, retire soon after the initial draft, or have a drastic fall off in performance after just a couple seasons, can be stuck at the bottom of the league every year.

How are dynasty leagues different from redraft leagues?

Redraft leagues are the most common form of fantasy football. Every year all of the players in the NFL are available to be drafted in them. 

If an owner had a player on their roster last year, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will be able to have them in the next season. 

With a dynasty fantasy football league, owners will keep essentially all of the players that they want on their roster after each season has ended. 

There are fantasy drafts for the league before every new fantasy football season kicks off, but they are only made up of rookies and free agents from the league. 

What’s the difference between a dynasty league and a keeper league?

Keeper leagues and dynasty leagues are similar in the fact that you can keep players year after year. 

The main difference is that in most keeper leagues you can only keep three, four, or five players commonly, while in dynasty leagues your entire roster can be retained. 

Dynasty leagues put even more emphasis on the draft than keeper leagues do as it is a lot easier to go from having a terrible fantasy football season to a good one in a keeper league. 

Keys to keeper leagues are figuring out which player to keep each year and then drafting well from the players who were not protected by other teams after each season.

How to find Dynasty Fantasy Football Leagues to Join?

There are various websites and apps that have dynasty fantasy football leagues. 

There you can find leagues that you can join, or you can create one for others to join if you want to invite family or friends to also play in your league. 

How To Draft Dynasty Fantasy Football?

The draft for a dynasty fantasy football league is the same as a standard fantasy football draft that everyone is accustomed to. 

These drafts can be snake style, or now more commonly with dynasty leagues, an auction style draft. 

The main difference between a standard fantasy football draft compared to a dynasty draft is that owners will be drafting for the long term in a dynasty draft versus just drafting for that one season. 

Additionally, the roster of a starting lineup for a dynasty league will commonly have more than one flex or additional wide receivers and have between 20-30 players on each roster. 

Dynasty Fantasy Football Draft Strategy

The core difference in draft strategy in dynasty leagues compared to standard fantasy football leagues comes down to drafting for the long term. 

This is because owners will keep their players for many seasons of fantasy football to come. 

So, owners won’t want to use a first round pick to draft a 32-year-old running back who is projected to be selected in the first round in standard leagues because that player likely will only be relevant for one or two more years. 

It would be more beneficial for that owner to take a 25-year-old running back in the first round in a dynasty league who may project only as a third round running back in a standard league. 

The same could be said for every other position as well.

Draft Rookies and Sophomore Players

One of the most common strategies that owners will use in their dynasty league’s initial draft is to plan on punting the first season. This essentially means that with the roster you are drafting you have no intentions of winning that first season in your league. 

The strategy is based around drafting players who could make a team that would be good for a handful of years down the line. 

This might mean drafting a rookie or second-year quarterback who is expected to have an average to below average fantasy season, but in two years he could be one of the best fantasy quarterbacks. 

Doing this across most of the positions could line that owner’s team up to be dominant in a few years while they are sacrificing in the short term. 

Drafting Wide Receivers Strategy

Another strategy is to draft heavily on wide receivers. Wide receivers can last a lot longer than running backs in their prime. 

If you look at Julio Jones, he had over 10 years of fantasy dominance, while Ezekiel Elliot only had four before he fell off to become an average fantasy option. 

Then, in the later rounds, you could draft rookie or young running backs with potential, and you can always draft more rookie running backs in the later rookie drafts before the next season.

Win Now Draft Strategy

The ‘Win Now’ approach is drafting players who should all be the top performers in fantasy football for at least the next three seasons. 

A 31-year-old running back may be ranked as a fourth round running back in dynasty league rankings but as a second round running back in standard leagues. 

Owners could draft them higher to capitalize on them being good that year so that owner could have a better shot at winning in the next few seasons.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Adp

ADP, or average draft position, is very different for dynasty leagues compared to standard leagues. 

Some of the best fantasy players this year could be close to retiring or getting older. 

Their ADP would be much higher in standard leagues compared to dynasty leagues because the value in dynasty leagues lies in players’ potential for many years down the road in addition to the upcoming year.

Fantasy Pros has some of the smartest fantasy football experts around, especially for dynasty fantasy football, and their ADP rankings can be found here:

Dynasty Fantasy Football Startup Draft

What is the role of a dynasty league commissioner?

The dynasty league commissioner has the same role as a standard fantasy league commissioner. 

They set up the league rules, teams, and should organize the draft time and date every year.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Rules

The rules in a dynasty league are very similar to those of a standard fantasy football league. 

During the season, everything should be the same as a regular league. 

Teams play each other every week until the playoffs where the top teams get put in a bracket to crown a champion. 

The big differences are that there are commonly more flex players that start every week in a dynasty league as well as more bench players. 

Dynasty Fantasy Football Strategy

The ultimate strategy for dynasty fantasy football lies around the initial draft. 

The three main draft strategies we broke down are: to draft for the future and punt the first season, draft for the short term to win early in your league within the first few seasons, or to have a hybrid approach to both of those to have a good chance in the short and long term. 

Aside from the draft, there is a strategy similar to what NFL teams have to figure out. 

Are we going to go for it all this season and trade our young, promising players for win now players or are we going to trade our studs this year to build for the future upcoming seasons. 

How to Target Dynasty Fantasy Football Sleepers

Finding sleepers in a dynasty league is the hardest but also most important thing to creating a team that can be good for years to come. 

The best sleepers in a dynasty league may not be those players who are good for the first or even second season but could be good in the third season and for eight years after that. 

To find these players it is important to draft on potential, like NFL teams do, in addition to drafting players that can be good now. 

Examples could be drafting Lamar Jackson when he was a rookie or a young running back who is currently in a timeshare situation but could be the lead back in the next couple of years.

How to Identify Dynasty Fantasy Football Trade Targets

When looking for trade targets in a dynasty league it is important to think about what stage your team is in. 

That is either trying to win now in the current or next season or if you are building for the future seasons down the line. Once you know that, you can go after those types of players. 

Players are ranked in many dynasty fantasy football rankings with a number that corresponds

to their trade value. Below shows the rankings and their trade value on the far right hand side. 

Dynasty Fantasy Football Waiver Wire

The dynasty fantasy football waiver wire works the same as a standard league would. This can either be with a waiver wire priority or with an auction system.

What is the Best Platform For Dynasty Fantasy Football?

There are a ton of options to play dynasty fantasy football on now. The big sites for fantasy football actually don’t have great options for dynasty leagues such as ESPN and Yahoo. 

Most dynasty fantasy football leagues that you will be looking for are on more niche sites and apps.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Apps

The most well known and common app for dynasty fantasy football is Sleeper. 

Sleeper has come on to the scene in fantasy football and become one of the most popular options in general for fantasy sports. 

An area that they specialize in though is dynasty fantasy football. It is worth checking out and is a trusted option for all fantasy football players.

Another option is MFL or My Fantasy League. They have been around for a long time doing dynasty fantasy football leagues and they have a ton of cool features for dynasty league users. 

Compared to a site like Sleeper, it is more complicated to use, but they have more features.

For those who want to use a mainstream or name brand fantasy site, CBS has a dynasty league option. The major turn off is that they charge $150 to set up a dynasty or keeper league. 

If that is not an issue, then they are a good option if you are loyal to CBS fantasy football. They also have all of the tools needed to run a respectable dynasty fantasy football league. 

Dynasty Tools:

Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Dynasty fantasy football rankings will look a lot different than standard league rankings. Wide receivers are valued more as well as young players, especially running backs. 

Fantasy Pros has some of the best rankings that are shown below in the screenshot and link.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

Fantasy pros also have rookie only rankings, which is super important for dynasty leagues. 

These are crucial because for dynasty league owners who are in their second or later year in a league the draft before every year will have primarily rookies as the most coveted in it.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Superflex

Super Flex dynasty fantasy football leagues are more rare, but you can see from below that they value quarterbacks a lot more than a normal dynasty league will. 

This is because you can use quarterbacks in the super flex spot, which most teams will usually do every week. 

The younger quarterbacks are also valued more compared to the older quarterbacks who could be close to retirement. 

Dynasty Fantasy Football Trade Calculator

Keep, Trade, or Cut has arguably the best dynasty fantasy football trade calculator on the market. 

In the screenshot above, you can see an example of how a possible trade in a dynasty league would be valued. 

Obviously, Tom Brady is a good fantasy quarterback, but he could have just one or maybe two years left in him. 

When comparing him to a young and promising wide receiver who hasn’t had an above average fantasy season yet but could in the future like Brandon Aiyuk, the trade favors the team getting Aiyuk. 

In a standard league this trade would likely favor the team getting Brady as he is a top-five fantasy quarterback for next year.

This website also gives players a score, such as Brady getting 2,774, that decides their dynasty league value based on various different variables. 

Aiyuk’s value is nearly double that of Brady at 4,598 due to his age and potential.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Trade Value Chart

Trade value is important in dynasty fantasy football leagues during the offseason and regular season to determine the value of a player in this format. 

A dynasty fantasy football trade value chart is essentially like a pre-draft ranking for a standard league.

Each player is given a trade value score to determine how much they are worth compared to other players in a dynasty format. 

Fantasy Pros has some of the best charts for this that can be seen here for quarterbacks and for all other positions at the link:

Dynasty Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Mock drafts are important for any league, but especially for dynasty leagues. 

These leagues could last 10+ years, and the only opportunity to have a full draft will be in the first ever draft for that league. 

Fantasy Pros has a good and customizable mock draft shown below, as well as Sleeper, which could be better if you are playing there to get a feel for the app as well.


Dynasty fantasy football is for the true fantasy football fans. Most players will start as standard redraft fantasy league players and then progress to keeper leagues and finally dynasty leagues. 

Team owners can truly feel like they are running a team each year with dynasty fantasy football

Each year owners will draft rookies and make trades to build for that upcoming year and the future seasons. 

It is a great next step for fantasy football players who want an even more in-depth and hands-on fantasy football experience. 

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How Dynasty Fantasy Football Works? Beginners Guide, Tips, Explained