How do you play dynasty fantasy football?

Are you ready to take the plunge from redraft to dynasty fantasy football? How does redraft differ from dynasty, and how do you play the latter? This article assumes you have at least the basic knowledge of what fantasy football is.

To play dynasty fantasy football, the first thing you need is to join a league (or start one) with other committed owners. You must all be ready to participate in a year-round league, because dynasty leagues never take a break, unlike redraft ones.

Unless you join a dynasty league already in progress, the first thing you will do is have what is called a “dynasty start-up draft.” (There are other ways to start leagues such as having a fantasy auction, but for the purposes of this article, we will focus on the draft.)

In a “start-up draft”, much like in a redraft league, you will determine a draft order and proceed to take turns selecting players in serpentine, or “snake” fashion. Meaning: you will reverse the draft order in odd rounds vs. even rounds.

Unlike in redraft leagues, however, you cannot just be concerned with winning this year only. You have to select players who you think can contribute to your team in the future, as well. (Unless your plan is to go for it all in Year 1 and purposely tank the next year – but that’s a strategy for a whole different article.)

After you have formed your league and kicked it off with a start-up draft, now it’s time to assemble the schedule and play your first season. Throughout the season, always be looking to improve your team. Take inventory of everyone’s roster, see who might be willing to be a buyer or seller at the trade deadline, and see if you can improve your roster with trades.

Once the inaugural season is over, the fun doesn’t stop there! The offseason is when you can really make your moves. Pay attention to news that comes out of NFL camps. See which players get cut and sign as free agents elsewhere. Make sure you follow the NFL Combine and the subsequent draft, because that’s where you will make the biggest improvements to your team.

At some point during the offseason – I recommend as close to the next NFL season as possible – your league will hold a “rookie draft.” This draft, unlike a “start-up draft,” will not be in serpentine fashion. It will be the same order each round, with the worst team from the previous year getting the first pick and your league’s champion getting the last pick of each round. You will select rookies from the incoming NFL class to your roster to help supplement your roster.

Once the rookie draft is over, there are other things you can do to improve your roster. You could have a supplemental veteran draft for any veterans that were cut from other teams in your league. You could also make further trades to improve your roster. Always be on the lookout to improve.

And that’s about it. This takes you back to the regular season when you get to do it all over again. Rinse, repeat.