How does a dynasty fantasy football draft work?

If you’re joining a dynasty fantasy football league or starting one of your own, you might be asking how does a dynasty fantasy football draft work?

First, let’s make a distinction. There are two types of drafts in a dynasty fantasy football league. The first type is the “start-up” draft. The second type is the “rookie” draft.

Let’s discuss both.

How does a dynasty fantasy football start-up draft work?

A dynasty fantasy football start-up draft is just like that of a redraft league. If you’ve ever played fantasy football at all, you know how a typical draft works. If not, I’ll briefly explain.

For a start-up draft, you will draw names out of a hat — or somehow determine a draft order — and that will be the order in which your league owners will select players. 

For a dynasty start-up draft, unlike the rookie draft that I will explain in a minute, you will typically use a “serpentine” or “snake” order. What this means is that in odd-numbered rounds, you will draft according to the order that you initially set. But in even-numbered rounds, the order will reverse itself.

To put it another way, you will draft 1-12 in the odd-numbered rounds and 12-1 in the even rounds (or however many teams are in your league).

There are lots of strategies you can employ in your dynasty start-up draft, and this is not the article in which to explain them all. But I will just say that strategies are different in start-up drafts vs. redraft drafts. Remember to look beyond the current year when evaluating talent. Look for players who will be good not just this year, but next year and beyond.

How does a dynasty fantasy football rookie draft work?

Every offseason after the first year, your dynasty league will typically hold a “rookie-only” draft. The reason why it is called “rookie-only” is because, well, you are only drafting rookies. This is because all the veterans in your league — minus the dead weight ones who were cut from rosters — are already being held by the different teams in your league.

In rookie-only drafts, the draft order is typically NOT serpentine. Meaning, the worst team will pick first in every round and the best team (the champion) will be picking last in each round.

How many rounds are in a rookie draft? It’s really up to your preference. I think somewhere around four rounds is standard practice because the talent gets pretty thin at that point. You can draft as many as you want, but if your league has roster size limits, you’re not going to want fringe NFL rookies clogging up space.

Bonus: How does a dynasty fantasy football supplemental draft work?

A supplemental draft — which could also be called a veteran draft or whatever name you choose to give it — is a draft where teams can pick up another team’s scraps. Any veteran players who were cut from a team in your league would be eligible for this supplemental draft. These typically are pretty bad players if they can’t even hang around at the bottom of somebody’s roster. However, as the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There could be a few useful veterans who are better than the worst players on someone else’s team.

Hopefully this helps explain the different types of dynasty fantasy football drafts. Good luck!