The new design will always remain the most popular shapeFantasy Football, there is no denying the relatively rapid rise of Dynasty fantasy football over the past decade. The fantasy community is getting bigger every year, which means more people are looking for leagues.
Choosing the right one is important when you want to join a Dynasty League for the first time. Let's discuss the optimal rules and settings for creating a Dynasty Fantasy Football League.
Dynasty Fantasy Football League Rules and Settings
If you put 1,000 fantasy managers in a room and asked them to design their own league with their preferred rules and settings, you could legitimately get 1,000 different sets of settings.
There isThe Fantasy Football PlatformThey come with truly unlimited customization options. Neither I nor anyone else can cover every little detail.
That being said, I am now in my third decade of playing fantasy football. Over the years I've played formats I loved and formats I hated. This helped me compile my list of optimal rules and settings. Here isMeinPreferred rules and settings for Dynasty Fantasy Football Leagues.
A lot of nuance and additional leadership is required to maintain a long-term and successful Dynasty League. But at its core, it's still fantasy football. And that includes game rules for things that come up in any kind of league, regardless of format. In my opinion, these rules should be universal.
All leagues must use at least 12 teams, that is, exactly six playoff teamsFAABwaivers and ends in week 17. I fully recognize the popularity of 10-team leagues. I can recommend them for beginners. But if you want a really competitive league, 12 teams really is the perfect number.
Among other things, I find the two-win system advantageous. This has grown in popularity in recent years and is openly praised by the godfather of fantasy football, Matthew Berry.
The two-win system involves your traditional weekly head-to-head match, with a second win awarded if your team scores in the top half overall for that week.
Fantasy Football is a game that inherently offers a lot of luck and variety. We like to design our rules in such a way that the luck factor is as low as possible without sacrificing the excitement that makes this game so enjoyable. The two-win system threads the needle as well as possible.
Team size and starting lineups
Dynasty rosters will always be larger than newly created rosters. The question is how much? A common argument against deep rosters is that it exhausts the waiver wire. Since those are my optimal rules and settings, I can honestly say that I think it's very silly.
I prefer to reward fantasy managers for having more good players than other teams. So I tend to have bigger lists. I prefer dynasty teams with at least 25 players. For me, a value between 25 and 30 is enough.
As for starting lineups, I feel physical pain when I see the standard Yahoo or ESPN lineups of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 flex, a kicker, and a defense. The newly compiled lineups should go much deeper. If your league doesn't allow you to start at least six WRs/RBs (actually seven), you should try adding a flex or two.
Deeper starting positions are even more important in Dynasty leagues. My ideal starting lineup would be 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE and 4 flex. No kicker or defense.
Deeper rosters reward managers who put together the best rosters. Dynasty leagues have trades during the season. If a chart is too flat, it will affect the quality of the trades to be made.
For example, if you only start 2 RBs, 2 WRs, and 1 flex, that theoretically means only the top 60 running backs and wide receivers are in the starting lineup. The top teams in a dynasty league will have pretty strong players on their benches. We don't want that. We want those players to come into the lineup. That way, it's worth trading for an RB3 or a WR4. It's worth upgrading your last Flex player because you can actually give yourself an advantage.
The rebuilding teams also benefit from that. If you have to blow it up, chances are you don't have very many starter-worthy players. But if your league has a deeper starting lineup, you can still make those players contenders who might need the second or third flex to plug a hole or cover an injury.
It's fun to have a massive roster, but a Dynasty league won't survive if the bad teams don't have a real chance to turn things around. With deeper rosters, managers have greater maneuverability in creating their rosters, resulting in more transactions.
But balance is key
Think of starting lineups as a bell curve. There are extremely flat starting grids at the front of the corner. This puts more emphasis on luck and randomness. With everyone only starting their best players, it all depends on which players show up at the right time.
As you add more starting spots, it becomes more important to have a full roster. But when you get to the end of the corner, you will find that you have too many slots. This shifts the balance back to the lucky side.
Having the best players in the lineup is just as problematic as starting everyone with a bunch of real WR4s and RB3s. I've found that lineups that allow between 6 and 9 RBs/WRs are the sweet spot.
Each league must have some form of points per game. reception format. I prefer half PPR, but full PPR is fine too. As long as your Dynasty Fantasy Football setup isn't a non-PPR system, you'll be fine.
While I haven't experimented with this particular rating format, I like the idea of tiered PPR. In graded PPR, points are adjusted per reception to account for the length of the reception. It's meant to mitigate the reward fantasy managers receive for a string of zero-yard receptions.
A typical graded PPR format would be zero points for receptions that do not gain yards, 0.25 PPR for 1-5 yards, 0.5 PPR for 6-10 yards, 0.75 PPR for 11-15 yards, and 1, 0 PPR for 16+ yards. If you choose graduated PPR, you can adjust these barrel length brackets as you like.
First launch draft
Every dynasty fantasy football league begins with the first starter draft. Here, each manager creates a starting list from the entire pool of players, just like a newly created league. However, with regard to the first startup draft, two important decisions must be made.
Queue or auction first? I prefer auction designs in any fantasy format. When it comes to dynasty startups, I really don't think I would ever start a dynasty league that didn't use auction.
In theory, if your dynasty league has the right people and is well run, it should last a very long time. You assemble a team of players that you can use for their entire career. It is the ultimate test to predict player performance. If you believe in a player, don't be banned from beating them based on something as trivial as having your name drawn out of the hat at the wrong time.
No one should be limited by the randomness of the design position. You should have a fair chance to draft each player. Auctions ensure that.
Second, there are two schools of thought in this regardWhenYou should keep your starting draft. Some Dynasty leagues will have their start-up draft early in the offseason, perhaps even before the NFL draft. Others plan to do so during the normal draft season in late August/early September.
I prefer to draft as late as possible. There are several strategies that managers can implement early in the first year. I'd rather draft later to avoid managers being forced to sit out the first season due to injuries.
A final decision to be made in the starter draft is how to handle rookies. There are two ways you can handle this.
- You can include rookies in your start-up draft regardless of when you hold your draft. In this format, rookies are in the player pool and can be drafted just like the veterans.
- You can have a separate rookie draft at some point after the initial start, which must be a snake draft. This can be done immediately after, or you can wait as long as you want (as long as you draft before the season starts).
When you first start, managers, not the players themselves, can draft rookie picks. Using 2023 as an example, you would design Rookie 1.01 instead of Bijan Robinson.
I prefer to draft after the NFL draft and include rookies in the first year.
Annual Rookie Draft
Now let's move on to the rookie draft. This shall be five rounds and in a linear format (no snake) determined by the reverse order of the previous season's leaderboard (or some variation thereof to prevent tanking).
The Rookie Draft takes place sometime in the offseason each year and includes that season's new Rookie class. This draft can come before or after the NFL draft. Obviously, the NFL draft and the landing spots of players can greatly affect fantasy statistics.
I absolutely prefer to have the rookie draft after the NFL draft. While there's a lot to be said for predicting landing spots and a player's performance, it's not really part of the game in my opinion. The goal in fantasy football is to predict how players will perform.
Every year we know the players' decision situations... except for newcomers, at least for a few months. This is an important factor in assessing a player's fantasy value, and I don't think managers should be forced to guess where a player might end up.
The ability is to predict performance, not that a player will be lucky if they end up on a team where they end up having more value than expected. However, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with a league having its rookie draft before the NFL draft. It is purely a personal preference.
Waivers and Rookie Drafts
In-season waivers are the same as rewrites, which we discussed above. The main difference between Dynasty leagues is that some leagues have (or close to) exemptions year-round. Even in leagues with a moratorium period, managers can add and remove players for most of the offseason.
You can choose not to receive exemptions out of season. I prefer a moratorium on waivers until after the rookie draft, which should ideally happen sometime after the NFL draft, but not too late in the summer.
I prefer a rookie draft to an all-rookie draft. Veterans not placed on the roster remain on waivers until after the rookie draft. From that point, everyone will have their rosters for the upcoming season and will be able to add and remove players at their discretion under the exemption rules.
Different rules and settings
The above covers all the major areas where you can configure your Dynasty Fantasy Football League rules and settings. Here are a few extra settings that your league should have.
- At least four IR spots
- A five playerTaxi command(Players that don't count towards your total squad size, but once you move them to your active team, they can't go back to the taxi team)
- No trade deadline for regular season (but playoff teams cannot trade during the three playoff weeks)