What is a dynasty fantasy football league?

Maybe you’re a fantasy football newbie who hasn’t played the game very long. Or, perhaps you’ve played fantasy football for a while but have been stuck in the “redraft” bubble. Either way, you might be asking, “What is a dynasty fantasy football league?”

Dynasty fantasy football has been around for a while but has grown increasingly popular in recent years. In contrast to redraft leagues, where you draft an entirely new roster from scratch each year, dynasty fantasy football leagues maintain consistency from year to year. Dynasty leagues allow you to keep your roster intact from one season to the next, and supplement it by adding rookies or other veterans who are free agents.

What are the challenges of playing in a dynasty fantasy football league?

Dynasty fantasy football leagues are a terrific opportunity for advanced fantasy owners who want to take their roster building skills to the next level.

But for as fun as they can be, dynasty leagues offer a number of challenges.

  • Finding dedicated and committed owners. A dynasty league requires owners to participate for more than one season at a time. If you want a successful league, you’ll have owners who play a bare minimum of five consecutive years. That necessitates a big commitment from your fellow fantasy owners. You have to ask yourself if you know that many friends, family or coworkers who have that level of commitment and dedication to the sport. Because if owners bail out after one or two bad seasons, you’re left scrambling for a replacement each offseason. And trying to get an owner to “buy” a lousy franchise is a tough sell.
  • Maintaining competitive balance. Maybe you feel confident in your skills to build a dynasty. You think you can draft an initial team that sustains success for many years while you keep drafting rookies each season to supplement your championship contender. Kudos to you. But what happens if only one or two other owners in your league do the same? What would become of your league if half the league is terrible at dynasty roster management and your league became lopsided? Some owners wouldn’t care. “Hey, I’ll take a championship each year. Isn’t that the point?” Yes, the point is to win each year. But if you’re competing against a bunch of mental midgets and you’ve made the playoffs before the season even starts, then what’s the point? I like to win, yes. But I like to beat other competitive owners, not pushovers.
  • Overcoming a bad season (or more). Everybody has a lousy season or two in redraft leagues. Maybe you took a chance on a player returning from injury who never quite regains his former stature. Perhaps you drafted too many sleepers who didn’t pan out. Or, maybe you just misevaluated and whiffed on prominent player and it cost you the season. Oh well. There’s always next year, right? Well, in dynasty, there is smaller room for error. If you have a lousy draft or misevaluate too many players from year to year, you could wind up being bad, or at best mediocre, for several seasons. You have to be able to overcome that drought and make your team competitive again, but you have to do it without starting from scratch.

Dynasty fantasy football leagues come with their challenges. But as long as you take steps to make your league as competitive as possible, those obstacles can be overcome.

(Related: 4 easy steps: How to start a dynasty fantasy football league)

Is a dynasty fantasy football league right for you?

After learning a little about what a dynasty fantasy football league entails, here are a few questions to ask yourself before making the dive.

  • Can I commit to participating in the same league for at least the next five years?
  • Can I stay committed to the league even if I have one or two bad seasons in a row?
  • Do I have what it takes to draft a strong team for the inaugural season?
  • Am I confident in my scouting abilities to select the right rookies each offseason?
  • Do I know enough dedicated family, friends or coworkers who would make good dynasty owners?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, congratulations! It sounds like you are ready to make the leap in dynasty fantasy football leagues. Good luck to you on your journey, and please come back if you need assistance!

(Related: 21 tips for starting a dynasty league (or keeper league))