This is about giving you some more league-specific draft strategy. We covered basic strategy separately, and you can find that here. Those can be used in any format of league to some degree. But there is some adjustment that needs to be made for specific league types. Here the more popular variants are discussed and strategy advice specific to those are given.
League Specific Draft Strategy- Dynasty Start-up
Fail to prepare, you should prepare to fail. This is true for all versions of fantasy football (and life!). If you don’t do the prep work, then you are setting yourself back before the clock has even started.
Before we dive into too much detail, and start looking at positional strategy the keys to winning in dynasty are consistently are:
Balance the present with the future
This is solved by trying to keep your roster full of a mix of players of ages, trading off older viable fantasy options and keep young talent on your bench/ taxi squad (a pool of players that you can hold onto, but they are not able to be used) to develop.
Beware the drop off!
There is a reluctance to look at your roster and move some solid players off of it, but that’s not how you win in the long term. It’ll work in redraft, but where you are taking multiple seasons into account, you’ll find yourself holding a player past his prime. Don’t be afraid to turn in an aging stud for a haul of picks and younger players.
Attack the draft
The first thing you will notice is that your waiver wire is going to be extremely thin. So, if you are looking to add players, your best option is through the draft. As in the NFL:
Draft for talent, trade for need
One of the biggest challenges in a dynasty league is knowing when you should look to acquire a new player and let one go. One of the biggest factors is age. The impact on a player’s body takes a toll after a while, and their physical tools start to dwindle.
It isn’t really youth or experience that you want to aim for in drafting for this position. You should instead focus on players that are stable starters for their team. If the draft cost becomes too high on the next big thing, just move on and grab another solid contributor- even if they only play for a season or two
In the current NFL, few teams rely on a single player for a long time. Instead, they play a combination of RBs due to the frequent injuries and spreading touches among backfield committees. That doesn’t mean that you should just avoid putting resources into the position, because it is still important. It just means that you should look at investing rookie picks in the position, rather than early picks in a start-up.
WR is where you want to try and invest your draft picks, if possible. Typically, WRs have longer careers than other positions in the league- and they aren’t picked up as easily on the waiver wire.
The TE position in dynasty leagues, as with redraft leagues, has an elite tier and then a group of players that are all interchangeable. As well as that, that group of players can suffer with injuries due to the dual role that they have with blocking and receiving. Also, any investment in the position needs to be looked upon as a long-term investment- as it can take several years for a player to be effective.
League Specific Draft Strategy- Superflex Leagues
Superflex leagues have grown in popularity, as it makes the QB position more valuable- making the wait on QB strategy far less popular (and feasible). The main reason is that it limits the availability of options on the waiver wire, driving the price up in the draft of mediocre QBs.
For example, in a typical 12-person league, there isn’t normally a huge difference (in per-game scoring) between the best at the position and the worst starter (meaning the 12th best QB). That’s before even considering the ability of you to find streaming options throughout the season.
However, in adding another QB position (which is the optimal strategy) you are then looking at the worst viable starter being the 24th best, increasing the gap from the top and bottom of the position and most teams will be aiming to have multiple options on their team (usually rostering around 3)
When should I take a QB?
The key thing to remember is that drafts don’t change when you change the format of your league. You still should take the best player that you can in each pick
The drop off at RB, for example, is still the same. In a normal draft, you might find one or two get selected early (the elite at the position) but then it tends to tail off. In a Superflex league, you should still try and take a mix of RB and WR, then grab a few QBs that are going to have the job for the season. I tend to try and have my first QB selected in the third round in most drafts, but I’m happy to wait if there are plenty of solid QBs still available.
The bottom line in these types of leagues is that while you should value some QBs as first-round picks, the other positions still hold significant value- especially in PPR leagues, where you might be better loading up with elite RB and WR talent early and then take a look at the QB position. Try and leave the draft with at least three QBs, including a player that is undervalued later in drafts. Good examples of that in recent years are Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
League Specific Draft Strategy- TE Premium Leagues
TE premium leagues have increased in popularity over the last few seasons. The reason is similar to why Superflex versions became popular- increase the value of a position (in this case TE). The scoring is (normally) the same as other formats, except the TE might get a half, one or even two bonus points for a reception. While it might seem small- it really makes an impact on the value of players in the league- and a lot of players tend to over-react (especially if they’ve never played the version before).
Adjustment to Fantasy Finish
The below is based on 2020 data, it’s easy to determine the difference in points scored (and more importantly the final ranking of the player).
|0.5 PPR PTs
|1.5 PPR PTs
As you can see from the table above, there are two discrete types of TE. Those that get volume in the passing game (Kelce & Kittle) who scored at least 1055 points more, whereas players that were more reliant on scoring TDs don’t get as much of a bump. In the case of Robert Tonyan, just 52 points across the season.
However, it’s worth noting that really all of the players had around the same amount of rank increase. That increase in fantasy finish means that the real adjustment that can be made is that players become more viable to fill your flex spot. In fact, if you were to remove QBs from the scoring ranks, you’d see a lot of TEs finishing high- far more than you’d expect. That makes it feasible to start a few TEs over some other RB and WR options.
Image Credit: Jay Biggerstaff – USA TODAY Sports