What The Heck Is A Dynasty League?

Dynasty Guide with Top 300 Rankings and Top 50 Rookie Rankings

During the offseason much of my content switches over from Redraft Leagues to Dynasty Leagues, and I have had a lot of you ask me "What is dynasty?" or "How can I play?" I can also tell by a lot of the comments I have received on my Dynasty Rankings that a lot of you do not understand the format. So I thought it would be good to do a post about what exactly a dynasty league is. One thing I can tell you is, once you play dynasty, you'll never look at redraft the same.

There is a lot that goes into playing dynasty and every league is different. Some leagues are more advanced than others including salary caps or minimum numbers of years that you can own players and taxi squads for rookies where you don't play them the first year. For this post I'm going to just focus on the more basic dynasty league. For this example I will use a 12-team league with 30 roster spots.

Think of a dynasty league as a form of keeper league, but instead of just keeping a couple of players, you keep EVERYONE year after year. You are essentially the GM of your team and you have to think in both the short and long term. Here are some main differences between redraft and dynasty:

  • Timeframe: Most Redraft leagues run from Week 1 to Week 16 and then end. Dynasty leagues are year round. You can make trades, and add and drop players all year.
  • Roster Size: Redraft leagues tend to carry 15-16 players. Dynasty leagues are usually at minimum 20 players, but more often they are around 30+ players. 
  • Initial Draft: When you draft for a dynasty league you have what is called a "Startup Draft". It is just like a redraft draft, where you go in snake format, but these are not generally done Live as that would take too long. They are conducted in a slow format where you draft around 350-400 players.
  • Rookie Draft: Once you conclude your inaugural season, you then switch to rookie drafts. Or you can do rookie/free agent drafts. Since every team is keeping every player on their roster, the only available players to draft are the incoming rookies and or available free agents. 
  • Draft Length: Rookie or rookie/free agent drafts are usually around 4 rounds. Owners have to make a decision on what players to cut in order to make room for the incoming drafted players.
  • Draft Order: Unlike redraft leagues where the draft order is decided randomly or by some sort of league decision, the draft order is decided by how teams finished the prior year. Just like the NFL, the team that finished last gets the first pick, the team that wins the league gets last. Unless the league has some sort of lottery pick system for teams that missed the playoffs.
  • Draft Type: In redraft the standard draft type is a Snake Draft where the order flips once you get to the end of a round. In a dynasty rookie draft, it does not. The team that has the first pick in the draft gets the first pick in every round. The team with the 2nd pick gets the 2nd pick in every round, and so forth. Unless draft picks are traded, which I will get into later. 
  • Trades: Trading is just the same as a redraft league with one HUGE difference. Just like they do in the NFL, you can trade draft picks for the upcoming season. In many leagues you can trade picks that are two or three years out. So, if you really want Jerry Juedy out of Alabama, but you have the 11th pick in your upcoming draft, you can trade someone like Leonard Fournette from your team in order to secure that pick. Or your 11th pick plus a 2nd to move up to get that pick. The options are endless.
  • Player values: Another big difference between Dynasty and Redraft are player values. Age matters in dynasty. A player like Julio Jones is a first round pick in a redraft league, but in a dynasty league, you will likely be a late 2nd or possibly even a 3rd round pick. This is because you carry onto the players year after year. Julio may only have a couple of good seasons left in the tank vs someone like DK Metcalf who has his entire career ahead of him.

There is so much more that goes into playing dynasty fantasy football, but that pretty much gives you the nuts and bolts of what's involved. It is by far my favorite format, and it makes you better when playing redraft, because you have a leg up on your opponents who only play redraft.


If you are interested in playing year round fantasy football, consider joining a dynasty league. The offseason is just as fun as the regular season. Once you start playing dynasty, redraft leagues will feel like a cake walk. Click here to learn more about what a dynasty league is and how it differs from your traditional fantasy football league, and if you're interested in finding a league, shoot me an email.


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