Five Steps To A Fantasy Football Dynasty League (Updated)

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Yes folks, the NFL is a year-round sport. Shortly after the Super Bowl we are gearing up for the NFL Combine, then Free Agency, the NFL Draft, and before you know it Training Camp.

There is a 24/7 TV station dedicated to it and ESPN runs a daily half-hour show all year. With this, Fantasy Football has itself become a popular year-round game.  Have you wanted to try a Dynasty League but don’t know where to start?

Every year around this time there is a buzz that begins from those guys that just can’t let go (I’ll admit, I was one of them). Already this “Offseason” we have been getting hits from football related forums in topics on how to start a Dynasty league.

Last season we put together a series of details on constructing a successful Dynasty League called Dynasty 101, that walks you through setting up your league. Over the last couple of years we have received hundreds of requests to view the Rulebook it was based on before it was realized we could just give it it’s own page here (which cleared up my inbox).

With it being a time of year when the Dynasty thoughts are starting up again maybe we should give another quick lesson to the potential Dynasty Class of 2010Fantasy Football Players.

Step One: Is Fantasy Football Dynasty for Me?

Ask yourself these questions before jumping in.  Are you ready to commit to a league…and most of a roster…for more than one season?  If not, it isn’t the place for you. This isn’t your Average Joe Re-Draft league, the idea of a Dynasty league is to build and shape your team year after year.

Are you willing to play the game outside of the months September-January?  Of course you can set the league up to be as active in the offseason as you like but many Dynasty Leagues want to emulate the NFL and often have activity around the NFL Offseason schedule as well.

If you have answered “Yes” to these questions then we are ready to move on to setting this thing up. If you answered “No” you are welcome to move on as well because you may change your mind…and you are here anyway, right?

Step Two: Getting Your Owners.

Chances are if you are considering this league you are already playing with a group of people. Ideally you should have ten or more owners. If you have that many people that you think can answer “YES” to Step One above, you are set.

If not, most football related sites that have a fantasy section have a place you can call out for new owners. Ten to 16 teams is a good range, just keep in mind the rosters get thinner the more teams you have.

Be wary of starting the league and taking on owners on a whim.  Some people that are bored and jump in the league in April may not even stay in the league until kickoff of the season.

Seriously, if you are starting the league and the guy who didn’t set a roster for five straight weeks in your re-draft wants in, don’t just let him in to fill an open team!  Wait for the right owner and it will be better for your league.

Step Three: Elect a Commissioner

This is better done sooner rather than later. Appoint someone who can say “NO” if needed and isn’t afraid of hurting feelings. Sounds harsh, huh? Truth is, you are not going to make everyone happy so you need someone who can get past that.

The Commish is there to be the final say in league decisions and enforce the rules of the league, for the good of the league.

Step Four: Find a Home For Your League

Everyone has a place on the net that they prefer for Fantasy Football. You and your owners can battle this one out as to where you want to host it, just be sure that you have year-round access to everything in the league. Unless things have changed at Yahoo, this eliminates them.

Over the last couple of years, the free services have done more to accommodate multi-year leagues.You have the option of going with a free service where control may be limited, or with a pay service that you can really feel it is YOUR league.  Football Jabber has used for years for it’s leagues and has never had a reason to even think about leaving.

Go set up a free trial (which would not have to be paid on until the season) to get a feel for it, chances are you will never leave either. No, we don’t work for them, just love the product.

For communication purposes you should look into a league forum. You should be able to have a place where you can post rules, polls, and other notes. If you already have a forum that you frequent you may be able to get them to hook you up, especially if the league is for that site.

You can use something like Yahoo or Google groups. For a more customizable community you can look at free message board hosts like Zetaboards and JCink.

Step Five: Establish the Rulebook

It would be wise to spend some time on this before your league kicks off and you start filling rosters. By the way, don’t start a Dynasty League on the rosters from last years Re-Draft league.

You will often hear someone say something like, “We should make this a Dynasty or Keeper league…” and it is usually being said by the guys who are at the top of the league standings. You need to fill your rosters with Dynasty in mind.

How detailed should the Rulebook be?  Depends on how successful you want the league to be. You should go into the building of the Rulebook with it in mind that you want to have an answer for every “What if” and “BUT” that someone can throw at you.

You won’t get them all, something will always come up, so you should write in an offseason rule discussion period for changes. Never, EVER make serious rule changes during the season unless absolutely necessary!

So what should go in this Rulebook we speak of? Don’t get overwhelmed, just take the time to put it together. Here are somethings to consider…

  • How many teams are in the league?  Are you going to consider expansion later?  May want to come up with those rules now too.
  • How much is it to play?  Is this free or a pay league (many Dynasty Leaguers feel that some $$ is needed to ensure commitment from owners)?  What is the payout if it is a pay league?
  • How long is the regular season?  What week does it end?  Is the Championship in the dreaded Week 17? Will we play Double Headers in some weeks?
  • How many playoff teams are there?  What are the tiebreakers to determine who gets in?
  • How are we filling rosters?  Auction, Draft?  Will there be a separate draft for Rookies and Vets?
  • Are we using a Team Defense/Special Teams or Individual Defensive Players?  How many starters are there?    How many roster spots are there? What is the scoring system?  Do you get points per reception?
  • What about player turnover?  How long can I keep a player?  Are there contracts?  Do we just keep so many players per year?  Is there a Salary Cap?  How do we pick up Free Agents?
  • So what is the deal with trades?  When can I make them?  Does the contract go with him if we use those?  Can I trade draft picks?

That is just a taste of how in depth you can get. Take your time and have fun with it.  Hopefully you picked a good active group of owners who will get in on the discussion to form the league.

Getting into a Fantasy Football Dynasty League will change the way you view the game, especially if you use Individual Defensive Players (IDP). You will have a whole new outlook on the NFL Draft and College Football as you are scouting your players.

*This was originally posted on Football Jabber in Feb. 2009 before a loss of our database. Figured it was worth bringing back to life.

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Article by Lee

Lee created Football Jabber in 2007 as a sounding board for a love of the NFL, Fantasy Football, the NFL Draft, and College Football. He may or may not be responsible for the fall of the breakfast drink Tang. Lee tagged this post with: , , Read 131 articles by Lee
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