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The New Reality No.100: Dynasty Advice

Celebrating 100 installments of the New Reality series

With a few years of staff duties at Footballguys.com under my belt, the New Reality dynasty series has reached No.100. Thanks to all those who have read, supported and offered feedback over the years and to the quintessential leadership at Footballguys for the opportunities years ago to contribute regular content. I have recorded a few different podcasts and written articles on advice for up-and-coming fantasy football writers and podcasters. Paying it forward is a big mantra of mine as various folks were integral to my start as a podcast host back in 2011 and as I developed my skills as a writer. For prominent names in the industry - always make time to help others along the way. For rising or future talent - work hard, refine your craft daily, seek honest feedback, and stay humble along the way.

For this post, I have collected the best dynasty advice from around the community, including Footballguys staff, UTHDynasty.com (my dynasty site) staff, and some of the best dynasty owners on the planet. Without further ado, here are the tips and tricks to rise and thrive as a dynasty owner:

Know Your League

Daniel Simpkins, Footballguys Staff: Know your settings. So many people get into leagues and don’t take a careful look at the subtle-but-important scoring settings. They wait until their squad is losing to break out the microscope and discover that they’ve constructed a team that’s better suited for another format. 30 minutes of critical examination can save you 2-3 years of rebuilding. 

John Olson, Fantasy Player since 2003: Be a dynasty bylaw bookworm.  Regardless of format, league size, start-up, orphan or your longtime home league, there are little edges to be found by knowing your rules cover to cover and better than your league mates.  I'll never know football as well as the experts, but I can be an expert about my league.

Chad Samuels, Avid Dynasty Owner: Every year there is turnover in dynasty leagues. Befriend them. Help them get acquainted with the rules and answer any questions. New owners like to put their stamp on their new team. This allows you to get to them to make a trade before other owners do and trade for the pieces you like. 

Corey Green, Dynasty Owner & UTHDynasty.com Fanatic since 2015: Dynasty League Football is like a Texas Hold 'em Tourney.  You've gotta know your opponents and their style of play in order to win!  Best way to get to know them is to send multiple trade offers..not 1 or 2..more like 10-15 for starters!

Chad Parsons, Footballguys Staff: The easiest time to gloss over the format and rules of a league are a new startup or when taking over an orphan. However, these are the critical times to take the extra minutes, hours, etc. to scrub the rules (if creating them) and know the league format inside of out. Require deposits from all owners of a startup instead of having owners pay to trade future picks. Paying to trade siphons trading appeal from my experience. Set the league up correctly from the start so as few situations will arise in the future as possible not specifically addressed in the rules. Enforcing rules is much easier than addressing a situation not covered in the rules (but should have been) in-season or once the leagues is rolling.

Drafting

John Norton, Footballguys Staff: If you really believe in a player, don't hesitate to take him earlier than his ADP or expected draft range to make sure you get him. 

Jeff Tefertiller, Footballguys Staff: Draft for talent, trade for need. Use the waiver wire to churn the bottom of your roster.

Steve Volk, Active Dynasty Owner: Study—enjoy the whole draft season, not just the draft itself, by looking at cut-ups of players who are likely to be available when you pick. You’ll learn as you go and feel a lot more ready and excited for the draft itself. Even spending just 15 minutes, every couple of days, looking at tape from February until draft day will make a massive difference over time. 

Mark Henderson, Scotland's No.1 Dynasty Player: “Draft for talent, trade for need”. You should never draft a lesser player to fill a hole on your roster. If you need a stop gap at a position, make a deal. For example, people that took Samaje Perine over Evan Engram because they “needed and RB man!”. How’s that working out for you?

Mark Henderson, Scotland's No.1 Dynasty Player: “Situation never tops talent, but shouldn’t be ignored”. Situation can give a short-term boost to production. Contenders should ride it, but you should always actively try and move these players for better talent because a situation is week to week. For examples, Michael Thomas last year and Kareem Hunt this year. If you not contending and can get another top asset plus for these guys (Corey Davis+, Joe Mixon+) move them without hesitation. If you are a contender and can ride them to a championship, power too you - but look to move on in the offseason BEFORE the NFL draft.

Mark Oakland, Veteran Dynasty Owner: The draft is a crapshoot
Only lazy GMs say this. If anyone tells you this it usually means they start looking at prospects in a couple of weeks before the draft and just go off the ADP. Research always pays off in dynasty and it's never too early to start your researching the next draft class. Yes, there will be a percentage of picks that will bust. However, you can greatly reduce those odds if you do your research and leave the rest blaming their poor draft picks on the draft being a 'crapshoot'. 
 
Buster Williams, Dynasty Owner since 2014: Never box yourself into a single strategy. Be willing to adjust on the fly, and don't be afraid to be wrong.
 
Josh Walters, Avid Dynasty Owner: Don't show up to your start-up draft hammered and unprepared.
 

Chad Parsons, Footballguys Staff: Know your owner tendencies before making any rookie draft pick. If you are impatient and will bail on a player before they see much time on the field or don't break out in the first few weeks of their rookie season, alter your selection to match your personality or trade the pick. Think ahead to the journey of owning the player. If a longer-term projection for an opportunity, know the story and your approach before even selecting them to optimize the roster spot. 

Roster Construction

Michael Rathburn, Dynasty Owner since 2006: Know the practice squad rosters. I stash RBs on taxi squads, etc, because you never know when a guy will get a shot based on injury.

Biplab Mandal, $10k 2015 Dynasty Football World Champion: Don't go too young or too old when building a roster - always focus on next 3-4 years than thinking about 10 years down the line.

Cheuk Japonica, Avid Dynasty Owner: Don't let your ego get in the way of team building. Sell high on veteran superstars for multiple picks and/or core pieces.

Andrew Kallio, Dynasty Owner since 1999: There is no offseason. While some owners take June and July off you should be active on waivers. Cheap long shots can turn into starters or even studs and greatly improve your team. 

Jordan McNamara, Footballguys Recapper, UTHDynasty.com Staff: The lesson I’ve learned most over the past two years is to be lean and mean at wide receiver. If you are selective with 5 or 6 solid wide receivers, you create roster space to take a lot of shots at the running back position. The running back position is about surviving the gauntlet of injuries and by stocking your roster with committee or one injury away type running backs you have upside in the injury risk at the position while reducing the supply of running backs for your opponents.

Chad Parsons, Footballguys Staff: Optimize the back-end of your roster every step of the way. This can be adding IR-eligible players to stash for the offseason. Shed replacement-level wide receivers for upside running backs. Make sure keep a kicker or defense through their bye week (or an unstartable matchup) is worth the spot instead of picking them up through waivers the next week or two.

Trading

Andy Hicks, Footballguys Staff: Don't be afraid to trade. If you really love a player, make a move. Sometimes you get good value for a trade, sometimes you don't. Don't make a habit of losing value, but if it strengthens a weakness or gets you a must-have player, then take the hit. Consider trading studs before their value declines. You might suffer watching them play strong for another year, but if you get multiple useful players in return, then consider carefully.

Adam Harstad, Footballguys Staff: Draft for talent, trade for need.

Bud, Dynasty Owner since 2006: Always respond to trade offers. Responding adds to the enjoyment of the league. I always respond to a proposal as soon as possible to acknowledge receipt. If I don't know the answer right away, I let the other owner the proposal is appreciated and that it is being considered. Responding is being courteous. Providing no response is being a jerk. 

Andy Bell, Active Dynasty Owner: If you’re willing to accept a 3rd round pick for a player, shop him and a 3rd for a 2nd round pick (in any year).

Michael Leggett, Active Dynasty Owner: When you make trade offers, take into account the other team’s roster needs and situation to try and craft a win-win trade for both parties.  Winning a trade 60/40 is perfectly acceptable, as a few 90/10 offers will alienate you very quickly.

Mat Threet, Active Dynasty Owner: Be diplomatic during trade negotiations. Especially when they break down. Don’t burn bridges with any owners!

Nicholas Lata, Active Dynasty Owner: In superflex, always try trading players perceived as being worth a late 1st straight up for a future 1st. This may seem like a lateral move but best case scenario you get an early 1st. Worst case scenario, a late 1st can deliver mid 1st value in superflex in a year like 2018 where you have 4-5 quarterbacks potentially being drafted in the first round. These trades are easy to make early season when some team wants points and thinks the rookie is going to break out.

Bobby Cross, Dynasty Veteran: While trading is a mix of art and timing, it becomes easier if you actually try helping your trade partner, too.

Andrew Gaudioso, Active Dynasty Veteran: It's better to sell a year early, than a year too late.  If you're thinking about selling someone then it's probably time to sell them. Sell while the value is there because you never know when it will disappear.

Andrew Fielding, Veteran Dynasty Owner:  When considering trades I try to avoid recency bias by looking at the ADP of the player in question 3 years ago, 2 years ago, 1 year ago and 6 months ago. This helps me see the current value as a data point on a line that will continue to move, rather than seeing current wisdom as invalidating past opinion.

Chad Parsons, Footballguys Staff: In general, I see owners too passive when shopping a player or sending trade offers. If selling a player, send multiple offers to every team in the league. Canvas the marketplace with similarly-valued deals so you do not have a strong preference which offer is accepted. At worst, this forces every owner in the league to assess their valuation on the player and the likely outcome is a few counter-offers in return or an accepted trade.

Players

Devin Knotts, Footballguys Staff: Don't trust quarterbacks from USC. Can't spell suck without USC. 

Steve Volk, Active Dynasty Owner: Be preemptive—find the talent that is improperly placed on their team’s depth chart (like Alex Collins, or Kareem Hunt, for that matter) and place your bets.This can pay off particularly quickly at running back. 

Nicholas Lata, Active Dynasty Owner: Exploit arbitrage opportunities and don’t assume you’re smarter than the NFL. Don’t be afraid to buy players you don’t love when the market creates buying opportunities. If a player has draft pedigree and the NFL is utilizing them effectively, don’t get hung up on whether you like them if the market creates a distortion in their value because of a suspension, injury, cold streak, etc. I typically re-sell these guys for players I actually like immediately after their value bounces back. Examples for me this year have been Andrew Luck, Ezekiel Elliott, T.Y. Hilton, Jarvis Landry and Jordan Reed whose value will be much higher in 6 months than it is now.

Biplab Mandal, $10k 2015 Dynasty Football World Champion: Be patient and buy good talents when they get hurt or are having a slump. 

Tom McCabe, 20+ Years of Fantasy Football: No one should be "untouchable" on your roster; there's always a "right" price, the trick is getting there.

Reginald Roberson, FFPC Dynasty Specialist: Create a year-round adjustable process to evaluate players from all the dynasty information that you trust, allowing you to learn and determine your own thoughts, profiles, and values of talent. Then in startup drafts, roster decisions, trades, and rookie drafts, you can go get your guys based on what your process indicates. These are decisions you can feel good about no matter what happens with a player down the line

 Mark Oakland, Veteran Dynasty Owner: Monitoring catches, carries and touchdowns are of course vital statistics but one stat that often goes overlooked is the snap count. How long a player is on the field can give a dynasty owner an insight into whether the player is a flash in the pan or if they've had a steady rise in snaps with potential for more. It's a stat that can really help identify a player that is gaining the faith of a coaching staff to earn more playing time and thus more opportunities to earn you fantasy points.

Chris Tredeau, Avid Dynasty Owner: Process over results. Try to make the best possible moves with the information you have and let the chips fall where they may.

Chad Parsons, Footballguys Staff: While some owners are more 'tape' based and others side with 'metrics', both have their place in player evaluation, dynasty values, and prospect rankings. My rule of thumb is an 'all-in' target player checks both the film and metrics boxes. Before selecting a player, especially in a rookie or devy draft, know the metrics and watch at least a couple games worth of tape to get a sense of their game. Even if a trusted source recommends them as the selection, know the player in which you are investing.

COMPETING

Clayton Gray: Footballguys Staff: Try to win this year's title. With many owners looking to youthful players, win-now veterans will slide. Take them and don't be afraid to build for the present.

Aaron Rudnicki, Footballguys Staff: Don't overvalue youth. Plenty of veterans can provide reliable production for the next 2 or 3 years while many (most?) prospects will fail to reach expectations. Obviously, you need to hit on some young guys but if you have a solid core to build around, you should be able to compete year in and year out.

Chad Parsons, Footballguys Staff: In-season should be the most active trading of the year. However, many owners sit on their hands in the trade market despite being a clear contender or non-contender. Every week examine your roster and the rosters of teams whose team direction is opposite of yours. Contending teams can target older or shorter-term production. Non-contenders can target injured players, picks, or yet-to-produce options. The market is ripe for win-win trades in-season and yet many deals go unexplored. A good time to send out offers is when you go to set waivers and lineups during the week. Reassess the landscape and send team direction-appropriate deals around your league.

Resources

Steve Volk, Active Dynasty Owner: Study—find two expert podcasts you like a lot, listen to them regularly, and figure out the hosts' tics so you know, first and foremost, when they are most likely to be wrong. 

Chad Parsons, Footballguys Staff: Vet your sources before blindly following their advice. Are they successful dynasty owners themselves? Are they putting into action the recommendations they make to readers or listeners?