Dynasty Startup Draft Strategies

A look at strategies to consider when you are preparing for a dynasty startup draft.  

Dynasty startup drafts set the foundation for your dynasty league. You cannot win the league in your startup, but you can certainly set yourself back. Good preparation will allow you to optimize your draft and make the best decisions possible when you are on the clock. Below are four ideas to keep in mind during your draft.

Plan Ahead

Before your draft, spend time planning target players and roster construction strategies.

When you are identifying target players, an easy way to plan your draft is to start at the final round and identify players you like in each round by position. You should continue this up the board until the first round, to generate a list of players to select at a given point in your draft.

Once you do this, you can look at the board and identify where your positional preferences are located in the draft. For example, if you do not like the wide receivers early in the draft, but see a lot of target wide receivers in the middle rounds, you can plan accordingly at other positions. This will also help you to determine trading strategies. If you love the quarterbacks in the first round, but think there is little difference between second- and sixth-round wide receivers, you can structure a trade to select two quarterbacks in the first round while sliding down in the draft in what you see as a flat tier to target a wide receiver.

Planning your target players will also guide your decision on roster construction. This is critical in Superflex leagues, as your decision on your third and fourth quarterback might change if you select two elite quarterbacks as opposed to waiting until QB15 to select your first quarterback. Understanding where target players at the quarterback position later in drafts will help you make those decisions earlier in the draft.

What Are You Trying to Accomplish?

There is no one size fits all strategy in dynasty fantasy football. Some dynasty general managers will look to contend in year one while others take a more patient approach to teambuilding. Likewise, some will seek productive players while others aim to acquire players they think will go up in value in future years.

There is not a right or wrong answer to these decisions, but you need to understand the strategy you are employing and make decisions consistent with your aim. Like rowers in a boat, you will want all of your oars pulling in the same direction to propel your team forward.

The tight end position presents a great example this season. In tight-end premium leagues, Travis Kelce and Kyle Pitts are both being selected in the second round. At 32 years old, Kelce is in the midst of an elite run at the position, while Pitts is a rookie just beginning his career. If you select Kelce, you are deciding that immediate production is critical and the rest of your roster decisions should reflect this. With Kelce on your roster, you will need to maximize your supporting cast over years one and two, with the hope Kelce can maintain elite production and help propel you to a championship in the early stages of your league. Focusing on productive quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill, and Kirk Cousins along with wide receivers like DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, and Allen Robinson will allow you a chance to compete in Kelce’s prime.

If instead of Kelce you select Pitts, your aim should be different. Tight ends are typically slow starters to their career, and your investment is more of a future upside bet than a bet on immediate production. Your supporting cast should align with a contending window in years two and beyond. Pitts would pair better with quarterbacks like Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Tua Tagovailoa and receivers like CeeDee Lamb, Ja’Marr Chase, and Jerry Jeudy.

Roster Construction Strategy

Each year is different and requires adjustment to your dynasty strategy. Historically, a wide receiver early strategy has been popular and successful. Likewise, waiting on a quarterback in Superflex drafts has been a contrarian and efficient strategy.

However, this year, the market is much different. As many as ten quarterbacks are being selected in the first round of Superflex drafts, while as few as four wide receivers are being selected in the top two rounds of Superflex drafts. If you are attempting to implement the same strategy you have always used, you will be missing critical value and roster construction strategies.

The positional allocation of your roster is also critical. With strong profiles at wide receiver available into the eighth and ninth rounds, like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyler Lockett, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods, you may be able to wait longer on the wide receiver position than you would in prior years These discount prices on stable producers can also allow you to take a tight core of wide receivers, allowing you to build high upside depth at the running back position. Locking in five wide receivers with prior history of top-24 production in the top 10 rounds of your draft and then passing on the position later in the draft will allow you to optimize your roster.

Cost Should Determine Your Goals

Not all picks should be made with a long-term build in mind. In a draft with 25 man rosters, the first six to eight selections should typically be long-term dynasty assets. If you can get multiple starter seasons out of six of your first eight picks, you have done well and established a good foundation for your dynasty team.

After that, your aims should change. In the next eight rounds, the players will be much less likely to produce multiple hits. Instead of taking long-term bets in this range, focus on capitalizing on players locked into jobs in one to two-year windows. This is a great area to take running backs like Mike Davis and Chase Edmonds, who appear to lead their backfield, but do not project like long-term starters. This is historically a bad area to select wide receivers because they are largely developmental day two wide receivers with weak hit rates. The goal in the final rounds of the draft should be to look for situational players. These can be backup quarterbacks in Superflex, depth tight ends, or one injury away running backs. Focusing on players in this range who can provide lineup flexibility in short windows or trade value in the event of injuries is a good approach. Few players in this range develop into long-term dynasty assets which is important to keep in mind when making roster decisions.


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