Dynasty Dictionary: What is Dynasty Fantasy Football?

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Intro to Dynasty fantasy football: What is a Dynasty Fantasy Football League?

As a newer dynasty league player, I wanted to start a “series” of articles here at Dynasty Football Digest to help introduce and explain the concept and some new terminologies involved in playing dynasty fantasy football. I’ve been playing redraft and keeper leagues for almost two decades and I will never again join a new league that isn’t a dynasty league. This is, by far and away, the best style of fantasy football that exists and I won’t ever go back.


Definition of dynasty fantasy football

A dynasty fantasy football league is one where you have one large “startup” draft and the players you pick stay on your team as long as you would like to have them for year after year. They are with you until you either trade or cut them. It is very similar to building and running a real NFL team and is incredibly gratifying and satisfying to win, more so than redraft of keeper leagues. If you’re a person who loves and lives for football 24/7, this is the style of fantasy football for you. That’s what is so great about dynasty leagues, there is no off-season! You can start a new league and startup draft anytime during the spring or summer. And you can manage your team and make trades the day after the Super Bowl! Every aspect of dynasty just rules incredibly hard.



The startup draft is the most important aspect of any dynasty league. This is where you lay the foundation for your team. How you decide to structure your rosters will determine how many rounds the draft will be. If using only offensive players (consider adding individual defensive players, or IDPs, it’s VERY fun) most rosters should be 20-25+ spots, potentially with a taxi squad (to be defined later).

Another major difference of dynasty leagues is how the startup draft is conducted and the length of time it takes to be completed. No, you won’t have to watch that clock countdown for only a minute or so. Most dynasty startup drafts are “slow” drafts conducted over a few weeks, or months in extreme cases. An average time to make a pick can be anywhere from 1-8 hours, sometimes longer. This allows for owners to make their best, most well thought out selection, stress free. It also enables trade discussions to occur. Often you’ll see teams looking to move their early round selections for a haul of later round and future draft picks. And there are plenty of teams hungry to win now and pay up for those early picks.


Unlike most redraft or keeper leagues, trading plays an enormous factor in ensuring a fun, active league. During your startup draft you should frequently see teams jockeying for early round position, trading future draft picks, and even potentially moving players they just selected! Any subsequent drafts would be for only incoming rookie players, and/or free agent veteran players at the time of that future draft. Some leagues have “rookie only” drafts and any veterans would have to be acquired using the league’s free agent system.


Free Agents

I would highly recommend using a FAAB (free agent acquisition budget) system to handle free agents. This goes for ANY type of fantasy league, not just dynasty leagues. FAAB gives every team a set budget at the beginning of the season to blind bid on free agents as the year progresses. This allows any team to acquire any free agent and is widely considered to be the most fair way to handle free agent players, no matter how razor thin the waiver wire might be.


Rosters and Scoring

One of the most difficult aspects of a dynasty league to get used to is the larger roster sizes. If you don’t study those depth charts and know those third stringers, dynasty is likely not for you and you won’t be successful. I have been joining new dynasty leagues which use IDPs and the roster sizes are 40-50+ spots deep. This makes for incredibly competitive leagues and bare bones waiver wires (not a bad thing).


Scoring settings have a little more freedom in dynasty leagues as well. It doesn’t have to be cookie cutter ½ ppr like your home redraft league. Branch out, add some bonuses for 1st downs, or 100 yard rushing/receiving games. The more creative and more points available the more fun the league will be, I promise. I also am a big believer in best ball scoring formats; you can check out my reasoning here.


Taxi Squad

I very much recommend using this if you’re going to start your own new dynasty league. Envision a taxi squad for fantasy being the NFL equivalent of the practice squad. A place where you can stash players who aren’t quite ready for the big show. The taxi squad is a separate roster of players for your team who are not eligible to score points unless “called up”. You would have to drop someone from your active roster in order to call up a taxi squad player to potentially put into your starting lineup.

Usually, taxi squads are at least 3 spots deep, and can only be filled with younger players. This varies from league to league. Most taxi squads only allow players with up to 2 years of NFL experience. Some allow only rookies, and others allow up to even 3 years (to hang on to those 3rd year WR breakouts!). The taxi squad is an awesome feature that makes you feel like you are managing your very own NFL team.

I hope this has been educational to any new or curious dynasty players out there. I plan to continue this series to include topics such as explaining combine metrics, analytics, and strategies. If there are things you’d like to have a dedicated article on, please feel free to DM or tweet.

Follow me on Twitter @dynastysanta for lots of spicy fantasy football takes, tweets from the John, and random thoughts about life that happen to pop into my head. Click here to view my past articles. Get all the dynasty advice, rankings, and articles that you need by subscribing to Dynasty Football Digest. Looking for the best IDP takes to help win your league? Look no further than the IDP Guys, just click here to dominate your league.