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Five Common Mistakes to Avoid in Dynasty Fantasy Football

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Defending your redraft title is one thing. Repeating in your dynasty league is another. Here are five common dynasty fantasy football mistakes to watch out for.


The Los Angeles Rams triumphantly lifted the Lombardi Trophy in February, beginning what the franchise hopes are a new dynasty in the NFL. Well, platforms offer a similar thrill: dynasty fantasy football.

Well, it might be without a Dr. Dre-led Super Bowl halftime show. But dynasty fantasy football still offers an unbelievably fun time.

The core of the concept is based on a single start-up draft. All teams draft a deep roster with double or triple the normal bench spots, and you keep that roster forever and ever. Exceptions include the annual rookie draft, waivers, and trades. Besides that, it’s your own franchise to manage.

That can be a daunting challenge, particularly for those new to dynasty. It’s certainly something I’ve dealt with when starting out, so know that these mistakes all come from a place of deep, well, regret.

So, here are five common dynasty mistakes you should try to avoid so you can worry about fitting your own championship ring in January.

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1. Overvalue Running Backs

The heart of redraft fantasy football is not worth the same on the dynasty level. Plain and simple.

RBs are a tricky equation in dynasty fantasy football due to their injury risk and career length. The turnover from year to year is consistently a risk, something you should avoid in the early rounds of the important start-up draft.

When considering the differences in value, take a look at real life. There’s a reason why wide receivers make tens of millions more than running backs. When running backs exit their rookie contract it’s immediately a ticking clock. Wide receivers at 26 years old are entering their prime while running backs are leaving it.

If you want a running back, take one on a rookie contract. For reference, 46% of RB1s over the last two seasons were on their rookie contracts. They thrive before accumulating too many touches and as the workload or efficiency lessens, so does fantasy output.

Once you are a year into your second contract as an RB it’s very uncommon to have sustained success. Only two RBs have been in the top-24 every year since 2017 (Ezekiel Elliot and Melvin Gordon). Comparatively, Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, Davante Adams, and Stefon Diggs have done the same in that span. Heck, Evans and Adams have done it since 2014 and 2016, respectively.

Shoot for a star WR over an RB all day. Once an RB turns 26, no matter the talent, they should be shopped in your league. Selling high on Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, and Devonta Freeman before they hit that age would have made you the king or queen of your league. There are always exceptions to the rule, such as being a genuine contender, but no RB is untouchable.

2. Blind confidence

The most important gift for dynasty first-timers has to be a mirror. Sometimes a cold hard look or an 80-point loss is all you need to realize that this year isn’t your year. The middle is the absolute worst place to be in dynasty leagues. You miss on the top talent in the rookie draft, and it likely shows you were never a competitor to begin with.

Instead of wasting a year, pick a side. Buying in means you are a competitor, looking for those cheap veterans to add around a contending roster. Pick up the phone and order a splash move, even. Always be wary of sending away your own picks, particularly those down the line as the NFL is incredibly unpredictable.

Don’t be afraid to buy high on a backup RB that suddenly found himself the starter in Week 13. On the other end, embrace losing if your team calls for it. Set your best lineup — don’t be THAT guy — but losing is a natural part of the championship process.

If you realize that you missed the sell window on your stars, who are now entering the twilight of their careers, start to aim for picks and rookies. Those contenders are looking to win and picks two years away mean absolutely nothing.

Draft picks always rise in value no matter the class. Consider them the gold of the fantasy stock market. It’s a pretty safe investment because you don’t need to spend the pick. Flip and move pieces around as you see fit. That’s the flexibility that draft picks offer which is much needed in a rebuild.

Take a step back and look at your roster. Never be in the middle.

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3. Fading age

Yes, this still applies to dynasty fantasy football. It’s fun to have the flashy new toys, particularly at RB for all the reasons mentioned, but sometimes a trusty veteran is all you need.

Veterans like Jarvis Landry (in years past) or Brandin Cooks (who turns 29 in September) have been devalued in fantasy football for years, mainly because people are tired of stable, unspectacular production. Adam Thielen as a late breakout with doubters also falls into this tier. They can be had for cheap while providing terrific assets to your fantasy lineup.

Don’t get me wrong. Youth matters — it often equates to upside, and the unknown is so much fun — but when pushing for the playoffs veterans get the job done. Scout other teams in your league and buy from teams out of contention. People bought Tom Brady’s near-MVP season for nothing last season because of the age. Ultimately, he helped win titles.

Winning now always trumps winning later. Never forget that while it’s nice to build toward the future, you should always be aiming to win.

4. Drafting for Need in the Annual Rookie Draft

No. Don’t do it. Please!

Speaking from experience it can be oh so tempting to fill a void in the roster. Elijah Moore was a top prospect coming out, a great target in drafts, but many reached for Trey Sermon in an attempt to fill a precious RB slot. Yuck.

The same goes for quarterbacks, who are still fairly easy to acquire in dynasty leagues despite the lack of waiver options. Rookie QBs, like tight ends, take time, and even then they are no guarantee. Have patience, but set low expectations.

Additionally, don’t overreact to landing spots. They matter a great deal, but guys like Sermon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Mecole Hardman exemplify why pre-draft profiles matter a great deal before draft day. Likewise, some dinged D’Andre Swift for landing in Detroit. That hasn’t aged well.

The rookie draft is about taking value, not filling the roster spot. Follow the big board to the best player available.

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5. Know your league

Is it Superflex? Tight end premium? How about a nice IDP format?

It sounds obvious, but know your league settings before you make those important draft picks. If a touchdown is worth six points as opposed to the traditional four then adjust your QB rankings accordingly to give a bump toward good pocket passers. Look out for bonuses on certain plays, or if first downs offer a little jolt of points.

It goes beyond league settings: befriend the owners. Most leagues have a superfan who will pay much more than the market price for their guys. Find them and see what you can get. Worst case you leave how you started, best case your team just exploded in value. At the very least it makes beating your league-mates in weekly matchups even more gratifying.

Most of all, have fun. It’s cliche to say, but having a year-round league with your buddies is one of the best experiences. Find active people, set your rules, and start cooking something special from the comfort of your couch.


Thank you for checking out my article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys’ author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Michael__Sicoli and @IDPGuys (we have offense too) and please check out our website at idpguys.org.

Michael Sicoli

A dynasty enthusiast and fantasy football addict, there's not much more I'd prefer to write about. I'm a New Yorker at a Connecticut university -- Quinnipiac -- who's a firm believer that the NFL doesn't have an offseason.
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