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Fantasy Football 101: Are You Ready to Make the Jump from Redraft to Dynasty Leagues?

Fantasy Football Fanatics are a Different Breed

Most of the people who visit our site are as obsessed with fantasy football as I am. Hence, they will almost certainly know the ins and outs of fantasy football. Such people, generally, love the complexities and challenges that are associated with the many different league types that are out there. 

And when they don’t know exactly what something is, they actually think it would be fun to learn about it and try it out. Well, folks, I have news for you, we fantasy football fanatics are in the minority. There is a whole slew of people that are involved only in the fringes of fantasy football. This article is more geared for them, as they have yet to see the light.

How do Most People First Get into Fantasy Football?

Many people are casual football fans that start playing fantasy football socially with people they know at work or from some other aspect of their life. This usually means quite rudimentary redraft leagues set up with straightforward roster management and scoring formats, and if nothing else, participants do end up having fun with it. 

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Fantasy Football 101: Are You Ready to Make the Jump from Redraft to Dynasty Leagues?

What is a Redraft League?

To review, a redraft league is one in which managers draft entirely new rosters each year from scratch, and one year has no bearing on the next. Within the redraft framework, there are, of course, many variations. Perhaps the most common method of drafting in basic redraft leagues is the “snake” style. 

This means that once each manager makes a pick, the draft order is reversed in the next round. Therefore, if someone has the first pick of the first round, they would have the last pick of the second round. Comparatively, if a manager has the last pick of the first round, they would have the first pick of the second round (and thus have back-to-back picks).

What Level of Activity is Found in Redraft Leagues?

Everything league is different, and of course it depends on the people involved in the league. In the redraft leagues I have been involved in, managers are generally active in drafting their teams at the beginning, setting up their starting line-ups each week, and working the free-agent market as long as their team remains competitive.

However, when it comes to trading, most managers do not seem very inclined to pull the trigger on a deal or even negotiate for that matter. Perhaps they do not find enjoyment in it and/or are just not that interested in dedicating time to such an endeavor. There also may be other reasons at play.

In my opinion, some managers do not trade out of fear that someone more knowledgeable might get the better of them. Even in non-money leagues, people sometimes seem to be suspicious of anyone wanting to make trades. It often comes down to a lack of confidence in their own football knowledge and/or a lack of trust in the managers they are dealing with.

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Fantasy Football 101: Are You Ready to Make the Jump from Redraft to Dynasty Leagues?

Another contributing factor is that managers in these types of leagues are, perhaps, not very savvy or experienced and almost always tend to overvalue their own players. Thus, most managers rely entirely on scouring the free agent fodder on the waiver wire each week to improve their team. It always seems baffling to me how some managers would rather go down with their sinking ship than engage in trade discussions to try to improve their team.

However, I have to come understand that some fantasy football managers in my redraft leagues just do not really care that much if they win or lose. They simply want the path of least resistance. They are happy to just follow the player rankings laid out for them and let the chips fall where they may. In other words, they see time spent on this as work. My friends in the dynasty world are the exact opposite. They actually love researching, as well as spending time discussing players and trends to help give them a competitive edge in building their teams.

The Relationships are the Thing

Even though redraft leagues can seem very basic, I still like them and will continue to play in at least one or two each year. It is not because they are relatively easy to win. I like them because I get to play in these leagues with people I am close to in my real life. Nevertheless, I have to accept that most of my real-life friends are only casually into fantasy football (i.e., most of the fantasy football sharks I have met are from online communities).

Some of my redraft league-mates are friends (and family) that I have been connected to all of my life. For some long-time friends, the goal in many cases is simply to have another excuse to stay in touch. 

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Fantasy Football 101: Are You Ready to Make the Jump from Redraft to Dynasty Leagues?

Fantasy Football Obsession Takes Over

Basic Redraft Leagues are Just Not Enough

At some point, however, if you are truly a football fanatic and love fantasy football, redraft leagues will just not be enough for you. You will want to play against other knowledgeable, competitive, and active people who are as obsessed as you are. 

Moreover, you will want to feed your fantasy football addiction during the NFL offseason, and more than anything, you will want to play in fantasy leagues in which the results are more due to football expertise than just plain luck. This is what really attracts fantasy football diehards to dynasty leagues. There are simply more variables for managers to control and plan for.

What is Different about Dynasty Fantasy Football Leagues?

For starters, in dynasty fantasy football, managers keep their entire rosters year-to-year. The first year is referred to as a start-up. While there are many variations, the first draft in a dynasty league operates much like a redraft league. 

Depending on what the commissioner and league members decide, the first draft in a dynasty league, however, may or may not include rookies. If it does not, rookies will be drafted separately, often in the reverse order of the main draft in an effort to make it fair.

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Fantasy Football 101: Are You Ready to Make the Jump from Redraft to Dynasty Leagues?

In subsequent seasons, dynasty rookie drafts are held each year (after the NFL rookie draft). Depending on how many teams there are in the league, these rookie drafts tend to be about four-to-six rounds. These drafts are linear, and the order is from worst to first. Accordingly, if you finished with the worst record the year before, you will have the first pick in every round of your rookie draft. Managers love this, as it simulates what happens in the NFL.

What is the Difference between Dynasty and Keeper Leagues?

Without getting too deep into it, dynasty leagues should not be confused with keeper leagues. Keeper leagues allow managers to keep only a handful of players each year while sacrificing draft picks for the players they keep. 

Keeper leagues, thus, do not simulate real football quite the way dynasty leagues do. And that, folks, is the goal of everyone who truly loves fantasy football. We want to feel like a real NFL general manager. We want to show off our football acumen and try to build a championship team for years to come.

How does Strategy Differ in Dynasty and Redraft Leagues?

Another aspect of dynasty that fantasy managers love is the long-term planning that goes into it. Even if your team is not built to win this year, it is still fun to play and plan for the future. In a redraft league, a reliable producer like Aaron Rodgers can be quite valuable. However, in a dynasty league, his value is greatly diminished due to his age.

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Fantasy Football 101: Are You Ready to Make the Jump from Redraft to Dynasty Leagues?

Thus, mimicking what NFL GMs do in real life, a dynasty manager can choose to mortgage their team’s future to try to win now. This could involve trading away valuable future draft picks for productive players that they can insert into their line-ups for a playoff run. 

Conversely, if a manager saw that their current roster would not likely get them to the promise land, they could become sellers. That is, they could choose to trade productive veterans for younger players and draft picks that would better fit their team’s timelines.

What are You Waiting for?

As Bleacher Report’s Dan Kukla rightfully pointed out, dynasty is the best fantasy football format out there. This is because it is more realistic, more challenging, requires more knowledge and skill, the trades are more fun and complex, it has no offseason, and the dynasty format truly creates dynasties.

Hence, if you have loved playing in redraft leagues but are now ready for more, I would strongly urge you to give dynasty fantasy football a try. I promise you will not be disappointed. For fantasy football lovers, there is nothing quite like it!

I got my start in dynasty on Sleeper and would highly recommend it. Sleeper is a platform where you can find many like-minded and passionate fantasy football junkies to get your fantasy fill. However, there are countless other sites to consider. RotoHeat’s own Jason Abild provided a list of the top 5 websites that hosted dynasty leagues in 2021.

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Fantasy Football 101: Are You Ready to Make the Jump from Redraft to Dynasty Leagues?

Thank you for reading – Fantasy Football 101: Are You Ready to Make the Jump from Redraft to Dynasty Leagues?

For more great fantasy football content, follow RotoHeat on Twitter, subscribe to our website, and YouTube channel. Engage with 2,200+ passionate dynasty managers and let the RotoHeat content team know what YOU want to hear about by visiting our ROTOHEAT – Dynasty Fantasy Football Community on Facebook.

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