Dynasty Strategy: Winning Now (Fantasy Football)

by Dan Harris | @danharris80 | Featured Writer
Feb 28, 2018

Merely focusing on winning now could make your team better equipped than your leaguemates’ squads to handle big injuries and bye weeks

A common misstep among dynasty fantasy football players, especially newer ones, is that they can’t see the forest for the trees. Part of the appeal of dynasty formats is the ability to nurture a team over several seasons by using your knowledge to acquire lesser-known rookies and potential breakouts before the rest of your league.

But like all fantasy leagues, your goal in a dynasty fantasy football league is simple: win. Sure, you need to and should be concerned with the overall long-term health of your franchise.

But many owners fall into the trap of continually targeting draft picks and rookies at the expense of their immediate needs. Often those owners spend years at the bottom of the standings, as they continuously search desperately for the next big thing.

Looking a few years down the road is critical to sustained success, but unless your roster is barren, don’t forget that your ultimate goal is to win and, if possible, win now. Many times, you can take advantage of other owners’ desire to look so far into the future that they neglect the upcoming season. So let’s look at some ways that dynasty owners can try to execute the very basic, but often ignored, strategy of winning now.

Practice fast mock drafts with our free Mock Draft Simulator >>

Draft for the present
If you’re just starting your dynasty league, your start-up draft is where you can take full advantage of the win-now strategy. For the most part, the first round or two of a dynasty start-up draft is similar to what you’d see in re-draft leagues. But after that, many owners start looking to young talents, and especially receivers, who should hold long-term value.

In a dynasty start-up draft, you can begin to deploy your “win-now” mentality in Round 2 or 3 by drafting running backs who should give you fairly high-end production, but who may not be able to help you down the road. After all, running backs have short shelf lives regardless, so most dynasty owners are not going to want to waste premium picks on veteran rushers. Then, in the middle rounds, rather than drafting for upside, stick with safer wide receivers who have higher floors in the upcoming season or two, but less long-term ceiling.

In the end, to put it as simply as possible, if you’re interested in winning now, you should approach your dynasty start-up draft like a re-draft league. While your opponents eschew veterans who are currently producing in favor of drafting young players with potential, you should be able to craft a powerhouse roster for the upcoming year and be in prime position to put yourself in contention for a championship.

Trade for high-floor players
As with your draft, you’ll notice that many owners are focused much more on the future than the present even during the season. The vast majority of teams in dynasty leagues are just not built to compete in the current season and are instead focused on how to set themselves up for future years.

Take advantage of the mentality by targeting high-floor players who may lack some of that exciting ceiling. In any given year, about a third of your opponents in a dynasty league are going to have no shot at legitimately competing right out of the gate. Rather than shooting for the stars, merely loading up your team with quality, high-floor players will give you an advantage over most of the field.

The best part is that many dynasty owners, because they’re usually thinking about the upside of younger players, are often more than willing to dish high-floor, low-ceiling players in exchange for potential. Fantasy owners generally, and dynasty owners specifically, almost always prefer the excitement of the unknown. Use that to your advantage!

Focus on depth
Because many dynasty league owners are looking to the future, they don’t have enough quality depth to survive significant injuries or the bye weeks. But because you’re playing to win now, you’ve made that a focal point of your strategy.

Unlike re-draft leagues, you don’t necessarily need to worry about maximizing your points every week. You just need to make sure the train keeps moving all season long.

While you’ll always want some upside on your bench, make it a point to have players who will get guaranteed touches each week. These players may be unexciting and lack long-term appeal, but having a deep bench is one of the critical ways to ensure that you compete in your current season.

Conclusion
None of this is rocket science. In the end, playing to win now in a dynasty football league only means playing it safer and more like a re-draft league.

Yes, you’ll always need to keep the long-term health of your franchise in mind, and you may even need to do a full rebuild eventually. But you’d be surprised how far you can go over the course of several seasons simply by focusing on the present.


Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Google Play | TuneIn | RSS

Dan Harris is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Dan, check out his archive or follow him on Twitter at @danharris80.

What's your take? Leave a comment

Fantasy Games
DRAFT photo
Get a FREE FantasyPros upgrade with first deposit
Get our Mobile App!

Enter your phone number below, and we'll text you a link to download the app.

1Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
2Le'Veon Bell (PIT)RB
3Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
4David Johnson (ARI)RB
5Antonio Brown (PIT)WR
6DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
7Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
8Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
9Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)WR
10Kareem Hunt (KC)RB
 View All Rankings 
11Julio Jones (ATL)WR
12Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
13Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
14Michael Thomas (NO)WR
15Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
16Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
17A.J. Green (CIN)WR
18Davante Adams (GB)WR
19Devonta Freeman (ATL)RB
20Mike Evans (TB)WR
21LeSean McCoy (BUF)RB
22Jordan Howard (CHI)RB
23Rob Gronkowski (NE)TE
24Doug Baldwin (SEA)WR
25Jerick McKinnon (SF)RB
26Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
27Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
28Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
29Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
30Travis Kelce (KC)TE
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF
2Mookie Betts (BOS)RF
3Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
4Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
5Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
6Bryce Harper (WSH)RF
7Manny Machado (BAL)3B
8Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
9Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
10Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
 View All Rankings 
11Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
12J.D. Martinez (BOS)RF
13Chris Sale (BOS)SP
14Carlos Correa (HOU)SS
15Trea Turner (WSH)SS
16Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
17Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
18Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)RF
19Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
20Aaron Judge (NYY)RF
21Joey Votto (CIN)1B
22Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
23Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
24George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
25Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
26Luis Severino (NYY)SP
27Gerrit Cole (HOU)SP
28Andrew Benintendi (BOS)LF,CF
29Jose Abreu (CWS)1B
30Gary Sanchez (NYY)C
1Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
2Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
3James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
4Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
5Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
6Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
7Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
8Kawhi Leonard (SAS)SG,SF
9LeBron James (CLE)SF,PF
10Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
 View All Rankings 
11John Wall (WAS)PG
12DeMarcus Cousins (NOR)PF,C
13Chris Paul (HOU)PG
14Damian Lillard (POR)PG
15Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
16Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
17Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
18Hassan Whiteside (MIA)C,PF
19Myles Turner (IND)PF,C
20Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
21Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
22Draymond Green (GSW)SF,PF
23Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)PF,C
24Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
25CJ McCollum (POR)PG,SG
26Mike Conley (MEM)PG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Klay Thompson (GSW)SG,SF
29Marc Gasol (MEM)C
30Gordon Hayward (BOS)SG,SF