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How to Nail Your First Fantasy Football Dynasty or Keeper Draft

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
May 17, 2020

Is Patrick Mahomes worth the high price you have to pay to take him?

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Entering a dynasty or keeper fantasy football league is like crossing a new frontier. And new frontiers can be intimidating. Unlike the previous seasons in your former redraft league, the decisions you make on draft day will play a major role in your team’s future.

The goal for your first keeper or dynasty draft is to simultaneously build a competitive team for the current season and a strong foundation for years to come. Obviously, accomplishing that is easier said than done. Here are some tips that will help you nail your first dynasty or keeper draft. Don’t forget to consult with FantasyPros’ expert consensus dynasty rankings as well on draft day.

Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>

Live in the Present, but Think for the Future

You didn’t have to think too far ahead in a redraft league. All you had to worry about on draft day was how a player could help you in your current season. Once Week 17 wrapped up, your rental was over.

A dynasty or keeper league requires a deeper level of thinking. It requires a balanced roster consisting of established veterans and younger players with potential to be the stars of tomorrow. Get as many proven studs as you can, but don’t be afraid to take a chance on high-upside rookies and second-year pros.

After I’ve established my starting lineup and key reserves, I use my late-round picks on lottery tickets. These picks primarily consist of less-heralded first or second-year players who still possess long-term upside.

For example, a veteran like Larry Fitzgerald might give you a bigger bump in the short-term than a rookie wide receiver. But with Fitzgerald entering what could be the final year of his career, you’re better off taking a chance on a rookie like Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, or Brandon Aiyuk. If nothing else, those younger prospects offer more long-term potential.

Before your draft begins, build a cheat sheet with this idea in mind. The proven studs should always be atop your rankings, but don’t be afraid to elevate younger players you think have breakout potential. This is especially true in future dynasty drafts when the top players will likely be off the board.

Build Draft Capital

Draft picks are a coveted commodity in real sports leagues, and they’ll matter more than ever in your fantasy league. Dynasty and keeper leagues allow you to think more like a professional general manager.

Is nobody on the board blowing you away at your current pick? Trade down with another owner and stockpile those draft assets. When trading down, I look for owners who are trying to fill starter slots or are in love with a certain player still on the board. Take advantage of that owner’s desperation and gain as much draft capital as possible.

Stock Up on Rookie Draft Picks

One of the best ways to protect your team’s future is to acquire as many rookie draft picks as possible.

Rookies might seem like one of the riskiest investments in redraft leagues, but future rookie picks are a precious resource in dynasty and keeper formats. Just like a real professional franchise, your fantasy teams need a steady influx of young, cheap talent.

When trading down on draft day, always ask for rookie picks. The owner trading up with you likely won’t place too much value on them, especially if they’re desperate.

Wait on Quarterback

If there’s one similarity between redraft leagues and dynasty formats, it’s to always wait at quarterback. Sure, Patrick Mahomes would be an outstanding building block for your franchise. But is Mahomes worth the high price you’d have to pay to take him?

Instead, wait out the quarterback market. Running back still remains the most scarce position in fantasy football. While your league mates overpay for their quarterbacks, use those opportunities to load up on young tailbacks who have bell-cow potential down the road. Before you know it, your fellow owners will be scrambling to add depth at running back and receiver. That’s when you can strike a deal to add more draft assets.

My recommendation is to take a pair of quarterbacks with a strong upside later on the draft. I prefer pairing one safer veteran with a younger passer with loads of upside. Depending on your league format, you could always stream at quarterback if your draft picks don’t pan out.

Quarterback is the deepest position in fantasy football, which means you can be flexible when addressing the position. The worst-case scenario is you’ll find a starter who can give you 75% of what Mahomes delivers at a much cheaper cost. The best-case scenario is you land a future star at the position at an incredible value for years to come.

Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>


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Matt Barbato is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato.

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