The Ultimate Dynasty Guide: February Edition (2021 Fantasy Football)
When I started out writing about Dynasty a couple of years ago, it obviously had its fans and people who swore by the format. However, over the past couple of seasons, it has drastically improved in popularity. More and more people are connecting with me regularly on Twitter asking about how they can get involved in a Dynasty league and asking for tips & tricks.
Just like we saw Standard format be the norm for several years and then move away to Half PPR, there’s a strong possibility that we see the majority of fantasy football leagues move to Dynasty format in the next 5-10 years.
Is that wishful thinking? Perhaps. However, one thing is for certain and that is that more and more people are playing Dynasty! With that in mind, we’re kicking off a monthly Dynasty Guide for you that will hopefully serve as an excellent resource as you navigate the off-season!
Whether you’re brand new to playing Dynasty, or you’ve been playing for 10+ years, there’s something for everyone in this article!
2021 Prospect Buzz
Quarterback – Kellen Mond (Texas A&M)
Coming off of an impressive performance in the Senior Bowl, Mond’s stock may be on the rise.
Reaction: While Mond is highly unlikely to rise into the first-round discussion, I came away impressed with his tape. He still has plenty of developing left to do before he can ever be viewed as a solid starting QB in the NFL, but the tools and traits are all there. It’s quite possible that we see Mond drafted on Day 2 as a developmental backup QB. If he lands in the right spot, he could be a fantasy relevant option down the road.
Running Back – Jaret Patterson (Buffalo)
Jaret Patterson has been flying under the radar, but he’s now seeing his stock start to rise.
Reaction: It’s near impossible to downplay what Patterson has done in college at Buffalo. He was extremely productive and set records during his time there. However, there are reasons to be concerned with Patterson and his projection to the next level. Weighing in under 200 pounds, which is what Patterson is currently listed at, is never a good sign for running back prospects. He can certainly still be productive in the NFL at that size, but he needs to have much more explosiveness in order for NFL teams to feel comfortable selecting him highly in the NFL Draft. That aspect just simply isn’t a part of his game. If he gets an opportunity at the next level, he can certainly succeed. It’s all just going to come down to whether or not he’s ever given that shot.
Wide Receiver – Tutu Atwell (Louisville)
Tutu Atwell is being discussed as a first-round prospect in many mock drafts recently.
Reaction: Atwell’s certainly a fun player to watch on tape, but there’s no way he should be in the first-round discussion. He’s undersized and was primarily used as a gadget player at Louisville. He’s certainly explosive and has fantastic top-end speed when he’s able to build up momentum, but he’s the type of player that you only give 2-3 schemed touches to a game. That’s not worth investing a first-round pick, unfortunately. Atwell graded out as a Day 3 player for me.
Tight End – Pat Freiermuth (Penn State)
Freiermuth is consistently going higher and higher in industry mock drafts as we get closer to the NFL Draft.
Reaction: Very few people are talking about Freiermuth due to the fact that there’s a generational TE prospect in this class above him in Kyle Pitts. However, that doesn’t mean that Freiermuth is not talented in his own right. Any NFL defense that faced off against Travis Kelce can tell you how impossible it is to guard a player of his size with his movement skills, which means that nearly every NFL offense is going to be looking for a player with that skillset. Freiermuth is not Kelce, but it’s hard to believe how well Freiermuth moves at 260 pounds. Don’t be shocked if we see him go off the board in the first half of the first round when it’s all said and done.
Second-Year Risers and Fallers
It’s hard to see how Jefferson’s stock could rise any higher than what it did this past season, but there’s a legitimate case to be made for Jefferson being a top-5 Dynasty WR. At this point, if you’ve got Jefferson on your Dynasty roster, there are very few players that you’re trading him away for. And this is all before we start to see Adam Thielen‘s production tail off towards the end of his career.
Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s hard to not be critical of the Philadelphia Eagles when they selected Reagor one spot before Jefferson in the 2020 NFL Draft. While the offense imploded in 2020, Reagor didn’t do anything on the field to justify his draft spot. Right now, Reagor’s simply a hold in Dynasty leagues in the hopes that he takes a massive step forward in 2021. His stock has certainly taken a huge hit since 2020 rookie drafts.
5 Dynasty Players to Target
(All expected cost estimations were the results of polls on Twitter)
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Cohen on the field, but he’s still a valuable fantasy asset when he’s healthy and active. The Bears offense can only go up this next season, which bodes well for Cohen and the rest of the Bears pass-catchers. David Montgomery was highly effective towards the back half of the season, but he figures to lose a lot of work with Cohen back in the fold. He’s unlikely to be a RB1 for fantasy, but he’s a fantastic depth piece and he can be acquired super cheap right now.
Expected Cost: 2021 3rd round pick.
There’s a ton of unknowns right now with the Houston Texans. Whether or not Deshaun Watson is with the team next season plays a huge part in Cooks’ Dynasty stock, but the current volatility might present the perfect time to strike. If Will Fuller does leave in free agency this off-season, the WR corps for the Texans will be Cooks, Randall Cobb, Keke Coutee, and maybe Chad Hansen. With no high draft picks, and very little cap room, it doesn’t seem likely that the Texans will bring in major competition at that position. If that’s the case, Cooks could be looking at 130+ targets in 2021. If they end up coming from Watson, there’s a very good chance that he finishes as a WR1. If they come from a different QB, there’s still no denying the opportunity. Volume is king in fantasy football and Cooks could be in line for a hefty target share next season.
Expected Cost: 2021 2nd round pick.
Mims is about to see his situation change one way or another. Even if Sam Darnold is the QB next season, a different coaching staff is going to be in charge. With rumors that Jamison Crowder could be a cap casualty too, Mims could be in line for a hefty target share in 2021. Mims needed a full season in the NFL to adjust before he could be a true force for fantasy regardless, which makes this the perfect time to send out trade offers. You might have to pay up a bit, but if you can find someone in your league who’s not thinking about the potential QB upgrade, etc. then you might be able to get him even cheaper than the expected cost listed below.
Expected Cost: 2021 2nd round pick.
McFarland’s one of the most explosive RBs in the entire NFL. Yeah, I said it. He still needs to improve on his vision in between the tackles to become a more refined runner, but he profiles nicely as a change-of-pace back. With James Conner almost certainly leaving via free agency this off-season, there’s a possibility that McFarland steps into a significant workload next season. In the 3rd round of this year’s rookie draft, you’re not going to find a RB that has the opportunity in front of him that McFarland does. Go acquire him now before it’s too late.
Expected Cost: 2021 3rd round pick.
Cole’s one of the most perennially underrated WRs. He flashes every time he’s given an opportunity, but the previous coaching staff in Jacksonville had some sort of issue with him and kept him buried on the depth chart. He’s now a UFA and his situation could drastically improve this off-season. Even if he does resign in Jacksonville though, there’s a new flashy QB coming to town. Cole’s unlikely to be a consistent WR3 or higher for your Dynasty roster, but he’s a solid depth piece. Plus, what happens if Kansas City decides to bring him in as a cheaper alternative to Sammy Watkins? You could’ve gotten a WR2 in Dynasty for a 4th round pick. I’m trying to acquire him everywhere that I can (at least in the leagues that I don’t already have him).
Expected Cost: 2021 4th round pick.
5 Dynasty Players to Move
(All expected return estimations were the results of polls on Twitter)
Montgomery’s late-season tear was a key part of many 2020 Dynasty championships. However, his situation is going to change heading into next season. First, Cohen will be back on the field and will take away 5-7 touches per game, especially out of the backfield as a receiver. Additionally, Montgomery won’t be facing the cakewalk defenses that he was seeing at the end of last season each week in 2021. Monty is still going to be a fine RB2/RB3 option for your Dynasty team, but if you can sell him now while the perception is still sky high, it’s worth seeing what you can get for him.
Expected Return: Late 2021 1st round pick.
Based on the poll I ran on Twitter, if you have Hurts on your Dynasty roster, sell him ASAP. Hurts showed flashes last season when he was the starter, but he was succeeding as more of a “backyard football” player than a refined NFL QB. As teams now have a full off-season to sit down and analyze Hurts and his game, it’s going to be much more difficult for him to come out and do what he did in 2020. A perfect example of this is Drew Lock. Lock played great football at the end of 2019 and then struggled immensely in 2020. Hurts still has a lot of developing to do, which makes him a risky investment in Dynasty leagues. That’s also not taking into account the fact that he’s not even technically the starting QB in Philadelphia right now! With a new coaching staff that has ties to Frank Reich – the man who was responsible for Wentz’s top-tier play a couple of seasons ago – there’s a strong possibility that Hurts maintains a backup role in 2021. If you can sell a potential backup QB for one of the top-4 QBs in this 2021 class, you need to do that immediately.
Expected Return: 2021 Superflex 1st round pick.
Claypool broke out last season and played some great football. My inclusion of him in this section is less about his overall talent and has more to do with the situation surrounding him. Ben Roethlisberger is getting towards the end of his career and his best playing days are certainly behind him. Even with a full off-season off to rest, it’s not a guarantee that we see Ben play well enough to support multiple receiving options on this Steelers offense next season. There’s also the strong possibility that the Pittsburgh Steelers invest in a top-tier RB to help take some pressure off of Ben and the passing game. If that’s the case, the passing volume could get cut down significantly. With no heir apparent at QB for the Steelers too, the long-term outlook is unclear for Claypool and the receiving weapons on this team. If you can acquire a late-1st or early second-round pick for Claypool, it’s worth at least entertaining the offer.
Expected Return: Late 2021 1st round pick.
Q1. What are some tips you can give first time dynasty players?
Make sure you subscribe to the FantasyPros Dynasty Football Podcast, of course! In all seriousness, we spent the majority of the first episode breaking down Dynasty and what all that encompasses, while still making sure to give some specific tips and tricks! I highly recommend checking it out.
Q2. At what point do you decide to transition your team into “rebuild mode”? If your team is a borderline playoff team with a long shot at a championship, is it best to sell high on your current assets and build for the future? Or chase a championship now?
This is the age old question for Dynasty managers. Unfortunately, there’s no formula or clear, definitive way to be able to answer this question because each team and each league is completely different. However, if you’re at the point where you openly assess your roster and come to the conclusion that it’s not strong enough to beat some of the other top teams in your league, it’s best to completely rebuild versus just hanging out in mediocrity year after year. It’s more nuanced than that, of course, but only you are going to be able to truly assess your team with the greater context in mind and determine whether or not your roster can compete with the best. If it can’t, it’s a good idea to completely start over and build from the ground up so you can get to that point of competing deep into the playoffs each year.
Q3. If you feel confident that your team is in a place to “win now” within the next two years, how willing are you to deal first round picks for pieces that could strengthen positions that could use more depth?
I am very willing to send away first round picks if that means that I can acquire more depth to help me win a championship now. I can always go back and acquire first round picks later on if it doesn’t work, but we should always be pushing to win championships in Dynasty. If I can find someone in my league who overvalues rookie picks, that’s the best spot to be able to maximize value.
Q4. When doing a startup draft, is there a certain sweet spot when it comes to balancing a “win now” and “win later” attitude?
Great question! Just like with a typical redraft league, knowing the ADP is crucial to being able to maximize value. People take drastically different approaches in Dynasty startups, so you could see some people reach a round or two on a young WR or RB. Others are going to take a win now approach and go for the proven veterans and leave youth on the table. Ultimately, the best advice I can give is to focus on value. If a talented player is falling several spots, but they’re a little bit older, don’t be afraid to select them over that flashy, young, and unproven option. Remember, do not reach for players and let the board fall to you.
Q5. For the average fantasy player that’s doing 1-2 redraft leagues a year, what would be the draw to get into dynasty and what would be the best way to get into it?
Dynasty takes the fun of your typical fantasy league and extends that to every single day of the year. Rather than tuning in to fantasy football talk in August and then tuning out when you’re eliminated from playoff contention, this gives you something to do year-round. Additionally, it’s the closest to being a NFL GM that you can find in fantasy football. There’s a whole other level of strategy involved that just doesn’t happen in your typical home leagues. As for the best way to get into Dynasty, pitching the idea to your friends to turn your home league into a Dynasty league is the first place I would start. Otherwise, we’ve got something currently in the works that will help connect people together that want to get into a Dynasty league, but their friends might not have the same desire. Stay tuned!