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Dynasty Draft Pick Trade Strategy (2022 Fantasy Football)

Feb 5, 2022
Dynasty Draft Pick Trade Strategy (2022 Fantasy Football)

One of the best parts of dynasty fantasy football, outside of having your team to mess with all year long, is the addition of rookie draft picks. These extra assets are a great way to help managers run their teams differently. Some managers like accumulating draft picks while others like trading them all away. But when’s the right time to move these picks, and why would you want to do that at all?

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What exactly are rookie draft picks?

Before we dive in too deep let’s first make sure we know what we’re talking about here. In most dynasty leagues, managers are given a selection of draft picks each year for that year’s incoming rookies. Some rookie drafts are three rounds, some are six. There are a variety of other rules that can go along with rookie drafts, such as additional picks for a consolation bracket, turning picks into auction money, and others. Make sure to read your rules to know exactly how rookie picks will work in your league.

That being said, most rookie drafts are four rounds of a linear draft based on the reverse order of last year’s standings. This is similar to how the NFL does it and is a way to try to help the bad teams get better and level the league out. If a team finishes last they get the best pick to potentially select the best rookie coming into the league which should help their team.

The catch here is that the worst team doesn’t always keep their draft picks. This adds a fun wrinkle where teams that are in the middle end up with early picks, or multiple picks, which can make for a really fun and exciting rookie draft each year. Obviously, the main goal of having these picks is to use them to select players, but more often than not, these picks are used to make trades throughout the year. To me, that’s much more fun and something that we should look into further.

When to trade for picks

Each league is different, but for the most part, when a league “rolls over” to the new league year, each team is given their allotment of picks in the draft two or three years out. That means as leagues roll into the 2022 season, rookie picks for 2024 or 2025 are assigned to each team. These picks are essentially free since everyone gets them, but each pick is valued very differently when it’s selected. This means that the draft picks’ values change every day as the draft approaches.

The easiest way to put this is that draft picks almost always accrue value as they get older. Unlike players who get hurt, picks will rarely see their value decrease. While their risk is very low, their upside is also capped. A player can see their value rise for a number of reasons throughout the year but picks rarely see the same kind of value jump.

With this in mind, it makes sense to say that the best time to trade for a draft pick is as soon as it’s available. With each passing day, that draft pick is getting more expensive. The longer you wait, the more expensive they become to acquire via trades. But don’t forget, while draft picks are great to insulate value on your roster, they don’t score points, and points win titles.

When to trade picks away

This brings me to the next topic of when you should trade picks away. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t trade a pick at all until it’s on the clock at that draft. That’s when the value is at its highest and when you can theoretically get the most return for it. However, you can play the market a little and decide to send a pick for a player during the season to help you make a title run.

Draft picks are great for value but terrible for production. To win that title you need production, which means you might decide to send picks away for players to help your roster score points. If your team isn’t in contention for that title, and you’re looking ahead to a year or so to rebuild your roster, it might make more sense to hold your draft picks since they’re less risky and you don’t need production.

That being said, if you acquire a lot of draft picks, you do eventually have to turn those into players at some point, either through the draft or through trades. Holding picks is fun, but you won’t win anything until you trade them or use them. Think of draft picks like cash in a savings account. It’s nice to have, but titles require you to spend some money, and oftentimes that has to come from your savings to make it work.

As always, timing is everything, but value matters too

Even if you’re not in a position to win the league, you might still want to trade picks away if the offer is right. For instance, if you think a specific player will change teams in free agency and see a huge value bump, you might want to send an offer for that player for a later round pick or two. You might be willing to put some of your assets into the riskier option if the price is right. This is often called “buy low” but it’s more complex than that.

Player valuations are always changing. Trying to choose when to acquire a player is part of what makes this game so much fun and can cause a lot of fun debates as well. You might be able to get a great draft pick trade done now that wouldn’t be possible in a week, a month, or a year. Since that’s the case, you always want to be shopping around your league to see what you can turn your draft picks into to help you score points.

All that aside, clearly the best time to trade a pick is when it’s on the clock. If you hold your pick all the way to the draft and rookies are flying off the board, it’s entirely possible that you can trade that draft pick for players you like more than the rookies you’re looking at selecting. That’s the best time to make a trade, but it’s not the only time. Keep your ears and eyes open in your league chat for other managers who are looking at the rookies and who might be interested in paying up for a pick that you don’t really care about. That’s a true win-win.


Whether you trade them or draft them, just have fun. There’s no right way to play this game. Some managers love drafting players and watching them turn into studs. Others prefer trading for players who are already studs. Both can lead to a title, and both can be fun, so find whatever you think is fun about draft picks and do what you want with them!

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Andrew Hall is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive or follow him @AndrewHallFF.

Dynasty, Featured, Featured Link, NFL, Rookies