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9 Top Dynasty Startup Draft Strategies (2023 Fantasy Football)

9 Top Dynasty Startup Draft Strategies (2023 Fantasy Football)

Creating a successful team in a dynasty league requires a unique approach compared to standard or keeper leagues. Dynasty leagues, where you keep all or most of your players year-to-year, are a challenging but rewarding venture that test your skills not just as a manager for one season but as a franchise builder for many seasons. We reached out to our featured dynasty experts and asked them to provide one thing fantasy managers should always try to do during dynasty startup drafts and one thing to avoid doing.

Here are the strategies our featured analysts employ during their dynasty startup drafts.

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Dynasty Startup Draft Strategies

What is one thing fantasy managers should do (or try to do) in a Dynasty Startup Draft?

Get your guys. Dynasty is a ton of fun, but it’s way more fun when the players you roster are players you like. In a startup, I like to trade up and trade back depending on where my guys are likely to go. Don’t be afraid to overpay when you need to, and try to gain that value back in other trades later on. As long as your team is one you like, the league itself will be a lot more fun for you to participate in.”
Andrew Hall (FantasyPros)

I recommend trying to find a balance when it comes to drafting older versus younger players. Many dynasty players believe they have to either go all in from the jump or go with a full youth movement and play for draft capital in future years. By going with a hybrid approach, you avoid painting yourself into a corner and give yourself more flexibility to adapt your team’s direction based on the results. I recommend going with youth early, then pouncing on still productive veteran players that slip due to their age.”
Matt Barbato (BettingPros)

The most important thing fantasy players should do is have a draft plan. Determine which draft strategy you want to use and if you want to build a contending team right away or build for the future. However, the one thing fantasy players should do, regardless of their draft plan, is acquire future rookie picks. Most fantasy players get caught up in the moment and will be willing to trade away future rookie picks to improve their team during the startup draft. Yet, those same league mates will trade you star players for those draft picks nine months later.”
Mike Fanelli (FantasyPros)

Research Your Opponents. If you’re committing to being in a league with a group of people, there is a good chance you’ll know some of them already, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering how each person thinks about the players in the draft. Whether that’s because a certain person is a massive homer for players for their team or if someone has written 37 threads on Marvin Mims in the last month, these kinds of considerations can help you understand how the board may play out and when you can leverage situations to your benefit.”
Tom Strachan (NFL Best Ball)

In Superflex formats, I always draft quarterbacks early. Most of my startups begin with back-to-back quarterback selections. Sometimes that will necessitate trading up in those first two rounds to secure the last passer of a tier, but it’s worth it. In many instances, quarterbacks will never be cheaper to acquire than in a rookie or startup draft. Build the backbone of your team. Get your quarterbacks early.”
Derek Brown (FantasyPros)

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What is one thing fantasy managers should avoid doing in a Dynasty Startup Draft?

Avoid starting out into a rebuild. If you draft with the mindset that you’ll be losing year 1, you’re putting yourself behind the 8-ball. It’s much easier to draft to win now, and if things fall apart, pivot later. If you go in with the goal of losing in year 1, you’ve basically donated your entry fee that year. There’s no guarantee that this league will last that long. Win while you can.”
Andrew Hall (FantasyPros)

I avoid punting my first season in a dynasty league. I’ve found that going full-on youth movement and tanking for draft picks doesn’t work out as often as you’d think. The 2023 draft is a perfect example of how putting your eggs in the draft basket can backfire. The 2023 class was heralded at this time a year ago. Now it looks like it might not yield many difference-makers. There’s nothing wrong with keeping an eye toward the future, but winning in Year 1 counts just as much as winning in Year 4.”
Matt Barbato (BettingPros)

Fantasy players also don’t want to find themselves stuck in the middle. Either draft a team that can win this year or build for the future. Too often, fantasy players will try to have a roster mixed with both kinds of players. However, that kind of roster is the perfect way to be good enough to make the playoffs every year but not good enough to win the championship. Draft for this year or build for the future, but don’t get caught in the middle.”
Mike Fanelli (FantasyPros)

Aggressively Trading Up Too Often. On paper, it could look awesome to have Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson as your two quarterbacks in a Superflex league, but the cost of continuously moving up the draft board can be very detrimental to your roster’s overall depth. When you’re giving up draft capital to move up try to consider the repercussions and what players it might mean will suddenly be in your starting lineup. It’s all good having two stud quarterbacks, but if it means you’re starting Zack Moss in the flex, your team won’t be as imposing as you’d hope.”
Tom Strachan (NFL Best Ball)

Don’t worry about your starting lineup in a startup draft. You should be drafting the best player available when on the clock. Don’t fret that you are wide receiver heavy and have only 1-2 running backs through the first 7-8 rounds. You are not filling your starting lineup out immediately after the startup draft concludes. Building up areas of strength or depth allows you to trade for any needs later. If you’re reaching on certain players of lesser talent because you “need an RB2,” you’ll often be left with lesser talent on your roster. The evolution of your roster never ends. It doesn’t have to reach its final form in a startup draft.”
Derek Brown (FantasyPros)

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