When Edward Pola and George Wyle penned the classic Christmas tune “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year“, you can’t convince me that on some level, they weren’t talking about football season. It’s mid/late July, and my eyes are starting to glaze over with the sort of haze that can only be broken by stretch run plays, screen passes, and the cover 2 defense. After July 4th, that most patriotic of times, it is perfectly acceptable to begin thinking about your favorite teams fortunes. And in today’s day and age, many of our favorite teams happen to be our own… That’s right, I’m talking about fantasy football. Despite what some people on this site think (ahem, JASON) most of our contributors, nay, most sane people in the USA love and appreciate fantasy football (it’s so popular, it’s costing companies 6.5 billion a year). I’m here to convince you that, there is no need to wait till July 4th to start thinking about America’s third most popular sport (pro football, then college, then fantasy). That’s right, you can think about it all year round with a little thing people call the dynasty league.
You’ve played fantasy football before. You know what’s up. You’ve even thought about playing in a keeper league. Or maybe you’ve tried it. The rules vary, but usually you can keep one or two players from year to year, and in return for keeping said player, you have t0 give up a draft pick. Pretty fun and different. Well a dynasty league is like that. That is, if a puddle of rain water is like Lake Superior! Dynasty leagues are keeper leagues on crack, and they give you a reason to keep your mind on football all year round, which is awesome. To quote the great Pete Eckhart “There are many things a man can do with his time… This, is better than those things.”
First and foremost, God bless the NFL for trying to be a year long conversation. The combine begins in February, this year the draft will move to May and will remain there for the foreseeable future, OTA’s are in May as well, training camps start in late July, preseason begins in in early August, and then real football kicks off in early September. That’s well over half the year covered by the season and it’s various other activities. And let me tell you, the public eats it up! The ratings for all of these events are through the roof. Yes, even with all the recent concussion issues, people can’t get enough of the NFL.
In a dynasty league, all of the events mentioned above matter. You keep players under contract for a number of years. In the off season, you have to pay attention to who’s progressing and playing well, and who may be getting older and in need of releasing from your squad. My league does a college draft every year where we can draft anyone in college, of any age. Then when they enter the league, they are automatically signed to your team for four years at .5 million per. It’s a great bargain, and can really pay off for the guy that drafts RG3, or a super sleeper like Alfred Morris. When a players contract is up, you have the right to franchise tag 2 players. They hit the free market and get bid on. Then you have the option to retain that player at 80 percent of the final contract number. So for instance, I had AJ Green tagged. He hit the market and commanded a 17 million dollar salary. I tagged him at 14 million and kept his services for the max number of years, 4. Everyone that doesn’t get tagged hit’s free agency. And let me tell you, it’s like the wild west. I just lost a bidding war on Demaryius Thomas. He finally settled in at 22 million for one year. In other words, a team viewed him as the missing piece and paid a premium to get him for one year. After this season, he’ll hit free agency again.
There are no roster limits in my league. So, it makes sense to try and sign young unproven talent, like Joe Morgan of the Saints. He is a legit deep threat, and if he and Drew Brees develop chemistry, the 1 million for 4 years is a total bargain. Our starting rosters are a bit different as well. We start 2 qbs, 2 rbs, 3 wrs, 1 te, a wr/te flex, a rb/wr/te flex and one team defense. The premium is on building a team for the long haul. Making smart college draft choices and signing the right guys. Also it gives you and your buddies a reason to hang out and talk trash all year round, and really, what could be better.
In honor of dynasty leagues, I’m going to give out a few names of players that I think are great to get a hold of in leagues of this format.
AJ Green – I already mentioned him, but he may be the best wr on the board in a dynasty league. Younger than Calvin Johnson, and playing for a more consistent offense, Green is truly a special player. True, his qb lacks the rocket launcher for an arm that Calvin’s qb has, but other than that, AJ has it all. Sign up for a max deal.
Doug Martin – Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster still rule the roost for a few years. But in running back years, 30 is an age that looms large. Both players have been consistent at a high level, but in the next few years, you have to think they will wear down. That’s where Doug Martin steps in. The previously mentioned Alfred Morris is a great back, but Martin is complete. He can run for 200 yards, or stay on the filed for third downs and catch a dump off pass for a first down. And in a PPR league (that’s points per reception for the uninitiated) that is golden. Lock up Martin for the long haul.
Young QB’s – Peyton, Drew, and Tom are still awesome. But we are in a golden age for great young quarterbacks. In a dynasty league, I’d take RG3, Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, and maybe Russel Wilson before those guys. If you can get a hold of any of these young guns, do it.
Jimmy Graham – A total stud who is just hitting his prime. Get him and get far and away the best tight end in the game until Gronk proves he can stay healthy.
That’s it for my obvious players that you should try and target. Now get with your buddies, and start a dynasty league. You’ll be glad you did.