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Choosing the Right Fantasy Football League – Part 1

Believe it or not, fantasy football for the 2013 NFL season is upon us. Well, it could be, depending on your type of league. When choosing your fantasy football league(s), there’s a lot to look at. Starting lineups, keepers, roster size, defensive players, type of draft, scoring, and other owners are among the big things when choosing.

Today we’re going to start a series to focus only on choosing the right type of league. Today we’re going to take a look into the first and most broad, but important, choice in this series: the type of league. There’s dynasty leagues, keeper leagues, and redraft leagues. Let’s dive into these leagues, breaking them down by their pros and cons.

Dynasty

Pros

  • Deep Rosters - This is a pro if you are a true football fan, meaning you’re up-to-date with even the smallest tidbit of current news and information, including good word, drops, acquisitions, and other such news. Dynasty leagues are usually much deeper than other leagues
  • Getting to know the NFL - Especially in Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues, it’s important to know the role a player is going to play in a certain team’s scheme and how they will be used. How will their role impact their fantasy value? A 3-4 nose tackle or defense end  just isn’t the same as a 4-3 defensive tackle or defensive end. It makes you get to know NFL schemes and the true talent of certain players.
  • Knowing the NFL will not only help in dynasty leagues, but also your redraft leagues - If you can pull a couple of sleepers out that no one else is seeing coming because you have heard good news or know the tram’s scheme better than most, you’re going to be successful in redraft leagues, too. Keeping track of the NFL offseason and reading Rotworld news feed is step one to acquainting yourself with the news, good and bad, on specific players from around the league. You’ll see the improvements knowing the league can make.
  • Comradery - It’s good to become close with other league owners, which is something that doesn’t always happen in a redraft or especially in daily leagues. Building a relationship and having fantasy football connections to become members of other leagues that they are in is always good.
  • Feel like a true general manager - Especially in an IDP league, it will feel like you’re running you’re own NFL team. That’s what makes this format so exciting to me. It also gives me an offseason with things to do throughout (but this depends on your league settings).

Cons

  • News Cycle - The news cycle is as quick as every 15-20 minutes now. It’s important to get your head on Twitter and follow along as various news and reports on various players is released. This is very time consuming. I can 100% guarantee that your social life will be damaged if you want to become a true dynasty guru, It’s also important to remember the info that you pick-up, something even I am still working on. Luckily, Rotoworld can take care of that too. Just search a name on their website.
  • Thick skin is a must - You must stick with your team even when it has a bad year. It takes years of dedication of hard work to build a quality championship team in a dynasty league. Unlike redraft, where you can find one gem and win the league.
  • Difficult to find free agent gems - Most talent is going to be found via trade with others. Few quality free agents will hit the market, and when they do, they will be costly. Trades are so important, which is why knowing and communication with other league owners is so important. You must be social and active to build a winning team. Free agency will give you a  back-up here and there, and that’s about all if will do.
  • Difficult for new owners to grasp that it’s not always “win now” –  It’s hard to transition from redraft or even keeper leagues to dynasty, because you’re not always trying to win now. In fact, most of the time you’re preparing your team for the future. This is a concept that even I am still trying to grasp. This ties into trying to find value and talent for future years, and not trying to find the gap fillers that are just in a good situation.

Keeper

Pros

  • Goal is always “win now” - This is an easy concept to grasp. Draft the best team, keep the best players from the year before. It’s that simple. This is very similar to redraft, in most cases. Depending on how many players are kept, sometimes owners can prepare for the future by storing young talent, but most times players are just rolled over for their production for the upcoming year, not the future.
  • Comradery - Like a dynasty league, owners in a keeper league should stick together in the league for years to come.
  • Similar to redraft - It’s not important to make a dramatic strategy change from that of your redraft leagues. It also puts more pressure to make successful early picks, which leads up to our cons…
  • Stay busy in the offseason, without staying too busy - Dynasty league too much to keep up with in the offseason? Redraft leagues not getting you involved enough? This is your perfect medium. You still have to stay up-to-date, but with rosters similar to that of a redraft league, it’s not necessary to watch every detail and keep up-to-date on the news cycle.

Cons

  • Inaugural Draft and Early Picks are of the utmost importance - In most leagues, you’ll never have to give up your keepers. In my first draft of my first ever keeper league, my Dad drafted Adrian Peterson (this is back when he was a rookie). He’s been a member of the “Caribbean Island Boys” ever since. Hit on early picks and rookies, as these are your potential keepers that no one is going to be able to touch if you don’t let them. If you hit, they will likely be yours forever. If you don’t, you’ll have slim pickings to find that franchise player in future drafts.
  • If it’s not fun for everyone, it’s not fun for anyone - A few bad, non-active owners can ruin your league and make it not very fun. Same goes for those owners who constantly banter about the little things in the league. This can happen if communication or league togetherness isn’t concise.
  • Not quite a restart every year - This can be a pro or con. But if you’re team isn’t quite what you wanted, you’re out of luck. It’s going to take a while to build back up. There’s no second chances, unlike redrafts.

 

Redraft

Pros

  • The ability to experiment – After one draft, you’re moving on to the next year. With this, you can try different strategies, and one sour strategy isn’t going to kill you. Experience in redraft is needed before you move onto dynasty leagues. It’s two completely different games.
  • Mistakes are alright and only last for one year –  A redo every year mean that there’s never an emphasis on any particular draft.
  • Easy concept - Win now. It’s that simple. Draft the best player as of now. Don’t worry about the future. Don’t worry about how talented the player is (in most cases). Draft the guy who’s going to score the most points right now. The rest will pan out for you.
  • Pool of players replenished every year - No player is off limits for any team in any given year. Go get who you want (as long as trading is allowed).

Cons

  • Non-talented owners can win - A lucky waiver wire pick-up here and there can win a team a championship. Redrafts don’t necessarily take any skill, and are more about luck than anything. Of course, fantasy football is a game of skill and luck, it’s just that drafts are a bit more lucky. You don’t have to have a plan, unlike keeper or dynasty leagues.
  • Can tend to stray away from the NFL offseason - This is good for some, but a con for me. If I was only in redrafts, I may not pay enough attention to the NFL offseason. It’s important to always know news coming out of offseason, especially once we get into camps and players have the pads on.
  • League continuity can vary - Redraft leagues can rollover from year to year, but some leagues have no contact among themselves during the offseason because there’s nothing to be done outside of the annual draft. That makes for less league continuity, and lessens the overall enjoyability of the league.

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Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed my breakdown of these three league types. Being the football addict I am, I’m becoming more fond of dynasty leagues. I love the challenge of finding that sleeper because I’m up-to-date on the news cycle. However, I’m in a long-time fantasy league that’s a keeper (going all the way back to the pencil, paper and newspaper boxscore days), and I always get dragged into at least one redraft every year.

On Wednesday we’ll take a look at the type of drafts: the pros and cons of auction drafts versus snake drafts. It’s been a hot topic since the beginnings of online fantasy sports.

About Christian Hardy

Avid fan of NFL and NBA. I've been playing fantasy sports for 10 of my 16 years on planet Earth. That's a lot of fantasy sports. Now I'm going to help you win money. And that's good. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for sports updates and analysis.

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