Dynasty League Formats
June 15, 2015 | Kevin O'Brien
When I started out playing dynasty fantasy football, I started in a couple of leagues with a garden variety set of rules and lineup requirements. Little did I know at the time, I was just a teenager in love. Slowly, getting to know that there was more out there to experience. I was invited to join an Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league, and remember being very apprehensive. I took the leap and let me tell you it changed my view on dynasty football leagues. I began to look at the leagues I was in as part of something larger. I now refer to the 7 leagues I am in as a dynasty league portfolio. And just like a portfolio, there are many diverse formats and types. For me, I was made aware of these different formats over the years and vaguely seeing bits of conversation regarding them on Twitter. I’d like to share some of these formats and give my opinions on them in hopes that you expand your horizons.
In Superflex Leagues, the starting lineup allows for a flex spot to include the use of a QB. This is in addition to your minimum QB spot. At MyFantasyLeague.com, the starting lineup setup details the number of starters per position. Below the QB is “1-2”. This means you must start at least 1 QB, and as many as 2 but can only use as many flex spots as the number of total starters.
In this format, QBs get taken much more seriously. With 12-team 1-QB leagues, everyone has a “QB1”. Often if a team has even a Romo or Ryan, or even Newton, they are content being no better than half but no worse than half the league.
Using the Rotoviz Dynasty ADP app, QB5 goes off the board at pick 63 in 1-QB, while in 2-QB, the QB5 is off the board around pick 18.
Dynasty ADP for 1-QB Leagues
Dynasty ADP for 2-QB Leagues
Now whether you subscribe to late round QB or not, a 2-QB/Superflex format is going to accelerate your need to secure the QB of your choice.
With each team looking to roster 3-4 QBs in the typical 12-team league, your tactical ability to stream a QB becomes more difficult and redefines how late, the “late round” QB pool will be dried up. This dynamic creates more competition and a richer dynasty fantasy football experience.
Individual Defensive Players (IDP)
IDP leagues are really a great way to branch out beyond just the usual skill players. In the IDP league I am in, we have 53-man rosters and 21 starters.
Plenty of defensive players are creating turnovers and racking up the sacks every game. With team defense falling out of popularity, IDP fills that excitement when the defense makes a big play. No longer is there only angst when there’s a turnover. You now have a vested interest in: who came up with the fumble? Who forced it? Will your DB return it for a TD? Below shows an example of the scoring breakdown:
Devy leagues include the drafting of college players where you control their rights just like any other member of your roster, with the exception of any immediate contributions to your points. For instance, players like Georgia’s Nick Chubb or Auburn’s D’haquille Williams. Now, some watch college football, some don’t, but I personally am not a college football fan. However, I am no fool to where these NFL Rookies come from. and have enjoyed the extra chunk of research it requires. An unexpected pleasure I have encountered with Devy leagues is the year round participation. The leagues I am in have a major event just about monthly through the off-season, with the April RFA Auction, May Rookie Auction, June UFA Auction, July Developmental Auction, and August Waiver Wire reopening. Developmental Auction is only one of these components directly related to this format, but helps increase the attention to detail required and increases the different assets you have to build your dynasty.
Salary Cap dynasty leagues bring you closer to the GM experience where every bad move gets amplified by the contract assigned to the player. A top-tier WR like Brandon Marshall eventually becomes not-so-top-tier, but rather just a serviceable depth WR, except in salary cap leagues. Marshall’s contract of $44 on a $250 cap (17%) can become inhibiting to your budget as the player you might need to pay up is on an expiring rookie deal. On the other hand, hitting on a rookie gets amplified because you now have a contributing player under a very “team” friendly deal. There is a scale in the league I am in where top 3 or 5 get assigned $10/$250 for max of 5 years. This league also utilizes franchise tags, transition tags (essentially RFA with right to match an offer sheet). This format requires a very disciplined approach, and an increased necessity to read every line of the bylaws. Navigating cap space, cutting quality players, and the impact on trades makes this for a challenging format that I recommend adding to your portfolio, but don’t recommend for a beginner to dynasty fantasy football.
Miscellaneous Rules, Lineups, and Tweaks
Within each of these leagues, they have their own complexities which help enrich the dynasty experience, whether it’s a blend of Superflex and IDP, or Superflex and Devy. Some utilize auctions where drafting rookies is an open bidding auction, with more funds awarded in the similar way traditional draft picks are assigned based on reverse order of standings. Another variation is league size with 10, 12, 14, or even 16 owners. These create different challenges and force you to value certain depth players more than you normally would. If you are a fan of dynasty fantasy football, I encourage you to branch out and experience as many formats as possible as each have great aspects to them. I view all my dynasty leagues like my four children; I love them all, but none are completely the same, each one with their own set of characteristics.
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