Welcome to The Dynasty Owner's Manual, where Chris and I meet with experts in the industry to discuss the real nuts and bolts of dynasty ownership. We’re here to help guide those looking to get in on dynasty this off-season as well as those who have been at it for years. Chris has between five and ten years of fantasy football experience, but has recently made the transition to dynasty. He brings the fresh perspective of a new owner, and reminds those who have experience some of the things they may have gotten complacent on. I have played fantasy football for about 9 years, with roughly 6 of those involved in dynasty. The difference can be intimidating for those used to the lack of commitment redraft allows.
Today we have a very special guest to kick off the series. Karl Safchick (@KarlSafchick) brings his take on dynasty fantasy football in general as he’s seen it develop over the last 13 years. Our goal in this first piece is to touch on some of the basics as a primer for what we plan to cover in the later editions of the series.
When joining your first dynasty league the fear is always the same: “If I mess up, I’m stuck.” Sure, you don’t get to start over from scratch next year, but most botch their first crack at it anyway. In this series, we will discuss every format you may be considering for your dynasty team. However, we will never suggest you limit yourself to any specific league type. Let’s learn a bit about everyone’s first dynasty experience.
Karl Safchick – ‘Deez Nutz’ fantasy league (spelled ‘D-E-E-Z…’ whatever)
“I really jumped into the dynasty world two feet, head first in…”
Karl’s first dynasty league was his first ever experience with fantasy football. "Deez Nutz" was a 16-team league with the following starting requirements:
• 1 quarterback
• 2 running backs
• 3 wide receivers
• 1 FLEX
• *Offensive lines
• *Head coaches
• *Defensive schemes
*Listen in to find out exactly what a head coach does for your fantasy lineup.
When Karl first started in the dynasty community, he didn’t have the resources we have now to help guide him in the right direction. He had to stumble upon the idea of “rebuilding” on his own after missing the playoffs his first 7 seasons.
“My first draft picks were Priest Holmes, Tiki Barber, and Lamont Jordan…”
Karl went RB, RB, RB, with little regard to age at the time, and eventually traded away Barber for Cedric Benson; which goes to show how quickly things can change in dynasty. Just because your dynasty team is long term does not make your players long term.
Chris Allen – Sierra Booz Fantasy League (Hey New Guy…)
“I walked in to work one day and was greeted with, “Hey New Guy, have you played fantasy football before?”
Chris was ‘voluntold’ to be the commissioner in his first fantasy league. He had no experience setting up a dynasty league, nor was he in a fantasy league at all. He was tasked with the coordination of a draft around 13 schedules, and only his garage available as a venue. In August. In Ohio. Three hours, and a few adult beverages later, a white board was scribbled over with barely legible player picks, and sweaty sticky notes.
“I didn’t prepare for the draft at all.”
As important as the draft is, getting the experience of drafting and, unfortunately, losing in spectacular fashion can help drive your curiosity for the next year. The more you pick up through watching film and reading articles, the more connections you begin to make towards building a better team in the future.
Adam Wilde – Major League Fantasy
“Peyton Hillis was on the Papa John’s box...” /facepalm
I took Peyton Hillis in the first round, and I don’t think I mustered up a single start from him. Fast forward a year or two later I joined Karl’s dynasty league via orphan pick up. My first trade was Montee Ball for Marlon Brown. If you don’t recall, Montee Ball was actually good at one point .Marlon Brown, however, was not. I remembered Brown scoring a couple touchdowns, and was very proud of myself for knowing the name of a player outside the top 12, so I went, and got “my guy”. The trade was so lopsided Karl tried to get the guy, a mutual friend, to kick me a 3rd after the trade was completed.
“It’s really okay to suck at first”
These experiences go to show owners new to dynasty it takes time. Your first year might be rough, but the ins and outs will come soon enough.
Here’s our thoughts in response to some general dynasty questions:
“Dynasty is simply a keeper/redraft league on steroids. What would your counter point be to that statement?”
“I think you’re definitely right. You’re getting into a marriage with these players… If you draft Antonio Brown, you can have him for the rest of his career. The trades that you make, and the draft picks you make; you’re making them with the knowledge that your mistakes can be exponential. And your hits; the guys that you draft or trade for that turn out to be better than expected can help you out exponentially”
“Would you recommend dynasty to someone who is walking into fantasy for the first time?”
“To be an expert you need to be more savvy, but I don’t think that there’s any problem jumping into dynasty… The only way to learn is to do it and that’s the way that I learned.”
“I don’t think that there’s any cookie cutter league that people should jump into if they are beginners. I think that any scoring format, any type of salary cap, or idp, anything like that if you’re willing to put the time into it and have fun then I think it’s perfectly fine to join a ‘complicated league’”
“Are there different aspects to football that owners should track more now that they’re involved in dynasty?”
“We’re basically GMs at this point… I’m looking at J.J. Nelson. I don’t think he’s good what’s so ever, but you know what? He might be a WR2 on his team this year, and then next year after his inflated stats this year potentially, maybe he gets a big contract like we saw with Paul Richardson this year. So those are things that you’re looking at now. Before I just cared if the Reskins won or lost.”
“There’s so much more than just our opinion on players. draft position, the amount of salary players are going to get… Everyone fell in love with Jeff Janis when he came out because he had this amazing athletic profile, but the fact of the matter is 7th round picks rarely pan out. So that’s really important. When players fail to get a big contract we thought they would a la Terrell Pryor this past year, those are big red flags.”
"How many years are you looking out when you’re creating your team?"
"I think a three-year window is a very fine way to look at it.”
“If you look three years ago at some of the ADP data you’re going to see some players young and old who are no longer in the league anymore.”
“Can you think of any other aspects of dynasty or other things that you track that we have touched on yet?”
“One thing that I like to look at more than age is age adjusted production; which means to say that if you’re a very young college player that did very well then you should be able to do well in the NFL. Rather than if you didn’t break out until your senior season.”
“I do a lot of film watching, mostly because I spent so much time on it in high school. We were a very competitive team so that what I’m good at, and what I stick to.”
“Do you have a stronger grasp on incoming rookies as a dynasty owner more so than a redraft owner?”
“Rookies are a whole different animal. It’s almost like you’re playing the lottery.”
“Laquon Treadwell: There should’ve been red flags with him when he was the fourth WR drafted I believe; when everyone kind of thought he was going to be the first. I believe 10/10 dynasty analysts would have drafted Laquon Treadwell over Will Fuller despite the fact that Will Fuller was drafted in the NFL over Laquon Treadwell.”
“There’s so many hits and misses that we have in the NFL draft and that NFL teams have in the NFL draft. Rookies have such a large variance.”
“If you don’t want a bust, then don’t participate in the rookie draft… you can trade out of those picks if you don’t want to take the chance.”
There are “slam dunks” like we have with Saquon Barkley, but a rookie will always have a question that a vet may have already answered. I’m not advising no one draft rookies but presenting the option to trade for proven talent with your rookie picks if you’re uncomfortable with the rookie class.
I mentioned in our interview a trade where I sent Mike Evans for Antonio Brown. This is not to bring up player comparisons. Evans is a young star, and my WR4, but Brown is my WR3. I look at a 2-3-year window myself, and I can see Brown outscoring Evans for the next 2-3 years. If I can fill my roster with players who can produce in the same 2-3-year window, then I’m looking to win a championship at least a couple times in the next 2-3 years.
I’m personally part of #TeamNeverRebuild. I’m always looking to win, but that’s not to say there’s no one in your league values age or you shouldn't value age. If you’re looking to build a roster to win now, feel free to take your younger guys, and move them for some players you think may out produce for now but may not have the same number of years left in their career.
We cap off our first episode with each of our one big pet peeve as dynasty owners. This was not to call out any league mates, but to draw attention to some habits some may have created without even knowing it.
“Don’t contact me about trade offers. Just send them”
We’re here to have fun. Money is involved, but you’re not paying your mortgage with it. So, to tell a league mate not to contact you is against everything fantasy football. The relationships we build are the foundation of trade partnerships. In just about every league I'm in, I have a couple guys who I know I can get a fair trade done with on any given day.
In my first dynasty league, I participated in a dispersal draft with Mark Baigent (Double07Sports). We were competitors in the draft, but directly after the dispersal we began trading back and forth. By the time it was said and done, both of our teams basically turned into the poster children of win-now for myself, and a conservative rebuild Mark. Mark hit on some of his young guys like Kareem Hunt, and was able to compete in his rebuild but if I were to just throw blind trades around randomly then relationships like this don’t happen.
Lastly to this point; you have no clue who I value, and who I hate unless you’re following my twitter religiously. So, why waste both our time sending me an offer including DeVante Parker when I’d never own him on one of my teams. You could’ve had this back and forth exchange with me in fifteen seconds had you sent me a DM on twitter. This is not to say that you can't send ten trade offers out to ten different teams asking for a second round pick for a generic player with a comment attached, but more so directed at those big 2-3 player deals.
“Let’s talk first because the way I understand value isn’t the same as yours.”
Chris’ experience in dynasty has been limited, so determining the value of either players or picks in a trade isn’t a skill Chris has a firm grasp on yet. Dynasty owners tend to trade quickly, and negotiations are typically over specific price. Not value or how value is derived. So, a conversation on how/why you value a player at that price can be useful to the person you’re trading with in order to complete the trade. Especially if you know the person you’re trading with is new to the format.
Value can be negotiated, but owners should be willing to discuss that value with their potential trader so they can ensure a deal can be done now, and in the future.
“Think of the trading block as a yard sale.”
"Some people will use the trading block, and they'll put their five worst players on there. I figured you probably wanted to get something of value for them...before you drop them."
“You don’t have to have your best players on there, but have players on there you’re willing to move for at least perceived league value.”
Just an example: "If you have Adam Thielen... and you put him on the trading block, but you want way more than Adam Thielen is worth then why did you put him on the trading block? If you didn't put him on the trading block I would assume you wanted more than what Adam Thielen is worth."
To hear Karl’s full take on all these questions, and get more detail, check out our recording of the interview. Thank you so much for reading, and we hope you enjoyed Episode 1 of The Dynasty Owner’s manual.
Chris Allen (@ChrisAllenFFWX) is an engineer with a background in modeling and simulation. In his spare time, Chris is an avid homebrewer and fantasy football analyst. You can view his work at FFCouchCoach and TwoQBs
Adam Wilde (@DHH_Adam) is personal trainer and student who has finally found the time to join the dynasty community after four years in the military. You can find his work at Dynasty Happy Hour