Volume 1: The PURE DEVY League
I have played fantasy football since the mid-90s, scoring my home league off the USA Today that came out with all the box scores from the NFL games that week. Within the past five years I dove into defensive players, dynasty, and then finally devy leagues. Seeing where fantasy football has come over the past ten years absolutely blows my mind. I am in some crazy leagues and am always hearing about more leagues that sound amazing and different. I am going to do a series of articles about some of the most unique leagues I have found over the course of this ‘off-season’.
What is Devy?
If you have not heard of devy, devy is short for developmental players and in most cases that means players in college. The first devy leagues I was in each had spots for a few devy players, and typically a devy draft or auction in the off-season in which you can draft players in college that are not heading into the NFL draft. It’s a fun way to add a few players to your dynasty team that you can watch as they go through college and into the NFL. There are a lot of resources available that scout college players and rank them if you do not have the time to follow college football- it can be a little more time consuming- but I love scouting the players as much as I can on my own.
The Mother of All Devy Leagues
A few months ago I answered a tweet regarding a new concept and a devy league that was deeper and using a crazy format that had likely never been thought of. Jordan Samuels, @jordanss88, came up with this idea for a deep devy league consisting of hundreds of devy players and a huge draft in which you build a team that doesn’t even play a game until the fourth year of the league. I was intrigued, but honestly had no idea how it could possibly work. Jordan reached out and found 8 other people and showed us the constitution and plan on how it would work.
Originally we were scheduled for 70 rounds, 700 devy players drafted- and then it was ultimately extended to 80 rounds. That is 800 DEVY PLAYERS! We drafted college and high school players, which opened up a whole new world to me and I think most of us in the league. Concurrent to the devy draft we drafted 4 rounds of veteran players that also can’t play in the first few years. It was interesting to draft players that you know would not play until year 4, it opened another level of strategy. Did I also mention we had Individual Defensive Players in this league too? I went into the draft flatfooted and I had no idea how to tackle this draft. I had never scouted high school players before entering this draft.
It started off like a normal draft this time of year- Saquon Barkley still went 1.01 in our draft and our first high school player was drafted at 1.03- Trevor Lawrence, QB commit for Clemson. The first five rounds were dominated by RBs and WRs, a few QBs each round, and then the first defensive player was Bradley Chubb, the stud defensive end from NC State that will likely be a top-5 draft pick this draft. Our devy draft spread out over the course of a month, we tracked it on a Google sheet with a Twitter group established for banter. Teams went really heavy on offensive talent, some teams leaving the devy draft with up to 10 QBs, RBs, or WRs. Mostly linebackers were taken on the defensive side, defensive linemen and secondary are harder to pinpoint success in the earlier years unless the player is a rare talent. Some teams drafted nearly exclusively college talent with very few high school players. Some teams went heavy on high school commits and players in their first few years of college.
Years 2, 3, and 4 there will be a 20 round devy draft at the beginning of the off-season. There will also be a 4 round veteran draft following that. That will mean the roster after the off-season will be at 156 players per team. Before the season starts the rosters must be trimmed to 100 roster spots with only 8 spots being players acquired via veteran drafts and then 30 taxi spots. Finally, after all of that activity and watching your college players make the NFL or at least hopefully get closer, in Year 4 our fantasy teams will at last play each other in actual fantasy match-ups!
There will be devy drafts every offseason after that and no players can be acquired that are already in the NFL. There are several phases to the starting lineups, the first year the lineup required is smaller and it grows to fit the teams and the amount of players on teams that reach the NFL. Ultimately, it will be a superflex league with 16 offensive and 16 defensive starters.
Jordan created this concept and went through the thought process to make this insane idea into a league and everyone in the draft had so much fun during the draft. It tested my knowledge of pre-NFL football- I personally read everything I could on 247sports.com, searched through All-American lists and players on top teams in the countries, and dug for information from every Twitter follow I could. I really love building this team full of players I will keep tabs on for hopefully many years in the future.
Let me know if you are in any devy leagues that are truly unique and interesting- I always want to hear about more. It all starts with a concept, but ultimately it takes a commissioner and a great group of owners to make any idea a reality and a successful league!