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Building a Dynasty Vol. 1: Understanding and Taking Advantage of your League Settings

Every fantasy manager wants to win championships. In this series, Woo Lee (@WooLee_FFB) gives advice on how to build a dynasty in fantasy football leagues. In this article, Woo explains why understanding and taking advantage of your league settings can help you get ahead in building a dynasty in your fantasy football leagues.

Every fantasy manager’s goal every year is one thing and one thing only: Win the championship. The goal of every dynasty fantasy manager is: Win and keep winning. Every year fantasy managers spend money in leagues to be a part of it or maybe even have a good time. While many of those reasons are justified in joining many different fantasy football leagues, you probably want to win at least one or two to justify spending that buy-in money. In this series, I will give you some insight into building a dynasty fantasy football team that will help you win every year.
The first advice many fantasy football content creators will tell you is understanding your league and your league setting. This advice has been thrown around for ages. We will dig a little deeper into why this is important and how this impacts your fantasy football leagues’ success.

Understanding the scoring format of your league

The first thing you may want to make sure of is what scoring format your league is playing on. There are three different league types of scoring in fantasy football:

  • Points per Reception (PPR): Every player scores one point every time they make a reception.
  • Half a point per reception (0.5 PPR): Every player scores half a point every time they make a reception.
  • Standard: No player earns a point for a reception.

The scoring format of a league is important to understand because this makes players more and less valuable depending on what type of scoring format you play on.

Top 20 Running Back Rankings (PPR)
Top 20 Running Back Rankings (Standard)

Looking at the top 20 RBs from the 2020 season from FantasyData.com, one position that is heavily impacted by different scoring formats was the running back position. One player that you can look at was Alvin Kamara. In PPR format, Kamara scored about 80 more points compared to standard scoring. Though Kamara also finished as the RB2 in standard formats, the point difference between PPR and standard scoring format immensely impacts the production from a running back. Because receptions do not count towards the total, pure running RBs such as Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, and Nick Chubb will finish higher in standard leagues because they relied more on the overall running game for production. In standard scoring format, Derrick Henry was the only RB to finish over the 300-point mark. In PPR format, the top 3 running backs finished above the 300-point mark.

Top 20 Wide Receiver Rankings (PPR)
Top 20 Wide Receiver Rankings (Standard)

This applies to WRs and TEs as well. Though obviously WRs and TEs usually do not accumulate rushing yards, two key aspects allow success in standard-scoring formats at the WR position: Red Zone targets and Reception yards. A lot of WR fantasy production in standard leagues usually comes from TDs and overall yardage. This makes productive WRs very hard to come by as no WRs finished over the 250 point mark in standard-scoring formats.

In PPR, however, the top 10 WRs finished above the 250 point mark, and three WRs finished over the 300 point mark. There is a scarcity of productive WRs in standard-scoring formats. Taking a deeper look at the top three WRs in standard-scoring formats, Hill and Adams both finished with above 15 total touchdowns. Diggs led all receivers in 2020 with 1535 receiving yards, making up the point difference of having under ten total touchdowns. The scarcity of productive WRs was not the same in PPR scoring formats. All top 20 WRs finished above 200 points; therefore, all 20 WRs are viable options week to week, and the emphasis on drafting a productive WR is significantly lower. Drafting players best suited for your scoring formats is important when you are looking to win it all.

Understanding Dynasty Leagues

Dynasty is a fantasy football league setting that allows you to keep your roster to future seasons. Usually, how it goes is that your league does a start-up draft once and then draft the incoming rookies of the next NFL season. This means that you must think long term as a well-drafted team one year could look drastically different the following year. This is because as players regress, their production regresses. So, a WR1 may not produce like a WR1 going into his 15th season. In dynasty, it is all about winning year to year and building a roster that will consistently win you fantasy championships year to year. You must constantly think about when to sell certain players before their regression hurts their current value.

Understand your league format

Every league has different settings and can be modified to add different aspects to your league. These are the more common league formats that are being used right now:

  • 1QB: can only play one QB every week.
  • Super Flex: can play up to two QBs every week.
  • TE Premium: Adds an extra half a point per receptions for all tight ends.

These league formats help you emphasize different players at different positions. In Superflex leagues, QBs tend to hold a lot more value because you can play two QBs every week. Understanding your league format allows you to draft better and emphasize positions that bring more value and production.

Understand what platform/application you are using

There are many different fantasy football applications out there.

  • ESPN
  • My Fantasy League
  • Sleeper
  • Yahoo
  • Fan Duel
  • CBS Sports Fantasy
  • Fleaflicker

There are probably more out there. These are what I found in the google play store and the Apple App Store. The point is there are many different platforms out there for millions of fantasy managers to play fantasy football on, and every platform comes with its own rankings. One term you should know is Average Draft Position (ADP). ADP shows the projection of where players are being drafted. For example, in ESPN’s 2020 Fantasy Football Rankings, Davante Adams’s ADP was at #16. In Yahoo’s 2020 Fantasy Football rankings, Davante Adams’s ADP was at #10.

Another example is Patrick Mahomes. ESPN’s ADP had Mahomes at #35 while Yahoo had him at #20. This is important because different players will be drafted at different rounds depending on which platform you use. This allows you to wait or make you reach for certain players depending on their ADP for that specific platform.

Conclusion

Taking advantage of your league settings will help you win your leagues year to year. Understanding how your league works will give you an advantage in drafting a better roster and scoring more points week to week. Knowing how your league is set up can maximize the performance of your team. I hope this first article of this series gave you some insight on how to get ahead in your dynasty leagues.

Make sure you subscribe to the #NerdHerd, where you get exclusive content, dynasty/rookie/devy rankings, buy/sell tool, and a bonus podcast too. Dynasty Nerds also recently launched the #DynastyGM tool, which is a complete game-changer in the fantasy industry. Click here for a free trial. We truly are your one-stop-shop for all your fantasy football needs!

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