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Dynasty Startup Strategies for New Owners

Is it your first time playing Dynasty? Coach Steve has a few common strategies and his own during the start-up drafts.

So, you want to get into a dynasty? Well, dynasty fantasy football can be a lot of fun. Those who come from Redraft may have to look a different way when it comes to dynasties. Perhaps you already did a dynasty league but didn’t do well in the start-up. I will break down some good strategies for a start-up that you need to know. I will also break down a few strategies for handling start-up drafts.

Win Now Appoarch

The Win-Now approach in dynasty is playing the start-up draft like a redraft league. You’re drafting players to win the first season of the league. This strategy can be different, but you’re not worried about the age; you’re looking toward which players will have big seasons in the upcoming year. You should be aware of the pros and cons of this strategy.


The pros are apparent for a Win-Now draft since you significantly increase your chances of winning a title in year one. You will have elite players on your team that everyone will want at some point. This one is easy since your only goal is to win that league and claim the reward from it. I’ve seen others use this approach and have seen them win the championship in year one. You can get discounts on aging veterans who still have a season or two in them to help your team.

Photo Courtesy of Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire

Players to look at: Josh Jacobs, Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones, Austin Ekeler, Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Cooper Kupp, Mike Evans, Calvin Ridley, DeAndre Hopkins

Everyone is going to have different strategies when it comes to dynasty start-up drafts. You’ll likely get a discount in start-up drafts for these players since many lean toward young players and avoid aging players. The good thing about Win-Now is that you can win by not spending high capital on players. You’ll likely get a few stars to start your draft, and these aging veterans will fall in drafts so you can load up on them for a run at the championship. As you know, many of these players are likely top 48 picks in the 2024 redraft, but not as much in dynasty.


The cons to this strategy are easily seen. While yes, you get excellent odds of winning a championship, fantasy football is not a guaranteed win. You could still lose but be left with this aging team. You need to know how to trade well and make moves. If you don’t win in year one, you are left with older players who may quickly lose a step or lose their starting jobs to young players. You take that risk to win a championship rather than having pieces in place to compete every year.

Build for a Dynasty

Building a dynasty is more like looking to win for many years than winning year one. You take more young players, perhaps rookies, to build your team. You usually don’t have many players other than 26 on your roster, as you’re hoping for years of success.


The pros of this strategy are that you are building something that should keep you competitive for many years. You hope to have a young piece that turns into a stud on your team after a year or two. There’s no worry about those players breaking down and falling off a cliff anytime soon. You can also be at an advantage when a young player breaks out to trade them for even more pieces than you originally got. It’s the dynasty you want rather than the upfront success.


The con is that you rely on young talent to step up and take that next step in their development. Many drafts add rookie players or draft picks into the start-up. Assuming that risk that you will go all young players could hurt your long-term value if you don’t hit right. Some players you draft may not have proven production, which can be risky. If you have many busted young players, trading them will make it harder to get back on track, which could put you behind for years.

Strategies I Prefer for Start-ups

So, I like to do my start-ups in the middle of the two common strategies above. I enjoy having a mix of young and old players on my team to help me with the current and future. I think it’s the smartest way to do your league, as it allows you to go either way in your league.

If you notice that your team can win now, you trade away the young players. Then, you can get proven vets for a championship run. If you see that your team is a year out from making noise, you trade away the aging vets for a draft pick and young talent. I don’t think this strategy has many cons unless your only mindset is to win at all costs. My teams either made many finals or won championships using this strategy in most of the start-ups I have done. I have done well in over 15 start-ups.

Invest in WR in Start-up Drafts

There are many strategies to go in a start-up draft that many fantasy experts may say is the best way to dominate your league. Whether racing for a championship or trying to create a dynasty, the best way to be consistent is to invest in the wide receiver position. Investing in a receiver on your dynasty roster can give you an edge over other owners.

Photo Courtesy of Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire

The best thing to do is to have a mix of young and old receivers who have big upsides and can give consistent value. Outside of the quarterback situation, the receiver position usually holds the second-highest consistent tenure among dynasty rosters. Based on Statista, the average NFL receiver is 28.1, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but for fantasy, you can get five to eight years of consistent production when the elite receivers are in the NFL. 

If you look at that article, they say tight ends have a slightly longer span, but the hit rate on tight ends is not as good as receivers. Receivers also get focused on when they do hit that elite level of fantasy play. In 2023, 42 players hit 100-plus targets. Of those 42, 35 were receivers who saw 100 plus targets.

Having a core of receivers can help you in the long run with building a team right. In most cases, many leagues play with a three-receiver set or have multiple flex options where the receivers can all start in those spots. The scoring helps with many dynasty leagues being some point-per-reception.

Invest High in QBs in SuperFlex Leagues

Outside of loading up on receivers, in Superflex leagues, having elite quarterbacks is a MUST in fantasy. I invested in many Philip Rivers shares in my early years, thinking I could get skilled players, but it can hurt you in the long run. It makes sense if you are an owner who wants to win on day one. In leagues where I invested in a Josh Allen or a Jalen Hurts well into their primes, I’ve become more competitive and won championships more often. In most cases, there may be ten to twelve elite fantasy quarterbacks in a dynasty in any given year. More often than not, you may only get two chances to draft them since they go early in drafts.

There is a noticeable difference if we look at the top ten quarterbacks against the bottom ten quarterbacks in points per game. The top ten average 21 fantasy points per game, while the bottom ten average 15 fantasy points per game. Those points can go a long way when facing another team with great quarterbacks. Of course, outside of an injury, the top quarterbacks usually have job security. You know they will be there for four-plus years in most cases. The bottom ten are filled with aging vets and journeymen who are one bad game away from getting benched. It’s important to establish a base at quarterback, and in the next section, I’ll explain the quarterback position in more detail.

Load on up Backup QBs in Superflex Leagues

Getting high-level talent at quarterback is important, but loading up on backups can be very important in Superflex leagues. You can handcuff your quarterbacks in most cases, but then you’re hoping for an injury. I want to grab quarterback rooms to have as depth on my roster. You may need one of those quarterbacks to start for you at some point during the season. It was even more important in 2023, as 54 quarterbacks got a chance to start this season. We had seven franchise types of quarterbacks go down with injury. We also had many quarterback rooms rotate players all season.

It worked for me this past season with players like Garnder Minshew and Aidan O’Connell, who got the long opportunity to play in 2023 after being the backup. In some cases, there are misses like Jacoby Brissett or Mike White, who did not start this season. This will give you an advantage over other owners since Superflex leagues scare owners who don’t have quarterbacks to start. You could end up trading backup quarterbacks for draft picks or another solid bench piece. The quarterback position can be critical in keeping your team going.

Play Hero Ball with Running Back

During a start-up draft, I like to avoid running backs as much as possible in the early drafts. You get running backs by trading for them rather than drafting them. If the right running back does fall in the first seven to eight rounds, I will usually take one back and draft Hero RB in the dynasty.

Once the first ten rounds are done, I will collect backups or upside running backs to fill in my depth on the roster. In leagues where I draft more running backs early, I’ve noticed that my team lacks the depth/star power to be a great overall team. If you see other start-ups, very few running backs go early on drafts due to their short fantasy career.

So that’s why in rounds five to seven, it’s a great time to grab one back that has fallen. Then, continue to follow the other strategies above. If you want to have two starters at running back and wait on the depth, that’s fine, too. My past success has relied on playing Hero RB and hitting on my depth or trading for a back when I was in contention.

Tight Ends

For my tight-end strategy, I usually have said in the last few seasons to take Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews in the first few rounds. Or completely wait on the position after you build your QBs and WRs. I have gone both ways on this strategy, as it all depends on where the value is for that tight end.

Photo Courtesy of Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire

The best way to approach tight ends is to find value in the right rounds. This year, I’m in a start-up that seems to have not had a tight end go in the first three rounds, so there will be value in drafting tight ends in start-ups this year. We could see great value in rounds five and six, so you should scoop up a solid tight end. Often, if I grab a Kelce or an Andrews, I pair them with a young tight end. I have many shares of the Cole Kmet and Sam LaPorta. The tight end position probably has about ten solid tight ends in the league for fantasy. Ensuring you have one of those top ten tight ends is essential to my strategy.

Late Rounds

I think the late rounds can hold key value for your team. It works well to mix up young and old with my bench to ensure balance for my team. I usually go through a certain number of rounds, taking all youth and upside, then sliding in a few rounds of floor players who can provide bye-week value or flex value for my roster. The later rounds are also where taking those backup quarterbacks becomes very important, especially in SuperFlex leagues.

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