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What is a taxi squad and why you should have one.

Heard about taxi squads lately? They’re popping up all over: you’ll hear Rich, Matt, and Garret mention it on the Dynasty Nerds podcast; you’ll see some of our writers mention players that make for perfect taxi squad stashes, or maybe your commissioner is even encouraging a vote to implement it in your league. In writing this article for advanced taxi squad strategies, I realized that there’s just not a lot of information out there on what a taxi squad is. And as dynasty is a quickly growing format, I’m sure there are plenty of new players who haven’t yet had the pleasure of playing with the taxi squad, even though it’s one of the most fun settings that dynasty league can offer. If you’re new to the format, or if you started your league awhile ago and are looking for ways to enrich your experience, let me make the introduction for you.

What is a taxi squad:

A taxi squad is essentially your fantasy version of an NFL practice squad. Similar to how IR spots mimic the ability to move your injured player to a special spot off of your normal active roster to free up a spot  for an acquisition who could potentially fill their shoes while they are out injured, the taxi squad establishes dedicated roster spots for your younger players, usually rookies, while they get accustomed to the NFL landscape. Most rookies don’t produce in their first year, so dynasty players are faced with a tough decision: pick up a guy to fill in for your important matchup this week as byes and injuries force your hand or cut the promising young player you invested in with your rookie draft pick. This is where the taxi squad helps. Instead of having to make the tough choice on the back end bench spot on your roster, that promising rookie is getting some seasoning for a year or two sitting in your dedicated taxi squad slot.

How does the taxi squad work:

Again, similar to the IR slot, there are special rules that govern the taxi squad. These can vary pretty wildly, and a league commissioner should think about their league’s style of play when they implement the rules around it. Most commonly the taxi squad is dedicated to rookies and often only rookies that were selected by a pick in your rookie draft, but this can vary. This allows you to hold onto young players without clogging up your bench, but there is a caveat: players on the taxi squad are not eligible to be placed into the starting lineup. In the case where a rookie starts contributing much quicker than expected and an owner wants to use the player in their lineup, then they would have to promote him off of the taxi squad and make room for him on the regular active roster by cutting a different player like they would for a normal waiver claim. As rookies can take a few years, especially at the TE position, usually the taxi squad allows for a player to carry their eligibility to remain on the squad year over year until they “age out” often after two or three years. These are the base elements, but the taxi squad comes with a lot of fun variations commissioners can explore: they can make undrafted (from your draft) rookie free agent adds eligible; limit the taxi to just a few spots, or allow for an unlimited amount of taxi squad slots, or even allow for some poaching rules to make it operate like an NFL practice squad. Customize the rules to your league’s style of play and how you see it most enriching the experience for your league-mates.

Why you should add a taxi:

If the above hasn’t gotten you excited enough yet to try, let me convince you. A lot of people would just suggest expanding the roster limits to give more space for rookie stashes and give owners the freedom to manage it the way they see fit. If this is your approach, do you have an IR slot? The details of the rules above allow for more strategic approaches in roster management than simply expanding rosters (an upcoming article is already in the works as a part 2). It increases the value of the late fourth or fifth-round rookie picks, especially if the taxi squad doesn’t have a limit to roster spots. It encourages your league-mates to get excited about scouting the incoming rookies and learning more than just the first 10 or 12 big names that were called in the first couple rounds of the draft, creating a more competitive and active league. Finally, it supports the direction of most dynasty leagues to invest and draft the future stars of the NFL before they break out and become household names – and you’ll be able to brag and say you saw it coming because you drafted that player and held onto him because you recognized the talent.

Thanks for listening… part 2 will launch soon, addressing some of the more advanced strategies to employ for your leagues with taxi squads.

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