Dynasty fantasy football is growing in popularity each year, with players lured in by the promise of building a sustainable juggernaut. With the opportunity to prove to your friends just why you should be your favorite team’s general manager, there’s a lot on the line. Taxi squads are just one of the ways that league commissioners are looking to try to make the experience as realistic as possible.
What is a fantasy football taxi squad?
A taxi squad is the fantasy equivalent of an NFL practice squad. A taxi squad is a section of your fantasy team which is reserved for inexperienced players who you wish to keep on your roster without having to use a valuable roster spot. Taxi squads can make both the NFL draft and your league’s rookie draft more exciting, knowing that late draft picks aren’t going to be dropped as soon as your team has to meet roster limits.
Who should be on my taxi squad?
When thinking about which players to add to your taxi squad, it’s essential to consider whether you’re likely to want to use them during the season and the possible consequences of promoting them.
Using 2019 as an example, Alexander Mattison was considered the probable backup to an injury-prone workhorse running back in Dalvin Cook. If Cook were injured, he would inherit a heavy workload and have significant value for your fantasy team. If he was on your taxi squad, then adding him to your active roster would mean that you would need to drop a player who was occupying a starter or bench spot.
Jace Sternberger, on the other hand, was drafted by the Green Bay Packers to be their tight end of the future. The position tends to have a steep learning curve, and players rarely make an immediate impact. He was competing for targets in the Packers offense with an aging Jimmy Graham, widely believed to be in the last year of his stay, and veteran Marcedes Lewis. His outlook was always going to look much more promising in 2020. Knowing that he was unlikely to produce as a rookie but would have value moving forward, he would be a prime candidate for your taxi squad.
So the taxi squad is just for backups?
No. Not at all. Your taxi squad should be filled with players you expect to contribute to your team eventually, but not immediately. If a player isn’t in your plans, then stashing them on your taxi squad allows you to add another player to your active roster, giving you another potentially productive player who could be more likely to make your starting lineup.
You may have entered the season with Drew Brees and Matt Ryan on your dynasty team. When it came to your rookie draft, Kyler Murray was on the board, so you took him. Depth at the position means that, by placing him on your taxi squad, you would then be able to fill your active roster with other positions. Once you move on from a veteran, you have a starting quarterback ready to take his place.
Who is eligible?
All rookies are eligible to be added to your taxi squad. In certain leagues, this may be expanded to include more experienced players, but standard rules limit it to rookies.
How long can a player stay on a taxi squad?
Players will lose eligibility once they come to the end of either their first, second, or third season in the NFL, depending on individual league settings. Once they reach that point, they must either be promoted to the active roster or waived.
Can players be activated from the taxi squad?
Different leagues have different rules. In some, a player on the taxi squad may be elevated at any time. Upon doing so, however, a player on your active roster must be cut in the same way that you would if adding a player through free agency or waivers.
In other leagues, players on the taxi squad are locked in their slots for the duration of the regular season. Their status and availability for your active roster cannot be changed until the offseason.
Once moved from a taxi spot to a starter or bench spot, the player may lose taxi squad eligibility either temporarily or permanently and may not be able to be re-added to a taxi squad slot.
Check your league settings.
Can you add players from another taxi squad?
To provide increased realism, some leagues allow players to be poached from the taxi squads of other teams. In leagues where this is the case, the team losing the player may be given the opportunity to block the move by promoting the player to their active roster.
What about tanking?
The unfortunate reality is that, much as we try to avoid it, tanking is a part of dynasty fantasy football. If your team has been decimated by injuries or is not very good, it might make more sense to keep promising young players on your taxi squad as you build for the future.
Should my league use taxi squads?
Fantasy football taxi squads can be a great way to add another dimension of strategy, and watching rookie draft picks develop can be incredibly rewarding. It can also restrict transactions by limiting the number of players in the free-agent pool.
Ultimately it’s up to you or the commissioner of your dynasty league.
Andy Gallagher is a writer for the Pro Football Network covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him @AndySGallagher on Twitter.