How To Win Your Dynasty Fantasy Football League in 2024

It's time for you to win now in your dynasty fantasy football league. What steps do you need to take for a championship run in 2024?

So much of dynasty fantasy football is focused on amassing a team full of young players that is designed to hopefully dominate in the future. It’s what separates dynasty from redraft.

But there is a common element between the two — winning this year. Someone is going to do it. Why not you? Why not now? Let’s discuss how dynasty fantasy managers should make decisions about their roster if the goal is to go all-in and win a championship in the upcoming season.

How To Win This Year in Dynasty Fantasy Football Leagues

The first decision you need to make about your dynasty team each offseason is whether you believe you can win the following year. For this article, that decision has already been made. You’ve looked at your roster, you’ve examined the other teams in your league, and there are enough pieces in place for you to make a run at a title in 2024. So, what does that entail?

Allow me to accompany you on the journey through a dynasty season and go step by step, discussing what actions you need to take and what moves you need to make to put yourself in the best position to win this year.

The Rookie Draft

There are only two ways to add key pieces to your roster (not counting the waiver wire, which essentially has a minimal impact on dynasty rosters). The first way is the rookie draft. How you approach the rookie draft when chasing a championship is different than if rebuilding is on the table.

As with any draft pick in fantasy football, you can do two things with it — use it or trade it. The answer to what you should do depends on the rookie class, where you pick, and the other managers in your league. Both options can help you win this year. You just need to figure out what is best for your team in your league.

Using Your Rookie Draft Picks

The great part about this option is it’s always on the table. One of the biggest issues in dynasty is how contingent your success is on what other managers choose to do.

In redraft leagues, it’s possible to win purely based on a strong draft and good waiver moves. You don’t have to trade. In dynasty, it’s going to be very difficult to maintain a championship-caliber roster if you can’t find trade partners.

The rookie draft is something you have control over. You have your assigned picks to start each year. If you can’t find trades, you can just use them.

If that’s the path you end up going with, whether by choice or by force, it’s fine. Every year, there are several impact rookies. Those rookies often perform the best over the second half of the season, just when you need them.

The key is going to be drafting players you believe will matter as rookies. You can’t be taking on projects, or players that may need time to develop into startworthy assets. That’s not going to help you in 2024.

The prevailing strategy when starting a new dynasty league is to build around wide receivers. These players have longer shelf lives but also don’t reach their final form until typically 3-4 years.

The idea is you stack up on wide receivers, and by the time they are in their prime, you can find running backs, as they are more capable of hitting the ground running as rookies. Therefore, if you are trying to win this year, your rookie picks are best spent on running backs.

You don’t need to concern yourself with the safety that comes with wide receivers’ long-term utility. You want the instant production associated with running backs.

MORE: Fantasy News Tracker

The most difficult part of executing this strategy in rookie drafts is there are a finite number of players expected to be productive right away.

If a rookie class only has 3-4 quality running backs, and your pick comes after they’re all gone, it doesn’t benefit you to take the next running back if he’s several notches below.

If you’re contending, odds are your rookie draft spot isn’t particularly high. The surest of running backs are going to go early. If all you’re left with are suspect running backs or the top wide receivers, then you may have to take the receivers.

The most important takeaway is to avoid players that are multi-year projects. Your goal is to win now, so you need players that will help you this season.

Trading Your Rookie Draft Picks

Every dynasty league is different. In my experience, my fellow fantasy managers often overvalue the potential that is rookie draft picks.

Now, I don’t watch Family Guy. But I have seen a great clip from the show that encapsulates my feelings on rookie draft picks. You should watch it. It’s only a minute long.

Peter and Lois were going to buy a boat. But the salesman offers them a mystery box, instead. Peter exclaims, “A boat’s a boat, but the mystery box could be anything. It could even be a boat!”

In many dynasty leagues, the potential of a player is valued greater than reality. Chris Olave is nice. But that rookie pick? Well, that could be anything! It could even be Chris Olave!

Rookie draft picks have potential. They represent an unknown player that you hope will contribute to your team. Your goal with every rookie pick is to end up with a productive player. The trick is realizing you don’t have to draft a rookie with your rookie draft picks.

Train your brain into viewing trading rookie picks the same as if you drafted a veteran in your rookie draft instead of a rookie. You could use your rookie first-round pick to draft incoming prospect Washington WR Rome Odunze, or you could use it to “draft” Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith.

MORE: Dynasty Fantasy Football Rules

Odunze may very well be valued ahead of Smith in dynasty by 2025 or 2026. But Smith is far more likely to help you win in 2024. This is how you need to think about your rookie draft when trying to win now.

The easiest trade partners to find are the rebuilding teams that still have useful veterans. In 2024, a bunch of the top running backs and wide receivers likely have no more than 1-3 years left as top options at their respective positions.

Guys like Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill, Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs, Las Vegas Raiders WR Davante Adams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans, and Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen are all going to be done in 3-4 years (some sooner than others).

Meanwhile, San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey, Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon, and Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry are also nearing the end.

What use does a rebuilding team have for a 30-year-old wide receiver? That team is legitimately better off with Odunze or Malik Nabers over Evans or Allen. You are not.

You don’t need to exclusively target players that are age 29+. Go after anyone in the second half of their career. Think wide receivers in their late 20’s. These are players who still have several useful seasons ahead of them. At the same time, they’re old enough that they’re not part of a rebuilding team’s plans.

Get yourself a couple of players without having to give up anyone that will contribute to your championship run this season.

In-Season Free Agency

Once the season starts, the waiver wire becomes a key component of your success. What dynasty managers are looking for on the waiver wire varies based on that team’s approach to the season.

While the rebuilding teams are taking stabs at breakout young players, feel free to spend your FAAB on any player providing immediate value.

Every season, there are hot waiver pickups that everyone knows are one-season wonders. Dynasty managers building for the future aren’t necessarily going to prioritize these guys. You should. Focus on adding as many players as you can that can contribute immediately.

MORE: Dynasty Fantasy Football Platforms

With that said, by no means should you ignore rising prospects. There may not always be useful win-now players. But you want anyone who can provide value. It’s rare to see guys emerge out of nowhere, but it happens, even for rookies. Anyone popping up that seems to be useful, put in a claim.

If that means grabbing a player who likely won’t contribute this season for the express purpose of trading for a win-now player, you should do that. This leads into the final section…

Trading

Once you really get into a dynasty league (think three or four years in), the haves and have-nots are usually clearly defined each season. It’s rare to start a season with 6-8 serious championship contenders. The delineations will mostly be pretty clear.

You will have 3-4 teams favored to win it all. There will be another 3-4 that can make the playoffs and hopefully get lucky. Then, there will be the final 3-4 teams that know they have no shot and are already looking to build for the following season.

MORE: Dynasty Startup Draft Strategies

When you are one of the teams that can win it all, and you’ve committed to going for it, you need to do everything in your power to gain an edge. Sometimes, that results in arms races between two or three superpowers. You do what needs to be done.

This is both the gift and curse of dynasty leagues. You can make trades to build a super team. But so can everyone else. It’s also by design. For the long-term health of your dynasty league, you want the top teams to be compelled to mortgage the future to win now.

Of course, the goal of every dynasty manager is to ultimately build a team that can dominate for a decade. But if that happens, your league will probably fold. Part of the gambit is accepting that sometimes you have to make moves that all but guarantee you won’t be able to compete 2-3 years from now to win the current season’s championship.

Ideally, you can win without giving away too many future assets. But more often than not, you have to make a decision. Then or now. If the answer is now, and you truly believe this is your best chance to win, you can’t get frugal with future assets. That’s the best way to always come in third or fourth.

The nature of dynasty leagues is such that no one can be competitive every season. If your team loses a key player to injury late in the season, you need to replace that player. As Mike “The Situation” puts it, you didn’t come this far just to come this far.

At some point, there will be diminishing returns. You don’t need to upgrade your worst starting wide receiver from, say, 12 points per game to 13. Going all-in on winning now doesn’t mean completely depleting all future value for minimal gain. Focus on making moves that will have a meaningful impact on your odds of winning.

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Join the Conversation!

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Articles

0
Share your thoughts!x