There are a plethora of websites out there offering the latest and greatest options for hosting your fantasy football league. Some of the giants in sports like ESPN and CBS have pretty good offerings, but are they what’s right for you and your league? In this article, we’re going to examine the pros and cons of some of them to help you figure out which dynasty fantasy platform is right for you.
Which Dynasty Fantasy Platform is Right for You
To compare these platforms to each other, along with listing the pros and cons of playing a dynasty league there, I have come up with simple criteria by which to judge them. For this review, I broke it down into three main categories: Cost, Functionality, and Ease of Use/Aesthetics. I’ll be ranking each site from one to five, so the lower the score, the better the site, and to keep it fair, I’ll only be ranking sites where I’ve played a whole season of fantasy football recently. Remember, these are just my thoughts and opinions, not a true measure of a site’s value or worth. With all that said, let’s get into it!
Functionality: 5 (worst)
Ease of Use/Aesthetics: 4
I’ve been playing fantasy football on ESPN for almost 20 years, but it’s where I play my home keeper league, not a dynasty league. As of writing this article, ESPN doesn’t directly support dynasty leagues. It requires manual input of the rosters by the commissioners year after year and doesn’t really do much in terms of true dynasty support. This forces me to give it the lowest score in terms of true functionality as a dynasty fantasy platform.
It’s free, which is nice, but they do push the ESPN+ content frequently, which can add some insights both to NFL news and fantasy sports decisions, but I didn’t find it worth paying for more than once or twice over the years. It looks pretty nice and has a pretty solid app for use on your phone, but I wouldn’t recommend it for dynasty at this point.
Cost: 5 (worst)
Ease of Use/Aesthetics: 2
CBS has one of the most expensive league hosting fees on the market at $150 per year. For cheaper or free leagues, this just isn’t an option, which lowers its rank for both cost and functionality for me. I recently had a dynasty league which was run on CBS that recently moved to Sleeper this past off-season with little to no pushback from the other owners. It’s flashy, and has a lot of what dynasty leagues need, but didn’t feel worth the price.
For instance, there is an app that works but is missing some key features like a true chat function and it was difficult to navigate to things at times. I didn’t hate it, but for the price they charge, it should be simple, elegant, and easy, and it just wasn’t. Not the worst option, but you can do better.
Functionality: 1 (best)
Ease of Use/Aesthetics: 5 (worst)
MFL is one of the oldest and most functional dynasty fantasy platforms around. Because of this, MFL is almost entirely text-based in terms of menus and options and does very little to help new users navigate, giving it the worst score of the bunch in terms of ease of use. I’ve played on MFL for two years now and am just now starting to feel comfortable knowing where all the options can be found.
However, all of that functionality is also what makes it so hard to use. MFL has the most options and customizations on the market by a mile. Because of all of this, it’s hard to navigate through everything. There are just too many things going on to look good. In addition, MFL also charges league hosting fees and doesn’t offer it’s own official app at all. Instead, they allow others to build apps that integrate the backend data directly. Not entirely a knock, but not owning the mobile experience causes it to be a little clunkier than the rest as well.
Ease of Use/Aesthetics: 3
FleaFlicker is a perfect middle of the road dynasty fantasy platform for hosting your league. It offers a lot of the functionality you’re looking for while being a little more user-friendly. The menus are cleaner and clearer, and overall the site just flows better than MFL without losing much of the customizations. You can trade future picks, they allow for taxi squads well, and starting lineups are easy enough to set. It just does what it’s supposed to; I have to give it that.
They do have a free app that works well enough, although some options are only available through the website. It’s also free to host, but they do offer a premium service if you want to unlock all of the details and analysis through the site. Overall, it’s not terrible if you’re looking for something a little slicker than MFL but not quite so flashy as CBS or ESPN.
Cost: 1 (best)
Ease of Use/Aesthetics: 1 (best)
Sleeper came onto the fantasy football scene a couple of years ago and just took it over by storm. They don’t charge to host but rather make their money off of users buying upgraded mascots through a virtual currency option that users can pay real money for. It’s definitely the flashiest and easiest to use, although it definitely has its flaws as well.
Just because it got the highest rank of the five listed here, don’t think that means it’s perfect. It’s not. The trade mechanics and notifications leave a lot to be desired, it lacks a true counter-proposal trading system entirely, they don’t support auction drafts at all, and to many people, it just looks juvenile. That being said, once you get past some of those negatives, you have to give it credit for what it is: a free site that has more options than you think and an interface designed specifically for mobile use, something none of the other sites can say.
Given the grades, I do prefer Sleeper to the others for a “normal” dynasty league. If you and your work buddies want to move from redraft to dynasty and are looking for somewhere fun to do it, Sleeper is your best bet. If you like detail and don’t mind reading websites that look like they were built in 1994, then I definitely think you’ll enjoy MFL as your dynasty fantasy platform choice. In the end, it’s all about where you and your league-mates will have the most fun because that’s what this entire game is all about, isn’t it? So go and start a new dynasty league today, and for God’s sake, HAVE FUN!
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Andrew Hall is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndrewHallFF.