Dynasty League Proposal

The main difference between a Dynasty League and a normal league is that teams get to keep all or most of their players from one season to the next, with players changing hands either by trading or being dropped and replaced from waivers or from future seasons’ rookies. The point is that each manager gets to build his or her team over a long period. Don’t get a franchise QB at the beginning, maybe you can pick one up in the draft/auction of rookies the next year and maybe he’ll bear fruit in 3 years time when he’s fully matured.

A Dynasty League is a commitment and the owners will (or should) be bound together for a lifetime. Teams will have fallow patches and playoff runs. It should mirror the real game.

Because of the nature of roster building, rosters will be bigger. Pick up a rookie wide receiver and stash him on your bench for when he breaks through in 3 years time – something you can’t do in a normal league.

There are plenty of options to consider, and I will run through them below. These options are:

Roster and starting team size and format?
IDP (Individual Defensive Players)?
Scoring?
How many players can be kept?
Draft or Auction?
‘Contracts’?
Waivers & Free Agents?
‘Salary Cap’?
League Fees, prizes

It will probably be clear what I favour in what I say about each option.

    Rosters Size & Starting Team Size

I think a 10 team league is probably about perfect for the larger rosters required for a dynasty, the complexity of what the league would be trying to achieve and the logistics of trying to all be in the same place at the same time for the draft (could be auction – I will use the term draft as generic for the player selection process, except in the ‘draft vs auction’ section).

Offence

1 x QB – don’t need any more than this. It means 1 in 3 starting QBs in the NFL will be starting fantasy QBs so everyone gets a couple of back-ups too on the roster, if they want.

2-3 x RB – If we all have bigger rosters over all, you can make the argument for more starters. I would say a maximum of 3 RBs though, as there will only be 32 RB1s in the NFL. Even then, 3 is perhaps too many, given there’ll be a flex spot too, and given that there will be bye weeks that need cover.

3-4 x WR – Teams spread the ball around WRs. There are a lot of players who will have 100 yard or multiple TD games, and many will do little in the surrounding weeks. By having more WRs in the starting line-up it stands to (potentially) even out these bigger weeks.

1-2 x TE – While TE is becoming a more utilised position, there’s still not really more than 1 TE per team that it would be worth drafting really. As such, it might be better to err with 1 starting spot.

1-2 x Flex – 1 is probably enough, but if we went with 2RB, 3WR, 1TE then we could have 2 Flex.

Special Teams

1 x Kicker – obviously

1 x Punter – need to check on the scoring but would be an interesting addition

?? Returners/other special teamers – need to investigate as to whether anything can be done around this

Defence

I like the idea of IDP, but don’t want to inflate the squad ridiculously. I haven’t fully investigated this yet, but a quick scout suggests this breaks down to linebackers (LB), defensive backs (DB) and defensive linemen (DL).

For the team, perhaps 2 of each, plus a flex spot? Or 3 of each?

Summary Suggestion of Starters:

1 QB
2 RB
4 WR
1 TE
1 Flex
1 Kicker
2 LB
2 DB
2 DL
1 Def Flex

Plus maybe:
1 Punter?
? other special teamers
1 extra player in each of the defensive positions

So that’s a suggested starting roster of 18, with a couple of queries there which could take it to 24 max..

Total Roster Size

My suggestion would be a minimum of 40. That gives depth for injuries, allows you to pick rookies and leave them to mature. You could stretch it anywhere up to 50 really. The point is that you have a lot of depth in your squad so you don’t need depth in free agency, and you can also afford to take a few speculative punts and not be screwed if they backfire.

    Scoring

We can do whatever we want. While I quite like the idea of rules like -300 points for a missed PAT, it’s a bit overkill. Especially for a dynasty league. I think it needs to be properly balanced and even handed. We can look at this in detail when other elements are agreed.

    Player Selection

Draft

We’re all familiar with the snake draft. Needs no explanation.

Auction

In a standard auction you get $200 for 16 players – an average of $12.50 per player. By that rationale, a 40 player roster would need $500 and a 50 player roster $625, but ultimately we can decide on the amount of money later. The important thing is that we all have the same.

It works by as follows:

Players a put in a random order. Player 1 nominates a player and makes a bid (all bids must be a multiple of $1). Anyone else can then bid. When bidding ends, the player is sold and joins that team’s roster. The amount you pay is only meaningful in relation to how much else you can spend (unless we go a bit more hardcore with contracts and salary cap, as detailed below).

I prefer this as it allows all teams to build a roster and rewards you for sensible management rather than luck of the draw in terms of drafting position. It also has a better potential for a balanced league.

There is no real advantage to being the first person to call a player to be bid on.

Combo

One possibility is to have an auction for year 1 and then a non-snake rookie draft each year, just like the real thing. Non-rookies who are not on a team could be picked up as free agents/waivers.

Free Agents/Waivers

Depending on how the league will work, free agents/waivers could be dealt with as they currently are – ie on the waiver wire – or they could be purchased with reserves in your cash left over from the draft, or as part of a salary cap, the latter two options fall under free agent bidding..

Free Agent Bidding

If any teams want to pick up free agents in the off season, there is free agent bidding – ie once a bid is made the rest of the league has the opportunity to up the bid and so on. There would be a set time limit in the off season (for example, a week) for the bidding to happen over, by which I mean once a team has put a bid in the bidding will be allowed to continue for 7 days before he is assigned to a team.

Trades

Again, dependent on the drafting format etc, trades can take place in a number of ways. Player for player (or several players) as per usual; for draft picks, if applicable; for money in the kitty for free agent bidding.

Depending on which of the options from below are selected, trading can impact on salary cap/contracts.

Keeping Players

There are numerous ways we could do this, and we can make up all our own rules, as long as they are appropriately policed. One suggestion was you can keep as many players under 30 (or under 27 or whatever) as you like, but only 1 (or whatever limit you choose) over that age.

Another suggestion was that you could keep half your roster (or whatever percentage you want to set).

I like the idea that you can keep as many players as you like – all if you want – but in the off season you will have a larger roster (if the normal roster is 40, you can stretch to 50 for the rookie draft, for example) and must cut down to 40 again in time for the season. In fact, the cut down must occur earlier to allow for free agent bidding etc on all released players – maybe 4 or 6 weeks prior to the season starting? It’s all up for debate.

However, keeping can link in with salary cap and contracts too…

    Contracts & Salary Caps

This is where it gets complex (and fun!), though it’s more complex in the setting up than in the long term managing. I think.

The idea of a cap is that it would be over and above the auction money. For example, if you auction at $500 a team, your cap might be $600 or $750. This can be decided later. For the sake of my examples, I’ll say auction budget $500, salary cap $750. The extra headroom is because we can build in guaranteed money (so if you release a player you’re still on the hook for some/all – trade him and you’re ok) and for contract extensions in future years.

So, I was reading through a piece on rotowire which suggested a few scenarios (some of the above came from that too). An example is that when you buy a player, the price you paid is their ‘contract’. Ie pay $56 for Adrian Peterson and that is his annual contract and $56 counts towards your cap.

If you want him for year 2 you can extend for $56 in the second season cap too.

At the end of year 2 you have a choice – a) extend to year three for $56 again, but then he’s a free agent at the end of year 3; or b) give him a long term extension.

A long term extension? Basically, if you wanted to guarantee him for the next 5 years, instead of one and released, you have to add on $5 (or whatever amount we decide is appropriate) for each year on the contract. A 5 year contract costs you $25 per year on top of the original salary – so $81 per year from your cap.

Now you see why you have more cap room than auction budget!

If you trade a player, you lose his cost against your cap and the new owner assumes all the cost.

The only way to negotiate a salary down is to release a player and then bid for him on the open market, hopefully for less than he was on before you released him. If you do this, you have him for another 3 years (or whatever we decide) at the new salary, but after 2 you can set in place a long term contract again.

Long term contracts cannot be put in place after opening day of the player’s third season under contract, so everyone knows nearly 6 months in advance who will be going into free agency.

What about rookies? If you have a draft rather than auction to bring in new players, they won’t have values against them. Therefore, we (I) would need to develop a fair rookie salary scale, dependent on position and when selected in the draft. Rookie contracts would be 3 years, like those spinning out of the auction, but with no guarantees (we’ll come on to that in a moment).

So, guaranteed money then. Rotowire suggested that the initial three years have no guaranteed money associate with them, but if you put an extension in place after year 2, all future years, 50% of the contract is guaranteed. Drop the player and lose that against cap. From my AP example above, you’d lose $41 ($81 divided by 2, rounded up) against cap if you dropped him, even if someone else picks him up.

That seems fair. However, I’d put some caveats in. Career ending injury and you don’t take the cap hit, for example.

I also like the idea of being able to offer 1 or 2 ‘injury extensions’ per team, by which I mean, if you have a player who’s very good but injury prone and want to extend his contract, you can, risk free (or risk reduced). Each team is allowed to deem a certain number of extensions ‘injury extensions’ and these feature zero, or reduced, guaranteed money. Then, if they sustain a major, but not career ending, injury, the team can release the player without taking a big hit. Of course, the contract must be called an ‘injury extension’ at the time it is made. You can’t go calling it that right after a player has torn his ACL.

    Breaching the Cap

Lots of ways to look at dealing with this. Off the top of my head, I’d propose that a team can be permitted to breach the cap for one season on the understanding that the next season their cap would be reduced by the amount they breached by. Season 4 Team A breaches the cap by $30. In season 5 they would have a cap of $720.

If they are breaching the cap come 7 days before the start of the Season 5 they will be punished. The commissioner will remove the fewest number of players possible to get the team back under the cap. For example, if you are breaching the cap for the second season in a row and this time you are $25 over the cap, the commissioner would release 1 player with a salary of $25 (rather than 3 players whose salaries add up to $25). if there isn’t one player with that exact salary, he would just release the next player up – eg the next player up has a salary of $33, he is released.

However, guaranteed money would have to be taken into account. A $33 player who is on a contract extension might (depending on the rules chosen) cost his team $17 in guaranteed money so would only actually save $16 of the cap. It might be that a $50 player is released to clear the $25 cap space required.

Basically, keep your houses in order.

    A Thought: What Salary Means for Trading

Say you need to clear cap space. You have a very good player on $40 extended but want that $40 space to sign someone on a $50 contract. You might have to accept a shittier trade from someone in order to make the room. Depends how desperate you are.

    Another thought: What Dynasty Means for Trading

People will have to come up with their own determination of value of big name player with minimal years left vs rookie with loads of promise but not necessarily achieving now.

For example, my Ray Rice (out) Giovani Bernard (in) trade might not be great in our league (though I still think I got the better end of that deal), but in a dynasty league, that could really pay off for me long term.

    League Fees & Prizes

I’d suggest a one off entry fee for all teams which would cover the purchase of a trophy, an annual entry fee (minimal) which would be to cover annual engraving and postage (if necessary) of trophy to new champion, and an annual prize fund fee to be paid out to the winner (with a share going to runner-up), but that can obviously all be decided by the group too.

With 10 people, a one off entry fee of £10 buys us a £100 trophy (or 2 trophies if we want a Sacko-type trophy too).

A £2 annual admin fee gets £20 to cover engraving and postage to new champion. If We have one, the winner (loser) of the Sacko the previous year must cover the costs of engraving and postage themselves. Part of the penance for losing.

An £8 prize fund fee gives us £80, perhaps split as £60 for the champ, £20 for the runner up.

That would be a total of £20 year 1, £10 thereafter. Though the second figure could go up ever few years to cover inflation/the demise of the postal service etc.