Dynasty leagues provide a much deeper and robust fantasy experience than standard redraft leagues. Redrafts are great and have their place in my world, as I tend to join about 8 every year. They provide a chance to start fresh, dial in on just this year, and attempt to wreak havoc on those poor saps that thought they could outsmart you. But you can’t outsmart a unicorn, because they technically don’t exist in the fairy tale sense. With that, I lose with regularity. I still win enough to consider myself an advanced fantasy NBA GM, but nobody can’t win them all (well, maybe Starks can).
you can’t outsmart a unicorn
So again, redrafts are great, but if you’re looking for something a little more involved, something with more angles and strategies, something a little closer to what real NBA GMs experience, you’re a prime candidate to try a dynasty league. If you already own a dynasty team, then you know this. Having to consider the current, as well as the future means applying different approaches, depending on your preferences.
The Win Now Approach (WNA)
Most fantasy experts tend to recommend this approach, and while I don’t want to discourage other approaches, this is almost always my method. With WNA, you treat this the same as a redraft league when you are building your squad. Get the best players and values based around your determined strategy, regardless of age. Your goal is to win now, and worry about the rest later.
Pros: You compete now, and when playing with other people, you never know if/when the league could dissolve, so get your chip now. You can really get good values on “boring” players, as other teams chase young upside.
Cons: Your team could be pretty boring, with all known quantities, nothing flashy or new, your team could be really bad in the future. Your old guys won’t carry the same value whenever you decide to trade to strengthen or rebuild your team.
The Trust the Process Approach (TPA)
Made famous by Sam Hinkie in his time slowly rebuilding the Sixers. It worked! It can work in your dynasty league too, but you will need patience, and trust that your league will continue for the long term. With the TPA, you forgo any illusion of competing now, drafting young players and rookies, trading for future draft picks, and generally valuing upside and potential over known production. Your goal it to suck now, but (Hopefully) stack your team for future seasons.
Pros: You get to roster “exciting” young players, imagining all of the great stuff they might so in the future. You carry players and assets that should increase in value.
Cons: Your team will perform poorly in the immediate future. If the league fades and disappears, you will never get to enjoy the fruits of your drafting. You can get addicted to chasing young upside, constantly churning assets and youth for even younger guys, staying in a perpetual upside treadmill. I’ve seen it happen.
The Hybrid Approach
If you are savvy enough and know your leaguemates well enough, you can and should attempt some level of hybrid. Having the best of both worlds with a win now focus, but a process feel. Targetting players that are centered in the Venn Diagram of young and already productive can give you the excitement of upside with the real shot at winning now. This is a more complex strategy that deserves its own post, but I figured we should at least mention it here.
There is a business strategy called the Blue Ocean. Basically, it involves finding value in Blue Waters, where nobody is competing, and avoiding the Red Waters, where everyone is tripping over themselves to get. This can be applied to Fantasy Basketball, and especially dynasty leagues. Being flexible enough in your approach to read the room and realize the strategies that most other teams are employing, and then quickly shifting your focus to the areas being neglected can pay huge dividends. Get your value where nobody is focusing, and let the rest of them fight over their scraps.