The majority of fantasy football enthusiasts participate in redraft leagues, where a draft is conducted every season resulting in a clean slate for every owner's team. However, some people prefer to play in keeper or dynasty leagues, in which owners retain anywhere from one player to their entire roster on a year-to-year basis.
In certain keeper formats, an owner can opt to keep players with the best value, based on where they originally drafted them or how many auction dollars they spent. As a result, dynasty drafts usually have a more limited pool of players that includes the most recent NFL rookie draft class as well as any other players who slipped through the cracks in the previous season.
No matter what kind of keeper or dynasty league you play in, the strategies to be successful and potentially win a championship vary from your typical redraft league.
Here are four strategies to consider in keeper and dynasty leagues.
1. Draft Rookie QBs a Year Early
Rarely in the NFL does a rookie QB perform like a QB1 for fantasy purposes. While Baker Mayfield received heaps of praise for his first season, he was tied for 16th in fantasy points at the position in 2018. This year, however, Mayfield is being treated like a top-5 fantasy QB based on his immense upside. Whether or not he finishes as one is yet to be determined, but Mayfield's draft price has skyrocketed a year after he was barely being taken in redraft leagues. The lesson here is, it's better to be a year early on rookie QBs in keeper leagues.
2. Fill Out Your 2019 Roster Before Drafting For the Future
While it's important to be forward thinking in keeper/dynasty leagues, fantasy owners should still have a win-now mentality. That's because anything can happen to your future prospects. As such, while you want to draft raw talent, like rookies and second-year guys, you should still focus on players who can help you this season in the early-to-mid rounds of keeper league drafts. That means potentially taking a player like the Jaguars' Dede Westbrook, who has a lot of upside for 2019, over a guy like the Cardinals' Hakeem Butler, who is probably a year or two away from developing into a fantasy asset, is likely a smart play for this coming season.
3. Draft Rookie Running Backs in Good Fantasy Situations
Rookie RBs are often the most valuable commodity in keeper/dynasty leagues, since they can go from relative unknowns one year to first-round fantasy picks the next. When drafting rookie running backs, however, it's important to factor in what will contribute to their future success. While the Raiders' Josh Jacobs is enticing as the top RB from this year's NFL draft class, he is also playing on a bad team. So while he may get plenty of opportunity in his rookie year, his future outlook may not be as bright while playing on a team that constantly falls behind in games. Miles Sanders, on the other hand, is part of a talented Eagles team with a strong offensive line. While he will have to fend off more competition in Philly, Sanders has the upside to become a feature back by season's end.
4. If This Season Isn't Going Well, Sell at the Deadline
Sometimes, your best-laid plans don't quite work out. If you're nearing your 2019 fantasy football trade deadline and look like a longshot (or are mathematically eliminated) to make the playoffs, the best move is to sell at the deadline. Your trades should be entirely focused on moving guys with current value for players with future upside, which can also include those who are hurt and offer no short-term value to their respective owners. In some leagues, you can also trade a player on your roster for future draft picks. No matter the case, just like in real sports, being a seller at the deadline can produce great results for your team down the line.
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