I’ll be the first to admit that I do not shy away from conflict. After twenty years of playing fantasy football, my personality can be abrasive to some. I have made many friends in this fantasy football industry and I have burned a bridge or two along the way. One of the message boards, that I frequent, is up in arms with my assertion that keeper leagues do not become dynasty leagues by using an arbitrary number of keepers.
Keeper and Dynasty: What’s the difference?
Some people feel if a league is above a certain amount of keepers, it is a dynasty league. Through my eyes, the concept of a dynasty league and a keeper league is comparable to being married versus living with someone. Being married as I am referring, is the old fashioned one, aka forsaking all others commitment. Married couples tend to live with one another, but they made a deeper commitment than to just co-habituate. Dynasty is a long-term commitment to your team as a whole. Trimming down the roster to a set amount while placing desirable players back into the league does not fit the dynasty concept referred to later. With a dynasty, you are making the commitment to these players that they are yours until you decide to part with them, not when league rules specify. Each dynasty league is a keeper league, but many keeper leagues are not dynasty leagues.
“Let’s live together” aka keeper leagues
The concepts of keeper leagues and dynasty leagues are the same. In a dynasty league, you draft your players and you keep them until they retire or you decide to trade them or cut them. With keeper leagues, you can hold a specific amount of players depending on roster rules, salary caps, or time on the team. You get the chance to hold some of your players and become bonded with your choices. Keeper leagues, in general though, demand a particular amount of roster turnover. This is a great concept, as in everything, fantasy leagues tend to rise and fall and keeper leagues are no exception. Replacing owners is a part of any league and is much easier in re-draft or keeper settings than it is in dynasty leagues. Keeper leagues provide the security of holding players; while rebuilding some of your roster with players that were previously held on other teams’ rosters. Living together with another person is much the same way in its commitment level, as either can elect to end the relationship without involving much legal expertise or ramifications. It is easier to cut a player in a keeper league as an owner knows they will not be able to keep every player. Keeper leagues are more pliable as things can change in “a New York minute” due to injury, offensive/defensive scheme, etc.
“With this ring...” aka dynasty leagues
A sequence of rulers from the same family, stock, or group: the Ming dynasty. (from dictionary.com-definition of dynasty)
Dynasty means just that aka “rulers from the same…. stock or group.” Dynasty leagues can be more difficult than a keeper league as the ability to change your team’s direction is not the same. There isn’t the infusion of the new/recycled players found in a keeper league. Typically, the only way a dynasty roster changes is by free agent pickups, rookie drafts, and trades. A mistake made one season may affect your entire time in a dynasty league. Your initial draft is much more important this is where you build your foundation as who you drafted will determine your outcome for much longer. Many dynasty leagues have opening as some owners do not realize the commitment until it is too late. Mistakes are made and teams can take years to recover from bad trades, roster mismanagement, or bad initial draft. Think of a dynasty league as a marriage, it is a legal and spiritual commitment, dependent on your religious views, as opposed to living with your partner. You are forced to make it work or end it. Let’s face it, a broken dynasty team is very difficult to fix.
I understand to some it seems to be a very fine line between dynasty and keeper leagues as players are held from year to year in both. Dynasty leagues are indeed keeper leagues with the long-term commitment and are harder to manage as recovery from bad moves can take much longer. Keeper leagues can be very unique with different strategies like salary cap ramifications, amount of time a player can be held, restricted or un-restricted player tags, without making the dynasty commitment. Find the commitment that is right for you.
Andy Miley is a 20 year veteran of fantasy football and a regular contributor to Fantasy Alarm. Andy is also the co-founder of DynastyBlitz and a senior staff writer for RookieBlitz.com.