Fantasy Football Dynasty Rankings

Fantasy football dynasty rankings are going to look different than fantasy football redraft cheetsheats. If you've never played in a dynasty league or keeper league, but you played in a 2009 fantasy football redraft league, you're going to see some of the rankings and think I don't know what I'm doing. But dynasty league strategy isn't about picking the best guy for the job in 2010; it's about picking the best guy for 2010, 2011, 2012 and so on.

This means you have to project what you think players are going to do beyond Week 1 of the fantasy, sometimes pushing aside the current RBBC or an NFL player's team's sorry roster. Often, a no-brainer 1st round pick might not be a no-brainer 1st round dynasty pick, because the player may be quickly aging and you don't see him contributing much beyond the current fantasy season.

All Kinds of Fantasy Considerations

Sometimes, you'll decide to draft an aging player anyway, depending on the makeup of your team roster and where it is in the draft. Old players have a place in dynasty league fantasy football, too, but their value to the team (and therefore draft status) is not the same as it would be in a redraft league, so you make your decisions to add age later in the fantasy football draft, if necessary. Consider these guys the free-agent signings in MLB or the NBA, where you get a guy to bridge the gap until your young prospect takes over that role. In dynasty leagues, you try to have young prospects at all the key positions.

This makes a dynasty fantasy football team a lot more like an NFL team, since you want to play to win now and also to play to win later. You might add Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford as your backup quarterback, instead of having Eli Manning or Carson Palmer at the same position in a redraft league. This might mean you depend more on your fantasy starter to play all 16 games, which is another consideration when drafting. For this reason, I prefer bigger rosters in a dynasty league, since it encourages teams to speculate on players a little more. A small roster in a dynasty league typically means luck is a much bigger factor.

FF Dynasty League Tips

I'll post my dynasty league rankings for the positions you're most likely to be wracking your brains about. I'll make comments about each list, after the lists are complete, to clarify (justify) my rankings. Afterwards, I'll offer fantasy football dynasty league tips and suggestions to keep in mind, when drafting, trading and making waiver wire transactions.

Fantasy Quarterback Dynasty Rankings

1. Aaron Rodgers (26)
2. Philip Rivers (28)
3. Drew Brees (31)
4. Peyton Manning (34)
5. Tony Romo (29)
6. Matt Schaub (28)
7. Tom Brady (32)
8. Matt Ryan (25)
9. Kevin Kolb (25)
10. Joe Flacco (25)
11. Ben Roethlisberger (28)
12. Matthew Stafford (22)
13. Jay Cutler (27)
14. Marc Sanchez (23)
15. Chad Henne (25)
16. Donovan McNabb (34)
17. Eli Manning (29)
18. Carson Palmer (30)
19. Matt Leinart (27)
20. Sam Bradford (22)
21. Josh Freeman (22)
22. Jimmy Clausen (22)
23. Alex Smith (26)
24. Matt Cassel (28)
25. Vince Young (27)
26. Jason Campbell (28)
27. Kyle Orton (27)
28. Matt Hasselbeck (34)
29. David Garrard (32)
30. Jake Delhomme (35)
31. Derek Anderson (27)
32. Brian Brohm (24)
33. Trent Edwards (26)
34. Matt Moore (25)
35. Charley Whitehurst (27)
36. Colt McCoy (23)

If you're the sort who believes Tim Tebow is going to prove the doubters wrong and succeed as a big-time NFL quarterback, then throw him onto the list where you want. Since I don't believe Tebow has the tools to be a successful long-term fantasy football quarterback, I won't put him on the list of draftable quarterbacks, though any young NFL QB is a possibility to stash on the bench in a dynasty league (at least with large rosters). My advice to you, if you happen to think Tebow is the next coming, is to place him near the other 22-year old quarterbacks on the rankings.

30-Year Old NFL Quarterbacks

Like wide receivers, productive NFL passers remain productive deep into their 30s. As their skills erode, they tend to get smarter and craftier. Eventually, the skills erode so much (or the hits accumulate) and the quarterback is no longer the quarterback he was. But you don't have to pay as close attention to an NFL QB as an NFL RB. That means I won't take too many points off of Drew Brees for being 31 or even Peyton Manning being 34, but I won't place them above Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers. Five years from now, I can still see Aaron Rodgers among the Top 5 quarterbacks, but Brees or Manning might have hung up the cleats by then.

In our second 10, though, you'll start to notice younger guys showing up earlier than they would in a redraft list. That's because the guys they're being slotted ahead of are getting a little long in the tooth, and they may not be "elite" or, better put, "1st tier" QBs. If Jay Cutler was still in Denver and throwing to Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, I'd have him rated higher. But from one year with the Chicago Bears, he's not the fantasy football difference maker he was in 2008. McNabb is 34 and doesn't have nearly the list of weapons he had in 2009, so I'd rather take a shot on a young guy I could still be keeping when McNabb is in his early 40s.

Drafting Young QBs

If you already have a second quarterback, drop down below Hasselbeck, Garrard and Delhomme to select a 3rd QB. This lets you take a flier on a young guy who might turn into a future star. I place Brian Brohm ahead of Trent Edwards on this list, because we've already seen what Edwards can do. We don't know whether Brian Brohm has the right stuff in the NFL, though the word out Bills camp is that he's looking good. There's even idle speculation that Briah Brohm starts in Week 1 for the Buffalo Bills.

The situation with Matt Moore is similar, though I would have Matt Moore several spots up the list, if the Carolina Panthers hadn't selected their quarterback of the future in the 2nd round with Jimmy Clausen. While there's talk of Clausen starting the year as the Panthers QB, there's a long history of John Fox not trusting his rookies. Since Fox is trying to save his job, and since Matt Moore took the Panthers on a short winning streak at the end of last season, I'm saying that Moore gets a chance to prove himself to start 2010. If he plays well, you never know. But in a dynasty league, you have to assume a high draft pick gets his shot eventually.

I place Derek Anderson higher than Brian Brohm, because I think there's a chance that Matt Leinart flames out in Arizona and, if Derek Anderson came in to replace him at some point, the strong-armed Anderson has a better chance to make noise throwing to the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston. Don't get too excited, since Derek Anderson throws too many interceptions, and Ken Whisenhunt isn't the type that's going to put up with too much of that.

Finally, there's Colt McCoy, who is supposedly going to sit all year behind Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. Given that Eric Mangini is once again trying to save his job, I wouldn't expect Colt McCoy to get any time at QB this year. But if you're in a league with big rosters, you might draft McCoy and stash him for 2011, if you believe in the kid.

Fantasy Football Running Back Dynasty Rankings

1. Chris Johnson (24)
2. Ray Rice (23)
3. Adrian Peterson (25)
4. Maurice-Jones Drew (24)
5. Rashard Mendenhall (23)
6. LeSean McCoy (22)
7. Knowshon Moreno (22)
8. Chris Wells (21)
9. Shonn Greene (24)
10. Ryan Mathews (24)
11. C.J. Spiller (22)
12. Steven Jackson (26)
13. Frank Gore (28)
14. Michael Turner (28)
15. Jahvid Best (21)
16. Jamaal Charles (23)
17. Matt Forte (24)
18. Pierre Thomas (25)
19. Donald Brown (23)
20. Felix Jones (23)
21. Reggie Bush (25)
22. Ryan Grant (27)
23. Joseph Addai (27)
24. Justin Forsett (24)
25. Cedric Benson (27)
26. Arian Foster (23)
27. Ben Tate (21)
28. Kevin Smith (23)
29. Ahmad Bradshaw (24)
30. Darren McFadden (22)
31. Montario Hardesty (23)
32. Michael Bush (26)
33. Laurence Maroney (25)
34. Tim Hightower (24)
35. Darren Sproles (27)
36. Marion Barber (27)
37. Brandon Jacobs (28)
38. Ronnie Brown (28)
39. Jerome Harrison (27)
40. Clinton Portis (28)
41. Jonathan Dwyer (20)
42. Toby Gerhart (23)
43. Tashard Choice (25)
44. Marshawn Lynch (24)
45. Chester Taylor (30)
46. Thomas Jones (31)
47. Fred Jackson (29)
48. Deji Karim (23)
49. Joe McKnight (22)
50. James Starks (24)
51. Carnell Williams (28)
52. Steve Slaton (24)
53. Ladainian Tomlinson (31)

At first glance, the running backs list looks crazy. Players like Steven Jackson and Michael Turner are sliding down to the 12th and 14th spots, behind guys like Ryan Mathews and LeSean McCoy. But the idea of a dynasty league is that you're building a team to win for 2, 3 or even 5 years. You want guys who are going to help you more than in 2010.

Running back is the most volatile position in fantasy football. What looked like a brilliant pick a year ago (for example, Matt Forte 3nd overall) looks like a middle tier player (17th). Guys can guys off the map at any time, where they go from perennial #1 pick to somewhere in the 50s (Ladainian Tomlinson).

Running Backs Age 29+

We've talked a lot lately that running backs have a precipitous fall-off when they reach 29 age. So you want to avoid running backs reaching their late-20s in a dynasty league. In fact, you're going to want to stay ahead of the curve by turning over the youth on your running back rotation in your keeper leagues, knowing you won't keep these guys around long enough.

In a dynasty league, consider what your team is going to look like 2 years from now. Imagine two summers from now, when you have a 30-year old Frank Gore, a 30-year old Michael Turner and a 28-year old Steven Jackson. Turner is a big back who gets a lot of hits, though he hasn't racked up the carries that the other two players are. I'm suggesting that Frank Gore and Steven Jackson have received a lot of carries, so they are an old 28 and 26 at the moment.

On top of that, the Rams keep Steven Jackson from being in the truly elite (Top 3-5) fantasy football running backs, because their offense keeps him from being a top touchdown scorer, due to the inconsistent nature of the Rams Offense. By the time Steven Jackson's St. Louis Rams get their team to a competitive level, he'll be 28 or 29 and too old to contribute the way he can now.

Projecting Younger Runners

Try to project younger RBs just the same. This is a little speculative, since that means two more free agency periods, two more NFL drafts, and a full 32 NFL games to blow out a knee in. But when you see players like Knowshon Moreno and C.J. Spiller in less-than-ideal running back rotations or offensive situations, a lot of those situations should clear up in two years, assuming these are star players.

For instance, Knowshon Moreno has to deal with Josh McDaniels trying to play-call games so that no one is a star on his team. He also wants to push Correll Buckhalter into the mix. But in two years, unless Knowshon Moreno and Tim Tebow exceed expectations and help Josh McDaniels keep his job, we could be talking about a new Denver Broncos head coach who is trying to get the ball to a 24-year old Knowshon Moreno.

Another example is C.J. Spiller, who is in a mess of a running back situation with the Buffalo Bills. But Marshawn Lynch is almost certain to be gone from Buffalo in two years, while Fred Jackson will be an ancient 31-years old. I can even see new Bills head coach Chan Gailey having a 2-year stint and leaving town, like he did with the Dallas Cowboys. By that time, C.J. Spiller will be 24, coming into his third year and coming into his prime years.

In either case, this assumes these players are the talents that NFL scouts thought they were when they were drafted in the 1st round. If not, you cut them and move on to the next young stud. This is so much better than holding onto a 30-year old running back and crossing your fingers he has one more big year in him, knowing that he has no trade value, if his production slips. While you may not think my list values the players enough for 2010 (it doesn't), I'm trying to get you into the mindset of the dynasty league, where you have to consider more than just Week 1.

Running Back Deep Sleepers List

Players like Deji Karim (Jacksonville Jaguars), Joe McKnight (New York Jets) and James Starks (Green Bay Packers) are classic examples of deep sleepers. Each is a rookie draft pick on teams where they are no better than the 2nd, and probably the 3rd, option. But each has been touted in their home markets, and each has the potential to eventually take over the #2 spot. And in the NFL, if you're the #2 running back on a team, you're worthy having on a fantasy roster.

In a dynasty league, you may decide you would rather have the 22-year old Joe McKnight than the over-the-hill LT, even though Tomlinson is certain to been Shonn Greene's primary backup. How long does that last? If it's not more than 1 year, then next summer you'll have Shonn Greene's handcuff.

As far as Deji Karim goes, he's getting buzz right now as a potential #1 backup to Maurice Jones-Drew. With 4.3 speed, the rookie Karim has turned heads in the Jags' camp. In an NFL obsessed with adding fast RBs in the Chris Johnson mold, Deji Karim is one of a pile of guys NFL GM's have stocked up on in 2010. I'm sure 1 might come through and the other 30 flame out, but that's why they call them deep sleepers.

James Starks plays behind Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson. At the very least, the Packers would be happy to upgrade at the backup RB spot. But Ryan Grant hasn't exactly been an All-Pro runner since that half-season where he broke out in 2007, so I think there's a chance the Packers would like to add another option, or perhaps even an eventual successor. Once again, James Starks is one of a hundred RBs that are "hopes", but when we're talking guys being drafted in the last round of a fantasy draft, you could do worse. Don't draft, unless you have a league with really deep rosters.

Fantasy Football Wide Receivers Dynasty Rankings

1. Andre Johnson (29)
2. Larry Fitzgerald (26)
3. Calvin Johnson (24)
4. Reggie Wayne (31)
5. DeSean Jackson (23)
6. Miles Austin (26)
7. Brandon Marshall (26)
8. Roddy White (28)
9. Greg Jennings (26)
10. Anquan Boldin (29)
11. Marques Colston (27)
12. Vincent Jackson (27)
13. Randy Moss (33)
14. Michael Crabtree (22)
15. Hakeem Nicks (22)
16. Dez Bryant (21)
17. Steve Smith, NYG (25)
18. Sidney Rice (23)
19. Mike Sims-Walker (25)
20. Mike Wallace (23)
21. Wes Welker (29)
22. Santonio Holmes (26)
23. Jeremy Maclin (22)
24. Dwayne Bowe (25)
25. Kenny Britt (21)
26. Steve Smith (31)
27. Chad Ochocinco (32)
28. Robert Meachem (25)
29. Anthony Gonzales (25)
30. Percy Harvin (22)
31. Austin Collie (24)
32. Donnie Avery (26)
33. Demaryius Thomas (22)
34. Antonio Bryant (29)
35. Braylon Edwards (27)
36. Donald Driver (35)
37. Hines Ward (34)
38. Santana Moss (31)
39. Pierre Garcon (23)
40. Steve Breaston (26)
41. Arrelious Benn (22)
42. Golden Tate (22)
43. Jacoby Jones (26)
44. Kevin Walter (29)
45. Louis Murphy (24)
46. Devin Aromashodu
47. Mohamed Massaquoi (23)
48. Chaz Schilens (25)
49. Eddie Royal (23)
50. Davone Bess (24)
51. Laurent Robinson (25)
52. Early Doucet (24)
53. Julian Edelman (24)
54. Devin Thomas (23)
55. Brian Hartline (23)
56. Malcolm Floyd (28)
57. Devin Hester (27)
58. Eddie Royal (24)
59. Mario Manningham (24)
60. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (32)
61. Nate Burleson (28)
62. Jerricho Cotchery (28)
63. Derrick Mason (36)
64. Josh Morgan (25)
65. Lee Evans (29)
66. Bernard Berrian (29)
67. Johnny Knox (23)

The fantasy football wide receiver draft list for a dynasty league is going to look closer to a conventional redraft list than an RBs cheat sheet. Given the dynamic nature of the wide receiver position in the NFL and how speculative it is to project breakout stars, the bottom of the list is going to get more topsy-turvy than a redraft list.

NFL Wide Receivers Hard to Predict

In the National Football League, you have stars like Terrell Owens and Brandon Marshall going in the 3rd and 4th round, respectively, it's not a bad idea to draft young 1st and 2nd wide receivers and hope they turn into a big NFL star. You might have to sit on these players a year or two, but that's what a dynasty league is all about. You're trying to play fantasy football somewhat like an NFL GM looks at his job, planning (and praying) for wins today, but also planning to win in the future.

For instance, would you rather draft T.J. Houshmandzadeh or Lee Evans, knowing pretty much what you get from these players, and knowing they aren't going to be putting up numbers, even if they do exceed expectations? Or would you rather swing for the fences and draft Arrelious Benn or Golden Tate, hoping one of these guys puts up numbers close to Houshmandzadeh or Evans in 2010, but knowing they are likely to vastly exceed the veterans' production in 2011, 2012 and beyond?

Wide Receivers Have a Longer Shelf Life

That being said, NFL wide receivers have shown in the past 10 to 15 years that they can be productive into their mid-30s, so you don't have to watch the 30-mark as closely with dynasty receivers as much as you do with dynasty runners. Reggie Wayne is 31, but with Peyton Manning likely to have several more productive seasons, you can expect Reggie Wayne to still be productive even when he's nearing 35. You're not likely to get more than 5 productive years from Reggie Wayne, so you might prefer to draft DeSean Jackson ahead of Wayne, since Jackson will be 28 and in the prime of his career five years from now when Reggie Wayne hits the age 36.

Five years is my cut-off date for dynasty league projections, since the turnover in the NFL is so start in any 5 year period. The game has changed so much just from 2004, when the NFL changed its passing game penalty rules. With a possible lockout in 2011 and the looming changes that might imply for the National Football League, it's hard to predict what Andre Johnson or Dez Bryant are going to look like beyond 2015. They might be replaced by cyborgs by then.

Fantasy Football Dynasty Draft Tips

Now that the season has arrived, here are ff suggestions to help you win this year, or prepare for next year.

When in Doubt, Go Young

If you have two players evaluated at the same level and you can't decide which to select, always choose the younger player. The NFL is a young man's game. Younger means a smaller chance of injury. Younger means a greater chance at improvement (upside). You're going to miss on as many players in a dynasty league as in a redraft league, but if you do hit on someone, you want to be able to keep them a maximum number of years, maximizing your good fortune.

Fantasy Football Dynasty League Advice - Raid the Bad Teams' Rosters

This is advice for teams which are "contending".

Around the midpoint of the fantasy football regular season, start to look at the teams who are among the worst in the league. Even really bad fantasy football teams usually have one or two star players, so see which players are valuable for your upcoming playoff run.

Start making trade proposals to the teams that fit this category: that is, the teams who have no chance to make the playoffs. Offer them younger, less proven players for their star players. Offer them draft picks next year for their star players. If you don't have one or two pieces that make a fair and compelling trade idea, try to cobble together a package of players to make your team better.

Be careful not to give away too much. Also, try to get back a player who can be better moving ahead, and not just a player who is good for this year, but won't next year. Remember that players sitting the bench this year might breakout next year, and that you considered these people valuable enough to put on your roster. With that being said, other teams are likely to try to raid the also-rans, so give it a shot.

Look to Next Season

This is advice for teams that are no longer contending.

If you happen to be one of those teams that are so awful that you have no chance of making the playoffs, now is not the time to give up. Look at your options and see where the best moves for your franchise lie. It might be time to play for next year, which means you should trade your productive talent of the moment for prospects and possible future studs.

Ask yourself several questions first, though.

Is the player you are trading someone you could build a franchise around in future years (a combination of youth and talent)? If so, you probably don't want to trade this player.

Is the player someone who won't be elite by the time your teams gets good (either next year or the year after)? If so, now is the time to trade that player, when his value is at its peak.

In either case, you evaluate your team and decide what is best for your franchise. If you choose to trade your best player for a young player and a high draft pick next year, that's a perfectly legitimate transaction. You're making the most of a bad situation.

Next preseason, the price for that same player won't be the same, because contending teams won't be at the same fever pitch, hoping to get that difference maker, while dreading their rivals do the same. That reminds me of another fantasy football tip.

Drive Up the Price

When you reach this decision, announce it to the league. Let them contenders known on the league message board that you are ready to play for next year and you're taking offers for your stars. Don't limit yourself to one trade partner or "only buddies". Instead, set a market and drive up the price.

For one, teams won't want their rivals getting your good players. Two, having competition should strength your bargaining hand. Let them know this isn't a fire sale and you'll sit on the player if you have to, but let them know you're ready to deal.

In the end, when you trade away this player, you can tell everyone that they had fair warning.

Choose a Strategy

I knew a guy in one of my leagues who traded away DeAngelo Williams for a 1st and 3rd round pick in 2010. He was obviously playing for the future. He then traded Terrell Owens and a 6th rounder for Michael Crabtree. Once again, he decided that Crabtree was going to be a star of the future, so he pulled the trigger. Once again, he was sticking with his strategy (despite giving away a little too much with the 6th rounder, but he's not so great drafting, so I can see him taking the rookie WR who showed flashes in his first game or two).

Two weeks later, though, he was suddenly trading an 11th rounder for a marginal starter as a bye week replacement. That was an insane strategy change. After ditching on the season by trading his best running back (by far) for draft picks, suddenly he was mortgaging the future by trading away next year's picks for someone who wouldn't help him in 2010 (not with a team, as I write).

The idea is to have a strategy and stick with the strategy. If your strategy is to win now, then continue with a steady strategy throughout the year. If your strategy is to collect draft picks and build for the future, stand by that strategy.

Reevaluate your strategy each offseason, but don't change when the losses start to pile up. That's what this one owner did. After losing even worse for a couple of weeks, he decided to make the situation marginally better at the moment, by ditching his rebuilding mentality. That was just a bad move. You should be improving now, or improving your position for later.

Know All the Rookies

Don't just know the 2 or 3 running backs who went in the first round of the NFL Draft. Know all the drafted quarterback, wide receivers, tight ends and running back rookies. Have them on a list somewhere, perhaps with a short note on each, including measurables.

Don't discount any running backs who were drafted in the NFL Draft, including 5th, 6th and 7th rounders. Terrell Davis was a 6th round draft selection. Michael Turner was a 5th rounder. Curtis Martin was a 3rd rounder. Shonn Greene was a 3rd rounder last year. Ray Rice was about as unheralded of a 2nd rounder as possible two years ago. Of course, it takes a while with some of these players, but you should know by the end of their first or second year, whether they are going to have fantasy value.

Wide receivers and quarterbacks are less likely to immediately contribute for a fantasy football team. I tend to pay attention to the top 3 rounds of receivers, deciding on situations which ones to consider or target. Quarterbacks are about the same, though in either case, only 1st or 2nd rounders are likely to see action in their first season, and often not even then.

Occasionally, you'll get a gem, though. Jermichael Finley was a big addition to many fantasy football squads last year, whom you probably got as a late round selection or free agent pickup.

Know the 2nd and 3rd Year Players

Just as important is to know the list of second and third year players who are still available in your dynasty league. These are the players who have learned the system, learned what it's like to play in the NFL, gotten stronger in an offseason workout program or two, and caught up to the speed of the game. The 2nd and 3rd NFL seasons are often when you see the true potential for a fantasy football player. So don't discount anyone, just because they weren't good as rookies. Make a list, find the ones you think have potential to come on, and make your selections.

Ranking Fantasy Football Dynasty Players

So there's our fantasy football dynasty rankings and draft tips for the 2010 season, focusing on the quarterback, running back and wide receiver positions. The dynasty tight ends list is about the same as it would be for a dynasty league, since the position is more cut-and-dried. I would devalue older tight ends like Tony Gonzales and Antonio Gates, while pushing Jermichael Finley and Brent Celek higher than players I might draft over them in a redraft league (Gates, Witten). I would keep Jermaine Gresham circled, of course.

Just remember, fantasy football dynasty rankings take into account relative youth and ages, as well as player potential, more than a redraft list does. You don't want to draft only guys with potential, because you don't want to have to make trades to be able to compete in year 1, but you want to have a nice supply of young guys with upside. In the top rounds, where the selection allows you to pick over guys, it's my advice to never draft a player over 30. These are the guys you're going to build around. Once players are picked over and you aren't selecting foundation players, you can fill in with a few veteran difference makers, to give your rookies and second-year veterans time to develop.

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