Optimal time for dynasty start up draft

We have started a dynasty league with 12 teams and are discussing when to have our start up draft. Because we are spread out on 3 continents we’ll have to have a long draft which will probably take over a month.

As eager as we are to get started, we don’t want to draft too early before coaching changes are made and free agents change teams. Originally I’d thought of trying to finish before the NFL draft and then having our rookie draft a few weeks later. We also considered having them together starting after the draft, but I think we’d like to have the experience of having a rookie-only draft since we’ll be doing that every year from now on.

So my question is, what’s the optimal time to have our start up draft? Is there a reason to finish before the NFL draft? Is there a reason to not start it until as late as May? As I look at important dates, not everything will be settled until July and that’s just going to be too late.

Thanks for any input!

I suggest putting rookies and vets together for a dynasty start up. It seems to work best that way in all the leagues ive ran and started vs not doing it this way in my 11 years of dynasty experience.

I would do it in the summer june/july. That way you have a decent idea of player situations.

Thanks for your suggestion. Yesterday I suggested May 31 as a start date and everyone was agreeable. I’m just hoping that we can keep the camaraderie going, perhaps with weekly polls or fun questions that will keep people checking in.

Now I have a 2nd question. I had designated a 25-man roster, 2 IR spots and 3 for the taxi squad. If we do just one draft, will it be possible to access the IR and taxi squad players so we can draft someone to those spots? We’re using the Sleeper app and I like it, but it doesn’t show those when we are looking at the draft. Any thoughts?

You should not be able to draft to those spots in my opinion. Those are not roster spots. To each their own in the league you participate or commish…

…but IR should be a feature you can use during the reg season. In most leagues, once the season is done, or maybe after the Superbowl, IR’s need to be cleaned up.

Equally, the taxi squad can be setup in a multitude of configurations. However, it’s main purpose, in most cases, is to stash rookies. Possibly year over year. Going back to your question, I would not expect a 30 round draft (25 roster + 2IR + 3rookie. Draft should be 25 rounds. Managers can then demote to Taxi Squad and place people on IR where appropriate as per your league bylaws. Then it’s open season -wWaivers/trading/cutting and so forth.


I personally believe that a dynasty draft can be performed any time of the year with relatively equal risk. And therefore it is my position that any and all times are great for a Dynasty draft.

Risk in Jan, Feb

  • Playoffs (player injury)
  • Scouting combine (player injury)
  • Player retirements (unknown landing spots)
  • Coaching changes

Risk in Mar, Apr

  • Offseason workouts (player injury)
  • Free Agency (unknown landing spots)
  • NFL draft (unknown landing spots)

Risk in May, June

  • Rookie mini-camp (player injury)
  • OTAs (player injury)
  • Unrestricted Free Agents (unknown landing spots)

Risk in July, Aug

  • training camp (player injury)
  • pre-season (player injury)
  • player cuts (unknown landing spots)

Risk in Sept, Oct

  • regular season (player injury)
  • player cuts or holdout (unknown landing spots)

Risk in Nov, Dec

  • regular season (player injury)
  • player cuts or holdout (unknown landing spots)
  • Coaching changes

Please note that February thru June, landing spots appear to be the greatest risk. July through the following January, injury is likely the biggest risk.

Waiting to do startup draft until McKinnon signed and the 49ers did not spend high draft capital on a rookie RB. You still lost him for the season to an ACL tear.


You drafted in January 2018 and took Barkley 1.01 overall. Landed the RB2 overall.

Very good points there. Thank you for weighing in again. I sure appreciate that perspective.

I have to agree with @fun4willis on drafting of IR/Taxi players. Im doing a startup this year as well and how i have always done it, rookies and vets together. Drafted rookies are not eligible for the Taxi. Once the start up draft is concluded, you can sign rookies via Free agency and stash them on the Taxi, until the start of the nfl season. At that point we start using our rule of only Drafted Rookies may go on the DTS(future rookie only drafts).

If you draft an IR eligible player then they cannot go onto the IR until the conclusion of the draft.

Everyone needs to be on equal footing, and giving a few teams an advantage of drafting 27 players puts the integrity of the league at risk.

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This is a great help. Thanks.

So we have 12 teams and I’ve set it up to do 25 rounds. We have no kickers or D/STs so it’s all QB, RB, WR and TE. Is that about the right amount, you think? I heard someone on a podcast say 2 and a half to 3 times the starting roster is about right because it forces people to trade more.

And is 3 for the taxi squad and 2 IR spots about right? Should I add more of either?

25 roster is likely good. 2 IR is appropriate as well.

Can you explain your reasons for the Taxi squad? What it’s purpose is in your league?