- Matt Williamson, ESPN.com
Although not as common as standard fantasy football leagues, dynasty leagues are as close to owning an NFL franchise as most fans will usually come. Dynasty leagues differ from standard leagues in that once a draft is held, owners have the option to keep all of their roster. The key, of course, is about maximizing positional value.
Each subsequent year, a draft is held consisting only of incoming rookies. Owners must decide whether the rookies have more value than the players on their team -- much like a real NFL franchise. Being a dynasty owner is a year-round project -- even when games aren't being played, player values rise and fall and there are plenty of roster additions and trades in the offseason.
In terms of strategy, I tend to be more conservative with my first couple of picks and get riskier as the rounds progress. Owners want to balance winning in the short term with having a team built for the long haul.
Below is my ranking of the top 50 dynasty players if your league is holding a draft before the 2013 NFL season (with standard fantasy scoring).
1. Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns
Go back and look at some of the production of Norv Turner running backs. Maybe you recall some of the fantasy production that Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson provided not so long ago? Turner believes in feeding a lead back over and over and Richardson's supporting cast in Cleveland is improving. He is young and an elite talent who also catches the ball very well. If you recall, I believe he will be the top running back in both 2015 and 2016, so picking him No. 1 overall was very easy for me.
Matt Williamson ranks his top 50 NFL players for dynasty fantasy football leagues. Browns running back Trent Richardson, who rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie last season, tops the list.