For seasonal league owners and in some cases for keeper league owners, the goal is always to win now. Well in dynasty leagues, however, the key to success is to take a much more patient approach. You have to at least let your players develop; that mean it's okay if your players struggle mightily in their first few seasons. Now, that doesn't mean you can't drop scrubs or that your roster should only consist of 23-year olds. It simply means you can't expect greatness from day one.
Dynasty leagues aren't meant to be won overnight- you should understand this concept by now. But, the beauty of playing in dynasty formats versus other kinds, is that there are more similarities to owning a baseball team in real life. As a general manager, you can't win the World Series every year by winning free agency wars- that is unless you have a high-market team. Just think though, most teams cannot create a winning tradition without having a quality minor-league system. It all starts with the farm, people! Oonk oonk.
Think of your inaugural drafts- from a real life perspective, this is a free agency signing period. They test your perception of long-term value, and your budgeting skills, if it's auction drafts. Of course, in most dynasty drafts, high-end prospects get spent on, but they are rarely paid for as fair value. This is how you can steal future superstars on the cheap. Along with the virtue of patience, there comes a great deal of knowledge. If fantasy players learn and study the farms, then they'll be sure to gain a significant edge over their rival owners.
There is a massive amount of prospects who need to be tracked- however, some of them are years away from becoming fantasy relevant, and some are only months away. Yasiel Puig and Wil Myers are names which may go down in history books for years to come. They are an in-season duo with the most hype and national attention since Trout and Harper. Why did I choose to bring them up? Well, these players are rare exceptions to the rule. First of all, not many prospects have nearly the same talent level; plus it's extremely rare to have this type of immediate impact. Not all MVP players or even Hall-of-Famers for that matter, became studs in their first season in the league.
When examining prospects, there are 5 key factors to take note of.
*(The last 2 factors are strongly based on speculation rather than solid evidential reasoning.)
1)-One is when their ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL is. This is key because it will allow you to pre-plan decisions for your current roster in the meantime. You will still need enough reliable options to help you in the short-term.
2)-The next factor to be aware of is ULTIMATE UPSIDE- which means, in the long-term, what kind of caliber player can prospect become?
3)-The third factor is understanding their STATISTICAL MAKEUP: so for example, what categories will a player contribute in most? This will allow you to balance your team's statistical needs, which is an even more vital proposition in roto formats.
4)- You need to anticipate a player's LEVELS OF IMPACT. As explained earlier, players like Puig and Myers have become studs in their debut seasons. These players are having high impacts right off the bat (pun intended), but that also doesn't mean their potential is limited. This factor overlaps the Ultimate Upside Factor to a certain degree, but you are examining a player's current impact versus when he is expected to reach his prime years (ultimate upside).
5- Lastly, owners need to have a sixth sense for predicting the future of prospects. That sense is known as DURABILITY. This is not the most valuable of the factors, since not all players are guaranteed to play over 10 seasons. But, it's at least nice to be aware of how long studs will remain productive. Players with injury-risks or ones with physically-demanding biomechanics are more likely to have shortened careers. These are major warning signs which need to be spotted ahead of time.