All About Devy Leagues

What is a Devy League?

Devy stands for “Developmental Player”. These leagues center around drafting players who are not yet in the NFL and watching them develop in college and through the draft/NFL process.

Why play in a Devy League?

Devy leagues can be the next step deeper in dynasty for a number of reasons:

  1. Your player evaluation skills are put to the test. If you want that premier rookie RB or WR, you will need to draft them while they are in college. You will have to watch college games and evaluate players on your own that may become the next stars. Which leads us to the second reason…
  2. You will become invested in college football. Not a college football fan? You will be with Devy. Now you can watch those players every Saturday play and root for their success before they even make it to the NFL.
  3. There aren’t many devy resources. Sure, you can look up some future NFL Draft rankings or a few dynasty sites (like Fakepigskin) has devy rankings, but it is difficult to get a lot of information. Today, there are 9 million articles about who to take in your rookie draft but very few on your devy draft. It is a type of league where you can show you are better than your opponents and not just that everyone is following the same dynasty twitter accounts.
  4. Your connection to your players is deeper. When you have had a player on your roster since they were 18 or 19 years old, you connect a bit deeper to them. Not that there aren’t active devy leagues full of trades, but you may have waited years for these players to come to fruition and now they will benefit your team. For example, I have drafted players like Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Ezekiel Elliott as seniors in high school and have been following their careers for years before they even made it to the NFL.
  5. There are more trade opportunities and strategies. In Devy, you have devy picks and rookie picks. This creates more strategy as some teams can use devy leagues to trade devy picks for veterans and gain more of a veteran edge while some will opt to load up on the devy picks and put their scouting skills to the test. You can also package college players with NFL players to make trades or even things out. The possibilities are endless.

How do I play in a devy league?

They can be tough to find but put it out there on twitter or look on message boards of dynasty sites. Maybe you can get together some reliable friends and start your own!

One of the hardest parts is how to host these sites online. Right now, all my devy leagues are on as the Commissioner can add “Custom Players” and after the devy draft put your devys on your roster or taxi squad. I suggest having the devy draft on the message board or in another place to keep track of those rosters separately. You could use the software you currently use for your dynasty league and just treat devy separately.

What should the rules of a new devy league be?

One of the benefits of devy leagues is there are SO many rule variations. This can make it even more confusing and complex to try and start a new league though. I will do my best to run through the choices you have to make for the devy rules.

How many devy roster spots will there be/how many rounds is the devy draft?

I would suggest having the devy roster be separate from a hard roster cap to encourage trading for devy picks and allow some flexibility. The number of rounds of the devy draft is your preference. I have one league where the devy draft is just one round each year, so the focus is still mostly on the rookie draft. I have a devy league where the draft is 10 rounds long and most players taken never even make it to the NFL. I’d suggest about 5 rounds being a good sweet spot so teams can get the studs and still draft some sleepers

What players are eligible to be taken in the devy draft?

This is another question that can go many different ways. I would say the best option is just to leave it open for anyone who has not entered the NFL or the NFL Draft. This allows for varying strategies. Do you take juniors and seniors in college close to being drafted? Or do you take younger potential studs before they are known? Most will draft college players, but if someone wants to take a stud high school senior, let them. I have been in leagues where only draft eligible players (SR, JR, or redshirt SO) can be drafted, as well as leagues where a player must stay on your devy squad for two years and if they enter the NFL before those two years, you lose them. The former stops owners from taking young players and keeps the pool fresh every year while the latter ensures seniors and very good juniors will be in the rookie pool if they have not been drafted yet.

This is also something that can always be adjusted. If you find that your rookie drafts are getting too thin or your owners want deeper devys, it is something that can be remedied by league vote later. Don’t be afraid to change up the devy rules as time goes on to find what works for you, as changing those rules will not affect games or win/loss most of the time.

Should we still do a rookie draft?

Yes, you should still do some type of rookie draft as you normally would. Obviously devy thins out the available players in the rookie draft so keep the rookie draft short (I’d say 3 rounds or so depending on the number of devys). This allows the players that slipped through the cracks between your devy draft and draft day to be taken. One of the benefits of a devy depleted rookie draft is that the teams picking near the top will get players in a very high tier. For example, most of the 2018 rookie class was selected in my devy leagues, but WR DJ Moore was not too well known before his senior season. The team picking 1.01 will get DJ Moore while the team picking at 1.02 will be settling for a player generally taken in the 2nd round of rookie drafts. It helps the worst teams get better.

When should we hold our devy draft?

This question is up to your preference but the general rule of thumb is: Between the end of the NFL Super Bowl and start of the college season. I generally like having your rookie draft in May and then scheduling the devy draft in June or July. This allows ample time to fit everything in with a slow draft but extend your league to be active almost all year long. You could easily flip these around or even draft devy in March!

Can you trade devy players?

YES! This adds a new element to the league and should always be included. As I mentioned before, some leagues have a hard devy cap number (i.e. you can only have 3 devys on your team). I don’t like this as it discourages trading for players (or devy picks) and takes some of the fun out of it. Now, if you are looking to rebuild for the future, you can REALLY look into the future.

Can we use auction for devys?

Absolutely. I am in numerous devy leagues where a devy auction is held. I would suggest allocating auction funds like you would for a rookie draft and give more spending money to the lesser teams, but allowing excess funds to be used in another way (rookie auction, blind bidding, etc). This can create a fun dynamic of bidding up players if you want the “surefire studs” all the draft sites are promoting, or waiting and taking a bunch of $1 players. The only tricky aspect to an auction may be an absurdly large devy pool (even if you don’t want that). To combat this,…

Should I play devy if this seems overwhelming and I don’t watch much college football?

You should give it a try. It can seem overwhelming at first, but so does every new step in fantasy football. Get together with friends or those on social media and start a small, free or low money league to try it out. I bet you will be hooked in no time.

You can always contact me on twitter @ShanePHallam with any questions you may have or concerns that pop up. Check out my Devy related articles throughout the year and my podcast “The Devy Marketplace” to ensure you are getting an additional edge in your leagues.


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