A lot of our focus here at eDraft has been on standard fantasy leagues. Of course the primary reason for that is due to the fact that standard leagues are the most popular around the world of fantasy football. Though, it must be noted that keeper/dynasty formats have been on the upswing over the course of the last few seasons. They allow fantasy owners to feel a better sense of ownership and and responsibility for their roster.
In fact, it is probably the closest thing to being an arm-chair NFL general manager. Build your roster to win this season, but also understand that you must keep an eye on the future. It really is my favorite format as it relates to fantasy sports.
With that in mind, lets take a look at the top dynasty players at each position in the NFL today.
| Player || Team || Age |
| 1. Aaron Rodgers || Green Bay || 28 |
| 2. Matt Ryan || Atlanta || 27 |
| 3. Andrew Luck || Indianapolis || 23 |
| 4. Matthew Stafford || Detroit || 24 |
| 5. Drew Brees || New Orleans || 33 |
| 6. Tom Brady || New England || 35 |
| 7. Robert Griffin III || Washington || 22 |
| 8. Cam Newton || Carolina || 23 |
| 9. Eli Manning || New York (G) || 31 |
| 10. Philip Rivers || San Diego || 30 |
It is important to take into account age when drawing a conclusion about dynasty drafts, some of which are conducted at mid-stream. However, it is less important at a position where players can actually succeed into their late-30s. All the quarterbacks on this list have a minimum of four good years left in their careers with Brady being the eldest at 35.
The question becomes is it worth taking someone like Brady short-term and drafting a replacement later on? Or do you go with that youngster such as Andrew Luck and take the inconsistent early-career performances? The happy medium, our course, is finding a way to be able to acquire Aaron Rodgers, who is practically just entering the prime of his career in terms of playing time.
I have Matt Ryan ranked ahead of Luck here simply because he already has the players in place to be a dominant dynasty league performer. Julio Jones is already a WR1 option in standard leagues and you can expect his production to improve moving forward.
You see Newton relatively low on this list. That mostly has to do with inconsistent play and indicators of more struggles moving forward. Carolina doesn't have a consistent running game and Newton doesn't have a really good young receiver to throw the ball to. Once Steve Smith calls it quits, there could be some major issues on the outside in Carolina.
| Player || Team || Age |
| 1. LeSean McCoy || Philadelphia || 24 |
| 2. Ray Rice || Baltimore || 25 |
| 3. Trent Richardson || Cleveland || 21 |
| 4. Doug Martin || Tampa Bay || 23 |
| 5. Arian Foster || Houston || 26 |
| 6. Adrian Petrson || Minnesota || 27 |
| 7. Ryan Mathews || San Diego || 25 |
| 8. Maurice Jones-Drew || Jacksonville || 27 |
| 9. DeMarco Murray || Dallas || 24 |
| 10. Darren McFadden || Oakland || 25 |
I really wanted to put Martin higher than Richardson on this list, but just couldn't do it. The primary reason for that is the fact that the latter is two years younger than Martin. In the world of football we know that is a lifetime for running backs. Though I still believe Martin will be a better all-around fantasy 'back, those two years are important.
LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice, much like in my preseason standard rankings, sit atop this list. Both are still incredibly young and have produced RB1 numbers over the course of the last three seasons. While McCoy has struggled to an extent this season, don't expect that to continue moving forward.
Murray and McFadden finish off this list due to their potential, not production. Both have the skill to be a true RB1 in any type of fantasy league, but continue to struggle remaining healthy. If both can actually stay on the field consistently, they will be among the most productive running backs in the NFL.
| Player || Team || Age |
| 1. A.J. Green || Cincinnati || 24 |
| 2. Calvin Johnson || Detroit || 27 |
| 3. Julio Jones || Atlanta || 23 |
| 4. Victor Cruz || New York (G) || 25 |
| 5. Mike Wallace || Pittsburgh || 26 |
| 6. Hakeem Nicks || New York (G) || 24 |
| 7. Demaryius Thomas || Denver || 24 |
| 8. Larry Fitzgerald || Arizona || 29 |
| 9. Brandon Marshall || Chicago || 28 |
| 10. Michael Crabtree || San Francisco || 25 |
While some may disagree with my pick of A.J. Green as the No. 1 wide receiver here, he hasn't even hit his prime yet and is putting up All-Pro numbers. Calvin Johnson put up 2,000 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in his first two seasons. For comparisons sake, Green is on pace to record over 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns in his first two seasons. That is simply amazing.
Outside of that debate, every other receiver on this list is at or near their mid-20's, most of them haven't seen their best seasons either. Julio Jones and Victor Cruz continued to put up solid numbers for such young players. For his part, Cruz is on pace to eclipse Johnson in both yards and touchdowns in his first two "real" NFL seasons. He is, once again, Eli Manning's favorite target on the outside. As it relates to Jones, he continues to remain inconsistent but is on pace to put up over 1,200 yards and double digit touchdowns in 2012.
Michael Crabtree makes this list simply because his production is starting to match that tremendous talent level. He put up two touchdowns in the 49ers last game against Patrick Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals. More importantly, Crabtree has quickly become Alex Smith's favorite target in the passing game. Once San Francisco starts to utilize the pass more moving forward, whether it is with Smith at quarterback or not, Crabtree should put up solid WR1 numbers. Imagine that. We were talking about him as a possible bust prior to last season.
| Player || Team || Age |
| 1. Rob Gronkowski || New England || 23 |
| 2. Aaron Hernandez || New England || 21 |
| 3. Jimmy Graham || New Orleans || 25 |
| 4. Vernon Davis || San Francisco || 28 |
| 5. Jermaine Gresham || Cincinnati || 24 |
| 6. Jermichael Finley || Green Bay || 25 |
| 7. Brandon Pettigrew || Detroit || 27 |
| 8. Kyle Rudolph || Minnesota || 22 |
| 9. Ed Dickson || Baltimore || 25 |
| 10. Coby Fleener || Indianapolis || 24 |
Aaron Hernandez was six years of age when Tony Gonzalez was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs out of CAL. That is simply crazy. It also represents a changing from the old guard to the new guard among NFL tight ends. As you see above, Vernon Davis, who is only 28, is the oldest player on this list. Davis has just started to hit his prime as a receiving threat in San Francisco.
Back to Hernandez for a second, he joins my No. 1 dynasty tight end in the form of Rob Gronkowski in New England. Those two are locked up long-term and should be viable TE1 options for the next decade, if not longer. That is astounding. Coby Fleener makes the list over his teammate, Dwayne Allen. However, Allen would have been No. 11 if this list was expanded a bit further.
A lot of young talent here. Kyle Rudolph and Jermaine Gresham are both under 25 and have what appears to be franchise quarterbacks in the form of Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton. That is a huge reason why both talented tight ends are on this list.
| Team || Average Age |
| 1. Houston Texans || 25.7 |
| 2. San Francisco 49ers || 27.1 |
| 3. Seattle Seahawks || 26.0 |
| 4. Arizona Cardinals || 27.0 |
| 5. Green Bay Packers || 27.5 |
| 6. Atlanta Falcons || 26.8 |
| 7. Chicago Bears || 29.1 |
| 8. Carolina Panthers || 25.2 |
| 9. New England Patriots || 27.0 |
| 10. St. Louis Ramsq || 28.5 |