If you’re a fan of football, you’ve probably heard of fantasy football. It’s a game that allows you to assemble your own team of players and compete against other teams in your league. The goal is to accumulate the most points each week by having your players perform well in their real-life games.
If you’re new to fantasy football, it can seem a little overwhelming at first, but it’s really not complicated. Here, we cover everything from choosing a league to drafting your team to setting your lineup each week, so you’ll have all the knowledge you need to get started and compete with your friends.
Understanding Fantasy Football
Before you dive into drafting your team, it’s important to understand the basics of fantasy football.
At its core, fantasy football is a game based on the real-life production of NFL players. You select your own team of players and set a lineup every week based on your league settings. Then, you watch as they run, pass, catch, and score points for your team.
But how do YOU score points in fantasy football? It all depends on your league’s scoring system, but typically points are awarded for things like touchdowns, yards gained, and receptions. Each position has its own set of scoring rules, with quarterbacks usually being the highest-scoring position.
One of the most important aspects of fantasy football is the draft. This is where you select the players that will make up your team for the entire season. There are different types of drafts, including snake drafts and auction drafts, but the goal is always the same: to build the best team possible.
During the NFL season, you’ll need to keep an eye on your players and make adjustments to your lineup based on injuries, bye weeks, and matchups. You can also make trades with other teams in your league to improve your roster.
Setting Up Your League
The first step in Fantasy Football is to set up your league. You have two options: a public league or a private league. Public leagues are open to anyone, while private leagues are invite-only.
If you’re playing with friends or family, a private league is probably the way to go. You can customize the league rules to your liking and ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you’re looking for a more competitive experience, a public league might be a better fit.
Once you’ve decided on the type of league, it’s time to choose a league manager. This person will be responsible for setting up the league, managing the draft, and enforcing the rules. So, make sure you choose someone reliable and organized.
Next, you’ll determine the size of your league. Most leagues have 8, 10, or 12 teams, but you can choose any number you like. Keep in mind that larger leagues will require more time and effort to manage.
Once you have your league type and size, it’s time to set the league rules. This is where things can get a bit tricky. You’ll need to decide on things like scoring, roster size, and waiver wire rules. Basically, these are the rules that will govern your league for the season.
Once your league is pinned down, you can invite “owners” to join your league. Make sure you give everyone plenty of notice so they have time to prepare for the draft. Once everyone has joined, it’s time to start drafting and playing.
Setting up your league can take a bit of work, but with some planning and organization, you’ll be ready to play in no time.
Drafting Your Team
Now that you have a basic understanding of fantasy football, it’s time to start drafting your team. The draft is the most crucial part of your season, as it sets the foundation for your entire team. Here are a few tips to help you draft like a pro.
Do Your Research
Before the draft, it’s essential to do your homework. Research player rankings and mock drafts to get a sense of where players are being drafted. Keep an eye on training camp and preseason games to see how rookies and other players are performing. This preparation will help you make informed decisions on draft day.
Draft for Value
The goal of the draft is to select the best players available while filling out your roster. However, it’s crucial to consider the value of each pick. Don’t reach for players too early, as you may miss out on better options later. Conversely, don’t wait too long to fill a position, as you may end up with a weaker player.
Consider Position Scarcity
Position scarcity is an essential factor to consider during the draft. Some positions, such as running back, tend to have a more significant drop-off in talent after the first few rounds. In contrast, other positions, such as quarterback, have more depth. Keep this in mind when selecting your players.
Keep an Eye on Bye Weeks
Each NFL team has a bye week, where they don’t play a game. During the draft, make sure to spread out your bye weeks, so you don’t have too many players on bye during the same week. This strategy will ensure that you have a full roster of players available each week.
Building Your Roster
When it comes to building your fantasy football roster, there are a few things that will help you make good choices. Your roster will consist of several positions, including quarterback, running backs, wide receivers, tight end, kicker, and a flex position. It’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each position and how they fit into your overall strategy.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when building your roster is depth. It can be tempting to use your early picks to fill out your starting lineup, but it’s important to have depth at each position in case of injuries or bye weeks. Make sure to have a solid backup plan for each position.
When it comes to selecting players, it’s important to do your research. Look at player rankings, injury reports, and team schedules to help inform your decisions. Don’t be afraid to take risks on players with high upside, but also make sure to balance that with more consistent performers.
Quarterback is typically one of the more important positions to fill early on. Look for a quarterback with a high ceiling and a favorable schedule. Running backs and wide receivers are also key positions to focus on, as they typically score the most points. Make sure to have a good mix of both consistent performers and players with high upside.
Tight end and kicker are typically less important positions, but can still make a big impact on your roster. Look for a tight end with a high target share and a favorable schedule. For kickers, focus on teams with high-scoring offenses and favorable matchups.
And don’t forget about the flex position. This is a great spot to take a chance on a player with high upside or to fill in for a bye week or injury. Make sure to have a good mix of running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends to choose from, which can help you out when faced with a dwindling team.
Managing Your Lineup
Now that you have drafted your fantasy football team, it’s time to manage your lineup. Your starting lineup is the group of players that will earn points for your team in a given week. The players on your bench will not earn points unless they are substituted into your starting lineup.
It’s important to pay attention to player news and injuries, as this can affect your lineup decisions. If a player is injured or has a bye week, you will need to replace them in your starting lineup. A bye week is a week where a team does not play, and it’s important to make sure you have enough players available to fill in for those on bye weeks.
To manage your lineup, you’ll need to log in to your fantasy football account and navigate to the “My Team” section. From there, you can view your starting lineup and bench. You can also add and drop players from the waiver wire or free agency to improve your team.
When making lineup decisions, it’s important to consider the matchups for each player. A player facing a tough defense may not be the best choice for your starting lineup. On the other hand, a player facing a weak defense may be a good choice to start.
It’s also important to pay attention to the scoring system in your league. Some leagues may award more points for certain positions, such as quarterbacks or wide receivers. Make sure you understand the scoring system so you can make informed lineup decisions.
Understanding Scoring and Points
When it comes to fantasy football, understanding the scoring system is crucial. The points earned by your players determine your point total for the week, and ultimately, your success in the league. Let’s take a look at some of the key factors that contribute to your point total.
Touchdowns are the most valuable source of points in fantasy football. Each touchdown scored by your players earns you 6 points. This includes touchdowns scored by quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and even defensive players.
Yardage is another important factor in fantasy football scoring. Each passing yard earns your quarterback 1 point, while each rushing or receiving yard earns your running back, wide receiver, or tight end 1 point as well. It’s important to note that some leagues may have variations in their scoring systems, so always review your league’s specific rules.
While interceptions are not desirable in real football, they can actually earn you points in fantasy football. Each interception thrown by your opponent’s quarterback earns your defense 2 points. If your defense returns the interception for a touchdown, you’ll earn even more points.
Points Per Reception
Some leagues use a points per reception (PPR) system, which awards points for each reception made by a player. This can be especially valuable for wide receivers and tight ends who catch a lot of passes. In a PPR league, each reception is typically worth 0.5 or 1 point.
Making Trades and Transactions
Making trades and transactions is an essential part of playing fantasy football. It allows you to improve your team by acquiring players that can fill in gaps in your roster or upgrade weaker positions. Here are some tips to help you navigate the world of trades and transactions.
Trades involve exchanging players between teams. A well-executed trade can address weaknesses in your lineup, provide depth, and give you an edge over your opponents. Here are some things to keep in mind when making a trade:
- Determine your team’s strengths and weaknesses before initiating a trade.
- Look for teams that have players you want and identify what players you can offer in return.
- Be realistic in your expectations and don’t be afraid to negotiate.
- Consider the long-term implications of a trade and how it will impact your team’s future.
Waiver Wire and Free Agents
The waiver wire and free agent pool are other ways to improve your team. The waiver wire is a list of players who are not currently on any team and are available for pickup. Free agents are players who have been released by their team and are available to be signed by any team. Here are some things to keep in mind when making a waiver claim or signing a free agent:
- Keep an eye on the waiver wire and free agent pool for players that can help your team.
- Use your waiver claims and free agent acquisition budget wisely.
- Don’t be afraid to take a chance on a player who has potential but is not yet proven.
The trade deadline is the last day trades can be made in your league. It’s important to keep this date in mind when making trades. When approaching the trade deadline:
- Plan ahead and make any necessary trades before the deadline.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to make a trade, as other teams may not have time to respond.
- Be aware of any league-specific rules regarding the trade deadline.
Congratulations! You’ve drafted your fantasy football team and are ready to dominate your league. But what comes next? How do you navigate the NFL season to ensure your team comes out on top? Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Keep Up with NFL Games
The NFL season is a long one, spanning from September to February. It can be tough to keep up with every game, especially if you have a busy schedule. But staying up-to-date is crucial to managing your fantasy team. Make sure to check the schedule regularly and set reminders for important games. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities to adjust your lineup.
Thursday Night Football
Thursday Night Football is a staple of the NFL season, with games beginning in Week 2. These games can be a great opportunity to get a head start on your opponents. Make sure to keep an eye on the schedule and plan ahead for Thursday night matchups.
Sunday morning is the time to make any last-minute adjustments to your lineup. Keep an eye on injury reports and weather conditions to ensure your players are ready to go. Don’t be afraid to make bold moves if necessary. Sometimes, taking a risk can pay off big.
The NFL season officially begins in September, with the first game typically taking place on the Thursday after Labor Day. This is when the real fun begins. Make sure to stay on top of the action and adjust your lineup as needed. Don’t be afraid to make trades or pick up free agents if necessary. The key to success in fantasy football is staying one step ahead of your opponents.
Strategizing for Success
When it comes to fantasy football, having a solid strategy is key to achieving success. Here are some tips to help you strategize your way to the top of your league:
- Do your research: Before drafting your team, research player rankings and projections to get an idea of who the top players are at each position. This will help you make informed decisions during your draft.
- Consider matchups: While player rankings and projections are important, it’s also important to consider matchups. Look at each player’s upcoming opponents and factor that into your decision-making process.
- Value undervalued players: Don’t overlook undervalued players who may not have high rankings or projections but have the potential to perform well. These players can often be acquired at a lower cost and provide great value.
- Stay competitive: Throughout the season, stay competitive by making strategic trades and pickups off the waiver wire. Don’t be afraid to make bold moves if it means improving your team’s chances of making it to the fantasy playoffs.
- Prepare for the fantasy playoffs: As the fantasy playoffs approach, make sure your team is optimized for success. Look at matchups and adjust your lineup accordingly to give yourself the best chance of making it to the championship.
- Win the championship: Once you’ve made it to the championship, it’s time to give it your all. Make sure your lineup is optimized for success and don’t be afraid to take risks if it means winning the game.
Using Fantasy Football Platforms
When it comes to playing fantasy football, you’ll need to use a platform to manage your team and compete against others. There are many platforms available, but ESPN Fantasy is one of the most popular and user-friendly options out there. You can access ESPN Fantasy via their website or their mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.
One of the great things about ESPN Fantasy is that it offers both public and private leagues. Public leagues are open to anyone and allow you to compete against fantasy football players from all over the world. Private leagues, on the other hand, are invitation-only and are a great way to play with your friends, family, or co-workers.
Once you have joined a league, you will become the general manager of your team. This means that you will be responsible for drafting players, making trades, and setting your lineup each week. ESPN Fantasy makes it easy to manage your team with their intuitive interface and helpful tools.
One of the most important aspects of playing fantasy football is staying up-to-date with player news and injuries. ESPN Fantasy provides real-time updates on player injuries and even offers expert analysis and projections to help you make informed decisions about your team.
Dealing with Player Injuries
Injuries can be a major headache for fantasy football players. When one of your players gets injured, it can be hard to know what to do. Here are some tips for dealing with player injuries in fantasy football:
- Stay up-to-date on player injuries: Make sure you’re checking injury reports regularly. This will help you stay on top of which players are injured and how long they’re expected to be out.
- Consider the severity of the injury: When deciding what to do with an injured player, consider how severe the injury is. If it’s a minor injury, the player may only miss a game or two. If it’s a more serious injury, the player could be out for several weeks or even the entire season.
- Know your league’s rules: Every fantasy football league is different, so make sure you know your league’s rules regarding injured players. Some leagues have injured reserve spots where you can stash injured players, while others don’t.
- Use the waiver wire: If one of your players gets injured and you need a replacement, consider using the waiver wire. This is a list of available players that you can add to your team. Just make sure you’re not dropping a player who will be back soon.
- Consider trading injured players: If you have a player who is going to be out for a while, consider trading them. You may be able to get a healthy player in return who can help your team right away.
Understanding Different Game Formats
There are different game formats you can choose from for your fantasy football league. Each format has its own set of rules and scoring system, so it’s important to understand the differences before you start playing. Here’s a breakdown of the most common formats:
In a standard scoring league, players earn points based on their performance in real-life games. The scoring system typically includes points for touchdowns, yards gained, and receptions. This format is the most common and straightforward.
PPR, or point per reception, scoring is another popular format. In this format, players earn points not only for touchdowns and yards gained but also for receptions. This means that players who catch a lot of passes, like running backs and wide receivers, can be more valuable.
Autodraft is a feature that many fantasy football platforms offer. It allows you to set up your draft preferences ahead of time, and the platform will automatically draft players for you based on those preferences. This can be a good option if you’re unable to attend the draft or if you’re new to fantasy football and not sure who to draft.
When choosing a game format, it’s important to consider your personal preferences and play style. Some players prefer the simplicity of standard scoring, while others enjoy the added strategy of PPR scoring. Autodraft can be a helpful tool, but many players prefer to draft their own teams. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
Getting Started as a Beginner
When you first start into fantasy football, you’ll need a good understanding of all of the above things. To recap, you can get started in fantasy football by:
1 – Understanding the basics.
Before you dive into the game, you need to understand the basics. Fantasy football is a game where you draft real-life NFL players to your team and score points based on their performance in actual games. Your goal is to build the best team possible and compete against other teams in your league.
2 – Joining a league.
The first step is to join a league. You can either join a public league or create a private league with friends or family. If you’re a beginner, it’s recommended to join a public league to get a feel for the game. You can always join a private league later on.
3 – Drafting your team.
The most exciting part of fantasy football is drafting your team. You’ll need to research players, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and make strategic decisions.
4 – Setting your lineup.
Once you’ve drafted your team, you’ll need to set your lineup each week. This means choosing which players to start at each position and making any necessary changes based on injuries or matchups. It’s important to stay up-to-date on player news and injuries to make informed decisions.
5 – Follow the season.
Throughout the season, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up players from the waiver wire or make trades with other teams in your league. It’s important to pay attention to player performances and make strategic moves to improve your team as the season goes on.
That’s it. You’re now officially a team owner. Good luck.