Fantasy Football 101: Everything You Need to Know to Start Playing

July 03, 2023

Fantasy Football 101: Everything You Need to Know to Start Playing

How to Play Fantasy Football: A Beginner’s Guide

Fantasy football is a fun and exciting way to enjoy the NFL season with your friends, family, or coworkers. You get to create your own team of real-life players and compete against other fantasy owners for points based on their performance on the field. Whether you’re new to the game or looking for some tips to improve your skills, this guide will help you learn the basics of fantasy football and get ready for your draft.

What is Fantasy Football?

Fantasy football is a game where you act as the owner and manager of a virtual NFL team. You start by joining a league, which can be public or private, and consists of 8 to 16 teams. Each league has its own rules and scoring system, so make sure you understand them before you sign up.

The main goal of fantasy football is to score more points than your opponents each week. You do this by setting your lineup of players before each game, choosing from quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, kickers, and defense/special teams units. You can also make trades and add or drop players throughout the season to improve your roster.

The points you earn are based on how well your players perform in real life. For example, if your quarterback throws a touchdown pass, you get points for that. If your running back fumbles the ball, you lose points for that. The scoring system varies by league, but some common categories are:

  • Passing yards
  • Passing touchdowns
  • Interceptions
  • Rushing yards
  • Rushing touchdowns
  • Receiving yards
  • Receiving touchdowns
  • Fumbles
  • Field goals
  • Extra points
  • Sacks
  • Interceptions
  • Fumble recoveries
  • Defensive touchdowns

At the end of the regular season, usually after 13 or 14 weeks, the teams with the best records advance to the playoffs, where they compete for the championship. The playoffs usually last three or four weeks, depending on the league format.

How to Prepare for Your Draft

The draft is one of the most important and fun parts of fantasy football. It’s where you select your players for the season from a pool of all available NFL players. The draft can be live or online, and it can be either snake or auction style.

In a snake draft, each team takes turns picking one player at a time, starting with the team with the first pick and ending with the team with the last pick. The order then reverses for the next round, so the team with the last pick goes first and the team with the first pick goes last. This continues until all teams have filled their rosters.

In an auction draft, each team has a budget of fake money to spend on players. Each player is nominated by a team and then bid on by all teams until no one wants to raise the price. The highest bidder gets the player and pays that amount from their budget. This continues until all teams have filled their rosters.

To prepare for your draft, you should do some research on the players and their projected performance for the season. You can use various sources of information, such as rankings, projections, stats, news, injury reports, and expert opinions. You should also consider factors such as:

  • Team situation: How good is the player’s real-life team? How often do they run or pass the ball? Who are their teammates and opponents?
  • Player talent: How skilled is the player at his position? How consistent is he? How durable is he?
  • Schedule: How easy or hard is the player’s schedule for the season? Which defenses will he face? When are his bye weeks?
  • Scoring system: How does your league’s scoring system favor or penalize certain positions or stats? For example, some leagues give more points for receptions or passing touchdowns.
  • Position scarcity: How many players at each position are available and how quickly do they get drafted? For example, there are fewer elite quarterbacks than running backs or wide receivers, so they may get drafted earlier.

Based on your research, you should create a list of players that you want to target in each round of the draft. You should also have some backup options in case your preferred players are taken by other teams. You should also have a general strategy for how you want to build your team, such as:

  • Balanced: You try to draft players from different positions in each round, aiming for a well-rounded team that can score points from various sources.
  • Studs and duds: You spend most of your budget or early picks on a few elite players at key positions, such as quarterback or running back, and then fill the rest of your roster with cheaper or later picks.
  • Value: You look for players who are underrated or overlooked by other teams, such as rookies, sleepers, or players coming off injuries or bad seasons. You hope to get more production than expected from these players.
  • Upside: You look for players who have the potential to break out or improve significantly from their previous performance, such as young players, players in new situations, or players with high talent but low consistency. You hope to hit the jackpot with these players.

How to Manage Your Team During the Season

Once you have drafted your team, your work is not done. You still have to manage your team throughout the season, making decisions that can affect your chances of winning. Some of the things you have to do are:

  • Set your lineup: Before each game, you have to decide which players to start and which ones to bench. You should consider factors such as matchups, injuries, weather, and recent performance. You should also check the latest news and updates on your players and their opponents.
  • Add or drop players: During the season, you can add new players to your roster or drop existing ones. You can do this to replace injured or underperforming players, or to take advantage of favorable situations or opportunities. You can find available players on the waiver wire, which is a list of all unowned players in your league. You can claim a player from the waiver wire by placing a bid or a priority order, depending on your league’s rules. You can also drop a player from your roster at any time, unless he is locked for the week.
  • Make trades: You can also improve your team by trading players with other teams in your league. You can propose a trade offer to another team, or accept or reject an offer from another team. You should try to make trades that benefit both parties, but also give you an edge over your competition. You should also be aware of the trade deadline, which is the last date that trades are allowed in your league.
  • Monitor the standings: You should keep track of how well your team is doing compared to other teams in your league. You should check the standings, which show the records and points of all teams in your league. You should also check the matchups, which show the scores and stats of each game in progress or completed. You should also check the projections, which show the estimated points that each team will score for the week.

How to Have Fun and Be a Good Sport

Fantasy football is meant to be a fun and enjoyable hobby that brings people together over their love of football. However, it can also be frustrating and stressful at times, especially when things don’t go your way. To make sure that you have a positive experience playing fantasy football, you should follow some basic etiquette and tips, such as:

  • Be respectful: You should treat other fantasy owners with respect and courtesy, even if they are your rivals or opponents. You should avoid trash-talking, gloating, cheating, or being rude or offensive. You should also respect the rules and decisions of your league commissioner, who is in charge of running the league and resolving any disputes.
  • Be active: You should participate actively and regularly in your league, by setting your lineup, making moves, responding to offers, and communicating with other owners. You should not abandon or neglect your team, as that can ruin the fun and fairness of the league for everyone else.
  • Be flexible: You should be willing to adapt and adjust to changing circumstances and situations during the season. You should not get too attached or loyal to certain players or strategies, as they may not work out as expected. You should also be open to new ideas and suggestions from other sources, such as articles, podcasts, or forums.
  • Be realistic: You should have realistic expectations and goals for your team and yourself as a fantasy owner. You should not expect to win every game or every league, as there is a lot of luck and randomness involved in fantasy football. You should also not take fantasy football too seriously or personally, as it is just a game after all.

I hope this article helps you learn how to play fantasy football and have fun doing it. Good luck with your draft and your season!🏈