Joining your first fantasy football league? That’s great, fantasy football can be a lot of fun and great way to connect with people at work, at school, or even perfect strangers found online. The following outlines some of the absolute basics to get you started.
Understand the basics:
Fantasy football is a game where participants draft a virtual team of real-life NFL players and earn points based on their performance in actual games. The objective is to score more points than your weekly opponent(s) each week by selecting players who perform well over the course of a season.
Join a league:
The first step in playing fantasy football is to join a league. You can either join a public league or create a private league with friends or family. Most fantasy football leagues are played online, and there are several websites that host fantasy football leagues, including Sleeper, ESPN, Yahoo, and CBS Sports. All of these platforms have their own merits. We’ll break them down deeper in a separate article.
Draft your team:
Once you join a league, the next step is to draft your team. In most leagues, you’ll have a set budget or number of draft picks to select players from. The draft usually takes place before the start of the NFL season, and it’s important to research player statistics and team schedules to make informed decisions. We, like many other sites, offer rankings and insights to help you ace your first draft.
If it’s your first league and first draft you don’t need to go too far down the research rabbit hole. It’s OK to focus on using the draft platform as a guideline to filling out the roster. It will rank players for you based on your league’s scoring so no need to overthink it. If you have a few players that are very closely ranked – take the one you personally want to watch/cheer for, this will make following your fantasy roster far more rewarding.
Set your lineup:
After drafting your team, you’ll need to set your lineup each week. Your lineup will consist of a certain number of players at each position (e.g., quarterback, running back, wide receiver, etc.) who you think will perform well that week. In most leagues you can make changes to your lineup up until the start of each game.
Monitor player performance:
Throughout the NFL season, it’s important to monitor player performance and adjust your lineup accordingly. Injuries, bye weeks, and other factors can impact a player’s performance, so it’s important to stay informed. If you need some help with all of the various lingo that is being used in your league you can check out our fantasy glossary here.
This may sound like a lot to manage but, the platform you play on will assuredly offer some level of updates for all of these situations. Odds are they’ll also have some weekly content around who to start and sit. For more detail, you can always crowd source some decision making to social media. Twitter and Reddit have a lot of sharp players who are not shy about giving advice.
Score points and compete:
Each week, you’ll earn points based on your players’ performance in actual NFL games. You’ll compete against another team in your league, and the team with the most points at the end of the week wins.
Playoffs and championships:
At the end of the NFL season, the top teams in your league will compete in playoffs, culminating in a championship game. The winner is the team with the most points in the championship game (and depending on your league, maybe some money too).
This beginners guide is meant as a high-level overview to get you started – we have other how-to guides that encompass draft strategies, how to work through trades, and what you need to know about certain league types. I hope you’ve found this useful and feel free to reach out to us if you need more hands-on help!