Fantasy Football 101: Fantasy Football for Dummies
So you want to learn how to play fantasy football? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Are you a fan of a specific team and want to learn more about the NFL? Maybe there is an office league that has an open spot, and you decided to jump in this year? The next question is, what do you do now? What does it take not to be a buffoon and embarrass yourself with your league mates?
Fantasy football seems like an overly complex game, and while the deeper you go into it, there can be some real nuance, but the game breaks down to a few simple steps that, if you follow along, you can be successful in any form of play.
Of course, if you fall in love with the game and want to learn more, you are in the right place! Here with The Fantasy Footballers, we want to be there for anyone needing fantasy information. To get you started, though, here is the list of the most essential things you need to know to succeed in the season.
Step 1: Know Your League Rules
Leagues have different rules and scoring styles. You need to know what those rules are so you can build your roster. For instance, is your league a PPR (point per reception) league or a standard league? If it is a PPR league, wide receivers and pass-catching running backs like Miles Sanders take a step up because they can score more points in the passing game as they receive an extra point for each pass they catch. Another example is what kind of scoring does the league have for touchdowns? In particular, passing touchdowns, because usually those only count for four points, versus a run or caught touchdown that counts for six points. That can heavily influence the value of a quarterback. If a QB like Jalen Hurts can score two more points every time he runs a touchdown, then say, Joe Burrow, that shifts the balance of who you prefer to build your roster with.
You can find your league scoring in the settings or league rules area on any major fantasy platform. Before you draft, you need to ensure you know these rules!
Step 2: Have a Plan in the Draft
You can only do so much to prepare for a draft because you cannot know what everyone in your league will likely do. That doesn’t mean you should go in blind and see what happens. Do some mock drafts to see what is generally happening across many leagues. Mock drafts can give you some insight into what to expect.
Also, find a list of rankings that you can use to keep track of what players you want to draft. Make sure it is the same as your league rules. We highly recommend tiered-based rankings, as that style gives you more information than your typical top 100 lists. If you are worried about where to find a list like this, look no further than The Ultimate Draft Kit from The Fantasy Footballers.
The UDK+ makes all of this simple and easy. Most significant platforms allow you to sync your settings with the UDK+, and then you have custom-built rankings for some of the best in the business that fit perfectly for your league. You can run your entire draft on the UDK+, and after the draft, you will receive a review from Andy, Mike, and Jason about your team.
Step 3: Set Your Lineup
I know this seems simple, but trust me when I tell you one of the easiest ways to be successful in fantasy football is to make sure you set your lineup every week. There are 18 weeks of NFL football, and fantasy football is played in 17 of those usually, sometimes 18. Some people will get tired of setting their lineup. Don’t be those people. Number one, it will ruin the game for everyone else in the league because that is a free win for the opponent that week. Number two, the game’s fun is competing in a contest that stretches out that long and beating everyone else at the grind. So, go and set your lineup. EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.
Step 4: Be Active on the Waiver Wire
Unless you are in a best-ball league, you have a waiver wire. After the league draft, there is a ground of players that are not on anyone’s team. The waiver can be full of players perceived as not being as good as others. There might be less-desired rookies or injured players. Whatever the reason, those players are out there and are available to you if you need them or want them. There is always someone that no one in the fantasy community saw coming who ends up being a difference maker but is sitting on the waiver wire after the draft. So, when that player suddenly breaks out in Week 1, you need to try and get them on your roster.
There are different ways to attain those players, and those are in your league rules as well, so make sure you understand those rules, but the important thing is that you keep being active. Even if you try for two or three players the first week and don’t get them, you need to keep going week after week. Similar to setting your lineup, people in your league will get tired of going on the waiver wire and picking up players, but the season is long, and some players don’t break out until later. Keep going! The player who doesn’t quit is the player who gets rewarded.
Step 5: Make Trades
The art of getting a trade done is discussed repeatedly on The Fantasy Footballers Podcast. I won’t dive into how you can accomplish those since it already has plenty of coverage. What you should know is that trades make fantasy football fun. Your roster at the beginning of the season is probably not going to be your best roster by the end, so make trades! If you have a player you are tired of or don’t like, trade them away and try and make your team better. Being active in your league and conversing with your league mates about trying to make a deal makes the game better for everyone, so do it! Make trades; it’s fun!
Step 6: Have Fun
Fantasy football is a game. It is not life and death. It’s a game that we all play involving a game that other grown men play. The athletes in the NFL are trying to win NFL games and Super Bowls. They do not care about anyone’s fantasy outcome, so please do not take your anger out on the players via social media. Just enjoy the ride. I always say this to new players: If you don’t want a player on your team because you don’t like them, don’t draft them! If you have a player on your favorite team you love, and someone else drafts them first, trade for them. If you are not happy with your roster, change it! At the end of the season, if you have a roster that you love and they are performing well for you, those kinds of teams stick in your memory for a lot longer than super teams you built and destroyed everyone. Championships are nice; winning them by working hard and crafting a good team is even better.
Enjoy the game, and don’t beat yourself up over every decision. It is supposed to be fun. Don’t get so caught up with the results that you lose sight of the enjoyment the game should bring you.
Welcome to the fantasy football family!