If you are entering the world of fantasy football for the first time, you are sure to wonder why it took you so long to come around. Playing fantasy football, whether for fun or real money, is a great way to enjoy one of America’s favorite sports, professional football. As a beginner, you will most likely be playing with experienced managers that already know the nuances of the game. This quick guide is designed to show how to play fantasy football for beginners, and maybe level the playing field just a little.
Picking a League Format
When you sign onto a free or real money fantasy football site, you will be asked to register. If it’s a real money site, you will also be asked to make a deposit. Free sites typically are used for league play where you draft a team and play that team in a league format for an entire season. Real money sites focus on weekly competitions where you pay the contest fee and choose your team for that specific contest only based on salary cap limitations. Regardless of which format you choose, you must take the time to understand the rules and the scoring in order to decide how to best develop your team.
Tips on Picking Players
As a beginner, you will most likely have a casual approach to picking players, preferring not to invest a great deal of time on statistical analysis. That’s fine and understandable, but you should be aware that some of your competition will use that information, which provides a bit of an advantage over those who don’t.
Tips for Picking Players in an Annual League Format
Note: standard leagues use offensive skilled position players, kickers and team defenses only. If individual defensive players are included, it is referred to as a “IDP” league. Beginners should avoid auction drafts and stick with standard “snake” drafts.
1. As you are drafting your team, pick the best available player for each specific position first before you start drafting backup players.
2. Draft a balanced team and try not to over-focus on one particular position. Also, you want to avoid drafting your favorite players unless they will truly benefit you in the scoring.
3. Look for a “scoring bias” in the scoring rules. This refers to the notion that some leagues sets scoring rules that might favor the QB a little. If so, you want a top QB. If not, you should give a little extra focus to running backs and wide receivers.
4. Pick kickers and team defenses towards the end of the draft as they seldom provided any real advantage over a full season.
5. Watch your “bye” weeks. You want to make sure both your QBs don’t have the same bye week, which would force you to the waiver wire or to lose points.
Tips for Picking Players for Weekly Contests
When playing for money, you should alter your focus. You are not drafting players, you are selecting the best group of players you can without exceeding the salary cap.
1. Find value by selecting good offensive players scheduled to play against bad defensive teams. On the other side of the coin, you should avoid offensive players going up against the best defenses.
2. You should read weather reports and try to avoid players who might be playing in rain or snow. If you selected your teams well in advance, go back and make adjustments as necessary before game time.
3. Look for streaking players who may be under-valued and avoid slumping players who may be over-valued. Don’t be afraid to play the trends.
4. Use every dime of your salary cap.
5. Never play with more money than you can afford to lose.
Every week, it is up to you to manage your team. In league formats, fellow managers are expecting you to show up and play every week to the best of your ability whether you are in first place or last. As time passes, you will better understand the objectives and will start making better decisions. At the end of the day, this is a game. Have a great time and enjoy.