Fantasy Football: Getting started and understanding how to play and win

George Seliga
fantasy football getting started

Football season is upon us, which means that fantasy football owners everywhere will be scouting potential prospects for their upcoming fantasy football drafts. Fantasy football has changed the way we watch and enjoy sports and in a way, it enhances the overall watching experience! In 2017, an estimated 59.3 million (between the US and Canada) participated in fantasy football and the popularity has grown ever since.

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I have been playing fantasy football for over a decade now and I have created many friendships and groups just from playing and participating in fantasy sports leagues. I will be here to guide you through this football season by going over rankings, thoughts, strategy, as well as answering any questions for those that need assistance when it comes to drafting or just on a week-to-week basis. 

Fantasy Football: How to get started

Fantasy Football has taken this country by storm and is one of the most popular and widely discussed topics amongst people in the fall. For those who have never played fantasy football, this article will help you become familiar with the concept while also giving you tips, advice, and strategy to play and hopefully win!

Season-long fantasy football in its simplest form allows you to be the GM of a team. You go through a draft or an auction process, select or draft your team, and then manage this team throughout the entire length of the NFL regular season. Once you’re in a league, the league commissioner will set the rules, set the type of league it will be, and set how you will select or draft your players. 

Throughout your league year, you can add players to your team, drop them from your team, make trades with other teams with the end goal in mind of getting into your league’s playoffs and coming in first place! 

Types of fantasy football leagues

Before you dive in head first, you should become familiar with the various types of leagues out there for you to participate in. I will go through and break down several of the more common league types to help you identify and select the league for you! I will constantly reiterate to know the rules of your league that you play in, as this will only help and aid in your draft strategy.

fantasy football getting started
Fantasy football: getting started isn’t that hard. Start and enjoy a new dynamic in your fandom today.

PPR (Point Per Reception)PPR leagues have become one of the most normal and popular league types to play in. The PPR format is straightforward to understand as any offensive player who records a catch gets an additional point for that reception. 

Non-PPR- For the longest time, non-PPR was the norm for league types. In this league format, you would not receive an additional point for every catch made, so many points for wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs were accrued through receiving yards and touchdowns. Over the years, this league type has faded away in popularity, but it is still common. 

SuperFlex- SuperFlex leagues are entertaining to play in and it’s a different setup altogether. SuperFlex leagues allow you to carry and play two quarterbacks per week, which only adds to the importance of the quarterback position. 

Auction/ Salary Cap- This league is a tougher league type to participate in as you’re given a salary cap to work with and bid on individual players to construct your team. This league type requires a different strategy altogether, as you will need to set limits on how much you want to spend for each player. 

Key to winning at fantasy football: know the rules of your league

This is one of the most overlooked parts of playing and succeeding in season-long fantasy football. It sounds very pedestrian to say you should know your league’s rules but to draft a successful and winning team, you truly must know how to construct your team for optimal production and that starts with how to get the most points. 

If your league is set up to where rushing touchdowns get you six points while receiving and passing touchdowns only get you four points, this should indicate that running backs should be of high priority. This should also make you think about the upside that running quarterbacks have since they can dominate games by rushing and passing for touchdowns like Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. 

If you find yourself in a PPR format, then you know wide receivers will get a bump in production, and guys like Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, and Davanta Adams will be some of the top receiving producers since they get additional points for every reception or catch. Another thing to consider for PPR formats is pass-catching running backs, as they can be precious. Running backs like Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara can have monster weeks by catching the ball out of the backfield in addition to any yardage they rack up on the ground.  

Fantasy football drafting and roster management strategy

Drafting is always essential and once again, make sure to know your league’s rules before you start to draft. In common leagues, the thought process focuses on a top-tier running back or wide receiver with your first overall pick while waiting on quarterbacks is the preferred method. If you play in a SuperFlex league, the quarterback position becomes much more crucial and you should look to draft your first quarterback within the first three rounds of your draft. 

One way to get different with your draft is to consider targeting a top tight-end like Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, or George Kittle early in the draft as they see plenty of targets and can often be viewed as the top receiving option in their team’s offense. Taking a top tight end early gives you a top producer at a position with an excellent floor from a week-to-week standpoint while also leaving the rest of the teams squirming as that position can get rather thin from a talent standpoint as the rounds go by. 

In the coming weeks, I will be giving my top 10 rankings leading up to the 2021 football season. Hopefully, these tips and advice help you through your fantasy football drafts and assist throughout the fantasy football season!