Whether you're new to fantasy football and have no idea where to begin or you're a seasoned veteran looking for an edge over your opponents, you've come to the right place. With these fantasy football tips and just the right amount of luck, you'll be well on your way to winning your league championship.
Tips for Preparing for your Fantasy Draft
- Monitor offseason developments: For NFL teams, the road to the Super Bowl begins with offseason preparation. The same goes for fantasy owners looking to claim their league's championship title. Successful fantasy owners keep up with trades and free agent acquisitions in the offseason. This helps establish a sense for which players may be poised for a breakout season and which players may have a down year. Good fantasy owners also study last season's stats to get an idea of which players they might want on their team before the draft.
- Know your league's scoring system: There are three main scoring systems used in fantasy football: standard scoring, points per reception, and individual defensive player. Knowing which scoring system your league uses is important so that you can draft accordingly. For instance, wide receivers are more valuable in points per reception leagues because they will accumulate more points for your team.
- Know the positions on your starting lineup: Most fantasy football websites use a default lineup that includes one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one team defense, and one kicker. However, starting lineups vary from league to league based on the preference of the league's players. Another potential lineup could include one quarterback, one running back, two wide receivers, one or two flex positions (running back, wide receiver, or tight end), one team defense, and a kicker. Knowing your league's starting lineup is crucial so that you draft enough players to fill each position.
Tips for Drafting
- Know when to draft a quarterback: Be careful about spending a top draft pick on a quarterback. Prioritize running backs and wide receivers over quarterbacks when drafting. There are usually plenty of quarterbacks that will produce good fantasy points for your team, while oftentimes there's only a handful of elite running backs and receivers. If you spend your top draft picks on running backs and receivers, there's a good chance you'll still be able to find a quality quarterback later in the draft.
- Stock up on running backs: Running backs are highly valued in fantasy football because of how involved they are in most offenses. Star running backs touch the football up to 30 times a game and can rack up impressive points for your fantasy team. However, don't count on your running backs to play all 16 games of the season. Running backs tend to suffer more injuries than other players due to their high workload, so consider adding some insurance running backs in your draft as well.
- Draft the right backups: Having depth on your fantasy roster is key to winning games. Backups are important because they fill in when your starters are unavailable due to bye weeks or injuries. If you spend a top draft pick on a workhorse running back, consider drafting that player's backup as well in case your starter gets injured. That player may be less talented than your starter, but it is likely he will see a similar amount of touches if he takes on the starting position.
- Know the bye weeks of your players: There will be weeks when your starting players have bye weeks and you'll have to start back up players instead. Keep this in mind when drafting and do not select too many players who have coinciding bye weeks. For instance, when drafting a backup quarterback, make sure that player does not have the same bye week as your starting quarterback.
Tips for Setting your Lineup
- Know your matchups: Your starting lineup may shift from week to week based on matchups. While your star players may be matchup-proof, meaning you can start them every week regardless of the team they are facing, other players should be added and removed from your lineup based on their opponent that particular week. For example, if one of your receivers is matched up against a team with a great passing defense, consider starting another receiver with a more favorable matchup.
- Keep an eye on the waiver wire: Successful fantasy owners rarely make it to the end of the season with all the same players they drafted. Good fantasy owners monitor the waiver wire and pick up key players to add depth to their roster and replace players that have sustained injuries. Even if your team is doing fantastic, you should still be monitoring free agency and looking for players who can add depth to your team. You never know when one of your starters may go down with an injury and you have to look to your bench for replacement players.
- Track injuries: Injuries are a part of fantasy football, but with the right strategy you can avoid letting them derail your whole season. Keep track of injuries not only on your team, but around the league. If the star running back of another team suffers an injury, hop on the waiver wire and see if that team's backup running back is available. You can count on that player seeing a lot of touches now that he has taken on the starting position. And of course, monitor your own team's injuries and start backups when necessary.
- Consider streaming defenses: If you didn't spend a pick on a top defense in the draft, don't worry. Another option is to stream defenses. This means that you'll add and drop defenses off the waiver wire from week to week based on favorable matchups. Try to pick up defenses that are facing teams with poor offenses.
- Set your lineup: This one seems obvious, but it must be included. There's nothing worse than checking your fantasy team's score on Sunday afternoon and realizing that two of your starters have accumulated zero points because they are sitting out this week. Oftentimes players that have minor injuries are listed as questionable throughout the week. Closely monitor these players and check on their status before gametime to see if they are playing or not.
Tips for Making a Playoff Run
- Know your league's playoff schedule: An undefeated regular season doesn't mean anything if your team doesn't advance in the playoffs. Weeks fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen in the NFL schedule are crucial because this is when fantasy football playoffs usually occur. Pay particular attention to matchups during these weeks and consider adding players from the waiver wire who have favorable matchups at the end of the season.
- Keep your bench stocked: Be on the constant lookout for players that can add depth to your team. Sometimes a seemingly insignificant waiver wire pickup in Week 5 of the regular season can turn out to be huge in the postseason. You may lose one of your starting receivers to an injury in Week 16 and need someone from your bench to step up to play in the championship.
- Be willing to make trades: Sometimes your draft doesn't pan out the way you expected, your starters get injured, or some of your players simply underperform. If this is the case, consider negotiating a trade with another fantasy owner in your league. Successful trades can turn seasons around and give teams a chance to make a playoff run. When making trades, keep your playoff schedule in mind and seek out players who have favorable matchups late in the season.