Fantasy football is a wonderful pastime and becoming increasingly popular. As summer wears on and players start reporting to training camp, you might find your mind drifting to fantasy drafts and championship belts. Yes, fantasy football season is on the horizon. And that’s good news unless you suck.
If you’re feeling something in the pit of your stomach whenever football comes up, you might be worried about the new loser’s bet your league wants to implement. If you’re convinced that this year will just be another $20 or $50 down the drain, it may be time to let your fantasy football failures be a thing of the past. Here’s how to not suck at fantasy football.
The heart of your fantasy football team will be the players that you draft on draft day. Sure, you’ll be able to pick up free agents and make trades, but you’ll be working with a team built by and around the players that you draft before the season begins. If you mess up your fantasy football draft, you’ll have a very hard time being competitive. But knock it out of the park, and you’ll be competitive even if you don’t do much else.
So get prepared. Get yourself a draft kit with rankings and tips. Buy some football magazines, listen to podcasts, and read blogs. Chat with friends (but be wary of taking advice from folks in your own league). You may even want to practice with a mock fantasy draft, and you’ll find plenty of places to do so online.
Once you have your team, you’ll be able to add and drop players. Generally, players that are dropped in fantasy football will end up on “waivers.” While players are on waivers, team owners can put in claims on them; whoever is first in the waiver order will get the player. Usually, that owner will then become last in the waiver order. This is similar to how it works in real football.
But if no owners claim the player, they’ll become a free agent. That will happen at a certain time on a certain day, and if you’re logged in and ready, you can grab the player immediately after they clear waivers. It’s a gamble, as they may get claimed, but learning to save your waiver claim sometimes and get the same player by being right there when he comes off waivers can really take your team to the next level.
Trades can really change the balance of power in fantasy football leagues. And if you’re not friendly and communicative with your fellow owners, you’re going to be left out of some of the crucial trade talks. You’ve got to be in it to win it, so make sure that you are chatting up other team owners and listening to what they’re saying about the strengths and weaknesses of their team, their trade wants, who they’re willing to part with, and so on.
Being friendly with others will keep you in the loop, and it also may help you get a sweeter deal. In fantasy football, as in life, connecting with friends will open up opportunities and elevate you.
Generally, starting the best player is the best way to win at fantasy football. When you’re examining your lineup and listening to five different podcasts, you may get way too into the latest details on one player’s favorable or unfavorable matchup. Too much information could have you tempted to make an ill-advised change and put a benchwarmer in over a star.
You should be doing your research, of course, but don’t overthink this. Aaron Rodgers will probably play better in an unfavorable matchup than a backup quarterback will play in a favorable one. Stick with the safer play and keep your best players in. Keep it simple, and you just might end up a champion.