Fantasy Football For Dummies
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Fantasy football is a fun, competitive, and addictive hobby. Get your fantasy season started by drafting players to build a solid team and using coaching tips to keep your team going strong. If you need to improve on a position, try some strategies for trading players and acquiring free agents. Keep a guide handy of important league dates so you don’t miss anything exciting or an opportunity to improve your fantasy football team.

Fantasy football weekly coaching tips

Don’t panic. The fantasy season is long; think before you trade your stars or dump your sleeper picks.

Check your players’ bye weeks. You don’t want to get stuck with multiple stars out of action at the same time.

Replace injured players. Check all available player updates to make sure your starting lineup is active.

Assess your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Be aware of your team’s needs when acquiring players and considering trade offers. What positions are solid, and what positions do you need to improve?

Check the free agent pool and waiver wire often. You never know when an owner will drop a player who can help your squad.

Look to exploit favorable matchups and avoid bad ones. Every week your players’ performances will be affected by the quality of their opposition, especially at the TE, K, and DEF positions.

Important fantasy football draft reminders

  • Skill + Opportunity = Success. Always remember this fantasy formula when drafting players.
  • Draft RBs early and often. Your exact strategy will vary based on your draft position, but taking two RBs in the first three rounds is the best approach.

  • Look to acquire an elite WR in the first three rounds. Depending on your league, you should be able to grab a reliable top-five WR to anchor your receiving core for the entire season.

  • Don’t take a kicker or defense too early. You can find plenty of depth at these positions at the end of the draft.

  • Take quarterbacks in the middle rounds. Good, productive quarterbacks aren’t hard to find in the middle rounds. The top-ten QBs will be drafted before the tenth round, though.

  • Don’t draft stars with the same NFL bye week. Most fantasy teams can’t avoid having some players on the same bye week, but having your best players on the same bye can cost you a win.

  • Stick to your draft plan. Trust your cheat sheets (player rankings). You worked hard to prepare them, and you don’t want to let the other coaches sway you into making a mistake.

  • Grab potential breakouts and sleepers late. You can pick up an average injury replacement during the season. In the later rounds, drafting players who may become stars could win you the league.

Acquiring free agents in fantasy football

  • Check player updates during the NFL games. The early bird gets the breakout player, so to speak, so watch for emerging players on Sundays and be ready to go online and make your move.

  • Beware of one-week wonders. Each week, many lesser-known players have big games, but you must decide the odds of those performances happening again. Check online for information on each player before signing him, and decide for yourself.

  • Monitor intriguing players. Before each NFL game, review the free agent pool and choose a few players who you think could start to break out. If the players step up and you liked them already, look to add them to your roster. Many league providers have a “player watch” tool for this purpose.

  • Analyze recent trends and stats. During the season, sort the most-recent player stats from the last month or last week. In November, you need hot players, not guys who had big games in September and have since gone cold.

What to remember when making trades in fantasy football

  • Buy low, sell high (and vice versa). Trading is all about making your team better without making it worse (in other words, improving one area without hurting another). In order to do this, look to trade for struggling stars who you think will rebound. Trade away your average players who have great stats so far due to soft schedules or injuries.
  • Trade from strength. If you have solid depth at a certain position, you can trade your depth to improve a weaker position on your team. Having a strong bench is a nice luxury, but only your starting lineup can win you games.
  • Make two-for-one offers. Look to upgrade a position by trading two decent players for one true star. If you can identify a trading partner who has depth issues or a losing record, you can make the deal work.
  • Know the NFL schedule. Most fantasy coaches are so focused on the next game that they don’t plan ahead to avoid bye-week conflicts and poor matchups. By knowing the schedule and the upcoming matchups, you can make trades to avoid problems that could harm your team’s chances, and you can pinpoint teams that are headed for trouble (prime trading candidates if you remind them about their situations).
  • Be proactive, open-minded, and diplomatic. A big key to successful trading is your attitude. The other owners don’t want to be shown up or make trades with a jerk. Look to make offers that help both teams, and consider all offers you receive, no matter how wacky they may sound!

Strategies to remember for daily success in fantasy football

Know the rules. This one seems obvious, but each contest or tournament will have slightly different rules and point systems. In order to successfully draft a lineup that can win you prize money, being familiar with the specific structure of the contest is imperative. Some key elements to be aware of are how the prize payout is distributed, whether the game is guaranteed to run even without filling up, and any specific drafting requirements that are unique to the contest.

Play it safe in cash games. In Head to Head (H2H) play and 50/50s, you don’t need to get first place to win money. You only need to beat 50 percent of your competitors. That’s why playing conservatively and drafting sure things is a better bet than taking big risks. No need to shoot for the moon when earning even 0.1 more points than your opponent can be enough.

Multiple-entries up your odds in tournament play. To increase your odds at winning GPP tournaments, where you are in competition with thousands of other players for a shared prize pool, a key strategy is to enter the same contest with multiple lineups, up to the maximum allowed. Just like winning the lottery, the more tickets you buy, the more likely one will hit.

Draft for one game only. In standard fantasy football, you draft for how a player will play over the course of the season. In Daily Fantasy, the only thing that matters is what a player will do in their next game. Don’t draft stars with lingering injuries, and don’t draft players who were great early in the season but have cooled off. You want to go for the players most likely to deliver this week, and this week only.

Projected points/salary cap cost=value. Value is the number one factor for successful Daily Fantasy drafts. Because every contestant has the same salary cap max, you have to draft players who will earn you the most points, while keeping costs down to stay under the cap. A successful coach will pick the best value players, who have the most projected points, for the lowest cost.

Play the long game. Daily Fantasy is gambling, and like playing in the casino, you aren’t going to win every hand you play. Sometimes you might lose every contest you enter for the week or longer. That’s why the results of any single contest or tournament shouldn’t matter. You are playing the odds that you can win more contests over the course of the season than you lose.

Go against the grain. There are certain sure-bet players that every contestant will want on their team, so if you draft them for your lineup, you’ll be doing nothing to make your lineup stand above the crowd. It can be more valuable to play a bit contrarian and seek out unconventional sleeper picks to fill out your roster. That way, if one or two of them hit, you’ll set yourself up to leapfrog the competition.

Play within your means. Playing Daily Fantasy requires gambling with your own money. If you lose, you’re out the cost of your entry fee with nothing to show for it. That’s why managing your bankroll is imperative to not getting yourself in a financial hole. Smart players don’t gamble more than 10 to 20 percent of their total bankroll in any single week, so if they fail terribly, they don’t drastically drain their funds and have enough to try to make it back the next week.

Your fantasy football league calendar

Keep track of the important dates in your league.

  • League Name:
  • Draft Day:
  • Draft Time:
  • League Provider:
  • Weekly Waiver Deadline:
  • Trade Deadline:
  • Regular Season Ends:
  • Playoff Weeks:
  • Playoff Slots:
  • Fantasy Championship:

My fantasy football league scoring system

When evaluating talent, selecting your draft picks, or making any kind of player move, you have to remember the scoring categories of your league. Here are the major ones to remember:

Offensive scoring

Passing yards: ______ yards per point

Passing touchdowns:

Interceptions thrown:

Sacks taken:

Rushing yards: ______ yards per point

Rushing touchdowns:

Receiving yards: ______ yards per point

Receiving touchdowns:


Fumbles lost:

Field goals of less than 40 yards:

Field goals of 40@@nd49 yards:

Field goals of 50+ yards:

Defensive scoring



Fumble recovery:

Forced fumble:


Return touchdowns:

0 points allowed:

1-6 points allowed:

7-13 points allowed:

14-20 points allowed:

21-27 points allowed:

28-34 points allowed:

35+ points allowed:

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