This review was updated on 6/1/15
Whether you're a seasoned vet or a first timer playing fantasy football, you probably know just how important choosing the right website to host your league is. I mean after all you're going to lose hours of sleep and stress out on Sundays looking at this place.
Of course we've come to expect that stress, losing sleep and trash talk are a part of the fantasy football experience. What many don't consider until it is too late is whether they truly love where they play the game.
Many seasoned fantasy football vets will tell you they prefer MFL (MyFantasyLeague). Although I've never personally used it, I've heard nothing but great things. If you've been playing for several years I'd recommend checking it out. We'll have a review of MFL coming before the 2015 fantasy football season.
For those of you who are seasoned, prepare for the breakdown of ESPN vs. NFL vs. Yahoo.
These are simply the three biggest players for new leagues and for those who are looking to play on a site for free. There are countless alternatives out there as you grow and expand with your league, but there's nothing wrong with getting your feet wet right here.
If we're being honest with each other (which we should be, I mean we're practically friends now) each of NFL, Yahoo and ESPN has their perks and downfalls.
The biggest issue I found online when trying to compare the three were that not many people truly evaluated the pieces that fantasy football fans use on a daily basis.
The staff here at Let's Talk Fantasy Football wants you to have a great time while in pursuit of the championship and we hope our insight and opinions here will help you do just that.
Yahoo! vs. NFL vs. ESPN
When considering the fantasy football websites to review today countless options raced through my head, but the reality is that most people have their first exposures to standard (PPR, Keeper, etc) through one of the big three.
In fact, I've only played in leagues hosted on ESPN, NFL and Yahoo. My experiences and opinions are being based on using them during the 2014 fantasy football season. That means that some of these things may change come the start of the 2015 season, but until then I stand behind my statements.
So without further-ado, here's what I think of ESPN vs. NFL vs. Yahoo for fantasy football.
Yahoo Fantasy Football Site Review
Pros: Automated Insight Analysis.
Cons: Very dark, feels dated and that App (woof).
Yahoo was one of the first places I ever played fantasy football. That's basically where my love affair ends with their fantasy football platform. Errrr actually that's not entirely true. If you've played on Yahoo fantasy football in the past you know that you get customized draft grades, weekly analysis before and after games and tips that they throw in your face after you lose.
It's pretty obvious that all of those customized reports aren't hand written. In fact, they're created by Automated Insights. They're a software company that produces thousands upon thousands of customized reports for Yahoo fantasy sports. I simply think the software is cool. Sometimes it seems forced and unnatural, but at times it makes you feel good after losing a tough week.
My Dislikes of Yahoo Fantasy Football
That's where my love affair ends. Quite frankly the dark tones of the site absolutely kills me. Everything blends together and I feel like I'm looking at things in "nighttime mode" or something. They need some color and spice in my opinion.
I'm also not a huge fan of their projections. I'm not sure how they calculate them, but they always seem to be absurdly high in my experience. It's not a deal breaker for me since I know better, but for a beginner you've been warned. Don't trust the projections.
Yahoo Fantasy Football Mobile App
I also find it absurd that in the digital age their mobile app is absolutely brutal. And I mean brutal. In the times I needed it most it always let me down. Freezing, connectivity issues, logging me out for no reason. It was never an experience I felt good about, regardless of how much time I had until kickoff.
Final Ruling on Yahoo Fantasy Football vs. ESPN vs. NFL
If you're looking to choose a site for your fantasy football experience, look elsewhere. Out of the big 3 I'd rank Yahoo as 3rd on this list. They've let me down too many times and in comparison to playing fantasy football on ESPN and NFL.com they just can't compete.
NFL Fantasy Football Site Review
Pros: User friendly & great personalization.
Cons: Mobile App is Brutal.
I may be a bit biased in my review as I've played the past 5 years of my most serious league here at NFL.com. It's a fair disclaimer as a fantasy football writer, but to be honest, oh well.
If you're looking for some of the most in-depth and tuned in information in the league, you've come to the right place. Some people prefer ESPN, I prefer NFL.com. Of course, I know there are way better sources for fantasy info our there (cough not ESPN, NFL or Yahoo) but in comparison of these three I prefer NFL.com.
Don't get me wrong, other sites and companies have analysts and executives tuned into the league in impressive fashion. However theres just something about feeling like you're getting the information straight from the source. Inside their fantasy pages they provide some great analysis and statistical information for you. In addition they have live video highlights of your players, games and game changing moments to always keep you in the loop.
The look and feel of the site is awesome. It flows well and makes sense to even the newest of users, which means there's never an excuse for not using the waiver wire or setting your lineup. The overall look is much more modern and they clearly tried to design with the user in mind.
Personally I love that they have a feature where your league commissioner can post an update as frequently as they'd like. It appears at the top of the league homepage and is in your face every time you login. It allows you the opportunity to keep up-to-date and never miss a beat.
My Dislikes of NFL.com Fantasy Football
It feels like at times that their customization is a bit lacking. Now I'm not commissioner so it could just be that part of the experience, but there are some things I'd like to change that I don't believe I can.
I also can't stand that videos pop-up automatically over the screen showing my matchup when I'm checking in on Sundays. It just shouldn't happen and shouldn't require me to turn it off. Simply not a fan of this feature.
In comparison to the Automated Insights that Yahoo offers, the NFL is lacking in my eyes. Their "previews" and "recaps" will feel forced to even the most unexperienced fantasy footballer. They need to address this in 2015. It's not a flaw with the game, just with the experience.
The NFL.com Mobile App
One of the biggest complaints I've seen against NFL fantasy football is their mobile app. I've experienced extensive lagging, issues jumping between leagues and making roster changes. It serves its purpose on game day, sometimes. Don't take it down to the wire if you can help it. Last year I also had issues getting my scores to update quickly. They almost always lagged behind the games significantly.
Final Ruling on NFL Fantasy Football vs. Yahoo vs. ESPN
Using NFL.com for fantasy football would be my recommendation out of the three. It's the perfect combination of visually pleasing, easy to use software and stats and info for the beginner fantasy footballer. Overall I'd rank this 1 on the list of the big 3. They've given me the best fantasy football experience yet of ESPN, NFL and Yahoo.
ESPN Fantasy Football Site Review
Pros: Great personalization and stats.
Cons: Brutal mobile app.
I've had my ups and downs with ESPN's fantasy football service. I won't lie that it isn't my favorite.
But I do think it's a great fantasy football platform. They've got some great analysts and they pump out fantasy football content like it's nobodies business.
The look and feel of the site gets to me sometimes. Not the fantasy homepage, but when I dive into the stats and whatnot it seems bland. But then again, I guess that's why they're stats.
The site is laid out extremely well and just makes sense. For beginners, you'll have no problem making moves or managing your team.
Their information and analysts here are still among my favorites when comparing ESPN vs. NFL vs Yahoo. They're still one of my favorites when it comes to reading fantasy articles among other fantasy blogs.
One of their features that I really enjoy is their insider feature (paid) which grants you access to additional articles, rankings and other postings. It comes included with a magazine subscription or you can buy it stand alone (you can find some great deals online).
My Dislikes of ESPN.com Fantasy Football
The look inside the fantasy portal can seem dated sometimes (just a personal preference). The mobile app has also been a killer to some of my teams (making last minute moves may have been my fault too) but more on that in a second.
The ESPN Fantasy Football App
Their app has been less ideal in my experience. I've had extensive crashing issues with the app, difficulties making roster moves and switching between players and seeing the stats of my players while they're playing. These are issues that no one should be encountering, especially on game day. There's room for improvement and we may just see it in 2015.
Final Ruling on ESPN Fantasy Football vs. Yahoo vs. NFL
ESPN is my second choice of the three for playing fantasy football. It's full of great stats, awesome articles and an easy to use interface. I've had serious issues with the mobile app, so that worries me a bit. Overall I'd rank it #2 out of the big 3. It's a great fantasy football experience and can battle NFL.com for the #1 spot.
Which Site Should You Choose For Fantasy Football?
Ultimately there are a ton of great choices out there for you to consider. I only reviewed the big three that I know well, which means there are quite a few other sites that plenty of you probably enjoy. I'd personally choose NFL.com over the other two options but that may be because I've become so comfortable with them over my career. For those of you that prefer other sites, I promise I'm not ignoring you, just trying to help the masses.
The most important thing is that you're choosing to play fantasy football. Don't get too hung-up on choosing which site to play on. In the end it comes down to preference and who you're playing with. Talk with your fellow league members and see if they have a preference. You'll find the site that provides you with the best option and you'll likely stick with it for the long term.
Remember these reviews were based off of my 2014 experiences and not the updated versions they are working on now for 2015. Keep your eyes peeled for an updated version coming this summer.
Pick a site, have some fun and go win a championship. If you have a site you'd like to recommend please share it with us below.
The other three are courtesy of their respective sites.
This first photo above is courtesy of and copyrighted by sheadaygraffix via Flickr. This is used in accordance with Creative Commons laws and all rights are reserved by sheadaygraffix.See The Best Fantasy Team Names Ever Made
For the record, I never actually played football. I have no doubt that I would get crushed running across the middle for a pass, every single time.
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