Fantasy Football Site Rankings: ESPN vs. NFL vs. Yahoo

By July 9, 2017 5 Comments
ESPN vs NFL Vs Yahoo - Fantasy Sports Review

UPDATE: 2018 was another incredible year! We're working on an updated version (Looking back at 2017 in the leagues) and our 2018 preview. This will still give you a pretty good idea of where we stand!

This review was most recently updated on 7/9/17. 

The original review was posted on 3/24/14 and has been updated multiple times since then.

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.

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 was 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 2016 fantasy football season. That means that some of these things may change come the start of the 2017 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 - The 2017 Season

Yahoo vs NFL vs ESPN

Pros: Automated Insight Analysis and Options.
Cons: Fantasy Projections and the App (Big Improvement from the past...but still ehhh).

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.

I'll be honest in saying that they've gotten a ton better from the first time I reviewed them back in 2014.  In fact, they've moved up the ranks for me as they've worked on the App and I've spent more time with them. The Automated Insights have become a bit more natural and I actually feel like a fantasy analyst is reviewing my team performance weekly, which is important since this is a weekly game after all.

My Dislikes of Yahoo Fantasy Football for the 2017 Season

Quite frankly the dark tones of the site absolutely kills me...and this has been since my first review in 2014. Everything blends together and I feel like I'm looking at things in "nighttime mode" or something. The good news here is that they now offer a "light/night" mode or something similar. It seems to be the trend as I now see it on Twitter and some other big name apps. As they've made these things optional, I can't really call it a negative anymore.

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 and do your research elsewhere.

Here's a screenshot of the mobile version in my Pre-Season Lobby of one of my leagues. I blurred out the names as everyone may not want to be on this public forum:

Fantasy Football Advice 2017 - Yahoo ReviewThe Yahoo Fantasy Football Mobile App - 2017

From the 2014 review: 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.

From the 2016 review: Connectivity is still an issue during high-pressure times (12:50-kickoff) and I know it's not my Verizon or Internet connection. I'm hoping they can get this fixed for next year or later in the season. I can still live with dark mode...actually, it's kind of grown on me. I'm just as shocked as you are.

From the 2017 review: They must be reading my review here at Let's Talk Fantasy Football. They're making the App better and it became more reliable for me in the 2016 season. I still had my issues, but they were much less than in the past. I have a feeling 2017 may be even better as every company makes a bigger push for mobile.

Which means here's a shameless plug for our mobile apps on iOS, Android, and Amazon.

Final Ruling on Yahoo Fantasy Football vs. ESPN vs. NFL for the 2017 Season

If you're looking to choose a site for your first 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 NFL.com they're coming up just short. Shit, I just tipped my hand on how the review of NFL.com is going to go.

NFL Fantasy Football Site Review - The 2017 Season

NFL vs ESPN vs Yahoo

Pros: User-friendly & great personalization.
Cons: Mobile app sucks at the worst times (worse than Yahoo above).

I may be a bit biased in my review as I've played the past 7 years of my most serious league here at NFL.com. It's a fair disclaimer as a fantasy football writer, but to be honest, we're known for our biases here at Let's Talk Fantasy Football.

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, there's 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 clean and engaging. 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 log in. It allows you the opportunity to keep up-to-date and never miss a beat. That update feature is the highlight of our week after the games are over...it's the perfect chance to kick people while they're down and to make predictions for the upcoming week.

Here's a screenshot of the mobile version in my Pre-Season Lobby of one of my leagues. I blurred out the names as everyone may not want to be on this public forum:

NFL Review 2017 - Yahoo vs NFL vs ESPNMy Dislikes of NFL.com Fantasy Football in 2017

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. It's 2017 NFL, stop interrupting me.

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 inexperienced fantasy footballer. They need to address this in 2017 before it's too late. It's not a flaw with the game, just with the experience.

The NFL.com Mobile App

From the 2014 review: 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.

From the 2016 review: The mobile app is still brutal to use. I never thought I could be more frustrated after testing the Yahoo app, until I used the NFL app. It's too limited in features vs the Yahoo one if we're being honest. It feels like I can only make roster moves and that's about it. Also, last year I also had issues getting my scores to update quickly. They almost always lagged behind the games significantly.

From the 2017 review: It seemed like 2016 was going to better for the App, just because of the fact that things should progress...and it did, slightly. The app still remained limited in its features and it seemed like it couldn't handle the load of users at times (sigh). Here's to hoping that it's better for in-season use during 2017.

Final Ruling on NFL Fantasy Football vs. Yahoo vs. ESPN for the 2017 Season

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.

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. (Shit, I've again tipped my hand on the next site I'm reviewing).

If the mobile App is going to be a core piece of what you're doing, I may revise my answer.

Also, here's another shameless plug for our mobile apps on iOS, Android, and Amazon.

ESPN Fantasy Football Site Review for the 2017 Season

ESPN vs NFL vs Yahoo

Pros: Great personalization and stats.
Cons: Shitty mobile App (seeing a trend here?)

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 (but it is actually their business).

The look and feel of the site bothers 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. I've just seen some other stats websites out there provide a better visual (I know I'm being picky, but I'm allowed to be).

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 standalone (you can find some great deals online: Shoutout to Slickdeals.net).

Here's a screenshot of the mobile version in my Pre-Season Lobby of one of my leagues. I blurred out the names as everyone may not want to be on this public forum:

ESPN Fantasy Football Review - 2017My 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

From the 2014 Review: Their app has been less than ideal when comparing them to other apps in my experience. I've had extensive crashing issues with the app, difficulties making roster moves, 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.

From the 2016 Review: ESPN is getting better and they're making fantasy football a focus of not only the App but of the company as we move forward. I love to see big companies make the push for fantasy football and taking it mainstream. I still had the same mobile app issues as I did going into the 2015 season above, so that sucks.

From the 2017 Review: ESPN is all in on fantasy football with Matthew Berry getting his own show, already dominating fantasy football podcasts and essentially becoming the face of fantasy football to beginners. The App has come a long way, but it's still not my favorite. I believe they did a major overhaul, which is great for you. I honestly think I just have bitterness built up towards ESPN at this moment and it's clouding my judgment, so I'll try to give them a fair shake during the 2017 season.

Final Ruling on ESPN Fantasy Football vs. Yahoo vs. NFL for the 2017 Season

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 because of it's stats and name.

Minus the visual complaints I have and the admitted bitterness towards ESPN, there's a ton to like here.

Which Site Should You Choose For Fantasy Football for 2017?

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.

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 on my 2016 (and years past) experiences and not the updated versions they are working on now for 2017.

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 logos and images above are courtesy of their respective sites and they retain all rights.

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Nick Schreck

Nick Schreck

I’m a simple man with simple pleasures. As someone who’s always approached life with the attitude that things could be worse, I’ve had an awesome time so far. I've been a fantasy addict for nearly a decade, and I've loved every second of it.

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.
Nick Schreck