Fantasy football season is arguably the best time of the year. To get to the best time of the year, we have to go through some exciting (and some not so exciting) steps to get the league ready.
Whether you're a fantasy football commissioner, or not, you should care and take some pride in where you host your fantasy football league in 2018.
If you're a seasoned fantasy football veteran, you probably already know what hosts you love and which you hate.
In fact, I have leagues on all 3 of the big platforms (NFL, Yahoo and ESPN). I can't possibly love the sites (or leagues) all equally, which is why you're here today.
If you're looking for more options beyond these big three, we'd recommend checking these out:
- Sleeper Bot - (Review coming soon for August 2019)
- Auction Draft - New for 2018 Auction Drafters
- My Fantasy League (MFL)
- Flea Flicker
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 have 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.
We'll do our best to give you the review that everyone else has failed to offer. In fact, we're even going to do reviews on Sleeper Bot, Auction Draft, MFL & Flea Flicker...just in a different article.
Important to note:
This review was most recently updated on 7/12/19. New 2019 updated previews coming shortly!
The original review was posted on 3/24/14 and has been updated multiple times since then.
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.
For a while, it as all I knew as a fantasy football fan. While I have now expanded my horizons, I know that so many fantasy football players haven't yet taken that leap of faith.
As the fantasy football season for 2018 hasn't technically kicked off yet, I'm going to base my experience and analysis on my usage of these 3 sites (ESPN vs NFL vs Yahoo) from my 2017-2018 seasons.
So without further ado, here's what I think of ESPN vs. NFL vs. Yahoo for fantasy football for 2018.
Yahoo Fantasy Football Site Review - The 2018 Season
Pros: Simple to use and clean
Cons: Fantasy Projections and the App (We're getting better...but it's 2018)
Yahoo was one of the first places I ever played fantasy football. So it'd be fair to think that I have a bias towards them.
In fact, that's basically where my love affair ends with their fantasy football platform.
Okay, so I may be stretching the truth just a little bit. If you've ever played fantasy football on Yahoo, you know that they deliver the standard for fantasy football hosts. You get draft grades, standard stats/analysis and they give you a post-week breakdown. Which, if I'm being honest, can sometimes be a blow to your ego.
A Positive for Yahoo Fantasy Football: As far as the fantasy platform as a whole, they're doing a good job. I can complain all I want, but there are millions of people who love the platform. The web version is pretty simple to use (and has gotten much better since my first review in 2014). I've included some screenshots here to give you a true feel of what to expect from Yahoo for 2018 fantasy football. They don't have any "special" perks or extras that make me love or hate their platform. It's pretty much as basic as it gets...and there's nothing wrong with that.
Not Sure How to Feel: After each week you get an automated report that details what happened, what you did well and where you dropped the ball. In the past, they were produced by Automated Insights (awesome company by the way). We're not sure if they're still the provider for Yahoo fantasy sports, but they likely are. They produce millions of customized reports for Yahoo fantasy football players each week, so be prepared for a templated response. Sometimes, it feels like they're throwing things in your face. Almost like, how did you not know that the worst defense in the league was going to be the highest scoring play? Overall, it's cool though.
One major dislike: The projections they give out weekly for your team is usually way off. Now, I don't expect them to be perfect, but for new fantasy football players, it can be frustrating when Yahoo continuously leads you astray. 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.
In the NFL vs ESPN vs Yahoo fantasy football world, you'll like what you see for 2018.
Here's a screenshot of the desktop version in my Pre-Season Lobby of one of my leagues. I blurred out the names, but you get a general idea.
The Yahoo Fantasy Football Mobile App - 2018
Times sure are changing.
The 2014 (and past apps) have slowly been getting better. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to open up my Yahoo fantasy football app for 2018 to see that it's been updated for the upcoming season (see the screenshots above).
I haven't been able to officially play with it yet (it is only late July after all), so I'm basing this review off my 2017 experience.
Overall, the app got better than last year. It's cleaner, things are more simple to use and it keeps my different teams and leagues organized.
One Dislike: It still leaves me hanging close to game time. Not always, but enough to get frustrating when I need to make a last minute change. It could be a server issue or just the fact that everyone in the fantasy world is trying to make moves at the same time. Either way, it's 2018 and it should be pretty simple.
Past Reviews of Yahoo vs NFL vs ESPN for Fantasy Football - 2014-2017
The main Yahoo! fantasy football website for 2017:
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.
The mobile app review of Yahoo! for 2017 fantasy football:
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.
Final verdict on Yahoo vs ESPN vs NFL for 2017 fantasy football:
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.
The mobile app review of Yahoo! for 2016 fantasy football:
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 without dark mode...actually, it's kind of grown on me. I'm just as shocked as you are.
Final verdict on Yahoo vs ESPN vs NFL for 2016 fantasy football:
Yahoo just doesn't get it done for me. One of my long-time leagues is hosted here and it feels way more cumbersome than it needs to be.
I just want to play fantasy football and not have to overthink what I'm doing. The mobile app still needs work, but we're heading in the right direction. Let's hope 2017 is even better.
The mobile app review of Yahoo! for 2014 fantasy football:
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 verdict on Yahoo vs ESPN vs NFL for 2014 fantasy football:
I couldn't, with a good conscience, recommend Yahoo! as your go-to fantasy site or mobile app for 2014. It's let me down in major times of need and overall felt like Yahoo! has fallen behind NFL and ESPN in the fantasy football space.
Look elsewhere for 2014 fantasy football hosts.
Final Ruling on Yahoo Fantasy Football vs. ESPN vs. NFL for the 2018 Season
Yahoo fantasy football has come a long way from when I played my first league with them. Despite all the love in the reivew above, they're not my top choice as your 2018 fantasy football host.
Does it come down to personal prefernce? Sure does (that's why I'm here sharing mine).
I think there are some more cohesive options available (of NFL vs Yahoo Vs ESPN) if you're starting a league from scratch. If you're already on the Yahoo platform for fantasy football in 2018, I wouldn't move your league.
Yahoo fantasy football could surprise me in 2018, which means a better review come 2019.
NFL Fantasy Football Site Review - The 2018 Season
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 desktop version in my Pre-Season Lobby of one of my leagues.
The NFL.com Mobile App for 2018
Past Reviews of NFL for Fantasy Football: 2014-2017
The main NFL fantasy football website for 2017:
It feels like at times that their customization is a bit lacking. Now I'm not a 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 mobile app review of NFL for 2017 fantasy football:
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 verdict on Yahoo vs ESPN vs NFL for 2017 fantasy football:
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.
The mobile app review of NFL for 2016 fantasy football:
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.
Final verdict on Yahoo vs ESPN vs NFL for 2016 fantasy football:
NFL is still my top choice, multiple years running.
It provides the all-in-one solution I'm looking for, with an updated feel. While the stats and resources don't match that of ESPN, I still prefer it.
If you're starting a fantasy league in 2016, go with NFL.com
The mobile app review of NFL for 2014 fantasy football:
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.
Final verdict on Yahoo vs ESPN vs NFL for 2014 fantasy football:
The mobile app is a killer, but it's only 2014.
It's a close match between the big 3, but I'm most comfortable recommending NFL.com
Final Ruling on NFL Fantasy Football vs. Yahoo vs. ESPN for the 2018 Season
I can't hide that I prefer NFL.com over ESPN and Yahoo for fantasy football.
While I have played, and still do, on all 3 platforms, the NFL platform has always been the most reliable.
For me, the consistency of the mobile app and the overall ease of use make a recommendation of NFL.com a no-brainer. They still fall behind ESPN (in my humble opinion) when it comes to stats, but overall the clean look and ease of use trump that.
Besides, most of you probably already watch NFL network pretty religiously during the season. Not saying you need to stay loyal to any one place, but if you like the show, you're more likely to enjoy the articles and content they put out here in the leagues.
ESPN Fantasy Football Site Review for the 2017 Season
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:
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
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 2018 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 2018?
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.
Main Photo by Keith Allison
Photo by Keith Allison