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Fantasy Football Basics: How to Get Started

By July 26, 2018No Comments
Fantasy Football Advice - 2018

Welcome to the start of your best life.

Now I know that sounds extreme, but when you've been playing fantasy football for more than a decade, it's fair to make bold claims like that. At least, I like to think so.

If you're here, there's a good chance that you're considering playing fantasy football for the first time.

While you may think it sounds daunting, don't let it stress you out.

Since starting Let's Talk Fantasy Football in 2014, we've covered nearly every topic you could throw at us.

Don't believe us? We'll give you all the resources you need below to have an incredible 2018 fantasy football season.

The biggest and best piece of advice: have fun with it.

Playing Fantasy Football in 2018

Getting started with fantasy football is as easy as deciding you want to play.

First, you need to learn about the commitment fantasy takes (it's no joke), who you want to play with (friends/co-workers/randoms) and where you want to play online.

In fact, we've just updated our guide to picking your fantasy football host for 2018. It's titled Fantasy Football Site Rankings: ESPN vs. NFL vs. Yahoo.

Start there. From that point, you can decide if you want to play with friends, join a random league or simply mock draft a little bit.

While we don't want you to sweat too much about the time commitment, it's something to think about. If you're in a serious league you could be playing for money, prizes or a trophy. In those cases, you don't want to throw your team by the wayside.

Expect to commit a few hours a week to prepping and making decisions. Don't forget about watching football on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday when time permits.

It doesn't need to own your life, but you should know that other people don't want to be playing with guys that don't set their lineups.

The most important things:

  • Pick some fantasy experts to trust
  • Pick your fantasy football host (website)
  • Decide who you're playing with (friends or strangers)
  • Learn the rules of your league
  • Have fun

Picking the Fantasy Football Experts to Follow in 2018

The beauty of 2018 is that you have a truly unlimited number of fantasy football resources.

Whether it's LTFF, our podcast or another resource, find one you like.

We've put together an article on our favorite fantasy football podcasts for 2018 and our favorite fantasy football blogs for 2018. Both are filled with some of the best minds fantasy football has to offer.

That means that you have no excuse to not having a fun and successful 2018. With those fantasy football resources, you're practically golden.

Find the perfect sites/podcasts/Instagrams/twitters for you, and learn as much as you can. It'll pay off in the long run.

Pick the Best Fantasy Football Site for You (And Your League)

We touched on it above, but we figured it deserved a second visit.

If you're joining a league with family, friends or co-workers, picking your fantasy football host is really important.

Why? Because once you pick one, you're likely to stay with them for the long haul.

If you guys are looking for a standard fantasy football league host, we've got you covered. We broke down what we love, hate and don't mind in our ESPN vs NFL vs Yahoo breakdown.

If your league is looking for something a bit more serious, we've got those options covered too. We'd explore them here.

The bottom line is that you can't go wrong choosing any of these sites mentioned. One of the biggest factors in your choice of platform may be determined by who you're playing with. If it's with randoms online you have complete freedom. If you are playing with friends or coworkers, they may already have a preference.

That's one of the reasons why it's so important to know who you're playing fantasy football with.

Determine Who You're Playing Fantasy Football With

The beauty of fantasy football is that an estimated 32 million people take part in the sport each season (courtesy of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association in 2010). That means you literally have millions of options to choose from.

If you've never played before and don't know anyone that would want to start a league with, you then you should consider the free online leagues the major sites offer. These leagues are free to enter and typically contain teams that are completely random. This is a good way to get started in the fantasy world, however, the competitiveness may decline as the season continues. Since you will likely be playing for free and won't know the other league members well, there won't be any way to ensure that everyone stays involved. This is a great jumping off point, but don't judge fantasy football solely off of this experience.

If you have the opportunity to create a league with your friends I highly recommend it. Everyone doesn't have to have a crazy obsession with the NFL, but being a general fan will be enough to get them involved. Playing with friends will improve your experience ten-fold and you'll be eagerly awaiting the next season. You'll likely be talking trash, playing for something (money, a trophy, or possibly both) and it'll bring you together like you could never have imagined.

Regardless of who you choose to play with just be aware that the members of your league are going to directly impact your experience. Don't let one bad egg ruin the game forever. If things don't work out there's always next year.

Just make sure you know the rules before you commit to playing, they're pretty important.

Learn the Rules of Your League

Understanding the setup and rules of your league may be one of the most important things you can do. Honestly, it's something you need to know before joining any league as it can impact everything from draft strategy to whether or not you even want to play.

Some of the more common fantasy football leagues are typically broken into two categories: Scoring and Drafting. Your league will be a combination of one selection from each section.

Make sure to find out all of this information before joining a league with a big buy-in or joining a random league online. You never know what (or who) you're getting into bed with.

Always Keep Learning About Fantasy Football

Don't get frustrated with the process of getting started with fantasy football. You need to look for the fun in it before you get started, otherwise you'll resent the entire process.

As you move along in your preparation for the draft and the upcoming season, always make sure you keep looking at different fantasy football options. There are countless blogs, experts, and sources you can learn from. They each have something unique to share and they could change your season.

Do you have some tips or questions on fantasy football basics? We'd love to hear your opinions and questions. Share them in the comments below.

Note: This article was originally published in 2014. It has been revised as of 7/26/18.

Photo by aharden

Nick Schreck