How To Play Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Tutorial

Learn To Play Fantasy Football

Learning how to play fantasy football is quick and simple, once you get the basic concept of fantasy football down. So let's first cover the basics of playing fantasy football, then I'll give you a fantasy football tutorial you can study. Fantasy football tutorial guides help master the basic rules of fantasy football, though you'll learn there are a hundred different scoring systems and rules variations, once you start to play fantasy sports. But let's get to the basics of how to play fantasy football.

Fantasy Football Basics

Fantasy football uses real world individual NFL player stats to determine the outcome of fantasy football contests between teams made up of these NFL players. So instead of cheering for an NFL team, you're cheering for one or more individual NFL players from that team.

How To Play Fantasy Football

How to Play Fantasy Football TutorialFor instance, you might draft Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints as your fantasy football quarterback. Then you might select Randy Moss of the New England Patriots as a wide receiver and Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins as your fantasy football running back. Instead of pulling for the Saints, Patriots and Redskins to win games, you're cheering for Drew Brees, Randy Moss and Clinton Portis to put up big numbers.

In fantasy football, it usually doesn't matter which NFL teams win, as long as the players you selected put up impressive personal stat lines. This can rankle football purists and NFL traditionalists, but fantasy football adds to the enjoyment of your average NFL game, because it keeps you on the edge of your seat cheering for one particular player. While some football fans enjoy any football game, fantasy football can make you real interested in that otherwise meaningless Detroit Lions vs Kansas City Chiefs game, if you have Kevin Smith and Dwayne Bowe in the starting lineup of your fantasy football team that week.

Here's a guide to help you learn fantasy football: a tutorial that goes through the process of drafting, picking up free agents, making fantasy football trades and starting a lineup.

Fantasy Football Tutorial

1. Make a Draft List - When you're preparing for a fantasy football draft, making a fantasy football player rankings list or cheat sheet is important. You can use fantasy football cheat sheets out of a fantasy magazine, but those are several months out-of-date by the time you draft and several players are certain to be injured or waived from their teams. So go through the latest fantasy news on a site like KFFL or The Huddle and make out your own fantasy cheat sheet.

Mastering the fantasy football draft is the most important part of learning how to play fantasy football, because this is how you get the bulk of your fantasy football players. Learning when to draft a player in a fantasy draft is important. By making value picks, you maximize your chances of winning by playing the odds. For instance, drafting Tony Gonzales is a good idea, but not if you draft him in the 1st or 2nd round. You increase your odds of winning by drafting an elite running back or receiver in that spot, then drafting Tony Gonzales in a lower round, when the elite RBs and WRs are off the draft board.

2. Pick Up Free Agents - The NFL is hard to predict, because it's so much a team sport. One injury in an offense or free agent addition in the offseason can change an entire offense, revealing new star players or hurting the offensive production for every player on the unit. For that reason, not every valuable player in a fantasy football season gets drafted. That's where fantasy football free agency comes in.

In most fantasy football leagues, you have times in the season you can add players not on a roster to your active roster. A few of these free agents can help you through injuries or bye weeks, while a tiny handful will be breakout NFL stars. Scour the waiver wire of your league, trying to find the players who increase your chances of winning the league. If you get the 1 or 2 free agents who break out, it's like you added an extra high round pick to your draft. Free agency is the second-most important part of learning how to play fantasy football.

3. How To Make Fantasy Football Trades - Learning how to make a trade in fantasy football can give your team the boost it needs in a season. Your running back corps might be strong, while your wide receiver starters might be a little weak. If that's the case, you can trade some of your depth at one position to make another position better.

When trying to make a fantasy football trade, put yourself in the shoes of the owner you want to trade with and decide if the trade makes sense for that team, too. This way, you don't waste a bunch of your time and their time on trade proposals that are going to get rejected and make the other owner leery of future trade offers by you. Most trade offers are rejected anyway, even when they are legitimate. Still, it's worth pursuing, because many fantasy football league champions can point to a key trade in the season that put them over the top.

Another strategy when making fantasy trades is to keep making outrageous, one-sided trade offers until someone accepts one. Know that there is usually a team or two in each league that employs this strategy. I'm not going to make a moral stand against this, though it seems a big waste of time to me, generally speaking. I have seen these teams make good trades, when they finally make a one-sided offer that's somewhat more reasonable. Most of the time, you just end up insulting the other owner, though, or that's how they feel.

4. Choosing a Starting Lineup - Learning how to play fantasy football successfully also comes down to learning how to choose the right starters every week. This can be more difficult than you would think, because sometimes, a lesser player on your roster might be a better one-week starter, because they are playing one of the awful defenses in the NFL. Keep track of scoring trends and match-ups in your fantasy football league. Know which teams and defenses give up the most fantasy football points. Keep track of player injuries so you don't start an inactive or ineffective player due to injuries, and also keep track of your opponent's defensive injuries, so you know what is a weaker potential opponent.

How To Play Fantasy Football Right

Learning how to play fantasy football the right way makes the fantasy football season more enjoyable. If you are winning or you're team is at least competitive, you'll enjoy the camaraderie a lot more than if you weren't competitive. Participate in your league, make decisions on trade offers quickly and post the occasional fun message on your league message board, and you'll be one of the good fantasy football owners in your local fantasy football league. And writing this fantasy football tutorial will have been worthwhile on my part.

See also: How to Play Fantasy Wrestling, How to Play Fantasy Hockey

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