How to play Fantasy Football: A beginner’s guide

Welcome, new Fantasy Football manager! You’re about to embark on a 38-week journey that will test your knowledge of NFL players, your ability to predict outcomes, and your resolve to stick with an unpopular player until he becomes a star.

But don’t worry – we’re here to help you every step of the way. In this guide, we’ll teach you the basics of the game, how to form a team and strategies for winning your league. So put on your mouse helmet, and let’s get started.

Step 1: Learn some basic FPL rules

There are tons of people who play fantasy football without knowing much about it. It can be done — but it certainly helps if you know what all those numbers mean.

You should at least understand the scoring system (a captain earns you double points), the basic lineup requirements (a goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders, and two strikers), how transfers work, when to make lineup changes, and how to use the chips.

Step 2: Download a Fantasy Football app

If you’re reading this, you’ve already got a big leg up on the competition. That’s because many Fantasy Football players are still managing their teams in the same way they did back when Ricky Watters was scoring touchdowns for the Eagles: manually with pen and paper.

However, by using Sleeper, ESPN, NFL, or Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football apps, you’ll have access to live scoring updates and expert advice that will help guide your every move throughout the season.

Step 3: Create or join a league

Now that you know how Fantasy Football works and have an excellent app to help you manage your team, it’s time to create or join a league. Most Fantasy players play in leagues with friends or co-workers, but there are plenty of online options if you want to expand your circle.

When creating a league, make sure everyone agrees on the scoring rules before things get started. Also, make sure everyone has access to the same fantasy football app so they can easily check their rosters from anywhere.

Step 4: Prepare your draft

If this is your first time playing Fantasy Football—or even if you’ve played for years—you’ll need all hands on deck as draft day approaches. Research player rankings and projections beforehand so that you’ll have the A-team. You’ll also need to know players’ availability by checking FPL predicted lineups on prediction sites.

A pro tip when creating your lineup: go for value and not popularity. That doesn’t mean drafting a player just because they’re on a hot streak. It means finding players who are undervalued by most fantasy football enthusiasts and might still have upside potential.

But don’t be afraid to spend big on the captains. You only need one or two, a captain and vice-captain, which will go a long way in increasing your scores. Captain scores are double, and there’s also a triple captain chip that triples their score.

Also, don’t spend much on the bench. Most of your lineup should be starters, and you only need 4 players for backup in case of emergencies. You’re only allowed to draft up to 15 players.

Step 5: The season begins; manage your roster

Once the draft is complete and the season starts, your work begins. You’ll need to manage your team’s roster weekly so that you have active players for each position when Sunday rolls around. This means making trades with other members in your league or picking up free agents off of waivers (i.e., players who weren’t selected during the draft). The biggest goal here is to pick up players who aren’t currently owned by anyone else—especially if they’re good ones!

Step 6: Make changes during byes and injuries

Sometimes life gets in the way of football (or vice versa), and injuries and suspensions keep players from being able to play. Those who miss time due to injury or suspension are said to be on “bye.”

In some cases, your best bet is just playing the hand that you’ve been dealt and waiting out this bye week. But if there’s someone else available in free agency (i.e., no one else has picked them up yet), you may want to consider picking them up as a backup plan—especially after injuries happen during games.

Ready to play Fantasy Football?

When playing fantasy football, the most important thing is making sure you have a balanced team. You’ll want players at every position so that you’re not left vulnerable during bye weeks. Use predicted lineups, check suspensions and injury reports and monitor your players’ performance; you’ll be good to go.

Now that you know how to play fantasy football, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Good luck!