To become dangerous during the draft, you need to know what this game is all about and, more importantly, how to get in on the excitement. If you aren’t experienced with the drafting process, fantasy football season can seem a little daunting. But, no need to let fear keep you from the fun. We’ll help you put on your game face with these three easy steps to becoming an expert fantasy football team owner.
Fantasy Football Facts
Like a lot of sports competitions invented by the layperson, fantasy football owes its roots to the combination of drinking and competitive rivalry amongst friends.
It all began in 1962 when Oakland businessman Wilfred “Bill the Gill” Winkenbach and his friends found themselves in a New York hotel sipping cocktails and bragging about their favorite teams. Wanting to make football watching more engaging, they decided to expand on a game idea Winkenbach had already created for golf, wherein players would create a team of golfers at a tournament, then add up their scores at the end to see who fielded the best team.
Winkenbach was able to adapt his simple golf scoring system into picking skill position players in the American Football League, eventually becoming the foundation for the fantasy game we know and love today.
While we don’t play Winkenbach’s game exactly, we do owe him a debt of gratitude. After all, where would we be without online leagues, websites full of up-to-date football stats, and this fun way to engage in our favorite teams and players? Today, fantasy football has become such an integral part of sports culture that you can even stream a show about it on Hulu called The League.
3 Steps for Fantasy Football Season Success
Tip One: Find Your Fit.
Now that you know your history, it's time to play! To get started, you need to find a league to foster competition. Nowadays, it’s easy to get involved. You can join up with friends, family, coworkers, or even be a part of a bigger draft online.
There are two types of leagues: public and private. Public is typically one that a bigger organization holds that is open for anyone who wants to play, while a private league is like a friends and family plan—one where you have to be invited to participate. Private leagues are great if you only want to play with a select group of people. The NFL makes it easy to join or start your fantasy football fun on their website. Whether you're a beginner wanting to be eased in to the game or a hardcore fantasy footballer seeking cutthroat competition, CBS Sports has a wide range of leagues to join no matter your skill level. If all else fails and these two don’t tickle your fancy, you could always Google it.
Tip Two: Good Strategy Goes a Long Way.
You can’t roll up on draft day without a plan, and that's why you'll need to prepare a draft strategy. Before draft day, scout all the potential picks you would want to have on your fantasy team. Come draft day, you will choose which players you want on your roster. Players from any team can be drafted to create your own fantasy team, however, you’re going to want some backups in case the player you want becomes unavailable when it's your turn to pick.
During the season, you'll earn more points for higher-performing players. The better they play during their season games, the more points your team gains. Your roster will show you the positions that need to be filled. If you find yourself after the draft with a player you ended up not wanting, you can trade them with another team owner or you can drop them from your team all together.
To scout out potential picks, look around to see who is available and where they rank overall. ESPN has a good ranked list of who’s available and who is projected to be a top performer this season. From there, make a list of who you will pick each round and include backups, just in case.
Tip Three: Test Your Strategy.
When draft day comes, it’s pickin’ time. If you’re at a loss for a draft day strategy, we suggest drafting kickers and defensive players last and focusing on running backs first. Once you have your first pick under your belt, draft the best possible player you can until all your team's positions are filled. You won’t have to worry about knowing who’s the best, the online draft will tell you and all you have to do is make your picks.
After you have your team, you will be facing off against other people’s teams in your league each week. When the teams play in real life, your fantasy players accrue points based on how well they perform during those games. Whoever has the most points during that week wins that face off. Your goal is to win the most weeks you can to advance to the playoffs. Once you get your league set up, head down to your nearest Buffalo Wings & Rings. It’s the perfect place to hold your fantasy draft party and stay up-to-date on your team's progress.