Training camps are in full swing, and it won’t be long before fantasy football drafts will be lighting up the Internet.
Everyone has that friend who begs someone, (anyone!) to join their fantasy league because they need “just one more player to make 10.” Even if you’ve never played before, you may be on the receiving end of this request. Why not give it a go?
Whether you join for fun, or you’re already a serious competitor, prepare to spend the next 17 weeks chest-deep with the NFL. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll turn the air blue when coach decides at the last minute that Gronk won’t be playing today after all (true story).
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Stepping Up Your Fantasy Football Game
They say that war is hell, but fantasy football can come pretty close. Even the most seasoned and well-prepared players will feel that light sheen of sweat on their palms as they try to decide whether to take Antonio Brown or DeAndre Hopkins in the first round. If you’ve just joined your first fantasy football league, here are a few things to keep in mind as the draft, and the season, rolls along.
1) Know the rules of your league.
This is just as important to the success of your season as drafting Todd Gurley could be. There are many different types of fantasy football leagues; keeper leagues, PPR, standard, auction…the list goes on. Make it your priority to figure out how the waiver wire works, how many yards your RB needs to gain a point, if you get yardage bonuses, if you can have 2 QBs, how the FLEX position works, and more.
2) Consider the division.
This year, the NFC South is primed and ready to rumble with four stud QBs, while the AFC East is still trying to get out from under the Belichick-Brady imbalance. Choose wisely when it comes to players that will face weaker, or stronger, teams within their division several times this season. For example, the Texans and Jags both have formidable defenses this year, so keep that in mind when choosing offensive players from a team who will need to play these guys four times during the season.
3) Speaking of defense.
There’s always going to be someone who goes right for the D. You might cringe as you see “Rob’s G-Men” pick up the Jacksonville defense in round two; until you realize that he passed up A.J. Green to do it. Remember, like kickers, defense isn’t nearly as important as the other positions, and is something you can wait on. You can even choose each weekly by playing the matchups, which is known as “streaming.” Even a Tier-3 D can step up and put up big points against a weaker offense.
4) Don’t be that crazy fan.
So what if you were born and raised with Big Blue – that doesn’t mean that Eli Manning is your best QB choice. On that same note, don’t draft someone just because you know their name. Everyone knows Frank Gore, but his best days are probably behind him. Pay attention to often-injured players, and keep in mind that just because a name has been around awhile, it doesn’t mean they still have the mojo.
5) Pay close attention to your lineup each week.
You can’t draft a great team and then let it play out weekly. You need to know what’s going on with your players: who has a Thursday night game, who’s playing at 9 am in London, and who has a bye week. After your Thursday night players have a go, set your line up at least five-minutes before the start of the first Sunday game (1pm EST) to avoid last-minute heartbreak (such as the aforementioned Gronk reference). Check the latest 5thDownFantasy news and rankings, and stay up-to-date on injury reports.
Fantasy football can turn you semi-pro by the end of your first season. If you never knew too much about Julio Jones before, you’ll know everything about him if he’s on your fantasy team. The most important thing you can do is to have fun; don’t get too worked up if you finish 9th out of 10. As the most die-hard football fans always say, “There’s always next year.”
Holly Sablich has been crying and cheering with Big Blue since ’82. She’s a freelance content writer who has covered everything from soup to nuts; literally. She also runs a personal blog/website enduringautism.com. With a Master’s Degree in Human Services, she believes that nothing quite compares to the creative outlet that writing provides, despite its humble compensation. Find her on LinkedIn.