With the NFL mere weeks away, the storylines can be intriguing. Will there be a surprise roster move just before training camp? What is the status of Aaron Rodgers with the Packers, and why hasn’t there been any Rodgers trade offers?
And, the biggest question yet is, when is my fantasy football league draft?
An estimated 59 million people in the United States and Canada play some form of fantasy football.
That’s a huge number playing fantasy.
One other significant reason fantasy football is so engaging is that most, but not all, leagues are played for a monetary prize.
That’s right, fantasy football is played for the money.
Basically, there are three types of leagues, money leagues, fun, and charity.
With a money league, you pay a fee to join, and at some predetermined time frame, a winner is paid out. The winnings can be at the end of the season, a midpoint winner, or weekly, depending on how the league commissioner set up the process.
With a fun league, it’s usually free, between people with a passing, casual interest, or looking to understand more about how to manage a fantasy football roster for an entire season before joining in a money league. Most host services like ESPN and Yahoo Sports offer free league options to join independently or with friends.
Finally, there are leagues based on raising money for charity. These leagues can offer a cash prize to the winner with some of the funds raised for a charitable cause, or 100% of the proceeds may be dedicated to the charity. More and more this form of crowdfunding for charities has become popular, and if you can, consider playing or hosting a fantasy football league for charity.
In a charity league, not only are you playing for fun, but you are also in a position to help a person or organization out both with fundraising and with exposure to their cause. In addition, playing in a league that promotes a cause helps raise awareness of that endeavor, assisting with further fundraising.
Once you decide the type of league you’re going to participate in, before you get to the all-important draft, you need to know a few essential points about the league, namely the type of league and scoring.
There are three significant types of league scoring, PPR, non-PPR, and half-PPR. Therefore, knowing how each of these leagues score should be your number one priority before the draft.
In essence, with any combination of PPR and half-PPR, you’re scoring points per reception in addition to traditional scoring such as yardage and touchdowns. So understanding your league’s scoring will help you draft the right players to help you win.
That said, the key to being successful with fantasy football is two-fold;
1) Drafting The Right Players
While your draft position is essential, how you draft is crucial. Watching how others are drafting, for example, is there a run on running backs in the first two rounds, or are there some chasing top-flight receivers in the 1st and 2nd rounds?
Watching how others are drafting round by round gives you insight into what players may be available in later rounds and what positions you need to snag immediately before crucial players are gone.
2) The Waiver Wire
Understand the waiver wire process for your league. Every year a key player is injured or has a lack-luster performance that weighs down on your roster. While some players underperform, some players come from out of nowhere to be a leader in some category.
These types of players are called sleepers, and while you may be savvy enough to draft one in later rounds, often these players are found on the waiver wire, meaning you swap out an underperforming player to pick up the hot new thing.
In preparation for your season, you can create spreadsheets and walk through various contingency plans before the actual draft. In addition, most league services will offer fantasy mock draft rooms for you to run through all your draft scenarios.
Regardless of your league’s scoring and the type of league you choose to play, fantasy football is a great way to engage with friends and colleagues, but consider hosting a charity league, one that you can still play for fun and help a cause out in the process.