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How to Win Your Fantasy Football League

By Dan Vasta in Fantasy Sports
| August 9, 2021 11:59 am PDT

Fantasy football leagues start filling up fast during every summer.

Hopefully, your fantasy league is set up and ready to go with the friends you enjoy being around. Crack open up a cold one and be sure to have fun.

Whether it’s an auction, offline, online, or an in-person draft, get signed up. Then set about making sure you win.

There are many fantasy football tips and strategies one should have entering their fantasy football season. I could write a book on it but will try to condense my advice a little for this post.

Here are my top 10 fantasy football tips that will help you win your fantasy leagues.

1. Don’t Be Late to The Draft

I have friends every year that cut it close to missing the draft. In the non-covid era, drafts were fun in person. Doing a remote draft can be fun too, and the online drafts are also enjoyable.

Just make sure once you commit to a draft that the day or time works for you.

If you have a partner or a co-owner, that is even better. If not, do your best to make sure your weekend plans are open. If it is a weekday night, avoid making plans. The draft should be one of the best days of the entire sports calendar.

Having friends pull over on the side of a road to draft can be difficult with spotty internet. Don’t drive and draft if possible, but make yourself available. Have the commish change the draft time to be sure you can make it.

Whatever the case, do everything you can to make sure you’re there for the entire draft.

Missing part or the entirety of a draft is never fun. Finding out you have a few bums when you could have drafted better in your sleep leaves a bad taste in your mouth and a hole in your wallet.

2. Prepare Before the Draft

Fantasy football should not end for you just because the season is over around New Year’s Day.

Your pre-draft fantasy football preparation should include the following.

  • See What Vegas Has to Say
  • Compile & Research Player Rankings
  • Note Team Roster and Coaching Changes
  • Follow the NFL Draft and New Rookies
  • Track Training Camp and Preseason
  • Note Big Injuries and Impact

One great fantasy football tip is understanding the correlation between fantasy football and NFL betting. Keep tabs on how players and teams are projecting in the eyes of the oddsmakers by checking out props and odds at the best NFL betting sites.

Sure, luck is part of fantasy football. But being prepared will allow you to stay focused if a stud miraculously falls into your lap before the clock expires on you.

Identifying which sleepers you will be targeting and when to take them is no joking matter. It can win you a title.

There are many drafts that I will target 20-plus players and end up with half of them. Some people have no idea who they are getting until a minute remains on the clock. Poor organization skills can prove costly.

Do your research in the summer so you can find the perfect sleepers. Keep up with injuries and see how teams react. There are always a few nagging injuries that loom into the season, so don’t be caught off guard.

3. Know Your Points System and Roster Settings

Every league can have different point systems, but it is complete wack if you don’t know yours off the top of your head.

Point systems are crucial for the way you want to draft your entire team.

The easiest example is the difference between points per reception leagues (PPR) and standard scoring.

PPR award points per reception, while standard leagues award points for touchdowns only, or at least don’t give points for receptions.

I have seen 6-point touchdowns for a quarterback rushing and passing touchdowns. There will be other bonuses, but be aware of them all. Whatever the rules state, you must memorize everything and put that towards your projections.

Finding home-run hitters in the mid-rounds would be a solid selection if your league rewards those types of players. If they do bonuses for carries, then you may want the opposite.

On top of the league scoring, roster settings also matter. Consider the following.

  • How many starting WR and RB slots
  • How many FLEX spots
  • Position limits
  • Bench spot number

One of the best fantasy football tips is simply knowing everything about your league. Every league is different when it comes to scoring, position versatility, and roster settings.

Know all the rules so you can determine which players fit best on your team.

4. Consider Fantasy Draft Rankings and ADP

What does this even mean? Every league has a draft room and/or draft rankings. Be on top of it if possible.

Some studs may fall depending on your site. Some people will pre-rank players before the draft and put them in their queue beforehand to help them draft quicker.

Comparing players can help determine how realistic it is to land them. If you pick seventh and the guy you want is ranked in the top three, good luck landing that guy.

Letting the draft fall perfectly for you is possible. There will be some players that you may have to reach for, but that will happen every so often. Some players on playoff teams do not drop often.

The rankings have helped me with the mid-rounds and later ones compared to the early rounds. There are players that you can wait on. Take consistent performers that have a role or a track record. That trending rookie backup that is in the 200s will be there for a few rounds.

Only you will know your league more than others, so be aware of the possibilities. If you cannot risk losing out on a player that you love, certainly draft him regardless of his pre-draft rank.

Part of this process is using average draft position (ADP) to understand player value, and where specific positions/players are drafted on average.

5. Let the Draft Come to You

Luck is certainly a factor in fantasy football drafts because there are some years that I pick dead last. Others I am stuck in the middle.

Try to study the numbers and players to know who will likely be on your team before the draft. Have a fantasy draft strategy in case players fall to you. Some players will go sooner than perhaps you had imagined.

Let the draft always come to you. This prevents bias, reaches, and any type of forced picks that can disrupt the natural flow of the draft for you.

Every league may be different depending on the point system and the bias towards some players. If you are in one that is full of Green Bay homers, the Packers may be off-limits for you. Focus on other players that could bring value to your team.

If you have knowledge going into the draft, perhaps you might be aware that there will be value on certain players. Every player that you like may not be gone before all your picks.

Barring you only like a few players, you will be happy with most of your guys. Have a list of a dozen or so players for every handful of players.

6. Understand the Waiver Wire Process

When are waivers, Thursday or Friday? If I had a dollar for every time I had this question, I would be one wealthy man.

Many believe the waiver process is complicated. Some prefer FAAB (free-agent acquisition budget), which rewards teams who spend wisely throughout the season.

I am not involved with those leagues because I have enough people that prefer waivers with reverse order of standings. There are other options, which help those that are picky with their rules.

Regardless of the choices, you best understand which one your league revolves around.

Falling asleep early on waiver night is not an option. Put a handful of guys on the board in case many of them get taken. It is always better to be safe than sorry in fantasy football.

Being afraid to select a backup with one of your last picks is not an option in fantasy. One can always cut their losses if your superstar misses key games or any time for that matter.

7. Keep Track of Bye Weeks and Which Teams Make Moves

Selecting half of your roster with players on the same, identical bye week is a terrible fantasy football strategy since you will likely have other weeks with losses as well.

Keep track and write down every bye week next to the name and position of each player. Be aware of that before you select a player.

This is the last thing you want to see on your roster.

  • QB: Josh Allen (Bye – Week 7)
  • QB: Dak Prescott (Bye – Week 7)

This is easily illustrated for players with the same position. Suddenly you’re forced to drop a player you otherwise may have wanted to keep, just to avoid scoring a 0 for week seven at the quarterback position.

Tracking bye weeks for all positions is encouraged.

Learn which people/teams are most active in your league. When the trade deadline quickly approaches, it would be helpful to know who is more likely to trade with so there is no wasting time.

Knowing your friends and who they target can be valuable. If it is with strangers in a public league, you have to be on top of your game even further. Pay close attention to roster/drafting habits if you have information on the opposition.

The more knowledgeable you are of the teams in your league, the better off you will be.

Most people reject most trades anyways, but more knowledge is never a bad thing.

Pay close attention to teams that need help. Deals could strike if you have depth at a specific position where another team is lacking.

Try not to be the jabroni that talks the most trash, too. Most people will use that against those people in trades.

8. Upside Is Key in Later Rounds

After you draft your starting roster spots, it is time to get a few players that bring upside to your roster. Many of your players in double-digit rounds will only fill in as needed for bye weeks or as injury replacements.

Some of the selections late in the draft get dropped within the first few weeks of the season. Go big on a rookie wide receiver that could become a touchdown vulture or a running back that could start in the final month-plus.

Just be sure you draft them well after your starters.

The upside on young players on struggling teams is often out of the playoff race before the final month of the season begins. Find a player that will get consistent targets.

9. Draft Your Starters Before Your Bench

I am not telling you to draft a kicker before a stud backup running back or wide receiver. That would depend on your point system for the league.

Most people do not select a kicker until the last round. The last three picks of most drafts are complete crapshoots. It might be a third-string rookie running back who may not even see the field.

Getting a star kicker is more important than a player you will be dropping by the second week of the season. There are other kickers on explosive offenses.

Think ahead to the underrated starting positions and try to get the most value out of them.

If you are in a 2-RB league, you do not want to wait long to grab a solid pair.

The NFL is dropping like flies when it comes to running backs. The game has turned into a passing attack with RBBC often used (running back by committee). Quarterbacks will continue to contribute to a backfield, too.

Drafting an elite defense is not a bad idea, either. The difference between a top defense and one that is middle of the pack in some leagues was worth a handful of points a week on average. That could be the difference between winning and losing. Grab a top-five defense and settle for somebody outside the eight.

Playing the waiver wire game every week based on matchups is difficult if you are in a deep league. Eventually, the one you drop will exceed the bad one you picked up.

Be smart with your quarterback, kicker, and defense. If you feel the need to add five or six bench spots before rounding out your starting lineup, avoid it.

10. Know Your League Rules Inside and Out

It seems obvious, but many people do not know half the rules. They are the ones chowing down on the pizza and asking how many rounds are left.

Those teams are typically ones that finish in last place without having much of a prayer to finish atop the standings.

Not only does knowing the league rules help you every week, but it should also be a factor leading into the draft.

Imagine studying for an exam the night before and not even being prepared. Barring you being a fantasy guru, you should know all the latest updates. Injuries are critical, and trends in camps often determine their success for the upcoming season.

Are you aware of the recent developments on all the teams that you are targeting? If not, you better get studying before the draft is underway. The difference between passing on a stud and taking a bust could haunt you for the entire season.

If you know that your league rewards you a point for every reception, it would be a good idea to grab backs that are productive pass catchers. It should not be difficult finding productive backs since you are aware of the point system.

Every league you join could be different, but know what players will help you find success. There will be pass-catching backs to be had every season late in the draft or on waivers.

More Fantasy Football Advice

Hopefully, these 10 fantasy football tips will help you dominate your fantasy leagues, or at least stay afloat until playoff time.

There is a lot to think about for every fantasy football season, as so much changes. The one constant should be your preparation, and these helpful fantasy tips.

If you require more fantasy football advice, you can check out our fantasy sports blog.



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