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Those who participate in fantasy football can attest to how it has changed their overall view of the sport. Each season, millions of North Americans participate in fantasy leagues hoping to become the champion. How did they get started, and what do fantasy owners do to help win their fantasy football league?

Getting Started in Fantasy Football

Unlike the past, today’s fantasy football leagues exist everywhere. From local fantasy leagues set up by coworkers to dedicated online sports sites, participants (called team owners) play by signing up to run their team for the season.

An owner needs to understand and agree to the league’s rules. Those rules will allow an owner to fill a team roster through an auction or drafting NFL players. Some fantasy leagues will permit owners to bid on or select whomever they can, while others make it more difficult by including a salary cap system.

Owners build a roster consisting of the necessary positions listed in the rules, which can include Quarterbacks (QBs), Running Backs (RBs), Tight Ends (TEs), Wide Receivers (WRs), Kickers (Ks), Defenses (Defs), and Special Teams (STs).

Then, during each week of the NFL season, owners create a game roster to play head-to-head against other owners. The NFL player’s performance for the week translates into fantasy league points. Common point awards include scoring plays, yardage, completions, receptions, carries, and other stats determined by the rules.

Tips to Improve Performance

While some owners draft a team at the start of the season and hope for the best, some general strategies can improve their odds each game:

  • Understand the rules and use them: Those that understand the rule book will not be surprised. Understanding rules for bye-weeks, scoring, and positions will improve drafts and generate strong weekly lineups;
  • Draft towards fantasy league strengths: Most leagues favor some statistics over others. Discover what gets the best points and draft players that have the best chance at scoring high each week;
  • Watch NFL matchups: Good RBs will struggle against DEFs ranked high against the run. Study upcoming games and consider subbing in or out players based on upcoming NFL games.