It’s that time of the year again. Football season is back and I for one could not be more excited. It seems like the offseason lasts longer every year but sooner or later that September Sunday rolls around and you know you're in for hours of good food and entertainment. If you need any ideas make sure to check out my previous blog highlighting the perfect football party! But this blog is about one of America’s biggest and fastest growing phenomena. I’m of course talking about fantasy football. Honestly it seems like most people have one of two strong feelings towards fantasy football. Either you love it and are extremely passionate and it consumes five plus months of your life or you think it is ridiculous that grown men are pretending to manage other grown men and bet money on their performance in which they have no actual control over. I mean it is called fantasy for a reason and the line between fantasy football and larping (live action role playing) is getting blurrier as the fantasy football fandom grows. But in my opinion if it brings you joy without hurting anyone else then more power to you. I’m obviously a little biased as someone who's been playing fantasy football for well over a decade. If you are still reading I am going to assume you’re one of us, one of us (joking it's not a cult). But this blog is going to highlight five general rules to help set you up for the most success possible. The way fantasy has grown and evolved there's so many different types of leagues will all have different rule variations. It’s impossible to give specific advice without knowing how many teams, what the scoring is and I’ll be the first to tell you that there is so much luck that goes into who wins. However while luck plays a big part you can definitely set yourself up to have the best chance to win if you follow these five tips.
Know your league rules- This seems simple but I promise you every league I’ve ever been in has at least one person who is complaining during the season because they didn’t know a rule or got mixed up with another league's rules. Don’t be that guy. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage from the beginning. There’s going to be waiver rules, drafting rules, scoring rules and more. Knowing the rules inside and out will give you an advantage at some point in the year guaranteed and will definitely save you from a careless blunder.
Know who you’re playing against- With fantasy football you can only control so much. A lot can be dictated by who you’re playing with. Especially during the draft and trading. If you have fans of certain teams in your league they will surely favor the players that are on their favorite teams. A lot of people will even draft them earlier than expected which will allow you to grab some talent below their average draft position. Also during the season it can help facilitate a trade. If you know someone in your league really likes a player you’re more likely to get an over value return from trading that player to him.
Own the waiver wire- In some leagues it can be hard to find a trade. People are always talking themselves into their own players. If this is the case the best way to improve your team mid season is being a hawk on the waiver wire. If a player gets hurt or is just underperforming there's no reason to waste a bench spot on him. Do some research, see who's available and try to find that next waiver wire darling that goes from unowned to starting in the playoffs for you. Most waivers go by reverse order so if you’re struggling you should have an early pick of available players. If you happen to be winning you’re going to have to dig a little deeper to find that player who can impact your team. But also monitor injuries. During the week an injury can happen catapulting some backup running back on the waiver wire into starting duty. If waivers have passed this pickup is now first come first serve so it pays to be paying attention at all times.
Always be open to trading- It takes two to tango so it’s not like you can just trade if you want to but you should always be open at the least and more likely be steadily poking and prodding around the league to see who’s available and at what prices. Your team will never be perfect. The chances of you drafting the best players at every position is astronomically low. So you should always be open to listening or discussing trade offers. Plus nearly every player has a price and even if someone is performing extremely well if you can get more value in the trade then you’re giving up it’s worth exploring. Plus with injuries and schedule differences a well timed trade can save you from disaster or set you up while crippling another team.
Follow experts on social media-This is the biggest thing to do to ensure a chance to win. There is way too much knowledge and information on players and their situations and the statistics and trends of everything from the player to the team to the field and even weather conditions. So many factors can go into making your best line up. Usually the people who are battling it out at the end are the ones who knew first that a player got hurt and his backup was just sitting on waivers. Or that this rookie is finally going to get his chance halfway through the year. I have multiple apps that all have alerts set to let me know of any breaking news regarding football. This will help make sure you don’t miss out on a player that can change your season as well as help you build the best lineup you can.