A Beginner’s Guide to Fantasy Football


If you are reading this, it is primarily because you are new to fantasy football. Whether you are joining on your own free will or by force through a co-worker or loved one, welcome. At the very beginning, fantasy football can feel very overwhelming as you are probably hearing certain terminology that you are unfamiliar with. No need to fear as fantasy for dummies 101, is here.

Welcome to A Beginner’s Guide to Fantasy Football.

I am here to walk you through the eps and flows of fantasy football. The nerdy stats you need to become accustomed with, the wavier wire system, how points work, etc. I will walk you through it step by step as I am your guide tour.

To start, we must first understand what we are getting ourselves into.

What is Fantasy Football?

That’s a great question, I am glad you asked. Fantasy football is a league in which your regular day people get to draft NFL players and scream at them for under performing or praise them for winning you championship. Just kidding, of course. Well, kind of.

Fantasy football is a league complied of owners who draft real NFL players. In typical fantasy leagues, you are given 10 starting positions, with 5 draft spots. Now, when you are drafting, you cannot just draft anyone. There are certain positions you need to draft and each one has limitations.

What positions do I need on my fantasy team?

The following are positions that each fantasy football team has:

  • QB – quarter back
  • RB – running back
  • WR – wide receiver
  • TE – tight end
  • D/ST – defense / special teams
  • K – kicker

Now, when you are drafting each position, the first thing you need to understand is that fantasy is a math based game. Each week, players will get you certain amount of points. Depending on their position, they get you points for different reasons. For example, a quarterback, get’s you points for throwing touchdowns or after completing a certain amount of passes. If your league rewards touchdowns with 6 points, then it is important to draft a quarterback who throws a lot of touchdowns.

When drafting for the first time, it is very important to let fantasy football experts guide you. In this case, you would need to look at the rankings provided by ESPN. These rankings give you a basic idea of who to take in what round. ESPN ranks players based off their production from last season and use a bunch of different nerdy calculations to predict what kind of season they will have.

Secondly, with your 10 starting position, you need 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 3 wide receivers, 1 tight end, 1 flex position (can be a rb/wr/te), 1 defense and 1 kicker. You then have 5 bench spots in which you can fill with any of those positions.

Once your team is drafted, you are then ready for the regular season.

Managing the Waiver Wire

Ok, so now that your team is drafted and your roster is complete, that means everyone who went un-drafted now hits the open market. Which, in fantasy is called the waiver wire.

How does the waiver wire work?

Well, each league can operate their waiver wire differently. Let’s discuss the two most popular ways.

The Record SystemThe Points System
This is as simple as it sounds.
The person with the worst record
gets first dibs in the waiver wire.

So, for example, if you lose and
have a record of 0-1, you then get first dibs
in the wavier wire system.

The same process is repeated
week after week as the worst record
will get the first pick in the wavier wire system.
With the points system, each team/owner is
given a set amount of points.

In most leagues, that is 100 points.
With these points, you can use
them in the waiver wire market.
Once, you use up all 100 points,
you can no longer pick up any players.

It is wise to use these points only when need to.
If you see a position you
desperately need on the waiver wire,
then you use 10 points on that particular player.
Comparing different waiver wire systems

Each football week ends after Monday Night Football. On Tuesday morning, the projections for the new week comes out and you are able to go get players off the waiver wire. On Wednesday, the waiver wire transactions are complete. If, for some reason, you see someone on the wavier wire Thursday or Friday, you can simply just pick them up.

Week 1 and Beyond…

If I am being 100% honest, fantasy football is all about luck. People can read all the fantasy books and study the rankings, but, it simply comes down to who gets the luckiest on the season.

To be more frank, sometimes a person with the first overall pick will take the best ranked player. If said player gets injured and is out for the rest of the season, then that fantasy team is going to suffer. But, let’s say something just guesses and makes a random pick. There is no telling whether or not that particular player will be good or bad.

As the weeks progress, you begin to get a feel for your team and you can weed out the good and bad players. Very similarly to teams in real life. The first month of the season in the NFL is considered the “second preseason”.

Obviously, when it comes fantasy football, drafting is very important. The team you draft is essentially the one that you will have remaining when the season ends. By the way, most fantasy regular seasons end on Week 13, with the playoffs commencing on Week 14 and the championship taking place on Week 16.

Another important aspect of fantasy is the waiver wire as alluded to above. You must keep your eyes on the waiver wire as you never know who is going to appear. If a player is hurt to start the league, or if a player is suspended the first four games and everyone forgets about that player, then you need to be the one who scoops him up.

Each week, you will face a different team in your league and the more you win, the better your chances of making the playoffs are. But, it is up to you, the owner, to stay up to date with your roster.

Helpful Tips for Fantasy Football

Below, you will find some helpful tips that answer most of the questions posed by first time fantasy users:

  • Stay up to date on the waiver wire.
    • each week, the waiver wire transactions begin on Tuesday and come to form on Wednesday morning.
  • Make sure to set your lineup.
    • All games on Sunday start at 1:00 pm eastern. You have up until 12:59 pm eastern to set your lineups.
  • Keep your eye on the news.
    • Know if any of your players are hurt.
  • Seek advice from a trusted friend.
    • Fantasy football can be challenging at times. Seek advice from someone you can trust that won’t sabotage you.

Well, I hope you have found this information useful.

More importantly, I wish you the best of luck on your journey into fantasy football.