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Considering playing NFL Fantasy? Here is everything you’ll need to know


NFL Fantasy Guide, how to play

The NFL season starts on September 9 and ‘draft season’ has not only opened but is heating up.

Whether you’re dipping your toe into NFL Fantasy for the first time, or are trying to dust off the cobwebs before another charge to December, here’s our crash course.

Read on for the necessary tips and tricks that can help get you right up to speed for NFL Fantasy, and also check out our NFL season Guide as well.

NFL Fantasy worth playing?

We’re most likely preaching to the converted here, but Fantasy is – most of the time – a more social and friendly alternative to betting, to have some skin in the game throughout the NFL season.

It’s an activity that connects and activates many dormant friendship circles, through a mutual passion for American Football. Supporting a team isn’t enough these days; people want to see their team win, but also find ways to have their own wins as well.

If it’s still not clear, the answer is yes… it’s definitely worth playing.

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How to get involved

Most people reading this have probably found their way into a league through friends and word of mouth.

The key difference to understand with NFL Fantasy, unlike Fantasy Premier League or SuperCoach, is that the most popular format is Draft — participants get involved in leagues with other real humans and, through a reasonably fair process, draft players that only they can play. That’s different from other popular formats – like in NRL, AFL and EPL – where you’re building a team under a salary cap and many participants will own the same players.

Finding a place to play NFL Fantasy

So for those not currently in a league or community, your best bet is to either find websites with free or low-cost entries or use social media to find where you might be able to fit in. But if you keep reading, we’ll unpack why NFL Fantasy app Sleeper, for example, is a great place to start. Through Sleeper, you can go to ‘Leagues’ > Fantasy Football > ‘Find a League to join’ > and land in the app’s ‘NFL Matchmaking’ function.

NFL Fantasy, Sleeper app
A snapshot of what NFL Fantasy site and app Sleeper can offer.

Best NFL Fantasy app

This one’s actually a no-brainer.

While you might be lured by the ‘safe’ or ‘reliable’ vibes of NFL Fantasy (official) or ESPN Fantasy Football, the reality is they’re just fine. Same with Yahoo; it’s decent, but (last time I tried) it can be a nightmare to set up a league, if you’re handed commissioner responsibilities.

So our recommendation is forget those — they’ve been severely trumped by Sleeper. The user experience is far better on Sleeper; better for drafts, in season management and way cleaner. Searching for players is simpler, plus assessing their profile is a smoother task.

Sleeper also does NBA and now MLB too, but football is its bread and butter.

Here’s the download link.

NFL Fantasy draft strategies, best and worst, kelce, taylor, mccaffrey, jefferson
NFL Fantasy superstars Travis Kelce, Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey and Justin Jefferson (left-to-right)

How to play NFL Fantasy

This is a very open-ended prospect that very much relies on the format and scoring at question.

But the general idea is to build a competitive squad in order to field a competitive starting lineup each week of the NFL season — with the ‘Fantasy Playoffs’ towards the back end of the NFL’s regular season.

The most common position and position groups in NFL Fantasy are on offence; quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and then sometimes kicker and ‘defence’. How many of those you play week-to-week will depend on league settings. As is generally the case with Fantasy, you will score points that corresponds with the actual real-life player’s in-game production.

Travis Kelce, NFL Fantasy
Kansas City’s Travis Kelce is a difference-maker in NFL Fantasy because he’s been the best Tight End – by some margin – for many consecutive years now.

Best NFL Fantasy draft strategies

We’re starting to get into the weeds now, but as you find yourself becoming more invested in NFL Fantasy, this is the kind of thing you’ll need to consider.

For participants just working their way into the NFL Fantasy space, keeping things simple is the recommendation. Let your league mates over-complicate things and seal their own downfall.

Here’s a more thorough run through of each possible draft strategy, but the suggestion is to gain an understanding of positional value – in relation to your specific league settings – and apply a value-based approach when the draft commences; let the value come to you.

Final thoughts

Play NFL Fantasy at your own peril; it’s wildly addictive and NFL is arguably the best sport for fantasy, due to the way it’s set up and scored.

How about Fantasy Premier League?

Here’s our full rundown on how to play EPL Fantasy and keep coming back to Only Sports to find more in-depth fantasy coverage, as both the Premier League and NFL seasons near a start. These are both certainly surefire ways to stay entertained before the AFL and NRL seasons fire up once again next year.

Picture of Phil Prior
Phil Prior
Phil is the editorial lead at Only Sports, bringing more than 12 years of wide-ranging sports media experience to the team. But it’s his unrivalled passion that sets him apart. He also commentates AFL on SEN Radio, plus Rugby on Stan Sport. Find Phil on LinkedIn.

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