How To Play Fantasy Football

What is Fantasy Football?

Fantasy football is a game that begins by selecting real NFL players to create fictitious (thus “fantasy”) teams that earn points based on real players’ performances on the field. If your fantasy team scores more points than the opposing owner’s fantasy team, you win. Leagues are especially fun because it gives you something to root for in every NFL game.

How To Play Fantasy Football

Want to know how to play fantasy football? We’ve got you covered.

Whether you would like to start playing fantasy football, just signed up for your first league, or you’re a regular who plays in multiple dynasty leagues, this beginner’s guide will assist you. This guide is designed for beginners but is helpful for fantasy football owners at all different levels of expertise. If you’re reading this article, you’re on the right track. Let’s begin.

Can I Play Fantasy Football For Money Online?

Yes, there are many ways to play fantasy football online for money. Whether it’s through friends, co-workers in a private league, or a public fantasy league host like Apex, to play fantasy football you have to join a league. Leagues require a certain number of players – the most common are 12 players but leagues vary in size.

Putting a little money on the line is common – not only can you earn bragging rights, but a little financial reward makes the whole experience even more enjoyable. Winning not only gives you bragging rights but can also get you paid!

How Can I Join A Fantasy Football League?

If you’re looking for somewhere to play, we always have spots available! The aim at Apex is to create a fun, welcoming environment for owners to play fantasy football while being rewarded for creating the best fantasy team. We have a variety of different drafting methods, lineup types, and settings for owners to find their preferred way to play.

How to Find A Fantasy Football League For Money

On Apex, we have many fantasy football money leagues to choose from. All leagues have 12 teams but vary in the lineups and settings. In our Lobby, you can toggle through the different options to find a league that works for your schedule.

Fantasy Football When To Draft

Opinions vary on when the best time to participate in a fantasy football league is. Some owners prefer to draft early before the average draft position settles, while others would prefer to wait until the end of the preseason so that they can avoid potential injuries to players. A large amount of fantasy drafts occur after the 3rd pre-season game in mid/late August, which is considered the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season.

Fantasy Football How To Draft

Most fantasy football drafts are “snake” drafts, where fantasy teams take turns selecting players one at a time and each round is in the reverse order of the previous round. When it is your turn to pick, select your desired player before the draft timer runs out. This process continues until each team’s roster is full.

There are also “auction” drafts, where all teams have the same “budget” to start the draft, and players are bid on one at a time. Owners take turns “nominating” players for auction in a set order. Similar to a real-life auction, owners continually bid a higher price on a player. Once a price is reached that no other owner is willing to exceed, the player is rewarded to the team with that highest bid. Like snake drafts, this process continues until each team’s roster is full.

Study Your League

The most important factors to study for your league are the rules and scoring. If your league starts two quarterbacks, the position will be drafted a lot earlier than if your league only starts one. In addition, scoring is extremely important. Apex Fantasy Leagues uses Points Per Reception (PPR) scoring, which makes players who catch passes more valuable. Little changes in starting positions or scoring can make a big impact on the values of players.

If you know the tendencies of your league mates, you can gain an additional advantage. For instance, if you have one of their favorite players, make them pay a fortune to acquire him.

Use Rankings To Draft

By subscribing to the Apex email list, you can receive my personal projections for free. To do so, sign up on the right sidebar of this page. The Apex projections are tailored towards Apex’s PPR scoring format and use a Points Above Average scoring system to rank players at different positions equally. They’re updated throughout the drafting season to reflect news and injuries. However, there is no perfect list so comparing where different experts rank players is a useful exercise. Just make sure that the rankings apply to your league’s scoring.

Target Sleepers

“Sleeper” is an overused term for an undervalued young player who is typically drafted later than he should be. Young players are one of fantasy football’s biggest opportunities to hit a home run as player’s values are often volatile early in their careers. Young players present a unique opportunity to draft a player for cheap who could become very valuable.

Know the Average Draft Position (ADP)

It’s hard to target sleepers without knowing where they should be drafted. Average draft position, known as ADP, provides insight as to where players are selected on average. The wisdom of the crowd is a valuable tool and is how prices are created. If a player is typically selected in the 4th round but is available in the 6th round of your draft, you have the opportunity to select him at a good price, assuming he’s not injured. Apex’s ADP is always available during drafting season.

Practice with Mock Drafts

Partaking in mock drafts will help prepare you for how you can expect a draft to go. By preparing, you won’t be overwhelmed when you’re on the clock in your real draft. They will also help you find the players that you believe are undervalued and overvalued. 

In today’s day and age, mock drafts require very little investment – you can hop in one for free almost immediately on MyFantasyLeague.

Avoid Rookie Mistakes

There are a few general rules that apply to almost all fantasy leagues.

  1. Wait on defense and kicker. While having a good defense and kicker can be a nice advantage, their success typically doesn’t correlate from year to year. It’s typically a good idea to draft just one of each, in the last two rounds of the draft.
  2. Don’t draft to fill your roster instead of selecting the best player available. Just because you already have some running backs and wide receivers, doesn’t mean that you have to select other positions. For instance, the best tight end available may still be available during the next time you pick so it would be beneficial to take the best player available.
  3. Don’t be a homer. We all have a favorite NFL team – but it’s not a great strategy to simply select players from the team you like because you hope they’re going to play well. Instead, it’s best to select players that you expect to outperform expectations.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Contrarian

Don’t hesitate to use a contrarian drafting strategy (like Zero RB) or draft players who other owners don’t like because they underachieved the previous season. These opportunities can often create value. Disappointing seasons from good players sometimes result in extraordinary value in the following season.

Keep Up-to-Date with News and Trends

There could be a player that we really like, but all it takes is one injury and that player can be worth nothing. During drafting season, staying up-to-date with relevant news is a necessary exercise. Rotoworld provides free up-to-the-minute player news.

In addition, it’s valuable to continue to read insightful fantasy football content. We do our best to provide actionable information for free. You can find all our articles on the Apex blog but some of our recent favorites include:

The Peak Age for an NFL Wide Receiver: Age-related studies can be very valuable and this one helps us predict when a wide receiver is likely to break out or decline.

Use Waivers

You’ll need to keep up with how players are performing during the season in order to pick up players. Waivers or free agency is a good way to better your team. By adding free agents who are performing well, you can improve your team in an area where it is struggling.

Have Fun!

In fantasy football leagues, fun should come first! We are all trying to win but don’t be afraid to take players on your favorite team. When your fantasy game is on the line, you should like the player that your fantasy team is relying on.

One thing I can promise: football is a lot more fun to watch when you have a fantasy team!

When Does Fantasy Football Start?

For 2023, fantasy football starts on Thursday, September 7th at 8:20 pm ET. Fantasy football starts as soon as the first official regular season NFL game is underway, where fantasy points are scored in accordance with the box score statistics. Depending on the year, this occurs on the first or second Thursday in September.

Is Fantasy Football Winning Taxable?

Yes, fantasy football winnings are taxable. Any profit made from fantasy football over $600 must be reported as taxable income. The IRS will receive a 1099-MISC form from the contest provider reporting such profits, so be sure not to leave it out on your tax return for the appropriate year.

Apex Fantasy Football Money Leagues host public fantasy football leagues for money

Apex Fantasy Football Money Leagues