5 Tips and Strategies to Win Fantasy Football in 2021
According to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association, 19% of Americans over 18 engage in fantasy sports. Among those who played fantasy sports in 2019, almost 80% did so in the world of fantasy football.
In the early 90s, fantasy sports were a fringe idea as computers and the internet began their takeover of modern society. Fast forward to today, and you’ve got a huge industry worth over $7 billion with 40 million players in North America alone.
Let’s cover a few basic fantasy football tips to help you develop your fantasy football strategy.
How to Set Up Your Line Up
How do you set your lineup in fantasy football? A fantasy football lineup ultimately depends on the type of league. Scoring derives from either a Points Per Reception (PPR) league or a standard non PPR league.
Scoring remains the same in both those leagues (passing, rushing, receiving), but in a PPR league — each reception is worth one point. (Half PPR leagues also exist.)
Why is that important? Because you’ll want to draft differently in either league.
With a PPR league, you’ll need running backs (RBs) and wide receivers (WRs) that catch a lot of passes. In a standard non PPR league, you should focus on players projected to get the most yards from scrimmage.
Your NFL fantasy lineup will consist of:
*1 Quarterback (QB)
*1 Tight end (TE)
*1 Kicker (K)
*1 Defense (D/ST)
These fantasy football positions comprise nine starters (including the FLEX as any offensive player) and up to seven players for your bench.
Most leagues allow anywhere from 8-16 teams, with 10-12-team Head-to-Head (H2H) Standard PPR leagues as the most common. In each draft, teams get 16 picks in as many rounds.
If you’re now wondering: How do I pick my fantasy order? You’ll want to know that RBs go first. Since the NFL offers plenty of choices for WRs, there’s more value for them to come second.
I participated in two mock drafts on ESPN.com, and in both of them, the first four picks went in the same fashion (RBs). The second rounds comprised 50% WRs in 10 and 12-team leagues.
Travis Kelce (TE, Kansas City Chiefs) and Davante Adams (WR, Green Bay Packers) went in the first round in both drafts. In the 12-team league, Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City Chiefs) went as the second pick in the second round.
Most Important Positions in Fantasy Football
What is the most important position in fantasy football? As stated before, RBs early and often steal the show. You’ll want a young star player that’s poised and projected to do well in 2021.
The top four picks in both drafts went like this:
*Christian McCaffrey (RB, Carolina Panthers)
*Dalvin Cook (RB, Minnesota Vikings)
*Alvin Kamara (RB, New Orleans Saints)
*Derrick Henry (RB, Tennessee Titans)
So, if you hold one of the top-four draft positions in your league, then you can grab one of the elite RBs in the NFL.
Your second draft pick might also come as a running back. They’re that important.
Next, you’ll want a starting WR. These options went in the second round:
*Tyreek Hill (WR, Kansas City Chiefs)
*Stefon Diggs (WR, Buffalo Bills)
*DK Metcalf (WR, Seattle Seahawks)
*Calvin Ridley (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
*Cooper Cupp (WR, LA Rams)
*DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Arizona Cardinals)
*Terry McLaurin (WR, Washington)
Top offensive players dominate the first few rounds. Depending on your draft position, you might want to grab a top TE or QB to solidify your roster early on.
But the most important positions in fantasy football come from running backs and wide receivers. So, you could wait until as late as the fifth or sixth rounds to choose from outside those positions.
5 Tips and Strategies to Follow
If you want a fantasy football team guide, you’ll need to follow a few basic tips and strategies. The following might act as useful starting points for draft leagues, rather than keeper leagues where you maintain your picks every season.
Let’s check out some ways to position yourself as the next fantasy football champion.
Try a Few Mock Drafts to Get Used to the Process
Mock drafts exist as a way for beginners to get accustomed to the drafting process. You should get some experience with drafting your team before the regular season begins.
Find out which players go in the first few rounds. Learn how to mix up your draft strategy based on different positions. And realize the importance of your bench.
The more practice you get with mock drafts, the better off you’ll be when the time comes to do the real thing.
Assess Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses Early On
After Week 1, you should start to get a sense of your team’s strengths and weaknesses. As the season progresses, you’ll shape your team with trades and waivers.
So, don’t worry too much if the draft didn’t work out in your favor. Build knowledge early on in the season about which players maintain their value to separate them from the losers on your squad.
Trades and waivers in the middle of each week allow you to get the most value from your fantasy football team.
Pay Close Attention to Your Lineup Each Week
This might seem too simple, but it’s crucial to ensuring your team remains competitive throughout the season. Some things to pay close attention to within your lineup include:
*Game times (Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays)
*Home and away games
*Cold and hot streaks
When you draft your team, you should always consider the bye week for each player (when they’ll be off that week). So, pay attention to that throughout the year as well.
Next, you should base your starting lineup around game times. Players get locked a few minutes before kickoff. Keep an eye on those Thursday and Monday matchups.
Also, make sure to follow injuries closely to protect your team’s value. And start your players concerning their best chances at scoring the most points for your team.
Don’t Over-Analyze Your Team
Fantasy football comes as a form of entertainment. Don’t spend too much time over-analyzing your roster.
Start any players with a home-field matchup, especially if it’s a nationally-televised game or it’s against an inter-divisional rival.
If any of your players go cold, keep them on the bench. Or get rid of them entirely!
And stick with the team that runs hot.
Getting too analytical about every single matchup might take the fun out of the fantasy football experience. So, make sure you remember to enjoy it.
Create Some Depth, and You’re Good to Go
One of the best strategies in fantasy football derives from creating some depth on your team. As discussed earlier, you can build your lineup around star RBs and WRs.
Kickers and defensive units should come last. And it might not be a bad idea to pick your QB and TE in the middle of the draft.
If you load up with heavy talent early on, it offers the best potential for your team. Head-to-head matchups require you to score the most points. So creating depth boosts your chances of survival.
A late-season trade for a top player becomes highly possible, as well. As long as you’ve got some depth, you might be good enough to go all the way.
And don’t forget to test your new skills and expertise at betting on NFL games!
Fantasy football and sports betting often go hand in hand.
This year’s NFL season shows a lot of promise for ratings, sportsbooks, and fantasy leagues. As the country looks for a way out of the never-ending coronavirus pandemic, fantasy sports remain as relevant as ever.
There’s hardly been a better time to learn how to play fantasy football and win.
Why not get started today?
Bryan Myers is a freelance writer from the U.S. In 2019, he traveled to 12 countries around the world. He also teaches English online. Currently, he’s living in Da Nang, Vietnam. He’s been writing for Safest Betting Sites since August 2019, covering the 2020 U.S. Election, entertainment, crypto, online casinos, and sports betting.