Anatomy of a rookie Fantasy Football season
This time last year, I joined a league advertised for beginners and hosted by our very own Murf (@Murf_NFL). I had never played fantasy football and didn’t know anybody who did. To say I was green was an understatement, I had to learn everything from scratch (even the scoring system, who knew it was weekly matchups?!). Over the past year, I have gone from a clueless rookie to making my own content. It has been a massive learning curve!
So what has my rookie fantasy football season taught me? Below are 5 things that I learned that could help every new (and old) fantasy football player succeed:
Diversify the players you draft – particularly in the early rounds
If you play in multiple leagues, don’t just draft the same players on all of your teams. Even if they are your favourite player. I learned this the hard way! I thought Robert Woods would be the top target of Matthew Stafford in 2021 so I picked him up everywhere (usually as my WR1). He was inconsistent and then got injured, affecting so many of my teams. It left me digging out of lots of massive holes!
This is something that can be particularly useful when drafting players in ambiguous situations. Having shares in all players means you may have some misses but you’re also likely to get some hits! If I had taken Kupp instead of Woods on some of my teams, I would have been in a very different (and much better) position.
Embrace the waiver wire – it doesn’t bite
For a first time player, the waiver wire can be a daunting prospect. FAAB (free agent acquisition budget) bidding makes things even more confusing. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and reluctant to make a move. Especially when you know everyone in the league will see the outcome. It took me a while to get to grips with the waiver wire. I missed out on a lot of breakout players early in the season because of it.
Don’t do what I did, jump in with both feet! Make bids on the players you think will contribute to your team. Don’t worry if you overpay or if it doesn’t work out. Everyone who has ever played fantasy has made the same mistakes (don’t believe them if they tell you otherwise). The best way to learn is through experience.
This works for everything you do in fantasy – the draft, the waiver wire, your roster management. The NFL and fantasy players are unpredictable. It’s good to have a plan but don’t be scared to deviate from it if needed. I think flexibility is one of the biggest keys to success. Things can (and probably will) go wrong. Being adaptable and quickly responding to the unexpected will minimise the damage, keeping your teams competitive. Winning is all about making those moves to stay ahead of your league mates.
Don’t be scared to reach out to more experienced players!
My knowledge and understanding of FF took a massive leap when I started talking to other people. Whether that was my league commissioner, league-mates, or content creators. I asked so many questions (I’m pretty sure they all hate me now, haha)! Despite this, they were all so willing to help, give me advice and share their knowledge. They helped me get better and a lot of them also became my friends. I still ask them lots of questions and I will continue to do so. It’s one of the ways I can get better. So reach out, say hello, ask them about their articles/rankings/opinions. I promise you, you won’t regret it!
Have fun with fantasy!
For me, fantasy football is not just about the game but also the community. Meeting like minded people with a passion for football and making new connections is one of my favourite things about this hobby. You don’t have to be a fantasy nut like me. Fantasy can be whatever you want it to be. Find the people you like to play with and the leagues you like to play in and have fun with it! It’s what we’re all here for after all!
If you’re new to fantasy and what to connect with someone who has recently been in that position, feel free to contact me on twitter: @hanrowland