Fantasy Football for beginners: How a league works

How to manage your team and who to target in your fantasy drafts this year

By Isaiah Miesle & Justin Malone, Guest Writers

People across America this week are drafting their own dream teams for one of the biggest events of the year: fantasy football season. 

The fantasy football season starts with a league-wide draft, where fantasy team managers select players they want on their team.

A fantasy team generally consists of a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, a “flex” option, a defense and special teams, as well as a kicker. 

Most leagues utilize a snake draft format, in which owners select players once it reaches their turn, and the draft order reverses each round. 

The success of their team depends on how well players perform in actual NFL games, as managers are awarded points for several actions their players commit. Some of these include players catching a pass, running the ball, throwing the ball or kicking a field goal. 

For example, if a quarterback throws for 175 yards in a game, they might gain 7 points that week towards the team total. This is because in most leagues, a quarterback gains a point for every 25 passing yards. However, players can also lose points if their players commit turnovers in a game. 

Tennessee Titans star running back Derrick Henry is one of the players you should target for your fantasy team this season. Last season, Henry topped 2,000 yards and will look to do so again in the 2021 season.

The points accumulated by all players contribute to a team total of points for that week. Managers face different teams in their league head-to-head each week and win that game if their team scores more points than the opposing team at the end of the week. 

If a fantasy team wins a game, they get a win for their record. Alternatively, if they lose, they get a loss towards their record. Fantasy teams that have a better overall record make the playoffs in their league; if they win each game in the playoff rounds, they win the fantasy league. 

Many notable rookies and players continue to develop their talents and stardom on the field and can help your fantasy dream team win the playoffs. 

Thinking about some draft choices this week will possibly make you forget about schoolwork, so we are here to help. 

Some players to target are Derrick Henry, the NFL’s leading rusher last year with the Tennessee Titans, or Stefon Diggs, the NFL’s top wide receiver last year with the Buffalo Bills. Diggs and quarterback Josh Allen should be a powerful duo this season, and Diggs’ fantasy value has risen because of this. 

Christian McCaffrey, who is highly regarded as the best player in the league by many—such as ESPN fantasy football analyst Matthew Berry — is another great option. 

Rookies to look out for include Trevor Lawrence, the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as Justin Fields, the Ohio State prospect who is now quarterback with the Chicago Bears. 

Although Lawrence and Fields might not be the best options for a fantasy team’s starting quarterback, they are good backups in case a starter gets hurt or struggles. 

The NFL season kicks off tonight with an exciting matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — the reigning Super Bowl champions —and the Dallas Cowboys.

The fantasy season starts now. Hopefully, you’re all set to draft a successful team.