A Liberty student’s guide to fantasy football

Hey there, football fans. 

With the opening day of the NFL season coming fast, it’s time to jump back into Fantasy Football. Now, some of you may be asking, “What is Fantasy Football?” Well, I’m here to answer that question, as well as provide some  Do’s and Don’ts when drafting your team this season. 

Fantasy Football is the game within the game. It’s a fairly simple concept: you draft a fake team of real NFL players, and if the real players perform well, your team gets points. If your team gets more points than the other team, then you win! 

At the end of the season, the best teams are sorted into a bracket for the playoffs, and the winner of the playoffs wins it all. There are some complexities when it comes to scoring and how you move players around, but that’s the basis of the game. 

The most important part of the Fantasy Football season comes at the beginning with the draft. Each draft is different, whether it be formatted as a standard, auction or snake draft, but these guidelines apply to any type of draft in any type of league. That said, let’s get to it. 

This season has one of the deepest groups of talented and fantasy-relevant players going into the year. Because of this, you can afford to be patient in your draft, especially when it comes to drafting wide receivers. In most expert mock drafts and rankings, there is a large number of uber-talented receivers that fall to later in the draft, many of whom could be getting the largest workload on their team. 

In all of the mock drafts I’ve done or seen, the running backs always go off the board in the same way. In the first three rounds, there is a plethora of quality running backs to choose from, so you would be wise to try and get at least one, or maybe two, with your first three picks. 

After that, it’s a wasteland at the position. Between the end of round three and the start of round seven or eight, there are no running backs that I feel solid about betting on this season. So, when it comes to your running backs, grab some good ones early and wait for the cheaper ones later in your draft. 

Everywhere you look, there are Fantasy Football experts, analysts and predictors. There are multiple shows, podcasts, channels or articles about whom to take, not to take or to stay away from entirely. Try to find a reputable source of information and work with what they have. That said, don’t rely on the rankings of a website as if they’re the “end all be all” (For those who don’t know, the rankings are the little number next to a player’s name on a given draft site). So do some research – but also trust your gut. Fantasy can be a shot in the dark at times. 

This probably isn’t a surprise to any fantasy veterans, but it’s even more crucial this season. The better our sports technology gets, the more talent there is in the league. That can’t be seen more clearly than at the quarterback position. Of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, 17 of them are quality for fantasy. Since most leagues have between 8-12 teams, I’d recommend that you sit back and wait before grabbing a quarterback.

Tight end is one of the most overlooked positions in both fantasy and real football. You cannot afford to make that mistake in the early rounds of your draft this year. Of all the tight ends in football, only eight of them (Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, Darren Waller, Dalton Schultz, Dallas Goedert and TJ Hockenson) are falling in the top 90 of most rankings. Because of that, you cannot afford to let any of those eight pass you by. 

Just have some fun. Seriously, this is a game based on a sport where grown men bash into each other for three hours. Don’t take it too seriously and have some fun with it.  

Palsgrove is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter

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