All You Need to Know About When Fantasy Football Starts
Traditional, Season Long Fantasy Football
For season long leagues, fantasy football starts with the beginning of the NFL. Each leagues’ draft is held on an agreed upon date before the start of the season. That way, every team has time to get their lineups and strategy set, and to look over the other teams’ lineups and potential. (If they’re smart!)
Depending on your league, the draft order can be set in different ways. Some leagues choose to hold the draft early, and others choose to wait till close to the start of the NFL season. This way, they have as much information on the players they want to draft as possible. Often, in the offseason, there are key players rehabbing from the previous season’s injuries. Other key players may have been injured in the offseason, so their availability might still be questionable for the start of the season.
With that being said, draft orders are up to the league or their commissioner. There are random lottery drafts, draft orders based on where you finished the previous season, amongst others.
Once the season begins, it runs typically through the first 16 weeks of the season (leaving the last game out), and no new teams will be entered into the league. Many teams tend to rest their starters at the end of the season, with their playoff chances set by then. Therefore, the last game doesn’t offer much of an advantage to play (since most starters will not be playing, or playing as much).
Daily & Weekly Fantasy Football
If you missed the deadline for season long leagues, or if you just can’t get enough, there’s good news. In recent years, shorter leagues have grown in popularity. Sites such as DraftKings.com, offers daily and weekly leagues. This means daily and weekly payouts. DraftKings.com, as an example of popularity, has grown their site in just a few years to be worth close to $1 billion.
With these leagues, you can join at any time because they are constantly resetting and starting over. Every day or week is a new contest starting from scratch, with payout depending on your entry fee level. As opposed to season long leagues, where you’re simply assigned a max number of players per position to draft, these shorter leagues will typically implement a salary cap.
With that salary cap, you draft a team you can afford (based on their salaries in that league). There’s a little more ‘management’ in these kind of leagues because you can’t just simply pick the best player available. You’re experiencing the General Manager aspect of the sport in this situation, with the financial restraints they have to deal with.
If you’re new to fantasy football, the bad news is that you can’t join a season long league once the season starts. The good news is that sites like DraftKings.com offer daily and weekly leagues! Not having the commitment of an entire season offers some additional excitement and fun. Definitely worth checking out.