Maybe this sounds familiar: Every year in late summer, the sports fanatics around the office form a fantasy football league. And every year, you eagerly sign up only to become discouraged after your first bad loss.
You don’t know much about pro football, so – convinced you can’t hang with the big boys – you give up. You watch your neglected team sink sadly to the bottom of the rankings, along with your pride.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
You don’t have to be a football fanatic to build a successful fantasy franchise. With a few simple tips, even a rookie can field a competitive – dare we say, formidable – fantasy football team.
Here are five basic rules to get your fantasy team started off right and keep it on track for a league-shattering playoff run.
Rule #1: Start with a great running back.
Philosophies differ, but the rule of thumb is to use your first draft pick on a great running back. Running backs are generally the most productive scorers, and if you can snag one who’ll catch a few touchdown passes, that’s even better.
Rule #2: Look for a good QB/WR tandem.
This is a great way to rack up big points. By drafting a quarterback and wide receiver from the same team, you’ll score double when they hook up for long passes and touchdown plays.
Rule #3: Beware of bye weeks.
There’s nothing worse than checking your fantasy lineup to find that half of your team isn’t playing. As you choose players, check their bye weeks to ensure you’ve got a complete starting lineup available for each week of the season.
Rule #4: Use trades and free agents.
Building a championship-caliber fantasy team doesn’t stop after the draft. Through trades and free agents, you can continue to improve your team all season long. Look at undrafted players for emerging talent, and scan your opponents’ rosters for good trades.
Rule #5: Watch the games.
If you’re not a football fan, there’s no better way to become one than by managing a fantasy football franchise. You’ll learn a lot about the sport, and because you have a vested interest in your players’ performance, you’ll enjoy watching the games much more.
So now that you have a solid basis on which to build your franchise, peruse the pre-season player rankings and start your draft day wish list. Once you score a couple of beatdowns in the first few weeks of the season, you’ll be well on your way to establishing cred around the office.
Now suit up and go get ‘em!