James, welcome to the world of fantasy football. Just a quick warning, it can be very addictive. I have been playing since the early 1990’s, before fantasy football websites were developed and we did the scoring using the newspaper. Now it is super simple to start playing.
You’ll want to join a league first. If you can find 9 (10 team league) or 11 (12 team league) friends who love fantasy football you can create your own league. I prefer playing with friends over strangers. If your friends aren’t into fantasy football than maybe you need new friends! J/K. You can join leagues on sites like ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sportsline, just to name a few. Most sites do not start offering their fantasy football leagues until closer to the start of the NFL season.
After joining a league you will hold a draft where you select your players. The players you select will earn points based off of how they perform in their game for the week. In head-to-head leagues you will play different teams each week, where the team that scores the most points will win. At the end of the regular season the teams with the best records will make the playoffs. In fantasy the playoffs usually start in Week 14 or Week 15, depending on how many teams are in your league. The teams then play each other for the next few weeks until one team is left standing. Those are the basics.
There are many different strategies for drafting, trading, acquiring free agents that you will learn over time. My advice is to research, research, research and then research some more! Starting in the next day or so I will start releasing my “very early” player rankings, with tight end being released first. After that I will tackle wide receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks. I will also be working on mock drafts and other articles leading up to the season that will help you in your first season of fantasy football. Keep an eye out for those articles.
I hope I answered enough of your question to keep you interested in playing fantasy football this season and I look forward to any other questions you may have!