The Basics of Fantasy Football with Fantasy Coach Alex

They say you can’t teach size and you can’t teach talent. That’s true. We can’t all be 6 foot 6, weighing 265 pounds with a 33 and half inch vertical leap and a 7 foot wingspan like Rob Gronkowski. Unlike the physical traits of an NFL athlete, fantasy football success can be taught. It is a skill you can learn, by applying the right set of tools and strategies. In this blog series, I will coach you through which tools and strategies to use, how they work, and when to use them so that you will be yards ahead of your fantasy competition.

You are probably wondering who is this Fantasy Coach Alex guy and why should I listen to him? In the words of the Rolling Stones, please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste. A wealth of fantasy football knowledge and a taste of fantasy football championships that is. I’ve been playing fantasy football since 2001. Yahoo! has made their fantasy ratings data from 2009 onward publicly available and since that time, I’ve gone steadily up from Silver (top 60th-80th percentile) to Platinum (top 95th-98th percentile), even flirting with Diamond this past year (99th percentile) falling just two points shy, with three 1st place and two 2nd place finishes over that time.

Why am I writing a blog about fantasy football? The reason is simple. After all of these years of reading fantasy articles, I realized that information about fantasy football strategy and how to win is almost nowhere to be found. There are endless articles ranking players, projecting statistics, and recommending which players to start over other players any given week. There are tools you can use, many of which cost money, that will simplify the game for you. However, you are not likely to find much information out there guiding you on how to succeed, beyond some general advice for the first two rounds of a standard draft, or if you are saavy, maybe a nugget about value based drafting. I aim to fill in this information gap for you.

This first post will describe the very basics of what fantasy football is and how it works. For the seasoned veterans out there, you may wish to skip ahead to the next post. Fantasy football lets participants simulate the role of a football team owner, choosing which real NFL players will play for your squad. The fantasy players on your roster will accrue fantasy points each week based on the actual performance of those NFL players in their games. Pretty simple right? Anyone can play, but not everyone will win their league. I’m here to give you a leg up on your peers.

Typical leagues consist of 8-12 participants, though this can vary greatly. The typical “Standard” league awards:

  • 6 points for a non-passing touchdown
  • 4 points for a passing touchdown
  • 1 point for every 10 yards of offense (excluding passing yards).

The Standard roster consists of:

  • 1 QB (quarterback)
  • 2 WR (wide receiver)
  • 2 RB (running back)
  • 1 TE (tight end)
  • 1 Flex (wide receiver or running back)
  • 1 K (kicker)
  • 1 DEF (defense)

There are many other settings for how points are scored, and many variations on the Standard league scoring settings and rosters. I’ve played in standard leagues and custom leagues. The main league I play in has many custom settings, so the majority of fantasy advice I find out there is not completely relevant or applicable to me, since it generally focuses on Standard leagues. That’s OK. The strategies I’ve learned throughout the years will allow you to adapt to any league scoring settings and roster compositions.

One clarification I wish to make here is that my blog series focuses on “Season long” fantasy football where you draft one team to maintain throughout the entire football season. This is the format that most people refer to when they talk about fantasy football. This is different from “DFS” (daily fantasy sports), where participants draft a team for a day, or in the case of football, for one week, and then the rosters all reset after that. It is important to understand this distinction.

Some of you may be wondering, if you should jump in and give fantasy a try. Maybe you have heard about it, but are too intimidated to start playing. I’m not here to convince you to play or not to play, that’s not the question. What I will do is list a few of the benefits:

  1. It will give you an invested reason to watch NFL games, making the game more fun and engaging even if your favorite team is not playing.
  2. You will gain knowledge about what is going on in the NFL, allowing you to participate in those water cooler conversations at your workplace or when hanging out with friends and family.

Fun facts:

  • The fantasy football industry ($7 Billion in revenue in 2017) is approaching the size of the NFL itself ($13.7 Billion in revenue in 2017), with an estimated 59 million fantasy players in the US and Canada.
  • Many active NFL players play fantasy football

Thanks for huddling up with Fantasy Coach Alex. Come back next time, where I will coach you through fantasy football player rankings.


Wilson, R. (2018, October 20). Fantasy football, the $7 billion industry. Retrieved from