I can remember playing Fantasy Football some 40 years ago with 5 of my junior high friends. Armed with old Sporting News and Sports Illustrated magazines, our chief strategy in the early years was to pick running backs first and keep an eye out for quarterbacks who also like to run near the goal line. In subsequent years, Cliff Carpenter’s Fantasy Football Guide became our bible, but the first couple of years were rough.
Our first draft took nearly 3 hours. The artistic one in our bunch converted our team names – like the Chattanooga Choo Choo’s and the Podunk Possums – into football helmet logos. If our Commish had a lot of homework, official game results for the week might come out on a Wednesday instead of the normal Tuesday.
Fantasy Football has come a long way. In 1988, the estimated number of fantasy sports players was just 500,000 people. Now, in 2015, according to the Fantasty Sports Trade Association (FSTA), 56.8 million people play fantasy sports in the U.S. and Canada. Some 73% (over 41 million) indicate football as their favorite fantasy sport. The FSTA further reports that the average annual spending on fantasy sports is $465.
With its growth in popularity, the resources available to Fantasy Football leagues has grown tremendously. In this pre-season round-up, we’ve identified some of our favorite Fantasy Football resources for leagues, owners and commissioners.
Fantasy Football – 7 Resources You Must Have
1. For League Management, the Draft and Record Keeping: ESPN
There are lots of resources out there to help you manage your draft, keep track of scoring and wins/losses records. Yahoo, the NFL, CBS and ESPN come to mind with their offerings. The consensus favorite in our circles is ESPN. This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, so make sure you get this one right. Available both on their website and as a mobile app, the interface for this tool is amazing. Even folks totally unprepared for the draft can make intelligent picks based on ESPN providing the best player available, the specific position player available, and a lot more. In one league we had 10 owners drafting from 8 different cities spread out across the U.S., and we completed our draft in about one hour and 10 minutes. The on-going stats, waiver wire info on players and user-friendly interface makes this app a no-brainer for any new league forming or folks who are looking for more from their Fantasy league management tool.
2. For coming up with Fantasy Football Team Names: Sports Feel Good Stories
Fantasy Football team names have taken on a life of their own. With the success of the fantasy football themed TV show “The League”, with its own set of memorable team names, team owners are spending more time on coming up with the right team name to project the image they desire. From “Mel Kiper’s Best Available” to “It’s Always Runny in Philadelphia”, Sports Feel Good Stories gives you 227 funny fantasy football team names to choose from. Don’t be that owner who spends too much time on the draft and not enough time on the team name.
3. To settle Fantasy Football Disputes – Sports Judge
Resolve your Fantasy Football League dispute fast, fairly and finally at SportsJudge Fantasy Sports. When both sides in your league agree to arbitration and pay a nominal fee – about $15 for a single dispute – these arbitrators will get back to you usually in 24 hours with their decision. When disputes arise related to trades, transactions, league rules and more; your own “Judge Judy” is ready to make a definitive call. Who would’ve thought a business like this would exist?
4. To recognize achievement and give owners the needle – Cranky Commissioner Fantasy Football Award Certificates
Fantasy Football is all about talking Smack, giving your friends the business and needling other team owners. There’s a certain science and art to doing it right. The Cranky Commissioner has recently launched a line of Fantasy Football Certificates that both enable you to recognize achievement and leadership with some certificates, while with others, poke fun at your competitors. Awards include the “Crybaby Award”, “League Champion”, “Worst Team Name”, “Trash Talker Award”, “Skunk of the Week”, and many more. All of the black text in the examples to the right are text fields that can be customized. Commissioners can choose to send this out weekly, at mid-season or at the season’s conclusion – or all three. Attach the awards to your emails, post them on Facebook or print and award them in person. You’ll have the tools to both reward team owners for achievement, and talk smack for fun. Don’t miss the opportunity. The Cranky Commissioner would have it no other way.
5. To prepare for the draft – CBS Sports.com Fantasy News
There are lots of great sources to prep prior to your FFL draft. We encourage you to check out many and see which experts resonate with you. Recognize there’s a lot of garbage out there, but you’ll also find some great insights. One of the more reliable sources we’ve found is CBS Sports. Get a read on which players are ranked at the top by position and if you dive in deep, you’ll also get a feel for some trends and other considerations as you make your picks.
6. To stay in tune with all of the Fantasy Football news throughout the season – Reddit.com/r/fantasyfootball/
With over 100,000 members, this is a great site to get a feel for what’s going on in the league, e.g. players to watch, players’ evaluations, hot teams, etc. If you need to get a new perspective on your starting line-up or you have one of those “Do I start Romo or Brees” questions, here’s a place to get some feedback and learn from the other discussions.
7. To find the best slogan for your fantasy football team – Sports Feel Good Stories
Your fantasy football team needs a great slogan to rally around. Choose from a boatload of football slogans including “Victory Requires Payment in Advance”, “Anticipate, Devastate, Dominate”, and “We don’t rebuild, we reload.” Send a message to other team owners that you’re not messing around this season. Come prepared with a clever team name and a motivational team slogan.