How to play Yahoo Fantasy Football

Take control of your very own team of National Football League players! From the first game to the end of the regular season you'll manage your team's roster and lineup, earn fantasy "points" based on your active players' real-life performance, and compete with other people in your league for the best accumulated "points" to be crowned champion. Use this guide to understand the basics and get ready for kickoff!

Decide if you want to be a Manager or a Commissioner

There are 2 active roles that you get to chose from before you start playing.

  • Manager - Everyone who plays Fantasy Football is a manager. Managers own a team of fantasy players and compete against other managers. They follow rules defined by Yahoo or a commissioner.
  • Commissioner - The commissioner (aka commish) is also a manager, because they'll play right alongside other managers, but they also own a Private League. This means they're in control of every setting and rule the league uses. In a way, they also manage the managers, since they can lock out or remove a manager for any reason. You can become a commish by creating your own Private League.

Find the scoring format that best fits your style

The scoring format defines how real-life player performance and stats translates into in fantasy "points." Fantasy Football has 2 different scoring formats.

  • Head-to-Head - Face off against a new manager each week for the best weekly stats. The manager who has the most weekly wins takes the crown.
  • Points Only - Specific stats translate to a static point system. Go up against your entire league all season long for the most accumulated points.

Review our Scoring Overview for a breakdown of each scoring type and more info.

Join a league with other managers

A league is simply a group of people playing and competing in the same game. There are several different types of leagues you can join or create. For the most part, the gameplay is the same, it's really just a matter of deciding who you want to play with and if you want to play for free or for a fee. You'll be able to take part in several leagues at once, if you like.

  • Public Leagues - Free leagues that you play with people from all over the world. These leagues use a number of default settings that can't be changed.
  • Private Leagues - Free leagues that you play with people you or the commish know. The commish gets to define every setting used and can customize quite a bit.
  • Pro and Cash Leagues - Pay an entry fee, play with public players or people you know, and the top finishers will earn a cash prize.

Review our League Overview for a breakdown of each league type and more info.

Draft players to join your team

After the league fills up with managers, a draft is held. Just like in real life, managers compete against each other to scoop up the best NFL players. There are few different draft types that can be used.

  • Live Standard Draft - Managers take turns adding players to their roster until all roster spots are full.
  • Live Auction Draft - Managers get a budget and take turns bidding on players until all roster spots are full.
  • Autopick Draft - An automated system that drafts players for managers based on a ranking system.
  • Offline Draft - A league conducts its draft however it wants and the commish enters the results into our system.

Review our Draft Overview for a breakdown of each draft type and more info.

Manage your roster and lineup

After the draft ends, the real game begins. You'll need to keep track of who has a game in real life and move your preferred players from the "bench" into an active position, as only active players earn you points. You can also add or drop players throughout the season to mold the perfect team, but there's a few things to keep in mind as you're shaping up your team.

  • Limited available spots - Your roster has a limited number of spots, so you'll often have to drop a player in order to add a new player.
  • Maximum transactions - Some Private Leagues limit the number of adds or drops you can make. Ask your commish if you're unsure what the limit is (or if there is one).
  • Waivers - Most leagues use our waiver system, which places a temporary freeze on dropped players. During this freeze, all managers on the team can place claims on the player (instead of having the first manager to see the player become available scoop them up). If multiple claims exist, a priority system is used to determine who gets the player.

Review our Roster and Lineup management article to learn more.

Customize your profile

Now that you know how to play Fantasy Football, personalize your profile to make it your own!