How to play Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football

Take the field with Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football, the free game that gives you the chance to manage your own team of National Football League players from the regular-season opener right through the late-season playoff push.

Ready for kickoff? Let's get started!

Basics of Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football

When you sign up for your team and join (or create) a league, you'll take full control over every aspect of managing your team -- building and growing it just like a real NFL general manager.

Once the games begin, your team’s players will start earning fantasy "points" based on their real-life performances, and those points are what you use to compete against your opponents.

As you sit back and watch your team progress through the season, we'll do the heavy lifting of tracking stats, computing point totals, and updating your league's standings.

Below is everything you'll need to know about playing Fantasy Football
Hop around to learn the different aspects of the game (see the overviews in each sub-section too!). Strap yourself in and get ready to become a master.

Signing up

When you're ready to get started, go to the Fantasy Football homepage and click either Create a league to start your own league or Join a league to pick from leagues that have already been set up. If you’re the league’s commissioner and want to use the same league as last year, just click Renew league.

There are several types of leagues you can choose from, each one having between 4 and 20 other teams. Most of them are free, but our pay-to-play "Pro Leagues" will earn you big time cash payouts if you've got what it takes to finish in the league's top 3.

Once you've decided on a league, just fill in your information and you'll be on your way!

  Get the full rundown about the sign-up process (including all available league types and settings) in our Team and League Registration Overview.

Scoring points

Everything in Fantasy Football boils down to scoring points -- and how that happens depends on your league's scoring system (more on those later).

No matter which scoring system your league uses, your players score points based on their individual performances each week across several different statistical categories.

You can watch scores update in real-time using our live StatTracker, Fantasy Sports mobile app, your weekly matchup page, or even while just checking your roster.

  Since understanding scoring can make or break your season, check out our Scoring Overview to learn about the different scoring systems, categories, and settings.

Drafting your team

After you've signed up, the next step is preparing for your league's draft and selecting the players for your team's roster.

We've got draft types to suit any experience or skill level: live standard drafts, live auction drafts, offline drafts, and auto-pick drafts.

  If you're new to the game (or just need a refresher), get schooled on all things draft in our Drafting Overview.

Managing your roster

Building a championship caliber team takes more than just drafting the right players, it requires careful oversight of your roster throughout the season.

Your team's success rides on your ability to monitor and edit your lineup by starting or benching players as they go on hot streaks, fall into slumps, or get injured.

You've got the power to acquire new players through free agency or waivers, make trades with other managers, or drop players from your roster altogether.

  Get armed and dangerous with our Roster Management Guide and learn the tools of the trade.

Winning and league championships

You play to win the game, right? Well, maybe not everyone does, but winning is a nice added bonus and gives you a reason to gloat -- if that's your thing.

Depending on your league's scoring system, your road to the championship can go a couple different ways.

Winning and playoffs in Head-to-Head Leagues

Each week in Head-to-Head leagues, you'll be matched-up against a new team where the outcomes are determined by your starting lineup's performance in certain statistical categories.

At the end of the "regular season," the league's best teams (based on wins and losses in those matchups) will go head-to-head in the fantasy playoffs -- with the last team standing being crowned league champion!

Winning a championship in a Points Only Leagues

In Points Only leagues, it's every man (or woman) for themselves -- stats are tallied over the course of the entire season and the team with the most points when it's over takes home the championship.

Win one of our free, Public leagues and we'll give you a shiny trophy for your online Fantasy Profile, plus you'll be eligible for one of our Winners leagues next season. Win a paid "Pro League" and we’ll put some cold, hard cash in your pocket.

  Learn the specifics for winning in each type of league in our Winning a Fantasy League Overview.

Customizing your profile and team settings

Personalizing your team doesn't stop with how you put your roster or lineup together.

Over the course of the season, keep things fresh by updating your team's name, adding a custom logo, or even (in certain leagues) bringing in a co-manager to help control your team.

  Use our Profile and Settings Management Guide and learn how to add some flair to your online persona.

Commissioner tools for managing your league

Even though all leagues are operated by Yahoo Sports, every free Custom Fantasy Football league has it's own "commissioner" who presides over the league and governs certain settings and transactions.

The league commissioner has the power to do things like customize league settings, veto player transactions, invite people to join the league, and even ban/lock teams for cheating or breaking league rules.

  For a complete overview of what a commissioner can do (including how-to's), head over to our Commissioner Toolkit.