Whether for money or for pride, fantasy football is a lot of fun. Anyone can learn how to be a champ on the virtual field.
Step 1: Join a league Join a league before the season starts -- long before it starts. You will need a couple months to prepare for the season and to get an idea of who you want on your team.
Step 2: Learn the rules Learn the rules of your league. Every league has different rules. Do you need two wide receivers or three? Are you drafting individual defensive players? These are just a couple of the questions that you need to answer.
TIP: Keep in mind scoring rules, not just roster rules. Scoring options, like points per reception, can make a huge difference on draft day.
Step 3: Draft a team Draft a team at the beginning of the season. Use the knowledge that you gathered before the season started to decide who best fits on your team.
Step 4: Stay focused Stay focused. The NFL season is long and the fantasy season requires your attention week in and week out. You need to be mindful of injuries to your players and bye weeks, too.
Step 5: Study Study up. Your studying shouldn't stop after the draft. You never know what no-name player could become a fantasy stud, and you want to be the first to know his name and the first to pick him up off the waiver wire.
TIP: Don't get caught up in the idea that good fantasy players will play for good real teams. Sometimes the best fantasy player can come from an awful team.
Step 6: Look for trades Look for trades from opponents. The key is to make the other person feel like you are doing them a favor by taking that player off their hands and offering them something much better in return. If done properly, they will never know that you are stealing the championship right from under their nose.
FACT: ESPN's Fantasy Football Hall of Fame inducted its inaugural class in 2007.