When does fantasy football start ? Fantasy football has become an instrumental part of how and why we watch the NFL. The process of preparing for the upcoming season starts well before the games, though. So, when does the 2023 fantasy football season start?
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When Does Fantasy Football Start in 2023?
In terms of statistical accumulation and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), the fantasy football season starts when the NFL season begins on Sept. 7. However, for those of us playing in fantasy football leagues, we’ve got lots to do well before then.
The most common fantasy football format will always be redraft. Major fantasy platforms like Yahoo, ESPN, and Sleeper open up for league formation as early as April. Those leagues have been forming all offseason.
While there are often predraft processes and things to iron out for your league, the fantasy football season truly kicks off when your fantasy draft occurs. Typically, that will be in late August/early September.
The two most popular fantasy draft weeks are the week before and after Labor Day. This year, Labor Day is Monday, Sept. 4. You can expect the vast majority of drafts to occur between Aug. 25 and Sept. 6, with the weekends of Aug. 25-27 and Sept. 1-4 as the most popular draft dates.
There’s a very good reason we see drafts occur during this roughly two-week period. Fantasy managers need to get their drafts in before the season starts but prefer to wait until after the preseason ends, removing any risk of players getting hurt between your draft and the start of the regular season.
Labor Day weekend is especially popular because of the three-day weekend, giving people an extra day off from work. Given that Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, that is often a light work week, affording fantasy managers time to dedicate to drafting their fantasy teams.
Of course, there’s no rule about when you need to conduct your fantasy draft. Technically, you could draft the day after the Super Bowl if you wanted to. But the later you do it, the more information you have at your disposal.
Dynasty and Best Ball Fantasy Football Is Already Underway
Dynasty fantasy football can’t ever start because it never ends. Dynasty startup drafts occur at various points throughout the offseason but often are held much earlier than redraft leagues hold their drafts.
The situation is often the same for rookie drafts. Managers hoping to use their college football knowledge to beat the competition will push for drafts to take place as early as possible, sometimes even before the NFL Draft.
However, there is frequently a bit of a moratorium on activity, even in dynasty leagues, during the period following the conclusion of the NFL regular season and the start of free agency. As very little typically goes on in the NFL, managers take the time to step back from the 24/7/365 fantasy grind and relax a bit.
Once free agency hits in March, and more importantly, following the NFL Draft in late April, that’s when dynasty season really kicks into high gear. At that point, NFL rosters are pretty much set. Other than the occasional late-summer signing or training camp injury, not much is going to change in terms of fantasy-relevant personnel.
Best Ball fantasy football is in a similar situation regarding a 2022 start date. Best Ball leagues can be drafted all year. This includes during the season itself. In-season Best Ball formats can be either one-off weekly games or longer formats spanning the remainder of the season.
When it comes to Best Ball leagues for the upcoming season, some even start immediately following the conclusion of the regular season. Others see the Super Bowl as the time to look ahead to the next season.
After the conclusion of the first wave of free agency — or the end of NFL draft weekend — is when a number of eyes turn back to Best Ball fantasy football for the upcoming season.
Since Best Ball leagues don’t require any action by fantasy managers after the draft, they are an excellent way to satisfy that draft itch while not burdening yourself with more teams to manage throughout the season. They are most popular toward the middle part of the fantasy offseason.
When does the fantasy football league start in 2023?
Fantasy Football leagues can open at any time, but they truly start on draft day. The fantasy draft sets the tone for the rest of the season. Drafts can be hosted at any time during the NFL offseason, but it’s most beneficial to wait as long as possible. August is really draft season for fantasy. The later the better.
Fantasy Football League Start date: How long is fantasy football standard season?
Standard and traditional Fantasy Football leagues feature drafted teams that face off against each other each week in a head-to-head matchup. The first matchup of the season lines up with Week 1 of the real NFL season. Fantasy teams will have a new opponent each week as they attempt to accumulate a good enough record to punch their ticket to the fantasy playoffs.
Fantasy playoffs often take place during the late weeks of the NFL regular season. Fantasy leagues will also usually eliminate Week 18 to avoid NFL players sitting out in preparation for the NFL playoffs. This means fantasy championship games often occur during Week 17 of the NFL season, with the playoffs taking place during the weeks leading up to it.
Is fantasy football all year round?
While traditional season-long fantasy leagues mostly just take place during the NFL regular season, there are always available formats at any time of the year. Fantasy leagues for the NFL playoffs are now widely available, while Dynasty leagues are more popular than ever. In dynasty formats, the league includes an offseason similarly structured to the real NFL offseason.
What month does fantasy football end?
Traditional leagues conclude at pretty much the same time as the NFL regular season at some point in early January. Playoff leagues continue until the conclusion of the Super Bowl in February. Dynasty leagues don’t have an end date, conducting an actual offseason like the NFL does.
When Is the Perfect Time to Hold Your Fantasy Football Draft?
With summer upon us, an age-old question is once again raised which has plagued mankind for many years.
“When are we having our fantasy football draft?”
There are a ton of things to consider when trying to decide when to hold your draft
Of course, at the most basic level you need to think about when people are available, potential locations and when they can be used, as well as making sure the rules for your league are ready to go and that everyone is clear on them.
The last thing you want is for someone to take issue with a rule or scoring method at the draft. So make sure all the owners in your league understand how the league runs and bring up any issues they have well ahead of time.
By the way, just because your league has been around for a few years, don’t think a little reminder of how things get done isn’t be necessary. A refresher is always helpful.
Plus, it’s always good to get a sense of how people are feeling about the scoring and rules and see if anyone has some ideas for improvements.
Once all that is done, you have to figure out the “when” of your draft.
I’ve already been in one draft and will be starting a “slow” auction just after the Fourth of July.
I have found this to be pretty early for most leagues, though I do see the attraction of it. A super-early draft really puts your knowledge of the NFL to the test. You had better be up on OTAs, minicamps and all the offseason moves, as well as what they mean.
The issue with having a draft so early is very simple. You add an extra element of luck to a game which already can be filled with it.
So many injuries, surprise cuts and sudden roster reversals happen during training camp and preseason games that even the most informed fantasy player can get caught short.
On of the most recent examples of this would be Matt Flynn losing the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback job to Russell Wilson. Most thought that Flynn, who had signed a big contract with Seattle that offseason, would walk into the job, but that was not to be.
Early-drafting fantasy owners got quite a bit of a shock when they discovered Flynn was a wasted pick.
Of course, the challenge is to have a deep enough roster to survive such an event, but it can be unnecessarily hard for newer players or casual fans.
Meanwhile, some people like what I term the “very last minute fantasy draft.” These drafts take place right before the first game, sometimes the same day as and in a few cases, after that first game. I have never seen the attraction of that last option, but some people seem to find it a lot of fun.
The upside for this is that you have every shred of information on every player and can make a tremendously informed pick with no surprises.
The downside of this, though, is not having any time for owners to make any trades or work the waiver wire before the first game.
For me, the sweet spot is the last two weeks of August.
Why? Well, you get the benefit of having all of training camp over with, so you know who has a starting job, who is healthy and who isn’t. Sure, you can get suckered into drafting a player who got hot in camp or the preseason and then won’t show up on Sundays, but that’s part of the challenge.
Knowing the difference between a hot camp player and a soon-to-be-successful starter is part of managing a successful fantasy team.
By the end of August, you also have seen some preseason action.
This is both good and bad. As with camp, preseason games can lie to you as teams run very vanilla plays both offensively and defensively, which makes it hard to get the true measure of either.
However, there is still information to be gleaned from those games and a late August start to your league allows you time to see the first two or three preseason matches, which is where you can still get a ton of information.
You can see who is still dealing with injury or how a player is adjusting to an offense. You can see which young players might be seeing more time on the field, which can give you some ideas for a late round “flier”.
A late August draft also has some advantages from a purely logistical standpoint as well.
You have plenty of time to plan, lots of time to make sure everyone is on the same page and plenty of time to deal with anyone who has to drop out.
There is also the advantage of giving your league some time to work the waiver wire or make trades.
If you have the draft too close to the start of the season, there’s no time for those things before the year kicks off. Sure, you can still do all that during the season, but I’ve always felt it’s more fun to have a little time for trading and maneuvering before the first kickoff.
In the end, the right time for your fantasy draft is likely to be a little different than another league’s. You need to find out what works best for your group and go with it.
There really is no right or wrong time.
Unless you do it differently than I do it, in which case you’re probably wrong.
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