With fantasy football season around the corner, there are no shortage of websites to either find or host a fantasy league. The key to finding the right league depends on what you are looking for in 2017.
If you are looking to join a free league with a draft happening every few minutes, ESPN, NFL.com, CBS Sports and Yahoo Sports are all good starting points. These are also good options if you are looking for a free way to host a basic redraft fantasy league for your friends and co-workers.
While it is hard to go wrong with most fantasy sites, Heavy is here to explain the differences in some of the main sites. Certain sites will be a better fit for you depending on what you are looking for.
Here’s a look at the best fantasy football sites for 2017.
No. 1 ESPN
Since ESPN’s re-design of their fantasy app a few years ago, it has become one of the most user-friendly services available. I have hosted my home league on ESPN for several years, and a big reason for this decision is the app. Most players conduct all their fantasy business on their phones.
Pairing the ESPN fantasy app with watching NFL games on Sunday is a beautiful user experience. There are plenty of team logo options including popular ESPN personalities like Jon Gruden. Setting your lineup, making waiver claims and watching the live scoring of your fantasy matchup are all intuitive on ESPN.
It is worth noting ESPN has switched to PPR (point per reception) as its new default for standard leagues. Commissioners still have the option to customize their scoring format.
There was that time the entire site crashed during the first week of the season. Let’s hope that does not happen again.
No. 2 My Fantasy League
What My Fantasy League lacks in visual appeal, the site makes up for with a comprehensive amount of options to play fantasy football. MFL’s best ball leagues are especially popular during the long NFL off-season as fans want to do fantasy drafts with a little more at stake than a typical mock draft. Best ball allows you to draft a team with no maintenance during the season.
Where My Fantasy League really shines is with its customization. For example, one league I am part of limits the player pool to players who have been in the NFL four years or less. From dynasty leagues to redraft, MFL gives you plenty of options to host your league or simply find an existing one. If you decide to host your league on My Fantasy League, be aware there is a host fee.
MFL consistently tweets out league openings which is helpful if you are looking for a league to join. The site is not as mobile friendly as some of the other options on this list.
No. 3 NFL.com
NFL.com offers a few unique features for users. One of the main advantages of playing on the league’s website is the access to highlights of big plays in real time. If Antonio Brown is on your team, you will get video alerts when Brown makes a big play. The site is touting a brand new redesign. Here’s how NFL.com describes what they are offering for the 2017 fantasy season.
Completely redesigned, the new NFL.com Fantasy Football experience was built from the ground-up to suit all types of fantasy players, regardless of experience or skill. Fantasy rookies will enjoy the user-friendly experience and fantasy football fanatics will enjoy ground-breaking features. Sign-up is easy and NFL.com Fantasy Football is absolutely FREE to play.
There is also the Fantasy Genius feature which allows fantasy owners to use crowd sourcing to make decisions. There is a “Rate My Team” feature where owners can get feedback on their roster. Fantasy players can also get feedback on potential trades as well as start/sit decisions.
No. 4 Yahoo Sports
Here is a rundown of the new features Yahoo Sports is boasting for the 2017 season: live stats, league chat, pro leagues, improved league invites, updated commish tools, improved mobile app and league trophies.
There seems to be a great divide between fantasy football players between ESPN and Yahoo. Most fantasy owners have their preference, but both sites offer a good user experience.
While both offer unique features, both sites shine with their mobile apps. Yahoo’s league chat could give the site an advantage depending on its functionality during the season. Most leagues end up either using a group text or apps like GroupMe.
For those looking to join a money league, Yahoo offers leagues with entries ranging from $20 to $500.
No. 5 Fantrax
Like My Fantasy League, Fantrax shines with its customization. Fantrax is also one of the few sites where you can play college fantasy football. One of my leagues has a devy component where you can draft college players, and carry them over to your NFL team.
Fantrax just underwent a face lift which has allowed for a much friendlier user experience on both mobile and desktop. If you are looking to start a unique league, Fantrax is one of the best sites to use. Some of these options include allowing multiple owners on teams as well as customizing auto-picks. Fantrax is particularly useful for slow drafts conducted over several weeks.