How to Play Fantasy Football and Make $1,730

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How to Play Fantasy Football and Make $1,730

Anyone can play fantasy and make money while you’re doing it. 

If you rate yourself as above average (and this is an accurate assessment), chances are you can play fantasy and make money. 

Don’t believe me? 

I’ll take you through how I made $1,730 the first season I began playing fantasy for money. 

How you can make money playing fantasy

You don’t have to get one of the few jobs available as a paid fantasy analyst to make money. If you have a little bit of capital you can start this season. 

First you need to choose a platform that you enjoy playing on. There are a range of platforms you can use. The majority will have both paid leagues and free leagues.

If you want an easy to find leagues with paid players you can use either FFPC or NFC, both of which have apps, however they’re both not very user friendly. 

Although both FFPC and NFC make it easy to join paid leagues, the downside is the competition is experienced. 

This means you are less likely to finish in the money winning positions.  

My preferred app is the Sleeper App, it is the most user friendly, and although you have to proactively find leagues there is an advantage to this that we will discuss next. 

Select Your Leagues Wisely  

This is key to your success in making money playing fantasy. 

Don’t have all your eggs in one basket. Whatever your budget is, make sure you’re in at least 5 leagues to start. 

Loading up in one expensive league because it has a huge payout is risky and most likely a strategy that’s set to fail. 

Likely having a well balanced fantasy lineup of RB’s WR’s and an elite TE, you need to balance your budget across leagues.  

Firstly, I would recommend not joining a league with more than 12 fantasy managers. 

The reason for this is, no matter what anyone tells you, no matter who you are playing fantasy will always have an element of luck involved. 

No-one knows who the break-outs will be each year (The breakout players don’t even know this!). 

No-one knows who’s going to get injured, no-one knows which rookies will be booms or busts. 

If you’ve played fantasy before you’ll know that each year the champions in all leagues have a decent amount of help from lady luck. 

Why I Stay Away from the ‘Professional’ Fantasy Apps

You’re going to have a far better success rate if you play in paid leagues with fantasy amateurs rather than the pros. 

For example, let’s say you join a league with 10 players. If you do this in FFPC and NFC you’ll likely be playing 8 or 9 fantasy pros. 

However, joining a 10 team league on Sleeper you’ll find that there is a good chance that a large proportion of your league either haven’t played fantasy before, or just play in a few leagues for fun so haven’t done their research. 

This means that your true competition is maybe only half the league. If there are prizes up until third place this means you have a very good chance to at least finish third and breakeven. 

Sleeper even has a matchmaking service where you can find the exact type of league you want looking for players along with the entry fee.

That you are in a league with amateurs (normal people who just play fantasy for fun!) will become evident on draft day

Some key signs you’ll notice are things like older players (as in drafted to the NFL 5 – 10 years ago) are drafted ahead of young studs. 

In 1QB leagues they’ll take multiple QB’s early and although they’ll make some good picks you’ll see plenty of holes in their lineups. 

Playing amateur leagues means that you may only be playing 50% of fantasy managers who are going to draft a season winning team. 

This means in a 10 team league you will realistically be playing only 5 managers who are going to win the league. 

How to Choose a League

Know your game. Are you most familiar with PPR, Half PPR, or Non-PPR scoring

It’s best to stick as close to one as you can. This will help you manage multiple leagues. 

It’s ok for a league to have a few modifications to scoring such as Tight-End Premium, however if you jump between scoring too much you will make more mistakes during the course of the season. 

Don’t enter a league with more than 12 players. A 24 place guillotine league with a prize of $1,000 for the league winner does sound great, but you may as well play the lottery. 

My rule is to never enter a league that’s got more than 12 players. Anything more than 12 and luck will play too large a hand.  

Also look for leagues that have prizes for up to third place. You’ll find you can’t win every league, but you can at least break even by finishing third place. 

A bunch of second place finishes quickly add up. 

My favourite leagues are PPR, Dynasty, Superflex leagues. As I’m in so many leagues and have new drafts every year I prefer Dynasty than having to lose and redraft my players every year.  

Diversification is key

Next, you want to diversify. Like most investment advice, diversification will limit your exposure and help you profit from playing fantasy. 

What do I mean by diversification? I mean rather than playing a few leagues that have high buy-ins, play multiple leagues with lower buy-ins. 

Depending on your budget I’d recommend diversification split out as the below table shows:

Diversify your Teams

Don’t just diversify your leagues, make sure you don’t just draft the same players. This is a quick road to the bottom. 

I was high on Calvin Ridley last season, however, lucky for me I stuck to the diversification rule and only had him in a few leagues (Leagues I didn’t win!).

Change it up and play with different strategies. Maybe one league your Hero RB, the next you load up on RB’s in the early rounds. 

If you have high convictions on a player as I did with Ridley, still make sure you don’t take them in all your leagues.   

If you have a list of players to stay away from, that’s usually ok, however that too can backfire. Deebo Samuel was on my list to stay away from so I didn’t draft him in any leagues!    

Ensure Probability Outweighs Luck

This is where selecting your leagues and diversifying wisely comes in. No matter how good people tell you they are at fantasy a lot of it comes down to luck. 

No-one wins every league they’re in so the best you can do is tilt the luck in your favour by playing the probabilities (ie not playing with the pros and diversifying).       

How did I make $1,730 playing fantasy?  

Let’s get into the how. Here’s a breakdown of all the leagues I entered along with the cost to enter and payouts. 

Total Profit: $1,090

As you can see out of the 10 leagues I entered I only won 3, yet I still made a decent profit. 

This is due to following the rules we’ve discussed earlier and putting probabilities into play over luck. 

What did I do with the winnings? 

I took my original $640 out and the remaining $1,090 is going to be used to invest in more leagues. 

This will continue my diversification with the goal of compounding more winnings into the future. 

The rules I stick to summarized  

  1. Select your leagues wisely. 
  2. Don’t join leagues with the ‘Pros’. 
  3. Don’t join a league with more than 12 players. 
  4. Make sure your league has 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes. 
  5. Pick a format and stick closely to it in all your leagues. 
  6. Diversification is key – Multiple leagues with different lineups.   


To conclude, I’m no fantasy genius. I accept the rules of the game and that luck is going to pay a huge part. 

To try and counter this I aim to tilt the probabilities in my favour. 

Did you know that professional sports gamblers aim for a win rate of 55%? That should be all you need to be profitable in playing fantasy for money. 

I don’t think this is going to replace your day job, but I think of it as a profitable, fun side-hustle. 

The way I see it, I would play fantasy for free so why not try and get paid for it? 

I’m going to ‘let it ride’ as they say on the craps table. 

So let’s see if this was a lucky run, or have successfully turned fantasy football into a profit?

I’ll post the numbers at the end of the season.

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How to Play Fantasy Football and Make $1,730