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A rookie’s guide to picking a fantasy football league

Top site destinations to get you and your team to the top.

Just say you’ll always love me
Just say you’ll always love me

When online fantasy football gained popularity, almost all my friends wanted a piece of the action. I had always been the kind of fan that obsessed over how many yards Michael Vick could run or how many touchdowns Aaron Rogers could throw, but it wasn't until recently that I finally caved and joined the fantasy league craze. Entering a league for the first time can be very intimidating, but with the right league, first time players can easily convert into fantasy junkies (and less productive members of society). Several sites provide different experiences for various skill levels as well as tools for any player to dominate in their league. Fantasy League pairs up with television programs like Sportscenter, NFL Live and Fantasy Football Now to allow players to spend every second with their team. Sign-up is as simple as a link to a player's Facebook account. For rookies, taking the time to go over the rules of ESPN Fantasy is a must. Beginners may also find it beneficial to watch ESPN's Matthew Berry's introduction videos, which teach aspects of play stretching from selecting a league to picking available free agents. The site offers pre-season pointers, cheat sheets and video previews of top-projected performers which help in picking the most efficient team. Basic ESPN Fantasy League play is free, but to get the most out of the site, users will have to dig into their wallets and sign up for the perks of being an ESPN Insider. ESPN's Fantasy League mobile app also does an awesome job of condensing the larger site to help players keep tabs on their teams. The ESPN Fantasy League generally does a great job of integrating television, internet and mobile devices to create an enjoyable experience.

Naturally, the NFL offers its own fantasy football site, but unlike ESPN, they raise the stakes by offering the best players opportunities to win prizes—including tickets to Super Bowl XLVII. The site is free to sign up and play, but users can also play in a paid league which offers additional prizes like signed jerseys, game balls and authentic memorabilia. But, with bigger prizes comes a more difficult layout and the loss of free guides. The scoring system can also be confusing and complicated for new players, giving an advantage to those with more xperience. The site does offer some cool game-tracking features such as video highlights. Users can also watch NFL Fantasy Live every weekday and on Sundays to get the latest news and advice. The mobile app rivals ESPN's by including live scores, recent news and the ability to create and join leagues. While the league offers increased difficulty, there's a lot to like if fantasy junkies want to take their game to that next level.

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