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Yahoo Fantasy Football: 4 Strategies to Win

By Jared Smola | Updated on Wed, 15 May 2024 . 4:46 PM EDT

Simple hacks to give yourself a winning advantage in your Yahoo fantasy football leagues:

What is Yahoo fantasy football?

Yahoo is one of the most popular and longest-running fantasy football hosts on the internet. Their free service launched in 1999 and currently has an estimated 7 million users.

Between its longevity and legacy, Yahoo fantasy football is the second-most popular place to host a league behind only ESPN.

There are plenty of reasons to give Yahoo fantasy football a try:

  • Users have access to extensive league history information
  • The mobile app gives users access to streaming NFL games
  • Options to participate in daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests
  • Tons of dedicated fantasy football content directly on the website and app.

If you're looking for a new platform for your league, talk to your league mates about Yahoo.

A quick overview of Yahoo fantasy football

Commissioners who set up new leagues on Yahoo don’t have the same wide-ranging options of customization that other platforms offer.

A Yahoo league can choose to play with individual defensive players (IDP), but that’s about as far as it goes.

TIP

This limited flexibility in league scoring/set up options can actually play to your competitive advantage. In other words – you can use Yahoo’s basic scoring format to pummel your competition with a few simple tactics. Keep reading to learn how… 

Here are the basic, standard rules of Yahoo fantasy football:

  • 10 teams
  • Half-PPR scoring
  • 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 flex, 1 DST, 1 K, 6 bench spots, 2 injured reserve (15 players total, up to 17)

Unlike ESPN leagues, Yahoo fantasy football comes pre-set with injured reserve (IR) spots for injured players. This feature is crucial in the strategy of fantasy managers that we’ll touch on later. 

And as we discussed before, the Yahoo fantasy football app delivers timely, relevant information directly to users on its platforms.

There are a ton of reasons to choose Yahoo as the home of your fantasy football league.

The real question is:

If you and all your league mates get spoon-fed identical fantasy info from Yahoo, are you really gaining any competitive advantage?

Probably not. But that's where we come in.

Our experience and research shows some ways you can game the system … and come home with the title in your Yahoo fantasy football league(s):

Still plotting out your plan to dominate your league?

1. Take advantage of Yahoo’s average draft position (ADP) values

Because Yahoo has so many long-running leagues on the platform (dating back several years), their user base tends to be behind the curve on the latest trends of fantasy football strategy.

And you can use that to your advantage. For example:

Yahoo ADP routinely pushes down the true value of the TE position while also inflating the true value of QBs.

In other words, they’ll give you and your league mates ADP information suggesting you should value two critical positions in your lineup differently than their actual value.

That's a dangerous approach to playing Yahoo fantasy football, especially considering most leagues only start one QB and one TE. You don't want to improperly value a "start one" position.

Follow Yahoo’s ADP player values and you’ll be stuck following the “herd” – relying heavily on the same content and information that Yahoo provides to everyone for free.

Doing the same thing as everyone else doesn’t feel like a great way to get an edge, does it?

Stop following what your league mates are doing.

Check out our award-winning ranks and see how they compare to Yahoo ADP:

2. Churn the end of your bench on game day

Unlike ESPN or other fantasy platforms, the standard system of Yahoo fantasy football doesn’t lock your bench on game day once the early slate of Sunday games kicks off. 

That lets you be far more creative with your bench.

Got a player who’s not really serving a purpose? Drop him after the 1 p.m. games kick off for an upside handcuff RB.

If the starter ahead of him goes down, you’ve already beaten your league to next week’s hot pickup.

If the starter doesn’t go down? You can just drop the guy you picked up for a similar handcuff type in a later game.

Play this “waiver wire lottery” on a weekly basis and you’re bound to come away with at least one winning ticket.

3. Finesse the waiver wire/injured reserve (IR) game

Injuries are a complicating reality in both real-life football and fantasy football. 

Navigating your way through these hurdles is essential to maintaining a strong roster and giving your team(s) the best chance at securing a title.

That’s why Yahoo fantasy football platform allows you to stash injured players in an “IR” spot on your roster.

If you do that – we’ve figured out another way to maximize your roster flexibility in Yahoo fantasy football. 

Assuming you have a player stashed on IR, here’s the hack:

  1. Set your waiver wire requests before the mid-morning on Tuesdays during the NFL season.
  2. Around mid-morning on Tuesday, the standard function of the Yahoo system changes players designated with “IR” or “OUT” status in the prior week, back to “healthy” for the upcoming week.
  3. Typically, the system would require last week’s IR player to be removed from the coming week’s IR spot.
  4. However, if you set your waiver wire requests around mid-morning on Tuesday – and before Yahoo flips players from “OUT/IR” to “healthy” – you can leave these players on IR and waivers will still process with your healthy players still stashed on IR  

Essentially, you can effectively use the IR spots to extend your bench for a couple of days by gaming the timing on the system reset.

If you roster a couple of players dealing with or coming back soon from injury, you can tuck them away and still add other players to your team.

4. Live-sync your draft to Yahoo’s fantasy football platform

Imagine a dynamic cheat sheet that tracks changing player values in real time. Live – while you draft your Yahoo team.

We call that draft tool our Draft War Room (DWR). 

First, it live-syncs to your Yahoo league. That means players come off your DWR draft board in real time.

On top of that, it tracks 17 key value indicators to calculate how value each player is based off YOUR Yahoo fantasy football league's settings:

1. League scoring 2. Positional value
3. Your team needs in every round
4. Opponents team needs in every round
5. Changing positional scarcity 6. Player upside
7. Bust risk 8. Injury risk 9. Breakout likelihood
10. Correlated ADP11. Bye week conflicts12. 35-site consensus rankings
13. Flex options 14. Bench depth 15. Personalized projection adjustments
16. Position tiers17. Strength of schedule

At the end of that checklist – the DWR highlights player suggestions for you in each round.

Think your Yahoo fantasy football competition is using a tool this powerful? This simple? Absolutely not!

Still curious how these values are calculated?

Our Draft War Room is one of the MANY tools you'll get access to as a DS Insider.

Whether you play in redraft leagues, dynasty, DFS, or best ball, Draft Sharks is your one-stop shop for award-winning fantasy analysis.

Sign up for your DS Insider membership today and unlock all of these powerful tools.

Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
Other rankings are stale  before the 2nd round.

Draft using the best dynamic tool in the industry. Our fantasy player valuations (3D Values) change during your draft in response to...

  1. Exact league settings - direct sync
  2. Opponent and Team Needs
  3. Positional scarcity & available players
  4. Ceiling, injury risk, ADP, and more!

You need a dynamic cheat sheet that easily live-syncs with your draft board and adapts throughout your draft using 17 crucial indicators.

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