Fantasy sports are one of the fastest growing and most entertaining activities a person can in engage in today. Most people find themselves joining leagues with friends or family members but because they are inexperienced they lack the basic strategies needed to be competitive. While success is partially based on a combination of luck and research there are a few basic rules a new player should follow. All of the tips are based on 10 or 12 team leagues with standard scoring.

Do Not Backup a Stud Quarterback

If you spend a high draft pick on a stud quarterback (A. Rodgers, P. Manning, D. Brees) you may be tempted to back him up with a solid quarterback. Although, this at first sounds like a good idea there are a couple of things that you need to consider. Barring injury the only week you would start a backup QB would be on your starter’s bye week. If your starter is out with an injury for a few weeks a free agent QB with a good match up should hold you over until he returns. More often than not the difference between your backup and the best free agent QB is negligible. You are better off filling that backup spot with a WR or a RB, because there is a better chance of one of your three running backs or wide receivers getting injured.

Load Up on Running Backs and Wide Receivers

Your bench should consist of mostly running backs and wide receivers. These players are going to make up the core of your team and will usually determine your success. They have the highest upside and are most likely to get injured. If you have a top tight-end or defense you may need to drop an underperforming running back or wide receiver for a week. That will get you through a bye but once that player is back you can start them the rest of the season. Outside of the top ten tight-ends, defenses and kickers there is little difference in the scoring potential of the eleventh ranked player and the twentieth ranked player.

The Return of Injured Stars

Every season star players find themselves injured during training camp or a preseason game. After a couple of weeks these players fall off the radar until an observant owner picks them up. In some cases had these players not been injured they would have been high draft picks. Andre Brown, running back for the New York Giants is a great example of this. In his first game back he had 30 carries for 115 yards and one touchdown. Josh Gordon, wide receiver of the Cleveland Browns was suspended in his first two games of the 2013 season. Since week three Gordon has amassed 626 receiving yards (he also has 32 rushing yards) and three touchdowns, which in standard scoring leagues is 11.5 fantasy points per game ranking him tenth among wide receivers. He has better stats than Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson, Roddy White and Antonio Brown; not bad for a player you could have picked up off the waiver wire.

Watch Out for Fantasy Fool's Gold

Fantasy fool’s gold is when a player scores a large amount of points in a single week, but fails to reproduce those points during the rest of the season. In week seven of the 2013 NFL season Roy Helu (Washington RB) had eleven carries for 41 yards and three touchdowns. Anyone that jumped on the Roy Helu bandwagon would have been quickly disappointed because the following week Helu had five carries for 11 yards, and zero touchdowns. While all players are capable of having ups and downs Helu’s performance was predictable. Prior to week seven Helu only had three touchdowns during his two and a half year career. If you find yourself tempted to pick up a player that has an amazing week keep him on your bench until he proves that it was not a fluke.

Fantasy football is a great way to interact with friends and family. If you find yourself struggling to be competitive try some of these tips and if that does not help, remember that there is always next year.