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The beginner's guide to playing fantasy football

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So after months of being pressured by friends, family and coworkers, you've decided to take the plunge and join the crowd. You've decided to play fantasy football. It was either that or Pokemon Go. But the fear of walking into a telephone pole while staring at your phone made that a questionable proposition.

But now that you've made the commitment, you're probably wondering what you've gotten yourself into. You don't know your ADPs from your RBBCs. And snake drafts? No one mentioned anything about animals being involved. Relax, we've got you. Here are just a few things that will help guide you through your first season of fantasy football. Take these tips to heart and you'll be fantasy footballing like a pro.

Do your homework


Don't worry. You don't need to approach this like you're studying for the SAT, but you will need to do a little bit of research so that you're not going into your draft completely blind. For starters, check out our Draft Kit which is chock full of tasty research nuggets including rankings, sleepers, players to avoid and more.

Pro tip: Remember that rankings and projections are more of a suggestion than a rule.

Practice makes perfect


Just like the guys on the field, you can't expect to draft a great fantasy team without a little practice. Do yourself a favor and hop into a mock draft or two. This will give you a good idea of where certain players are going off the board as well as a chance to try out different draft strategies.

Pro tip: The draft stacks up differently from different spots in the draft order. Try doing mocks from various position to get a sense of how things could go.

Get your guys


Everyone has certain players that they are targeting for their fantasy squad. Maybe you think a certain player is primed for a big season. Maybe he plays for your favorite team. Maybe you just think he's a swell guy. Whatever the reason, you should go into your draft with a few names in your back pocket. If you really want any of those players, don't be afraid to draft them a little earlier than where the "experts" suggest. The point of this is that it's supposed to be fun. If cheering for certain players will enhance your fantasy experience, by all means, go for it.

Pro tip: There is such a thing as too early in some cases. It's not bad that you're targeting Carson Palmer. But you probably shouldn't target him in the third round.

Make some moves


The draft is just a portion of the fantasy football adventure. But to get the full experience, you'll need to stay involved throughout the season. That means checking the waiver wire and making trades to keep your roster strong. Eventually, your players are going to have byes, get injured or just not be as good as you thought they'd be. Don't stress, it happens to the best of us. The unpredictability is what makes it challenging. Just understand that the team you draft isn't likely to look like the team that finishes the season.

Pro tip: It doesn't take a big time commitment to keep your team strong. A quick check of waiver wire options on Tuesday is all it really takes. You can be a competent owner with about 10 minutes worth of work.

Enjoy yourself


Everyone wants to win a championship and winning is always a lot more fun than losing. But regardless of what happens to your fantasy team during the season, remember that this is all a game. It's not that serious. Please, please, please do not send angry tweets to players who had a bad week. Just relax.

Pro tip: Have fun and embrace the experience.

Good luck and be sure to come back to NFL.com all season long for plenty of advice and analysis!

Why wait? CLICK HERE to get your 2016 NFL Fantasy season started.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarcasG.

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