When Does Fantasy Football Start in 2024?

When does the 2024 fantasy football season start, and does it vary across the different fantasy platforms that are available?

Fantasy football has become inextricably intertwined with how we as fans consume the NFL. The process of preparing for the upcoming season starts well before the games, though. So, when does the 2024 fantasy football season start?

When Does Fantasy Football Start in 2024?

In terms of statistical accumulation and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), the fantasy football season starts when the NFL season begins on Sept. 5. But for those of us playing in fantasy football leagues, our “season” starts well before then.

The most common fantasy format will always be redraft. Major fantasy platforms like Yahoo, ESPN, and Sleeper open up for league formation as early as April. Yahoo activated its 2024 game in late April.

Leagues will form every day until the season starts. While there are often pre-draft processes and things to iron out for your league, the fantasy football season truly kicks off when your fantasy draft occurs.

The most common time for fantasy drafts is the last weekend of August and the first weekend of September. Since the season starts early this year, the second-to-last weekend of August will likely see heavier draft volume than normal.

This season, those main draft weekends occur from Aug. 23-25 and Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, which includes Labor Day.

There’s a very good reason we see drafts occur during this roughly two-week period. Fantasy drafts must be completed before the season starts. However, fantasy managers prefer to wait until after the preseason ends to remove the potential risk of injuries to players. That provides a relatively small window to conduct a large number of drafts.

Labor Day weekend is especially popular because it’s a three-day weekend, giving people an extra day off from work. Given that Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, it’s often a light work week, affording fantasy managers time to dedicate to drafting their teams.

Of course, there’s no rule about when you need to conduct your fantasy draft. Technically, you could draft the day after the Super Bowl if you wanted to! But the later you do it, the more information you have at your disposal.

Dynasty and Best Ball Fantasy Football Is Already Underway

Dynasty fantasy football has no start date because it has no annual end date. Dynasty startup drafts occur at various points throughout the offseason but typically are conducted much sooner than redraft leagues hold their drafts.

The situation is often the same for rookie drafts. Managers hoping to use their college football knowledge to beat the competition will push for drafts to take place as early as possible, sometimes even before the NFL Draft.

There is frequently a bit of a moratorium on activity, even in dynasty leagues, during the period following the conclusion of the NFL regular season and the start of free agency. Given the lack of activity in the NFL, combined with burnout from a long season, managers take a step back from the grind for a bit.

Once free agency hits in March, and more importantly, following the NFL Draft in late April, that’s when dynasty season really kicks into high gear. At that point, NFL rosters are pretty much set. Other than the occasional late-summer signing or training camp injury, not much is going to change in terms of fantasy-relevant personnel.

KEEP READING: What is a Dynasty League? How To Get Started, Tips, More

Best Ball fantasy football is in a similar situation regarding a 2024 start date. Best Ball leagues can be drafted all year, including during the season itself. In-season Best Ball formats can be either one-off weekly games or longer formats spanning the remainder of the season.

Platforms like Underdog opened up their 2024 game right after the 2023 regular season ended. As a result, drafts have already been taking place for months, but they don’t really pick up steam until the summer.

Since Best Ball leagues don’t require any action by fantasy managers after the draft, they are an excellent way to satisfy that draft itch while not burdening yourself with more teams to manage throughout the season. They are most popular toward the middle part of the fantasy offseason.

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