Best Free Fantasy Football League Hosts
Any diehard fantasy football fan has an opinion about the various websites available to play the game. As the most serious fan amongst your group of friends, it’s ultimately up to you to make the decision on where to play. Each site seems to have its own benefits but who has time to participate in a league from every website? That’s right, of course, I do.
If you’re looking for a list of features, it’s best to go to that site and see specifically what they offer. For our purposes, I’m going to focus on the big players in the fantasy football world: ESPN, Yahoo!, NFL.com and CBS Sportsline. If you need a fully customized experience, you’re probably going to have to pay for it. If that’s the case, I recommend MyFantasyLeague.com. The site isn’t the prettiest thing to look at but you can control everything about your league: From the layout, to the stats and everything in between.
I know the idea of paying for a site to host your fantasy football league sounds nutty to some of you, so let’s just focus on the free sites mentioned above.
First off, no disrespect to CBS or NFL.com but each site struggles for very different reasons.
CBS’ problems boil down to the look, design and navigation of their site. They try to cram a whole lot on every page which just doesn’t appeal to me. There are articles, links, other fantasy games, ads and other CBS promotional material all over the place. You know how when you watch a game on CBS and they seem to constantly plug their own shows? It’s like that, but on your league homepage.
Also, their online draft is just lacking. It runs fine, there are no bugs but I just didn’t enjoy the look of it. When I have to spend two hours staring at the draft interface, it needs to be good and real good. I also didn’t like their player rankings very much in the draft, but that’s something you can tweak before it starts.
NFL.com has the opposite problem. The coverage is thin, the draft interface is cluttered with ads, wait let me interrupt myself here. I did a draft on NFL.com about a week ago and there were three big Papa John’s advertisements staring me right in the face for about 90 minutes. That’s not fair. Maybe I need to go on a diet, okay, I do, but what man can stare at a pizza for 90 minutes and not think, “Hm, I could go for a pizza!” But I digress.
The youngest of the big four sites mentioned here, NFL.com suffers from still not quite having enough features. The navigation is simple but that’s because there isn’t much else to look at. For whatever reason, the NFL hasn’t invested enough money in a full writing staff. This leaves their design feeling a bit empty. When just as much space is used to sell pizza and to promote their own content, there’s a lot of white space that could be used to show details about the league, or hey, the NFL and its players.
The NFL really needs to put some of its money to work to promote their game because it has potential.
Ultimately, this is a battle between two sites: Yahoo! and ESPN.