Today I'm going to show you how a fantasy football magazine can give you the edge necessary to out-perform your fellow fantasy owners on draft day. In this review of the best fantasy football magazines of 2020, I'll break-down the top draft guides in the industry and detail what makes each of them unique and valuable.
Every draft magazine has its strong and weak points. My goal in this article is to arm you with the knowledge necessary to buy a magazine that closes your knowledge gaps and gives you the best chance for success at your live fantasy drafts.
Fantasy football magazines are great for draft preparation, but sometimes you need more. If you're looking for a more comprehensive research package (video player reviews, interactive rankings tools, a mobile app, etc), check out the Ultimate Draft Kit. If you want more details, I reviewed the Fantasy Footballers Ultimate Draft Kit in another article.
Comparing the Top Fantasy Football Magazines
Here is a list of the top-rated fantasy football magazines I will review in detail below. You can click on any of these links to quickly check their current price on Amazon.
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Is Your Football Knowledge a Bit Dated?
When it comes to fantasy football preparation, some owners who follow the NFL closely year round. They examine the NFL draft, team news, free agent acquisitions, and player movement with a magnifying glass.
I used to be one of these people.
As I've "grown up," staying up to speed on relevant NFL news has been replaced with real-life responsibilities like a career and children. Now when August rolls around, I typically find myself entirely out of the football loop.
I'm sure many other middle-aged fantasy owners echo this sentiment.
It takes a bigger person to ask for help
As my football knowledge slowly slips away with each passing season, I've become increasingly dependent on fantasy draft guides to quickly bring me back up to speed as my draft approaches. Fantasy football magazines have been a big help in this regard.
Fantasy football magazines are a great resource and provide fantastic value if you need to:
- Quickly get up to speed on recent NFL happenings (trades, free agent signings, etc.)
- Learn about new NFL rookies and their draft potential
- Get summaries of team and player production from the previous year
- Check out early player rankings and cheat sheets to begin draft preparation
Publishers pack fantasy football magazines with useful player data, but they are typically light on theory. If you're looking for a more in-depth guide, finding a fantasy football book that focuses on strategy may be a good idea.
In this article, I'll discuss why these fantasy football draft magazines can be so helpful to those of us who need a quick refresher on the changing NFL landscape. I'll follow this with five fantasy football magazine reviews, detailing how they can help you fill in those knowledge gaps so you can draft with confidence.
In closing, I'll crown the best fantasy football magazine for the 2020 season and explain why it should be your draft guide of choice heading into this NFL season.
Can a Fantasy Football Magazine Really Give You an Edge?
Before I considered purchasing a fantasy football magazine, I must admit I was very skeptical about their usefulness. I mean, with the way the fantasy landscape changes so quickly during the preseason, how could a printed fantasy sports magazine stay relevant for more than a week?
I'll take a closer look at this problem (and possible solutions) next. I'll also explain where the real value lies when purchasing a fantasy football magazine to aid in your draft preparation.
Another way to stay current on the upcoming NFL season is to watch more preseason games. Those games provide an excellent refresher, and you get to learn quite a bit about player movement and rookies.
NFL Game Pass provides you with live access to every game during the NFL preseason. Once the season starts, you'll have access to re-plays of every game across the league, which can also help when looking for waiver or trade fodder.
Avoiding outdated information in fantasy football draft guides
The truth is, many of the top fantasy magazines on the market are very comprehensive and provide fantastic value. They are worth a read even if some of the information is slightly dated.
Sure, some people will get injured in camp so the printed rankings and player evaluations won't always be 100% accurate in a magazine. But that doesn't mean the other 95% of the content isn't useful and applicable to your fantasy football drafts.
Still, people start to question a writer's credibility if they don't provide 100% current information, all of the time. If this sounds like you, keep reading as I reveal the methods some publishers use to maintain accuracy.
Four strategies to avoid dated fantasy advice
The fantasy landscape changes quickly. One injury to a key player can throw entire draft strategies out of the window.
And you know it will happen. It almost always does.
The last thing you want is to be that guy at your fantasy draft who picks a player on injured reserve because they're referencing rankings from a date fantasy draft magazine.
So how can you benefit from a fantasy football magazine and minimize the amount of dated information contained therein?
When buying a magazine, here are four ways to ensure you get the most out of your purchase.
1. Buy fantasy football magazines close to their publication date
The best solution to the problem of old player news is to get your hands on the magazine immediately after it's printed. Of course, this won't always be possible.
And there is still the chance that some players will get injured before the ink on the pages is even dry. But it goes without saying, newer printings are generally better.
When do fantasy football magazines come out?
New issues of yearly fantasy football guides & magazines usually start appearing at the beginning of June. These magazines are typically stats-centric, meaning they focus primarily on players' fantasy production from the previous year. In this way, their content remains relevant regardless of what happens during the preseason.
2020 fantasy football magazine release dates
Here are the release dates of the best and most popular fantasy football magazines:
- Fantasy Football Index - Released December 28th
- Fantasy Football Consistency Guide - Released April 7th
- RotoWire Fantasy Football Magazine - To be released in late July
- Fantasy Football Index - Coming soon
- Sports Illustrated Fantasy Draft Guide - Coming soon
- Fantasy Sports Boss - Coming soon
- Lindy's Sports Fantasy Football - Coming soon
- Fantasy Football Draft Engine - Coming soon
- Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Guide - Coming soon
- RotoWire Fantasy Football Magazine - Coming soon
2. Buy a weekly sports magazine subscription
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a weekly fantasy football magazine subscription. That would be great to keep up with current events in the NFL. But when it comes to fantasy football, you usually get one publication per year.
But staying current on sports news throughout the year can be a smart move for a fantasy owner. It means you won't have to do as much cramming during the preseason to get ready for your draft.
3. Buy football magazines backed by websites
Another option to avoid dated draft advice is to buy a fantasy football draft magazine that has a sister website. This way, you can use the magazine as a base, then scan the site to get up to speed on any significant shifts in player values.
Every fantasy draft guide I review in this article is backed by a website.
4. Order draft magazines that you can download instantly (or purchase Kindle books)
Another obvious way to avoid the problem of dated fantasy football information due to magazine shelf life is to buy digital versions of the top fantasy magazines. Digital versions of magazines (Kindle, PDF, or otherwise) can be downloaded and updated quickly, which means you can download the newest version.
The best-selling fantasy football magazine in this review is available in Kindle edition. With a Kindle version, you can download updates regularly during the preseason.
Want to read the Kindle version of all supported fantasy football magazines this year, for free? Sign up for Amazon's free Kindle Unlimited plan. If you don't like the service (or you completely blow it at your draft) cancel the service before the 30-day trial is over and you don't pay a dime.
But if we're being completely honest, isn't most of the information you find in these magazines readily available on the Internet in some form or fashion anyway? Why even bother paying for a fantasy draft magazine?
This question brings me to my next and most crucial point about fantasy football guides.
Where the real value lies in a fantasy football magazine
When you buy a fantasy football magazine, you're not strictly paying for the wisdom it imparts. Yes, good content is essential. Otherwise, purchasing and reading them would be a waste of both time and money.
The real value of a fantasy football guide lies in its form factor. You're essentially paying these publishers to take the best nuggets of fantasy football goodness and condense them into a single, well-organized magazine that is easily (and quickly) digestible.
We buy a fantasy sports magazine because we don't want to do the work ourselves
The people whom a fantasy football magazine would benefit most don't have the time to scour the Internet for fantasy information, verify if the sources are trustworthy, page through hundreds of pages of player profiles, and transform all of this information into a coherent draft strategy and cheat sheet.
We need all of that information condensed down, organized intelligently, and delivered by trusted industry experts. This is the real value that a fantasy football magazine provides.
These magazine characteristics are the criteria that I'll now use to evaluate the top magazines for the upcoming 2020 NFL season.
Once you've adequately prepped for your fantasy football draft, how can you ensure that every one of your draft picks count? Wouldn't it great if you had your own fantasy GM to help you evaluate each potential trade?
I found just that when I researched the best fantasy football software for live drafts. Check out those programs as they are an excellent companion on draft day.
The Best Fantasy Football Magazines for 2020 Reviewed
Most fantasy football magazines cover the same common topics: sleepers, busts, player rankings, cheat sheets, etc. But if that's the case, what makes one pro fantasy football magazine better than another?
Several factors can differentiate one fantasy football draft guide from another. Some of the most noticeable feature differences might include:
Let's take a look at the top-rated magazines now to see how they stack up against one another.
The Fantasy Football Consistency Guide is the brainchild of Bob Lung, a well-respected fantasy football writer who has written for Fox Sports, Fanball, and RotoExperts. As you can guess by the name of this magazine, Bob emphasizes player consistency when developing his fantasy draft strategy.
Bob's website, BigGuyFantasySports.com, also focuses heavily on evaluating player consistency. The site provides fantasy analysis tools to assist you in determining which players have performed the most consistently based on your specific scoring system.
For example, you can utilize Bob's Clutch Report to see which players at each position performed consistently throughout the previous NFL season. Just click the 'Edit Scoring' button at the top to specify your league's scoring rules.
NFL Player consistency is the key to fantasy success
The differentiating feature of this fantasy magazine is that it details consistency profiles for over 175 NFL players. The analysis considers player performance for the last three seasons, even looking at consistency during home and away games (and also against good vs. bad defenses).
The fantasy football consistency rankings will give you a crystal-clear picture of those players who can be counted on from week to week. Below is an excerpt which details the consistency profile of Drew Brees. Here are some relevant terms you'll see mentioned:
- FP - Fantasy Points
- QG - Quality Games
- GP - Games Played
- QSR - Quality Start Rating
- FPG - Fantasy Points per Game
In addition to identifying those consistent players that you should be targeting in your fantasy draft, Bob also breaks down his Clutch Games system. Once you read this guide, you'll have a clear understanding of why consistency is such an important consideration when evaluating player potential.
The Consistency Guide was the best NFL draft magazine of 2018 based purely on sales. I'll let those numbers speak for themselves.
What I like
Not so much..
The Fantasy Sports Boss Draft Guide is a yearly magazine written by Michael Keneski. Michael runs TheFantasySportsBoss.com and is the author of numerous NFL draft guides.
Michael is a busy man, and you can find him on Twitter at @Rotoboss.
Michael's guides focus mainly on fantasy and draft evaluations for both football and baseball. The 2019 Boss Draft Guide, in its 12th year of publication, focuses less on theory and more on the classic subject matters familiar to fantasy footballers.
Here are a few of the topics that Michael covers in the 2019 fantasy football draft guide:
Addressing the burning questions
In addition to going through the basics, this NFL fantasy draft guide also answers 10 burning questions. These are questions that fantasy footballers should be considering in the days leading up to their draft.
Some of the most enticing questions:
If you're more interested in getting up to speed on the latest player information and projections than you are in learning about fantasy draft theory, then the Boss Draft Guide could be the magazine you need.
What I like
Not so much..
The 2019 issue of the Sports Illustrated Draft Guide is aptly titled "The Season Of the Switch". And this makes sense, as many of the league superstars are wearing new uniforms in the upcoming season.
The one significant advantage you'll get from buying the Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football Issue is its implicit authority. The experts from SI cover every angle to bring you up to speed for your 2019 draft.
The SI fantasy football issue includes mock draft guides, an expert round table, a scouting report of all thirty-two teams, sleepers and busts, plus much more.
In addition to the free cheat sheets, rankings, and reviews that you've come to expect, this issue has featured articles on big name players who have changed teams this year. This list of players includes Le'veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Odell Beckham Jr.
The 2019 Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football Issue is the best fantasy football guide if you're looking for in-depth analysis of the most significant changes in the league.
What I like
Not so much..
The 2019 fantasy magazine from Draft Engine builds on the success of the 2018 edition to provide even more player evaluations, rankings, and team previews.
The Draft Engine authors vow that their insight will help you make smarter and more informed decisions at your next fantasy football draft.
Unlike many football magazines, the fantasy football Draft Engine does delve a bit into draft strategy.
Outside of fantasy strategy advice, here is a small sample of the topics that they cover:
If you're looking for a draft guide that provides the right mix of projections, rankings, and even a little bit of strategy, the Draft Engine fantasy football guide might be your key to fantasy success.
What I like
Not so much..
The 2019 edition of the Fantasy Football Index is what you'd expect from a draft guide that is focused entirely on fantasy football draft preparation: detailed cheat sheets, stat projections, depth charts, team analysis, and player evaluations.
The Fantasy Football Index magazine is mostly an extension of the Fantasy Football Index website, but admirably condenses the large volume of website information into an easily scannable format for quick consumption. As their website motto says: they do the math, so you don't have to.
So how can a draft guide that hinges its legitimacy on accurate rankings and player evaluations put out a magazine this early in the preseason (released on June 25th)? That's where having a sister website comes in handy.
Ensuring your fantasy draft guide remains current and actionable
Hidden passwords inside the magazine give readers privileged access to updated draft prep materials through the website. Exclusive website access ensures you'll always have the freshest data possible, even if some of the printed magazine content is no longer 100% accurate.
Frequent content refreshes makes the Fantasy Football Index the most current fantasy football magazine online, regardless of what may get printed afterward.
Fantasy Football Index also provides a subscription service where they'll send you weekly fantasy updates during the preseason. A subscription would be wise if you opt for purchasing a hard-copy fantasy magazine, but you still want to receive regular updates via email.
You won't get a ton of theory in this draft preparation magazine, just in-depth and actionable pro forecasts for your upcoming fantasy football draft.
What I like
Not so much..
The final fantasy football magazine in this review comes from a familiar name in fantasy sports: CBS Sports.
If you follow CBS Sports in any capacity or use their platform to host your fantasy football leagues, then you'll be familiar with 2018 magazine authors: Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, and Heath Cummings. These guys maintain the CBS Fantasy cheat sheets that we integrate into our own customizable fantasy cheat sheet.
A magazine from CBS Sports will have everything you'd imagine from a company with fantasy football skins on the wall. There is no shortage of fantasy experts who get to add their insights on the latest sleepers, busts, breakouts, team evaluations, and fantasy football top 200 players.
A fantasy football draft guide for mock draft fans
One unique feature of this magazine is that they publish the results of an expert mock draft. A mock draft from June or even July would be mostly irrelevant at this point. But because this edition of their fantasy draft magazine is updated in August, you can be sure the information you glean from the mock will be actionable.
CBS Sports also goes a bit deeper than the other magazines in this review, analyzing over 400 players in detail. If you play in a dynasty league and need quality analysis on players that might currently be slightly off of other experts' radar, then you can't go wrong with this magazine from a proven fantasy powerhouse. The CBS Sports Fantasy Football Magazine is undoubtedly the best fantasy football draft guide for NFL player reviews.
If you use the CBSSports to host your fantasy league, they'll give you a free NFL fantasy draft board (and a ton of player label stickers) just for signing-up (Fantasy Jocks also sells excellent draft boards, you should check them out). I use them every year, and they never disappoint.