As the summer months wind down, millions of football fans prepare to put their sports knowledge to good use by participating in fantasy football. While some leagues are held in private, many fantasy football leagues are orchestrated online. Here is how to get started with one of these leagues.

The first step is to check out the various websites that offer management tools for fantasy football. There are more than a dozen major sites that offer fantasy football for free, or you can opt to pay to join a league to up the stakes. Check out each site before signing up so you know exactly what to expect. If you are a novice to fantasy football, it is best you play the free games for a season to get familiar with the process.

Once you join a site, you must then join a league. There may already be a league established by a friend for you to join, or you can join a public league. Each league has its own rules and scoring systems. Be familiar with these aspects before draft day.

The final step is to research players and prepare for the fantasy football draft. If you are not familiar with most players, ask a football fan for advice.