App of the Week: ESPN Fantasy Football 2011

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For some people—like my roommates—fantasy football is as much a part of autumn as the leaves changing color.

It means lazy Sundays spent doing little more than plopping down in front of the tube, washing down Digiorno with whatever beer’s on sale that week while compulsively checking your team after every down. The dedication and meticulousness required to even stay competitive in fantasy football? Pretty much a sport in and of itself.

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But for less hardcore fans (like me), fantasy football’s kind of like pulling a fifty out of your wallet and setting it on fire, never to be seen again.

My point is that to even have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the pot, you’re going to have to get a leg up on the competition wherever you can get it. It requires the sort of relentless stat checking and dedicated waiver watching that smartphones were born for.

So ESPN’s Fantasy Football app? If you want to win, it’s really a no brainer.

It has all the team management tools you’ll need (you can start, bench, add, drop or claim players off waivers as you see fit), and you can, of course, propose trades to the other owners in your league. There’s even the requisite message board for smack talk and quoting that week’s episode of The League.

Also handy: You’ll probably want to enable push notifications for injuries. If, God forbid, your number one pick Adrian Peterson tears something and misses the rest of the regular season, you’ll probably want to know so you can drop him and head straight to the closest bar.

The app also has ESPN’s little news ticker at the bottom, complete with headlines and links to videos and other important stories.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an iPad-only app, probably because it’d make too much sense if it existed. Maybe next season.

Download it for free here.

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Chris Gayomali is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @chrigz, on Facebook, or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.