Yang Feng was originally a general of Dong Zhuo, and served under Li Jue at the Battle of Sishui Gate in 190 AD, during which Dong Zhuo's army was routed. In 195 AD, he prevented Li Jue from slaying Guo Si's messenger Huangfu Li, as the killing of an imperial messenger would only give Guo Si more power against him. When Li Jue was made Regent-Marshal and appointed many of his friends to higher posts, he neglected to promote his generals. Yang Feng was angry at this, and he plotted with Song Guo to put him out of the way and rescue Emperor Xian of Han. However, the plan was overheard and Song Guo put to death, while Yang Feng escaped to Xian. There, he joined the White Wave Bandits and took Xu Huang of Hedong in as one of his commanders.
Later, when the Emperor was being moved out of Chang'an by Li Jue's army, Yang Feng and 1,000 troops rescued the emperor from his clutches; Xu Huang killed Guo Si's general Cui Yong. Yang Feng took it upon himself to help the emperor, and he was given food and supplies by Duan Wei. Yang Feng and State Uncle Dong Cheng both informed the Emperor that they were going to slay both Li Jue and Guo Si to purify the world, and when they heard that the rebels were planning to attack them at Dongjian, Yang Feng and Dong Cheng called for help from White Wave Bandits leaders Han Xian, Li Yue, and Hu Cai. Although Guo Si defeated the bandits, Yang Feng and Dong Cheng headed north with the emperor. Later, Li Yue attempted to capture the emperor in alliance with Li Jue and Guo Si after they ignored his advice not to move the capital to Luoyang, but Xu Huang killed Li Yue in battle and the White Wave Bandits fled.
Cao Cao eventually arrived and defeated Guo Si and Li Jue on behalf of the emperor in 196 AD, and the emperor took him into his care. Yang Feng and Han Xian left the camp, knowing that they would be useless to the emperor now that Cao Cao controlled him. When they tried to recapture the emperor, they were both thwarted in an ambush by Cao Cao, and Xu Huang was convinced by Man Chong to defect. Many of the rebels surrendered or were killed, so Yang Feng and Han Xian left for Yuan Shu, knowing that they had too few men to maintain their independence.
Yang Feng commanded the Third Right Army during Yuan Shu's campaign against Lu Bu in Xu Province in 197 AD, but Lu Bu sent his officers Chen Gui and Chen Deng to speak with Yang Feng and Han Xian, whom he knew. Both of them were convinced to defect to Lu Bu's Forces, and Han Xian was made Governor of Yidu while Yang Feng was made Governor of Langye. In these posts, they allowed their soldiers to plunder the people. Bitter complaints arose, so Liu Bei invited them to a banquet and his sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei dispatched them when he gave the signal by dropping a cup. Their armies gave in at once to Liu Bei. Liu Bei brought their severed heads to Cao Cao when he was called to Cao Cao's tent during the celebration of the grand army reaching Yu Province during their campaign against Yuan Shu at Shouchun. Liu Bei apologized for their deaths, but Cao Cao told him that he removed an evil, which was a grand service, and he praised Liu Bei's action.