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What is Fantasy Football?
What Is Fantasy Football?
Fantasy Football is a game, plain and simple. What you do is you create a team and you select players from NFL teams and your "team" scores points based upon the statistics those players tally. Generally, you score points for any TDs they make and any yards they gain. There are a myriad of different scoring methods but the basic system is 6 points for touchdowns and something like a point per 25 yards of rushing, passing or receptions. Most leagues drop the scoring on a TD to 3 or 4 points for a quarterback - this is because the QB touches the ball most every play and the value of a QB would be disproportionate to the running backs and wide receivers if you gave them the full 6 points.
Fantasy Football Rosters & Teams
In Fantasy Football you gather together 8-12 other people (sometimes less, sometimes more) who manage their "teams". A team in fantasy football usually consists of 1 quarterback (QB) , 2 running backs (RB) , 2-3 wide receivers (WR), 1 tight end (TE), 1 kicker (K) and a defense (Def). With the defense you usually get the stats for their special teams as well (i.e. punt and kick off returns). Again, there are many variations to this theme and some leagues add a player called a "flex player" who can be a QB/WR/RB or a WR/RB/TE or even other combinations. It's an extra player to score points with.
Once you have your managers (i.e. your friends, enemies, their friends or enemies, co-workers, etc.) you create your fantasy football league. Generally, you break the fantasy teams into divisions (normally two divisions of 4-6 teams each) and these teams will face each other weekly in head to head competitions. Although you may play in a "points league" where you forego the head to head match-ups and just score points weekly. In my league we have 10 teams and two divisions. You play each team in your division twice and a team outside of your division just once. The top four teams in my league play each other in the playoffs starting on Week 14 of the NFL season. We let the bottom teams play in what we call "The Toilet Bowl" in Week 14, as well. Our season ends with the "Fantasy Bowl" in Week 16. We don't play into Week 17 as some leagues do because in Week 17 so many NFL star players are resting because their team is in the playoffs and coaches want to avoid injuries.
The Fantasy Draft
The biggest part of the Fantasy Football season, to me at least, is the Fantasy Draft. This is where all your fantasy owners get together (or sometimes you run the draft online - but that isn't as much fun!) and have a draft. You set a draft pick order and usually this "snakes" back and forth. Meaning, the team that has the 10th draft pick will then get the 11th pick and the pick order snakes back to the team who had the 1st draft pick and then back up again - usually for 14-15 rounds. It isn't as cool as it sounds to get the #1 draft pick either. Sure you get a stud like Chris Johnson but then you have to wait for 19 picks to get your 2nd draft pick. I like being in position 4 or 5 myself. I've actually had the last draft pick several seasons but that isn't so bad either as you get two of the top eleven players that way. For advice on drafting and mock drafts go to my hub about it - Fantasy Football 2011 Pre-Season.
Draft day is important because it sets your team up. It is your core. But what you will find is bye weeks and injuries and players not performing will make your excellent draft choices not pan out as expected. To combat this as well as to raise more money for the league kitty, there is a thing called weekly free agency pickups. Each week, usually for a fee, you can pickup players that were not drafted. Throughout the season, you will find you have a roster spot open because of bye weeks or injuries or suspensions even. If you need to start two RBs and you only have one RB available, you need to either make a trade with another owner or pickup an RB off of the "wavier wire". Too many team owners spend too much money on waivers. Don't fall into that trap. You need to stick with your core team that you drafted as much as you can. Sort of like sticking with a stock, trust your initial draft pick assumptions and give them time to pay off. But failing to snatch up a key player, especially if you need to compensate for shortfalls in a bye week, can burn your team for a loss on a given week.
Fantasy Football Variations Are Numerous!
There is much more to fantasy football strategies, scoring systems, waiver wire rules and league rules - more than I could cover in this introductory hub. I'll throw some links down below this article to some other hubbers and their fantasy football advice to help you out with that if you need more information. If you are new, my recommendation is to join up with an established league and let them show you the ropes. Fantasy Football people can be shysters though and many will take advantage of newbies - so join a league with people you can trust or with a few people in the league at least that you can trust. Most leagues play for money so you don't want to be taken! Many leagues are "free" too so you may want to go that route. Almost every online football web outlet like ESPN, NFL.com, Yahoo!!, etc. have free online leagues you can join and that is an excellent way to get a taste of fantasy football.
Warning!!! Fantasy Football is Addictive!
Fair warning!!! Fantasy Football is addictive and you will never watch a game the same way again. It does give you some interest in games that you would not have cared about before joining a fantasy league; but by the same token it can make a meaningless game the source of great frustration when your kicker missed 3 of 4 field goals and costs you your head to head match-up that week.
You'll find watching the games is a bit bizzarre from a fantasy perspective, as well. Let's say you have Dallas playing Chicago and you don't really give a damn about either of those teams BUT you have the Dallas defense and Chicago's kicker. You'll find yourself rooting against Chicago when they are on offense because usually yardage gained goes against your defense as well as any points scored on your D. So you are screaming "Stop da Bears!!!" until they get inside the 30 and then you are pulling for them to stall out so they can make a field goal. Many times in the early days of fantasy football when I was watching a game at a bar... people thought I was nuts as it was impossible to tell which team I was rooting for. The reality was I was not rooting for either team - I was rooting for my guys and my fantasy team which consisted of players on both of the NFL teams. It definitely makes you not watch a game in the same way again. Sometimes I miss just watching a game. But there is college football for that. UNLESS you are in a college fantasy football league that is!!! Yes, they do exist. There is pretty much fantasy everything these days.
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