Fantasy Football Guide for Beginners
Fantasy Football Guide for Beginners
Fantasy football is a competition between football fans that plays out over the course of a football season. People who participate in fantasy football contests (also known as “leagues”) start out by drafting their team from the lineups of current NFL players, putting a team roster together, and then compete with their team against teams drafted by the other people in their league.
Depending on the type of fantasy football league you participate in, score can be kept in many different ways. The most common form of fantasy football pits two teams against one another week by week, and points are added up to determine who wins each individual contest. You score points in fantasy football by adding up the stats earned by your team of NFL players in a real world game.
Types of Fantasy Football Leagues
Each group of fantasy football players competing against one another is called a “league”.
A typical fantasy league is made up of a group of between 8 and 16 different fantasy teams, each team drafted and run by a different participant, also called “owners”. Each team owner takes turns selecting players for their roster at a predetermined date (called the “fantasy draft”) until each owner’s roster slots are full. The roster may be different from league to league, but includes a certain number of players on the offense, a defensive team (such as New York Jets Defense), and some special teams players as well.
Each team’s owner has to choose a starting lineup for each day of play in the NFL. If a player on an owner’s roster is injured, he must find a replacement player by making trades or signing “free agents” — players that weren’t signed in the original draft.
A season of fantasy football ends according to a playoff system. Towards the end of a fantasy season (a few weeks before the end of the real season) a playoff style tournament between the best owners in the league determines the league champion. Depending on the number of teams in your league, as many as 75% of the original field of owners will make it to the playoffs.
The number of players and the positions they represent is different from one league to the next, but in general, the following positions are standard fantasy roster options: two quarterbacks, three running backs, three wide receivers, two tight ends, one kicker and two defensive units.
To fill that roster each week, owners put together the best starting lineup of their players for that week — this doesn’t always mean playing your best players. If your star running back is facing the toughest running defense in the league, or is injured or on a bye week, you’ll need to find a solid replacement so you don’t fall behind in points. Owners must make their lineup changes before the start of each game on the NFL schedule that they have players involved in.
Your active roster is smaller than your total roster. Again, your league may be different, but in general, you can start one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, and one defensive unit.
Fantasy Football Scoring
The standard fantasy football scoring system holds true for most of the fantasy football world. There are many variations on this scoring system, but if you learn this standard scoring routine, you’ll pretty much have fantasy football points nailed no matter what league you play in.
A touchdown usually results in six points for the scoring player. If the touchdown happens to be the result of a passing play, the quarterback is also awarded six points. Passing TDs are good for fantasy owners.
Each field goal counts as three points for the kicker. Your league may offer more points for longer field goals (an extra point every ten yards above 40) but in general, the three point rule stands.
Kickers can score in other ways — one point per kicker every time they make a successful PAT. In addition to kicker PAT points, any player who scores a two-point coversion earns two points for his fantasy owner.
Offensive players can earn points in lots of different ways. Yards and receptions from receiving, passing, and rushing yardage all earn points for fantasy owners. The most common fantasy football scoring formula gives one point for every ten yards rushing, one point for every ten yards receiving, and one point for every 25 yards passing. The lower reward for passing reflects the fact that it is easier for a QB to earn passing yards because he depends heavily on the talent of his receivers.
Defensive scoring is even less straightforward — the most important defensive stat is how many points your team defense gave up, but you can also earn points for sacks, turnovers, and defensive touchdowns.
Fantasy Football Transactions
Trades, waivers, and free agency play a big part in fantasy football, like they do in the NFL.
Owners can trade players when the deal is submitted by a certain trade deadline, determined by your league. In many leagues, trades must be approved by the other owners in case foul play is suspected, like cheating by trading players behind the other owner’s backs. Without this trade restriction, a team could willingly trade its best players to a partner when they take on a rival, and other dirty tricks. Fantasy football owners are, at times, just as dirty as the professional owners.
Undrafted players are free agents, and they can be signed at any time by any team. If you sign a free agent and that signing puts you over your roster limit, you’ll have to release a player in kind.
When a player is released, they are put on waivers for between two and four days. While a released player goes through this waiver period, that player can be claimed by any other team in the league. In case more than one team requests to sign that player, the lower ranking owner at the time of the waiver gets to sign the player.
Fantasy Football Playoffs
A fantasy football playoff tournament usually takes place in the final two or three weeks of the NFL regular season, so your fantasy player’s performance in the championship games has nothing to do with your fantasy team. Scoring is handled the same way as during the regulay season, except that each loser is eliminated from the playoffs until a clear winner is established.
The winner of your fantasy football league is the “last owner standing”.
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