Although fantasy football is huge these days and everyone seems to play it, there are some that don't know what fantasy football is all about. And those are the people that think fantasy football people are geeks or Star Wars fans or even Harry Potter fanatics. Some of that may hold true for some fantasy football players, but most are just average Joes. There are even a lot of professional athletes, celebrities and politicians that enjoy fantasy football.
Fantasy football is a growing hobby or game - whatever you want to call it - that is catching the nation by storm. Millions and millions of people participate in fantasy football every year. So for those of you that don't know about the game, below is a brief explanation.
Most of the people that play fantasy football are NFL fans. They enjoy watching football and playing fantasy football gets them involved in more games to watch on the weekends. If you don't like the NFL, you likely won't like to play fantasy football.
A fantasy football league normally consists of 12 teams (some are less or more). Before the NFL season starts, fantasy teams draft their own team, consisting of NFL players. A draft order is set by the league and all owners draft until their roster is filled. A popular trend in fantasy leagues is auction style, though. This is where teams bid on players and every team has a set dollar amount they can spend during the auction. Instead of picking your players in a draft, you bid on them until your roster is filled.
Most rosters are about 15 deep. Roster size does vary, though. Starters consist of a quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, a tight end, kicker, team defense and a flex (running back, receiver or tight end). The rest of the roster is comprised of bench spots.
An example of a fantasy team could look like this:
After teams draft, the season is ready to start. Just like the NFL (again, in most leagues), two teams are matched against each other every week in fantasy leagues. To score points, the players from your team need to score on the NFL field. Some leagues reward points for touchdowns only. So if Aaron Rodgers throws for 240 yards and two touchdowns, the example team listed gets 12 points (two touchdowns at six points a piece). And some leagues reward players for yards gained. An example would be a point for every 20 yards gained, receiving or rushing. If Dalvin Cook runs for 100 yards, gains 50 as a receiver and scores a touchdown, he scores 13 points that week.
As for kickers and team defenses, they generate points the same way as position players. A kicker's stats are normally the same as what he does in an NFL game - he gets a point for an extra point and three points for a field goal. There are some leagues that will give bonus points to kickers for the length of the kick (more points for the longer kicks).
And team defenses can get points for sacks, interceptions, fumble recoveries, points allowed and touchdowns scored. There is any number of ways to setup your scoring for a team defense. Most team defenses also get rewarded for special teams play. So if Gunner Olszewski runs back a punt for a touchdown and you have the Patriots defense, your team gets six points.
In the early days of fantasy football, league commissioners had the unenviable task of keeping track of the league, tallying scores and keeping track of the standings by hand. But since the advent of the internet, there are services (like us - RealTime Fantasy Sports) that will keep track of all your stats, standings, transactions, etc. This makes the task of running and playing in a league much easier. The internet is the main reason fantasy football is so popular today.
Back to the game itself. Just like being a real NFL general manager, fantasy owners are in charge of all aspects of their team. They can cut players, add players, bench players, or even make trades with other owners in the league. This is part of the strategy of running a successful fantasy team. Owners need to know when to sell high or trade for a player that might be underperforming but seems ready for a breakout.
This is just a brief overview of fantasy football, but should give the novice a good idea about what this craze entails. Fantasy football doesn't seem to be slowing anytime soon, so give it a try if you are up for the challenge.