So a lot of my non-fantasy football friends ask me what fantasy football is and what is the big deal. Well fantasy football is now a billion dollar enterprise for what used to be a bunch of armchair quarterbacks. We don't care about if the Patriots win or lose, we just want to know how many touchdowns Tom Brady threw, how many receptions Randy Moss got and how many points the opponent was held to for the game. We are addicted to stats and look for any advantage to give us a statistical edge.
For the die-hard fantasy owners this is something you do year round-not just in September when the NFL season starts or even in August with mock drafts, but this can be a 365 day obsession. You follow the offseason workouts, college combines, the draft, trades, waivers, GMs, coaches, strength of schedule; everything and anything that will give you an edge for the fantasy draft and when the season starts.
Fantasy football is a competitive game where owners earn points by using real NFL players statistics each game. The idea is to have the team that accumulates the most wins in your league over the course of the 17-week NFL regular season. So how do you get a win? Well each player on your team will earn fantasy points based upon their statistical performance in their real game that week. Every week you will compete head to head with another owner and see who can get the most points.
Ok, so hopefully you're following so far. Next question: How do you earn fantasy points? There can be slight variations, but I will give the most basic scoring format. Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends can earn points for yardage and touchdowns. Kickers earn points for extra points and field goals. Defenses earn points if they get a defensive touchdown, how many points they hold their opponent too, and turnovers.
Likewise, players can lose points if they turn the ball over (interceptions or fumbles), a kicker misses a field goal/extra point or if a defense gives up a lot of points to their opponent.
Quarterbacks generally earn 1 fantasy point for every 25 passing yards, 4 points for every touchdown they've thrown, and 6 points if they ran for a touchdown themselves. So if your fantasy quarterback was Peyton Manning and for Week 1 his stat line was 250 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns and 1 interception he would get 10 points for his 250 passing yards, 8 points for passing touchdowns, but lose 2 points for the interception so his net fantasy points that week would be 16 fantasy points.
Running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends earn points mainly 3 ways: 1 point for every 10 yards receiving/rushing, 6 points if they score a touchdown, 1/2 point per reception and can lose points for fumbles. So if you had Randy Moss as your wide receiver and he had 10 receptions for 100 yards and 1 touchdown with no fumbles he would earn 5 points for the 10 receptions, 10 points for the 100 receiving yards, and 6 points for the touchdown he scored for a total 21 fantasy points.
Each of your starters will earn points, you take the grand total and hope it's more than your opponent's starters. You do not get points for players on your bench.
Most leagues have 9 starters, which consist of: 1 Quarterback, 2 Running backs, 2 Wide Receivers, 1 Flex player (allows you to play a RB or WR), 1 Tight End, 1 Kicker, and 1 team Defense. There are variations to this. For example some leagues don't have a Flex option and regulate 2RBs and 3WRs or maybe you draft individual defensive players instead of the team defense, but for the most part you have 9 starters and 7 bench players that comprise your team.
Ok, but how do you get your team? Well first you join a league. You can create your own with your friends or join a public league. Generally they range from 10-16 members (owners) per league. 12 is the most common number of owners. Once you've joined a league the next step will be to participate in a draft. There are different types of drafts, but basically you can either have a computer make all your picks for you or you can enter what's called a "live" draft and make the picks yourself. Most fantasy owners will enter a live draft with their league and each team gets 16 picks. The draft order is chosen at random and everyone makes their picks depending upon that predetermined order.
This is where following football year round can pay off because everyone knows the obvious star fantasy players. I say "star" fantasy players because you can have a quarterback who may be a great NFL quarterback, but an average fantasy quarterback because in the NFL everything is based on wins; in fantasy everything is based statistics. A quarterback who gets 13 wins a season for his team is great, but if he only averages 10 fantasy points a game-well that's not what we like to call a fantasy stud.
So now you're in a league, you've drafted your team, and you compete week in and week out with the other owners mostly for bragging rights, but there are plenty of buy-in leagues anywhere from $10 to $10,000.
I hope this has helped those of you understand fantasy football a little better. Hit me up with questions or comments.