If you’re new to Fantasy Football like I am and want to know how to get started, look no further. Below is a list of all things necessary to not embarrass yourself in a league with your friends who live, eat and breathe football. There is still time to make a league before the NFL starts on Thursday, so let’s jump right into it.
First of all—what is fantasy football?
Fantasy football is an online forum for fans of all NFL teams to (somewhat)-peacefully coexist and compete against each other weekly. Depending on your league, drafts can be done randomly by the computer, or they can be done in-person, or even online with each member selecting their players (more on this to come). Some leagues are free, while others will cost money.
Fantasy Football gives you multiple teams and players you look forward to following. Fantasy rosters are comprised of players from many teams and an entire defense/special teams of a particular NFL team. Your team’s standing depend on how well your players perform in their real NFL games, so choose wisely.
You aren’t sold on the idea yet? Well, you can win money. That’s right, Fantasy Football can give you a year’s worth of bragging rights AND some extra cash to support it.
So now you’re sold but you have no idea how to start. Here’s a comprehensive list of how to get involved in a Fantasy Football league.
Step One: Find friends
To start a Fantasy league you can have anywhere from 4-30 of your closest friends join with you. Most leagues are somewhere between 8 and 12 participants.
Can’t find any friends who are interested? Hosts like ESPN offer an option to join a public league where you can join a league of your choosing, or join a live draft where you can jump directly into a draft of your choosing.
Step Two: Pick a draft type
Keep in mind that with each different type of draft comes the responsibility of knowing how many of each position you’re allowed to start. If your league only allows you to start one quarterback each week, drafting five of them in the first five rounds may not be the smartest idea.
One of the most popular methods of picking teams is hosting a draft online or in-person where members of the league choose players who have not yet been assigned to a Fantasy team. This typically happens where the draft order is chosen at random. This type of draft also has the option of being done in a snake format where the last person to choose in a round gets first pick in the next round.
Another way to draft a team is to hold a Fantasy auction. League members are given a certain amount of “Fantasy cash” to bid on players and are left to bid any amount of this Fantasy cash on different players. This becomes a problem when someone in the league spends all of their fantasy cash on MVP players and is left with no cash and must resort to other means to fill a team.
If none of your league members can agree on a time to get together to draft your teams, another option is to do an autopick draft. NFL.com offers this feature by assigning the best available player to each team automatically. All you have to do is pick the time and date for the draft and the rest is left to the website. This type of draft can also be performed in a snake format.
Step Three: Scoring
The way your league decides to set up the scoring for the season is important because it may influence the way you draft players. The way most leagues are configured is by using standard scoring with points being given to players involved in a touchdown in addition to giving points depending on how many yards the players run. On ESPN’s forum, players get one point for each 10 yards rushing or receiving.
Kickers are added to the mix by awarding points for field goals and extra points, while missed attempts may result in a deduction of points.
Another way some leagues decide to set up the scoring is with PPR, or Points Per Reception. With PPR scoring, Fantasy points are given for passes that are caught during a NFL game. For a more in-depth look in to PPR scoring, click here.
Step Four: Managing your team
With many factors to take into consideration, it is important to have replacement players for those not able to perform.
Most leagues allow in-season trading and different pickups as well as a limited injured reserve (IR) to allow teams to stay competitive throughout the season despite setbacks.
Keep all of these steps in mind as you start your Fantasy Football journey, and keep up with ours in the meantime.
Sconnie Sports Talk is introducing a new feature on our website specifically relating to Fantasy Football. SSTFFB features twelve of our contributors and will include weekly personalized posts about the league and our teams. We’ll share our mistakes and successes and give you an insider’s perspective on our league.
Stay up-to-date with our league here.