Fantasy Football Basics
Fantasy Football Basics
Gregg Rosenthal (Fantasy Sports Sr. Editor) gives expert video advice on: How do I play fantasy football?; Why do people play fantasy football?; Is there a fee to play fantasy football? and more...
What is 'fantasy football'?
Fantasy football, in its most general sense, is when you get together with a lot of people and you form a league. Everyone in the fantasy football league ends up drafting players - NFL players, usually offensive players. Throughout the season, those players, every week that they play will score points for you. Depending on how they do, that's how many points you're going to score during the year. You try to draft a quarterback like Tom Brady. If he does really well for the Patriots, he's going to do well for your team, and you're going to go against all the other teams in your fantasy football league. Basically, whoever picks the best players and picks up the best players is going to have the best football team and end up winning.
When is fantasy football season?
When managing a fantasy football team, there's news all year round, but you really want to start paying attention during training camp, which is around the beginning of August. That's when teams really start drafting their league. That's when fantasy football leagues tend to start. I think it's best, though, to draft your fantasy football team and your league as close to the regular season start as possible. That's because there are a lot of injuries during training camp and lots of things change. You might as well have all the information you can and do it right near week one. Usually that's the first week of September, right around Labor Day - probably the week after Labor Day - and you want to draft as close to that as possible. The weekend is often the best time. I would say our prime fantasy football season, in terms of when most people want the most help, is the last couple weeks of August and the first week of September. Then it continues all the way thorough the end of the football season, which goes about until the end of December. You start all the way in August and you go all the way to the end of December. Once it's real NFL Play-off season, fantasy football season is over.
Why do people play fantasy football?
Everyone watching football at home thinks they can do a better job than a coach or a GM, and I often agree. You think these guys are boneheads. Fantasy football gives you the chance to manage your own team and pick all the best players; that way you don't have to criticize all the guys in real life. You compete against your friends or people you don't even know and it's fun. Fantasy football is competitive and it's a way to add to your enjoyment and your knowledge of the game. It makes every football game important. You can be watching a Sunday night game between two terrible teams, and fantasy football will make it a lot more fun to watch because your fantasy players are involved, and your opponents fantasy players are involved. I think a lot people also like to play fantasy football for money. Let's be honest: it gives you a chance to win a little money through betting, as well as bragging rights. I think that's why people play.
Where can I play fantasy football?
Almost exclusively now, you play fantasy football online, because that way they can keep the stats for you. It's a lot easier. A few people probably play by hand, but not too many anymore. Almost every major sports website in America now runs fantasy football leagues for free. Some of them are very good, like Yahoo, ESPN and Fox Sports, and there are other companies, such as Sand Box, and CBS Sports Line also has one. You can look around at any major sport website in the US and they will probably be running a fantasy football league. There are a lot of different options out there. You can pay for leagues and you might get some extra services involved. At this point the ones that are free are very good, especially if you are starting out from scratch. You don't really need that much extra than what they are giving you for free. Fantasy football is so much more advanced than it was ten years ago. Then, you would probably have had to pay hundreds of dollars to get what you can get for free now. I just recommend looking around to see which fantasy football site you prefer. For example, if you like the news on their site the best, then go for that league.
Is there a fee to play fantasy football?
Sometimes there is a fee to play fantasy football. You have to pay for content in a lot of places. If you want a draft guide before the season to see who the best players are, that costs money. If you want to get live stats during your game, that may cost money depending on where you're playing. A lot of sites will charge you money to play for the whole fantasy football season. It's not that much - usually it's a couple of hundred dollars for the entire fantasy league, split up ten or twelve ways. If you don't want to pay anything to play fantasy football, you can get away with it. It's pretty easy to play for free. A lot of fantasy football leagues also play for money, and that's usually up to you. If you and your friends all want to throw in twenty bucks, that's up to you. However, to play fantasy football, to actually have the stats taken care of by a site like Yahoo, CBS or ESPN, it will usually be free. You don't have to pay for anything. Once you get really advanced - probably the people not watching this video! - you could play in some high stakes fantasy football leagues. You can pay a lot of money and you could win a lot of money. I wouldn't recommend doing that off the bat, but I do know some leagues where you pay over a thousand bucks just to enter and then you can win up to five thousand, or a hundred thousand dollars for the grand prize. That's pretty advanced and that takes years of fantasy football practice, I would say.
What is a fantasy football 'team'?
A fantasy football team is made up of the guys that you drafted at the beginning of the season and is comprised of a lot of different positions. On your fantasy football team, you're going to want to have two to three quarterbacks, at least three to four running backs on your team, three to six wide receivers, a couple of tight ends, a couple of kickers, and one or two team defenses. You don't start every one of those players every week. Each week, you take your best players and you start those guys. It depends on the week. Let's say you have Tom Brady and Mark Bolger as the quarterbacks on your fantasy football team; those are two great quarterbacks. If Tom Brady is playing against a very easy opponent, you're going to start him that week; you only start one quarterback. You can change your fantasy football team throughout the season by picking guys up as free agents or dropping them, but the best players, you're going to have on draft day - the core of your team, you're going to end up taking on draft day. Those are the guys that will decide if you win or if you lose in your fantasy football league.
What is a fantasy football team 'roster'?
A fantasy football team roster is basically how many players are on your team. Usually, depending on your league, there will be about twelve to fifteen people on your roster. I would say you would want to have about two or three quarterbacks, three to five running backs, four to six wide receivers, two tight ends, and one kicker. You don't really need too many kickers on your fantasy football team, but you'll also need one to two team defenses. Depending on the week, you're only going start about one quarterback, two running backs, two or three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one team defense. In fantasy football the breadwinners are the running backs, because they are so consistent and they're also very hard to find. The running backs are the guys who are going to be your fantasy football team's big point scorers. They get the most touchdowns. Quarterbacks are easier to find, but they're also going to score a lot of points for you, so you want to have a good quarterback. With wide receivers, it's really important to get depth. You want to have a lot of good wide receivers because they're a little up and down, so you want to be safe rather than sorry. The tight ends, kickers and team defenses are a little easier to find, so I would say they're less important to your fantasy football team roster.
What is a 'draft' in fantasy football?
A draft in fantasy football is when you get together, either in person or online, and you select your team for the season. Let's say there are twelve teams in your league. You'll probably each select about 15 players. You'll go through the draft serpentine style. That means that if you're the last pick in the first round, you'll be the first pick in the second round. A fantasy football draft is just like the NFL draft, or any other pro-sports draft that you'll see throughout major sports leagues. You'll basically go through round by round, picking all your players until you have a full roster. Most leagues are going to have a minimum requirement of different positions. For example: you have to have a couple running backs, you have to have a couple wide receivers, and you have to have one tight end kicker, and team defense. There is strategy involved, of course, in the fantasy football draft, where you want to take certain players. Running backs tend to get taken the most, followed by wide receivers and quarterbacks.