What Is Fantasy Football?
What Is Fantasy Football?
Gregg Rosenthal (Fantasy Sports Sr. Editor) gives expert video advice on: How does a fantasy football league work?; Are all fantasy football leagues the same?; What do I do if a conflict arises in my fantasy football league? and more...
What is a fantasy football 'league'?
Well, a league is comprised of a group of teams and those are owned by whoever. I'll own one team and maybe you‘ll own another, so each team has its own owner when you all get together. Usually I see 12 team leagues on average. There's some that are less, like 8 or 10, and there are some that are more, like 14 or 16. I would say on average that every league will be about 10 to 12 teams. Basically, your league is comprised of each team, and you therefore you are going to go through a draft and draft your players. Throughout the season you'll pick up players, you'll drop players and you'll trade players with other teams, and that's pretty much what all the league activities are.
How does a fantasy football league work?
You get together eight, ten, twelve, or even fourteen owners per league. Each owner is responsible for drafting their own team so you'll have a draft at the beginning of the season where you'll go through and pick your players. Each owner will be responsible for that team throughout the season, so there's a lot of activities to do during the season. You can pick up players or you can drop players every week in what's called a free agent or waiver process, and that can kind of tweak your roster. You can also make trades with other teams in the league. The fantasy football league is going to start when the NFL season starts, or a couple of weeks before when you do your draft. It will go all the way until just about the end of the NFL season. Towards the end of the NFL season, say week fourteen, fifteen or sixteen, that's when December is starting so that's when the fantasy playoffs are. And that's when all the best teams in your league will go into usually a single elimination tournament. They will play playoffs just like the NFL playoffs and the winner will be determined. Usually it's around week sixteen of the NFL season. That's pretty much how the fantasy football league is comprised. You'll keep track of all the events in your league, usually on a website where they can keep track of who's winning, who's losing and who comprises each roster and who's on each team.
Are all fantasy football leagues the same?
No absolutely not, they're so many different fantasy football leagues. Each fantasy football league I'm in is even a little different. Some fantasy football leagues have 12 teams, some leagues have 10 teams and some fantasy football leagues even have 16 teams. Some fantasy football leagues use very different scoring systems. I think the main difference I tend to see is in team defense, as every league has a different way of keeping track of team defenses. Some will really minimize how important they are so you won't really be able to score that many points, you'll just get a couple points maybe if you get an interception or a sack. With some fantasy football leagues, it's really important to hold the team under 10 points, then your defensive fantasy football team is going to score a ton. So that's one way leagues really differ. Another way fantasy football leagues differ I think, is if you keep track of a point per reception - that is maybe the other most important way fantasy football teams tends to differ. I almost think it's half and half. Half of the leagues out there, they give you a point if you catch a pass, if running backs or wide outs catch a pass but the other fantasy football leagues will just kind of ignore that. Every fantasy football league tweaks their scoring system a little and they also tweak their starting lineups a little different. With a lot of fantasy football leagues, you'll just play one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, and one team defense. But a lot of other fantasy football leagues will add a wide receiver to your starting lineup. Sometimes they will add what is called a flex position player to your lineup, and that'll be a player that you chose as your best sort of wild card player that's on your bench, either a running back, a wide receiver or a tight end. That's a couple of the ways fantasy football leagues can differ. They also can differ on what the prize money is going to be, or what the prizes are going to be. I think one thing you'll find is that there's sort of a league for everyone. There's also keeper leagues and that's where you keep your players forever. It's all about how much you want to put in and how intense you want the league to be. And one thing I really recommend with everyone, especially if they are just starting out, is to pay attention to to what your fanstasy football league rules are. Some people kind of assume all fantasy football leagues are the same when they're different, and that really changes the strategy and who you want to draft on draft day.
How many people are typically in a fantasy football league?
How many people in a fantasy league depends on the teams you have. Usually top teams, which I think is the best set up and best standard, are run by one owner. But sometimes two friends will do one team together, or I know in our office so many people end up with two or three people per team and you can share joining the leagues. There ends up being twelve teams . If you think all teams work together, smaller pools of players such as eight or ten in a team is fine. I'm a little more denser having 16 member in a team. This thins out the player pool and it makes the thing a little more harder and a little more challenging, but also interesting. The key is we must have even numbered teams, because odd numbered teams will not work out when you play. I would recommend twelve or ten is probably the next better number.
Who is in charge of a fantasy football league?
The commissioner is in charge of the fantasy football league. This is a key factor so you've got to choose the right commissioner for your fantasy football league. First of all, you have to get someone that wants to do it. The commissioner is going to be in charge of maybe buying your stat service on the website and entering all the team's and the team owners' name onto the website. If you happen to have a fantasy football draft where you do it live, which not too many people do anymore, the commissioner will have to enter all the teams into the stat service that you use. The commissioner is also someone that's going to settle any disputes. So if someone thinks that a trade doesn't quite look on the up and up, maybe it's a team that's not doing very well and he wants to help his friend out at the end of the season so he'll trade a really good player for a bad player causing some people in the league to complain, a commissioner will decide what to do. There's going to be rules for every fantasy football league. Usually the company that you're working with is going to set the rules, but anytime there's a disagreement, the commissioner is going decide. I don't like to be the commissioner because its a thankless job, but a lot of people do like to do it. What you want to get from the commissioner is a person that loves the fantasy football league more than everyone else, like the guy in the league that is calling you for trade offers five times a week, the person that's sort of most excited about getting the fantasy football league together. You all know sort of who that friend is among your friends, the kind of organizer. That's the commissioner of the fantasy football league. You have to get someone that wants to do it, because otherwise a bad commissioner can really hurt the fantasy football league.
What are the duties of a fantasy football league 'comissioner'?
With the duties of the fantasy football league commissioner, the first thing he has to do is get the fantasy football league together. He has to organize it with a bunch of different teams, whether it's people he knows or not, and he has to make sure the league is full. At that point the commissioner of the fantasy football league is going to set a time for the draft that everyone can make. Maybe that will be ahead of time and he'll only pick people that can make that time. Then one thing that's really key is he's going to set the scoring requirements and the scoring system for the league, and also the roster limits for the league because that tends to change depending on what it is. So the commissioner for the fantasy football league is going to decide how many wide receivers are in your starting lineup. He's going to decide how many kickers are required per team, usually it's going to be one but you never know as some leagues require two. So the commissioner is going to set all the rules ahead of time that everyone in the fantasy football league needs to follow. Then during the season I think the key thing he has to do is dispute any claims within the league. Sometimes there might be some gray area within the fantasy football league rules. Sometimes there's going to be some trades that not everyone in the league is too happy about -- maybe a bad team trading a really good player to one of the good teams that looks like a little fishy, like he's helping his friend out. The commissioner is going to be the person who kind of settles any dispute and basically does all the dirty work. When youre looking for a commissioner you're going to want to look for someone that is really excited about the fantasy football league and kind of wants to go the extra mile.
What do I do if a conflict arises in my fantasy football league?
If conflict arises, you go to the commissioner. Maybe you could try to settle the conflict in the fantasy football league between two owners, but at the point where it's acutally a conflict, as maybe two people are arguing over who should have picked up a certian player, that they weren't given a true chance to get a player, or they don't understand the rules and it wasn't fair, you go to the commissioner and he will settle any dispute. Another dispute that can come up is if there is a trade that not everyone in the fantasy football league agrees with. You don't want to dispute a trade just because you think it helps a team that you're competing with, I usually allow most trades, or I say give the guy a break as if it's a bad trade, it's just a bad trade. But usually, you're just looking for fairness as it's really obvious if something is unfair. For example if someone is taking the best player in the fantasy football league, and he's trading him for a random wide receiver, that's obviously unfair as there's something not okay about that. And that's where a commissioner steps into the dispute and doesn't allow it. But if someone is trading the best player for another one of the best running backs, you have to allow that trade because it's fair and it's reasonable. Maybe you don't think its a good trade, but it's fair.