Football season is around the corner again! As much as people are eagerly waiting for NFL to start, Fantasy Leagues everywhere are getting their members together in time for draft day. Simply put, Fantasy Football is a competition where you put your own team together with players that you draft, and compete with teams in your league to establish a winner by the end of the season. The commissioner, who is either assigned or is the person who created the league, chooses various rules and regulations that will set your leagues options. A Co-Commissioner can also be assigned to help regulate trades and help with decisions so that no team will be favored during the season.
Before the season even starts, some major factors play a role in the the draft itself. First of all you must decide if your league is going to be PPR (Points Per Reception), or Standard Scoring. Depending on the 2, it will make a big difference on who you plan to draft. In a PPR league, the receiver gets a point for the reception itself (Plus Yardage), where as in a Standard Scoring league, if your receiver catches the ball but gets tackled right away, no points are received. (Tight Ends play a huge role in PPR leagues)
Second major factor pre-draft, is the draft type. Most friendly leagues tend to go with a Live Snake Draft, where you go in order drafting from the pool of players that are available, but Snake order, where if you were last to pick, you pick first in the next round, and on and on until you have your full roster. So being last is not such a bad thing in a Snake draft, you get to pick 2 players in a row! (EX Order – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1) Some of the more competitive leagues go with a Live Auction draft. In a Live Auction draft, the players are given a certain budget, and you bid on the players within your budget to create your roster. This can be tricky. I have seen people use all their money to get Tom Brady, and then not have any money left over to get any good Wide Receivers, or Running Backs.
The rest of the factors are fully customizable, but normally left alone. Points per Field Goal, how many additional points for longer yards, points per touchdown, etc. Of course they can make a difference in the outcome of the league, however these features are decided on before the season as well, and affect most teams the same way. I have seen some leagues who even put Defense in their roster, but I haven’t joined any yet, nor do I plan on it.
It can be a little confusing at first, but after a couple weeks, you will get used to it. Especially with the Fantasy App telling you in real time how many points each of your players are producing, in a head to head format against your opponent for the week. Its pretty funny when you watch a game with a buddy who lets say is a Dallas fan, and has his main players of his Fantasy roster are on the opposing team that day. They can’t root for either side!
You would think, why doesn’t everyone pick the best player on the best team? It doesn’t work that way. For example, you might have the QB of a team that isn’t doing too good, but at the same time he is throwing a lot of receptions. That team might not win the game that day, however with Fantasy Football, you get points based on each individual players performance, regardless of if that team wins or loses. I remember 1 year I had Adam Vinatieri as my kicker. His team did so horrible, which actually resulted in my kicker getting a lot of field goals! Another example, Philip Rivers. Chargers always do bad, Rivers always does good in Fantasy.
One thing to watch out for, especially when the teams are head to head in points, is your players can lose points too. If your QB gets sacked, or if your receiver loses yardage, you lose points. Last year, week 14, I almost lost my chances at going to playoffs. I was supposed to lose this week, the score was 111.92 to 112.16, and then a miracle happened (for me) one of the players on my opponents team lost yards, and I ended up winning that game 111.92 to 109.16, which put me in the playoffs, and I won first place.
Last year I only joined 1 league, which I was Commissioner of and actually got first place. It was a league that we created at the company I work for, and I got a trophy along with a small cash prize. I still remember the 1st time I played Fantasy Football. I haven’t kept up with NFL for years, and kind of got forced to play. I had no idea who was good at the time, so I pretty much “Auto-Drafted” (Picked the players with the highest rankings, this does not work like you think). While the other people in our league were dropping players, picking up new players from the waiver wire, and trading players with each other every week, I had no idea what they were doing and just left my roster alone for weeks. I think halfway into the season, I became a football expert! Yes, not only did this happen to me, I did the same to a few of my buddies. I had people join fantasy football, who had no football knowledge whatsoever, because I wanted them to experience how fun Fantasy Football is, and just like myself, before you know it they became football experts.
As you can see from the standings above, my record was not the best. However I managed to sneak into the playoffs, and come out in 1st place!
Is Fantasy Football gambling? Yes and No. It all depends on how you play it. A friendly league among friends and co-workers, with a small pot can be fun and can bring you closer to people you might not have known that well before. But, also I have seen people get hooked on daily Fantasy sites, which I do consider gambling, and dump all their money into sites like Draft Kings, or Fan Duel. For anyone who hasn’t tried Fantasy Football yet, I highly recommend giving it a try. You can play with random people online, but I really recommend getting a group together with people you know. You don’t have to have a lot of people to play. Most leagues are 12 teams, however 1 year we even did a league with just 4 teams. Yes our teams were full of super stars!
So who do I have my eyes on this year? Gurley and Zeke. One more tip before I go for beginners? Watch out for bye weeks. Each team has a bye-week where they get a week off. Make sure when you draft, you keep bye-weeks in mind. If all of your superstars have a bye week in lets say week 8, all of a sudden you have no one to play that week, and must drop someone you don’t wan’t to, or play without a full roster.