Some friends or co-workers have asked you to join their fantasy football league. you accepted and you can’t wait to start. but there is only one problem.
You don’t know where to start.
don’t worry. pro tips is here with a breakdown of all the fantasy football basics. From the draft to the championship game, we’ll get you up to speed for the season with these fantasy football tips.
what is fantasy football?
In fantasy football, you act as the general manager of your team. you select a team of real life players and take on other teams in the league every week. leagues may include professional or college players.
How the players in your starting lineup perform on the field determines your score. does the quarterback throw a touchdown? you get points the runner loses the ball? you lose points.
types of fantasy football leagues
There is a wide variety of fantasy league formats to experience. These are some of the links you will commonly find:
- Head to Head Hookups: This is the most common format. you will face an opponent, and the winner is the team with the most points at the end of that week’s games. the teams with the best record will advance to the playoffs at the end of the season.
- Total Points Leagues: Teams continually accumulate points. Total points for each team determine ranking.
- All Games League: All teams play each other week after week. in a 10-team league, the highest scoring team would be 9-0, the second highest would be 8-1, etc.
Your league will start with a draft. You and your fellow competitors will take turns selecting players to fill out your rosters. There are two types of erasers:
- snake draft: League members take turns selecting players from first to last. however, the order is reversed in the next round. For example: Player A will select first in odd rounds. but they will be last in the draft in even rounds.
- Auction Draft: Players have a fixed budget. they need to bid on players to complete their list. the highest bidder for a certain player will get that player on his team.
some drafts will use a combination of these two methods. league members bid on a certain number of players and then go through a snake draft to fill out the rest of their roster. meanwhile, dynasty leagues allow players to maintain their roster from season to season. the draft only has rookie players.
Most leagues use a live draft. this requires you to use a real-time strategy to complete your list. however, some leagues may use an automatic draw. members will rank players ahead of time and then the draft will be automated. If a member of your league is unavailable for a live draft, you can often pre-qualify players for an automated draft.
Some leagues will have members do a live draft in person and turn it into a party. you can add some pomp with a big draft board. Do you want your party to look good? Check out this guide on color coding with team colors to help your fantasy party stand out.
Before the draft, make sure you understand your league’s roster rules. you have a limited amount of space to fill each starting spot from week to week.
many leagues use this standard lineup format:
- Running backs (2)
- Wide receivers (2)
- Flexibility (either a running back, wide receiver or end close )
- tight end
- team defense/special teams
- bench (this can vary by league; these players won’t score any points)
but there may be variations to this.
- some leagues will use individual defensive players (idps) and kickers instead of a team defense/special teams.
- you can also adjust offensive starters. some leagues require you to start with two quarterbacks. others will have additional flex points.
- flex is generally limited to a running back, wide receiver or tight end. however, super flex leagues allow you to fill the flex slot with any offensive player, such as a quarterback.
Throughout the season, you may be able to select undrafted free agents. Also, you may be able to trade players to another team in the league. these options can be useful if you have an injured player.
Some leagues will allow you to put an injured player on injured reserve. this allows you to keep a player on your roster, but not factor them into your roster numbers.
Additional Pro Tip: Be aware of your players’ bye weeks. You don’t want to go a week without a starting quarterback or a single wide receiver.
Your points come from your starting lineup. The stats your players accumulate during their matches are translated into your league’s scoring system.
scoring systems may vary from league to league. a standard scoring system is as follows:
- 1 point for 25 receiving yards
- 1 point for 10 rushing yards
- 1 point for 10 receiving yards
- 6 points for rushing receiving or touchdown
- 4 points for a passing touchdown
- -2 points for each interception thrown or lost fumble
- 1 point for each extra point achieved
- 2 points for rushing or receiving a 2-point conversion
- 2 points for passing a 2-point conversion
- 3 points for each field goal from 0 to 39 yards
- 4 points for each 40-49 yard field goal
- 5 points for each 50+ yard field goal
- 2 points for turnover won by the defense
- 1 point for a sack by the defense
- 2 points for a safety by the defense
- 6 points for each touchdown scored by defense
- 2 points for each blocked kick
If your league uses team defense/special teams, you can gain or lose points based on how many points the defense allows. An example of this variation is:
- no points allowed: 10 points
- 1-6 points allowed: 7 points
- 7-13 points allowed: 4 points
- 14-20 points allowed: 1 point
- 21-27 points allowed: 0 points
- 28-34 points allowed: -1 point
- 35+ points allowed : -4 points
There are a variety of fantasy scoring systems. some variations you may find:
- Reception Points: This is an enhancement to the standard scoring system. each reception by an offensive player is worth one point. this style of play is known as ppr leagues.
- individual defensive player: if you are in an idp league, you will earn a variety of points from the performance of your defensive players.
- tackles, deflected passes and quarterback hits are worth 1 point.
- assist tackles are worth half a point.
- forced fumbles, fumble recoveries and interceptions are worth 3 points.
- defensive touchdowns are worth 6 points.
Fantasy leagues can help add another level of excitement to real games. Now that you know the basics of fantasy football, you’ll be ready to take your team to the championship game.