Fantasy football basically mimics the National Football League in many different ways. The first priority of the league is to draft players. The difference is the draft consists of players already in the NFL and the rookies that have signed on to their new teams. The draft occurs before the regular season begins. This usually gives you time to watch preseason football to find out more information about your players. This season was unique because the NFL was in the middle of a lockout. By the time they reached a final agreement the time for training camp was almost over. So basically the preseason games were the only way to scout your players. This also meant that most players didn't go through training camp and may not be in shape for the upcoming season. This also makes you take into consideration the possibility of injuries. Also during the lockout teams cannot make any official announcements about any player. So that meant you couldn't really find out anything about players that were injured.
So draft day finally arrives after much anticipation to begin my first fantasy football team. We had a 10 team league that we were going to split into two divisions. Names were drawn out of a hat to determine the draft order. I wound up with the 10th pick. Luckily the type of draft that we used was called a snake draft. That means that in the first round I would have the 10th pick but when the second round started I picked first. Every other round rotated from top to bottom and then bottom to top. It is really the only way that the draft could be fair, and even. If you're better at visually understanding like me then this graph will help you understand. I'm pretty sure the draft was 17 rounds but I only displayed 4 just to show how each round goes.
* I just used letters instead of actual names
Obviously with the first pick you get to choose one of the best players. You can also see that after that initial pick you have to wait until the very end of round two before choosing again. The first player that you pick should be the player that scores the most points for you. So the first two or three picks almost become the most important. After looking over the final records compared to the spot you pick each round it was hard to really show an advantage. I believe if you make very smart decisions with your available spot you can still have a good team.
There are a few different types of points leagues. We just used the standard points. The Commissioner of your league can also add in different ways to score more points. If you understand how the points work then it is easier to understand what fantasy football is all about. So this is the way the points worked for our league.
1 point for every 20 Passing Yards (0.05 per)
5 extra points when total Passing Yards is greater than or equal to 300
2 points for every 2 Pt Conversion Passing
4 points for every Passing TD
-2 points for every Interception
1 point for every 10 Rushing Yards (0.1 per)
5 extra points when total Rushing Yards is greater than or equal to 100
2 points for every 2 Pt Conversion Rushing
6 points for every Rushing TD
1 point for every 10 Receiving Yards (0.1 per)
5 extra points when total Receiving Yards is greater than or equal to 100
2 points for every 2 Pt Conversion Receiving
6 points for every Receiving TD
3 points for every FG Made
1 point for every XP
6 points for every Kick Return TD
QB, RB, WR, TE, K
6 points for every Punt Return TD
QB, RB, WR, TE, K
2 points for every Interception
1 point for every Sack
2 points for every Fumble Recovered
4 points for every Safety
6 points for every Defensive TD
10 extra points when total Points Allowed is exactly 0
I drafted Philip Rivers as my quarterback. My first running back pick was Ray Rice. This is a score breakdown from the first week of my fantasy football season to show you how every stat counts during the games. It will help you better understand how the points work.
*Scoring Breakdown Philip Rivers MIN@SD Week 1 2011
1 point for every 20 Passing Yards (0.05 per) applied to 335 Passing Yards=16.75
5 extra points when total Passing Yards is greater than or equal to 300 applied to 335 Passing Yards=5
4 points for every Passing TD applied to 2 Passing TDs (Quantity)=8
-2 points for every Interception applied to 2 Interceptions=-4
1 point for every 10 Rushing Yards (0.1 per) applied to-3 Rushing Yards=-0.3
*Scoring Breakdown Ray Rice PIT@BAL Week 1 2011
1 point for every 10 Rushing Yards (0.1 per) applied to 107 Rushing Yards=10.7
5 extra points when total Rushing Yards is greater than or equal to 100 applied to 107 Rushing Yards=5
6 points for every Rushing TD applied to 1 Rushing TD=6
1 point for every 10 Receiving Yards (0.1 per) applied to 42 Receiving Yards=4.2
6 points for every Receiving TD applied to 1 Receiving TD=6
So now that you understand how the points work it is easier to explain how fantasy football works. First you have the draft. You select all of your players. You pick a defense by choosing a team. So any player on the defense can score points. You can pick your kicker closer to the end of the draft. You can also pick your defense later but certain defenses can score a lot of points each week. Then you will log on to whatever website your league is using to keep up with everything. We used the website www.fleaflicker.com which I thought was very easy to use. After the draft everybody's information was put into the website. You can also join a fantasy football league by going directly to the website I mentioned. You can find an open league that has not been set to private and click to join. You then select your players online in a draft that usually has a timer of about two minutes. We actually gathered around and selected our players in person. Then our Commissioner entered in the information. If you are a beginner this is a lot easier than drafting online. When you sign up online it is a very quick pace with little time to decide which player you want to pick.
Now I realize I need to explain how many players you are allowed to play each week. I'll also explain a little more about your backups.
1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB/WR/TE(flex), 1 K, 1 TM
17: 9 Starters, 8 Bench
*The roster requirement is basically your starting lineup for each week. You also have one flex player which you can see as 1 RB/WR/TE. That means you can have one extra RB,WR, or TE. You usually pick this depending on what extra players are the best. Most people usually either choose one extra RB or WR. Some of your players on the bench can end up being even better than some of the players you chose in the earlier rounds. That gives you a chance to substitute them in during the season. You also have backups in case of injury. Also teams have bye weeks which means they don't play that weekend. So you have to fill in those players on bye weeks. This also means you have to make sure your backup players don't all have the same bye weeks as your starters. If that happens you can also add and drop players each week. There are always free agents that were not selected during your draft. So let's say your kicker's team is on a bye week then you can drop him and just add another kicker if you don't have an extra kicker on the bench (which most teams usually only have one).
I spoke briefly about the free agency. It becomes very important throughout the season to find guys that were not picked that end up doing very well. One of my best pickups was Victor Cruz sometime early in the season. I want to show my original lineup and then the final lineup at week 16 to show you how different my team looked. Each week your team score of all your starting players are tabulated from Thursday night football until Monday night football. So at the end of Monday night your final score against a team you are playing is added together. Then you have all day Tuesday to look over your roster to make adjustments. So for instance if I have a backup that is not doing very well and I see someone like Victor Cruz putting up a lot of points then I can try to add him on my team. I would just cut the bad player on my bench to add the better player. Sometimes you have to make the risk and hope that player continues to do well. There are plenty of factors that you have to think about when you make each move. Then Wednesday your claim for a free agent is approved. Each week your waiver claim number for free agents will change. This means that if you have first priority and you claim someone you get your first choice of a free agent. If your waiver claim number is five you claim the player if the first four in front of you did not try to claim them.
Now finally I want to show a couple of lists and stats from my own fantasy team. This first list is just simply the original players that I drafted and that the exact order I drafted them.
- Ray Rice RB BALTIMORE Ravens
- Philip Rivers QB SAN DIEGO Chargers
- Hakeem Nicks WR NEW YORK Giants
- DeAngelo Williams RB CAROLINA Panthers
- Santonio Holmes WR NEW YORK Jets
- Anquan Boldin WR Baltimore Ravens
- Marcedes Lewis TE JACKSONVILLE Jaguars
- Jets defense
- Fred Jackson RB BUFFALO Bills
- Mark Sanchez QB NEW YORK Jets
- Chad OchoCinco WR NEW ENGLAND Patriots
- Jordy Nelson WR GREEN BAY Packers
- Thomas Jones RB KANSAS CITY Chiefs
- Michael Crabtree WR SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
- Ben Watson CLEVELAND Browns
- Billy Cundiff K BALTIMORE Ravens
- Jacquizz Rodgers RB ATLANTA Falcons
QB Philip Rivers SD [v.MIN 335Yd 2TD 25.45 fantasy points] year stats 4,624Yd 28TD 340.8 total fantasy points 21.3 average points per game
RB Ray Rice BAL [v.PIT 107Yd 2TD 31.9 fantasy points] year stats 1,364Yd 16TD 330.65 total fantasy points 20.7 average points per game
RB DeAngelo Williams CAR [@ARI 30Yd 3.6 fantasy points] year stats 836Yd 7TD 144.1 total fantasy points 9 average points per game
RB(flex) Fred Jackson BUF [@KC 112Yd 16.7 fantasy points] year stats 934Yd 6TD 203.6 total fantasy points 20.4 average points per game
WR Hakeem Nicks NYG [@WAS 122Yd 17.2 fantasy points] year stats 1,192Yd 7TD 173.9 total fantasy points 11.6 average points per game
WR Chad Ochocinco NE [@MIA 14Yd 1.4 fantasy points] year stats 276Yd 1TD 33.6 total fantasy points 2.4 average points per game
TE Marcedes Lewis JAC [v.TEN 28Yd 2.8 fantasy points] 460Yd 46 total fantasy points 3.1 average points per game
K Lawrence Tynes NYG [@WAS 2/2 XP 2 fantasy points] year stats 19/24 FG 43/43 XP 100 total fantasy points 6.2 average points per game
DEF New York Jets NYJ [v.DAL 1TD 1INT 4Sack 16 fantasy points] year stats 4TD 19INT 35Sack 127 total fantasy points 7.9 average points per game
QB Mark Sanchez NYJ [v.DAL 335Yd 2TD 28.05 fantasy points] year stats 3,474Yd 32TD 303 total fantasy points 18.9 average points per game
RB Thomas Jones KC [v.BUF 3Yd 0.3 fantasy points] year stats 479Yd 52.2 total fantasy points 3.3 average points per game
RB Jacquizz Rodgers ATL [@CHI 33yd 3.3 fantasy points] year stats 205Yd 2TD 51.3 total fantasy points 3.2 average points per game
WR Jordy Nelson GB [v.NO 77Yd 1TD 13.7 fantasy points] year stats 1,263Yd 15TD 241.3 total fantasy points 15.1 average points per game
WR Michael Crabtree SF [v.SEA 4Yd 0.4 fantasy points] year stats 880Yd 4TD 119 total fantasy points 7.9 average points per game
WR Anquan Boldin BAL [v.PIT 74Yd 1TD 13.4 fantasy points] year stats 887Yd 3TD 116.7 total fantasy points 8.3 average points per game
WR Santonio Holmes NYJ [v.DAL 70Yd 7 fantasy points] year stats 654Yd 8TD 116.1 total fantasy points 7.3 average points per game
TE Lance Kendricks STL [v.PHI 18Yd 1.8 fantasy points] year stats 352Yd 34.4 total fantasy points 2.3 average points per game
Now I will show you my team from the very last week of the season. I'll also show their season stats to compare. It really gives you an idea of how much your team changes over the course of the season.
QB Mark Sanchez NYJ [v.NYG 258Yd 2TD 20.2 fantasy points] year stats 3,474Yd 32TD 303 total fantasy points 18.9 average points per game
RB Ray Rice BAL [v.CLE 87Yd 1TD 19.5 fantasy points] year stats 1,364Yd 16TD 330.65 total fantasy points 20.7 average points per game
RB Ryan Grant GB [v.CHI 44Yd 7.8 fantasy points] year stats 559Yd 3TD 100.7 total fantasy points 6.7 average points per game
WR Jordy Nelson GB [v.CHI 115Yd 2TD 28.5 fantasy points] year stats 1,263Yd 15TD 241.3 total fantasy points 15.1 average points per game
WR Hakeem Nicks NYG [@NYJ 20Yd 2 fantasy points] year stats 1,192Yd 7TD 173.9 total fantasy points 11.6 average points per game
WR(flex) Percy Harvin MIN [@WAS 65Yd 1TD 16.4 fantasy points] year stats 967Yd 9TD 194.9 total fantasy points 12.2 average points per game
TE Jermaine Gresham CIN [v.ARI 56Yd 1TD 11.6 fantasy points] year stats 596Yd 6TD 95.6 total fantasy points 6.8 average points per game
K John Kasay NO [v.ATL 1/1FG 6/6XP 9 fantasy points] year stats 28/34 FG 63/63 XP 147 total fantasy points 9.2 average points per game
DEF New York Jets NYJ [v.NYG 1INT 2Sack 4 fantasy points] year stats 4TD 19INT 35Sack 127 total fantasy points 7.9 average points per game
QB Philip Rivers SD [@DET 299Yd 1TD 14.95 fantasy points] year stats 4,624Yd 28TD 340.8 total fantasy points 21.3 average points per game
RB Fred Jackson BUF [v.DEN 0 fantasy points]*injured year stats 934Yd 6TD 203.6 total fantasy points 20.4 average points per game
RB Donald Brown IND [v.HOU 35Yd 4.8 fantasy points] year stats 645Yd 5TD 108.1 total fantasy points 9 average points per game
RB Toby Gerhart MIN [@WAS 109Yd 15.9 fantasy points] year stats 531Yd 4TD 101.1 total fantasy points 6.7 average points per game
RB Mark Ingram NO [v.ATL 0 fantasy points]*injured year stats 474Yd 5TD 82 total fantasy points 8.2 average points per game
WR Victor Cruz NYG [@NYJ 164Yd 1TD 27.4 fantasy points] year stats 1,536Yd 9TD 242.9 total fantasy points 15.2 average points per game
WR Nate Washington TEN [v.JAC 71Yd 7.1 fantasy points] year stats 1,023Yd 8TD 160.8 total fantasy points 10.1 average points per game
WR Santonio Holmes NYJ [v.NYG 50Yd 4.9 fantasy points] year stats 654Yd 8TD 116.1 total fantasy points 7.3 average points per game
The reason I wanted to show you the two different starting lineups from beginning to end is to point out the major difference in the players. You start out drafting 17 but may only end up with about seven that you originally drafted. One example is DeAngelo Williams. I picked him early because he was predicted to have a great year this year. As you can tell by looking at his stats they were low compared to other running backs. He only averaged 9 fantasy points a game compared to Fred Jackson (ninth round pick), who averaged 20.4 fantasy points a game. So you can see where you make mistakes in your draft. Not every player pans out the way you think.
Also, you can learn a lot just by studying the stats of each position. For instance I can also point out times that you make certain decisions choosing your lineup each week. If you look at my team from the first week you will notice that Mark Sanchez actually scored a couple extra points more than Philip Rivers. So you can see sometimes the obvious choice isn't always the best. Also if you look back at the scoring rules then you will notice the -2 points for every interception. Well for the season, Philip Rivers had 28 TD's and 20 interceptions. That's -40 points that I lost throughout the season. And there will be weeks where you need every point you can get because sometimes winning or losing comes down to 1 point. So another word of advice when choosing your starting lineups is to make sure to focus on which team you're player will be going against. For example, you may have a great RB that is going against the number one rush defense in the league. So you may want to start your other RB that is decent playing against a defense that is not so good against the run. Sometimes it is tough to bench your better players. You also have the possibility of that strategy backfiring and the player having an excellent game. That is just a crazy part about fantasy football. You're also able to change your lineup up until the game starts with each player. After the game begins your players are locked in and you can't make any more changes.
Looking back over my starting roster from the first week I can quickly tell the mistakes I made in the draft. I thought DeAngelo Williams would be a lot better this past year. He only averaged 9 points a game, which is very low for a running back. I picked Chad OchoCinco because I thought he would do great with Tom Brady. He only ended up with 33.6 total fantasy points for the year. Some players can almost score that many points in one game. I also thought Marcedes Lewis was one of the better TE’s in the league. He ended up getting injured, and only scored 46 fantasy points for the season. I had several people on the bench that were not very good as well. Thomas Jones was the backup running back at Kansas City. Even after Jamaal Charles was injured he still wasn't a very good fantasy RB. My last pick of the draft was Jacquizz Rodgers from Oregon State. I was hoping he might come in and surprise some people, but Michael Turner was the featured back in Atlanta. I took a chance on Michael Crabtree and he was injured most of the season. I traded Anquan Boldin after a few games of the season. I really thought Santonio Holmes would be a lot better in his second year with the Jets. He was very up-and-down the whole season. That's another part of fantasy football. You have no idea that certain teams will struggle, and therefore hurt your player’s chance of doing well.
I was happy that my final record was at least over .500%. My final win loss record was 7-6. I needed a couple wins in my division toward the end of the season to make the playoffs but didn't get them. I also had the fourth highest overall points out of 10. This was the top five in scoring: 1. 1,575.7 2. 1,468.25 3. 1,465.95 4. 1,461.85 5. 1,343.3 . The top four teams from the entire league make it to the playoffs. I believe I was number six. Luckily, we had a consolation playoff for the next four teams to play for the number one pick for this year’s draft. The last two teams were done after the regular season ended. I really like that set up because it gives the teams that are out of the playoffs a good reason to keep trying. I won my first game of the consolation playoff. Then I lost the game for the number one pick. So I'm not sure where I will pick this coming up fantasy football league.
So after the season was over I remembered there was a show called the league. I was pretty sure it was about fantasy football. I happen to have Netflix, with the web streaming instant watch feature. I found the first two seasons of the league on Netflix. You're not really going to learn too much about fantasy football by watching it, but the show is hilarious. It comes on at FX but I'm not sure what time. Here is a link to the show's website. the league. I also added a couple of videos from YouTube. You will see what the show is like after watching the selection of the draft order ha ha.
(commercial for the premiere).
I could go into so much more about fantasy football but I think I have given a general idea of how it works. If you are a football fanatic like I am then you realize football season really never ends. I've been watching some of the Scouting combine this weekend for the upcoming NFL draft. RG III could quite possibly be the Cam Newton from last year. There are other rookies that could turn out to be surprise fantasy football studs. If you've never played fantasy football, give it a shot. It can be very addictive. You will start to watch games and cheer on certain players during the game. You might yell at the TV for your running back to get the touchdown instead of the quarterback throwing for one. It gets very competitive as well. There are plenty of sources on the Internet to find out as much information as possible. You can always check out ESPN and look at their fantasy football page. You can also learn a lot by studying the points. It will help you figure out which players you should draft. If you're interested get a group of people you know together and start your own league. You might be able to get other beginners to play with so that you can all learn at the same time. Football season will be back before you know it!