A Rookie's Fantasy: Introducing Fantasy NFL
As the continuous circus train that is the NFL starts going through the relative enjoyable afternoon countryside ride through firstly the sand dunes of training camp and then the rocky hills of the pre-season, so to the build up to the Fantasy league season begins.
Last season, I like many others was a rookie, more so as I was pretty well new to American football as a sport.A year on and I am hooked and playing in a fantasy league really helped me get an understanding of the game and enhanced my enjoyment. Now I want to spread the joy that is partaking in a fantasy league and handily we Gridiron Gentlemen are hosting our very own Fantasy League of Gridiron Gentlemen. Of course you want to get involved, so how better to start than an introduction to what Fantasy NFL is, what it involves, why I love it and possibly how to do well in it (not to boast but I made the Superbowl, didn’t win the league or the Superbowl but hey).
Just a note to say, this is also for those very new to the game (such as myself) so if you are new to fantasy football but a veteran supporter of a team please bear with me.
So what is Fantasy Football?
Like most fantasy leagues of other sports, it is all about your team scoring the most number of points, each player in your team will score a certain number of points that will contribute to your total. But these weekly point totals do not rank the teams in the league. Oh no, the main criteria is, as in proper football, the number of games you win/lose/draw (the priority being on winning the most games). The number of points for then points against are then used in case of teams with the same number of wins and losses. Each week your team is pitted against another team from your league and the idea is to make sure your team wins by picking the squad that is likely to score you the most points. “Simples”, you might think, “I will pick just the best players” and yes this is the strategy, but no team can have the same players, each team is unique and that is where the fun for me really lies, trying to get the best players that are available. “How do I get players?” I imagine to hear you ask or ask on your behalf, to save you the effort and to introduce how to get players.
Your team will require:
- A Quarterback (the guy the girls want and the main playmaker and main fantasy points scorer)
- Two wide receivers (WR, they run down the wings and catch the ball, can be a major points scorer)
- Two running backs (RB, either get the ball and run or run down the pitch and catch it, again fantasy points scorer)
- A Tight end (TE, stop sniggering just for a minute, performs other duties on the offensive line such as acts as a blocker but often used as another receiver and good for rushing especially when near the end zone. Can be prolific in getting you points)
- Flex position (RB/WR/TE)
- Kicker (K, kicks the ball, a position much disregarded as the bottom of the bucket but some kickers will almost guarantee you a good number of points each week, known to win matches)
- Defense/Special play (Def, the defense and special plays are set as a unit and can score huge fantasy points)
- Bench of 6/7 players
Each of these positions score points in slightly different ways, though the offense players do overlap. The Offense score points for yardage in passing, rushing and receiving, for rushing and passing touchdowns, they lose points for interceptions and fumbles. Kickers score points for field goals, PATs and for distance of the field goal. The Defense/Specials get points depending on the number of points they allow, number of sacks, interceptions and intercept touchdowns. A full breakdown of scoring for the League of Gridiron Gentlemen will be forthcoming in the near future, this is purely an introduction.
To pick a team, as in proper football, there is the NFL Fantasy Draft prior to the start of the season. There are different draft options such as a live draft, an offline draft and an auto-pick draft with standard and auction draft systems for all three. I have partaken in one draft and that is a live standard draft, so this is the one I will explain here (and also the type of draft that will be used by the League of Gridiron Gentlemen).
The draft works in rounds, wherein each round each team picks a player, just like at school, each team captain would pick a player from the motley bunch of kids standing in line. The order in which each team gets a pick is sorted randomly before the draft starts. The order is reversed each round (known as a snake) so that the team that picked first in round 1 will pick last in round 2 and so on. It is possible to set an order of preference (your own draft picks) for each round or you can go by the list already set by NFL.com based on the overall player rankings by the Fantasy experts. If you cannot make the Live draft then do not worry as your team will be auto-selected from the list you have created or from the one provided by NFL.com. The draft continues until all slots on each team are filled, generally 15/16 rounds. This sounds like it could take a long time, but each team only gets 90 seconds to choose a player from the available list, so it is easy to miss good available players and pick up someone a bit dubious in quality. Fear not, for your roster is not set in stone! There are two ways of getting new players: through the waiver wire and by trading players with other teams (but not until the season starts) and these will be covered later on.
So there you have it, the basics into getting a team set up. The initial hook for me was looking for the best players a possible and setting up my initial draft picks. In future posts I will cover details on what to look for, the points system we will be using and of course how to change your line up. Fantasy is all about numbers (pretty well), and at Gridiron Gentlemen I like to think we can give you the numbers that count.
If you want to get involved, you will just have to listen to our podcasts to find out more.
Featured image: Courtesy of NFL.com/fantasy
Header image: Used by Quintevents.com Blog and drawn by Sipress