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Fantasy Football 101

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 How does it work?Football fans come in all shapes and sizes. There are the hardcore fans who will support their team for years, whether they win or lose. There are the fair-weather fans who will support a team because they are doing well at the moment or have flashy player. There are also casual fans who will just watch for fun or to enjoy the atmosphere. And then there are fans who will play fantasy football. They are called something too. Nerds.

But they enjoy what they do and will try their best to explain to someone how a player performs on the field in real life affects them deeply. In this article I will just briefly try to explain how fantasy football works and how you can go about playing.

With the NFL season just around the corner, and the NBA lockout looking to go on forever, many people will turn to the NFL for their sports fix, and rightly so. The popularity of the NFL is arguably at an all-time high. There are many recognizable and great players in almost every market. And unlike basketball and baseball, nearly all the teams have some chance of winning the title. Given all these factors, it can be easy to see that NFL viewership will be very high this coming season.

So now that we have talked about reality, let's talk about fantasy. Fantasy football to be exact. This is for those fans who go beyond just watching football, but living it. I've personally been playing fantasy football online for about six years, but it has been around long before the advent of computers. Though I was skeptical about the idea at first, once I got into it, there was no turning back. Though fantasy football can seem foreign to outsiders – especially my wife, who doesn't seem to get why I'm so down on some Monday mornings – it is actually pretty simple to understand.

I will restrict myself to explaining about online fantasy football only, because this is the most popular way to play nowadays, and I can't begin to understand how it was done without computers, but they all have the same basic premise. To play fantasy football, you have to be part of a league. It could be one made by you or your friends or just one you join online at random. Everyone can name their team whatever they want, which is fun in itself. Once the number of teams has been decided, the draft occurs. This is where the fun starts. The draft consists of the total pool of current NFL players in the league at the moment. This includes quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, and even kickers. The teams then go in random order picking the players who they think will perform the best in the upcoming season, while being sure to pick the right amount of players per position, which is decided in advance by the head of the league. Once all the teams have filled their roster, which is usually limited to around 12-16 players, it is now time to wait until the regular season starts. In real life.

Once the regular season games start, the players' stats during the games are all tracked, and once the games are over, they are given a "fantasy" point total. Now, this number takes into account the players' performance in the real games, such as touchdowns, yards gained, fumbles, etc. They all have certain point values, such as a touchdown being worth six fantasy points, every 10 yards gained being worth one fantasy point, and a turnover being worth negative two fantasy points. All these categories are added, and the player is given their fantasy point total. This is usually the most confusing part to those not used to or not interested in fantasy football, but you'll pick it up quickly. All the players on your team fantasy point totals are added up, which gives your team a fantasy point total. Many leagues do head-to-head matches, where one team from the league goes against another team. Simply put, whichever team in the matchup has the highest fantasy point total gets a win that week. And this continues. For 16 weeks. And whoever has the best winning percentage, or wins a playoff in some cases, will be the champion. Don't you now see why this is so much fun?

Well, I've tried to explain fantasy football the best way I could. I'm sure I will probably get very few questions, or none at all, about this, but I am completely content with that. Those people who play fantasy football understand it, and those who don't...well, don't. Thinking about it too much will do you no good, so just play if you are interested. There are many websites that host fantasy football leagues. Some of the more prominent include Yahoo Sports, ESPN, NFL.com, and CBS. They take care of all the stats, so essentially all you have to do is pick your initial group of players, do some trades and tweaking if necessary, and watch football!

 

Author of this article: Wajahat Hussain
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