2001. Frost Hall. Frostburg, Maryland. Room 205. Spring semester of my freshman year, the year I started playing fantasy football (hard to believe this will be my 16th fantasy football season). At that point, I had already been playing fantasy baseball for a few years. But, a new craze was about to sweep the nation. Okay, maybe ten years after this a craze swept the nation. In large part, due to the explosion and obnoxious ad campaigns for Daily Fantasy Sports. In this article, we are going to focus on the basic rules and lingo for fantasy football. This article is meant to serve as a very basic introduction to fantasy football. Later, throughout the offseason, we will delve into the nuances of different leagues, look for sleepers, and provide strategies to help you win your league.
Fantasy football is a game that relies on NFL statistics. You (the general manager) build a team of real life NFL players through a draft or an auction. You attempt to compile more (mostly offensive) statistics than your opponents. Teams usually consist of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, kickers, and team defenses. If your players do something good (gain yards, score touchdowns, sack the quarterback, etc.) you receive points, they do something bad they lose points (fumble, throw an interception, defenses allowing points, etc). Simple, right? However, there are many variations of leagues.
Standard vs. PPR leagues
There are two main types of leagues: Standard and PPR. There is one major difference. In a PPR league, you receive a point per reception (Hence the acronym PPR). This means that anytime one of your players catches a pass they will receive their yardage points as well as an additional point for the reception. This also means there will be a strategy change for you as the general manager (more on that in a later article).
Head to Head vs. Points Leagues
Before drafting a team, you must become familiar with the rules and setup of the league. We covered Standard vs. PPR in the last section. Another consideration is to identify the type of league you are entering. Head to head leagues are just what they sound like. Every week you go up against another team and the team that scores the most points wins. This continues for the first 12-14 weeks and then a playoff occurs with the top teams. However, in a points league you do not play a singular opponent every week. You compile points each week and the person with the most points at the end of the year is considered the winner. I would estimate 80-90 percent of leagues are head to head.
So you’ve found a league that you are comfortable in. And the draft is quickly approaching (likely within the next eight weeks or so). What should you be studying? What should you be thinking about? Here are some general basic pointers. Remember, this article is designed to get introductory players ready. Here are 11 tips to get you started
Do not draft a quarterback in the first 3 rounds. I am more than aware that quarterbacks are the most important part of an NFL team. I do not care! We can break this down at a later date but the dearth of the argument is that the difference between the number 1 QB’s fantasy numbers and the number 12 QB’s numbers are much more closely aligned than WR1/WR12 and RB1/RB12
If you have one of the first three picks this year in a standard draft one of these names should come out of your mouth: LeVeon Bell, David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott (pending a non-suspension start)
Do not overdraft players from your favorite team. I cannot state this enough. We all love our favorite teams, separate yourself from your fandom.
Do not draft a defense in the top 12 rounds.
Ditto for kicker.
In head to head leagues it’s important to think about a player’s floor. What is a players floor? That is the lowest possible points you anticipate that player scoring. It’s one reason Antonio Brown is usually drafted ahead of Julio Jones. You need to build a team that can win every week. Blowing an opponent out by 100 feels awesome! It only counts the same as winning by 1 point in a head to head league.
Follow what other teams are doing. If everyone has a quarterback, it may be okay for you to wait another couple of rounds as you are not likely to be “sniped. (sniped is the term for when someone picks a player you wanted- and it sucks)”
Familiarize yourself with ADP. ADP is average draft position. Most websites that provide player projections will include this information. It tells you when someone is drafted across mock drafts throughout the industry. It gives you an idea of when you need to take a player or risk not getting them.
Speaking of mock drafts. Do them! Nothing is better practice before drafting than completing a practice draft. If it sucks: no harm, no foul. Better to screw up in practice than in front of everyone. After you complete a mock, let someone you think is a good player see it and ask them to analyze it. If you don’t know anyone, post it here. We will gladly take a look at it.
Remember, sometimes you just need to follow your gut. If you think someone is going to break out, don’t be afraid to go up and get them above their ADP. It’s your team and you will be mixing and matching players all year, This is only a starting point for the year long marathon and we will be here to guide you all year long.
Have fun! We all screw up, every year I look back and hate a trade/draft pick that I made or didn’t make (I refused to trade CJ Anderson for Lev Bell during week 3 last year – D’OH!) It is a learning process. Consume as much information as possible and ask as many questions as you can.
Are You Ready To Rumble?!?!?
Are you ready for some fantasy football? As the Orioles are mired in a longgg slump I have begun thinking a lot more about fantasy football. There are only eight Sundays left for us to prepare for our leagues. Whether it’s for big money, bragging rights in the office, or just for fun Charm City Sports Network is the place to go for winning advice. Good luck and check back!