NFL Fantasy Football For Beginners Part 1: Rules, Strategies, and Definitions:

Fantasy football is a game in which you select a group of real NFL players, and determined by their performance each week, score points to win weekly matchups against your opponents, to ultimately, win the fantasy football championship. As a team manager, your main objective is to provide the best possible team to the field each week to score the highest amount of points.

During the regular season, you will have a roster with quarterbacks (QB), running backs (RB), wide receivers (WR), tight ends (TE), team defenses (DEF), and kickers (K) to score fantasy points for your team.

There are 3 steps to the fantasy football process:
1. Build a team using the draft inside your league.
2. Follow your team through weekly contests based on your players’ performance in their NFL games. You win or lose the matchup for the week based on your team’s performance against the performance of one of the other teams in your league. During the season, you can make trades or pull from your bench to improve team performance.
3. Set your team up to perform in the season playoff races, if you qualify.

The regular season lasts after the scheduled date of the league’s fantasy draft, anywhere between 12 to 15 weeks as determined by the league’s set time date, and in the event of playoffs, there would be a 2 to 3 week addition to this time. The regular season begins as the first week of the NFL regular season begins.

In playoff leagues, the top teams of your respective league will go an extra 2-3 weeks to compete for the championship, while in non-playoff leagues, the top player in the regular season will be crowned the champion.

There are two types of leagues: Head-to-Head and Points Leagues.

In Head-to-Head leagues, fantasy owners compete each week against one other owner to get a victory by scoring the most points between the two to determine the victor. Through the regular season, the top players will vie for position on the playoffs board for the end of the season, based on wins, losses, and ties. Through 2 to 3 weeks of single elimination playoffs, one winner is crowned the champion

In Points leagues, players vie for the highest point totals and, at the end of the regular season, the owner with the highest point total is declared the champion.

Fantasy Scoring

Both Head-to-Head and Points Leagues use the same basic scoring system. You earn fantasy points based on how well your players perform in each of several statistical categories, including offense, defense, and kicking. All real-life statistics have fantasy point values. Your total for the week is the sum of each of your player’s fantasy points.

Below are all of the possible ways to score in a standard fantasy league with default fantasy league settings:

Offensive statistics and scoring points

Every 25 passing yards: 1 point
Each passing TD: 4 points
Each interception thrown: -1 points
Every 10 rushing yards: 1 point
Each rushing TD: 6 points
Every 10 receiving yards: 1 point
Each receiving TD: 6 points
Each return TD: 6 points
Each Off Fum Ret TD: 6 points
Each 2-point conversion: 2 points
Each fumble lost: -2 points

Kicking statistics and scoring points

Field goal 0-19 yards: 3 points
Field goal 20-29 yards: 3 points
Field goal 30-39 yards: 3 points
Field goal 40-49 yards: 4 points
Field goal 50+ yards: 5 points
Each extra point: 1 point

Defensive statistics and scoring points

Each sack: 1 point
Each interception: 2 points
Each fumble recovery: 2 points
Each TD: 6 points
Each safety: 2 points
Each blocked kick: 2 points
Kickoff and Punt Return Touchdowns: 6 points
Shutout: 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 points
35+ points allowed: -4 points

In this scoring system, if a fantasy QB passes for 280 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception, the QB has scored 18 points (11 points for 280 yards, 8 points for 2 touchdowns, and -1 points for 1 interception).
A fantasy kicker that makes 2 extra points, one 27 yard field goal, and one 52 yard field goal, the kicker has scored 10 points (2 points for 2 extra points, 3 points for one 27 yard field goal, and 5 points for one 52 yard field goal).
A fantasy defense that has 2 interceptions, 5 sacks, a fumble recovery, a defensive touchdown, and allows 17 points in a game has scored 18 fantasy points (4 points for 2 interceptions, 5 points for 5 sacks, 2 points for a fumble recovery, 6 points for a defensive touchdown, and 1 point for allowing 17 points in a game).

Drafting

Before the start of the regular season, there is a draft to determine the makeup of your team. There are three different times of drafts:
1. Live Drafts: A draft where there is a scheduled time for players to be online to pick in draft order the players that they will be using for their teams. This draft typically lasts for sixteen rounds, having a snake-like order system as shown below:
Round 1: 1234567890
Round 2: 0987654321
Round 3: 1234567890
Round 4: 0987654321
etc…
2. Auction Drafts: An auction draft is a scheduled draft by the league in which each player is given a bank (the default is 200) with which to bid for each player using the budget given to you. Each owner, in a random order, takes turns putting players on the board to be auctioned off until everyone has their rosters filled or runs out of funds.

3. Autopick drafts: The autopick draft is for players that cannot make an apropriate draft date and time. The autopick system with the draft first selects the highest-rated available player that can fill one of the open starting positions on your roster. It then determines bench positions and fills them. All player selections are based on your pre-rankings and the draft’s custom set rankings.

Trading and Free Agency

If your season is going well, but you like a player that another owner has, then there is a trading system that is involved in fantasy football. If you find a player that you would like on your roster, you can offer a trade via the league’s system to the other owner. During that time, the trade can be rejected by the other owner, a counter-offer can be made, or the trade can be accepted, then made possible. You will typically find that this process takes 1-3 days to accomplish, due to owner’s time frames. Once a trade is pending, you are normally not allowed to make another possible trade with the same player used.

Free Agency is where you can make or break your season. Countless times, I have seen pickups that have led to championships, so knowing how to use your free agent pool is a necessity for all fantasy players.

Each unowned player is put into a pool to where these undrafted players can be chosen for your fantasy game. At all times, you must keep your fantasy roster at the defined limit, so whenever you pick someone up, you normally have to drop a player from your team. While there are some fantasy leagues that do not use waivers, there are many that do, so I will explain waivers in the next paragraph.

In regards to fantasy football, waiver refer to the system that is set in place for the free agent pool. At any time during the fantasy football season, you can drop a player from your team. The dropped player cannot be added to another team immediately. Instead, there is a period of time called a “waiver” when other owners can claim that player for their team.

There is a set period of time for all leagues with waivers that are followed in this system. Normally, leagues that have a waivers system has set a 2 day time period in which waiver players cannot be picked up. The most common one I have seen is weekly from Sunday to Tuesday at 11:59 PM. As time crosses over to Wednesday, the waiver players that have not been selected by teams become regular free agents, while those selected by teams will move immediately to the team’s roster. In the event that two fantasy owners have selected the same player, there is a specified priority list for each team. This list is most often determined by reverse order of the draft, making the last pick of the draft pretty important in fantasy play.

In general, I have written this column to assist any novice fantasy football player, to offer a thought out view to this highly addictive and enjoyable game. Anyone with questions or advice to beginning players, feel free to comment. I wrote this only to assist anyone willing and wanting to learn the game.
Happy Drafting…

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