Fantasy Football

Everything You Need to Know to Play Fantasy Football Written by Leslie M. Carlet – A Woman Addicted

Creating an Account
To play Fantasy Football, you first must create an account similar to a Facebook or e-mail account. The most popular website to play Fantasy Football, without cost: or

There are more websites available for Fantasy Football, but the majority of people who play Fantasy Football use these websites. I have played Fantasy Football for years, ever since my husband tried out for a national football team. Needless to say, he did not make a team, but I thought it was time for me to understand the game and also know more about the players on the NFL teams. Fantasy Football has taught me both, and so much more.

Once you are on the website, you click “FANTASY & GAMES” then,
ESPN Fantasy Football

you can click “Register” and you will be instructed to register as a new user.
ESPN Fantasy Football Register
This leads to creating your account. You answer the simple questions about your name and address, email address, and select a password. All of the instructions are provided for you and you just follow the prompts to create an account.

Register for ESPN

Selecting Types of Leagues
You have the option to select what type of Fantasy Football league you wish to play in. Depending on the league and website, Fantasy Football is free, but some leagues choose to have monetary prizes for the winner. I won $150 the first time I played to keep me hooked.

Your own league can decide about the prizes and that is part of the fun. You could offer anything for a prize. It makes playing really exciting. For example, each member could throw in ten or twenty dollars prior to the start of the season, and this cash amount could be given to the winner at the end of the season. Or you could decide to offer prizes for the top 4 teams, and split the amount of money in varying amounts.

League Options

There are two options in leagues:

Custom LeaguesStandard Leagues
Custom Leagues are generally created among friends, families, or co-workers. This league is created.
Standard leagues are where other members, within the website, are randomly assigned to a league. You don’t need to know the people. This is an existing league.
Whoever creates the league is considered to be the commissioner.
As a commissioner, your job responsibilities are outlined on the website. This role basically means you are in charge of your league. You inform people about the league and you monitor the Fantasy Football competition for your league.
Time to Pick a Team
Once you have established the league, prior to the start of the NFL regular season, you now officially have a team. You are free to name your team. That is really another fun part of Fantasy Football. I’ll never forget the team names My Guys, A Free Agent for Me, You Can’t Touch This, and Too Hot to Handle.

Each league has the standard allowing 4-20 different teams.

Draft Types
Once every team has joined the league, the commissioner (creator of the league) sets a draft type. In other words, if you create the league, you are assigned the role of commissioner and it is your responsibility to select one type of draft. There are four different types of drafts:

Auto Pick DraftLive Online DraftOffline DraftAuction Draft
The auto pick draft is a systematical approach where the website automatically drafts your team for you. It is based on the best available players for all required positions.
The live online draft is a draft where members of the league draft their own team on the website, on a specific date chosen by the commissioner. This draft process typically ranges from 2-4 hours. On the website, there is also a draft overview where you can see all prior selections. This helps you in drafting your team members.
The offline draft is a draft where all the members of the league are present in-person, on a specific date. You all show up and draft your teams. Draft Board I personally think this is the most fun because you can be with other people and enjoy the drafting process together and even start tail-gating.

Someone should make up a draft board with everyone’s selections so there is no confusion on who has been drafted. This can be recorded on cardboard and placed somewhere so it is helpful for everyone.

The auction draft is a draft where each member can purchase draft picks and buy out other people’s selections. It is similar to a “bidding war” over the draft order. For example, the number one overall draft pick that your league members all want could be worth a certain amount of money, let’s say $20. This is determined by the commissioner or by your league consensus, before you start the draft. There is no official list of top players; it is just the value that your league members place on any given player.

Then, the auction starts and people bid. The commissioner auctions off the player(s). The highest bidder in your league gets the draft pick. It might be $20 used in this example as the minimum bid suggested, or it might be way over $20. That money goes into the pot of money that is won by the winner(s) at the end of the season.

Deciding the Type of Draft
The members of the league discuss what draft will be used and they can determine by agreement which way they want to draft. Or, you as commissioner can pick the type of draft for the league members.
Set Draft Order
Prior to selecting football players for the teams in your league, there must be a set draft order. Set draft order is discussed and agreed upon by the league members.

Usually, the draft order is determined by picking numbers out of a hat, but there are many different methods to do this. You decide.

If you go with picking numbers out of a hat, the person who gets ‘1’ picks first, and so on. You rotate through the numbers. The leagues I have played in always pick the draft order with numbers from a hat.

The draft order goes in order ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, and so on. And, then the draft continues for the next round, in descending order with the last number starting and going down to ‘1’. You follow this order until all the necessary players are drafted and the teams have full rosters of 16 players each.

How to Draft
Once the draft type and date is set for your league members to draft, you can plan who you will draft for your team. This is the most important part. Don’t worry if you don’t know who to pick up for your team. You will learn.

If you want more information on who to draft, there are lists describing each player in the NFL, and the pros/cons concerning their football abilities and talents. These are summarized on various websites like So, start reading and talking to other people. You will be a pro in no time!

Positions to Draft

These are the standard positions:

1 quarterback
2 running backs
2 wide receivers
1 (running back/wide receiver)
1 tight end
1 kicker
1 defense (entire team defense)
7 bench players

A standard league has 16 players. However, the requirements in starting positions can vary, based on how the commissioner sets up the league. This means, the commissioner could allow a different combination of team members, within the 16 team players selected. I have always played with the standard 16 positions listed-above.

Why are Bench Players Necessary?

The seven bench players are needed because one or more of your starters might get injured, or the NFL team on which they play might have a ‘bye’ that week. Having a ‘bye’ means the team does not play that week in the regularly scheduled NFL games on Sunday, Monday night or Thursday night. The player(s) then who are on that ‘bye’ NFL team would not be eligible to get any points that week for your Fantasy Football team.

If this is the case, you could bench the current starter (who is on the ‘bye’ team) and replace him with a bench player. Then, you could restart the benched player whenever you want, and certainly in time for the next NFL game.

Selecting the Best Players at All Times

Picture draft day as if the NFL started over and you were the general manager of an NFL team. That is what Fantasy Football is like. You select the best available player for each position on your team.

Points for Positions
Each position on your team is valued differently on a point scale. Generally, quarterbacks and running backs produce the most points each game, followed by wide receivers, tight ends, and then the kicker.

The points, within Fantasy Football, are based on player performance. Once the NFL game has started, you cannot adjust your starting line-up.

For a standard league, scoring will generally look like this (but remember the point system can vary based on the league set-up, determined by the commissioner):

Touchdown pass = +4 points
Every 25 passing yards = +1 point
2 point conversion = +2 points
Interception = -2 points
Fumble = -2 points
Touchdown = +6 points
Every 10 rushing yards = +1 point
2 point conversion = +2 points
Fumble = -2 points
Touchdown reception = +6 points
Every 10 receiving yards = +1point
2 point conversion = +2 points
Fumble = -2 points
Field goal made (50+ yards) = +5 points
Field goal made (40-49 yards) = +4 points
Field goal made (0-39 yards) = +3 points
Each Point after Touchdown made (extra point) = +1 point
Field goal missed = -1 point
Interception return touchdown = +6 points
Fumble return touchdown = +6 points
Blocked Punt/Field Goal return for touchdown = +6 points
Interception = +2 points
Fumble recovery = +2 points
Blocked punt/field goal = +2points
Safety = +2 points
Sack = +1 points
0 points allowed = +5 points
1-6 points allowed = +4 points
7-13 points allowed = + 3 points
14-17 points allowed = +1 point
18-27 points allowed = 0 points
28-34 points allowed = -1point
35-45 points allowed = -3 points
46 or more points allowed = -5 points
So the Draft is Over, What’s Next?
Once you have drafted your team, you are ready for the season. During the season, you can add free agents and drop current players on your team whenever you want, but you cannot exceed 16 players.
Free Agents
Free agents are players who were not selected on draft day and players who have been dropped during the Fantasy Football season.
Adding/Dropping Players
To add/drop players throughout the season there is an “add/drop” tab that will take you to another screen with all of the available players. There are free agents and there are waivers.

Free agents are available for pick-up instantly. They are undrafted players from draft day, whereas for waivers, there is normally a 3-day waiting period. Waivers are players who have been recently dropped from a team in the league. The waiting period is necessary so each member in the league has an equal chance to pick the waiver up. However, after the waiting period of 3-days, if the player is not chosen by any team, he becomes a normal free agent.

You may also trade players with other members in the league online, via another tab reading “trade”.
Weekly Match-ups
Most leagues will have head-to-head matchups randomly determined by the website where you will play a different team within the league on a weekly basis. In other words, every team plays a different team every week. There will be another tab reading “match-up”. This is where you will find your team’s scoring of the week against your opponent.
Wins and Losses
Wins and losses are based on the scoring set-up provided. So, if your team outscores your opponent, you win for that week.

There are generally either 13 or 14 games in a Fantasy Football regular season, as determined by the commissioner. Therefore, you will want your team to win as many games as possible so you can make the playoffs.

You can check the other league teams’ records by clicking a tab reading “league”. It is all tabulated for you by the website.

Tie Breakers?
In the case of a tie (i.e. two opposing teams receiving the same number of points) for the NFL game that week, the winner is usually determined by the total running back points that week. In other words, whichever team has the most points for the running back would win that week.
All about the Playoffs
The Fantasy Football playoffs are either the last 2 or 3 weeks, of the NFL regular season consisting of 16 games.
3-Week Playoffs
If the commissioner assigns the playoffs to be a 3- week system, 6 teams with the best records will be in the playoffs. Here, the best 2 teams receive a bye while the other 4 teams play each other. Of the 4 teams, the team with the best record plays the team with the worst record, and the other two teams play each other. 2 teams will come out of the first week of the playoffs and then these teams will play the other 2 teams who received the byes. After these two weeks of games to determine who will play in the championship, there is one last week of the NFL regular season. This is the Fantasy Football championship week. The two remaining teams play. Hopefully, you are one of them.
2-Week Playoffs
If the commissioner assigns the playoffs to be a 2-week system, then the 4 teams with the best records will be in the playoffs. So, in the first week of the playoffs, there will be 2 games. The team with the best record plays the team with the lowest record and the other 2 top teams are matched with each other. After this week, there will be 2 teams remaining to play (i.e. the two teams that just won). These two teams vie for the championship. Again, hopefully you will be one of them.
In the Event of a Tie
If there is a tie in the overall records for the last position to make it into the playoffs, the team with the better record against each other goes on into the playoffs. If this should be a tie, meaning there were two games where the two teams played each other and they both won one game, then you would revert back to the running back totals to determine the winner, as previously mentioned.
Now, there’s a Winner!
The winner of the league receives bragging rights until the next season. They collect any money that was presented by the league members, both the initial money that might have been the joining fee for the league, and any money collected for bidding on the players for the draft, etc.
Fantasy Football, Next Year for Sure!
Fantasy Football
And, now it is time to fantasize for next year and another round of Fantasy Football. After you play awhile, you will understand the process more easily and you will routinely be able to engage in the fun. Believe me, Fantasy Football is addictive and provides an insight into the football world: the NFL teams and players, the rules and scoring of the game, and the excitement of owning and managing a team of your own, all within the confines of your home with or without your friends, family and co-workers. Sure beats housework on Sundays…Mondays…and even on Thursdays.
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