Fantasy Football For Dummies book cover

Fantasy Football For Dummies

By: Martin Signore Published: 07-02-2007

Packed with expert advice and timely tips

The fun and easy way to guide your American football team to glory in fantasy football

Fantasy football can be an addictive hobby. But if you've never played American football before, how do you start? Have no fear! This friendly guide explains the game to you from start to finish -- from scouting and drafting your players to building your coaching skills to planning your strategy. And who knows, perhaps even to tasting victory in your league championship!


  • Understand the basics of the game
  • Pick the league right for you
  • Assemble your dream team in the draft
  • Develop your in-season management skills
  • Know which quick fixes work and what common mistakes to avoid

Articles From Fantasy Football For Dummies

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26 results
Fantasy Football For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 01-25-2022

Fantasy football is a fun, competitive, and addictive hobby. Get your fantasy season started by drafting players to build a solid team and using coaching tips to keep your team going strong. If you need to improve on a position, try some strategies for trading players and acquiring free agents. Keep a guide handy of important league dates so you don’t miss anything exciting or an opportunity to improve your fantasy football team.

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Fantasy Football Keeper Leagues

Article / Updated 01-25-2022

So you want to join a keeper league but you are not quite sure about how it works, the keeper league rules, or if it's for you. If this sounds about right, keep reading. Keeper leagues offer fantasy football owners the opportunity to keep a certain amount of players from year to year. Retaining players helps maintain continuity with each team and offers a new interesting dynamic for fantasy football. Keeper leagues bring new and exciting gameplay and lets owners "build" a team over the course of many seasons. If you play your cards right, you can create a winning tradition and become a dynasty in your league for years to come. Sometimes the season may not go as you planned, and keeper leagues open up a new dimension to strategy that traditional leagues simply do not offer. If it becomes clear that your team is not going to be competing for trophies, the best you could do in a traditional league is be a good sport and try to play the spoiler role, or win your consolation playoffs. In keeper leagues, you could instead focus on how to make your team better for future seasons. You could trade off one of your older, more productive veterans to teams competing for the playoffs, for one of their younger rising stars. There are many different ways to approach and be successful in a keeper league; keeping both the present and future in mind is always important. How keeper leagues work Keeper leagues work virtually the same as a normal fantasy league, except that each team gets to keep a certain number of players from year to year. Each fantasy owner will get to select which players they get to keep, and teams will keep the same number of players in most cases. In the first season, the draft is performed as any other fantasy draft would be. Depending on the league rules, typically five to ten players are kept from each team, and all other available players, plus any rookies, will be available for the next available draft. In the extreme, dynasty leagues offer a chance for fantasy owners to keep all of the players from last season, and only rookies are drafted. There are many different ways to implement keeper leagues — and no single correct way. Discuss the idea with your fellow league members, and decide what works best for you. Common keeper league rules In addition to keeping players from year to year, fantasy football keeper leagues can offer a wide array of other options and rules. Stipulations on keeping a player are commonly based on his tenure, total team tenure, draft position, or player salary, among other criteria in certain leagues. Player tenure is a concept that means a player can only be kept for a fixed number of seasons before he has to be released back into the free agent pool to be redrafted. For example, a league might have rules that simply state "All teams can keep up to five players, but no player can be kept for more than four seasons in a row." Team tenure is a concept that increases cost the longer a certain player is on the team. Instead of being allowed a fixed number of players, a team is allowed a fixed number of seasons during which they could keep any combination of players. For example, if the fixed number was ten seasons, you could keep one player ten years in a row, or ten players for one year, or any combination in between. Draft position is a way of associating cost with the player whom is being kept. Generally, if you keep a player who was drafted in the first round of last season, you will have to give up your first-round pick of this seasons draft. Some leagues even stipulate that certain top-tier rounds cannot be kept, or have a high cost associated with them in auction leagues, particularly for keeping a highly drafted player year after year. Player salary, for these purposes, has to do with a player's auction value, not his actual personal salary. The cost may continue to rise for every season an individual player is kept without being released back into free agency. If a player is purchased for $5, that cost might double every season he is kept, making it impractical to keep players for several years. In addition to these concepts, leagues may want to implement certain guidelines and rules for trading players. At times, teams may have wildly different goals, some trying to win now, some trying to build for the future, and this all must be kept in mind when regulating trades. Some leagues may have some form of a salary cap, preventing teams from having too many protected, high-value players simultaneously. However, auction leagues might simply rise the cost associated with these players. Other leagues might discourage giving up on the current season by having a draft lottery, making it not guaranteed you will get a high pick next season if your team performed badly in the previous season. Some leagues may be more forgiving and offer the lowest ranked competitors the highest draft picks the following season. Tips/strategy for managing a keeper team League rules can be among the most important factors in deciding strategy for your fantasy football keeper league. How many players start at each position, scoring modifications, and rules for keeping players are some of the more important factors in managing your keeper league season after season. You should get to know your leagues rules and any scoring modifications, so you can make wise choices on which players to pick up and which to drop for the long haul of a keeper league. You'll also want to keep players from year to year based on their past performances and projected performances for future seasons. A young star running back could be the mainstay of your team for several years, but if you see production or opportunity drop, along with rising age, the value for keeping that particular player may not be there after many years. You will have to weigh your options among your returning players and decide which ones are most important to you. To help strengthen your team, you could always try initiating trades with other members in your league. There are many situations where a trade can help both teams in keeper leagues. One side might benefit in the current season, while the other may be in better shape for the future. Some fantasy owners might even intentionally pick up mostly younger players in the hopes that they culminate into a squad of fantasy superstars one day. Others may value experience and opportunity more, and attempt to be competitive every year. The choice is yours.

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Fantasy Football Team Management

Article / Updated 08-25-2021

After you draft your fantasy football roster, you have to be proactive and manage your team each week. Learning how to manage your fantasy football team is critical if you want to win your league. The most important responsibility a fantasy coach has is to field the best possible team every week. The easiest way to stay in the game and in the championship picture is to make sure you have a complete and competitive lineup before the NFL games begin each week. Here are some common reasons why you need to change your starting lineup each week to stay competitive: Injuries: Injuries happen in the NFL often; they're part of what makes fantasy football challenging. If your best player gets knocked out for the season, you'll be hard pressed to find a worthy replacement. However, with a little research and by counting on your draft depth, you can insert capable players into your lineup each week. Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/majorosl 2008 Follow the injury report. The NFL teams designate injured players with a P (probably) or greater than 75 percent chance of playing, Q (questionable) or 50 percent chance of playing or D (doubtful or less than 25 percent.) Typically, a player designated “P” is started without worry and a player with a “D” designation will probably not play or see much action if played so they should be avoided. The “Q” players are the worrisome ones because they can go either way. Watch for injury reports and pay special attention to pregame news so you don’t get stuck with a player who is listed as inactive at the last minute. If you have a player labeled “Q,” and he is playing in the late games or night games, you should be very careful. Most of the time you won’t know if that player is going to play until after the early games have started so a lot of your bench may already be locked. In that case, look to play one of your bench players instead to avoid taking a zero. Some leagues put all players on automatic waivers come the start of games on Sunday (and any players who may have played in the Thursday night game on that day). Make sure you make any add/drops prior to that happening. Other than the Thursday players, a good rule of thumb is to have your lineup pretty well set on Saturday and leave Sunday for the last second injury substitutions. Matchups: Each fantasy team has a core of stud players that must start every week when healthy. But when making choices at your other lineup positions, you need to consider each NFL game and which of those matchups are more likely to give your fantasy players the best chance to produce. When setting your weekly lineup, there is one rule that should govern all: PLAY YOUR STUDS! Often times fantasy owners will out-think themselves by trying to play the matchup or avoid a player competing in a bad weather situation. You drafted a player with a high draft pick . . . play him that way. A team is not always filled with stud players. In that case, matchup, weather, and injury factors will need to be taken into consideration when choosing among some players. Do your research before the game and be aware that many things can change hours even minutes before a game can start. Bye weeks: During the season, each NFL team has a bye week, during which you need to bench the team's players. If you prepare for your draft correctly, these open dates won't come as a surprise, and your bench players will be ready to contribute. Performance: Athletes tend to play in streaks, either hot or cold. When making the tougher lineup decisions, you can check the stats for the last few games and see who's playing well and who needs to take a seat on your bench. Be patient with your stud players. Every player will have a bad week or two. Try not to make any rash moves with your core group of players. Every league provider has different rules governing player movement. Always know your league rules and settings before you draft your team and play the game. Know when your lineup locks. Many leagues lock the individual players once their games start. Some leagues lock the entire lineup on the start time of the first game. And in some instances that can be Thursday evening. Make sure your line up is set when it has to be. During the season, you can add or drop players to replace injured players or to upgrade at positions of need in one of three ways: The free agency pool: In Yahoo! default leagues, all undrafted fantasy players begin the season as free agents, which means they're available to be added to your roster at any time. Many free agent pickups will surprise you and become staples in your lineup. The waiver wire: If another team drops a player, the player goes on waivers for a limited time before becoming a free agent. All coaches then have a set amount of time (usually two days) to decide whether to add him to their teams. This allows for fair acquisition players that are dropped based on the waiver priority system and not just who can get to the computer fastest. To add a player on waivers, you must drop a player from your roster. If you have the highest waiver priority — set in reverse order of your draft at the start of the season — you're awarded that player. After a claim is awarded, your waiver priority drops to the lowest number. If no owner puts a claim in for a player that is on waivers, and the waiver period has ended, that player will become a free agent, and any team can pick that player up at any time. Trading with other owners: If free agency doesn't help, it may be time to make a trade offer. Of course, making a good trade is easier said than done because you have to give up someone good in order to get someone good. Trading is often difficult for novices as many will want to acquire a stud player but be very hesitant to give one of his or her core players. If you are determined to make a trade, you should strive for equity in your early negotiations. Identify where you are either lacking or have depth and try to utilize that to your advantage. For example, you have three quality starting RBs (running backs) but only one quality WR (wide receiver.) You could try to find a team in the opposite situation and trade a RB for a WR; both teams win. A more advanced scenario might be that you have three quality RBs and very little bench depth, and you have many players going on a bye soon. You can take that one quality RB and trade him for two or three lesser quality players to give you some help during the bye weeks. Of course, if you acquire three players for one, you would need to drop some players to meet the roster requirements. A good fantasy owner is making moves often. Maybe not every week, and maybe the starting lineup doesn’t change much, but active owners are always looking for better bench players, speculative pickups that could reap future rewards, or potential trades that could better position themselves for playoff push. Remember: this is YOUR team, you make the calls. You can get advice from every expert or check every ranking, but make your own call. If your gut is telling you to play someone, then do it.

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Fantasy Football Auction Leagues and Rules

Article / Updated 10-29-2019

If you are looking to up your fantasy game, auction draft leagues are a great place to start. Auction leagues offer a unique challenge in fantasy football, where players are nominated and bid on, as opposed to standard leagues where teams take turns drafting players. It will certainly spice up your draft and create a new and interesting strategy throughout the fantasy season. Auction league definition — how it works Auction leagues work virtually the same as standard leagues except for the way in which players are drafted. Instead of each team taking its turn to draft a player, each team will take turns nominating a player to be bid on. In standard auction leagues teams will have a fixed draft budget, starting at 200 points. In many cases these points are assigned a monetary value, and the draft is essentially conducted like a real auction. After a player has been nominated to be drafted, teams can begin to place bids on the player. The team with the highest bid will win the player, and the amount bid will be deducted from that team's budget. This will continue on until every team has a full roster of players. Generally each team is restricted to a maximum bid for an individual player. The maximum bid is determined by taking each team's remaining budget and subtracting the number of empty slots available on each roster. In other words, if you have 15 roster spots and 200 draft points available and you bid 41 points on Adrian Peterson in the first round and win the bid, you will have 14 roster spots and 159 available points, making your next maximum bid 145. Common auction league rules Auction leagues come in a wide variety of rules and regulations. Standard leagues will generally have a 200 point budget for the draft and a 100 point budget for picking up free agents. When these points are gone, no more transactions can be made, so bid with caution. For simplicity sake, some leagues will revert to a non-auction league format after the draft has concluded, where the salary cap and player values no longer apply. Other leagues may take it one step further, however, and have a total salary cap for the entire season. In this format the points used for the draft and for free agent acquisition are the same. This can create some wildly varying strategies as some teams will use their entire budget in the draft, and others will save some budget to make room for free agents on the rise throughout the season. Auction leagues are commonly combined with keeper leagues as well. Generally teams will have a separate budget for keeper players only. Common options also include having fixed increase of cost for each year a player is kept. For example, a league may stipulate that for every year a player is kept his cost will increase 5 points. So for example, if you got a player for 12 points and wanted to keep him, the following year he would cost you 17, and if you kept him again the season after that his point value would be 22, and so on. Another option, which isn't as popular, is holding teams accountable for dropping players. In this format if you drop a player you will lose his (fantasy) salary off of your remaining salary cap. In other words, if you draft a player for 10 points and then drop him, you will lose those 10 points off of your total salary cap for the remainder of the season. Strategy for managing an auction league team Managing an auction league team will be largely the same as any other fantasy team after the draft. The key points are to be well prepared before the draft so you have a good gauge on player values, and to maintain flexibility in your roster, whether it be through solid backup players, or from having available free agent points to pick up any available players on the rise. Because of the limitations on how many transactions you might be able to make, teams will generally take a more cautious approach trading and picking up free agents in auction leagues. In standard leagues it is common for teams to make free agent waiver pickups week by week, picking up a player or defense with a good matchup. That strategy is much more expensive in this format and could result in a team not being able to make critical changes late in the year if a problem arises within their roster. Free agent waiver pickups are handled in a completely different way than in standard leagues as well. Instead of there being a waiver priority (based on team rankings in reverse order), all teams have an equal chance at getting any available free agents. It simply comes down to whom has the highest bid, so again, having a good knowledge of player value can be paramount to your success.

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How to Fill Out Your Fantasy Football Roster

Article / Updated 10-29-2019

When draft day arrives, all the owners in a fantasy football league gather at a central location or log into the specified web service’s draft utility and meet virtually. The goal for each owner is to draft a team roster of 15 to 18 players. How many players to draft at each position is up to you, but the traditional combination of players to draft: two quarterbacks, four running backs, four wide receivers, two tight ends, two kickers, and two defense/special teams (punt and kickoff return) units. Each owner selects one player at a time. Generally, the online service randomly chooses the order or, if drafting offline, the commissioner draws numbers out of a hat to determine the draft order. The owners make their picks in order for the first round. Then they reverse this order for the second round, what's called a snake draft. Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/spxChrome 2009 For example, in an eight-person league, Owners 1 through 8 make the first eight selections in order, completing the first round. Then as the second round starts Owner 8 gets the ninth pick, Owner 7 gets the tenth pick, and so on down to Owner 1, who makes the sixteenth and seventeenth picks, and so on until all owners fill their rosters. Before the draft, designate two people to record all the player selections. Accurate records can help resolve conflicts that may arise later. Alternatively, your fantasy football rosters can be updated online, in Excel charts, or even on a community draft board. A draft board can help every owner see each person’s team as it's being selected, which is extremely useful for live drafts. Fantasy football starting lineups Each week, you enter a starting lineup made up of the following players: one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one flex position (can be an RB, WR, or TE), one tight end, one kicker, and one defense/special teams (punt and kickoff return) unit. You draft an entire team’s defense and special teams. If your team’s defense or special teams unit scores a touchdown, records a safety, or performs various defensive feats like an interception, a fumble recovery or records a sack you get points. Fantasy football bench players The remaining players are reserves. These players’ statistics don’t count while the players sit on your bench; instead, reserves serve as backups for your starting lineup. Here’s why reserves are important: They replace poor-performing starters: If your quarterback, for example, plays poorly, you can replace him in your starting lineup the following week with your backup quarterback. They replace injured starters: If your star running back breaks his leg (gasp!), you simply start your backup running back the following week. They replace players on bye weeks: Each NFL team has one bye week. Because of bye weeks, you need to insert backup players for your starters whose teams aren’t playing that week. It’s important to choose all your drafts carefully in fantasy football, including your reserves. Although reserve players’ statistics don’t count while the players sit on your reserve squad, they are important because they replace poor-performing starters, they replace injured starters, and they replace players on bye weeks. Maintaining a strong fantasy football team roster filled with potential stars, role players, and backups is critical to performing well throughout the whole season.

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Understanding Fantasy Football Snake and Auction Drafts

Article / Updated 10-29-2019

Fantasy football offers two basic types of drafts: the snake draft and the auction draft. If you're new to fantasy football or don't want to make a huge time commitment, you should play in a snake draft league. If you're an experienced player or just a rabid football fan, you may welcome the challenge of an auction draft. What is a snake draft? The snake draft is divided into rounds — one round for every available roster spot on each team. For example, if your league has 15-man rosters, your draft will have 15 rounds. ESPN offers the following Snake Draft Demo screenshot: Fantasy football snake draft strategy In a snake draft, each fantasy coach has one pick in each round. Each team makes its first-round pick based on a predetermined order. When the first round is over, the team that picked last in the first round picks first in the second round — in other words, the draft snakes back on itself. The team that had the first pick in the first round now has the last pick in the second round and the first pick in the third round. Fantasy football snake drafts are commonly used because they allow for a fair and balanced draft. It would be unfair if the team with the first overall pick was allowed to choose first in each and every round! The key to building a good team in a snake draft is preparing based on your draft position. If you get an earlier pick, you get the chance to draft one of the biggest studs in the NFL. If you have a later pick, you'll land two top-15 overall players rather than just the one elite player. Either way, you can win a fantasy league by drafting well, regardless of your draft position. Also, understanding your draft pick number is invaluable to your draft strategy. If you draft at the beginning or end of each round, you will have consecutive picks. This means you need to understand what players and positions are most valuable, because your next pick won’t be for a long time! If you have a pick in the middle of the draft, your picks are more evenly spread out. The following shows what picks you would have in a snake draft with 12 teams and 15 rounds. Note there would be 180 total picks in that draft. Notice how Team 12 picks last in the first round, but first in the second round. This is how the snake draft is conducted. If you know your draft pick number and are in a 12 team league, the table above will tell you the exact pick numbers you have throughout the first 15 rounds. For example, Team 1 would have the following picks: 1, 24, 25, 48, 49, 72, 73, 96, 97, 120, 121, 144, 145, 168, and 169. What is an auction draft? A fantasy auction draft works a lot like an auction on eBay, except that you bid on NFL players rather than antiques or gadgets. In an auction draft, each NFL player is assigned a unit value, and every fantasy team has a unit budget; each team must fill its roster requirements without going over budget. Fantasy football auction draft strategy You can bid as much as you want for a player, as long as you still have enough units left to complete the rest of your roster. For example, if you have a 20-player roster to fill and a budget of 200 units, the most you could bid for your first player is 181 units, which would leave you with 1 unit per player for the remaining 19 slots. However, doing so would also leave your fantasy team in a lot of trouble! An auction draft still has rounds — the number of rounds mirrors the number of roster spots — but instead of drafting a player when it's your turn in a round, you place a player on the auction block and start the bidding at an amount of your choice. If no other team outbids you, the player you put up is yours. If another team makes a bid, the bidding continues until no team surpasses the highest current offer; the player is awarded to the highest bidder. Each coach can nominate one player per round; this process continues until all the rosters are filled. Understanding the right value of each player is critical to your auction draft strategy. You also have to be able to predict how other coaches value players. It’s about budgeting. What are you willing to spend to acquire a sleeper who you think has high value? Can you get that player at a cheaper price? All of these questions and considerations need to be thought out so you can build the best team with your unit budget!

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How to Join Fantasy Football Public or Private Leagues

Article / Updated 10-29-2019

When you decide to play fantasy football, you can join either a public or a private league. Which type you join depends on your skills and experience as a fantasy football coach as well as the number of friends and family you wish to play with. How to join a fantasy football public league A public league is one that's open to anyone who signs up. Essentially, anyone can join a public league for free, until all of the team roster slots are taken. If you choose to join a public league on Yahoo!, follow these steps to get started: Go to Yahoo!. Select the Sports tab from the list of services Yahoo! provides. Select the Fantasy tab on the Sports page. Scroll down to the Fantasy Football box and click on the Sign Up Now link. Select the Join a Basic League link after you get to the sign-up page. This box is opposite the more prominently featured Football Plus box, which is Yahoo!’s pay product. Yahoo! asks you to make two choices; after you make these choices, you’re placed in a league with open spots and with the options you’ve selected: Casual versus competitive: If you just want to play fantasy football to add a little action to your Sunday football viewing, join a casual league. If, however, you’re possessed by the burning desire to crush your opponents and bask in the misery of their defeat, a competitive league is for you. Autodraft versus live online draft: The autodraft feature enables the Yahoo! engine to automatically select the best available player in a random snake draft for your league. Yahoo! has its own pre-ranking system that it uses for this. In a live online draft, each owner goes online at a designated time and all the coaches select players together. Choose your league: A list of open leagues appears, and you can select either a small league or a large one; larger leagues are more challenging. Credit: www.yahoo.com Team up with a fantasy football private league If you’re invited to join a friend’s league, you’ve probably received an e-mail with a link to the sign-up page. Just click on the link, accept your spot, pick a team name and logo, and start talking smack with your pals! If your friend’s league is being set up by invitation only, that makes it a private league. Coaches can join only if they have the league info and password. This type of league works exactly like a public league when the season begins, but the league’s commissioner can customize the setup. Yahoo! has a certain set of standard defaults for roster requirements, scoring, free agency, and so on. The commissioner can decide to alter many of those defaults based on feedback from the other coaches. Credit: www.foxsports.com Some custom leagues have membership requirements or advanced league settings and generally aren’t recommended for beginners. If you have some experience and are looking for a challenge, this is a good way to try out different rules and formats — such as individual defensive player leagues, or auction drafts — that most leagues don’t normally use. When joining a custom league or private league, make sure you know the league make up. Eight to twelve team owners is a good balance talent distribution. Too few owners, and the talent is not distributed enough, and owners will rarely change their lineups. Too many owners, and the good players are spread so thin that basic NFL knowledge will not be enough to evaluate the players you will have to use. The more owners in a league, the more challenging all aspects of the season will be. Also, when joining a private league, make sure everyone in the league is committed to playing for the full season. Nothing can destroy a fantasy league quicker than inactivity. This is an unavoidable risk when joining public leagues as you won’t know the other owners. Some private leagues also have multiyear commitments. “Keeper” style leagues will carry over all or part of a roster from year to year. If you are trying fantasy football for the first time and not sure if you have the passion for it, you may want to steer clear of these style leagues to start with.

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How Fantasy Football Game Play Is Scored

Article / Updated 10-29-2019

To win in fantasy football, your team needs to score more points than any other team in your league. A fantasy football team scores points based on each player’s performance and personal stats, in addition to the standard NFL point system for touchdowns, field goals, safeties, and extra points; fantasy scoring is not affected by the NFL teams’ win-loss records. As a result, the stud offensive players who can run, catch, and pass for big yards and not just score are the elite players in the fantasy world. In essence, fantasy rewards a player for playing a good game even if he doesn’t score lots of touchdowns. Scoring touchdowns isn’t easy in the NFL, and just because an offensive player can’t reach the end zone doesn’t mean he’s having a bad game. Fantasy football also awards points to kickers who kick field goals and extra points and to team defenses that can score fantasy points by not giving up points and creating turnovers, in addition to scoring touchdowns and safeties. Basically, anything from fumble recoveries to receptions to field goal distance can add up for your fantasy team. Every league provider has a default setting for the stats that will convert to fantasy scoring, but any NFL stat can translate into fantasy points — only your league commissioner can make the decision to change any defaults. To know your league’s scoring default, make sure you check out your league’s scoring system when preparing for your season. The scoring rules of your league may affect your draft strategy and will affect the outcome of each game during the season. Fantasy football simulates the real deal by using a performance-based scoring system. A touchdown is worth 6 points for an NFL team and 6 fantasy points for a player on a fantasy team (in most leagues). Fantasy players are also awarded points for yardage gained, such as 1 point for every 10 yards gained rushing or receiving. Bad NFL plays often count as negative fantasy points; sacks can be worth –1 or interceptions worth –2. In general, every statistic can be used to rate a player’s achievements, good and bad, depending on your fantasy league. Your fantasy team’s final score each week is the sum of all your starting players’ fantasy points. The following table shows an example of fantasy scoring for one week in a league with fractional and negative points. Don’t worry about having to calculate all this each week. Your league provider does the math for you. A Good Week for Your Fantasy Team Position Actual Performance Fantasy Points Scored Fantasy Point Total Quarterback 240 yds passing 2 touchdowns 1 interception 240 ÷ 20 = 12 2 x 6 = 12 1 x –2 = –2 22 Wide receiver 110 yds receiving 1 touchdown 110 ÷ 10 = 11 1 x 6 = 6 17 Wide receiver 85 yds receiving 85 ÷ 10 = 8.5 8.5 Wide receiver 40 yds receiving 1 lost fumble 40 ÷ 10 = 4 1 x –2 = –2 2 Running back 140 yds rushing 35 yds receiving 3 touchdowns 140 ÷ 10 = 14 35 ÷ 10 = 3.5 3 x 6 = 18 35.5 Running back 80 yds rushing 75 yds receiving 1 touchdown 2 lost fumbles 80 ÷ 10 = 8 75 ÷ 10 = 7.5 1 x 6 = 6 2 x –2 = –4 17.5 Tight end 0 yds 0 0 Kicker 2 field goals 2 extra points 2 x 3 = 6 2 x 1 = 2 8 Team defense 14 points allowed 2 sacks 1 fumble recovered 1 interception 14 points = 1 2 x 2 = 4 1 x 2 = 2 1 x 2 = 2 9 _____________ _____________ _____________ 119.5 To know your fantasy football league’s scoring default, make sure you check out your league’s scoring system when preparing for your season. The scoring rules of your league may affect your draft strategy and will affect the outcome of each game during the season.

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How Fantasy Football Playoffs Work

Article / Updated 10-29-2019

When you are approaching the end of your fantasy football season, if it has gone well, you may be in contention to make the playoffs. If that's the case, congratulations! Bragging rights are what this game is all about, and you are one step closer to achieving the ultimate prize. If not, don't feel bad. There's always next year, and most leagues include a consolation playoff so you can at least one up a few of your friends or co-workers — even if your season didn't go as planned. No matter how your season ended, you need to know how fantasy football playoffs work, so you can pursue a league championship. Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/zentilia Fantasy football playoff trophies await league winners. Fantasy football playoff rules and structure Generally, the teams with the best records will make the playoffs. In some leagues with divisions, that may not be the case. In leagues without divisions, the teams with the best records will advance to the playoffs. Leagues that include divisions will usually have two or three divisions and operate like the NFL to determine which teams make the playoffs. The team with the best record in the division will advance, even if it doesn't have one of the best overall records league-wide. In leagues with divisions, there will usually be one or two wildcard teams that will earn their positions from win/loss records among the rest of the non-division winners. Division winners always have a higher seed than wild card teams. The team with the best record will be the 1st seed in the playoffs. If your league has divisions, this team would have, coincidentally, won its division as well. Another divisional winner with the next best record will be the 2nd seed, and so on. If your league does not have divisions, the remaining seeds will be determined by overall win/loss records. In the event that two or more teams have identical win/loss records at the end of the fantasy football regular season, a tie-breaking system will determine their position. Most leagues use a standard tie-breaking system, and it goes as follows: Overall points scored Head-to-head record Division record Overall points against Coin flip Fantasy football playoff formats In a standard league, four teams will make the playoffs. In this case, the 1st seed will play the 4th seed, and the 2nd seed will play the 3rd seed. The winners of these two matchups will go on to the next week to play for the league championship; the losers will play for 3rd place. In some deeper leagues with 12 or more teams, 6 teams can make the playoffs, introducing the need for bye weeks. Bye weeks act similar to the NFL playoff bye weeks. The 1st and 2nd seeded teams will not have to play the 1st round; instead they automatically advance to the 2nd round and will play the winners of the 1st round. The consolation playoffs work similar to the regular playoffs in seeding and bracket style. In most leagues, the fantasy playoffs will begin week 13 or 14 of the NFL season. Standard leagues (four team playoffs) will use the following two weeks for the playoffs, and larger leagues with six teams may continue playing all the way through week 17. However, most leagues omit week 17 (and some even week 16) to prevent unfair play from NFL teams resting players for their real playoffs. Nobody wants to have their playoffs ruined by a resting player. For example, if Peyton Manning is on your team and has dominated the entire season, your fantasy football championship can be decided by having to scramble for a backup quarterback (QB) because Manning is resting during week 17. To best prepare for the fantasy football playoffs, be sure to read your league rules to understand how the playoffs are set up. Ask your commissioner if you have any questions such as the number of teams that can qualify, the playoff schedule, rules around wavier picks and trading, and so on. Strategies for winning fantasy football playoffs If you have made the playoffs, you will need to continue to monitor and adjust your lineup carefully if you want to win your league's championship. Weekly matchups, weather, and players on teams actually fighting for real playoff spots (or not) should be considered now more than ever. Late in the season, teams that play in the north will be playing in the cold and perhaps snow so certain positions should be chosen with caution. Games played with precipitation and/or extreme cold favor the running game, whereas games played in good weather or domes generally favor passing and kicking. Some players thrive in bad weather, though, so an in-depth knowledge of your own players will prove to be an advantage either way. You'll also want to familiarize yourself with your league's playoff rules if you haven't already. Many league's final trade deadlines are during this week, and it could be your last chance to really strengthen up your roster for a championship run. You could also try picking up free-agent players you think your opponent may want, to prevent them from filling holes in their lineup that may arise come playoff time. Finally, just continue to do what got yourself in this position. Don't overthink your decisions and just continue with the players that got you here, barring injury or other player circumstance. If you need to make starting roster adjustments, hopefully you have made good moves throughout the season and have viable bench players to replace any player that is inactive or consistently infective. Roster depth cannot be underestimated come playoff time so you should be actively trying to improve your team the entire season.

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How to Play Fantasy Football

Article / Updated 08-26-2016

Fantasy football lets you try your skills as a fantasy owner. After you join a league, you scout for and draft players, compete against other fantasy owners, and use all your skills to win the championship. Learning how to play fantasy football is easy; conquering your competitors and becoming a champion is a different story. Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/James Knighten 2011 Fantasy Football 101: Here's what happens in a fantasy football season. You join a league. You can join a public league, where anyone can sign up for a spot, or a private league, where you need an invitation to play. Some people, typically beginners, play just for fun and some play for money (in some cases, serious coin). Be sure to understand the type of league you join, along with its rules. League selection is an important factor, so don't take it lightly. You prepare for your league draft by scouting players. Before choosing your fantasy team, you need to research all the available players so you can pre-rank them according to your personal preference. Understanding your league’s scoring system and roster setup is critical to creating a bulletproof draft strategy. You build your fantasy football team via the draft. The draft is the most fun and exciting day of the fantasy season. During the draft, each fantasy owner selects on NFL player at a time until the rosters are complete. Fantasy football drafts can take place online, but some leagues — typically friends or co-workers — will conduct the draft in person. Remember to draft all of the correct positions, so that you can have a full team roster. Your team competes against another team every week. During the NFL season, the real teams face each other and so do the fantasy teams in your league. The players' real-time stats are converted into fantasy points by your league provider, and the fantasy team that scores the most points wins the game for the week. The goal is to win as many games as possible to make the playoffs. You make moves to improve your team. As a fantasy owner, you're in total control. You can drop players you think aren't good enough and replace them with free agents. If one of your starters gets injured, you can bench him and start a healthy player instead. You may even make a trade offer to another owner. Your team (hopefully) makes the playoffs and wins your league. Only the strong survive, and at the end of the fantasy season, the top teams square off in a single-elimination tournament to decide the league champion. The last team standing may win a trophy, a cash prize, or just honor; but make no mistake, there will be only one winner.

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