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Having an effective fantasy football strategy will help participants  pick a good football team. Learning to make good projections will allow participants to enjoy participating even more.

Description of Fantasy Football

It is a popular sport that has caught the attention of football fans everywhere. It’s a pretend game in which the participants, called “owners”, are arranged into competitive leagues. The “owners” earn points based on the statistics of the actual real-life football players they have drafted to be on their teams. League participants spend leisure time at computers checking statistics, adjusting team rosters, and planning trades of their players.

Sometimes draft parties are held by league participants to make the drafting process more of a social event. Prizes are offered to “owners” who excel, an additional factor in the fantasy sports growing popularity. The win-loss records at the end of football season determine league rankings and playoff brackets. Many participants in the leagues reserve the last part of the regular season for their own playoffs. League playoffs determine the champion for the football season.

 Members of such football leagues enjoy it so much, that some fans also participate in other fantasy sports. Others include baseball, basketball, hockey, auto racing, fishing, and even  poker.  

Origins of the Sport

Wilfred Winkenbach, part owner of the Oakland Raiders, originated the idea in 1962. Winkenbach presented his idea to two writers from the “Oakland Tribune”. They then formed an eight-league team based on a point system.  Very few leagues formed in the early years because tracking statistics became strenuous and time consuming. However, the development of the Internet provided online convenience for tracking statistics and updating rosters, thus the growth in popularity of the game.

Fantasy Football League and Provider Information

There are many different types of leagues, including Traditional leagues, Rotisserie and Head-to-Head leagues, Salary Cap leagues, and Keeper leagues. In Rotisserie and Head-to-Head, there is more emphasis on glory. In Salary-Cap, there is more emphasis on money. Members of Keeper leagues keep the same roster of players after the initial season.

Some providers of such leagues include the NFL, which has the official league seal stamped on it, ESPN, which is quite expensive, and The Sporting News, which offers both Traditional and Salary Cap versions. Other  provider options include Fanball and Yahoo, both of which offer free leagues or games, but charge for the information.

Fantasy Football Drafts

The initial step for participants is deciding which players are on which teams. This is called a draft. Participants can choose to use the autopick draft or a live draft.

 Autopick drafts require owners to rank available players from most to least valuable. Once an “owner's”  turn comes up in the draft, the highest-ranked player available is chosen, if the player is still available. If all of his ranked players have been taken, the league assigns him the highest-ranked player based default rankings.

In a live draft, the owners gather together in real life or in online chat rooms to choose their players in turn. If someone in a league is unable to attend a live draft, he can supply his rankings in advance. His turn then will be dealt with just as it would be in an autopick draft.

Team Rosters and Scoring

A previously determined number of players is allowed on each team, as well as the number of players used at each position. These are called the "starters".  Each week team “owners” decide which players will start and which must be benched.  Team “owners” must choose their starters for a game before a given deadline. Player statistics based on past and projected performance, and their defensive match-ups help “owners” establish  starters for each game.

The players earn team points based on their performance in weekly games. Every touchdown counts as 6 points. Points are earned for number of yards gained as well. Players also earn points for passing, rushing, and receiving yards. Kickers earn points for successful kicks, and bonuses are sometimes given to players for outstanding performances. Negative points are always given for turnovers.

Effective Strategies

Players are passionate about the sport and therefore want to employ effective strategies to better their draft picks, team rosters, and make better projections. There is a plethora of books, magazines and websites available to help participants make better decisions. League participants can track stats and get news tips and projections at such websites as “Fantasy Football Index”, “NFL Fantasy Football”, “The Sporting News Fantasy Source”, “ESPN Fantasy Football”, “Yahoo Fantasy Football”, and “Fanball”.

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