Fantasy Football 101

Fantasy football can be a fun way to interact with co-workers, keep up with old friends, or even meet new ones. It is even more fun if you know what’s going on. You don’t want to be the dormant of your league just because you didn’t know what Superflex meant. Fantasy Football 101 is designed to establish a basic foundation of knowledge for you going into your next fantasy league. You will learn what types of leagues are out there to join, what positions start, and how the scoring systems work. Each league, before the start of the NFL season, will host a startup draft where managers can select players from across the 32 NFL teams to be on their rosters. How you draft may depend on your league type or roster construction. After the draft is how you win championships by trading with other managers in your league or selecting free against off of the waiver wire. If you’re looking to get into fantasy football this is the place to start. 

  • Format
    • Redraft – This is the most common type of fantasy football league. Players are drafted by managers in a yearly draft. Typically, teams have smaller rosters to make waivers more valuable. After the season the team is cleared and managers redraft before the beginning of the next season. No players are kept year-to-year. 
    • Dynasty – In dynasty leagues managers pick players in a startup draft before the beginning of the season. All players are kept on the roster year to year. This setup places a lot of emphasis on youth because players are kept on your roster. Managers have to determine if they want to win now with more veteran players or build for the future with younger players. Rookies are drafted every year in a shorter rookie draft (usually 3 or 4 rounds). 
    • Keeper – Keeper leagues are a hybrid of redraft and dynasty. Keeper leagues have a yearly draft before the season but a predetermined number of players are kept year-to-year on your roster, 2-4. Some leagues include a draft penalty for your keepers. For example, if you selected Travis Kelce in the 2nd round of your startup draft and you decide to keep him, then in the next year’s draft you will keep Travis Kelce but you will not have a 2nd round pick. Rookies are included in the yearly drafts – no separate rookie drafts.
    • DFS – With several states allowing sports betting there has been a rise in DFS play as well. DFS stands for Daily Fantasy Sports, these leagues take place during the season, with sites like FanDuel and DraftKings. Players draft weekly rosters in a given competition and the weekly/daily winner is awarded a sum of money. There are many different formats for DFS and every site offers something different. 
    • IDP – Individual Defensive Players (IDP) are drafted along with the typical roster. Defensive Linemen(DL), Linebackers(LB), and Defensive Backs (DB) all receive points for sacks, total tackles, pass breakups, interceptions, and defensive touchdowns. The challenge with IDP leagues is how the defensive players are valued in drafts compared to the classic offensive positions. 
  • Rosters/Positions
    • QB – Quarterback: points for passing/rushing touchdowns, passing yards, etc.
    • RB – Running Back: points for rushing yards and touchdowns, as well as passing production.
    • WR – Wide Receiver: points for receiving yards and touchdowns, sometimes points awarded per reception (PPR).
    • TE – Tight End: points for receiving yards and touchdowns, sometimes points awarded per reception (PPR), some leagues include a TE premium.
    • Flex – Can be an RB, WR, or TE: points for rushing/receiving yardage and touchdowns.
    • Superflex – Flex + QB: This is one of the fastest-growing roster positions. More and more leagues are changing to Superflex. Starting 2 QB’s most weeks gives more value to the QB position as a whole, much like the real NFL. QB’s go earlier in drafts.
    • DEF – Team Defenses: points for total points allowed in a game, sacks, interceptions, etc.
    • K – Kickers: typically include bonuses for longer kicks made.
    • Bench – You will not be starting all of the players that you draft. The players that are not starting can be found on your bench. You can swap out players before they begin their games. Most fantasy platforms offer projected scoring to help you decide who to start and who to bench. 
    • Taxi Squad – Often found in Dynasty Leagues/Devy Leagues, the taxi squad is a set of young players (usually Rookies and 2nd-year players) that an owner can hold for the future upside. The players that you put on the taxi squad act like an NFL practice squad where teams hold them for what they could turn into. Typically players that are drafted in crowded situations but you believe in the talent. 
    • IR – The rules for the IR slots depend from league to league, most leagues have it set up for players that are placed on their NFL team’s IR can be placed in your fantasy IR spot. These are players that could still add value to your roster but have sustained longer-term injuries.
    • Waiver Wire – Not every player in the NFL is drafted in the yearly drafts. The undrafted players are found on the waiver wire. Depending on your league, there is either waiver priority (the last-place team gets first dibs on a player) or FAAB (every team is given a season-long budget, ~$100, to spend on free agents throughout the season). 
  • Scoring
    • Standard – In leagues that utilize standard scoring, a lot of emphasis is placed on the scoring of Touchdowns. This is the classic scoring system of fantasy football, although it is being slowly phased out with the introduction of PPR leagues. Typically the scoring breakdown is as follows: 1 pt for every 10 rush/receiving yards, 1 pt for every 25 passing yards, 4 pts for passing TD’s, and 6 pts for rushing/receiving TD’s.
    • PPR – Point per reception does just that, gives the pass-catcher (RB, WR, or TE) 1 point for every reception they have in a game. Much of the standard scoring is present with added points for pass catchers. This is the most popular scoring set up in 2021.
    • .5 PPR – Also known as ‘partial PPR’ this scoring system rewards pass catchers with half of a point for every reception. 
    • TE Premium – This scoring system grants an additional point for receptions by TE’s which leads to that position scoring more points. This is done because the tight end position is usually one of the lower-scoring positions on your roster. This scoring format evens it out. 
    • 6-pt Passing TD – The scoring system that grants higher rewards to QB’s is 6-pt per passing TD. Changing the standard scoring from 4-pts to 6-pts equalizes the scoring for touchdowns across the board. In this system QB’s who pass for a lot of touchdowns are just as valuable as QB’s who rush for a lot of touchdowns – something that cannot be said about standard scoring. 

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