Today fantasy football has evolved in many ways and is enjoyed worldwide. In 2012, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) estimated that over 25 million adult Americans play fantasy football every year. With statistics and league hosting now centralized and freely available on the internet, the pastime continues to grow in popularity each season. The sheer variety of fantasy football games available to play today can make the game seem confusing and complicated to those unfamiliar with it but hopefully this article will clear some things up for those new to the game.
How Does Fantasy Football Work?
Fantasy football is first and foremost a simulated management game. The owner of each team acts as its general manager much like the owner of a real NFL team. That GM manages a fantasy football team made up of real National Football League players, generally a veritable cornucopia of the best players from around the NFL. Fantasy football game itself can be broken down into two distinct categories: the draft and in-season management.
A fantasy team is most often assembled through some version of a “draft”. In a draft each team’s owners take turns selecting NFL players from a pool of available players. When selected by an owner, a player becomes a part of that owner’s team roster and is removed from the pool of available players. Savvy drafters select players based on perceived value or theoretical projections often determined through research done prior to the draft. Since players are not selected based on the team they play for, fantasy teams generally have players from many different NFL teams.
Drafts can have variable lengths based on the number of player slots each fantasy team is allowed. A standard format for many fantasy leagues is to have between twelve and sixteen total roster slots which would result in a draft of between 12 and 16 “rounds”. The idea is to put together as complete a roster as possible with scoring balance from each of the four main football positions: quarterback (e.g. QB Tom Brady), running back (e.g. RB Barry Sanders), wide receiver (e.g. WR Jerry Rice), and tight end (e.g. TE Tony Gonzalez).