How To Play Fantasy Football-The Basics

JohnnyNFLContributor IJune 16, 2010

There are a number of ways you can play fantasy football. Here we will cover the basics of your standard live draft type of fantasy football league and the basics of how to play fantasy football.

Generally, you have live draft leagues, auto-draft leagues, and salary cap leagues. There are other variations of these types of leagues, but these are the basic ones you will need to know about as you venture into the land of fantasy football. Here is all of the information you need to know about standard league fantasy football.

In the real world, someone plays the role of the commissioner of the fantasy football league and makes sure there is an owner for however many teams are going to be in that league. In the online world, the commissioner will actually be the person whose league you’re joining or the website you are playing on.

Most standard leagues either have 10,12, 14, 16 or more. [If you haven't picked a league yet make sure you sign up here and you'll get my league picking tips free.] The commissioner will then set up a draft day and time where everyone will get together and pick their players.

In a standard league, your starting team will consist of:

1 Quarterback
2 Running Backs
2 Wide Receivers
1 Choice of RB/WR
1 Tight End
1 Kicker1 Defense
and Special Teams

You will also usually be allowed to have anywhere from a five to seven man bench. A random selection process will determine the order of the draft and who picks where. The majority of drafts these days are what are known as “snake” drafts, because it seems to be a little fairer than other options.

In a ten team league, the team who has the first pick will not pick again until everyone else has had two picks, then he will pick twice and wait again. In this type of “snake” draft, teams pick from one to ten, then the second round goes from ten to one, and so on until everyone has filled their roster.  This is how you build your team.

Once you have your team you need to be sure to set your starting lineup every week. Having less than a full starting team will result in no points for that position for the week, and in some leagues will disqualify your team from even participating that week.

As players get injured, suspended, or just aren’t performing well, you can take players from what is known as the free agent list. This is where you can go to pick up a player that is not on anyone else’s roster and you can use for your team by getting rid of one of the players from your team.

You can also pickup players throughout the season by what is known as “waivers”. This is when a player from another team drops a player that you may want. You can pick them up after a waiting period and then have them on your fantasy football team.

You need to study your own leagues rules for scoring points. This is a basic mistake rookie Fantasy Football players make when learning how to play fantasy football.  That said, the following describes a common scoring system found in many a standard fantasy football league:

  • Passing- 1 point for every 20 yards passing, 4 points for a passing touchdown, minus 2 points for an interception, 2 points for a two point conversion, minus 2 for fumbles lost
  • Rushing- 1 point for every 10 yards rushing, 6 points per rushing touchdown, 2 Points for a 2 point conversion, minus 2 for fumbles lost
  • Receiving- 1 point for every 10 yards receiving, 6 points per touchdown, 2 points for a 2 point conversion, minus two for fumbles lost
  • Defense/ Special Teams

6 points for every return touchdown or touchdown resulting from a turnover
1 point per sack
2 points per interception
2 points per fumble recovery
2 points per safety
2 points for a blocked punt, field goal, or extra point
10  points for 0 points allowed
7 points for 2-6 points allowed
4 points for 7-13 points allowed
1 point for• 14-17 points allowed
Minus 1 for 22-27 points allowed
Minus 4 for 28-34 points allowed
Minus 7 points for 35-45 points allowed
Minus 10 points for 46+ points allowed
5 points-FG Made (50+ yards)
4 points- FG Made (40-49 yards)
3 points-FG Made (0-39 yards)
1 point each extra point made
Minus 1 FG Missed (any distance)
Got it?

These are the basics of how to play fantasy football in a standard fantasy football league. There are many ways to customize the scoring and the rosters, but this is a good place to start your fantasy football career.

Auto drafts are pretty much the same, except your team is generated automatically without a need for a true live draft. Salary cap leagues are a whole different game.

Now that you know the basics of how to play fantasy football, you probably can’t wait until football season gets here again. Don’t worry, it will be back quicker than you imagine.

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