By: Philip Nicosia
Fifteen to eighteen million people play fantasy football every year-and the numbers are growing rapidly.
In fantasy football, you “draft” or auction an imaginary team composed of real-life football players (this can include NFL professionals or college players). They then score points based on their actual performance in real games.
Your fantasy tournament progresses in much the same way as the real football games. You go head-to-head, competing against another opponent each week.
If your team scores the most points by the end of the season, and has the best win-loss record, you win.
Fantasy football was invented by Danny Dulac, one of the organizers of the Raiders. He thought of it during a road trip to the east coast, and by the time he got back, he had fleshed out many of the rules and was “ready for kick off”. Today, there are thousands of websites, magazines and software that are dedicated to fantasy sports.
This is how it works. You have a fantasy league with 8 to 12 teams, with players drafted at the start of the season. Depending on the league you join, you start with a clean slate every season or have a permanent partial roster (these players can’t be included in the annual draft). Some leagues will have you keep the entire team and just draft rookies. At any time during the season owners can change their team by firing some players (that’s life) and hiring free agents who were not drafted. You can also trade with other teams.
The scores are based on how the players do in their weekly NFL games. For example, a player gets 1 point for making 25 passing yards, 10 rushing yards, or 10 receiving yards. He gets a whopping 6 points for a touchdown (unless it’s a passing touchdown, where he just gets 4). Errors can also affect your score. For example, every interception that is thrown subtracts two points. This also applies to fumbles.
Defensive scores are a little harder to compute, so some leagues opt to compute the scores primarily on yards. (They say it is more realistic and mimics the way an actual game works.) Defensive statistics such as sacks and fumble recoveries are then subtracted. To get the number of touchdowns, the total score is divided by a particular number (sometimes 80 or 100). Then any field goals made by placekickers are added to that score.
It’s a very exciting game and adds a new dimension to the already popular game of football.