You know those awkward few minutes when you and a group of friends open up a new board game and nobody knows exactly how to play? The Alpha member of the group is going through the instructions aloud, but midway through he just reads it quietly to himself. And then everyone just waits quietly and fidgets with the game pieces. And then he goes, “OH I get it!” And then he paraphrases the instructions, but nobody really gets it still. So we all have questions and he’ll refer back to the rule book, half read it and then trail off and paraphrase again. And you kind of have to go a few dice rolls before anyone really knows how it works. And everyone’s kind of just sitting around like…
Yeah, this is going to be way less painful. Here’s how to play Fantasy Football.
The Stages of Your Season
The Fantasy Football season is broken up into three parts:
The Draft – This is when we pick teams. It’s pretty important. Our draft is on Saturday, August 24 at 2:30 pm CT/12:30 pm PT. You should participate live. I will post detailed instructions, tips, and answers to your burning questions as soon as Jayson and I come back from here:
Regular Season – You’ll go head to head with a different person in our league each week, attempting to amass enough victories to move on to stage three…
Playoffs – The top three teams in each division compete for cash money in the playoffs. (The other two teams will still play, but for pride and not money.) As you can imagine, shit gets real intense.
Managing Your Team
Each of you will have a team of 14 people. However, you can only “start” 9 of them, and they have to fill this specific format.
1 QB – Quarterback, obvs.
2 RB – Runningback (the people who are handed a ball and then run with it.)
2 WR – Wide receiver (the people who are thrown a ball.)
1 TE – Tight end (kind of like a wide receiver, but they also have defensive responsibilities. Depending on the team’s style of play, a TE might not get as many points as a wide receiver.)
1 Flex – This is at your discretion. You can pick an RB, WR or TE, whomever you think will score you the most points.
1 D/ST – Defense/Special Teams. (So everyone on a single team other than the people on the offensive line.)
1 K – Kicker. They kick. Obvs.
Your starters are the only ones who count for points. The remaining players on your team are on your bench. Their points do not count toward your score, only toward your regret.
The process of choosing your starters is called setting your lineup. You have to do this every week. Once a player’s game has started in real life, he is “locked.” You can’t move him on or off your starting line. Thus, the deadline of your lineup depends on the schedule of your players.
If your players get injured or just generally suck and you hate them, you can change your team through trading with another player or by picking from the pool of players yet to be associated with a team. I’ll post instructions shortly after the draft in case anyone wants to make pre-season adjustments.
Each player on your team gets points for his real life performance. You can read the full scoring details on our league page on ESPN, clicking “Settings” and then the “Scoring” tab: http://games.espn.go.com/ffl/leaguesetup/settings?leagueId=271753
But let’s be real. You’re not going to do that. So here’s the jist of it:
QBs – 1 point for every 25 passing yards (yards the ball travels before it’s caught plus any yards the receiver ran immediately after). 4 points for every touchdown. Bonus points for every 300+ yard game.
RBs/WRs/TEs – 1 point for every 10 rushing yards (yards ran when the ball was handed off). 1 point for every 10 receiving yards (yards the ball traveled before it was caught plus every yard ran after that catch). 7 points for every touchdown. Bonus points for every run/catch that was over 40 yards. Bonus points for every 100+ yard game. Rushing and passing yards cannot be combined. And because this is a points-per-reception (PPR) league, you get one point for every catch.
Note: All RBs, WRs and TEs are eligible for the same points. For example, even if a player is an RB and normally rushes, if he catches a pass, he gets receiving yard points.
D/STs – D/STs start out every game with 10 points because the other team has yet to score any points or cover any yardage. From there, you lose points based on number of yards covered or points made by the opponent. You gain points for defensive touchdowns, punt return touchdowns, interceptions, sacks and safeties.
Ks – 3 points for every field goal (FG). 1 point for every extra point attempt (XP). Bonus points for super long field goals. Negative points for missed field goals with an inverse relationship to the length of the field goal attempt.
You are matched against one league member each week. After the Monday Night Football game, points are tallied and the person with the most points in each matchup gets a win on their record. Ties equate to half of a win for each player. At the end of 14 weeks, the 3 teams with the best record in each division move on to playoffs.
As with real football, playoff matchups are sudden death. If you entered playoffs with the best record in the league and lose your matchup in the first round, you can go cry in a corner because that $25 reward will not be for you. Our playoff rounds last 3 weeks, after which we will have our first-ever league champion.
Easy enough, right? Better yet, ESPN does most of the thinking for you. They have a framework for a legal lineup so you start the right type of players. They calculate scoring in real time. They tell you which players are injured or not playing that week. They even tell you which players are available and who owns each player who is taken. Once you’ve drafted, all you have to do is pick your team and then set your lineup in a way that allows you to happily live with those consequences.
We have about 4 more weeks until our draft. Until then, don’t forget to officially join the league using the link in the ESPN email. Holler if you need me to resend or if you have questions about how to join. Otherwise, here’s hoping that the next time I post an LM note, I’m significantly tanner and all kinds of rejuvenated. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to finish packing.