At what point does your fantasy end

A little bit of fantasy ...

The NFL season is just around the corner - but before that there is a big fantasy football spectacle! Fantasy leagues around the world will draft through August, now is the time to join a league. But how exactly does fantasy football work? SPOX explains the most important framework conditions - and gives tips to all beginners.

Disclaimer: The daily fantasy business is not part of this article. This is about regular Season Fantasy Leagues, which you can participate in for free on NFL.com, for example.

What is fantasy football?

Comparable to the not dissimilar football version Comunio, fantasy football is about putting together the best possible team of active NFL players. With this squad you compete against the other virtual squads of your own fantasy league. It's not about who has the most points overall at the end of the season - you have to win your own direct matchup week after week.

This works according to a weekly principle in league operations: For each NFL game day you meet an opponent in your own fantasy league. For this purpose, a team is put together from their own squad and the fantasy player, whose professionals in the NFL stadiums on that game day scored the most points overall, wins the duel.

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So what makes fantasy football so special? The biggest difference to soccer, for example, is that subjective evaluations of a player are irrelevant - only the bare numbers count.

How many yards did a player run? How many touchdown passes has a quarterback thrown? How many receiving yards did a player have? How many interceptions did the QB make? The final point value of a player is calculated from these and other numbers.

How do you put together a team?

Primarily through the draft - another very interesting factor in fantasy football. While in the NFL in April the best college players find new teams through the draft, in the fantasy draft of a standard league every NFL player is available.

In turn - unless you play an auction draft, in which case each player has a predetermined virtual budget available - each fantasy player can choose his professional round by round.

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A lot of strategy is required here: The draft usually works according to the snake principle (the player with the first pick is the last in the 2nd round, then again the first in the 3rd and the last in the 4th round and so on ) and therefore you have to plan and estimate well in advance in the draft if you want to have a certain player. Because at any time an opponent could grab him before it's your next turn. And each "real" player is only available once.

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So each player fills his squad - empty at the beginning - round by round, which in standard leagues usually looks like this: a quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, a tight end, a flex position (receiver or running back), a defense (in standard leagues you draft a "complete" defense, for example the "Steelers Defense"), a kicker and then seven more bank seats. On the day of the game, however, only those players who are not on the bench count.

How can you improve your team afterwards?

A bad draft has probably happened to every fantasy gamer. A risk that doesn't pay off, an opponent who snatches the player you want from under your nose or simply bad luck with injuries with the hoped-for superstar.

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However, that does not mean that the season is over after the third match day, because the face of a team can change fundamentally over the course of the season. There are two ways of doing this: Fantasy team managers can swap players with one another, and in leagues that last for several years, draft picks can even be included in such trades.

It is also possible to swap two (or three, four - however many) players for another. In this case, however, the team that gets several players for one must release some players from its squad into the free agent market, because the number of squad places remains the same.

That brings us to the Waiver Wire: Many players remain after each fantasy team has already filled its roster and all available bank spots, and players are regularly fired by fantasy managers - and sometimes it takes a few weeks to determine which ones are undrafted Players may have hidden diamonds.

This is where the Waiver Wire comes into play, in which all players who are not part of a fantasy team are listed: After a game day is over, fantasy players individually specify which of these available players they want without the opponents seeing it - and which ones they give back to that transfer market. The number of management positions remains unchanged here as well.

To give bad fantasy teams a chance, the worst team has the first waiver wire pick, the best team the last. One speaks of "waiver priorities".

How does a game day work?

Two fantasy teams meet in the league, only the total points of the players set up by the fantasy manager count.

In accordance with the division of an NFL game day into a game on Thursday, most of the games on Sunday and a game on Monday, your own squad also requires regular maintenance. The first deadline is of course the Thursday evening before the first game of the day is due: With the kick-off of the game, you can no longer replace or replace any of the players involved.

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The same applies to the remaining kick-off times, which is why it is better to check again whether one of the players in your own starting line-up is not suddenly injured and fails - to have 0 points behind a player on Tuesday morning is more than annoying.

If all failures and all possible unfavorable matchups (a young quarterback who has to play in Seattle? Not a good idea ...) have been taken into account, the fantasy GM has done everything in his power. Now, while the "real" NFL games are on, watch what the players who are on their own fantasy team achieve.

The most important points in the standard scoring for the offensive players:

  • Passing yards: 1 point per 25 yards
  • Passing touchdown: 4 points
  • Interception: -2 points
  • Rushing yards: 1 point per 10 yards
  • Rushing touchdown: 6 points
  • Receiving yards: 1 point per 10 yards
  • Receiving touchdown: 6 points
  • Fumble Lost: -2 points

The total number of points for a player is calculated from this. The total number of points for all the players listed gives the weekly score for the fantasy manager.

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Keeper, IDP, PPR, Standard - which formats are there?

Standard League: The most suitable format for beginners discussed here. The draft takes place one after the other, the worst team has the highest waiver priority.

Auction League: The draft does not take place one after the other, rather each player has a virtual budget. This means that players are "auctioned off" - this also applies to the weekly Waiver Wire.

PPR League: "PPR" stands for "Points per Reception": This league format takes into account the increased importance of the passing game in the NFL. In addition to the normal points for yards, touchdowns and the like, players also receive one point for each catch they catch. Often there are also several receiver positions in the fantasy squad. However, it does not necessarily have to be a point: Many fantasy players see a half-point PPR league (half a point per catch) as the ideal format.

IDP League: "IDP" means "Individual Defensive Player". Instead of drafting the entire defense of a team, as in most other formats, you select individual defenders in addition to the offensive players. There are points for sacks, tackles, interceptions and the like.

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Keeper and Dynasty League: A format geared towards long-term gaming. You don't draft your team completely every year, but keep a certain number of players from the previous year. Here lies the difference: In keeper leagues there is a certain number of "keepers", so you can keep around three, four or five players from the previous season. In a dynasty league, you keep your entire fantasy team per se - unless you fire or swap players.

Two-QB and Super Flex: The former means, as the name suggests, that every player has to set up two quarterbacks per week - an enormous strategic difference in terms of the draft. A league with a super flex course allows any player to be fielded in the flex position already explained above. Due to the high number of points of quarterbacks, most Super-Flex leagues inevitably also become a 2-QB league when standard points are calculated.

Tips for the fantasy starter:

  • Before starting a draft, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the rules. It's annoying to take two running backs early on and then realize you're in a PPR league.
  • In the vast majority of cases, kickers and defenses are interchangeable. Many also change their defense from week to week, depending on the real games, via the waiver wire. You should draft both as late as possible.
  • But: In standard leagues, the defense also functions as a special team. This must be taken into account when making the selection, a special team touchdown (via punt or kickoff return) can decide a fantasy duel.
  • Note bye weeks when drafting: In the NFL, players have their bye weeks at different times, i.e. their break. If several starters from your own fantasy team have that game-free week at the same time, the lineup suddenly becomes difficult.
  • Away from reality: In fantasy football, your own fan affiliation should not play a role. If you focus on the players on your own - real - team, there is a high risk of paying too high prices in drafts and trades.
  • Don't forget to state your Waiver Wire wishes! It's extremely annoying to find on Wednesday morning that you could have had your available dream player if you hadn't forgotten to sign up.
  • Quarterbacks left out: The NFL has enough quarterbacks suitable for fantasy, so that you don't have to choose a QB early in the draft. Usually you can find a Tony Romo, Philip Rivers or Eli Manning in a late round. If this strategy goes wrong, you can still get QBs over the waiver wire from week to week and set up the available quarterback who has a good matchup.
  • Check lineups: Zero points from a player because he was injured? Not good. Therefore, it is important to check the failures and statements of the teams on Thursday, Sunday and Monday.

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