The fantasy football (FF) effect is real, and the reality of it is fantastic.
Once a year, avid football fans sign up for free on websites that feature FF leagues. Don’t fear the “avid” label though — for those who are not as knowledgeable of the game still are able to partake in a casual group with his or her friends. (Yes, ladies you are invited.) And if playing with your friends doesn’t tickle your tastebuds the right way, the option to play anonymously and save face against randoms across the country is there too. Whichever you decide, either competitively or for leisure, make sure you still do some reading or research on your own.
Sike. Have no fear because, in the end, those who researched for countless hours and lost sleep over their draft choices still have an equal chance of losing to the lucky drunk who accidentally drafted a “bad team.” And that‘s what drives me nuts. Because anybody can.
Fantasy football was created, literally, for everybody. All ages, yes: from the baby’s crib hooked up with a laptop to the vacant public computer lab at your grandmother’s retirement home. Just go online, Google ‘fantasy football’ and voila! CBS Sports.com, ESPN.com, Fastpoint Games, RotoWire, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, and NFL.com all support the wonder. Create a log in, sign up your team, join a league. Every league gives you a short memo on what they’re expecting and you could categorize them by your personal preference. Each group is labeled so it’s a easy for you to finding a comfortable place to participate. Registered? Feeling pretty accomplished? Go stretch, drink some water; you’re nowhere close to the finish line.
The commissioner, or the leader of your league, has already set up a day and hour for the party’s draft. A league maxes out at 12-teams, meaning 11 other people in the world that you may or may not know are playing with you! Settle down, don’t get too excited and keep your cool. Staying focused through the drafting process is vital to the success of your season.
Now this is where the story gets tricky, so watch your step as you follow behind. All players on offense, on an NFL roster including the kicker, and the defenses for all 32 teams are eligible for your team. If you check your league’s settings, your commissioner has altered the values of each position. For those confused here’s an photo example:
These are the settings that my friends and I go by. This chart shows the specifics of how many points each position will receive based on their real-life performance. So players who do well every Sunday are the ones you want to pick up for your fantasy team. Catching the drift yet?
Right, the draft. Now that the commish has figured out the group’s’ schedule and set up a convenient time, say, 11:00 PM Sunday, the next thing you want to figure out is which pick you’ve been blessed or cursed with in the draft. Usually, choosing players 6th is in my opinion, the best spot to be in, but different styles of other analysts doesn’t really give a definite “best place.” I’m just comfortable with 6th.
Draft order: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-1…repeat.
I was assigned the 11th pick this fall and boy, was I unhappy. Drafting that late means you have to be aggressive, as the high-skilled players grow thin the 2nd time around.
Here’s how I fared:
I actually love my team. I’m sitting on a throne of fantasy football glory while 11 of my friends are on their knees around me feeding me grapes? The grapes are green by the way. The breeze is nice up here, the scenery indescribable. The top of everybody’s heads underneath my feet is a delightful sight. A piece of advice, seize your moments! (I put in a lot of hours to get here!)
Now the online draft is meticulous, tedious and intense. Some groups gather on a Sunday evening for three hours over a few beers and platters of trash talk. That’s the fun part, laughing at a family member or co-worker for that ill-advised pick and then having your LOLs stuffed in your face when you lose to them later. Phew, those suck. Since you might not know who to draft or when to draft a certain football player, don’t fret. There’s a plethora of articles on the internet you can search for Fantasy Football analysis from experts who sit there and study algorithms (all day) to supply us with quality material. Most of them are credible so there’s not much to stress out about on finding your answers!
Three hours have passed and now you’ve filled up your blank sheet with auspicious hopefuls who’ve vowed to stay healthy all season and help win your match-ups. The ideal way of battling each other is going Head-to-Head, in which the team you drafted goes up against another team, and for thirteen weeks you’ll rotate playing each other. At the end of 13 games, your league should feature a playoffs bracket, for superior teams with winning records. They’ll have a chance to duke it out for the 1st place trophy. Make sure you manage your team wisely. You’d want to add or drop players sometimes based on their performances. Keep a sharp eye out for what we dub as “sleepers,” for these quiet ones launch out of their caves when least expected. The season is plagued with injuries and although I never wish pain on any one, make sure you’re on track with personnel changes!
You’re all set, and I believe it might be too late to join a league right now, but feel free to contact me next year if you’re in the mood to test your skills for the 2013 season!