Fantasy Football 101 – An Introduction To Fantasy Football

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You might be new to football, or might not know about the side culture of fantasy football that crowns millions of champions each year. Maybe you heard of it from a co-worker, or know a friend who plays each year. Now you’re interested in getting involved, but have no idea where to start.


This weekly column will be educating the sports enthusiast on fantasy football during the off-season. We intend to break down this “sport” and explain the intricate details of playing. This column will assume the reader understands football, but not fantasy sports and will build on the knowledge each week, in small digestible chunks to ease you in.


So What Is Fantasy Football Exactly?


Fantasy football has changed a lot over the years, but at its core is a competition of players based off NFL statistics. Each player, called a manager, picks a team of professional NFL players and tracks their weekly stats. These stats go toward the manager’s team total and are compared to other managers’ team totals in their local league.


There are two ways to win in fantasy football each week, either in a head-to-head match-up, or by having the most total points overall in your league. Head-to-head match-ups are when each manager is paired with another manager in their league and must score a higher point total to beat their opponent. Total overall points scoring is pretty boring, so from here out we will be only considering head-to-head match-ups for weekly scoring.


Leagues begin during the summer, before the football season begins and are started with a draft of players. The managers of the league get together either electronically or in person and pick players for their teams in rotating order. The players they pick must fit into certain designated slot positions the group has agreed upon, making up what looks like a real NFL team.


The most common combination of positions is: a quarterback, two wide-receivers, two running backs, a tight-end, a flex position (can be WR, RB, or TE), a kicker and a team defense. There are also usually five bench positions each manager can use, these positions do not score points for the team, but are used to hold players for later use.


Once the players are drafted, the managers watch the stats each week, swapping in and out players to get the most points against their opponents. Leagues run generally 13 weeks during the football season, with two or three weeks of playoffs after, in order to crown the league champion.


So there’s your introduction to the basics of fantasy football.  The next installment will cover choosing your user site, look out for it appearing on Wednesday!


Got any questions, comments or queries? Nathan is on Twitter @natecheat, and you can join the discussion on this and all our articles in our Reddit community!

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About the Author

Nathan Cheatham
Nathan Cheatham grew up in downriver Detroit, and after much traveling landed in Hartford, CT. A journalism major, he has been writing news for the past four years. You can see examples of it at and contact him at A newer football fan, Cheatham became a Detroit Lions fan soon after the 0-16 season. An avid Fantasy Football enthusiast, he has been running his own personal league for nearly 10 years. Regardless of what some might say, he is convinced the Lions will have Super Bowl Victory next year!