Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football 101 Tutorial

FOX Sports Fantasy Department
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Q: What is fantasy football?

A: Fantasy football allows NFL fans the opportunity to act as the general manager and head coach of their own NFL team for 16 (sometimes 17) weeks during the regular season. The typical fantasy schedule has regular season games Weeks 1-13 with playoffs taking place during Weeks 14, 15 and the Fantasy Football Super Bowl held during Week 16.

Fantasy football leagues are created all around the world on an annual basis. The most common leagues consist of 10 teams, but have been known to be as small as four and, in my experience, as large as 24 teams.

Fantasy football owners (managers) begin to build their fantasy football team with an annual fantasy football draft usually during the month of August.

Typical fantasy football drafts consist of 15 Rounds with each owner needing to draft a:

• Running Back
• Running Back
• Wide Receiver
• Wide Receiver
• Flex (WR or RB)
• Tight End
• Defense/Special Teams (one specific team)
• Kicker

The remaining six draft picks can be used to round out your bench (any positions you want – typically 1 backup QB, 2-3 RB, 2-3 backup WR)

Note: you can pick any player from any NFL team in any round. In standard leagues, those players in bold must start for your team each week.

Strategy Tip: fantasy experts suggest drafting either a QB or RB in the first round in most cases. For more tips visit our Fantasy Football Draft Guide

Leading up to NFL games each week, fantasy football owners set their starting lineup using the players selected in the fantasy football draft. Owners’ fantasy players are awarded points for different achievements on the field. The good news is that because the game has evolved on the internet, computers do all the work and tally your fantasy scores automatically. Standard fantasy football scoring looks like this:

Fantasy Draft Guide

Need help with your fantasy football draft? Our experts provide a helpful fantasy football draft guide that includes rankings, stats, mock drafts, and downloadable cheat sheets.


o 1 point for every 25 passing yards
o 1 point for every 10 rushing yards
o 6 points for every touchdown pass
o 6 points for every touchdown rush
o -2 points for every interception thrown


o 1 point for every 10 rushing yards
o 1 point for every 10 receiving yards
o 6 points for every touchdown reception
o 6 points for every touchdown rush
o -2 points for every fumble lost


o 1 point for every 10 receiving yards
o 6 points for every touchdown reception
o -2 points for every fumble lost


Can’t wait until your league’s draft day? has you covered. Test your fantasy football knowledge and strategies with a free and easy fantasy football mock draft.

Tight End

o 1 point for every 10 receiving yards
o 6 points for every touchdown reception
o -2 points for every fumble lost


o 1 point for every extra point
o 3 points for every field goal 0-39 yards
o 4 points for every field goal 40-49 yards
o 5 points for every field over 50 yards

Defense / Special Team

o 2 points for interception or fumble recovery
o 6 points for defensive/special teams touchdown
o 2 points for blocked punt/kick
o 1 point for every defensive sack

There are some other ways of scoring fantasy points in custom scoring leagues, but these are the most common.

As with most competitions, the goal is for your fantasy football team to outscore the other by the end of the Monday Night Football game. Each team in your league will go head-to-head each week (ex: Team Chicago vs Team New York in Week 1, etc). Depending on the number of teams in your league, you could face an opponent twice in the regular season. Ties are possible if you leave the default scoring options alone.

Schedule Change for 2012: The NFL has expanded their Thursday Night Game of the Week – it’s now every week from Week 2-15 – so you will need to set rosters early if you have players participating on Thursday night. After that game is over, you can go ahead and set your roster for the Sunday/Monday schedule.

Q: Who plays fantasy football?

A: The hobby-gone-global has continued to grow over the last decade as the web has made it easier for leagues to form and follow with automated scoring systems. Unlike the pre-internet days, there’s no need for league commissioners and owners to track weekly fantasy stats with pen, paper and a calculator.

Over the last few seasons, more and more women have joined the fantasy football world. With a growing number of “fantasy football widows” (yes, it’s a thing), women wanted to be closer to the men in their lives and embraced fantasy football as a way to enjoy the NFL season with their guy. It sounds funny, but it’s really true. To top that off, we’ve heard of grandparents participating. From teenagers to the young at heart, millions of people are playing fantasy football these days.

Q: Why do people play fantasy football?

A: Couple reasons, but at the top of the list is the love of competition, trash talk and camaraderie. Second of which, in most cases, is most leagues award some type of compensation and/or trophy at the end of the season.

In addition to those top two reasons, fantasy football gives sports fans/NFL fans a vested interest in players/teams outside of the team they root for each season. So, for instance, if you are a fan of the Cleveland Browns and their record reads 2-9 to start the season with no hopes of the playoffs, fantasy football teams keep NFL fans’ interest the last six weeks. Some people believe the growth/popularity of the NFL has some type of connection to the popularity of fantasy football. It makes sense.

Q: Where do people play fantasy football?


Free Fantasy Football Commissioner Home Page

Good luck this season!

Ryan Fowler and Joel Beall Fantasy Football Editors

@FOXSportsFowler and @FOXSportsBeall

Tagged: Jets, Ryan Fowler

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