When people find out that I play fantasy football, they often ask “how does fantasy football work?” Once I explain how it works, they seem intrigued by it and think it sounds fun.

Fantasy football is an online game that lets the people involved act as NFL owners with general manager responsibilities. A typical fantasy football league has 10 or 12 teams, split into 2 divisions. Each team consists of real NFL players whose real-life statistics generate points on their respective fantasy teams. Typically, 1-2 weeks before the NFL season starts, a fantasy football draft takes place. The draft order is either determined randomly or based off the results from the previous season.   For the draft, all offensive players in the NFL are put into a pool that each fantasy team may pick from. Most fantasy football leagues also include team defenses, although some use individual defensive players (IDP) instead.

Fantasy football can be played on a variety of websites. The most common are ESPN, Yahoo, NFL.com, and CBS, although there are many other sites. These websites host the league and keep up with all player statistics. Most leagues have two teams face off against each other every week, and whichever team scores the most points wins.

Fantasy football regular seasons extend to week 13 or 14, depending on the league, and then a predetermined number of teams (usually the top 2 in each division) will make the fantasy football playoffs, which are played in weeks 15 and 16 of the NFL in typical fantasy leagues.

Fantasy football is a game of projections, stats, strategy, tough decisions, and just plain luck, but it is a lot of fun to play! I will be posting more about how to play and beginner tips in the coming weeks.