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What is Fantasy Football?
by The Prophet
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Fantasy Football is the single most all-encompasssingly addictive professional football activity that anyone can participate in.  Iíve roped in bosses, parents, siblings, girlfriends and frat brothers.  With the unprecedented popularity of the National Football League, fantasy football continues to grow and cross all types of social boundaries.  Iím still waiting for the day my grandfather asks me to help him draft his first fantasy football team.

But what exactly is Fantasy Football?  What is everyone talking about around the water cooler?  Why is it so prevalent in NFL pregame and halftime shows?  Why has it taken over NFL broadcasts and football analyst commentary?

Fantasy Football is part video game, part real world professional franchise ownership.  Itís an opportunity for would-be professional franchise moguls to run their own NFL team.  Fantasy football owners form their own fantasy football teams comprised of real world professional football players and use these statistics each week to match up against other owners in weekly fantasy football contests.  Owners are responsible for selecting their own NFL athletes to fill out their individual fantasy roster.  Players from any NFL team can be selected, but they can only be selected once.  Once an athlete is claimed by one fantasy owner, he is no longer available to anyone else.  This is called the fantasy football draft. 

The draft begins with fantasy team owners taking turns selecting NFL players from a pool of all players in the National Football League.  The draft order is set before the draft by picking names from a hat and every other round the draft order is reversed.  After a predetermined number of rounds (usually fourteen to eighteen rounds), the draft is concluded.  All remaining NFL players that were not selected during the fantasy football draft create a block of players known as the waiver wire.  These players can be picked up by fantasy owners throughout the season in exchange for a player already on their fantasy football roster.   Fantasy owners can also make a variety of moves throughout the season in order to field a successful franchise.  These moves include player trades with other owners or the acquisition of additional NFL players through the waiver wire. 

Fantasy Football L
eagues are typically made up of a group of eight to fourteen teams.  A fantasy football starting lineup is usually comprised of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one team defense/special teams unit.  Fantasy owners are responsible for filling out their roster with NFL Players through the fantasy football draft and also for setting their weekly rosters to account for injuries, player bye weeks, or advantageous matchups, thereby ensuring that the most possible points are tallied each week. 

The fantasy football season begins with week one of the NFL regular season.  Each fantasy football team owner is paired with another owner in a head to head matchup of their fantasy football starting rosters.  The actual statistics of the NFL players on each ownerís rosters are converted to fantasy points based on a league scoring system.  The fantasy owner with more points by the end of the weekend wins the head to head matchup and each team's win/loss record is updated.  The NFL player statistics that are tracked and converted into fantasy points include touchdowns and scoring, yardage gained, and defensive statistics for sacks, interceptions, and fumble recoveries.  The conversion of statistics to fantasy points can break down in the following manner:

Points               NFL Statistical Category  
   6                      Touchdowns
   3                      Field Goals
   2                      Two Point Conversion
   1                      Extra points
   1                      Every 20 yards passing
   1                      Every 10 yards rushing or receiving
   2                      Sacks, interceptions, fumble recoveries

Throughout the season, team owners plays each of the other teams in the league.  By week 14 of the NFL regular season, the fantasy football teams with the best records go into a bracketed fantasy football playoff.  The fantasy football playoffs typically begin on Week 14 and end week 16 to avoid the Fantasy Super Bowl being played on Week 17 of the regular season, when many teams are resting their starters for the NFL playoffs.  The winner of the Super Bowl claims a fantasy football championship for the year and bragging rights over the other Fantasy owners for the entire offseason.



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