The art of fantasy football

Written by: Matt Sympson

One of the greatest parts about a new year is a new football season. And with a new football season also comes a new fantasy football season.

Fantasy football is a competitive interactive online game in which people manage an imaginary team consisting of professional football players in the current NFL season. Determining which NFL players go to which manager is decided through an offline draft usually held in a restaurant or a participant’s house.

There are different types of rules for every fantasy football league. There is no right or wrong way to play fantasy football, and every league is different.

A league consists of eight to 14 players. Fantasy football is usually played for money. In the draft, players draw numbers to determine draft order. In most fantasy football leagues, there are 16 rounds. A fantasy football draft usually takes several hours to complete, and is an all-day event. People can determine whom they want to be on their team via a cheat sheet that can be found online at The cheat sheet consists of each position in football (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker, and defense/special teams). The players for each position are ranked from the best to the worst on the cheat sheet. As players are selected from the cheat sheet, people cross them off. ESPN usually provides the bye week (the week a team is off in real football) next to the player on the cheat sheet.

An example of a starting lineup for a fantasy football team is one quarterback, two running backs, a flex position — meaning the manager can either start a running back or wide receiver — two wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker and a defense. Then there are bench players for a manager to use. The purpose of a bench is for the manager to substitute out a starter if they’re injured, or on their bye week.

When the NFL regular season begins, managers have up until kickoff to substitute players in or out, add/drop players, or trade players. After a game has started, the player that is in that game’s slot will be locked.

Point systems are different in every league. Your league’s point system depends on how many points a quarterback gets for throwing a touchdown, or how many points they’re deducted for throwing an interception. How your players perform in real-life games corresponds to how your team is awarded.

Many University of Akron students play fantasy football, including Kevin Doak, who has been playing fantasy football for several years now.

“It’s a fun, competitive game, and a way to cheer for players on different teams,” Doak said.

UA student Jimmy Carter enjoys playing fantasy football as well. He believes that it adds a little something to the game.

“It gives me a reason to watch the football games and care about them,” Carter said.

There are 13 weeks in a fantasy football season. After 13 weeks, your playoff format decides how many teams make the playoffs. How much money you’ve played for and how each person finished in the league decide how the money is sorted out in the end.

It takes time to master the art of fantasy football. No one automatically gets good at it in one season. All it takes is some strategy, knowledge of football and football players, and some thinking ahead to do well and win.

With some simple studying, patience and determination, you can create a winning fantasy football team and be rollin’ in the dough!