Fantasy football (American)
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Fantasy football is an interactive, virtual competition in which people manage professional football players versus one another. Fantasy football allows people to act as general managers of a pseudo-football team. The players that an individual is able to manage are professional American Football players in the National Football League. The different actions people are able to make are: drafting, trading, adding/dropping players, and changing rosters. Due to the growth of internet, fantasy football has become far more popular in America today than ever before.
Fantasy Football was discovered in 1988, by Gary Chiappetta and David Mcnamara, who set up the rules on scoring. the two men were discussing players abilities, in a feud between Randall Cunningham (Eagles 1985-2001) and Jim Everett (Rams 1986-1997). Gary and David started to keep track of the players performances. Later they collected more players, creating a team. Word got out and people gathered to join, Divisions and fantasy playoffs were created at that point. Records and scores were kept on paper until they continued the league on the internet for easier scoring in 1995. Although David resigned, Gary is still a team owner in the league. The league is still in existence today.
Wilfred Winkenbach, a former Oakland area businessman and limited partner in the Oakland Raiders, worked with Bill Tunnel, former Raiders Public Relations Manager, and Scotty Starling, former reporter, to develop the rules that eventually became fantasy football in 1962. It was on a team trip to New York City in 1962 in the Milford Plaza Hotel.
The inaugural league was called the GOPPPL (Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League). The league consisted of eight-members—made up of administrative affiliates of the AFL, pro football journalists, or someone who had purchased or sold 10 season tickets for the Raiders’ 1963 season.
Each roster consisted of the following in the GOPPPL: two quarterbacks, four halfbacks, two fullbacks, four offensive ends, two kick/punt returners, two field goal kickers, two defensive backs/linebackers and two defensive linemen.
George Blanda was the first ever No.1 overall fantasy football selection.
Fantasy Football grew from its local grass roots game to a national sensation in 1989 when over 100,000 participants competed in Pigskin Playoff. This game was sponsored by twelve major newspapers, American Airlines, and endorsed by the NFL. Archives of the original game, players, and prizes are available from the LA Times, NY Post, Chicago Sun Times, and others.
The game was conceived and developed by Robert Barbiere and Brad Wendkos of Phoneworks who teamed with West Coast Ad Agency (Wakeman & deForest). Pigskin Playoff allowed readers of those papers to create a team of NFL players, earn stats for those players based on actual performance, trade those players on a weekly basis, and accrue points in an effort to compete against one another to win prizes.
Today it is estimated over 18 million people compete in public and private leagues online nationally.
A Canadian by the name of Chris Zouzal is the currently the #1 ranked Fantasy Football player in the world. Although he has a long way to go before matching 2 time champions Chris Byrne, Ryan Strong, Kyle MacDonald, and Kevin Laporte.
Tony Windis is the current (2010) World Champion of Fantasy Football.
There are two different types of fantasy football leagues: head-to-head and total points leagues. Type of league is the first thing in which a manager must designate to participate in.
In head-to-head leagues, a team matches up versus a different team each week. The team who receives the most points of the two receives a win for that particular week. Points are dictated by the scoring system that is either standard set by the website or custom set by the commissioner. A team’s total is the sum of all players points in the starting lineup. The win-loss record is the most important statistic in head-to-head leagues, as it directly correlates with the league champion. Teams with the best win-loss record advance to the playoffs. If two teams have the same record, the tie-breaker is then decided by total points scored by each team throughout the season.
Total points Leagues
Total points leagues are leagues in which teams accumulate points on an ongoing basis. The league standings are determined by the teams’ total points rather than their win-loss record. The teams who accrue the highest total of points throughout the duration of the NFL-regular season advance to the playoffs.
Salary cap leagues
The salary cap football league is a particular type of dynasty league which adds another factor of realism similar to the NFL: the salary cap. Just like in the NFL, this means each player has an associated salary and the total spent on all the players on a team has a maximum - the "salary cap." This can have many levels of complexity, e.g. a player may be signed for multiple years, etc.
New league types
A new style of fantasy football is modeled after the popular "survivor pool" or "knock out pool" style of weekly NFL wagering that allows each pool member to pick one NFL team to win each week, but he or she can only pick that team once all year.
Similarly, survivor fantasy leagues allow owners to draft a fresh team of seven players each week, with each player only available to each owner one week per year. This added level of strategy places an emphasis on weekly NFL match ups, while at the same time diminishing the negative consequences of injuries.
Another type of league, that allows for year round fantasy football is called Simulation Football. Simulation Football uses a computer to simulate the games with simulated players, instead of relying on the NFL for its players and stats. The most basic type is a GM league, where all the player has to do is put together a team and the computer does most of the work. A much more involved type of simulation football is called a "Create-a-Player" or CAP league. In a CAP league, top players vie for the chance to be a GM and put together a team using players that are created by other people. There are different types of scoring for determining who is a "top player" but the people are charged with making their player as good as possible using the league's scoring system.
The popularity of fantasy football has filtered down into the collegiate level as well. Fantasy College Football is gaining in popularity as diehard fantasy players and college football fanatics combine two of their favorite passions into one. The most popular leagues involve the BCS only schools while other leagues incorporate all FBS schools or even just the "non-BCS" schools.
Just like in real football, each year fantasy football leagues have a draft (note: in dynasty leagues, this normally consists of NFL rookies only), in which each team drafts NFL players. These players are kept unless "dropped" (aka become free agents) or are traded. In most leagues, no player may be owned by more than one team, (although some leagues do allow for this).
There are essentially two types of drafts. In a traditional "serpentine" (aka "snake") draft, owners take turns drafting players in a "serpentine" method, i.e. the owner who picks 1st in the odd rounds picks last in the even rounds, in the interests of fairness. In an auction draft, each owner has an (imaginary) budget which he must use to purchase all his players in an auction format. Owners take turns nominating players for open bid. The owner who bids the highest on each player receives that player (reducing their remaining budget accordingly). A few leagues use a hybrid of the two styles, selecting a portion of their roster via auction, with the remainder selected through a serpentine method.
Free agents and trades
Free agents and trades are integral components to maintaining a competitive roster throughout the duration of a season. Free agents exist in fantasy leagues that do not allow multiple teams to have any one professional athlete. In these leagues, free agents are professional players that are not currently on any league members' rosters. You can add, or claim, players anytime during the season.
At the beginning of every week, after the Monday night football game, team owners can claim free agents. The waiver claims are processed later on in the week. If more than one team owner claims a player, a team's waiver wire position determines who gets the player. A team's waiver wire ranking is determined by things like team record and the number of free agents already added. The better a team's ranking, the more likely they will get the best free agents. This helps competitiveness as the season wears on. Usually there are several surprise players that are not drafted by any team and yet become some of the best fantasy players.
Some leagues have trade deadlines that are set, and others have a waiver period before free agents can be picked up. This really depends as to how the league is set up. When a trade is proposed and accepted in some leagues there can be a voting period which will allow the league to decide if the trade is acceptable or not.
Fantasy trade referees
Often within fantasy football leagues trades are made that cause controversy and are considered unfair by many other members of the league. These disputes are often settled by fantasy football trade referees. These third party sites feature experienced fantasy players who rule on trades and offer an objective third party opinion.
You may not need to use trade referees if your league uses the voting system in which the league can approve or decline the trade that has been placed. In some leagues if there is a voting period and a trade referee in place, the trade referee can overrule the league voting and this can cause controversy as well.
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Each team is allowed a pre-determined number of players on its team, as well as a specified number at each position that can or must be used in each game (the "starters"). Owners for each team then determine each week which players will start (within the rules) and which will be "benched". Just like in real football, bench players can become starters for various reasons: due to other players' injury, poor performance, or if another player's team has a bye.
Each week, owners choose their starters for a game before a certain deadline. Whether to sit or start a player is usually based on strategic considerations including the player's past and expected performance, defensive match ups, and so on.
Each team owner must designate which players from the team roster will be starters each week - i.e. the only players who will "score" any points. The following example is similar to many common formats required for a starting lineup:
- 1 Quarterback (QB)
- 2 Running Backs (RB)
- 3 Wide Receivers (WR)
- 1 Tight End (TE)
- 1 Placekicker (K)
- 1 Team Defense/Special Teams (DST)
- 6 Bench (BN)
There are many variants on this. Some leagues use individual defensive players (IDPs) (and in some cases a punter) instead of or in addition to a combined Team Defense/Special Teams. Some other leagues use separate Defense and Special Teams. Another variant is the "flex" position, which can be filled by a player in one of several positions. Flex positions are often limited to "WR/TE", "RB/WR", or "RB/WR/TE". Traditionally, this flex was required to be an RB, WR, or TE, however, some leagues allow any position to fill this flex slot as an "OP" (any Offensive Player). Some leagues do also have a 2 quarterback requirement for a starting lineup, yet providing another twist into the complexity of different scoring systems and lineups (Hendricks, 2007 Fantasy Football Guidebook pg 21-44).
Players earn their team points based on their performance in their weekly games; for example, each touchdown counts as 6 points, a certain number of yards gained counts for points, and so on. In almost all cases, players earn points for passing, rushing, and receiving yards. Passing yards (sometimes touchdowns as well) typically earn about half as many points as rushing/receiving yards, since QBs normally get many more. Negative points are also usually given for turnovers, and kickers earn points for field goals and extra points (sometimes negative points for missed kicks). Bonuses can also be given for exceptionally good performances, like a QB throwing for over 300 yards, or a kicker making a long field goal. Team defenses earn points for things like sacks, turnovers, safeties, etc. Individual defensive players typically do not earn points for team-wide stats such as keeping the opponent under a certain score or yardage total, but rather for tackles or turnovers made.
A typical scoring format follows. Again, there are many variations used:
- 1 point for 30 passing yards
- 1 point for 20 rushing yards
- 1 point for 20 receiving yards
- 6 points for a touchdown
- 4 points for a passing touchdown
- -2 points for every interception thrown or fumble lost
- 1 point for each extra point made
- 3 points for each 0-39 yard field goal, 4 points for each 40-49 yard field goal, and 5 points for each 50+ yard field goal
- 2 points per turnover gained by defense
- 1 points per sack by the defense
- 2 points for a safety by defense
- 6 points for each touchdown scored by defense
- 2 points for each blocked kick
An alternate scoring format is the "pure yardage" league, in which touchdowns are ignored, and each player's passing, rushing and receiving yards are totaled. Some yardage leagues also convert defensive stats into yards (ex., 50 yards for an interception, 20 yards for a sack), whether for a team's defense, or individual players. Another scoring system counts only touchdowns, touchdown passes, and field goals for points.
An alternative method for scoring defense is Individual Defensive Players or IDP fantasy football. The main difference being that players typically draft anywhere from 3 to 7 individual defensive players during a draft as opposed to just one team defense. Sometimes there are required positions to fill like 2 Linebackers, 2 Defensive Backs and 2 Defensive Linemen and sometimes it's just 5 defensive players of any position you choose. There are many different ways to draft IDPs and many have found this makes the later part of the fantasy draft more exciting. For instance, instead of drafting a 5th wide receiver in the 16th round that will typically be on your bench or dropped part way through the season, you are instead drafting a "full-time" starting defensive player that can help you win your league.
Individual defensive players
Many leagues have now incorporated Individual Defensive Player (IDP) play into their scoring systems. IDP play typically has roster space for three groups of defensive players: defensive linemen (DL), linebackers (LB) and defensive backs (DB).
One possible scoring system:
- 2 points per solo tackle
- 1 point per assist
- 6 points per defensive touchdown
- 2 points per safety
- 1 point per pass defended
- 2 points per half sack
- 2 points per fumble recovered
- 2 points per forced fumble
- 2 points per interception
All individual players
There are a few dynasty leagues that follow the NFL's roster model and score all possible NFL players at all individual positions. Offensive linemen (OL) are scored by total yards and points minus sacks given up. Fullbacks are partially scored as offensive linemen because of their blocking duties. Kick and punt returners are scored by yardage and touchdowns. Punters are scored by net average and punts inside the 20 yard line.
Effect on spectatorship
The explosive popularity of fantasy sports, coupled with the availability of venues showcasing numerous live football games via satellite, has had significant effects on football viewing and rooting habits among participants. Fantasy sports players watch more game telecasts, buy more tickets and spend money at stadiums at a much higher rate than general sports fans. For example, 55 percent of fantasy sports players report watching more sports on television since they started playing fantasy sports.  The NFL entered into a reported five-year, $600 million deal in 2006 with Sprint that was driven at least in part because of fantasy sports, allowing subscribers to draft and monitor their teams with their cellphones. 
Critics charge that rather than supporting a favorite team in any one game, some fantasy owners may instead support the players on their fantasy rosters. Players are mixed on the impact of the effects of fantasy football on fans' habits and preferences. In interviews with ESPN, retired NFL QB Jake Plummer stated, "I think it's ruined the game." And, as retired New York Giants RB Tiki Barber noted about fantasy fans, "there's an incongruity in the wants." However, Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley plays in four fantasy football leagues himself. 
For instance, a fantasy owner might have the quarterback from one team and the running back from the opposing team on his roster, and end up hoping both teams score frequently. However, he will only cheer passing scores from the first team and running scores from the second. As another example, if a team is up by many touchdowns, the "owner" of a running back on the losing team may be upset since the losing team will prefer passing instead of rushing for the score.
| This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations.
Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (May 2009)
- Mark St. Amant's book 'Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie' (ISBN )
- The History of the GOPPPL - The Original Fantasy Football League
- Hendricks, S. (2007). Fantasy Football Guidebook. Virtualbookworm.com. ISBN , ISBN
Notable References: www.Rotowire.com
- ↑ http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/fantasy-football1.htm
- ↑ http://www.wcofs.com/site/wcoff
- ↑ Remember to start the players you think will have the most "Fantasy Points". Eisenberg, Jamey (2008-07-18). "Draft prep: How to start a Fantasy league". CBSSports.com. http://fantasynews.sportsline.com/fantasyfootball/story/10900399. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- ↑ "CDM Appeals Court Victory Ensures Continued Fantasy Sports Growth". Fantasy Sports Trade Association. http://fsta.org/news/pressreleases/CBCvsMLBAM.doc?PHPSESSID=glao8etoobku1pu8q98hln9262.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 La Canfora, Jason (2006-08-13). "Beating Yourself Takes New Meaning". WashingtonPost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/12/AR2006081200740.html.
- ↑ Garber, Greg. "Fantasy craze produces awkward moments for players". http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=garber_greg&id=2684942.
“Fantasy Football Leagues: Types of Fantasy Football Leagues” http://football.about.com/od/fantasygames/a/fantasyleagues.htm. About.com
“The History of Fantasy Football” http://coedmagazine.com/2007/11/12/the-history-of-fantasy-football-2/. Coedmagazine.com