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How to Setup and Play Fantasy Football

When they devised the term "armchair quarterback" they certainly had the game of fantasy football in mind. As the general manager, the fantasy football league participant has to assemble his football team of stars and scrubs, making sure he has the right mix of passing, rushing and kicking. In some fantasy football leagues, the fantasy general manager even has to assemble a defense. Then as the team's coach, the fantasy league team owner has to pick the right starting lineup for that week's football games, making sure that his best players aren't sitting on the bench. For anyone interested in starting a fantasy football league, all you need are a few basic rules to get going. The beauty of fantasy football is that there really isn't any set guideline you MUST follow. It's your fantasy football league, so fantasize any way you want. The main thing is to enjoy the football games. And that way is through a fantasy football league. Here is a step by step to get you started.

Step 1
Assemble a league of football owners who are willing to wheel and deal throughout the course of the NFL season. There is no set number, mind you, but 12 teams is great and 16 teams is better. You can certainly form leagues that are bigger and smaller than that, but make sure that you have an even-number of teams because each week you go head-to-head with another team.

Step 2
Elect a commissioner. The commissioner should be somebody who every team owner respects ­ you know, someone you'd let date your sister. The commissioner, who most likely also owns a team in the league, is responsible for the league constitution, bylaws and all final decisions.

Step 3
Setting the rules for your league is very important. There are many variations to the game and scoring systems for fantasy football are as different as the NFL and the CFL. Make sure all rules are set in stone before the draft is held. Some leagues give six points to any player who scores a touchdown, whether it be from rushing, passing or receiving. In that scenario, the quarterback and the wide receiver each get six points for a touchdown pass, making it ideal to have both Brett Favre and Antonio Freeman on your fantasy team. Other leagues give six points for a rushing touchdown and just three to the QB and three to the wide receiver on a touchdown pass. Some leagues also give bonus points for individual statistics, like three points for 100-yards rushing, 100-yards receiving or 300-yards passing. Bonus points can also be given for the length of a run, pass, catch or kick. The size of rosters also varies from league to league. Most leagues have rosters of 15 to 17 players: Three quarterbacks, four to five running backs, four to five wide receivers, two tight ends and two kickers. Most leagues start just seven players each week: One QB, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end and one kicker. The accumulative points of one team¹s starters are matched up against the points of another team and the end result is either a victory or a loss. There are no weighted statistics in fantasy football, just head-to-head records. Some leagues also use defense in their scoring system, drafting either one defensive player and starting him each week or drafting an entire defensive team and getting scoring from that team for any defensive touchdown or safety. Head coaches or teams can also be figured in the mix of things, with teams drafting one head coach and getting anywhere from one to three points for each victory that coach attains during the year.

Step 4
Have a draft. Players are usually acquired by using a draft, similar to what the NFL does. In the draft, team owners select any player they want and draft for 15-17 rounds to fill out their rosters. However, unlike the NFL, the draft is held in reverse order for the even-number rounds to make the league more balanced. For instance, in a 10-team league the draft order would be 1 through 10, with the 10th team having the first pick of the second round and going back up in reverse order. In that scenario, the first team to pick wouldn't select again until the 20th pick, but would then start the third round with the 21st selection. Some leagues also like to draft their players the same way they do in Rotisserie Baseball. With that in mind, players are acquired by using a bidding system where players are acquired for a dollar amount. Each team would have an imaginary $260 budget (or other fake cash figure) and players would be acquired by using that salary cap. In that scenario, Terrell Davis could go for $80.

Step 5
Set the schedule. League schedules are set up so that every team plays every other team at least once, and divisions are set up according to the league size. In leagues of 10 teams, only two divisions are needed and the top two teams in each division qualify for the playoffs. In leagues of 12 or more, three or four divisions are needed. Either way, the playoffs usually consist of the top four teams, with those teams meeting during Week 16 of the regular season. The Super Bowl is then held on the final week of the regular season ­ Week 17 this year ­ so that all of the NFL players are eligible for the fantasy football teams. Check out our schedule page in this issue for more help.

Step 6
Compile scores. Fantasy football is the one fantasy game in which you can actually count up your own scores; you wouldn't dare try that in baseball or basketball (or shouldn't, anyway). There are also several free services on the Internet that will run your league in exchange for the traffic your league will provide. Also, there are a number of software products that will help you run your league.

Step 7
Transactions. Teams can continue to trade throughout the season and teams can also pick up free agents anytime during the year. Leagues will need to form some type of setup so that the teams with the worst record get first shot at the free agents. Otherwise it's a first-come, first-serve basis. Some leagues have unlimited transactions, while others assign points for transactions, and you bid on free agents. The high bid gets the player, but you have to be careful not to use up your points too early in the season.

Step 8
Have fun. Enjoy the competitive competition among friends and met new friends as you participate in a fantasy football league.


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Always check the injury report. Injuries are huge in nfl gambling and can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

Don’t be afraid to double up on Monday. If you are down and like the Monday game double your wager.

Keep your cool. Never chase your money. Meaning never wager on games because they are the only thing to place a wager on.

Control you bankroll. Set a certain amount you are going to bet and stick with that all season.

Start early. Usually the lines are a little looser in the beginning months of the season. So start your season with the nfl season.

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