With the playoffs quickly approaching for the NFL, Fantasy Football players are anticipating their playoffs as well.
Fantasy football takes an interesting approach to sports as fans create their teams and manage them as the weekly games proceed.
At the start of the NFL regular season, Fantasy Football players create their own teams made up of the players from all 32 NFL teams.
To get a general idea of what happens in Fantasy Football, Jay Nieto, a player, explains: “There are eight teams, divided into two divisions. The four best records from the league will advance to the playoffs (weeks 14-17).”
The players choose their team names and then draft with the other members of their league. Depending on what company they use to play–like Yahoo!, NFL, Draft Kings, CBS and ESPN–the way the draft happens can vary.
For Yahoo!, users participate in a snake draft. This type of draft goes player by player, in a specific order determined by the website. Each player usually has two minutes to research and pick their player.
The website goes in order before going back after it has reached the last player. The last player in the draft will get two straight picks as it winds its way back up to the first player.
Players generally choose two quarterbacks, four wide receivers, three running backs, two tight ends, two kickers and two team defenses. They keep one of each on their bench to use as a backup when another player is on a bye week, injured, or just has less projected points than another player in the same position.
Once their teams are selected, the players not only cheer for their own teams in the NFL, but also hope for the best for their selected players in the fantasy matchups.
The winners or most high scoring players will win prizes depending on the type of league they are in. Such prizes can include tickets to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, Minnesota or possible cash prizes.
Most players need to spend some money to receive cash or prizes. Other players participate with no cost for the simple joy of playing Fantasy Football.
Regardless of the prizes, it is important to keep an eye on weekly lineups and player stats. One bad week of starting multiple players on a bye week or who are injured or suspended can wreck a season.
“Week 10 was my scary week because I had the following on bye week: Kansas City Chiefs Alex Smith, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Philadelphia Eagles Zach Ertz,” said Nieto. “These are the best scorers in the league, so I had to pick a few from the waiver wire.”
For those who currently play, here are some suggested players to pick-up or try and trade for using the waiver wire.
The current top three score leaders for offensive players are Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals), Jimmy Graham (Seattle Seahawks) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks).
Blair Walsh (Seattle Seahawks), Phil Dawson (Arizona Cardinals) and Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis Colts) are the top three kickers.
Defensive players in the lead are Joey Bosa (Los Angeles Chargers), Jadeveon Clowney (Houston Texans) and DeMarcus Lawrence (Dallas Cowboys).
The playoffs need to happen in fantasy before they do in the NFL because not every player on each fantasy player’s team will be playing in the playoffs. The fantasy season will usually wrap just before the start of the NFL playoffs, allowing a winner to be crowned just in time for the wild-card games.
Some of the fantasy websites keep things going during the playoffs, but it is usually on a daily basis. The players have more options to choose from as other players cannot claim a player as their own.
The point of playoff Fantasy Football is generally to create a team that will get you the most points out of everyone else you are playing.
“There is no crying in fantasy football,” said Nieto. “Any player can be at the top of the food chain, and can then end up as the bottom feeder.’