A Beginner’s Guide to Fantasy Football for Geeks

The term ‘fantasy’ generally connotes some sort of nerdy, gatekeeper-like presence, rendering the subject somewhat inaccessible or altogether undesirable.

Fantasy sports are no different; on the surface, they require some knowledge base that one may not possess, leaving those on the outside feeling excluded.

The TL;DR version of how to play fantasy football is that points are assigned to various statistical categories and the team with the most points at the end of the last NFL game of the week is the winner.

How To Play

This is generally determined on Monday night, but the 2020 season saw some Tuesday and Wednesday games played due to COVID outbreaks among teams, so Monday ending the week is not necessarily guaranteed.

Point values are assigned by a league manager or commissioner and can vary from league to league. Player positions that are typically chosen for a team are the quarterback (QB), running back (RB), wide receiver (WR), tight end (TE), kicker (K), and defense/special teams (D/ST).

In a starting lineup, there is also usually a FLEX position, which can be filled by either an RB, WR, or TE. Standard Fantasy scoring categories can be generalized with yardage and scoring, but increasing in popularity (to the point that it is becoming the norm) is a point-per-reception (PPR) system.

The number of players one can place in the starting lineup is also determined by the commissioner and can alter strategy and player value.

For example, leagues exist where managers either must have (2QB) or have the option (Superflex) to start two quarterbacks, increasing the QB position’s value.

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