Fantasy Football Rules

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Starting a League

When starting a league, assembling the owners and choosing a commissioner is the first steps.

After the owners decide to form a league, forming a set of rules follows soon. When creating the rules, the owners/commissioner need to think about the scoring method, number of teams, scheduling, and if money will be involved.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Establish rules that everyone can live with and make sure everyone understands them
  • Stick to the rules, don't change them and don't bend them for anyone.
  • If your league is playing for money, make the money secondary to the competitive goal. When it's about the money, you lose the aspect of the game.
  • Solve any league controversies quickly and decisively
  • Every leagues scoring parameters are different from another, don't make them complicated.

Scoring Systems

The positions: QB,RB,WR,TE,K are all the same as in the NFL. The defense can be combined into one position or separated into the 11 players. The offensive line is rarely, if ever, used in fantasy football.

Scoring systems in Fantasy Football leagues are as varied as the leagues themselves. There are two main scoring systems: Basic and Performance.

Basic Method

The first, and easiest method, is the Basic Method. The Basic Method scores points for each player in direct correlation with the number of points the player actually scored during a given game (i.e. - a player who rushes for a 17-yard touchdown scores six points, the point value given by the NFL for a touchdown).

The default scoring for the Basic Scoring Methodology is as follows:

  • 6 pts per Rushing TD
  • 6 pts per Receiving TD
  • 3 pts per Passing TD
  • 6 pts for a ST and Def TD
  • 3 pts per Field Goal
  • 1 pt per Extra Point

Performance Method

The second method is the Performance Method. The Performance Method not only rewards points to a player who is involved on scoring plays, as in the Basic Method, but also rewards a player for yards achieved through-out the game.

  • 6 pts per Rushing TD
  • 6 pts per Receiving TD
  • 3 pts per Passing TD
  • 6 pts for a ST and Def TD
  • 3 pts per Field Goal
  • 1 pt per Extra Point
  • -1 pt for Interceptions thrown
  • 2 pts for a rushing conversion
  • 2 pts for a receiving conversion
  • 1 pt per passing conversion
  • 1 pt per 10 yds rushing
  • 1 pt per 10 yds receiving
  • 1 pt per 20 yds passing

Other plays can be made into categories that are not listed. It's up to the owner & comissioner.

Keeper vs. Non Keeper

A keeper league is one in which some of the players are retained between seasons. Non-keeper teams don't retain any players from the previous season - they start new each season.


This gives a good feel for a long-term franchise. The huge advantage is that the drafts in the following years are shorter since the teams hold on to a core team from the previous season.

The biggest challenge here is determining how many players can stay on a team each year. If teams hold on to too many players, you'll end up with teams staying in the same position each year. Too few and you lose the flavor of a keeper league. It's up to the owners to decide how many players can be held and what restrictions there are.


Non-keeper leagues are good for owners and commissioners just starting out. It avoids any issues in tackling the keeper league problems, but lengthens the draft to a the full length every year. Another advantage is that every owner needs to start fresh - giving a better picture of how good an owner someone really is.

Conducting the Draft

Draft day is the one day during the season that the commissioner has a lot of (possibly overwhelming) work to do. It usually helps to have someone help with the draft. This could be either a non-owner to help with the administrative part of the draft or another owner.

As a possibility, owners can vote on rules changes before the draft starts. This usually works best with all owners present in one place. In setting the draft order, you can draft the same order each odd round (or randomly change it each odd round) and draft the opposite order for each following even round. This allows people to have a reasonable chance to start out evenly without having drawn a bad spot in the draft order. There are several ways of conducting the draft;

For leagues in which the owners can get together, pick a date in the last half of August when everyone can get together and do the draft like the NFL does theirs. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day depending on your draft's set up, but it's almost always a lot of fun.

For leagues over a network or large geographical area, everyone sends draft lists to the commissioner and lets the commish do the draft. The lists would need to include a lists for each position and a draft order to indicate which position to draft for each position.

One alternative is to conduct the draft by Email over a several weeks. While this takes a long time, it gives each owner a chance to see which players are gone before making the next choice.

A final alternative is to conduct the draft over the internet. This can be done through IRC or through a site that has the capability to run the draft. Fantasy Insights will be conducting their own online drafts this year.

Auctioning the Players

Another way to get a roster built is through an auction. This can be alot of fun, but it can also be very time consuming

  • Draft from a 34.6 Million cap, like the NFL!
  • All bids in increments of $100,000
  • Will draft 20 players, can keep up to 10 to next season however...
  • Any player you keep you must give a 10% salary raise
  • A player may not be kept for more than 3 seasons
  • Determine random order as in regular draft. Owner has option to pass on their turn. The current owner announces the player, team, position, and opening bid. Raises are then accepted from whomever (as long as the Commish acknowledges them), and the players goes once, twice, sold to the highest bidder.
  • Any player picked up from waivers during the course of the season costs 1 million. You must continue to pay a player's salary even if they get injured or you cut them. The only way you can get more money to play with is to trade for cheaper player(s). Therefore it behooves you not spend ALL your money during the auction, leaving adequate amounts for waiver wire and injury replacements as the season progresses.

Running the League

Each week, the commissioner and owners participate in;

  • Trading between teams
  • Signing and waiving players (waiver wire)
  • Lineup submissions
  • Player transactions can be handled any number of ways. These include trade windows, first-come first-served, and charges for acquiring these players (monetary leagues only). When some order is needed, the record and points scored are typically the first two factors considered.
  • After the Monday night game, the commissioner compiles the stats, integrates the stats and awards wins, loses, and ties. He then reports the results along with the previous week's player transactions and in what order the transactions the following week will be.
  • Winners are either determined by playing in the above fashion until the end of the NFL season, or by taking the last two or three weeks of the NFL season and holding a fantasy league playoff.

Playing in the League

Fielding a Team

Some people play their whole roster every week. Most leagues allow you to submit a predetermined distribution of positions as your starting lineup for that week. Rosters can be altered through trades and waiver wire transactions. Some leagues allow injury substitutions from the waiver wire for those roster players ppearing on the weekly NFL injury report.

Due to many injuries, some include the backup QB as well as a starting QB.

Weekly Play

There are leagues which just accumulate all the individual roster player's scoring and rank owners that way (ala baseball rotis-serie). Most however match the owner's fantasy teams against each other every Sunday in a round-robin format (resulting in such real-life anxiety as winning by 60 points one week and losing by 2 the next!). Some allow ties to stand while others will break a tie using the longest TD scored, etc.


Once you have completed your weekly schedule which is most likely 13 or 14 weeks comes the playoffs. The format of the playoffs vary by league but generally the top 2 or 3 teams from each divison will make the playoffs. Their is usually 2 weeks of playoffs leading up to the Fantasy Bowl.

The Fantasy Bowl is where the final two teams play. Once their is a winner, the prizes must be awarded. All leagues are different. You can award money, trophies, t-shirts or whatever you want as your prize.

The main thing that you need to remember is that fantasy football is fun. Don't ever let money come between good friends.

In Conclusion

The name of the game is to have fun. We hope that what we have presented to you will assist you in forming your own fantasy league this year. Should you have any questions feel free to email us

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