Inside the huddle of the fantasy football world

The Fantasy football gridiron guide

Fantasy football is a way for people to get a better sense of the game through making their own teams. Whether you’re a seasoned vet, diehard fan or new into the sport, it’s definitely worth your time joining a league.

You can make a league for fun or throw some money in and build a team destined for greatness. Fantasy football is what got me into football after all. As a child, I had no knowledge of the sport, but helping my dad build a fantasy team really helped me enjoy it. Through fantasy, I picked many favorite players and a favorite team because of it. The gridiron guide is here to help you understand the mechanics of fantasy football through my experiences. This time around in college, I was able to start a fantasy league with my new suitemates!

Joe, Dante and Colin watching Monday Night Football
left to right: Joe, Dante and Colin relaxing, watching Monday Night Football
10-year-old Paul Baidy wearing Seattle Seahawks jersey, gloves and hat.
20-year-old Paul Baidy wearing Seattle Seahawks jersey and beanie.

My fantasy experience 

Fantasy football for me has gotten me in the sport and taught me all I need to know. My dad one year was in a league for fun and wanted me to get a taste of fantasy football. So, I picked all of his players for him. When you pick players in fantasy, there is a wider variety in what you want to look for. You want to watch the players you picked and cheer for them because they’re the reason you’re going to win or lose.

Even though I supported an abysmal record that year, it gave way to a newfound liking. From that point on I was a Seattle Seahawks fan because of some of the players I’ve picked that year. By picking a few players, it has made me watch a lot more football in depth. Fast forward to now, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from fantasy football, and it made me research the game and history of it all. It’s now a thing I look forward to every Sunday, waiting for teams to play, as well as seeing how my fantasy lineup is doing. The Seahawks have been my favorite team since starting fantasy football, and I’ve been loyal ever since.

Starting a fantasy league 

Starting a fantasy league is super easy! It is completely free unless you want to put money up for grabs. Fantasy leagues can have 16 teams or more and can also house less if wanted. Grab a couple of friends and start a league by signing into your preferred fantasy site. Once there, you’re ready for the draft. The draft consists of 16 rounds where you pick from offensive positions to build your team. From week to week, you are able to change your lineup based on injury, performance or if the team they play on, isn’t playing that week. It’s important to check your lineup before every game. Some of your players can be out on an injury you didn’t know of or could be a game time decision. Those types of injuries can make or break a game, as the cumulative points can come down to tenths or even hundredths of a point. The closest game I was a part of was because a player on my opponent’s team got injured. Without that injury, I would have been beaten by 10 plus points. Instead, I held on to the win, barely beating my opponent by a tenth of a point. This past week for us, my buddy Joe lost his fantasy game by just 1.5 points during Monday night’s game between the Giants and the Bills.

Paul Baidy looking at his teams statistics
Joe Natale has his head in his hands as his fantasy football team loses.
Joe Natale suffers loss in a close Monday Night football game.
Schwarmy, a pet smart cardboard cutout, 7-foot dog wearing various football gear.
Schwarmy, the crowned canine wearing the winning team’s gear.

Making fantasy fun, or not so fun?

Fantasy football can be somewhat stressful at times. You could be matched up against a friend that you really want to beat. You could be playing in a game that will give you the worst record. You could even be playing in the championship game. So make sure throughout the year, have a little fun with it. If you’re in a league with your friends, make sure you banter. Having fun competitive talk throughout the week could make a matchup mean more than what it was.

One thing that is very popular among fantasy leagues is a punishment for the person with the worst record. These punishments can be very kind or very evil. One of the punishments that has been used frequently is the milk mile. To implement these things in a given season, it keeps you more engaged in your commitment to the league. It will hopefully also give you the motivation to not come in last place! For us in our league, we have the crowned canine. It may seem a little over the top but has become a tradition. If you win your fantasy week, you get to display your favorite team upon our crowned canine, Schwarmy. It’s just another way to implement a fun aspect into our fantasy league!

Always keeps you updated

Fantasy football also acts as a constant update for you. It shows you all of your fantasy players stats as well as the stats of the players you’re playing against. With that, there are places around the website that tell you scores, statistical leaders and more. Along with real life stats, it shows you all of the previous weeks in fantasy as well. It shows all of the points your team and players have scored, your record and the previous and upcoming schedule. The website acts as a hub for information around the league and the players. It also tells you all of the players that are still available that can be picked up. Knowing how to work the website is great to keep things organized and see where you stand in your respective leagues.

Finally, make sure you have fun!

Fantasy football isn’t meant to be taken so seriously. You’re not actually winning a Super Bowl or any sort of trophy (unless you make one yourself)! But it’s a way to get more in tun with the game of football. For some it’s a learning opportunity, for others it’s about just getting together with some friends and bantering over 18 weeks. It’s a simple way to just get to know more, hang out and have a lot of fun. So, what are you waiting for? Get to drafting, have fun and make this fantasy your reality!