Football is one of the favorite sports of all American and one of the most popular sports on the planet in general. Fantasy football was among the first fantasy sports to come up as people have been making fantasy football leagues privately for decades.
Fans of fantasy sports can now play fantasy football on a daily basis as daily fantasy sports sites allow competitions for a single game or single rounds as opposed to the full season competitions. We take a close look at the current status of fantasy football in the US to help our players play at the best sites and get the best value for their money.
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Fantasy Football Explained
While fantasy sports and fantasy football in particular have grown extremely popular in recent years, there may still be those out there who don’t know what fantasy football is. For such readers, let us first introduce the topic and help them understand just how the game works.
Online fantasy football is a game that allows players to create rosters of players out of real NFL players. For any particular competition, players may get to choose among players playing in a certain match, a full round or even the whole season. When the actual matches start, players are awarded points towards the fantasy competition based on their real life performance in the match and rosters are compared with one another, with best teams getting the top prizes.
In a basic sense, it seems like players are betting on which player will do better, but since there are an entire plethora of things to think about when choosing a roster, fantasy sports have actually been proclaimed a game of skill and are legal under federal law. For this reason, a number of US-based fantasy sports sites are currently operating in the country.
The Legal Situation of Fantasy Sports in the USA
Legally speaking, online gambling sites are not allowed to operate in many US states. Only under local state licenses can online casinos or sports betting sites operate in those states. On the other hand, fantasy sports is a game of skill and is exempt from the laws that prohibit online gambling sites from operating. This is why many fantasy sports sites and apps are available around the US.
The federal law quite clearly classifies fantasy sports as a game of skill, but things get a little tricky when daily fantasy sports are in question, as luck clearly plays a bigger role in daily competitions. Nevertheless, players from most states can legally play daily fantasy sports as well and there is no actual law that would prohibit it.
When signing up with a daily fantasy football site, players should check to see if the site in question accepts players from their state, as this is the only thing that one should be concerned about. As long as the site lets you play, you are legally 100% allowed to play there.
Brief History of Fantasy Football
Fantasy sports were originally created back in the 1950s, when some sports fans, mainly those who were obsessed with baseball wanted to compare their understanding of the game. These people started competing in fantasy sports competitions privately, tracking the stats of players and organizing drafts of their own before a season would begin.
As time went on, fantasy football and other fantasy sports appeared and with the emergence of the internet, things just got that much simpler. It was the internet giant Yahoo that first allowed players to compete in fantasy football competitions on a major online platform, as it started throwing free fantasy sports competitions in 1999.
While fantasy football was viewed as a form of gambling at first, it took only a few years for even the NFL to recognize that the game was good for their sport and was clearly a game of skill and a fair competition for all. Since 2002, the NFL started promoting NFL fantasy football as a part of their marketing scheme.
As years went by, fantasy football grew into daily fantasy football, with more and more competitions now available at the top fantasy football sites and a chance to compete on a daily basis turning the obscure hobby of a few into a nationwide obsession.
How to Play Fantasy Football
So how does fantasy football work in the real world? This is a common question that many new players have to ask and it is a fair one. While it may seem simple enough to those in the know, the game is actually quite complex and there are many things to learn before actually getting into the action.
First of all, one should understand the difference between daily fantasy football and season long fantasy football. While season long competitions provide players with a chance to enter a single fantasy football draft at the beginning of the season, daily fantasy football competitions only count points from a single game or a handful of games.
In either case, things start with each player who pays the buyin and enters the competition choosing a squad of players. The two basic models for choosing players are the classic fantasy football draft system in which players take turns picking players and a salary cap model, which is far more popular, in which multiple fantasy players can have the same players in their roster. With salary cap model, players get a certain amount of “dollars” to spend on player salaries and they cannot break that ceiling. Each player, in turn, has a salary that must be paid in order to keep them on the roster.
Once the draft is complete and the matches actually starts, the real fun can begin. All player performances on the pitch are rated with points and these points are added to the teams who have the player in their roster. Different sites and different competitions may give points for various stats. While touchdowns are always awarded points, some competitions also award points for the simpler stats such as yards won etc. The more complex the points model, the tougher the competition.
It is important to add that real money competitions award multiple players based on the number of players who actually entered the competition. About 10% of all players who enter the competition get paid, with the top prize always being significantly more valuable than others. However, similar to poker tournaments, fantasy football competitions award those players who came short of the top prize as well as the overall prize pools is split up based on a player’s final ranking.
How to Choose a Roster
Choosing the players who will compete in your team is where all the skill and knowledge comes in. Each player gets to draft a team, usually about 13 players deep and each roster must usually contain the following:
- 1 quarterback
- 2 running backs
- 2 receivers
- 1 tight end
- 1 kicker
- 1 defence
- 5 benched players
In theory, players could simply try to draft the best overall players and compete with such a roster, but this is not really possible. For starters, one does not get to afford all the superstar players since there is a salary cap involved and there is only so much “money” one can afford to spend on players. Additionally, best players can underperform or get injured and statistically less competent players can sometimes turn out to be stars of the match or simply add many points by performing well in their position.
Fantasy football games are never about a single players as the eventual winner of any competition is always the one whose team performed well overall. If a roster has a couple of weak links, there is no way it can win the competition. Of course, based on the number of players in the competition, one does not need to come in first to still win money, as hundreds of players can win prizes in the cases of massive competitions.
Most platforms actually allow players to sit back and enjoy the show altogether if they so choose, with the system choosing a squad for them. This, however, is never a good way to compete as the computer choices will never factor in the things a devoted fan could. Besides, all the fun in playing fantasy football is in the draft, so being lazy in this part of the competition kills all the fun.
Top Fantasy Football Sites: How to Choose?
There are dozens of fantasy football sites out there. Some of the sites are fantastic, providing many competitions across different buyin levels and a fantastic platform to play on. Other sites are more basic and not as sophisticated. Players who are not yet sure where to play have quite a difficult decision in front of them and choosing the right site to play at is just as important as choosing proper rosters.
While there is no clear answer to the question of which fantasy football app is the best, we have compiled a comparison of the best fantasy football sites which can provide you with some good indications of which sites you may want to try out. Even college fantasy football has its fans and should be checked out.
Some of the important things to watch out for with fantasy football sites include the number of competitions the site has to offer, the value of the promotional offers at the site, the quality of the platform and of course the legality and licensing of the site. Sites that get a good rating in all of these categories may be considered as top candidates to play at. Note that the official Premier League fantasy football game is the best free to play option.
Playing Fantasy Football Games: The Basic Strategies
We already said that fantasy football is a game of skill, but one may still be wondering why that’s the case. After considering the strategies that top fantasy football players use, it may become more clear. Here are a few basic tips on how to pick fantasy football players and get an edge over the other players in a fantasy football competition:
It’s All About the Stats
Fantasy football is really all about the statistics. While many people still choose players based on their personal preference as fans, the real winners always make sure to choose players who actually have a good chance of getting many points regardless of which team they play on or other subjective factors.
There are many aids online that can help you get an idea of which players are currently on form and which may not perform as expected in the next match. These kinds of fantasy football advice come extremely handy in daily fantasy football competitions in which players’ performances in a single match may be the only thing that matters.
Stay Consistent and Wait it Out
When it comes to daily fantasy football, even the best rosters don’t always win and sometimes a competition is won by a roster that didn’t really stand a chance. A miracle performance from an underdog who few people drafted may end up being decisive, which is why the game is one played for the long run.
In the long run, players who pick solid and sound rosters week in and week out will certainly come out on top. On the other hand, players who like to speculate and hope for miracles hardly ever win and usually end up being losers over the long run. Look at fantasy football as an investment and wait for your returns to come in at the end.
Be Smart in the Draft
In season long competitions in which players enter an actual draft, it’s all about picking the right players at the right time. While inexperienced players may jump at the opportunity to draft a star quarterback early, this is not really something you should do.
You need to understand that fantasy football is not football. It’s all about scoring points and the fact is that by the season’s end the difference in points between quarterbacks is not as big as the difference in points between running backs. This is why savvy fantasy players try to pick 2 or 3 running backs early, quarterback next and the defence and kickers last.
Think about things in terms of points and how to accumulate as many by the season end as possible. After all, even if you have the best quarterback of the season in your team, if other players flop, you will not come very far in the competition.
Things are similar in the daily fantasy football competitions where you should make sure to distribute the salaries well so as to get a good number of points in every position, not just from your quarterback. Players who end up high in the fantasy football rankings are not always those who have the best superstar players on their roster.
Top 5 FAQs Asked by Players
Real money football fantasy sports are among the best ways to spice up your love for football and make things more interesting week in and week out. If you consider yourself to be a knowledgeable sports fan, fantasy football is the perfect way to put your skills to the test, compete against other fans and put your money where your mouth is.
Our fantasy football sites comparison was designed based on extensive reviews of the top fantasy football operators, so make sure to check it out and join one of the top sites to get the best experience and the best value for your money. Join today and kick start your fantasy football journey.