Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Getting in on the fantasy

Kara Lee

As autumn approaches so does a major phenomenon across the country — football season. Whether at the high school, collegiate or national level, several people have a certain reverence for football that causes them to dedicate their weekends, free time and occasionally their lives to the sport. 

While players in the NFL gear up to face off every Sunday, a specific group of fans are waiting to see how individual athletes perform so they know how many points their fantasy team will earn for the week. Fantasy football is not an unfamiliar phenomenon to sports fans; even most people indifferent to sports have a vague knowledge of what it is. However, while the concept may be well known, how fantasy football actually works is still a mystery to some. If you want to play fantasy football or are just interested in learning how it all works, below are all the tips a beginner needs to get their head in the game.

Forming a team and joining a league

Before you can start playing fantasy football, you must make your own team. The team does not need to have any players on it yet. Still, it does need approximately 16 spaces, enough for a starting lineup — a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a kicker, a tight end and a flexibility position that can fulfill the role of a QB, RB or WR — and a bench line up, which are essentially back up players that you can substitute in if one of your starters cannot play on a given week. You can either keep track of your team manually by sketching it out, or use the ESPN Fantasy app, to create the team for you. Once you have a team and have given it a name, you are ready to join a league. If you made a team on your own, there are plenty of ways to link with other players and still join in on the fun — the app even has public leagues that you can join if you do not have one of your own. However, suppose you are playing fantasy with your friends. In that case, you will likely receive an invite from the designated commissioner in your friend group to join a league, which is how all of you will be able to compete against each other once football season is in full swing. 

Drafting your players

After you have formed a team and joined a league, one of the most exciting parts of playing fantasy football is drafting your players. Friends in a league together typically make a whole event of the drafting process complete with food, music, drinks etc. If your league uses the Fantasy app, it makes the drafting process pretty easy and a lot of fun. How it works is this: the league commissioner will set a time for the draft to begin and once that time comes, each member will have a specific amount of time to choose a player before it is the next person’s turn. The draft will continue like this for 16 rounds. When it is your turn to pick a player, the Fantasy app does a majority of the work for you; it lets you either look at all of the players in the NFL or filter the selection to only QBs, RBs, WRs etc. and shows you their ranking according to ESPN’s analytics and the player’s statistics from previous seasons. Some individuals go into the draft with their strategies, but for most, the goal is to pick the player that is the highest ranked in their given position. However, another member of your league may draft the best players before it gets to your turn, so it may be wise to have a second choice pick in mind. As for the players you can draft, you can pick any player to join your fantasy team so long as they play offense for their respective team; when it comes to defense, you cannot pick a singular player — you have to pick an entire team’s defensive line. For example, your QB can be from one team and each of your RBs might be from two different teams, but you would have to draft the entire Dallas Cowboys’ defense. Also, you don’t have to draft players in a specific order; you can pick any position at any time. Moreover, you can also choose multiple players who occupy the same position — so after you fill up that initial starting roster, you can select two extra QBs, three extra WRs or an extra kicker — these players will occupy your bench lineup, so whatever you think will benefit you the most are the positions you should choose. Since there is little restriction on how you can form your team, whether you have a plan or are completely winging it, the drafting process is a free-for-all until all of the members in the league have a full roster. 

Scoring Points

Now that you have a team full of players, all that is left to do is to see how they play throughout the season. Luckily if you have the app, there is very little work you have to put in yourself. ESPN keeps up with how well each player on your team performs in their specific game and tallies up all the combined points the players on your team have scored that week. The points each player accumulates are based on their personal performance; they of course get points if they score a touchdown, but points also come from passing yards, rushing yards, sacks, tackles etc. The only way for a player to not gain any points on a given week is if they are injured or their team is on a bye week. In these instances, you would bring in a player from your bench lineup; that way your team can keep gaining points, causing you to hopefully reach the top of your league by the end of the season. 

This is all the basic knowledge a beginner needs to dive into the world of Fantasy Football. Given that the season starts on Thursday, Sep. 7, there is still time for you to create a team and join a public league, or if you feel like the workings of Fantasy Football are still too complicated, there is always next season. Regardless of your skill level, if you’ve previously been interested in getting involved hopefully you now have the knowledge and tools to make joining the millions of football fans across the country who play this game more than just a fantasy.

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About the Contributors
Jada Thomas
Jada Thomas, Marketing Manager
Jada (she/they) is a communications major with a concentration in public relations, currently in her senior year. This is her seventh semester with The Paisano, and her time here has influenced her desire to pursue a career in media, public relations, or journalism after graduation. She is well known for being passionate about an array of topics — the most notable of which being superheroes, reading, writing, movies, and music.
Kara Lee
Kara Lee, Graphic Editor
Kara is a communication major on track to graduate in 2025. After graduating they hope to work for non-profits that specialize in environmental concerns so they can give back to the planet that provides so much for us. When Kara is not in school or working they can be found either drawing or hiking.

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    Haley AguayoSep 11, 2023 at 11:30 am

    Love it