week The Locker Room is bringing you the first installment of a
four-part series on Fantasy Sports . . .
I: Fantasy Sports for "Dummies"
is Fantasy Sports? Who are you, Fantasy Spin-Doctor? Why should I
listen to you?
Sports is simply when you pretend to be an "owner" of a
sports franchise. The main purpose is to make watching sports more
fun. You are the owner and the General Manager. You make all the
decisions, unless you are a co-owner with someone else (we'll cover
that later). Decisions like who to have on your team, who will play,
who to trade, etc., are all yours. In this world, you run the show.
The players don't have to be of the same team. In fact, most owners
don't want too many players from the same team. There is some sort of
scoring system where you get "points" from each player on
your team. You total points for your players and rank them against
the other folks in your league to determine a winner.
fun yet? Oh, add some money and some bragging rights and it's
suddenly now VERY FUN!
like it's probably all guys?
the majority of Fantasy Sports owners are guys, but there are an
increasing number of female owners, too. I have two female owners in
my main Fantasy football league.
me tell you about my Fantasy resume. I have been participating in
Fantasy Sports for eight years. I have been the Commissioner of four
leagues (three football, one baseball), Co-commish in three
(baseball, football, and stock market) and a participant in four
other leagues (basketball, baseball, and two football). I have won
five championships and been runner-up in three more. I started out as
an ordinary sports fan. Let's just say, "I've been around the
block." Not that block, the other block!
proliferation of Fantasy Sports has in some ways changed the way we
watch sports and how sports are presented. Have you noticed that
every sports program has some sort of "crawl" or sports
ticker at the bottom of the screen? Game breaks or updates every
half-hour is definitely NOT good enough anymore. Of course, as with
everything else, the Big Three networks provide the least amount of
info. They lag behind the cable-based sports-only networks such as
ESPN, ESPN2 (a.k.a. "the Deuce"), Fox SportsNet, and even CNN/SI.
of the innovation we see, such as the tickers and constant game
boxes up in the corner of the screen, came from these cable networks.
Can you remember what watching sports was like without pitch counts,
time outs remaining, player stats, and other graphics constantly
being updated? It's almost back to the BR days--Before Remotes. Oh,
the humanity! (As my nephews have asked, "Was there really a
time before remotes?") Look for this trend to continue as the
"best and brightest" of the media folks continue to end up
at the cable sports networks. Fan Spin: depend on the sports networks
for your Fantasy sports info if you want to stay informed, forget the
the best things to happen to Fantasy Sports are the Internet and
computer. You can click on several different sources and get
up-to-date, reliable news and stats almost instantly. You can even
get commentary, which I personally think is a DISADVANTAGE--but
that's a whole other story.
do you want to get started?
are three things that you need: money, interest in a sport, and
friends. A TV and a computer are optional, but they certainly make
you don't have a lot of money? OK, there are leagues that just play
for pride or bragging rights. What? You don't have any friends,
either? I will spare you the harassment--GIVE ME YOUR LUNCH MONEY,
SQUIRT! Sorry, I couldn't resist. You can play Fantasy Sports without
actually having any friends, though I think it's more fun knowing the
saps that you took the dough from. There is a slew of fantasy leagues
online you can join. So, you're off the hook on the
"friends" requirement. Really all you need is a hearty
interest in a sport. And that one is negotiable, too. There are even
Fantasy stock market games for folks that are not athletically inclined.
choose to co-own a team with a friend. This helps defray the cost of
a league and/or to help make decisions if you are a little green to
the whole Fantasy deal. You also get someone to blame for all your
bad moves. However, co-owning a team is sometimes more of a hassle
than what it is worth. Then again, I'm more experienced. If the cost
is what forces you to co-own, find another league that doesn't cost
as much money--they're everywhere.
don't get it? All right, already. Here's the nitty-gritty.
a sport. As far as Fantasy leagues, football has become the most
popular sport and baseball has the oldest leagues. You don't have to
stop there, you can choose from basketball (both pro & college),
golf, hockey, tennis, auto racing. Pick the sport that you like or
whatever is in season.
a league. Make a league with your so-called friends or co-workers.
If not, join a league online.
a scoring system. If you go with an online league, they do it for
you. There are many sites that you can swipe a set of scoring rules
from--look around. You will also have to find a way to compile the
stats. Again, shop around. There are many sites and software packages
that do it. Some are even free.
your players. This is usually one of the most fun parts. Schedule a
draft at someone's house or a local establishment. Some leagues
choose players like the professional leagues, one player at a time.
Some teams have an auction or bid style selection, where each team
has a set amount of "fantasy" money to spend. Online
leagues mostly go with an online draft. Their sites will tell you
more about it.
back and watch the games. Remember not to just root for your
players, but you get to root against your opponents' players, too.
much time do I have to put into this Fantasy stuff?
with anything else in life, don't get in over your head. Time
commitment varies by league. Some are more complex than other
leagues. It is much like going to Vegas. You don't walk up to the
high roller's table your first time. Start slowly and work your way
up to the highly complex, competitive leagues. Be wary of slick
salesmen (friends) trying to push you into a league while you are
still learning. Using the Vegas example, the high rollers don't ask
you to play unless they can take your money.
sure you're comfortable with money leagues? No problem. There are
plenty of leagues that play for pride. Again, the main thing is to
have fun. Before you know it, you'll be hooked!
are some terms you might want to know. They are mentioned regularly
in relation to particular sport Fantasy leagues. If you can't find a
Fan term in this list and would like to know what it means, send an
email to get it defined.
A method of choosing players where each team is limited to a defined
sum of Fantasy "money" to choose or "buy" players
in an auction setting. There are no limits to the amount that can be
bid (unless specified by the league) or how many players can be
bought in successive auctions but teams must buy all their players
with this limited amount of money. Also known as "Bid"
year: The year that a player emerges as a star or big numbers
producer. Typically this isn't apparent until it is happening.
A method of choosing players where each team is given a particular
draft order or position for which the team may choose one player per
round. No other team can choose until it is their turn. [See also
scoring: A method of scoring where each statistic is given a defined
point value. For example, touchdowns are worth 6 points.
A type of league where teams are matched against another team each
week to get more points for that week than their opponent, highest
score wins. Won-loss records are more important than cumulative
Stove: Major League Baseball
scoring: a) a method for cooking chicken; b) a scoring system that
is based on rankings team based on their total points in a particular
statistical category; mostly used in baseball leagues. Also know as
Circuit: The National League (or NL); the NL is the older of the two
major leagues. The other league is the American League (or AL).
(or Serpentine Method) A draft method that snakes through the draft
rounds so that no team has distinct advantage based on draft
position. The draft's first round order is determined usually by
chance (dice, pick from a hat) or based on the previous year's final
standings. All subsequent rounds are dependent on the first round
then reverse the order (i.e., team 1 through team 10 for round #1, 10
through 1 for round #2, 1 through 10 for round #3, etc.).
Relatively unknown players, usually first or second year players,
that are predicted to have a big year.
Category: Based on the real sport's scoring and stats. For example,
in baseball homeruns are a category, base hits are another, etc.; in
football, touchdowns are a category, rushing yardage is another, etc.
Room is written by Michael Skordeles