One of the best perks about starting your own Fantasy Football league is setting up any type of scoring system you want. And believe me, I've heard of some outrageous ones.
If you and your friends agree, you can have four points for a touchdown pass and six points for a field goal. You can give bonuses for receptions, lose points for a fumble and even make it where punt return yards count for an individual player.
It can be anything you want, but often novice owners and commissioners want to know the best way to start a Fantasy league. There are several different options, and we'll outline a few of them here.
But the best part about it is you can set it up with different variations. Have fun with it, and if you feel like it, make some crazy rules.
Like when Tom Brady throws five touchdown passes in a game when it's a blowout, give him negative points for every score in the fourth quarter. OK, that's a little ridiculous, but I bet there's a league somewhere that actually does it.
Standard scoring leagues
You probably read about "standard-scoring leagues" all the time and wonder exactly what that means. Well, it's pretty simple, and it's the easiest way to start your Fantasy league.
A standard-scoring league is the basis for how Fantasy leagues are played. It's a scoring system that rewards six points for all passing, rushing and receiving touchdowns, one point for 25 yards passing, one point for 10 yards rushing and receiving and minus-two points for interceptions and lost fumbles.
Your draft would typically be 14-16 rounds with a regular starting lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one DST with the rest reserves of any positions you choose. Some leagues also could use a "flex" option with a running back or wide receiver, and some leagues also start three wide receivers.
In this league, kickers get three points for every field goal, and defenses get 10 points for a shutout and minus one point for every point they allow. For example, if the Vikings beat the Lions 14-3, the Vikings DST would get seven points. A DST would also get points for defensive touchdowns and special teams scores.
This type of league does not typically give bonuses for catches, but there are variations on the scoring. In some standard-scoring leagues -- and this is something we do not recommend -- you can give only four points for passing touchdowns, which would make quarterbacks less valuable.
The only bonus points typically awarded in standard-scoring leagues are for kickers with field goals more than 50 yards and defense for sacks, interceptions and fumbles. But this league is about being simple and not having to do too much math when you're away from your computer and trying to figure out your score.
Point per reception leagues
In a points-per-reception league (PPR is how it's usually called), guys like Wes Welker and Derrick Mason shine. These are leagues with a similar scoring system to the standard format, but receptions would typically count for one point.
In drafting players in a PPR league, you would look for guys with high catch totals. Reggie Bush would have more value than Laurence Maroney or Rudi Johnson in a PPR, and Welker would probably be drafted as a No. 1 receiving option as opposed to a No. 2.
This league is fun if you like receivers who usually alter draft plans. You might see players like Leon Washington drafted instead of T.J. Duckett with a late-round pick, and you'll hope Willis McGahee and Jamal Lewis continue to increase their reception total like last year.
Touchdown only leagues
For old-school Fantasy Football fans, a touchdown-only league is the way to go. Forget about yards and doing math, just give me points when a player scores a touchdown.
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These leagues will reward six points for rushing and receiving touchdowns and usually four points for passing touchdowns. It makes you focus on players who find the end zone, so Thomas Jones was an albatross last year with only two touchdowns.
Fantasy owners who like a simple league, this is the style for you. And you'll hope for another year from Brady and Randy Moss where you got 75 combined touchdowns from those two players.
Individual Defensive Player leagues
The experienced Fantasy owner looking for a new challenge would love playing in an individual defensive player league (IDP is how it's usually called). These are leagues with a similar scoring system to the standard format for offensive players, but it also involves drafting individual defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs.
When drafting in an IDP league, you would still favor offensive players with your early picks. But in the middle rounds the top defensive players would start to come off the board. In these leagues you would reward players for tackles, sacks, interceptions, fumbles and defensive scores.
The top defensive linemen are Jared Allen, Trent Cole and Patrick Kerney. The top linebackers are Patrick Willis, Brian Urlacher and DeMarcus Ware. And the top defensive backs are Bob Sanders, Adrian Wilson and Nate Clements.
You want to draft players who are around the ball all the time and make plays. Middle linebackers and strong safeties are more valuable than interior defensive linemen. Stud cornerbacks are nice players, but if they don't get enough passes thrown their way, they won't help your Fantasy team.
These drafts could be 20 rounds or longer if you start multiple defensive players, but doing an IDP league is the way to take the Fantasy Football experience to the next level.
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