Fantasy Football (for Dummies)

Fantasy Football 101


Start scouting your players, start analyzing statistics, and start popping the popcorn, because it’s that time of year. The NFL season kicks off Thursday, September 9th, and hopefully you’re anxiously awaiting the first play of the game in hopes of your running back dashing for a touchdown. But wait – even if you don’t quite know what Fantasy Football is all about, or if you’re clueless about how to play, not all hope is lost.  Here is your guide to bringing home the gold:


Fantasy Football 101

1) Join.

You can join a public league or make one with your friends. Usually, if you are new to the whole idea of fantasy football, I would recommend not having a buy-in. However, former Dunbar student Elijah Olige thinks it adds an element to the game.

“The money prize makes it interesting,” said Olige.  “It gives the drafters a deeper reason for picking the players that they did.”

***Note: although fantasy football may appeal mainly to males, don’t overlook the female participants. There are many girls out there that enjoy their Sunday night football just as much as any of the guys, so don’t take them for granted in the league. In fact, current Dunbar senior Ally Neal is already planning for her week 1 opponent. “I did the draft for fun and to keep up with the players. I love the NFL and enjoy keeping up with my Patriots.” ***

2) Research.

Research the players. Look online. Analyze past season statistics. Use your resources to your advantage. ESPN actually pre-ranks all the players, and then they project their season totals. This is an excellent way to get an idea of what a player will be like. It is essential to understand the league’s scoring system as it varies from league to league based on preferences and format. Brian Lawless, former Dunbar 05’ and DePauw graduate, believes that it is vital you never overlook the rookies. “Don’t sleep on Amari Cooper.”

3) Draft.

Draft day is my favorite part of Fantasy Football. It’s where you select players based on position until the rosters are completed. You can draft online, but that’s no fun. Get some friends, co-workers, or even family members together, and do it in person – having a draft party will make selecting the players a little more exciting. Dunbar senior Justin Kelley says he enjoys the atmosphere of draft day, as well as the food from the party. Fun games and good food. Win-win, right?

4) Compete.

The NFL season is similar to fantasy football; the concept of the teams playing against each other each week is the same. However, points are accrued from real-time stats, that are then converted into fantasy points. To win your match-up you must score more points than the other team. Easy enough right? Not quite. I can tell you numerous times where my star-studded running back was projected 18 points, but ended up only earning 3. It can be frustrating, but when they have a break-out game, there is no better feeling.

5) Refine.

Improve your squad. As the owner of your fantasy team, you’re in control of which players start and which players ride the pine. If you think a player is not needed anymore, you can drop them and add someone from the waivers. Only players that are not on a current roster will be placed here. It’s also important to keep an eye out for breakout players that nobody has on their team yet. In the same sense, if your player picks up a season ending injury, it would be a good idea to drop them and pick up another player.

 6) Playoffs? We’re Talking about the Playoffs!

In standard leagues, the top two teams from each division (East/West) square off in a single-elimination tournament to decide the league champion. The winner takes all. Or not. This is where it gets fun.  While many leagues use buy-ins where the winner receieves all of the money, some teams choose to make their stakes a little more interesting. Last fantasy season, Dunbar graduate Stephen Leddy lost some of his dignity and had to get a spray tan from Sun Tan City as his punishment for a last place finish. In other terms, make the league fun and enjoyable (and maybe even embarrassing).

So the question is, will you be crowned league champion or take a low blow and come in last place this Fantasy Football Season? You decide your fate.

It’s going down. Trust your players and trust your gut

— Vincent Clark

Top Picks for 2015 Season



1) Aaron Rodgers (GB)

2) Andrew Luck (IND)

3) Russel Wilson (SEA)


Running Back:

1)  Le’Veon Bell (PIT)

2) Adrian Peterson (MIN)

3) Eddie Lacy (GB)


Wide Receiver:

1)  Antonio Brown (PIT)

2) Demaryius Thomas (DEN)

3) Dez Bryant (DAL)


Tight End:

1) Rob Gronkowski (NE)

2) Jimmy Graham (SEA)

3) Greg Olsen (CAR)


Defense/Special Teams:

1) Bills

2) Eagles

3) Seahawks



1) Stephen Gostkowski (NE)

2) Steven Hauschka (SEA)

3) Adam Vinatieri (IND)

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