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Girls Guide to Fantasy Football

(The Verge)- Every girl that simply knows someone of the male gender, knows that football + Sunday = undivided attention.  So how do us females fit into this equation? Being that fantasy football is at the heart of every national football game, that may be our in.
“It’s a game where you track NFL players’ stats and get points when they do,” says Christian Klein, Monmouth University senior and sports enthusiast.  “It’s legalized gambling, and a reason to watch and stay interested in football.”  Doesn’t sound too bad, now does it?
According to dailyfinance.com, 18 percent of the fantasy sports content on ESPN.com is utilized by women and 12 percent of the top fantasy site’s players are also women.  These females are very smart, or they just really like football.  Regardless, it’s too late for us to join a league now, but at least we could know the rules of fantasy football so we can understand why Peyton Manning just got your boyfriend 17 points.
1. Choosing an Epic Team.  Each fantasy team is composed of players from all of the NFL teams.  Obviously you want only the best players on your team, so you should do some research to see who actually the best is.  After you’ve ranked your potential fantasy football roster in the order that you want them, you would bring them to the draft.
2. The Draft.  Basically, the draft is the “Black Friday” of fantasy football.  Everyone prepares for it and does all the research needed to get the best deals.  When that day finally comes, everyone’s excited as their adrenaline rushes in order to feel accomplished and satisfied at the end of the day.  Once this day is over, everyone knows it’s the beginning of shopping season until Christmas…or, in this case, the beginning of a competitive football season.
3. Sunday Funday.  Throughout the NFL season the majority of games are held on Sundays, though there is Monday night football and a game every Thursday.  During these games, the real NFL teams face each other and each football player’s real-time statistics are translated into fantasy points.  Just like every other game you’ve ever played in your life, the fantasy team with the most points wins that week.
They get as excited every week to watch these games as we do when a new episode of “Teen Mom,” comes on.  Imagine if you got a new pair of shoes every time one of the teen moms got in a fight with her baby daddy.  Even better, the person with the most shoes at the end of the season is declared winner and gets to keep everyone else’s shoes, too.  Alright, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but how awesome would that be?!  It would make you want to pay attention to every single episode to see how many shoes you’ve gained this week, right?  Well that’s how guys feel about their football.
4. Getting Points.  This is the most important aspect of fantasy football, the meat of the whole game.  Gaining 50 points Sunday just to lose 60 points on Monday could be the reason behind your boyfriend’s mood swings.  Each league has its own variation of the point system, but here’s the basic system just to gain some type of understanding:
The Basics

  • Touchdown = 6 points.  The player that scores the touchdown gets these points.  However, if the quarterback is the one who gave the scorer the ball to begin with, called a passing play, that quarterback receives six points as well.  If your friend got a compliment on her outfit that she got from your closet, wouldn’t you want the same amount of credit?
  • Field Goal = 3 points to the kicker.  Sometimes more points are given if the goal is longer, like if it’s more than 40 yards the player gets 4 points or if it’s more than 50 they get 5 points.  BUT – if the field goal is directly following a touchdown, the kicker only gets 1 point since it’s a piece of cake for them anyway.
  • Two-Point Conversion = 2 points.  After a touchdown, instead of kicking a field goal, the scoring team can opt to do a play called the two-point conversion.  The scoring team must run a play starting from the 2-yard line and advance the ball as if they were making a touchdown…again.  It has a lower success rate than the field goal, but you do get more points.  It’s kind of like choosing to wear heels instead of flats; while flats are the safer choice being that they’re more comfortable and practical, heels are sexier yet risky making the payoff worth the risk.

Offense – If a team is trying to get points rather than stop the other team from getting points, they’re playing offense.  They can gain points by going a long distance throughout a play or they can lose points by just messing up.

  • Every ten yards rushing = 1 point.  Rushing is just a more ‘manly’ way to say running with the ball towards the goal line.
  • Every ten yards receiving = 1 point.  When a player catches the ball…they’ve received it.
  • Every 25 yards passing = 1 point.  Hopefully, this is self-explanatory.
  • Throwing an interception = -2 points.    If your offensive player throws the ball to another offensive player and someone from the other team interferes with them catching it…it’s called an interception.  The player that threw the ball loses 2 points.
  • Fumbling the ball = -2 points.  If the player that is catching a throw drops the ball or doesn’t catch it, butterfingers loses two points.

Defense – The team that is defending their goal is the defensive team (duhh).  Their score is based on how many points they “give up,” or how many points they let the other team get.  Also, if you ever hear a guy refer to a “special team,” the defense is what they’re talking about.

  • Sack = 1 point.  A sack is when a defensive player tackles an offensive player before he can pass the ball.  Pretty much like if you snag the last Cosmo just as some other broad was reaching for it.
  • Turnover = 2 points.  A turnover is when the defensive team gains possession of the ball because of an interception or fumble of the offensive team.  However, if the defense scores a touchdown on a turnover, the scorer gains a whopping 6 points.  A turnover is a preeetty big deal and could be a huge game-changer.
  • Safety = 2 points.  Safety is when the defensive player tackles the offensive player who has the ball, in his teams’ end zone.

Keep in mind, these just the essentials and a general point system.  There are more ways to get points with kick and punt returners and more rules may be added by your league provider, but this should be enough to gain a basic understanding.
5. Make Your Team Even More Epic.  Since you are the coach of your fantasy football team, you are in complete control.  Who doesn’t like being in control?  You’re allowed to trade players that aren’t epic enough with other fantasy teams in your league, or you can just kick them to the curb and pick up a player that is a free agent (on nobody’s fantasy team).  You can also bench players if they get injured in the real games, or if they are a good player in a bad rut.
6. Winning.  Sweet, sweet victory is only obtained when the last team is standing.  The top teams defend their honor in a tournament at the end of the fantasy football season.  What it basically comes down to is who has the most points.  The team with the highest amount of points, when all is said is done, is the league champion.  The winner gets complete bragging rights to everyone he knows, or a cash trophy in more competitive leagues.
As most girls know, guys get extremely into the game when their fantasy players are on the field. They get even more into the game, if that’s even possible, when money is involved.  Monmouth University alumni and former member of WMCX’s “The Four Sportsmen,” Daniel Pearson, gives advice and some food for thought, “Well I do think, not to sound sexist, that it’s a game for men to play.  It’s not like filling out an NCAA tournament bracket, which can be done blindly.  Competitive leagues require, at the very least, 5 hours of management per week over the course of a season.  If a girl is playing, she better be in it to win it.”
So ladies, if you ever do decide to join a league and involve yourself in fantasy football, ensure you read all the above rules carefully, and make damn sure you don’t take it lightly.