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You've probably heard of Fantasy Football. It seems to be growing larger every season. If you have any interest in pro football, fantasy football can make the season much more exciting. Anyone with a knowledge of football can play, man, woman, or child. That is one of the great things about it. One of the most interesting things I have discovered since beginning to play is that I find myself paying much more attention to every game each week. Before, I only took interest in games with teams I liked, but now, I am interested in every game.
I am going to describe to you how the league I am in is set up, how we get started, and how we progress through the season till the very end. There are many different ways you can run your league, this is only one example. Use what you like, throw out what you don't.
To start off, we have a sort of board of directors who vote on issues brought before the league by the other coaches. This mainly is rule changes from season to season, but may include anything you can think of. If a coach has an idea for how to make the league better, he brings it before the board who then votes on the issue. Over the course of three years, we have had a few changes that we feel have made the league better and more competetive. The board has been known to give extra points to individual players for an extraordinary play. Any change that involves the league must be voted on by the board. The board as of this moment consists of three coaches. More may be added as we go, but for now, the original three are the board.
Your Fantasy Football season must start with a draft. We usually draft one to two weeks before the first game. I recommend getting yourself one or two of the Fantasy Football magazines you will find anywhere around this time. While you may know a great deal about football, these publications offer you a lot of information that will help you in making your selections. I like to get my hands on these one month before draft day.
Your next step is to make yourself a draft sheet. This is simply a cheat sheet for you to rank the players at each position, number 1 down to as far as you want to go. I usually try to have enough players ranked on my sheet to cover myself in case all of my players get drafted. For instance, if you have four coaches drafting and you each have to take three QBs, if you have twelve QBs rated on your sheet, that should cover you in that area. Of course, this sheet is only a guide. All coaches at some point in a draft took a gamble and went with someone they didn't have rated on their sheet. Call it a gut feeling! Rate the players as you would like to draft them. #1QB, #2QB, #3QB, etc. You get the idea. This sheet will prove invaluable on draft day, and all the time you put into getting it together will pay off in you knowing who you want at any given time. This is perhaps the most important time of the entire season, because if you don't draft well, it's hard to make it up later on.
So you've done all your homework and the big day has arrived. Draft Day! Arrive early and grab the best seat available. You should make yourself comfortable as this may take awhile. In our four coach league, last year's draft took around two hours to complete. While football and beer seem to naturally go together, take it easy on the suds today. You want a clear head when picking your defensive players in the later rounds. As a sneaky ploy, you might bring beer for everyone else. Not only will you be popular, you will the have an advantage of a clear head as the draft wears on. To set the draft order, we draw numbers from a hat or bowl. The coach drawing the number 1 gets the first pick, and so on down the order. I will give you the numbers of players we draft from each position, although you can draft as many as you want. 3 QBs, 4 RBs, 2 TEs, 5 WRs, 1 FB, 2 Ks. This is what we draft as far as offensive players. We always draft offense first, althought we have thought of maybe allowing the drafting of defense, special teams, and coaches at any time instead of in the later rounds. Drafting of defense is 1 DL, 1 DB, 1 LB, 1 Defense/Special team, and 1 coach. Any offensive player can be drafted in any round, so it you want that dominating WR, draft him first!
Of course, you won't get every player you wanted because every one else is wanting them too. If you can get 3 or 4 big scorers on your team, and supplement them with players who will put somehting on the board week-to-week, you will have a good base to start from. Once the draft is complete, you can make trades with other coaches if you wish. Otherwise, all players drafted must be held for 3 weeks into the season unless they suffer a season ending injury.

Scoring can be set up any way you like. Simply assign a point value to anything a player might do in a game. Touchdowns can count as 7 points, each pass caught can count as 1 point, and so on. We also give bonus points to QBs for passing for more than 300 yars, RBs and WRs for a 100 yard game. There are several programs available that you can set up to your own scoring rules that will crunch all the numbers for you. If you are going to have 5 or more coaches, I would highly recommend one of these. They can be found in most software stores or advertisements in most Fantasy Football magazines. They will do most of the work for you. If you are feeling adventurous, you can do all the scoring yourself. Currently, we have 2 coaches who volunteer to do the numbers for everyone. Make sure whoever is doing this is someone you can trust. They simply split up the other coaches and tally all of the numbers for the week. Of course, they are not allowed to do their own team. The primary publication used in doing the weekly scoring is USA TODAY, the monday and tuesday editions. All scoring should be completed and in the hands of the coaches by no later than friday. This will give everyone a chance to make trades before sunday rolls around.

Each coach should have a sheet with all of his players listed. This sheet should include enough slots to record each weeks scoring for the entire season. This will allow a coach to evaluate each player's performance from week to week at a glance.

Well, that's about it. Remember, the bottom line is to have fun. Just the game itself is great, but if you want to add a little incentive, have all of your coaches throw some money into the pot. Maybe a $5 entry fee, just to make things interesting. I know of one league that charges $40 to play, and $1 for each trade made throughout the course of the season. That all adds up to quite a healthy payoff if you are on top at the end of the year!

On a final note, be prepared for Draft Day. This is the single most important day of the entire season. It is the key ingredient to a winning team.