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Beginner's Guide to Fantasy Football
Section I: Why Fantasy Football?

"Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan." -- Tom Landry

Preface: Whether you are a new fantasy football owner, a casual owner who has never had much success or a committed owner who simply needs to tweak his skills, this 12-part series will walk you through all aspects of fantasy football and what it takes to have consistent success in this hobby. This feature will take a look at everything you will need to win championships in your league, so sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy yourself as you are now on the path to victory.

The History of Fantasy Football

It appears that fantasy football came onto the scene during the 1962 NFL season when part-owner of the Oakland Raiders, Wilfred Winkenbach and two writers for an Oakland newspaper put together an eight-team fantasy league. It never really caught on with the mainstream public due to the amount of work involved in calculating statistics from newspapers on a weekly basis. The hobby began to boom in the mid 90s as the Internet craze began to surface. Now it is one of the most popular hobbies in all of North America.

What exactly is fantasy football?

For most football fans, owning an NFL franchise of their own is a dream that will never happen. Are you a person who believes he can do a great job of building, managing and coaching a team to the championship game? Would you love a chance to draft a 'Peyton Manning' or a 'Randy Moss' and build a great team around them? If you answer 'yes' to those questions, Fantasy Football is a game for you. In a nutshell, fantasy football is a game in which you participate as the owner / general manager / coach of a franchise and you draft real NFL players to score points for your fantasy team. We will go over scoring in more detail later on, but as a brief synopsis of the game, you get points for various things that occur during an actual NFL game such as touchdowns, field goals and yardage gained. There are many different types of leagues, rules, starting lineups and strategy possible in this hobby which we will touch on as this tutorial goes on.

Why should I play?

The best response to that question is another, 'Why shouldn't you play?' If you are a football fan, participating in a fantasy league only makes sense. It is a great way to stay in contact with friends you have met throughout your life. Many fantasy leagues have been going strong for 20+ years with no signs of slowing down. It is a terrific way to make new friends, through local leagues or by signing up to play in leagues via the Internet. One of the best reasons to participate in this hobby is because it adds a level of exhilaration that makes the games you are watching that much more gripping. Normally, watching a game between two bottom feeder teams doesn't exactly cause an owner to be glued to his television. However if you are watching that same game and need the running back from one of the teams to rush for 80 yards and score a touchdown or the quarterback to pass for three touchdowns in order for you to win your game that week, that commonplace game becomes so gripping you can't look away from the contest. It gives you, the owner yet another excuse to scream, yell, cheer, laugh and cry on a weekly basis. There is something about this hobby that appeals to both the casual and diehard football fans alike and once you sign up to join a fantasy league, you'll likely be hooked for life.

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