Trends in Fantasy Football Leagues as of 2011 NFL Season

Fantasy football is such a popular sport that the Sirius/XM radio service has dedicated an entire radio station to it. Experts share their draft strategies for the upcoming season, and then tips through out the year. These tips include assistance in decisions about which players to start each week and which ones to pick up off the waiver wire list to add to your team to get an advantage over your competition. They also share tips on how to adjust to the changing rules of the game.

Multiple Season Leagues
One of the changes is a version of fantasy football leagues that has become popular in recent years. This is called the dynasty league. Instead of just keeping a couple of players each year as you do in what are known as “keeper leagues”, players keep their entire team from year to year. This means that players must draft not only based on current abilities of the players, but their future potential. Each year, players are able to draft from the list of new rookies and release a limited number of players form their roster, but as a whole, their teams remain very similar from year to year. This change makes the role of a fantasy team owner more similar to a regular owner or general manager instead of a single season owner.

Starting Rosters
Some leagues have been adding more starting players each year. A recent trend has been requiring for players to start two quarterbacks instead of one each week. This change in the rules has balanced the value of quarterbacks with running backs. No longer in this type of league are you seeing quarterbacks wait until the third or fourth rounds for the top ten to be drafted. Instead, they are drafted by the end of the first two rounds.

Scoring System Adjustments
No longer are leagues valuing players just on the yards they accumulate and touchdowns they score during the season. What is known as “Point Per Reception Leagues”, have become more popular. In these leagues, in addition to the other scoring categories, each player receives one point for every pass he catches during the game. Some leagues have felt this values receptions too highly, and instead of awarding one point per reception, those leagues award half a point per reception. In addition to the “Point Per Reception Leagues”, another new variation is leagues that offer bonuses for long distance scoring plays. In those leagues, a player scoring a touchdown receives bonus points in addition to the points for the touchdown. Those points are based on the distance of the scoring play, with longer plays awarding higher bonuses than shorter scoring plays. This change has helped increase the value of wide receivers and quarterbacks, bringing them closer to or surpassing the value of drafting running backs early in drafts.

Playoff Format Adjustments
Playoff formats have changed over the years of fantasy football. No longer are leagues relying on record alone to determine the playoff teams. In some leagues, the winner of each division makes the playoffs. In addition to those teams, the next two teams with the highest point totals during the season, regardless of division they are assigned to makes the playoffs. In other leagues, there are no divisions. Instead, the two teams with the best records makes the playoffs. The remaining teams to fill out the number of playoff spots based on the league’s rules are the highest scoring teams throughout the season.

Choosing Next Year’s Draft Order
Some leagues don’t stop anymore when the playoffs begin. Even though the league champion is already determined, they have a new draft for the playoffs. This playoff competition determines the draft order for the next year. The team that scores the most points is not necessarily awarded the first draft pick. Instead, that owner gets to determine which spot in the draft order he would like to claim. Each player then chooses a spot in the draft order, in order based on how he finished in the playoff competition. Other leagues do not give players a choice of the draft order, instead the position they finish in, based on points in the playoffs, determines their draft positions for the next season.

The Game Never Stops Evolving

Fantasy football is an evolving game and hobby. Some leagues feature owners competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes. Other leagues are for small monetary stakes, prizes or small prizes such as a trophy and bragging rights. The game continues to evolve, with new leagues appearing every year, including some that only last for one week at a time.

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