It is currently over 200 days between the Superbowl and the first competitive game of the next NFL season, and it appears that time is all-but elapsed already. What will happen in the season to come?
Some will try to tell you they know what will unfold, but the reality is that anything can happen on any given Sunday. In addition to watching the games, supporting your favourite team, knocking your closest rival, or just being around to watch the big-plays and hang out in the comments, we’ve also got the chance to pit our wits against each other and compete in Fantasy Football - this is where the extra fun comes in. Choosing players from a large selection of teams makes the action just that bit more interesting as I find that you are now interested in most of the games in-play, rather than just the one that is on in front of you.
There are a couple of versions of Fantasy Football that we could choose. The standard NFL fantasy involves gathering a number of us, then all drafting our players at one point in time so we all get different teams. This is the ideal way to play, but as it’s going to be our first full season playing fantasy football (apart from dabbling with the post-season pick’ em challenge at the beginning of the year of course), it might not be best for us this time around. If things go well, we get a solid core of takers and feel we could make the leap, we could explore this in a season or two's time.
Having said all that, I’ve been peer pressured into giving a league a go this year. The draft is on Tuesday evening, so do sign up. If you can’t make the draft, the system will auto-draft you a roster, and we can play from there. This is a tricky but rewarding way to play. When you follow the link the password is formulaone.
Salary cap football
The best format to choose is probably one more akin to the standard football (soccer) method of playing, where we’re all given a budget (salary cap for the NFL), and have to choose how we spend it. The NFLUK hosted league is of this conventional style meaning that it's more inclusive – having no limits on number of participants, doesn’t require people to get their heads round the slightly more nuanced game, and there’s no reliance on the traditional Draft-based formats – i.e. people can join all the way up until kick off, and we don't have to bend timezones in order to all be awake and available.
The idea is simple: Spend the $18m you’ve been given to fill your roster, and then hope it scores the most points over the season making you the winner. You’ll need one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one team-defence. The biggest challenge is to wisely distribute your money so that you get players that are going to score you decent points across your roster. Being able to pick out a few under-valued gems will be key to helping your cause, as choosing the best player in every position is not financially possible. All that’s left is to sit back and watch the games with those of us in the comments threads and monitor your team as the season progresses. Having a team of players from across the league will make you interested in most of the games happening each weekend, rather than following just one or two, and will give you more chances of collecting.
In addition to the standard roster, you get to choose one wild card player. This has to come from one of the four teams that are featured on Sky Sports on either of the Sunday games that they are showing. This player does not cost you any money, but will add to your points total.
League: sidepodcast / Password: formulaone
If at any point before the season (not long now) you need any help on choosing players, or wondering whether anyone is injured then jump into the comments below and I’m sure someone will help you out, or during the season in the weekly threads we can do the same. Not to mention we can celebrate or bemoan players on our rosters for superhuman big-plays or acts or sheer disaster! Watching the NFL never got so good.
Weekly pick 'em
If either of these are too tricky or time consuming, then feel free to sign up to the weekly pick’em. All you have to do is decide which way the results of each matchup will go - simples. There are points for correct picks, and big bonuses for getting 5, 10 and all the results correct each week. If you have no idea which way a game will go, don’t worry, it’s a 50-50 shot! Join the contest here, then search for Sidepodcast in the ‘Groups’ section to find those who have already signed up.
However you play Fantasy NFL, or whether you don’t play at all, just stop by the NFL threads. Whether you know the rules like a headcoach, or just want to watch for the glitz and glamour, then come on down!