Fantasy Football 101 - What It Is and How to Get Started

Fantasy Football 101 - What It Is and How to Get Started

May 12th 2022

Fantasy football is all the buzz at the beginning of football season. You’ve probably been hearing about it for some time now – your friends, family and coworkers can’t stop talking about it, and they have a lot of fun doing it. So what is fantasy football, and how can you get started?

If you’re ready to get your head in the game and join the fantasy football family, there are a few things you need to know. In this blog, we’ll cover what you need to play, terms and definitions, and gameplay FAQs to climb the ranks like a pro.

What is Fantasy Football?

Fantasy football is a game that allows you to be the owner of your own NFL team. Your team will compete against other teams in your fantasy league, and you’ll score points depending on how well your players do in real NFL football games. The rules are simple, but you can make it as easy or as complex as you want – it’s up to you how seriously you want to take it.

You’ll draft a team made up of a pool of available NFL players to get started. Typically, you’ll pick a quarterback, running backs, wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker, a defense player and a FLEX (we’ll go over these in detail below). Then, as your players compete in their real NFL games, you’ll rack up points depending on how well they do. The better they do, the more points your fantasy team gets.

You’ll compete head-to-head with another team from your fantasy league each week. If your team has the most points by the end of the week, you win the matchup. Your team’s standing is calculated like a traditional sports league competing to reach the playoffs. Upon reaching the playoffs, you’ll compete with other teams in a tournament format to determine the fantasy league winner.

Fantasy football usually takes place during the first 13 to 14 weeks of the 16-game NFL season, with fantasy playoffs occurring between weeks 14 and 16.

What You Need to Play

There are multiple platforms you can use to join a fantasy football league. Here are a few popular ones:

Most of these platforms have applications downloadable on your mobile device or laptop, or you can play on their website.

Terms and Definitions to Know

Quarterback (QB)

Your fantasy football team will require one quarterback.

The quarterback runs each play on the field, so choosing one you trust will do well throughout the NFL season is essential. The quarterback is the most important player on offense. They start with the ball, and the way the play folds is up to their discretion.

Running Backs (RB)

As there’s usually one or two RB's on the field, your fantasy team will require two running backs.

The running back lines up behind the quarterback, and the quarterback either hands or throws the ball to them. They have to avoid being tackled and advance the ball across the field as far as possible.

Wide Receivers (WR)

There can be up to three wide receivers on an NFL field at one time, but your fantasy team only requires two wide receivers.

Their primary goal is to catch the ball when the quarterback throws it and occasionally run it.

Tight End (TE)

You will pick one tight end for your fantasy football team.

The tight end must act as both a receiver and a blocker. Their job changes depending on the play, so they have to be well-rounded to support a good play.

Kicker (K)

There is one kicker per fantasy football team.

The kicker’s goal is twofold: kick the ball to the other team and kick field goals. They typically only come on the field a couple of times per game, so they have to make it count when their time comes.

Defense and Special Teams(D/ST)

You’ll choose your team’s entire defensive line for your fantasy football team.

Fantasy points for defense can get tricky because they’re not scoring goals on the field, so fantasy teams typically lump the defense into one role. The defense must prevent the other team from progressing across the field and, ultimately, from scoring goals.


FLEX players are unique to the fantasy football league. Although there is only one FLEX player on Fantasy teams, this position holds varying positions. This allows you to start an additional player on your fantasy roster. The most common type of FLEX players are wide receivers and running backs.

Gameplay FAQs

How long does a fantasy football draft take?

You’ll get anywhere from 60 seconds to two and a half minutes to make your draft selection. The entire draft can take anywhere from two to three hours.

How many rounds are in a fantasy football draft?

In an average fantasy football draft, you can expect up to sixteen rounds. It's up to the individual team manager to chose who they want to pick in the round.

Does overtime count in fantasy football?

Most fantasy football apps count overtime statistics – however, some do not count overtime as a part of the overall score for the week. Whether or not overtime counts depends on the platform you’re using to play fantasy football.

How many players are on a fantasy football team?

Standard fantasy football leagues allow up to 16 players: nine of which are used as starters each week, and seven are left on the bench. The score accumulated by the seven players left on the bench will not add to your overall score for the week.

What does RZ mean in fantasy football?

“RZ” means that your player’s team is in the “red zone” – in other words, they’re inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. This can be found in a Game Center or Stat Tracker as you watch your matchups online.

What is IDP in fantasy football?

“IDP” is short for “individual defensive players.” With this game format, you start specific defensive players instead of an entire defense team.

What’s the waiver wire?

The waiver wire (or waivers) is the list of football players who are locked from being added to teams for a period to give all teams in the league a fair chance to add them. You can typically select from the waivers the Wednesday following the previous week’s game. Additionally, you can pick up players if someone on your team becomes injured or doesn't play well and you drop them

What is a “bye week”?

A “bye week” is when your fantasy team does not play a game. Each team experiences this at some point throughout the season.

Get All Your Big Game Gear at Collectible Supplies

Now that you’re a fantasy football pro, you’ll need to find the perfect gear to rep your team.

From NFL football helmets and footballs to lapel pins, Collectible Supplies has you covered. Whether you’re a fantasy football newbie or a seasoned pro, we have unique, quality collectibles and memorabilia unlike any other. Add to your treasured sports collection today!