Fantasy football has become part of the norm for many football fans. Virtually no one probably knows that its history dates back to 1962, and one of the minority owners of the Oakland Raiders. Ever since “Bill the Gill” Winkenbach began the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League in the recreation room of his house, the world of fantasy football has changed dramatically. Now, there are several types of league options to gratify every personal preference.

Each type of league has different scoring, draft, and even roster settings. Any owner needs to know exactly what kind of league he or she is entering into, and how they can go about building the team. As Benjamin Franklin so aptly noted, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

This section will look at the various types of fantasy leagues, and how each can provide different challenges and enjoyment to the fantasy football owner.

Standard Redraft Leagues – Head-to-Head

The standard redraft league is the most common league in fantasy football. This type of league has what is called a serpentine, or snake, draft. That means the person with the first pick in round one will also have the last pick of round two. The person with the last selection of round one will have the first pick in the second round.

After the draft ends, each owner will select the players who will “start” at each position for each week’s games. Each team will face another team within the league each week. Points are based on a set scoring setting. Usually, they will look like this:

  • 6 points for touchdown scored (quarterbacks usually receive 4 points for throwing a TD pass)
  • 1 point for each 10 yards gained rushing or receiving (some leagues will give a player .1 point for each yard gained)
  • For quarterbacks, 1 point for each 25 passing yards
  • -2 points for interceptions or fumbles lost
  • Kickers receive 1 point for extra points and 3 for field goals. Certain leagues will give points for 40+-yard field goals, and five for 50+-yard FGs
  • Defenses receive points based on sacks, turnovers forced, and points and yards allowed

Scoring more points than the other team each week is the goal (obviously). The four teams with the best won-loss record will meet in the playoffs for the final two weeks of the season. At the end of the season, all players go back into the draft pool and can be drafted again the next season.

Standard Redraft Leagues – Total Points

            The total points leagues are a lot like the head-to-head leagues, except the goal is to score the most points over the course of the season. There is no weekly head-to-head schedule. Through the years, this has become a less popular option.

Auction Draft Leagues

            The draft in this league can take quite a while. Each owner in the league gets a set amount of money, which they will use to build the team’s roster. Each owner can bid on any player up for auction, as long as they have enough money to win the bid. Teams can go after the best players, but winning auctions for those players will take up a lot of a team’s money, and force them to fill out their rosters with much weaker options. Scoring is usually the same as standard redraft leagues, unless customized by the league’s commissioner.

Keeper Leagues

These leagues carry over from season to season. Drafts are a lot like the standard redraft leagues, but each team will announce a set number of players (usually two, three or four) that will stay with the club for the next season. Some leagues will penalize teams draft picks for keeping players from previous seasons. All other players will re-enter the draft pool. Scoring is like most standard redraft leagues, and there is usually a head-to-head schedule.

Dynasty Leagues

          Dynasty leagues are very similar to keeper leagues, except every player on team rosters carry over to the next season. There will, in many cases, be a rookie talent draft where owners can add talent to their rosters. For teams that are not that good, it can take years to rebuild the roster, but several dynasty league owners can tell you it can happen with some smart trading and sensible drafting.

Survivor Draft Leagues

So…think of the Premier League in soccer, or several European soccer leagues. In those leagues, the worst two or three teams are relegated to lower leagues. In a survivor draft league, the team with the lowest score each week is kicked out for the season, just like in the reality TV show Survivor. The way to win this league is to have a very balanced roster – one that can survive injuries or bye weeks. While the draft can be a standard or auction one, there will not be any free agent pickups or trades allowed in this type of league. A survivor draft league can give you the highest of highs, and also the lowest of lows, especially if your team is kicked out at the end of Week One.

IDP (Individual Defensive Players) Leagues

These leagues will use defensive players instead of team defensive units. All other roster options remain the same. Competing well in this league takes a wealth of knowledge and research. This is one of the hardest drafts to do, mainly because it takes all of that knowledge and experience to know which defensive players to draft and when to do it.