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Chasing Fantasy Role Players on Campus

Scipio did a fine job breaking down fantasy football for you NFL junkies. I have no aspirations of such. In fact, I gave up NFL fantasy football the year the Texans got to seven wins. Apropos, I suppose as the Texans and Charlie Casserly gave up on the NFL that same year.

I am talking college fantasy football. It is a little known underground sport that only hardcore junkies who also like Garage Pugilism are into. I have no idea why the CBS Sportsline and Yahoo’s haven’t fully embraced it, exploited, and monetized it, but the guys I hang with have all but abandoned the NFL leagues except for lame office pool stuff. They think it gives them a chance to mock their boss with relative impunity.

If you have never tried college fantasy football before, it is a relatively daunting task. There are 119 teams with 100 players each and coaches like to rotate guys. That’s about 10,000 more players than the NFL for you math majors out there. Half play offense, roughly, so you only need to understand the position nuances of 5,000 more players than your typical NFL. Fun stuff, I know.

So, instead, I highly recommend picking a conference or two that you follow. Suddenly, you only need to understand 24 depth charts…that sounds a lot more like what you are accustomed. In my league, we do the Big 12 and SEC only. Some folks do all BCS conferences but that is still too many players to understand for my feeble mind.

It is also important to note that RBs do not rule the kingdom in college fantasy football like the NFL. The first nine picks will not be running backs. That is the biggest difference between NFL and college leagues and frankly, the biggest mistake of rookie college players. Quarterbacks drive the college leagues. Think about the Colt Brennan’s and Graham Harrell’s of the world or every WAC quarterback.

The next big difference between pro and college is the schedules from two fronts: non-conference cupcakes and unbalanced byes. In pro fantasy football, there is no Arkansas State or Rice although the Texans and Raiders might take exception to that. Said another way, teams, particularly early in the season can roll 9 or 10 TDs on the board and that will quickly change the outcome of your fantasy match-up. The flip side of that is it is possible your #1 pick is resting for 2.5 quarters while freshman who were promised PT are getting their mop-up reps. Unbalanced byes are another key to keep an eye on. Some teams play every week of the season while others have one or even two byes depending upon the weeks your league plays. For example, in my league, only Auburn and South Carolina in the SEC, have zero bye weeks. Therefore, their players are worth 8% (1 divided by 12 weeks) more than a comparable player from another team. There are also teams that have bye weeks in the playoffs – again different from the NFL.

My league has gotten relatively complex since we have been doing since 2000. We have 10 ownership groups. I say groups since every team other than me has partners.

We limit the league to Big 12 and SEC players. You will note virtually everything I write about from a fantasy perspective involves any team outside of those two leagues.

We play a Head to Head Format with no divisions. Every team will play every other team ONCE and will play one team twice (randomly).

Our starting line-up requires:
1 Quarterback
1 Running Back
2 Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
2 X backs (another RB or WR, but not another QB)
1 Kicker
1 Defense

Roster is 17 players.

There is one keeper from the prior year's roster. It can be anyone. In addition, we have a freshman keeper that is designated on draft day. At the end of our draft, you will need to designate a TRUE freshman as your freshman keeper. Your freshman keeper designee cannot change throughout the year.

And for good measure, we have a secondary freshman keeper who was announced after the ninth week of the season last year. He did not have to be drafted, but he must be on your roster at the time and remain on your roster until the next year’s draft. After regular keepers are announced, each team can elect to keep the second freshman keeper in lieu of that team’s 7th round pick.

We do our annual draft the Saturday before the first weekend of college football. We do a blind weekly free agent auction for anyone not on a roster. We have a free agent salary cap.

Scoring (we are TD intensive):

1 fantasy point for reaching 10 rushing yards
5 fantasy point bonus for reaching 100 rushing yards and each additional 100 rushing yards

1 fantasy point for each reception
1 fantasy point for reaching 10 receiving yards
5 fantasy point bonus for reaching 80 receiving yards and each additional 100 receiving yards

1 fantasy point for reaching 25 passing yards
5 fantasy point bonus for reaching 300 passing yards

10 points for every type of TD scored (passing, rushing, receiving, special teams)
-3 points for each pick thrown
2 points for each 2-point conversion

3 points for each FG made under 40 yards
4 points for each FG made between 40 and 49 yards
5 points for each FG made over 50 yards
1 point for each PAT

5 points for safety
5 points for shutout
10 points for any defensive or special team TD
3 points for each INT
2 points for each recovered fumble
1 point for each sack

I think my league has a very interesting way to do the playoffs.

The top two regular season records will get seeds #1 & #2 and then the remaining top 2 high cumulative scoring teams will get seeds #3 and #4.

#1 plays #4 and #2 plays #3 on the weekend of November 10th and the winners will face off in a Championship game over the November 17 and 24th weekends (rivalry weekends games only).

Losers will play for Third Place the same weekends with the same rules.

In the instances where a player plays on both weekends of Rivalry Weekend, the team owner is allowed to switch his player out of the lineup without penalty but must change him with a player who has not played the game that counts as a Rivalry Game.

That means some games don’t count.

Also, for the 6 teams that don’t make the playoffs, we created a Toilet Bowl.

The six non-playoff teams will play in a cumulative point two-week Toilet Bowl championship. The two weeks shall consist of the weekend of November 10th and the rivalry games over the November 17 and 24th weekends. Total points determine winners and losers (i.e. no head to head formats).

The loser of the Toilet Bowl will contribute additional dollars to this year’s pot. He gets the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft. The winner of the Toilet Bowl also wins a little bit of money back.