Fantasy Football Builds Feisty Camaraderie

Fantasy Football Builds Feisty Camaraderie by Utter-Fantasy Football Guest Writer Chris Gundrum

There are over 200 days between the Super Bowl and the start of the next NFL season. But fans don’t have to endure that span without getting their football fix. Key events throughout the offseason including free agency, the draft and training camp serve as milestones on the path to opening day. While each event builds more anticipation for the regular season than the last, nothing fosters more excitement for the NFL season than a fantasy football draft. “I can’t imagine going a season without fantasy football,” said my brother and fantasy nemesis Ben Gundrum, who plays in the Elite 8 fantasy football league. “It just enhances the excitement of each game week to week.”

Elite Eight is a collection of eight guys who have been playing fantasy football together for the past four years. The draft is held live after the second preseason game of the year and past ones are sources of fond memories for the guys. One of the eight, Mike Freland, said his favorite draft was the first year Elite Eight got together. “We were all sitting in my aunt and uncle’s house with football magazines scattered on the floor and pizza boxes and cases of beer we used as tables to write on. It was our war room and it was majestic.”

Ben remembers that in that first year the league allowed trades to occur during the draft. “Matt Forte was on five different teams before the night was over,” said Gundrum. “It was crazy.” Although the league no longer allows trades during the draft, the guys now have game plans to take players just to use in trades afterward. Freland calls this particular strategy…“Stopping the homer”, and it comes into play after the draft. “If you know a guy has a favorite team and wants to draft a player from that team, you draft him first,” said Freland. “Are you doing it because you like the player? Hell no. You do it to get under the other guy’s skin and eventually use it as leverage. Inevitably every league has at least one homer. With Elite Eight there are plenty of opportunities to use this diabolical tactic because although everyone is from Cincinnati, they don’t all root for the Bengals. “We have two Jets fans, one Giants fan, one Cowboys fan, one lonely Raiders fan and 3 Bengals fans.” reports Freland. “Knowing the other guys favorite players is an essential part of drafting.”

While some leagues use a snake or linear draft order, Elite Eight uses a more unique format. The order for the first round is based on what place each person finished the previous year, and knowing what order each manager will draft is also an essential part of the draft. For example, the last place manager picks first, second to last picks second, and so on. However, rounds 2-15 are randomized. Therefore a manager may pick third in the first round and then sixth in the second round. “I like the way the first round goes,” said Gundrum. “But then the rest of the draft is so interesting because you never know how things will fall.”

No matter what order they’re picking or what players are available each round, what the members of this fantasy football league enjoy most is having everyone together in the same room for the draft. According to Elite Eight, the live draft is the best part. It’s all in good fun and the camaraderie between the guys is what’s most important.…in other words, we’ll never become “the Hateful Eight.” “It’s so much more boisterous and amusing having everyone together trash-talking about picks instead of sitting in front of a computer clicking a button,” proclaims Ben. “To me playing fantasy football is more than picking players and combing through piles of stats, or looking at past injury reports trying to predict how well someone is going to hold up for sixteen weeks,” said Freland. “Fantasy football is about getting a group of people together who have a common bond… their unwavering love of the game of football.”

This year’s draft has come and gone for Elite Eight and rosters are already being adjusted. Justin, who is the big Giants fan, has both Dez and Zeke and it’s killing him so we’ll see what happens there. Ben is the Cowboys fan and he took David Johnson with his first pick and Allen Robinson with his second but he could’ve picked Dez or Elliott and didn’t. That left us scratching our heads. Players are being dropped and added from free agency, which is all part of the “Elite Entertainment.” Soon, the members of Elite Eight Fantasy Football League will go head to head for sixteen weeks and eventually crown the 2016 fantasy football champion.

And after it’s all said and done, all they’ll have to do is wait another 200 days to do it all over again.

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Please follow Chris on twitter at @ChrisGundrum

Start A Fantasy Football Playoff League

Start A Fantasy Football Playoff League by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Fantasy Football doesn’t have to be over!

I have been the commishioner of fantasy football leagues since 1980, and one thing I know for certain…..is that after Week 17 of the regular season, there a plenty of us that are not ready for fantasy football to be over! If you are not ready either, and want to continue the fantasy fun, I suggest that you Start A Fantasy Football Playoff League-

For Playoff Fantasy Leagues, I prefer it a smaller crowd, with only 6 teams because there are only 12 teams in the playoffs. I put a restriction on the number of quarterbacks, kickers and defenses a team can draft- 2 each. Each team may only draft 2 QBs, 2 kickers, and 2 defenses, that way, no one can make a run on them during the draft. Every team has the same number. (Each team can have as many co-owners as they want obviously). If you want to go big with your league, I would suggest going 12 teams, with a similar restriction of 1 quarterback, 1 kicker and 1 defense per team. After the QB ,Kicker and defense restriction, teams can draft as they please as far as

I also like to play “Best Ball Fantasy Football” in the Playoff leagues. If are not familiar with “Best Ball Fantasy Football”….allow me to explain. “Best Ball Fantasy Football” is where ALL of your players start ( no Start Em/ Sit Em), and at the end of the weekend scoring…only your “Best…as in highest scoring” QB is counted, only your “Best” 2 RBs is counted, only your “Best” 2 WRs is counted, only your “Best” TE is counted, only your “Best” kicker is counted,  and finally only your “Best” defense is counted. There are a scant few fantasy football websites that are set up to score “Best Ball Fantasy Football”…..my favorite is myfantasyleague.com-LINK

Draft Rounds: With 6 teams, we draft 14 players, so there a 14 fantasy draft rounds. For 12 teams, we draft 12 players, so there a 12 fantasy draft rounds.

No waiver wire moves after draft. A fantasy football league of attrition.

Draft Order: As in the regular fantasy football season, how your league decides the “draft order” is the up to the league or the league’s commishioner. My leagues always draft serpentine as well.

Fees: I like to have some green involved in my fantasy leagues, so I ask for playoff fantasy fees, and I usually have the top scoring team taking home 2/3 of the pot, and 2nd place taking home the other 1/3. ( I have never had HD2HD as part of my playoff fantasy leagues…just highest scoring- With 12 teams however, I can see I where HD2HD could be fun.)

Summarizing: For Fantasy Football Playoff Leagues;

6 or 12 teams

a restriction of 2 QBs, 2 kickers, and 2 defenses for 6 team leagues

a restriction of 1 QB, 1 kickers, and 1 defense for 12 team leagues

With 6 teams, we draft 14 players, so there a 14 fantasy draft rounds

For 12 teams, we draft 12 players, so there a 12 fantasy draft rounds

Serpentine Draft Order determined by league

With 6 teams, top 2 scoring teams split the money from fees, 2/3s and 1/3 respectively

Score best QB, best 2 RBs, best 2 WRs, best TE, best K and best defense

No waiver wire moves after draft. A league of attrition

Recommend – myfantasyleague.com-LINK

If you have any questions, contact me- LINK– now I have to go study for my first Fantasy Football Playoff League on Friday night- Good Luck!