Fantasy Football Explained

Fantasy Football Explained

By Katie Couric

Fall means apple cider, pumpkin picking, and a classic American pastime — no, not football — fantasy football.

An estimated 30 million Americans play the cybersport. From politicians like President Obama, who famously played with sportswriter Rick Reilly in 2008, to celebrities like Elizabeth Banks, Jason Bateman, and Paul Rudd, to professional football players themselves, it seems almost everyone has a team.

So what exactly is it? It's a game in which football fans take the term "armchair quarterback" to a whole new level. About a dozen people get together to form a league. There are various styles of play, and the leagues can have different rules. But, in general, each member becomes an owner and drafts real NFL players for his or her virtual team. The owners pick their starting lineup each week to match up against one another throughout the season. Points are earned based on action from the professional games, such as yards gained, touchdowns and field goals.

Early versions of the hobby started in the '50s, but fantasy sports — especially fantasy football — became popular in the '80s and '90s. The Internet created the optimal platform for the game, and now there are dozens of websites that host leagues for free (not to mention the hundreds boasting of draft strategies, player statistics and game pointers).

You don't have to know everything about football to play the fantasy sport, but whether you see yourself as a future team owner or not, at least after watching this video you can say, "Now I Get It."