Football was one of the very first fantasy sports to emerge in the early 1960s thanks to the US businessman and partner in the Oakland Raiders Wilfred Winkenbach and since its inception there has been steady growth in the number of people betting in fantasy leagues.
The number of sports covered has also grown and today encompasses, baseball, basketball and even Nascar racing but still by far the most popular is NFL football. It’s also undeniable that the popularity of fantasy sports in the US and Canada is on an upward spiral which today sees an incredible 57.4 million taking part. Fantasy football has even made its way into mainstream culture with a sitcom called The League which ran for seven seasons from 2009 till 2017 – so how do you take part in this obviously popular game?
The first step is to put together a team and to enter a league. Just like the real NFL, putting the team together is done through a draft of all the players available which is usually carried out online.
Games are scored according to the particular rules of the league and there are many variations in these. Scoring is also generally fairly complex with the highest scores being given for a touchdown and a field goal with other points being given for yards gained, kicks blocked and defences made.
As you’d expect, the strongest fantasy NFL teams are those with the best players and there are certain principles for picking the best individuals. The most important is probably to look at their consistency in the past. Obviously this can’t help much with rookie players so if you’re planning to include a number of these – who will be far cheaper to buy – then it’s a question of relying on instinct.
To set you on your way, here’s our top eight established players for consistency over the four positions of quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end.
Carson Palmer plays for the Arizona Cardinals and had what many think was his best season in 2015 scoring a total of 35 touchdowns.
Cam Newton plays for the Carolina Panthers and his value to them is underlined by the fact that he recently extended his contract for five years at nearly $104 million.
Mark Ingram of the New Orleans Saints is only the team’s second player to rush over 100 yards in two consecutive games.
Devonta Freeman of the Atlanta Falcons had such a successful 2015 season he has been named as a captain for the 2016 Pro Bowl.
Julio Jones also plays for the Falcons where he covered 1,871 yards in the 2015 season, the second highest distance in NFL history.
Eric Decker played for the Denver Broncos before joining the New York Jets in 2014. Last year was his best ever with 12 touchdowns and 1000 receiving yards.
Delanie Walker of the Tennessee Titans broke their tight end records for two years running in 2014 and 15 – and that’s why he’s paid $7 million a year.
Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers is only the 9th ever tight end to have caught 100 receiving touchdowns.
So there you have it. A brief introduction to fantasy NFL and even the start of a team. Good luck with choosing the rest of them – and may many touchdowns follow.