Being a fantasy sports manager is similar being a day trader in the stock market. Envision individual players as stocks. Your goal is to buy, sell, and trade your players in order to have the highest accumulated value at the end of the season.
Where does “value” come from in fantasy sports? One word: statistics. In every sport, there are a multitude of stats that can be used to define an individual player’s level of performance. If you look at at beseball box score, hits, RBIs, batting average, earned run average (ERA), and strikeouts are just a few commonly used stats that demonstrate how each player impacted the outcome of the game. Every other sport has similar stats: in football, a sampling includes rushing yards, touchdowns, interceptions thrown, and extra points kicked; in basketball, there are points, assists, turnovers, and blocks; in soccer and hockey, there are goals, assists, shutouts, and plus/minus. Not just scoring plays, but ALL statistics could have value in fantasy sports.
Value is also governed by the rules of the market, the market being your fantasy sports league. Before the season starts, your league will agree to a set of scoring rules for how each player’s statistics will be counted. Based on the scoring rules chosen by the league, managers will then select a certain number of players to be on their teams, typically done by a draft. Any players that are not taken in the draft are free agents. (Check out our introductions to each fantasy sport to see specific scoring, draft, and free agent formats.)
With a full team of players, you are now a fantasy sports manager!
You have made an initial investment by drafting players onto your team. Once the season begins, you must begin to manage and evaluate your investments. Have your players been helping or hurting the value of your team based on your league’s scoring system? Are there any free agents that have been performing better that could help your team? What factors are affecting a player’s performance? These general questions are just a sampling of those that managers need to be constantly trying to find answers to. For certain players, you will be happy to buy and hold them all season. For others, you may determine it is in your best interest to drop them – making them free agents – and add another better performing player.
You might make changes to your roster every single day; you might make them once a week; you might only make a few during the whole year. Your league’s rules and competitiveness will determine how active of a manager you need to be to be successful. The most fun leagues, though, are those in which every manager regularly participates in trying to improve their rosters.
Fantasy sports offers a glimpse into what actual professional sports general managers value when they assemble and manage their teams. You becoming engaged to sports in a whole new level. Once you start playing. you will likely find yourself not just interested in the wins and losses of your chosen team, but also the individual performance of players throughout the league, perhaps even on your chosen team’s rival.
What Are Fantasy Sports?
Right out of the gate, to avoid confusion, the term manager will describe a person participating in a fantasy sport while a player will describe the professional athletes whose performance you are following.
It’s the 21st century, so to define “fantasy sports”, let’s take to the internet, specifically everyone’s favorite research starting point –
A fantasy sport is a type of online game where participants assemble imaginary or virtual teams of real players of a professional sport. These teams compete based on the statistical performance of those players’ players in actual games. This performance is converted into points that are compiled and totaled according to a roster selected by each fantasy team’s manager. These point systems can be simple enough to be manually calculated by a “league commissioner” who coordinates and manages the overall league, or points can be compiled and calculated using computers tracking actual results of the professional sport. In fantasy sports, team managers draft, trade and cut (drop) players, analogously to real sports.