What is “fantasy sports” and how do they work?

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I had a teacher in high school who was obsessed with fantasy football and wrote for a fantasy sports column in an online newspaper. I know how actual sports work, but what about fantasy sports? How do they know who wins, looses, teammates, etc…

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Going to use fantasy football as an example.

In fantasy football, at the beginning of the season you draft a bunch of players, from any mix of teams in the league, to make your own “fantasy team”.

Your fantasy team then gets points based on how well those individual players do. Your wide receiver have a lot of completed passes, you get points. Your QB throw touchdowns, you get points. Your defensive linemen get a sack or recover a fumble, you get points. What you get points for, and how many points you get, are all set in the rules ahead of time in your fantasy league/group, where you’re usually competing against friends/coworkers, and sometimes strangers online.

Some people enjoy this because instead of just picking one team to cheer for, you get to track and follow a bunch of specific players.

You also usually have backups like you would in a real team, and every week before the games you can decide who is “playing” for you that week. For example, if you have QB x and QB y on your fantasy team, and you choose to play QB x for that weekend, if QB y then has a really good game, you don’t get any points for that because you chose to play a different guy.

This is pretty much how all fantasy sports work, with just some specific rules changing from sport to sport.

It’s basically an online RPG, except the characters are all real players from a sport.
And the stats for the characters depend on the performance of the real players in real life.

Fantasy sports is basically an online version of sports where the human players “draft” a team.

This team is actual players in real life.

Let’s say it’s football for our example

Say you take Lamar Jackson from the Baltimore Ravens as your quarterback.

You play him, and the rest of your team. It could be anyone from any team.

You get points based on actions these players do in their games. If Lamar throws an interception you might lose points..if he runs the ball and scores a touchdown you might get points. If he throws passes you get points. Etc etc.

You then take all the points you got and compare it to your opponent who is another player who did the same thing. They picked a different QB different defenders and offense and special teams.

Players select a team of active players and earn points based on the statistics each player earns in the games during some period of time.

Generally fantasy leagues use a draft to assign players, allow trades and some means of adding unclaimed players, and games are played head to head with one other fantasy team.