College Fantasy Football 101: Back to School!
Are you looking to take on a new fantasy challenge? Getting tired of the running back rotations of the NFL? Or, Do you simply love college football? I’m here today to give you the rundown on how fun and competitive the world of college fantasy football is to its thousands of users.
I’ll give you a rundown on the player pools and the different directions you can take in increasing or decreasing its size, what positions matter the most from week to week, and different draft strategies you can use from year to year. I’ll also mention preferable point systems and which players you should target earlier in drafts than others.
Ready to give College Fantasy Football a go? Head on over to Fantrax.com to see what it’s all about.
How College Fantasy Football Works
Just like traditional fantasy football, you begin your season with a draft that takes place in either July or August. The rosters in a basic league will consist of 16 to 18 players in which your starting positions would consist of 1 quarterback, two running backs, three receivers, one tight end, one flex player, one team defense, and one kicker. Your bench consists of five or six players.
The college fantasy football player pool is a divisive subject among CFF users. While I myself and many other users take advantage of all 130 college football teams, there are some who use only the 58 teams that are considered Power Five with the inclusion of Notre Dame.
Scoring systems are up to the league commissioner. The basic scoring system works like a basic NFL fantasy league (No PPR, 4-pt. touchdown passes, 1 pt. per 25 passing yards, etc.). Most player rankings for college fantasy football are done using half or full PPR point systems given the direction that the fantasy sport has taken.
What Makes it Different From NFL
Obviously, the player pool is a lot larger. In the NFL your team may consist of several starters as well as handcuffs for prominent players such as Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman. In college fantasy football, handcuff players don’t matter as much because you can acquire another starting player to fill that roster spot. Although this may turn away some NFL Fantasy users, I assure you’ll find it far less annoying to have a player you know will play rather than a just-in-case player.
The player pool is also for more system driven in college fantasy football than in the NFL. In the NFL, you have top flight names at the top of draft boards every year because they’re proven and successful. In college, you have several big names to pick from but also names of guys who haven’t played a down at the FBS level. Gage Gubrud of Washington State is considered a top-10 option at quarterback already but has yet to play a snap at Washington State. Boston College is a school that consistently produces running backs and Texas Tech is a school that always has a stellar option at wide receiver. If you know the system, you know which players to take.
Wide Receiver is a position that is far less consistent in college fantasy football. In NFL, you can almost assure that Odell Beckam Jr., Julio Jones, and Deandre Hopkins are going to finish in the top-five in receiving yards every year. In college, a receiver can have an elite level season and follow it up with a dud. This is why knowing your systems and utilizing the waiver wire are key.
Drafting for College Fantasy Football
Much like in NFL fantasy, skill players such as running backs and wide receivers often go in the early rounds. But, quarterbacks are often taken in the first round as compared to the NFL where there is maybe one ever taken in the earlier rounds. The best players on the board over the past several seasons have been quarterbacks and even this year the top pick in most drafts is likely Houston quarterback D’Eriq King.
Things like kickers and defenses do not matter as much in college fantasy football compared to NFL fantasy. I never draft a defense. Defenses can be picked up from week to week based on favorable matchups as compared to NFL where a slack defense can land you negative points. Unless a kicker boots in field goals from 50+ yards, I don’t even bother taking one until the final round if at all. You could use the extra roster spot if you’re choosing between two players and when week one comes around you can make the decision on which to drop them.
Great tight Ends, this year especially, are few and far between. Although you have 130 teams to choose from, rarely do you even have 13 tight ends worth a high selection. In down years, tight ends can fly off the board in as early as the third round and when the three or four best ones are gone you won’t see another one taken until the eighth or ninth rounds.
There are many draft strategies for college fantasy football but I’ll give you the ones I usually recommend. Drafting receivers in the first two rounds is a proven formula for success. Running back is a far deeper position than receiver so landing two 80+ reception receivers in the first two rounds work great for any fantasy team when complimented by a pair of 1,000+ yard rushers. As far as quarterbacks, I usually take the number of starters, double it, and add one when drafting. This would mean in a two QB league, I draft five quarterbacks. This gives me depth at the position in case guys go down and usually two of those are sleepers. Lastly, when it comes to position battles that aren’t that obvious, try to take the guy with the lower draft capital.
I mentioned earlier that college fantasy football operates fine with your basic scoring system. But you’re not here for the same old song and dance. You’re here to experience something new.
PPR-scoring is very common in college fantasy football and given the reception leaders in college football have finished with no less than 110 receptions in the last ten years it’s not hard to see why. Another out of the box idea with such pass driven offenses is 6 pt. passing touchdowns. This puts already great players such as Jordan Love and Tua Tagovailoa into another tax bracket in draft capital. Given that players also play a role on special teams, return yardage is something I’ve used in the past and made Rondale Moore and Christian McCaffrey that much more dangerous.
This is for all you guys who take fantasy to the next level. Those users out there who spend their time analyzing NFL prospects can also throw in some high school players as well in a dynasty league. Look into some high school huddle pages as well as MaxPrep stats and see how the kid from Long Beach will do in Graham Harrell’s air raid at USC or how the three-star back from Jersey will do at Boston College. Doing college dynasty leagues give you the opportunity to watch a player from high school up until he retires from the NFL.
There are also Devy leagues. Although Devy leagues are more for NFL fantasy players, they do add a bit of CFF flair to a roster. Devy leagues literally give you the opportunity to have a player on your roster from their freshman year of college until they retire 18 to 20 years later.
Where to Play
Where else would you want to play it? Fantrax.com has held down the college fantasy football industry for years now and will keep things going long past Yahoo’s next change of ownership. They offer the most customizable leagues in the fantasy business and have great customer service.
As far as their CFF product, the player projections in the draft room are second to none and the scoring systems are fully customizable. You also have no shortage of content from not only me but from InThisLeague’s Scott Bogman, the Gridiron Scholar John Laub, and occasional appearances from some others in the CFF business including Thor Nystrom, Mike Bainbridge, and Kyle Francis.
For more from Justin and all of our CFF writers check out our full archive of awesome College Fantasy Football content!
Fantrax was one of the fastest growing fantasy sites of 2018 and we’re not slowing down now! With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.