While NFL Fantasy Leagues are all the rage, the College Fantasy Football (CFF) landscape in the UK is almost non-existent. College football is increasing in popularity and we at 5 Yard College are certainly here for that! Hopefully we have helped you along on that journey, and maybe we can now tempt you into the exciting world of CFF.
*Disclaimer* I am intentionally aiming this article at those who have played NFL fantasy before. If you haven’t then I thoroughly recommend trying an NFL fantasy league – it’s so much fun and a great way to get to know more NFL fans – before delving into College fantasy. Gaining a baseline understanding and experience of fantasy football and how the game works will really help when taking the plunge into CFF. The 5 Yard Rush listener leagues are a brilliant way to get involved.
Why play CFF?
CFF is a brilliantly fun game! That’s the main reason we play fantasy football right?! We enjoy it! It’s fun to draft, research players, question our lineup choices and chat football with friends and leaguemates. CFF gives you the chance to do this with a whole new pool of players. Your topics of debate suddenly go from just 32 NFL teams with studs everyone knows about each week, to 133 schools with hidden gems all over the place.
You are guaranteed BIG points in CFF too. College games are higher scoring than the NFL, which means more fantasy points for you. Any ties that head to overtime are an absolute fantasy goldmine! This also means that you’re never fully out of a matchup. No matter how many points down you are, just 1 player can make all the difference on a given week. There’s always at least a glimmer of hope!
Great way to learn about College Football
The college football landscape is vast and can be intimidating. Playing CFF is a great entry point that will help you get to know players, teams, rivalries and so much more. It’s a brilliant gateway into college ball and you’ll be able to pick some new favourite players and maybe even a team to support.
More more more!
Very simply, it’s more football to follow and watch. Big plus! With the majority of games kicking off on Saturdays, you can fill your weekend with football even before the NFL games kick off. You can go into Sunday with a matchup win already under your belt and bragging rights secured. There’s so much football to consume if you want to – some weeks you can fill every single day with college and NFL games. What’s not to love about that?
Test your fantasy skills that bit further
For veteran fantasy players, CFF offers the opportunity to test your skills that bit more. Draft strategies need tweaking to fit the format, the waiver wire is hugely important with so many players available. Miss out on a player in your draft? Oh well! There are plenty more league winners everywhere you look. You definitely aren’t stuck with the players you draft!
There is a large variety of players and matchups as well as small school producers who might not be on your NFL radar, but can be league winners at the college level. The top scorers will change game by game so it’s not the same old players being spoken about every week, let alone every season!
You have to manage complete mismatches too. The NFL prides itself on parity, but a college powerhouse can hang 70 on a lowly non-conference opponent. This can bring about some interesting fantasy questions: Do I start Kyle McCord against Youngstown State? After all, he might only play a quarter or two before being rested, but Ohio State will score a tonne of points!
Rookie draft edge
You can gain a huge edge over your leaguemates in any NFL Dynasty or Redraft leagues you might play in. If you’re looking for a head start when scouting and evaluating rookies, that’s enough of a reason to try CFF by itself! Playing college fantasy football will give you a massive leg up on future years when you are playing the pro fantasy football variant.
You will get to know the stars and hidden gems early, discovering who the big fantasy producers are and who to spend your NFL rookie picks on. In particular you will have an advantage with late round sleeper picks, when the big names are gone and you know the diamonds in the rough who have produced in CFF.
In summary, if you’re not already in a college fantasy football league, you’re missing out – big time!
I’m in! How does it work?
CFF has all the fun and agony of NFL fantasy and is essentially the same game. The commissioner of a league can decide roster size, starting lineup requirements, choose to include kickers or defence and select the scoring format (standard/PPR/0.5 PPR/ etc.) You can also enter bestball leagues, which are an easy, low-maintenance way to get into College fantasy football. So you have a wide choice in what kind of league you want to join. Let’s look at the 3 main types of CFF leagues.
College fantasy football has 4 times the number of teams and players available to draft, trade, pick up and play. Standard CFF leagues allow you to draft from all 131 college teams across all conferences. That gives you access to things like midweek action from the MAC conference and eyes on those smaller school guys lighting up the lower tier of college ball.
Power 5 only redraft
Now I know that I’m excited by the vastness of 131 teams, but you may see that as a daunting barrier. That’s too many players to research, too many offenses to keep tabs on and too much chaos! Fortunately there are Power 5 leagues just for you.
These leagues operate with just the teams from the top 5 conferences – the SEC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12 and ACC. Less teams, but all the big hitters you’ve probably heard of.
Dynasty leagues operate in the same way as NFL dynasty leagues do. You draft your team and if those players return to college next year, they remain on your team. These leagues require some research into how many years a player is likely to have left in college before they declare for the NFL, and baking that into your draft and trade strategies.
These leagues have a ‘freshman’ draft very similar to a rookie draft in the pro version. To replace the talent you lose from your team to the NFL, you will replenish your squad by drafting incoming freshmen straight out of high school.
Things to consider
The NFL requires them, but the NCAA does not. Beware any players who are doubtful heading into a gameweek. There are some excellent accounts on social media who focus specifically on finding out the injury status of college players to help you out. Unfortunately, coaches can be crafty and the information can be difficult to obtain.
In the college game, bye weeks are scattered all over the calendar. Every team will have multiple bye weeks and can come at the least opportune moments. Just when you need a win to sneak into the playoffs, your star receiver could have a bye. Make sure you’re on top of bye weeks and have sufficient squad depth to get by.
You can register your interest for the 5 Yard College Listener leagues here. If you have any questions, connect with me on twitter @JackCDCTT