By DJ Ramirez |

In the world of American sports, fall is defined by postseason baseball, preseason basketball and the dominating game of American football.

From high school to college and professional, the fall season is football season. lf you had to guess what type of football people cared about the most, the number one spot would go to fantasy football.

Fantasy football. It’s the topic of the majority of my friends’ conversations. I’ll walk in late to a conversation about fantasy football and immediately get lost. So, if you’re like me and are super confused by this game, then here is the clueless fan’s guide to fantasy football.

Step One: Find some people to play against.

The best part of this game is the competition. You have to have people to play against, whether you form a league with your friends and family, or join a league with a bunch of complete strangers.

Step Two: Draft your players and build your roster.

The most important day in any sport is Draft Day. In fantasy football, you get to draft around 15 players from any team in the National Football League (NFL). Then, you fill out your roster which will consist of a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, a kicker, a defender and a flex player. Flex player positions depend on the league, but the majority of the time your flex player will be either a running back or a wide receiver. The players who aren’t on your roster will stay on your bench until you decide to move them your roster at the beginning of the next week.

Step Three: Win.

Every week the players on your roster earn points based on their performance in their games. Statistics from a player’s touchdowns, yards and catches all factor into points. At the end of the week, the points earned by the players on your roster are tallied up, and if you get more points than your opponent, you win the week. At the end of the regular season, the two people with the best win-loss records face off in a playoff game.

Things to be aware of.

Every team in the NFL gets a “bye week,” or a break. Teams don’t play games during their break, so if one of the players on your fantasy team is on their “bye week,” you might want to have a good backup.

Two other important elements to be aware of are the waiver wire and trades. The waiver wire is the process in which you can acquire players that went undrafted at the beginning of the season. You can “claim” a player and if you have priority in your league, and there are no other claims, that player can be added to your team. But, you have to drop someone already on your team since there is a limit on the number of players you can have.

Trades are another way that you can get new players. You can trade with other members in your league. Good trades can be made depending on the quality of your players and how well you know the person your trading with. Just like in real sports, there is a trade deadline, so be smart.

Why would anyone go through all of this work?

People have different reasons for playing fantasy football.

For some, it’s all about the competition.

“I like being invested in football, especially since it’s usually on in my house, so I like having a team to root for,” said Steffi Hoffman, a second-year Baylor grad student. “I’m pretty competitive, and I like seeing how they (her fantasy team) do and just seeing if I won my week, just to be part of some meaningless competition.”

For others, it’s about being more invested in a game they already love.

“If you have a favorite team, this makes all other fifteen games now interesting,” said Reed Marchman, Hoffman’s boyfriend and Azle, Texas native. “As a Cowboys fan, I may only care about two, three or four games a week, but whenever I play fantasy football, if I got a Cleveland Browns player and the guy I’m playing against has a Buffalo Bills player, I’m suddenly invested in those games and I care about watching them.”

It can also be a matter of family pride, which is the case for Baylor senior Chance Liedig.

“There’s a lot of pride because I have a family league specifically, and we’ll have a lot of banter about our fantasy teams, so it’s sort of a pride thing for the family,” Liedig said.

No matter why you decide to play fantasy football the most important thing is to have fun.