RULES: INTRODUCTION

Updated: April 20, 2009, 3:33 PM ET

WHAT ARE FANTASY GAMES?
Ever dream of owning a professional sports team? Fantasy games are a way to live out that dream. Fantasy games are designed to replicate the experience of owning and managing a sports franchise. ESPN.com offers fantasy games for all the major sports -- football, baseball, basketball, hockey and even NASCAR. And, to make things easier, all fantasy our games are fundamentally the same -- real athletes and their real-life performances are used to generate points for fantasy teams in fantasy leagues.

For example, in a standard fantasy league, there is a set number of "team owners." The league uses a set of rules that determines everything from team roster size to scoring method to schedule. You and your fellow team owners hold a draft -- i.e., fill your fantasy roster with real-life NFL players.

Then, each week throughout the regular season, you will set your lineup based on how well you think "your" players will perform that week. The statistics your positional players generate in their real-life games are collected, and fantasy points are awarded based on these numbers. The better your players perform, the more fantasy points accrue for your fantasy team.

Ultimately, these points determine which teams enter their fantasy playoffs and who becomes the season champion. With the league championship comes the glory to boast about it until the next season rolls around, at which point the other teams can smell sweet revenge.

WHAT IS ESPN FANTASY FOOTBALL?
Welcome to the world of fantasy football -- ESPN style! ESPN.com Fantasy Football is the closest thing to buying your own professional franchise and becoming the team's coach, owner and president. All decisions are yours to make.

Professional football is a game filled with unbiased player-performance statistics. By using these statistics, you have everything you need in order to understand which players are performing well and which are not, week in and week out. You make all "team manager" decisions about who will help your team and who may hurt your team, all season long. Lucky for you, ESPN.com provides you with real-time stats, so you can recruit the players who will pave the way for your ultimate victory!

Once you join a league, you and your fellow team owners are supplied with all the necessary tools -- multiple draft methods, live box scores, waivers, trades, free agency, custom player updates, a commissioner, league bulletin boards, sortable stats for all players, etc. -- to ensure a terrific fantasy experience. ESPN provides you with everything needed to build the best possible team. So relax and let the fun begin! Whether you're a newbie or veteran, fantasy football fame, glory and bragging rights are just a few clicks away!

WHAT'S NEW FOR 2009?
ESPN is always looking to improve the player experience in our fantasy games. 2009 fantasy football is no exception. We've listened to our game players and have made the following changes for the 2009 season:

  • Auction Drafts for both Standard and Custom leagues
  • New live draft interface for Auction and Snake drafts
  • 2008 Champion and ESPN Insider Leagues
  • New Integrated Editorial Rankings