As fantasy football progressed over the years, so did the variations of the game. Today you'll find a vast number of leagues with different scoring, draft and roster settings, making owners carefully consider which league they're entering and how they should go about building a team.
Let's look at the multiple types of leagues available to play, starting with the different scoring settings you'll find.
Standard: Every league manager likely has a certain preference to scoring options, but regardless of what website you're using, your league will have the choice of using recommended scoring settings. These settings are basic: six points for touchdowns (quarterbacks often only receive four points for passing scores), one point for every 10 rushing or receiving yards, one point for every 25 passing yards, minus-two points for interceptions or fumbles.
Kickers receive points based on the length of each field goal. A 50-yard kick will typically warrant five points, 40-49 yards equals four points, 0-39 yards gets three points. Defenses receive points based on touchdowns, turnovers, and points and yardage allowed. The bad units can finish with negative scores, so play your matchups wisely.
Bonuses are often thrown in as well. A 50+ yard touchdown or 200-yard rushing game can earn extra points. It's up to the manager to allocate these bonuses when the league is set up.
Most leagues follow standard scoring practices with slight variations to cater to each league and its owners. It's up to you and the people you're playing with to decide on the scoring settings.
PPR (Point-per-reception): There isn't much variation in the scoring for PPR leagues. However, strategy becomes entirely different here. Receivers, tight ends and running backs receive one point for each reception, making certain players far more enticing in this format.
For example, Darren Sproles is ranked No. 39 on ESPN's top 300 list for standard scoring. In their PPR rankings, Sproles comes in at No. 12 overall. He won't see 100 carries over the course of the regular season, but there's a strong possibility of him exceeding 80 catches.
PPR leagues make owners alter their rankings to accommodate for players who haul in passes left and right, but may not find the end zone often. PPR scoring also means more points each week, which is one of the reasons for its popularity. Who doesn't enjoy putting up 200+ points in a single weekend?
Touchdown only: Here's the format for all the old-school fantasy owners. Forget about your progressive PPR leagues. Touchdown only means just that. If Arian Foster rushes for 150 yards, none of it will matter unless he breaks the goal line.
Running backs that are considered "touchdown vultures" thrive in these leagues. Mike Tolbert's 175 carries for 673 yards over the past two seasons looks grim in fantasy terms, but his 15 touchdowns are huge in this format.
Re-draft leagues: Each season, owners will start from scratch. Rosters are drafted in snake order. For example, if you have the No. 1 pick in the first round, your next selection will be at the end of Round 2.
If you're carrying over a league into a new season, there are several options for establishing draft order. You can determine draft order by random draw, or the draft order can be determined by the standings from the prior year. You had the worst team imaginable? Congratulations, you won the first pick in 2014.
Auction leagues: Instead of having a snake order of picks, owners start with a set amount of money to bid on players. Any owner can bid at any time, as long as they have money left. You have to choose wisely, though. If you blow all your money on Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees, your remaining funds won't help you fill out your roster well.
Keeper leagues: This takes re-draft leagues to a higher level. Keeper simply means you select a certain amount of players to keep going into the next year. For example, let's say your league decides to have two keepers every year. You'll keep the two best players from your roster in 2013, and then the league re-drafts the rest of the players who are not kept. Keeper rules can vary quite a bit across leagues. It is up to the commissioner and league members to decide what keeper rules they would like to institute.
Dynasty leagues: This takes keeper leagues to a higher level. Dynasty owners can keep an entire roster for the next season. These leagues keep most or all of the players on a team, and force owners to think about the future. If you're starting a dynasty league, the first draft will need to focus on setting yourself up for long-term success.
Let's say you start a dynasty league today. Players like Steven Jackson and Frank Gore are not going to be drafted as high as they would in a standard re-draft league, because you're not concerned with just a single season. Up-and-comers like Andrew Luck are drafted early to ensure consistency at quarterback for your team long-term.