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Commonly Played Sports

From baseball and football to basketball and hockey, these are your meat and potatoes of the fantasy world.

Fantasy Baseball

The granddaddy of them all, fantasy baseball continues its popularity today.
Every league begins with the all-important draft, where team ownersMiguel Cabrera of the Florida Marlins select players from each defensive position, starting pitchers, relief pitchers and "utility" players, meaning players who can fill an extra offensive spot on the team.
Baseball has the most diversity in the types of leagues available. Some leagues pit owners against each other weekly, with one owner coming away from the week with a win and the other a loss, assigning points to a statistic- a stolen base is worth two points, an RBI is worth one.
A rotisserie league ranks each owner's accumulated statistics and award points based on place in the league. For example, if an owner's team is first in RBI, the owner gets 10 points (in a 10-team league). The second place RBI owner would get nine points, and so on. At the end of the season, the owner with the most points wins.
Still other leagues use the categories themselves to score and award wins and losses in each category for the week. In a league where this scoring is used, one owner can win six categories and lose four, giving the owner a record of (6-4) on the week.
All the major Web sites offer fantasy baseball, and all have free signup for basic league but also have more high-tech options available at a cost.

Fantasy Football

The most popular sport in America also figures to be one of the most popular fantasy options. The action on the field translates well to the computer screen.
Owners in a fantasy football league draft players from all 32 NationalPeyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts Football League teams. Each team has a quarterback, a running back, wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker, and a team defense.
Points are usually assigned to each statistic and owners are pitted against each other every week. The owner with the most points wins the week. A touchdown is usually given six points, 10 rushing and receiving yards are given one point, 25 passing yards are given one point, and a field goal gets three points. Defenses start out with a certain number of points on the week, and lose points as they give up points in real life. They can also earn points by sacking the quarterback, intercepting the ball or forcing fumbles.
Like baseball, every major Web site offers basic fantasy football signup for free, but with options for a paying league.

Fantasy Basketball

While not as wide spread as the above two fantasy sports, basketball is quickly gaining in popularity.
Basketball has the fewest players on the court at one time of all theSteve Nash of the Phoenix Suns major sports, but normally fantasy owners can pick up multiple players at a position and use them at the same time.
Centers, forwards and guards are awarded points based on the points they score, balls they steal and rebound, shots they block and assists they tally.
Most basketball leagues are set up in a weekly format where owners compete head-to-head. Like football and baseball, most leagues have a playoffs in the last few weeks of the regular season where the best fantasy teams compete for the league championship. Rotisserie scoring is available as well.
Free signup is available at most major Web sites with add-on options available for money.

Fantasy Hockey

The sport has certainly suffered in recent years with a lockout and a decrease in casual fan base, but the die-hard fans are still around. Fantasy hockey follows the same format as the above team sports, drafting players before the season begins and using the players'Chris Osgood, Detroit Red Wings statistics to earn points.
Players are drafted at the five hockey positions (left and right wing, center, defense, and goalie) and their stats accumulate into points for the whole season. Some leagues give a defenseman's goal more points than a center's goal. The plus/minus category is used as well as goals and assists for offensive players. Saves and goals allowed along with wins and shutouts are commonly used to measure a goalie's performance.
Also like the above sports, trades and pickups off the free agents list are key to a successful team. Finding that sleeper rookie or dumping the overrated veteran could make or break one's fantasy season.
Free signup is available at many major Web sites.