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League Rules

2003 FFL Rulebook


The FFL is comprised of 12 fantasy team owners divided into three geographical divisions: the FFL East, South-Central and West. Each owner will select a roster of players via draft, choose a starting lineup for each game of a 14 week regular season, and perhaps sign replacement players or make trades. At the end of the fantasy season (during the final weeks of the NFL season) a playoff tournament will determine the league's Fantasy Bowl champion. The Lukas Welburn Fantasy Bowl Trophy shall be awarded to the winning team at the following year's FFL Draft.



Teams must be located in cities of the United States, with the team name featuring the city or area's name followed by a team nickname. Names must remain in reasonably good taste and can be vetoed or abridged by the commissioner for such purposes. For purposes of year-to-year consistency and realism, teams may only change their team nickname and/or move to a new city after 6 years of play using their most recent city/nickname combination. Such changes will especially be favored for teams that have had successive losing seasons (i.e. dwindling fan support). Founding teams are strongly discouraged from altering either their team names or moving to new cities (i.e. strong team tradition and fan support).



Owners shall, by majority vote, decide on controversies regarding players' positions prior to the draft. These positions will apply for the entire year, even if the player switches positions during the NFL season (such as Steeler "wide receiver" Kordell Stewart switching to quarterback late in 1996). Positions not agreed upon prior to the draft will be determined by NFL team lists, as represented at www.nfl.com.



Each year's draft order is determined by the inverse standings of the previous year (playoff wins included), with ties broken by scoring average. Each team must retain three players each year prior to the beginning of the draft. A deadline for naming these keepers will be determined by the commissioner, and will usually occur within a few weeks prior to the draft date. Failure to submit these keepers at the proper deadline will result in voidance of the team's 13th round draft pick. Additional picks may be voided if the team does not divulge its keepers after the first penalty is assessed. Such additional penalties will be put to a league vote. After teams have submitted their keepers, they have effectively lost all rights to their remaining roster players, who become free agents in the draft pool. Teams may choose to continue trading up until draft day, with the restriction being that the 36 players named as keepers by the league must remain unchanged. The draft lasts 13 rounds, and is conducted in a serpentine order (in which the 12th team also picks 13th, etc.) Beginning in 2002, a strict deadline of 90 seconds will be allowed per pick. If a team fails to meet that deadline, the team following them in the draft order may jump ahead of them and make a selection. The team who has been jumped will then have 30 seconds to choose a player before additional teams are allowed to jump ahead. While trading may be conducted during the draft, such trades may not be made if they are stalling the proceedings or impeding the comfortable flow of the draft. All teams must have the following at the conclusion of the draft: 2QBs, 4RBs, 4WRs, 2TEs, 2Ks and 2ST/Ds. These roster requirements do not apply at other points in the season. At the conclusion of the draft, the teams with low draft slots will be asked in turn if they would like to make any additional free agent transactions to even their roster to their liking. Each team may make one move before this process is repeated again. After this point, the regular free agency rules shall apply, as dictated below.



Rosters have no particular requirements other than the limit of 16 players. If a team has over 16, they will be notified by the commissioner via the FFL web page. If the owner fails to correct his roster after many weeks, the player or players deemed least essential to the team will be discarded until the roster meets league requirements. If a team is under the 16-player roster size, they will be kept notified through the league webpage -- but the commissioner is powerless to sign extra players for that team.



A team may place a player on injured reserve if the NFL's official injury list (usually released Thursdays before gameday) lists that player as out. Players listed as "doubtful" or "questionable" by the official list may not be placed on injured reserve. By placing a player on the IR list, a team will be able to free up an open roster spot, as injured reserve players do not count toward the 16 player roster maximum. There is no minimum or maximum length of time for how long a player can reside on a team's injured reserve list. However, teams are only allotted two injured reserve slots -- if both slots are filled by injured players, any additional injured players must occupy a regular roster spot.



Owners submit a starting lineup prior to the kickoff of the first NFL game of each week. In the case of Thursday or Saturday games, it is the owner's responsibility to indicate an intent to start players involved in the unusually scheduled games, while the rest of the lineup may be submitted at the kickoff the Sunday games. If an owner fails to submit a lineup by the deadline, it remains the same as the previous week. If the unchanged lineup rule doesn't apply (perhaps because of a trade) then the commissioner shall determine the lineup (using the judgment of a reasonably prudent person). This may also apply if a marquee player is returning from a bye week, and it would be the owner's obvious intent to have started him. The commissioner should make every effort to decide on the lineup (in such rare cases) prior to the games. Lineups may be submitted in the following fashion:

Standard: 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1TE, 1K, 1ST/D

Wishbone: 1QB, 3RB, 1WR, 1TE, 1K, 1ST/D

Run & Shoot: 1QB, 1RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1K, 1ST/D

Two TE: 1QB, 3RB and WR, 2TE, 1K, 1ST/D

Three TE: 1QB, 1RB, 1WR, 3TE, 1K, 1ST/D

Lineups should also include a list of players who should be substituted into the lineup in case one of the starters does not start. Lineups are officially submitted via the FFL's website under the FFL Lineup Submissions section. In case of emergency, lineups may be e-mailed to the commissioner.


For each fantasy game, starters generate points in the following way:

6 points for touchdowns

4 for TD throws

3 for field goals

2 for any role in a 2-point conversion

2 for safeties (by ST/D)

1 for PATs.

Special Teams/Defenses score 6 points for:

1) a kickoff returned for a TD

2) a punt returned for a TD

3) any fumble returned for a TD

4) an interception returned for a TD

5) a blocked punt returned for a TD

6) a blocked/missed field goal returned for a TD

7) a fake field goal that results in a TD score

8) a fake punt that results in a TD score

9) a TD scored by an eligible offensive or defensive lineman

No single score may be credited to two different players or special teams. Therefore, one can broadly define special teams/defense scores as any score produced by a defense, special teams or offensive line unit, or any score whose impetus was a turnover.

For any score that occurs from 50 or more yards, the point value of the score is doubled. (Ex. 12 points for a TD, 8 points for a TDP).



A player is considered to have played an FFL game if he is listed among the starting lineup or replacement lists through the Gamebook sections on nfl.com. This is regardless of whether that player had a catch, carry or pass in the game. If the player did not play, the commissioner will automatically substitute in a player in a fair and prudent manner (or if an owner supplies alternates in his lineup). The substitute will almost always be the backup who has started the most for that owner in the rest of the season, or alternatively, was drafted higher by that owner.



Players not on a 16-man roster are considered unrestricted free agents. Each team may extend sealed claims on players any time prior to the Wednesday 11:59 p.m. deadline each week. At that time, claims are revealed and players are awarded to the team that is currently lower in the FFL standings, with team scoring average (lowest wins) as the tiebreaker. From Thursday until the kickoff of the first NFL game of the week, unrestricted free agents are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.



Two or more owners may exchange players any time prior to the kickoff of the first NFL game on week 10. A trade becomes valid only after all parties involved have contacted the commissioner and verified the terms of the deal. Each team involved in a trade must stay under the league maximum of 16 players, and must adjust their rosters after the trade accordingly. If a trade is deemed unfair or detrimental to the overall competitive balance of the league, the commissioner may choose to veto the trade. If the veto is not approved by the majority of the league, league owners may override the commissioner's veto in a subsequent vote in order to allow the trade to stand. The commissioner is allowed to veto the trade so long as the conditions of the trade have yet to affect league play (that is, traded players have yet to play or traded draft picks have yet to be used). No more than 4 draft picks from any given year may be exchanged between two teams via trading.



The following is the tiebreaking scheme should two or more teams have identical records at the end of the regular season:

1)Winning percentage against all other teams in the tie

2)Most points scored.

3)Coin flip.



Six teams make the playoffs each year: three division winners and three wild card teams. The top two division winners receive bye weeks while the remaining teams play in Week 15. The winners advance to a pair of "FFL Championship Games" in Week 16, whose winners play in the year's Fantasy Bowl. All gameplay rules continue to apply. However, in the case of submitting lineups, each team will submit a list of 5 ranked "overtime" players. The overtime players must be RB's, WR's or TE's. If two teams tie in a playoff game, the two teams will have their overtime players compared one at a time, head to head, until a winner is determined. If none of the overtime players scores for either team, then other RB's, WR's or TE's who were not ranked will be considered. If none of these players scored, then backup QB's, then K's, then ST/D's will be considered. If a tie still remains, the game will be ceded to the team with the better playoff seed, and that team will be granted a +3 "homefield advantage" score.



A majority vote of the league shall apply if any team violates any of the above rules. In extreme cases (such as in a tie on said vote) an independent mediator may settle a dispute.

Also, if it is deemed that a team is intentionally throwing a season, or acting in dishonest conduct at the expense of the league's quality of play, then sanctions (including the possibility of suspension from ownership) may be implemented.



Any owner may make a rule change suggestion in the FFL offseason, with majority vote of the league needed for a rule change. The commissioner may make minor and useful rule changes at will, but such changes may be vetoed by majority vote of the league.