If you’re on this website, you may have heard of “CFF” when it pertains to your college side of your Campus 2 Canton leagues. But if you are just coming in this season and learning how to play in a C2C league or college fantasy football itself for the very first time, this is the article for you! It’s truly the gateway to understanding the college game and its players, the systems, and coaches alike. Not only can you have your favorite NFL players on your fantasy team and leagues which are usually happening on Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays, but you can now enjoy it at the collegiate level on Saturdays and sometimes Tuesdays if you love that MACtion too!
Why not have fun and learn about some of the best college players at the skill positions in the country? Not only that, but it does help when learning about who’s coming up into a future rookie class for those like myself that have a big love for the Dynasty football arena and are looking to add new rookies to the roster or a Taxi Squad spot for a future game plan. Just take this as an example. Lamar Jackson may have just been a name you heard coming from the college world from Louisville and he had won the Heisman trophy in the recent past. Then being drafted by Baltimore and taking over as the Ravens’ starting QB, he made himself an absolute unit in the NFL not too much longer after. But long before the controversy and the combine pre and post-talks before proving doubters wrong, he had blazed a trail of destruction and dominance in the college fantasy realm for over two years with a very lethal one-two combo of passing and rushing touchdowns. He was highly desired, a “must own” and an ADP (Average Draft Position) of first overall during college fantasy drafts (1.01). Talk about the Konami cheat code narrative!
This article is to help as a guide for those interested in the growing popularity of college fantasy football, how you can play, and the different ways to do so. There is no better time than in the present to do it, so let’s dive a bit deeper and break it down for you all that are eager to learn.
What are the differences between Pro and College Fantasy Football?
You’re familiar with the pro game and wondering how it relates to college Fantasy Football? The differences are many. In a smaller summary, it looks like this:
- Number Of Teams– NFL has 32 of them. The NCAA has 131 teams in Division 1-A, aka Football Bowl Subdivision(FBS).
- Injury Reports- The NFL requires them. The NCAA does not, and the information to find any of that knowledge can be difficult to obtain.
- Player Turnover/Time Frame– A star in the NFL can have a 10-year career or more if they are lucky. Stars in college play a year or two, on rarity even all four years, and move on to the pro level or graduate and move on with their life. Players come and go much quicker in the college game.
- Bye Weeks– In the college game, bye weeks are scattered all over the calendar. This is mainly to students still having to finish school to obtain their grades and courses needed to stay eligible to continue playing in the NCAA. Sometimes it’s for other reasons such as time off for the coaches and the staff. Still, it could be one or more of these per year.
- Mismatches– The NFL prides itself on parity and an equal level playing field. A college powerhouse like Alabama can hang 70 points on a lowly non-conference opponent and not even flinch. This can bring about some very intriguing and enticing fantasy questions: “Do I start Player A if he’s only going to play maybe a quarter against this team?”.
Please don’t let these factors intimidate you in the least bit! We’ve got you covered so don’t fret. We try our best at Campus 2 Canton to keep you informed and in the know on all the information we can find for you all. It’s not overwhelming per se – just a different challenge to take on than the NFL game you’ve grown accustomed to playing in fantasy. Play one season of college fantasy football and you’ll become addicted, I promise you that!
Just like in normal fantasy football at the pro level, you can also modify and pick how you want your CFF (college fantasy football for short) leagues to look and feel. There are still Standard, PPR (points per reception), 2QB (two quarterbacks), and Superflex leagues. During my time with The Fantasy Footballers, we recommended the “Ballers Preferred” method which was basically a Half-Point PPR league with just defense added and the kicker spot removed for an additional flex spot, an IR spot, and an auction style for the waiver wires where the highest bidder won the player for that week.
However, when I joined a college league for the first time it had all kinds of cool modifications to choose from that I hadn’t seen before, and wanted to truly test my prowess and knowledge of college football and what tips and tricks I have accumulated in my past years in fantasy football and merge it all together. This is a link to one of my very first previous seasons in a league where I took home first place with a 9-2 regular season record.
In this format which was on the Fantrax webpage, not only do you see studs that play in the NFL consistently now, but the commissioner set it up to where you could start two quarterbacks, three running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end spot, and even an extra flex spot where you could start any position other than quarterback. We were allowed three injured reserve spots for the players that went down in action. And lastly, they chose to keep a spot for defense which was a nice extra layer and element to the head-to-head competition each week. Luckily through the years, Fantrax has made this layout look so much easier and now Fantrax can be played through the app as well. This is where seeing growth in this part of the fantasy industry has been astounding to watch over the past few years!
The great thing about choosing a league or commissioning one is that you don’t have to leave it open where you are choosing from all 131 eligible college teams as I prefer. There are leagues where you can choose from just a conference such as the ACC, SEC, PAC 12, and so on. You can bring down the amount of starting spots, or even increase it and remove defense and IR spots altogether. That’s the beauty of finding a league home of choice and preference. There’s a format for everyone. Just keep in mind as you are deciding on how many college teams you get to choose from, the larger pool you have, the more teams it’s easier to have in a league such 12-16 owners, bringing it down to a conference level might only bode well for those only wanting between 6-10 teams to compete with.
When should you hold playoffs?
After playing this game for a few years and trying out a few formats, the recommendation would be to hold your season’s championship the week before the conference title games. In some years, depending on how the calendar breaks, it’s Week 13. In some years, it was in Week 14. It’s something to keep an eye on as you set up your league prior to the season. For us last year we did the normal season through Week 11, then let Weeks 12 and 13 be the championship rounds and that worked really well. The good league management sites provide you with flexibility here. These will be mentioned in just a bit.
Very similar to a redraft league, the way you go in to prepare for CFF leagues is quite the same. Most times you are only investing in drafting players for one year at a time, so you are looking for players that can make a big difference and produce lots of production for their school in that timeframe. Keep in mind this is a game within a game where we depend on real-life college students, and there are tons of variables and outcomes that can occur outside the box of research you have been putting in such as injuries or real-life instances that was not planned. The best you can do is an educated guess, so the more you look at the players within the realm of boundaries your league has set ahead of time, the better chance you will have at compiling a successful team to win a championship.
The draft itself is also really familiar and should bring you a bit of comfort in preparing to jump into the college fantasy sweepstakes. There is mainly a snake draft where you go from the first person to however many people you have in your league, then that reverses itself each round until you have filled the maximum spots you have selected for each roster. From there you can evaluate strengths and weaknesses and determine what tweaks you may want to make moving forward. This is not always the case as most dynasty leagues where you keep players long-term will likely be a linear draft where it stays in the same order consistently, that way draft picks can be traded and organized a tad better.
One way to help tweak or add someone to your roster to give you the edge you need to get a title is of course trading. Just like in every league you have come across, trades are still a viable option and sometimes needed if key players are no longer available due to their bye weeks or unsuspected injuries. The only difference is the timeframe in which you have before games go live considering college games are mainly played usually on a Friday or Saturday, but in recent years also on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Make sure you and the other owner work something out ahead, usually never that time that was set in your league for trades to go through; it is life, and you are able to add that player into the spot you need before gametime. Also, remember that you can trade and receive as many players as you like but make sure it stays within the realm of roster size restrictions so you are not in violation and can no longer set a lineup.
The waiver wire is also usually set up the same way as pro leagues so that the comfortability level increases. It usually becomes available on Sundays, and depending on league rules, the player will be available to you by Monday or Tuesday. You can do it where it rotates by order each week, which is the default way, or you can do it where it’s like an auction and each owner has a certain dollar amount for the season where they can bid on players through the entire season. We call that FAAB or “free agent acquisition budget”. Just depends on what you want and the level of play you want to take on.
But this is where the similarities stop and differ from the NFL. The amount of college players available to you that can contribute to your team versus that of an NFL fantasy waiver wire is night and day in comparison. Because of this insane amount of capable players, you can find a startable WR, QB, or even RB at any given point and time, especially if you can tell by how many fantasy points they have already produced in the stat lines next to their name. There are tons of gems out there. This leaves great players that can fall to the waivers to you as well because of a bye week and injury if one didn’t add them to an IR spot if they are available. At the beginning of this season, in particular, I drafted only Lamar Jackson as my 1.01 and Jalen Hurts from Alabama before the transfer to Ohio State in a later round as my QBs. You can tell by the photos above that you can get a name like Josh Rosen and a Drew Lock who were ascending stars at the time off the waiver wire, and plug them in right away if needed. I held Washington’s defense back when they were amazing all season long, dropped them for one game to pick up Ohio State, played them for one week, and the next week had Washington back to finish off the last few head-to-heads left on the season. This is where looking at trends for players or teams like targets, touchdowns down in the RedZone, receptions, sacks, and points allowed if its defense, and how much volume a player is getting can determine who you may need to look for each and every week on the waiver wire.
Where can I play College Fantasy Football?
In the past, CBS Sports was the first to take on this large project when things came from a pen, paper, and calculators over into a computer program on a webpage. Over the past six years plus, Fantrax(Fantrax.com) has been a website that players and commissioners alike could go to that is quite similar in look and feel to what CBS was, but completely free to join, or to create your own league. They even have a space where if you play for a certain pot of money chipped in by your league mates, you can easily manage all the league finances there or store it away until it’s time to reward the successors once the season is wrapping up. You can keep it the usual Head to Head contest, or even customize where you have a Keeper league if you choose to do so. This would be my first choice when deciding where you can call your college league home.
There are others of course. One site that is also fully customizable is MFL (MyFantasyLeague.com). Usually, this site is used for Devy (Developmental) leagues where you can draft players all the way down to the high school level and store them on your bench until they ultimately make it to the NFL or they move on from the sport. That’s where Campus 2 Canton has come in to change the game and now instead of these players just sitting there not collecting points, you can find Devy players that can be CFF producers and earn you a title on the college side as you compete on the NFL side of fantasy too. Platforms for now for C2C leagues I recommend is the tandem of Sleeper and Fantrax, or just Fantrax since they support both NFL and CFF. An ultimate combo of Devy and CFF merged into one. It’s beautiful statistical art people! The sky’s the limit here. The better the customization and league management, the better the experience.
I hope you enjoyed this article. I hope you have fun with all this information and use it to the best of your ability when it comes time to get the fantasy season going. Don’t be afraid to reach out to me on Twitter @CFFUnivesity or the rest of our CFF staff over at C2C. Come join us over on the discord when you sign up here at the website and we will do our best to help you out as much as we can! If you want more Fantasy 101 articles for more in-depth formats of college fantasy leagues let us know so we can get some more out to you. Keep an eye out for what’s to come with our team and the incredible amount of content we have coming your way this season and more.