EA Fantasy Football

August 13, 2004

EA is most well known for a game that goes by only a single word… Madden. The Madden franchise has been dominating the football arena for years. This year EA dipped into a different football genre that doesn’t depend on ultra realistic graphics or a stellar franchise mode. This year EA entered the Fantasy Football genre. Does the reigning heavyweight in football sims have what it takes to compete in a genre based on numbers and stats? I think so.

I am a veritable newbie to fantasy football, but lucky for me I have a few friends that are quite avid about the hobby. As I showed off the service to a friend he gave me a brief comparison of the things that were new versus other systems out there. The first cool aspect of the service is the 2 different subscriptions (yes this costs money). The first route you can go is the League Manager subscription where you pay $9.99 for the season, join one of the EA managed leagues, and try to get top honors and win some of the fantastic prizes EA has put up. Your other option is the Commissioner subscription where you pay $99.99. The Commish route lets you create a league, either public or private, and invite up to 31 of your friends to play with you. As the Commish, you control the league, its rules, and its scoring. The league you create is free to your friends. This is definitely the way to go if you are a serious fantasy football player.

I opted for the Commish subscription and as I type this League Snackbar is well underway. The most important thing about running your own league is that you have to know what you are doing. I do not in fact know what I am doing. Couple that with the fact that I am new to the hobby and the league setup was a disaster. The setup is actually quite easy provided you understand what you are being asked. The setup has 8 steps: Basic, Schedule, Divisions, Teams, Roster, Scoring, Transactions, and Draft. Basic allows you to enter the league name, league password, the size of the league, the scoring system, and which player pool you elect to use. Everything there is very self explanatory. You can also upload a custom league logo on this page. The Divisions step allows you to setup additional divisions. The Teams page allows you to setup your teams and specify others as team owners. This in turn sends them an invitation to the league. Roster allows you to specify the number of starters and total roster players for each position. Scoring allows you to customize the scoring rules for you league. Transactions allows you to specify the rules by which trades will take place and Draft allows you to customize the type of draft and any options related to the draft. The default configuration in each of these steps is generic enough that someone without an intricate knowledge of fantasy football could leave the settings at default and enjoy their season. It also has enough options and control that the most seasoned veteran would enjoy tweaking their league just right.

As a normal league player your league home page will show any league or site news that has been posted as well as current NFL headlines. Scores, league standings, and a message box from the Commish also have their place on this page. The vast menu of options to the left side of the screen makes managing your team very easy. Before you get to that you have to have a draft. For a first timer I found the draft a little complicated. This was mainly because I tried to change a bunch of league settings. I ended up invalidating our league which just means we had 32 teams in a league of 12. It ruined the draft and we had to postpone it. The nice thing about the draft is that it can be automated or you can hand pick your players. The system will also automatically select for you if the pick threshold time is reached. It determines the next pick in 1 of 2 ways. It either selects the next available player on your Draft Queue or selects the next top rated player. Setting up your Draft Queue appropriately can land you with a stellar team without having to manage the draft as it takes place.

Each league also comes equipped with a message board so players can discuss trades or results from the recent games or anything else they desire. Since we are still a few weeks out from the NFL season it is a little hard to speculate how things work when the season is actually underway but so far I am very impressed. I have never considered playing fantasy football prior to this so far EA has gotten my attention.

It is hard to cover all the aspects of the system since we have not yet begun and many veteran players probably have questions about some of the more customizable features and I encourage those of you that are still interested to check out the [url=http://www.snackbar-games.com/ads.php?id=11]EA Fantasy Football website[/url]. It will give you a full run down on what features are included as well as taking the Commissioner tour. I will be back after the season has begun to give you a rundown of how everything seems to be working.