Fantasy sporting is a game in which you act as if you were the general manager and coach of an imaginary sporting franchise. You draft players, choose a lineup, make roster moves, etc. Basically any sport can be turned into a fantasy sport, but the three I play more or less annually or basketball, football (American), and baseball. I play on yahoo.com, because it's free, but most sporting websites and magazines, (ESPN, The Sporting News, etc.) offer pay-to-play leagues. However, leagues that you pay for usually involve a prize if you win. Yahoo does not. Also, I play on yahoo because I play in a loosely organized private league that covers football, baseball, and basketball called the World Fantasy League.
In fantasy football, which is my favorite, because of the distinct match-ups from week to week, because usually the NFL plays only on Sunday, and one game on Monday. We play under the starting line-up of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, one defense, and one wide receiver/running back (your choice.) There are also six bench positions, for extra players. Every week you can change who starts, and cut and add players, and trade players.
The scoring system is as follows:
6 pts. for any touchdown (rushing, receiving, return, defensive, passing)
1 pt. per 50 yds. passing
1 pt. per 20 yds, rushing, receiving, and returning
-2 pts. for a sack against you
-3 pts. for a fumble lost
-4 pts. for an interception thrown
2 pts. for a two-point conversion
1 pt. for an extra point
1 pt. for a field goal under 25 yds.
2 pts. for a field goal 25-35 yds.
3. pts. for a field goal 35-45 yds.
4. pts. for a field goal over 45 yds.
2 pts. for a defensive safety
3 pts. for a defensive fumble recovered
4 pts. for a defensive interception
10 pts. for a defensive shutout
5 pts. for a defense giving up 1-10 pts.
3 pts. for a defense giving up 11-20 pts.
1 pt. for a defense giving up 21-30 pts.
0 pts. for a defense giving up 31-40 pts.
-2 pts. for a defense giving up over 40 pts.
75 points is about average on a week.
The team with the most points over one week wins. With about four weeks left in the season, the top eight (out of 12) move into a single-elimination format. This allows for some surprises. For example, last year, despite my team staggering into the playoffs at 7th place, I won my first two games before losing in the finals and finished 2nd.
Fantasy basketball is played differently than football. Rather than having a point total, we play by category. There are 13 categories (field goals, field goal percentage, free throws, free throw percentage, three-pointers, points, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, assists, steals, turnovers, blocks, and assist-to-turnover ratio.) You still play one team over the course of a week, but for each category won, you get a win. Therefore, winning 13-0 and winning 7-6 produce very different results. You can also play rotisserie, where you use a point system and have a season score, which is all the weeks combined, to determine the winner, but I played this once, and hated it, due to the lack of suspense. The better teams sort themselves out quickly, and there is no chance of a surprise upset changing the standings.
We play fantasy baseball in the same way we do basketball, by category. Last year, the categories were hits, home runs, batting average, RBIs, and stolen bases for batters, and wins, ERA, WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) strikeouts, and saves.
In addition to these three sports, on yahoo alone, I've seen golf, NASCAR, soccer, college basketball, hockey, and others. Of course, if you organize your own league, you can play whatever sport you like.