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Fantasy football is a form of office pool that is a fantasy sports game in which participants (called "fantasy league owners") are arranged into a league to pit their fantasy players against each other. The person who creates the fantasy football league is called the commissioner, and that person invites other fantasy football "owners" into their fantasy league to compete for weekly fantasy points.
Each team drafts or acquires via auction a team of real-life American football players and then scores points based on those players' statistical on-the-field performances. A typical fantasy league will employ players from the entire NFL including rookies and undrafted players.
Fantasy leagues can be arranged in which the winner is the team with the most total points at the end of the fantasy season, or in a head-to-head format (which mirrors the actual NFL) in which each team plays against a single opponent each week. At the end of the year, win-loss records determine league rankings or qualification into a playoff bracket. Most leagues set aside the last weeks of the regular season for their own playoffs. Just prior to the 2009 NFL season, Colin Cowherd of ESPN said "more than 27 million players play fantasy football. They spend an average of nine hours a week (during football season... playing fantasy football)."
More advanced leagues offer the option of Salary Cap. In this option, the commissioner at the beginning of the year will determine the total dollar value allowed for the leagues salary cap. The team owners then must draft their teams based on current player salaries and select players that will fill their rosters while staying under the teams salary cap. This prevents players from simply selecting the leagues best players but to actually find players that will earn the most points at the best cap hit.