Introduction to Fantrax
Most fantasy football leagues in today's world run on some kind of online platform. There are a number of fantasy football platforms out there, and the goal of this site is to provide detailed coverage of as many of them as possible.
#Fantrax is a platform that spans a wide range of fantasy sports across many different sports. Fantasy Golf? Yeah, they have that. This post will obviously focus on the football (NFL) elements.
Fantrax boasts they are the most customizable fantasy platform around, and while it's hard to quantify that claim, it is safe to say they do support a very wide range of features and playing styles. Unlike other platforms, establishing a new league begins with a decision of whether you want to start with their base template, apply a template based on another site's platform (if you are moving your league), or copying an existing league.
Assuming you start with their default template, you now get to choose which template to start with. Fantrax offers the most common competition styles:
- H2H (Head-to-head): matchup each week against another team and score wins and losses
- Roto: score points based on how your team ranks in scoring categories compared to the rest of the league
- Total points: accumulate points across the season – most points at the end wins.
- Best Ball: the highest point scorers on your team auto-fill your starting roster each week.
You then combine those styles with common scoring categories: PPR, half-PPR, standard, and superflex. Superflex is an odd one to include in this choice, as it's more of a roster style than a scoring approach, but it's there all the same.
From there you input your basic information: league name, league description, the commissioner's team name, etc., but it's also here where you define your league type and auction type as well as you entry fee. The latter is important for a decision I'll talk about later, but Fantrax supports all of the basics that you would expect:
And a wide variety of draft styles:
- Automated (based on managers ranking players)
- Standard online (including slow)
- Auction (including slow)
- Player Picker (for leagues that allow duplicates)
Right out of the gate you see where Fantrax starts to make it's boast about a high degree of customization, as offline drafts, slow drafts, and Player Picker drafts are not draft styles offered by a lot of platforms.
From there you are taken to Fantrax's main league settings screen, where categories are listed across the top and each category has a myriad of settings you can configure. I will save uber details of all these pages for future posts, but let's skim through each one quickly.
Fantrax is prone to odd choices as to where certain settings are located, and the General page is a good example of this. On this page you can configure the obvious: league name, description, logo, the wall image (a background), and the join link. But you also have a high level scoring setting (which you'd expect to find on the Scoring page), a duplicate players setting (which you'd expect to find on the Roster page), and the ability to setup Fantrax Treasurer (which you'd expect to find on the fees page). It's not a problem to have those things on the General Page, but it's not exactly logical.
Now is a good point to talk about Fantrax Treasurer, which offers the ability to collect your league dues right in the platform. This is a unique offering amongst platforms, as most offer nothing or at best a link/integration to another dues service. So having the ability to use a dues collection service right in your main league platform is very attractive. This is one way that Fantrax makes money.
The other way Fantrax makes money is to offer premium league features in a pay model. In this walkthrough, I am not going to detail which features are paid and which are not, but you can see that list here. If you have a promotional code to enable paid features, you can enter that here.
Teams & Schedules
On the Teams & Schedules page, there are a lot of subpages that allow you to configure things related to both of these items. The subpages are:
- Teams – general listing of the teams, managers, and their status
- Divisions – whether you have divisions and which team is in which division
- Schedule – when the league starts/ends and high level schedule options
- Playoffs – whether to have playoffs or not, when they begin and how they behave
- Matchups – the generation of the schedule as well as manual overrides to it
- Consolation Bracket(s) – whether to use consolation brackets and how they behave
While all of these subpages have a number of options on them, this page overall is fairly straightforward and unless you want to get crazy with your schedule, you want spend too much time here, unlike the other pages.
The Player Pool page is another page where you won't spend much time, but I'm calling it out here as one of those areas that makes Fantrax highly customizable compared to other platforms. There aren't many platforms out there that allow you to configure which NFL teams contribute to your league's player pool. Admittedly, I've never heard of anyone creating a fantasy football league comprised of players from the NFC North, for example, but you could.
Here is where Fantrax begins to shine. The roster configuration possibilities are endless, allowing you to create a variety of types of fantasy games. In addition to the usual positions and many types of FLEX configurations, there are a myriad of IDP (individual defense player) options that go beyond defensive end, tackle, linebacker, cornerback and safety. You want Punters? They have Punters. You want Fullbacks? They have Fullbacks. You can even create a roster based on picking entire Team Offenses, Team Defenses, Special Teams, or even the entire team itself.
Fantrax also offers your typical Dynasty IR, and taxi/practice squad features, along with configurations to force players into mins/maxes, restricting how often a player can start, restricting how many rookies, and more.
If Rosters are where Fantrax begins to shine, here is where they thrive from a customization ability. The number of stat categories you can pick for scoring is extensive, though the interface for building your scoring settings is a bit clunky. There are hundreds of stat categories, but they're buried in overly large dropdown boxes, which makes it difficult for me to show anything here. It also makes it difficult to build your scoring settings for you league, so as a Commissioner, plan to spend quite a bit of time in this section. It will help if you analyze the categories ahead of time, design your scoring settings in a spreadsheet or document, then go in and configure your league.
In addition to the sheer number of stat categories, Fantrax also offers scoring positions differently (useful for TE Premium leagues, but Fantrax allows you to go further than that). You can also choose to omit certain NFL games from counting toward scoring, as well as control how long stat corrections can be applied to your league. Those latter two aren't going to be used often, but it's nice the features are there if you need them.
Transactions & Periods
This section focuses when starting lineups lock, who can edit them, how trades process, and how add/drops process, and are split across 3 submenus.
- Lineups / Periods: On this subpage you can set who can edit lineups, when lineups lock, and how often transactions execute.
- Trades: On this page you have access to whether trades are allowed, when the trade deadline is, whether trades are voted on by managers or commissioners, whether you can trade during the draft, whether you can trade draft picks, and more.
- Claims / Drops: Here you can configure whether waivers are used, how many claims can be made, whether bidding is used, the order claims are processed, whether non-playoff teams can make claims, can't drop lists, and more. There are way too many options to cover here.
Salaries & Contracts
Fantrax offers supports for player salaries, a salary cap, and multi-year contracts. I plan to cover this topic in-depth in future posts across multiple platforms, but in a nutshell:
- Player Salaries can be used and there are a number of types of salaries that can be used. You can set custom salaries, have Fantrax generate them based on your league settings, use real NFL salaries, and use real NFL cap hits. there several ways to customize options across all of these types.
- A Salary Cap can be used, which you will likely want to do if you want to have Player Salaries (otherwise, what's the point?). You can set this cap to whatever you want at whatever scale you want.
- Multi-year Player Contracts can be used. Fantrax has a system you can use to auto-generate contracts, or you can enter your own. You will likely pair this with the ability to extend players as their contract is expiring, which you will likely integrated into the Keeper or Dynasty element of your league (contracts are pointless for Redraft).
More on this topic across a variety of platforms in future posts.
On this page you will configure your draft, and most settings are dependent on which draft type you choose (the auction fields are shown above). There isn't much beyond your typical day, time, rounds, order, time per pick limit, but a few extras include how the draft behaves for absent managers (or those not paying attention), where undrafted players go, and if managers can overdraft.
For auction drafts, there are many more options, including timers for bidding, draft budget, opening bid, max bid, how auction budget relates to salaries (if used), and more.
Fees & Prizes
There isn't much on this page, and you will only use it if you opt to use Fantrax Treasurer to hold your payments. I will cover this in more detail in a later post.
The Misc page has a few subpages that let you configure a few non-related things.
- Keeper/Dynasty: Here you can indicate what league type you're using, but you can't configure that type on this page, which makes it an odd place to put it. You can also allow/disallow the trading of draft picks.
- Tie Breakers: Fantrax allows for tie breaker settings across standings, matchups, and playoff games, meaning you can set different rules for each. Each oddly allows a different number of rules, with playoff games having more rule options than regular games, but in general, most of what you would expect to see is there.
- Constitution/Bylaws: Pictured above, this subpage lets you post your non-platform league rules in the platform as a document, versus having a Google Doc as a link outside the platform. I'll write more about the value of having this kind of document for your league, but it's nice that Fantrax allows you to store it right in the platform.
- Misc: The oddly-named Misc>Misc subpage has one setting on it: whether to make your league publicly viewable. This should not be confused with publicly join-able, but rather if you want to let others see basic standings, stats, rosters, etc., as if they were a fan of the league.
After all of that setup work, Fantrax takes you back to your league home page where you can start using Fantrax as a team manager. You can always access the league settings again by choosing options from the Commissioner menu.
Fantrax and its many options can be a bit overwhelming for casual commissioners, but there no denying that it lives up to its boast of being highly customizable. There are other highly customizable platforms out there, though, and I'll take a look at those in future posts.