Those who play fantasy baseball, football and basketball have it easy. Each of those games relies primarily on obvious and readily available statistics: touchdowns and homers, for instance, on offense, and interceptions and steals on defense. Other fantasy games (including at least one not involving sports at all) have to dig deeper for categories or trick some up. Here's how a few of the more esoteric are played.
Very big in England, where, of course, it is called fantasy football. In the Premier League game players enter an auction (salary cap: 100 million pounds) to select two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three forwards. Points are awarded for goals (worth four points if scored by a striker, five if scored by a midfielder or defender, and six if scored by a defender or goalkeeper), assists (three points), penalty-kick saves (five points) and playing 60 minutes in a game (two points). The league awards three points for players "judged to have made an excellent performance in a game." A fantasy team loses points when a roster member gets a yellow card (minus one) or a red card (minus three) or when one of its keepers surrenders goals (minus one for each two allowed).
Generally, players either draft or select drivers based on a salary-cap system. Points are awarded based on the Nextel Cup scoring system for each race. Bonus points are awarded for laps led. Players can add and drop drivers.
In the ESPN.com fantasy game that tracks the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, players choose five anglers, each of whom earns points based on his performance on each day of a tournament. A catch of five fish (a "limit") is worth five points; catching none (being "skunked") brings a score of minus five. You receive bonus points if one of your anglers nails the heaviest cumulative catch of the day or hooks the day's Big Bass.
FANTASY SUPREME COURT
Run by the website lawpsided.com, this free contest allows players to prognosticate on the high court's cases each "season" (October to June). Players predict the outcome (affirm or reverse/remand) and the "vote spread." (A 5-4 ruling would be a vote spread of one.) Choosing the correct outcome is worth 10 points; choosing the correct vote spread earns another 15. If a player chooses the correct outcome but the wrong vote spread, he gets 10 points minus the difference between his vote-spread guess and the real spread. The winner receives $500.