Fantasy sports’ dedicated competitors defy its name

Conrad Newton

For over 50 years friends and family have flocked to their televisions to watch the NFL. Today fans can add a competitive and bonding experience to watching football each and every week by playing Fantasy Football.

Fantasy sports are huge, but like most great things, they sprang from humble beginnings. The founding of fantasy sports started with America’s pastime. Years ago in a small restaurant, La Rotisserie Francaise, in New York City, a group of baseball fanatics founded the Rotisserie League. These men, led by Daniel Okrent, are the founding fathers of the modern day world of fantasy sports.

Fantasy sports is now a multibillion dollar industry with over 35 million players according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. The most popular however with over an estimated 28 million players, is fantasy football. The NFL is the most watched sport association in America, and Super Bowl XLVIII was the most watched TV event in United States history with 111.5 million viewers. Thirteen percent of all Americans play fantasy sports.

In fantasy football you draft players from different NFL teams onto your personal fantasy team. From there you set your lineup each week and go head to head with members of your league. The winner is determined by fantasy points. You earn points when your players do well in that week’s real games. For example, in a standard league, if your running back rushes for 10 yards that equates to one fantasy point. Then, if he scores a touchdown he earns you six fantasy points. Knowing which players to pick up and start each week is what makes a good player.

I have always enjoyed college football. I never really thought too much of pro football because my favorite team, the New England Patriots, were never on TV. This all changed last year when I joined a local Grady Fantasy League.

A friend mentioned he was playing and there were open spots, so I told the commissioner to sign me up. It was a 12-man league, mainly comprised of Grady students. I didn’t know how it worked so I did a bunch of research the night before the draft to learn how to play and who to pick. Soon, I was watching practically every game basic cable offered, constantly checking my phone for updates, and spending an obscene amount of time setting my weekly lineup.  My season started off slowly with a 0-2 start, but I ended up making the playoffs and getting second place after losing in the championship game.

When playing fantasy football, nothing is better than watching all the games on Sunday night with friends, family, and, in some cases, opponents.  You can watch any game and be interested because it all has an impact on your fantasy team. You become friends with your league members and find yourself talking about who to start this week with random strangers. You will find yourself more knowledgeable about the sport than most and best of all, you will have a jolly time. Anyone and everyone should play, especially if you consider yourself a sports fan. Simply put, Fantasy Football makes football more fun, and there is nothing better than that.