You Should Play Fantasy Football
You should play fantasy football. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), yeah that's right there’s a trade association, 33.5 million people will draft a fantasy football team this year. But your dad would ask, “If 33.5 million people jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” Do it. Make the jump. Here’s why:
It’s fun. Take the emotional rollercoaster you get from watching your favorite team and multiply it by 9 – the number of players on a standard fantasy starting roster. Don’t care about the Sunday night game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans? You do if you need 20 points out of Andrew Luck to beat your wife in a week 4 matchup. Yes ladies, the FSTA says 20% of fantasy sports players are female.
It brings together friends old and new. My own long-time 16-team buddies league is made up of friends from elementary school, college and the business world. We used to draft together in a room and it was spectacular. Trash talk, a keg, old stories and eventual loathing as the hour grew late. Families, jobs and miles have forced us into an online draft, but it’s still a blast with online chat, Skype and speakerphones. We’re bringing together guys in Washington state, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont and Switzerland for 4 hours of fantasy joy. I look forward to it like I used to Christmas morning. And now my 9-year-old son has started a kids league. He’s got his old buddies from Seattle and his new buddies from Central Oregon involved. They’ll do a pizza party and draft together in a couple of locations. It’ll be the only draft in the country where Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka is selected in the first round.
It’ll make you a better fan. The general idea is that you select players from any team to fill positions on your roster. Then you accumulate stats from your players for things like rushing yards, receiving yards, TDs, fumbles, defensive points allowed and the like. You match your stats against your opponent’s for a given week and whomever has the better numbers gets the W. You’ll have to learn who the Jacksonville Jaguars #2 receiver is and you’ll accidentally know how many points the Bucs defense gave up in week 7. You’ll look forward to Monday night football as pure fantasy sports drama unfolds before your eyes with a missed extra point. And you’ll get a break from work…while at work. The FSTA says that the average player spends 8.67 hours per week consuming fantasy. It comes at a cost to The Man as the International Business Times reports that fantasy football associated productivity loss at work will cost businesses $13 billion. While we’re on the dollar signs, a recent Forbes article calculates that $11 billion flows toward fantasy football between league fees, information materials, website hosting fees, etc. The NFL itself had revenues just north of $9 billion in 2013. The apprentice is now the master in geeky fantasy terms.
And finally, there will be stories. According to cracked.com there’s a league where the loser is publicly shamed by standing on a street corner in a helmet and rollerblades holding a sign that says, “I suck at fantasy football”. Cracked details another league where the loser has to go to a supermarket on a busy Friday night and purchase a large cucumber, lube and condoms. You wouldn’t guess it but the FSTA reports that 78.1% of fantasy sports players have a college degree or more. ESPN fantasy expert Matthew Berry recently wrote a book called “Fantasy Life” which tells tales of fantasy football pain and gain. He explains a league made up of college buddies from Nebraska in which the loser has to get a real life permanent tattoo chosen by the winner of the league. Past losers now sport ink featuring Care Bears, rainbows, unicorns and Justin Bieber.
You don’t have to go to these extreme but it really is fun and entertaining. Do it. Spite your dad. Make the jump.