According to a U.S. News article, approximately 27 million people in the United States play fantasy sports, generating between 800 million and 1 billion dollars in revenue each year. Something that used to be played by only sports junkie and stat geeks has evolved into a mainstream sensation. If you have ever played fantasy sports then you will understand why it has become so popular. Fantasy sports, especially fantasy football (the most popular of fantasy sports) is more than just a hobby, it’s a complete obsession.
It’s like an exclusive club, and for those in the club it’s the most entertaining hobby there is, but for anyone outside the club, fantasy sports is totally confusing.
Thankfully I’m a self-anointed fantasy expert who’s here to explain how it all works.
Every major sports website offers fantasy sports and they’re typically free to play. Each website has a different look and settings; it’s really a personal preference as to which site you choose to play on. I prefer Yahoo! as I’ve been using it for years and I like how customizable their leagues are. Once you’ve picked a website to play on, its time to start researching players and preparing for the draft. Get to know EVERY player in the NFL because it’s the sleepers (the unknowns) that win leagues, not the star players.
It all starts with the draft, where everyone gets together and spends the day picking players. Like any professional sports draft there is a player pool which teams select from to build a roster. This is where it gets complicated, because there are dozens of strategies that people use to compile a (hopefully) winning team. Strategy depends on the scoring settings of your particular league, which is also completely customizable.
For example, some leagues may give a point for each reception, which makes wide receivers and pass catching running backs more valuable. The draft is the most important aspect of fantasy sports because this is where you build your team; you can’t screw it up or else your team is doomed for failure and ridicule.
Once you build your roster it’s time to compete against your league foes, where all bragging rights and money is on the line. A major reason why fantasy sports are so popular is because it is another form of gambling. Typically there is a pool of money or a trophy on the line, and winner takes all. Of course this is all under the table since gambling is illegal. Every week two teams are matched up against each other head to head; the outcome decided by which team scores the most points. Fantasy sports are based completely off of stats; the team whose players accumulate the most stats wins. Yards, touchdowns and sometimes receptions are all added up to determine the amount of points a team accumulates. In standard leagues every 10 yards rushing or receiving equals one point, and every touchdown is worth six points. Let’s say you have Adrian Peterson on your team and he rushes for 100 yards and scores two touchdowns, his point total is 22 for the day, which is a lot of points. The websites keep track of all the stats for all your players and tallies them up to the minute for you (isn’t technology awesome). Whoever has the higher point total in the match up at the end of the weekend is the winner.
The season usually last 14 weeks, with the playoffs running from weeks 15 to 16. Winning a fantasy league is the equivalent of wining the Super Bowl, except there is no trip to Disneyland or the White House, just some under-the-table money, bragging rights and a trophy if you’re lucky. For sports fanatics, fantasy sports are a chance to live the dream of being a General Manager and to run your own team. It’s like playing doll house for adults – it’s all fake but completely fun. Give it a try and see for yourself; just be warned, it’s addictive.
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach