Football can be described as America’s past time. Fans that cannot get enough of the game on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays, now rely on fantasy football to hold them over throughout the week.
Fantasy Football surprisingly is one of the fastest growing sports in America. Fans of the game can join with others to pick, start, and trade their favorite, and least favorite NFL players. Spectators can now be more directly involved in the game, because now they are not only watching their favorite teams, but players of opposing teams.
“It makes me want even teams I hate to do good, or the players on those teams to do even better if I have them on my Fantasy team” said Jonathan Laskowski, a Business Administration major. “I am a big Indianapolis Colts fan, and although I love my team, last week when the played the Green Bay Packers and I had Aaron Rodgers I wanted him to do well so I could win my matchup!”
Fans at the beginning of the season host a draft either on an online website, via webcam with friends and family, or even sometimes at a co-workers house. They select players based off of how they think they will fair over the upcoming season and their general statistic output. Week by week, fans are matched up against other fans in their league and they battle head to head. They start some offensive players, a kicker, a defensive and special teams and sometimes even draft head coaches. Each of these players earns certain point values based off of their plays. For example in most leagues if a receiver catches a ball for 10 yards they will earn one point. Whichever fan ends up with the most points at the end of the NFL week wins that matchup. Why has fantasy football become so important in recent years? Most fans just love the competitiveness.
“The competitive aspect and the fact that you pick your own team to win against your friends or family and co-workers just makes it so much more fun,” said Jordan Clark, an Education Major. “I want my players to do well; I tend to root for the players rather than the team.”
In a recent survey taken of 250 Suffolk students, almost 40 percent of people play some form of fantasy football. Fantasy football is usually for fun, but others take a little more risk and put money in a pot usually at the beginning of the season. Of the people in the league, exactly 78 percent of the people are males. The females represent though! Almost exactly half of the women survey have their eye on the prize and gamble for fantasy football and lay out some kind of money before or during the season. Although this gambling is fun, technically it can be considered illegal. Exactly 63 percent of the people, who play for money, are under the age of 21.
Some fans really go all out by having multiple teams, but slightly over half of the students only currently play in one league. Some of the online services that offer fantasy football are ESPN.com, NFL.com, Yahoo.com, CBS.com, and Fox.com. The most popular by far was ESPN with 55 percent of fantasy team owners. On ESPN, there are many different tools that help newcomers to fantasy football. Before the season starts, they come out with a list of the 500 best players in the league, and rank them with projected stats each week. If you are an ESPN insider subscriber, you can also have one on one chats with ESPN annalists where they give you tips and ideas for trades and free agent pickups. Also they will even make suggestions on you should start each and every week.
“It makes watching football so much more interesting. I feel like I’m almost involved directly with the team. I watch the games as much as I can,” Raymond Brenkert, Biology Major. “I check my team about seven times a week, if not more. I am constantly looking at my team all day long on game days because I want to see how I am doing against my opponent.”
One of the biggest numbers the survey portrayed was how students felt about how fantasy football improved watching the NFL games. An astounding 93 percent of students felt fantasy football made football more fun to watch. This year, the NFL implemented more games on Thursday nights, so how are the league owners affected? They just need to be that much more involved with their team, and must check their roster more often. Students surveyed said they check anywhere from one to ten times per week depending on how involved they are. Exactly 34 percent of students said they adjust it anywhere from six to nine times per week. Fantasy football is just one of those sports that is growing in America, and with advancements in technology, and stakes getting higher and higher each year, it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon.