By: Derrick Sanchez, @derricksanchez
With another football season kicking off, it’s that time of the year where fantasy football nerds and enthusiasts assemble and put together a dream team of gridiron greats to lay claim to their pro football expertise. Whether it’s online or it's getting together with your buds, there’s no denying fantasy football has become an increasingly popular game among the diehard and even casual football fan.
Apologies to other sports in the fantasy sports realm, but football reigns supreme. Why? Because when you can combine the powerhouse that is the game of American football with an opportunity to go head-to-head against your best buds, it’s a formula for success.
It's not just the week to week matchups that make it so great; it’s the fandom, the lead up and the anticipation of another great year and rounding up your buddies for the start of another football season.
The Lead Up
You've done your research. You've followed every blog you can before your eyes start to bleed, followed every tweet from your favorite insider and hounded your buddies to get a hint of who they would like to draft.
The stress of research has led to too many mock drafts. Todd Gurley or Zeke Elliott? Is Gronk worth a second-round pick? There's too many stats and matchup scenarios floating in your head.
It's go time. You get together with your buds, and it's time to draft. You're not too pleased with your draft order, but you are determined to put together a band of bad-asses that will bring home the chip.
After 12+ rounds, you've exhausted every sleeper and plug and play into your lineup. Everybody, and I mean everybody, thinks they put together the team of teams.
You have your fantasy apps on your smartphone prepped and easily accessible for when it may become necessary to add or drop a player. You analyze your lineup one too many times before kickoff and second-guess your flex options.
You keep your tabs on the waiver wire, so you even forget to do real work at the company that pays you to actually do work. There has even been a study that revealed companies actually lose billions from lost productivity at the workplace due to fantasy football.
But let’s not let those bad seeds at your job slow you down. There’s something awfully satisfying when you get together with your buds and consult draft picks in a war-room style environment filled with draft kits, laptops and cheat sheets.
Heck, even network television created a series called, The League, which followed a group of friends who eat, breath and sleep fantasy football and how they'll do anything to win at all costs.
If you happen to be one of the few football fans who don’t play fantasy, then check out this comprehensive list coming from a guy who’s managed one, too many leagues and won a few to brag about.
1. You get to manage a team!
As a fantasy football manager, you can finally hire (waiver wire pickup) or fire (waive/release) somebody.
2. “Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M get the money, dollar, dollar bill y'all” or maybe just a trophy
Money is the root of all evil, but there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly wager. If you’re not all into betting then you have some options because you can grab a cool, WWE-style championship belt. Or everyone in your league can just pitch in for those participation trophies.
3. Talking smack
Destroying your opponent by a gazillion points, or it’s coming down to a Monday night where you’ve got the kicker and your opponent has a team-defense going. It doesn’t matter, because you’re going to talk smack the whole week leading up to your weekly matchup.
4. You’re more knowledgeable about the guy you normally wouldn’t really care about
Let’s face it, if you’re a casual football fan then you wouldn’t know Eli from Peyton. With fantasy, you’ve become a guru of some sorts and you can recite how (to a tee) how many butt-fumbles Mark Sanchez had in week 10 of last year.
5. You are the company you keep
Whether it’s a keeper, standard, dynasty, or any other type, the bond and friendship that keeps a group of managers together for years is insurmountable in keeping your league alive.
6. You can say you finally won something
What better gratification than winning your league? Even if you don’t ever win anything else in your life, you can take that fantasy football league championship to the grave.
7. Cool team name, bro!
What’s better than customizing your team name? It’s your team; you get to name it whatever you want.
Some fun, notable ones out there:
- The Luckness Monster
- Mo' Manning, Mo' Problems
- Gotta Catch Jamaal
- Somewhere Over Dwayne Bowe
- Turn Down for Watt
8. It’s fun!
Win, lose or draw, fantasy football is something all fans can enjoy and appreciate. Whether you play it for fun or for a friendly wager, it’s simply exciting to have gamification compliment pro football.