What Makes Fantasy Football So Great

The two premier apps that fantasy football managers use, ESPN (top) and Yahoo (bottom)

The two premier apps that fantasy football managers use, ESPN (top) and Yahoo (bottom)

Jake Williams, Journalist

Perhaps if you follow the NFL, you may have played a game called fantasy football. If you have never heard of it, the premise is that you get to act as a team manager and draft whatever players you want for your team. You play against other drafted teams in your league, and whoever wins is decided by whoever’s players manage to rack up more fantasy points, based on real life performances. Points are determined based off of touchdowns, of course, but also long runs and receptions increase your team’s point total as well.

For those who want to be competitive, fans look forward to seeing the giant comprehensive guides at the beginning of the season, such as the one on The Huddle, that says, “As we’ve done for over two decades, our fantasy football cheat sheets and projections, along with a variety of other key, staple pieces will be updated until the start of the regular season to give you the most comprehensive and timely information you need to win your fantasy football league.”

If you’ve never played before, you may be wondering why exactly this game is so great and why it would be worth me talking about. The truth is, in itself the game is fun, but I wouldn’t call it revolutionary. What makes fantasy football so great is that it elevates your football watching experience by a lot.

Most people have a favorite team, and so you really would only care about the success of that one team. Of course this is fine, but it still narrows your viewing experience. With fantasy football, you can be invested in nearly every game to an extent. A game between two bottom dwellers can still be entertaining because of this game. So long as the star receiver you drafted on your team does well, then it is a wonderful game to witness, regardless of how bad the two teams playing really are.


An example of what your typical matchup board and team roster would look like on a given week. (Edited by me.)


Even if your team does not have a player in the game you’re watching, there’s a good chance your opponent does, and so once again, you would have a vested interest in that game, simply to root against your opponent’s player from doing anything in the game. It really is a great thing for fan engagement. You’re able to have a rooting interest in every single game the league has to offer on a given weekend. Under this format, there’s a high chance you may see some incredible plays and begin to appreciate and value the sheer talent that many of these professional athletes possess.

It has real world benefits though as well, in order to organize a league you have to contact people you know and have a get together in order to draft your players. Draft night is always a lot of fun, and is usually accompanied with a party and lots of laughs, mostly at other fantasy managers poor decision making while drafting. Even after the excitement of draft night however, the fun is able to persist. Everyone is able to talk about the games or how everybody’s teams did around the water cooler, and can serve as a big break in tension and strengthens bonds, rather than testing them with more personal or serious discussions, which is overall great for everyone at this point in time.

It even has attracted more older folks and longtime fans of the game, such as, Mark Allen, who praises fantasy football, saying, “It certainly adds interest. It gives you a reason to watch a game that you normally wouldn’t otherwise. I guess it depends on your definition of excitement. It adds a little excitement when a game comes down to the wire or you need points from one of your players.”

It just goes to show you that not all change or advancement can be bad, even in the eyes of an older person.

When asked about what makes fantasy football so successful, Allen states, “Fantasy football not only presents the opportunity to compete, but also gives fans a feeling of ownership, like they’re buying and selling on the stock market. You track players’ performance, makes projections about future performance, weigh in diverse factors like bye weeks, injuries, matchups and stuff like that. It’s like you’re invested across the entire market and not just totally invested in one team. Even if the Rams suck in a season, I have a broader interest in the league in general.”

In conclusion, the game of fantasy football has been an overwhelming success and a great thing for the game of football and its fans. It has been tremendous in increasing fan engagement with one another and with all the games on a given day, and is a really fun and entertaining side game to enhance and expand your NFL viewing experience more. It is quickly becoming more and more “must do” for any football fan.