Competitive nature makes fantasy football fun for all

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Screenshotted by Joshua Baxter

In Yahoo pro leagues, players pay an entry fee to participate in fantasy football leagues to try and win a cash prize.

With the first pick of the 2020 fantasy football draft, Happy Golladays selects Christian McCaffrey! 

The time has come. With the conclusion of week one of the 2020 NFL season at the end of Monday night’s games, fantasy football season has officially begun.

Fantasy football involves managers drafting and controlling a team of players. Each week, managers start and sit specific players based on who they think will score the most points. Teams play against one another each week in hopes of bringing home the championship at the end of the NFL season.

The game of fantasy sports goes deeper than just the managing of teams, though. Along with its fundamental aspects, fantasy football is often accompanied by a great deal of competitiveness, especially amongst close friends.

“We constantly talk trash. A lot of the members in our league, including myself, do a lot of research on players and probable fantasy outcomes and debate with each other,” said Jon Standlee, a senior.

Trash talk is a significant aspect of any sport. Often, players, fans, and even coaches take jabs at each other during games to represent healthy competition, provided that things don’t get carried away.

“What I love most about fantasy football is that the leagues provide a context for enjoying time with friends and family. Whenever there is a draft we all get together and make dumb jokes and criticize each other for their picks. It is the only part of my life in which trash talk is acceptable and appreciated,” said Andrew Ramroth, a math teacher at Carlmont.

With its high level of inclusion, fantasy has become a part of the game itself.

“It’s similar [to football], you get to compete football-wise with your friends, and it’s the best we got right now because we can’t do other things,” said Braeden Kumer, a freshman.

The playful banter isn’t the only part of fantasy football that shows how competitive it is, though. While some players participate in leagues just for fun, there is sometimes a cash buy-in in certain leagues.

In Yahoo’s daily fantasy football, where managers select a different team every week, league pots range from free to having $350,000 in cash rewards. In fact, according to a report by Fox Business, the average fantasy player spends $556, whether it be from daily buy-ins or season-long league costs.

Even with the potential to win large sums, the biggest prize is perhaps beating all of your friends and bragging about your success.

“We have a $160 cash prize, but most of us care more about being able to say we were league champions and all the glory that comes with it,” Standlee said.

The competitiveness between companions is likely one of the significant factors contributing to the rise of fantasy football in recent years. According to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association, the number of fantasy sports players increased from 19.4 million in 2007 to 59.3 million in 2017. The report also states that almost 80% of fantasy users participate in fantasy football, which is well over 40 million.

According to a 2011 Bleacher Report article listing five reasons why one might be addicted to fantasy football, one of the main reasons is attributed to making the sport of football more exciting overall.

“There is certainly an added level of excitement when watching a game on tv because I know what players I’m rooting for and against. I’m more of an active watcher and I’ll yell at the screen when I see my opponent’s running back carry the ball. I can’t say that it brings out my finest personal qualities, but it is a heck of a lot of fun,” Ramroth said. “All of the plays seem more important, not just the scores, and it’s fun to pay attention to the details of the game to predict what that might mean for my player’s performance.”

Win or lose, playing fantasy football with those close to you can create memories that last a lifetime.

“The season is a good excuse to stay in touch with friends and text about the matchups. I coordinate a league with my family and we all get together for a trophy ceremony at the end of the season at a pizza parlor. My memories of drafts and celebrations with those I care about will stay with me a lot longer than memories of winning and losing,” Ramroth said.

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