Fantasy Football has become a staple on Fall Sundays just like the games themselves. (Side note: Everyone has a team. Nobody cares about your team.) People have always been obsessed with the idea of playing King, and fans have been clamoring for teams that allow them to be in charge of the staff. Fantasy Football offers the path for both. It allows you to be in a position to make all the decisions and forces you to suffer all the consequences of those decisions. A bad draft will result in a LONG season. As for the field performance of your favorite soccer team? A victory for them is nice, but it becomes the icing on the cake. To hell with loyalties.
How many of you, right now, couldn’t safely name the opponent your favorite team plays this week, but could easily tell whether or not your recovering RB2 participated in practice this week? At what point did our priorities drift so far? I think the answer is simple: people like to feel empowered. As a fan, you don’t have a bit of control over how your favorite team runs. As the owner of a fantasy, you can make a highly successful trade in week 1 if your heart desires. That control creates a sense of investment. It creates a sense of pride that can sometimes be difficult to find in franchises run by billionaires. It can be particularly difficult to tell when these billionaires like to pretend to be GMs (look, they all like to feel important), as has been the case with my Dallas Cowboys since Jerry Jones bought the team. So the solution is to create your own team, assemble and align, and live and die for the results.
Fantasy Football has created a way, outside the limits of sports betting, to keep almost every game interesting. That’s the appeal of betting, in essence. It is a way of creating excitement in a soccer game that would not otherwise make sense. Now, most fantasy football leagues offer an eventual reward, but I would say that the possibility of making money is only one of the motivating factors. Competition among friends … The opportunity to show off superior sports intellect and astonishing foresight … These are the things that drive a true fantasy football user. And, if you are lucky enough (admittedly LUCKY) to avoid injury and the fantasy gods decide that you would be an acceptable champion, money is a nice bonus.
However, what happens when your loyalties to fantasy football are in direct conflict with your loyalties as a fan of an NFL team? Surely you would not be so manipulated by a competition that you forget where your heart is. You can try to convince yourself that you can support both a victory for your favorite team and a great fantasy performance for your players. In the end, however, you will realize that fantasy football has simply ruined the NFL for you. And you can accept that, as long as you are winning.