Fantasy football: the most fun you can have on a Sunday afternoon

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Why is fantasy football such an obsession for some people?

It gives grown men, women and children the opportunity to see what it feels like to be the general manager of a professional sports team — kind of.

More importantly, it allows people the chance to eviscerate their friends, family and strangers by living vicariously through the performances of their chosen team members. Some of the more popular sites for fantasy football play are Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, CBS Sports and Depending on the type of experience you want to engage in there are options for free play, auction, round robin, head to head as well as leagues that pay out money at the end of the fantasy season. There are customizable options available too that cater to the varying skill levels of play, from the nickelback newbie to the endzone expert.

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Fantasy football is the continuation of a child’s sport cardcollecting days when they would buy packs of player profile cards from the corner store and begin assembling their collection. It is an online game where participants select or simulate buying actual professional football players from a draft pool in an effort to assemble a team for competition amongst other members in a group. Points are attributed from individual statistical performances from real games, and when a week has been completed, those points are then calculated. League sizes can range from four to 20 players, positional requirements can vary and, depending upon the league’s settings, competition can be had in head-to-head or weekly point formats.

When compared to the fantasy options of other professional sports like baseball, basketball or hockey, football asks for the least amount of commitment. These other sports are scheduled almost daily and require participants to constantly set and reset their lineups to account for the many weekly fluctuations. With fantasy football, there is one day that requires participants complete attention: Sunday.

Although there are games on Monday and Thursday night as well, they hardly require one to spread themselves thin trying to stay on top of setting their lineup. In fact, because the bulk of the games are played on Sunday, these two potential bonus days end up being ones that people look forward to. For the purposes of beating your weekly opponent, extra games can potentially give you an edge if you arrange your lineup accordingly to account for these pockets of opportunity.

Player selection, in my opinion, is a multi-tiered process. Tier one consists of the NFL’s elite players, the well-known superstars that even those with little to no knowledge about football have more than likely heard of. These are the players who have big game capabilities and often show up on Sunday to make history on the gridiron.

The second tier consists of players who provide consistent gameplay week in and out. These are typically complimentary players to each team’s set of superstars. Although big performances aren’t unlikely, they are known for generating reliable point contributions for fantasy owners.

The third tier consists of sleepers, typically newly drafted personnel from the college pool or second year players who, for one reason or another, were unable to play in their rookie season. These selections require owners to take more of a gamble on potential, rather than an analytical assessment of a player’s previous season’s performances. An area to be wary of is that of the newly traded player.

The reason for caution is that you cannot base how they might perform in a current season from statistics of seasons past. You never quite know how a newly acquired talent will coalesce with their new team. Lastly, an often overlooked benefit to fantasy owners is their management of the waiver wire. This is a pool of undrafted and available players who, during the course of the season, have increased their value and could provide greater positional effectiveness than a player already on your team.

If your interest is piqued at the idea of joining or creating a fantasy league, but you still feel a bit hesitant to join, consider marrying the competitive nature of this fun leisure activity with that of another fun leisure activity. Customize your league beyond the options provided by your fantasy website. To spice up your league and participant involvement maybe make the week’s losers engage in some kind of subtly embarrassing challenge.

For instance, the losers have to make a mockery of themselves in a public setting. If you’re a part of a league that encourages Sunday screenings of the afternoon games, maybe incorporate some kind of drinking game as a side component. For every point lost, infraction, penalty, you name it, participants have to take a shot of something. There is no end to how creative you can get with your fantasy league and parties.