These days, everyone seems to be playing some form of fantasy sports. If you’re not in this group, you may struggle to see the appeal.
The truth is, there’s no one universal explanation. Some people see fantasy sports as a social experience and enjoy playing it with friends. Others are more interested in the complex math behind the game, looking at all the angles to gain an edge.
Regardless of why you play them, fantasy sports can be a great hobby. Here are seven good reasons why they’re worth your time.
1. Fun Factor
Do you consider yourself an NFL fan? If so, quick question: how often do you watch games that don’t involve your team?
Chances are, your answer is somewhere along the lines of, “Not that often.” Well, fantasy football is a great way to make watching these games more interesting. You’ll also learn more about players’ tendencies, giving you a deeper understanding of the game.
For example, let’s say there’s a Lions – Bengals game on Thursday Night Football. In normal circumstances, you likely wouldn’t know that there’s even a game that night. If you have Jared Goff as your QB, though, you’re looking at three hours of pure fun.
2. The GM Experience
For many, the main appeal of fantasy sports is the chance to play the role of a franchise’s GM.
Much like a real-life GM, your job is to do a little bit of everything. You’ll do research, make trades, pick up free agents, consider waiver claims, and more. The only difference is you’ll do all that from the safety of your living room.
This is a big part of what makes fantasy sports a game of skill rather than chance. Sure, the games themselves will still play out without your input. That said, the strategy you use to make the most of your fantasy assets is crucial to your success.
3. The Social Element
As mentioned, fantasy sports can bring people together. Playing a season-long fantasy league can form friendships that last a lifetime.
This social element also helps make some situations less awkward than usual. For instance, let’s say you’re going to a birthday party for your 10-year-old son’s classmate. If you find another fantasy fan there, the whole event may become tolerable.
Also, you don’t need to be a fan of football to enjoy the fantasy version of it. It helps, sure, but you can run your team purely based on what you see on the stats page. Remember that while you’re trying to convince your partner to give this fantasy thing a go!
4. Variety of Games
So far, we mostly talked about fantasy football. Well, there are plenty of other fantasy games you can try, from soccer to basketball.
On top of different sports, there are various league styles and formats. You could play season-long, playoff-only, dynasty, keeper, and so on. If you get bored of standard leagues, you can play Point Per Reception (PPR) or Individual Defensive Player (IDP).
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is another viable option that’s gaining popularity. As the name implies, DFS takes the basic fantasy concept and puts it in a short-term period. Most of these competitions take place over a single hour, day or week.
If you want to give DFS a shot, make sure to pick a fantasy site that gives you a head start. All the best DFS sites have welcome bonuses that make them worth your time. For example, this PrizePicks promo offers you a 100% bonus on all deposits up to $100.
5. Skin in the Game
Like most things in life, fantasy sports are more fun when you put your money where your mouth is.
Many leagues require a buy-in, and that money is then pooled and given to the winner at the end of the season. Some leagues have weekly rewards as well. For a lot of seasoned fantasy players, the monetary rewards are the main reason for playing.
Even for casual players, adding stakes to the game will always create more interest. When you have money on the line, you’re less likely to abandon your team midway through the season. Money leagues are a lot of fun—as long as you don’t go overboard!
6. Draft Night
The draft night is the Super Bowl of fantasy football. It’s the one night where the competition really ramps up.
If you’ve watched FX’s The League, you know what to expect here. Some leagues go all out and throwing a party, and others use draft boards. Regardless of how you do it, most people walk in with lists of potential sleepers sorted by position.
Even before the clock starts, the trash talk is flying. Once it goes underway, we start bemoaning any time a player we wanted gets selected before it’s our turn. The night is full of exciting decisions, and for many leagues, it’s the highlight of the season.
7. The Joy of Competition
Humans love competition. Fantasy sports offer a competitive outlet while ensuring you won’t end up in the concussion protocol.
This is why the best fantasy sports for you will involve a league you’re passionate about. When you spend a lot of time on something, you want to prove that you understand it. Participating in a yearly fantasy league is the perfect way to show it.
Still, don’t get it twisted: fantasy sports are a game anyone can win. Doing research should help you place better, but sports are unpredictable by nature. One fluke injury to your star player at a crucial moment can decide your entire season.
More on Fantasy Sports
By now, you probably understand why fantasy sports are so popular these days. In essence, most of it is about empowerment.
Unlike the rest of our lives, running your fantasy team gives you full control over something. Seeing success with it often brings about a sense of pride. It’s a great feeling, and it makes an already fun experience—watching sports—even better.
Looking for the best fantasy sports websites to check out? We may have some ideas—keep reading our Entertainment section!