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Why Has Fantasy Football Become so Popular?

Tyler Melito, Staff Writer

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Fantasy football has grown to be one of the most enjoyable parts of every NFL season. On ESPN alone, there are well over 2 million active teams this season. But why has it become so popular? Is it the money factor one may win from daily fantasy or league wagers? Is it the competition between friends or coworkers? Or is it just because fans can’t get enough football?

To understand why fantasy football is so popular, one must understand what fantasy football is. Consider this “Crash Course: Fantasy Football” and I am John Green. So there are two types of fantasy football: Daily Fantasy and Standard Leagues. Standard Leagues are your typical fantasy leagues. There are generally 8-16 teams, and teams draft certain players to fill out a roster. Over the course of the season, the owners of those teams can make trades with other teams, add and drop players that may be performing well or under performing. And ultimately make it to the playoffs to compete for a championship.

Daily Fantasy is structured a little differently. Each week certain websites have contests where you either pay a certain dollar amount or for free to win cash prizes. You are given a budget on how much you can spend on your entire roster, and by the end of that week, depending on how the team you pick does, there can be some money winning opportunities. Your lineup resets each week so you never have to deal with draft mistakes, competitive waiver wires or stubborn league members who don’t want to trade players.

Now that you have learned the basics of fantasy football, now it is time to answer the question you have been wondering about. A question that has been around since the beginning of time (or since 1997 when CBS launched the first fantasy football website). According to the various sources, it is not so much the standard fantasy football leagues that are why fantasy has grown to what it is. It is due to the rise of Daily Fantasy Football on sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings.

What makes Daily Fantasy so much more popular is that you are not bound to a full season, can get immediate cash payouts and don’t have to worry about other people you may compete with in a standard league. You make all the picks.

Now don’t get me wrong, standard leagues are still extremely popular, I myself am partaking in 4 standard leagues this year. I prefer the season-long grind against people who I interact with on a daily basis. However, in today’s modern society in regards to fantasy, people want to receive their rewards sooner and in greater amounts. For Week 1 of the NFL season alone, DraftKings payed out more than $5 million and FanDuel payed out over $4 million. The stakes are higher with daily fantasy, so don’t be surprised if more and more high school kids ditch their friends for the big bucks and greener pastures.

All in all, as long as we have smart phones, laptops, tablets, etc. And the NFL is still popular, there is going to still be fantasy football.

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Why Has Fantasy Football Become so Popular?