Fantasy sports explained


Jonathon Markwort

By Jonathon Markwort and Zane D’ Souza

Fantasy sports can be traced back to the 1950s. In recent years, there has been an explosion in popularity for fantasy sports. Fantasy sports consists of picking a set of players from a professional sports league, such as the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL). Players then compete against each other based on their team’s performance in real life. Millions of people play fantasy sports for a multitude of reasons. The multiple sports of fantasy football are different, but the effects that they have on players are very similar.

Fantasy football is the most popular among fantasy sports. It acts as one of the biggest factors to increasing the viewership of the NFL. Having players throughout the NFL on a fantasy team tends to keep fantasy players interested in games that they generally wouldn’t be watching. For example, if two bad teams are playing or a game is a blowout, someone will be more likely to watch that game if they have a player in that game on their team. With NFL teams only playing once a week, fantasy football allows casual fans of football to participate as they only have to don’t have to keep up with their teams every day. Most leagues have rosters consisting of a defense and a certain number of players from each offensive position, including quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and kickers. Basic scoring keeps track of the yards a player gains, touchdowns that a player accounts for, field goals a kicker makes, and how many points a defense gives up. Fantasy football has multiple different sets of rules, but the basic idea is the same, draft good players, have fun and win.

Another form of fantasy, though not as popular, is fantasy basketball. The basis of this is essentially the same as fantasy football, but owners of each team must constantly be keeping up with their players.  In most leagues, lineups must be set everyday. The typical lineup includes a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center, and two utility spots that any player can be inserted into. Unlike football, there are NBA games being played everyday. This makes it harder on fantasy players who do not pay attention to the sport being played. The scoring system often measures different categories of basketball. This includes each individual player’s points, rebounds, assists, and various other major statistics that are kept. This is a major plus for hardcore basketball watchers who follow every part of the game.

Fantasy hockey is a form of fantasy sports that has been growing in popularity. Although it is less popular than fantasy football and basketball, fantasy hockey is growing along with the NHL. Similar to fantasy basketball, lineups must be set every day in most leagues as NHL teams play multiple times per week. Fantasy hockey tracks statistics such as goals, assists, shots on goal, saves and goalie wins. Fantasy hockey gives the casual fan a reason to watch the sport more often and potentially gain more interest. Furthermore, fantasy hockey has helped the NHL to grow following the lockout in 2004.

The similarity between these three different types of fantasy sports is that they bring out a healthy competition among friends. Sharing the love of a game through fantasy keeps friends in constant contact. They can talk about their teams, trade players, and discuss the games that are going on. Even though each fantasy sport is different, the purpose behind them is to bring and keep friends together, and bond over their common fondness of sports.