Fantasy Football is football fans’ dream (or nightmare) come true

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I never thought I’d be a Philip Rivers fan. Or be cheering for Dez Bryant to make a touchdown grab. But I’ve gotten myself sucked into Fantasy Football like millions of other people who play it every year.

Friends get together at a neighborhood wing joint and call each other obscene names as they compose their own teams of superstar NFL players. Each week, you’ll face another opponent, with nothing up for grabs other than that week’s bragging rights.

Why do we do it? Because guys (and some girls) must prove their dominance, especially over their friends. Sure, you can play for cash, but bragging rights might last a little longer, depending on whom you’re dealing with.

Just to put in perspective how big these “fantasies” are, the sports business is bringing in “an expected $4 billion a year,” according to Forbes.com.

Most top sports websites host a Fantasy game nowadays. ESPN.com, Yahoo!, NFL.com, and many other third-party sites have leagues of their own. Patronage can range from just a group of friends to whole office buildings. Speaking of which, another statistic on Forbes.com reads, “30% of fantasy footballers admit to managing their teams while on office computers.” (I myself can be guilty of this from time to time. Sorry, Mrs. Ross.) Sure you can spark a rivalry with Jim in cubicle #5, but it’s nothing more than a game, and an addicting game at that.

With my personal Fantasy team tanking this year [3-6], I pride in myself on being the king of the waiver wire (which is where you make trades, pick up players, etc). My multiple preseason “experiments” blew up in my face, and I don’t think I can get anything for Matt Schaub on a trade.

One thing that you’ll find in many Fantasy leagues is a person who thinks they’re psychic and picked the best team in Fantasy history. “I’ve got a dynasty in progress,” says Fairmont sophomore Michael Frangomichalos. “Everyone in the league wants to take me down.” It’s true. Just like there’s a target on the back of every Super Bowl champion, there’s a warrant out for the defeat of “Mike and The Boyz.” There’s also a reward on the head of whoever traded him Aaron Rodgers a week before the season started.

Being a die-hard Tennessee Titans fan, I don’t find many Sunday games interesting other than the one involving my favorite team; but Fantasy Football has kept my Sundays rather busy. Most fans can’t get into watching a game unless they have a tie to it (a bet, a family member/friend on the team, etc.), and my “tie” has come in the form of my Fantasy team. Normally, I wouldn’t even acknowledge a running back playing in the miserable Vikings-Giants Monday night game, but a pending “win” had me on the edge of my seat.

Many Fairmont students just like me have become engrossed with the online football game. Sophomore Luke Sheidler is one of them. “It’s the thrill of winning, that you know more about football than your opponent,” said Sheidler. “The satisfaction of beating someone keeps me playing every year.”

The recent explosion of popularity in Fantasy Football can be somewhat credited to FX’s new hit TV show, The League, on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.  The show stars comedians Nick Kroll, Stephen Rannazzisi and Jon Lajoie, among many others, and it’s about a Fantasy Football league and its sometimes immature members (most being best friends). The show depicts Fantasy Football as the carefree, best friend-slandering playground that it is.

Fantasy Football is a fast-growing trend that seems to have no end in sight. Even my 48-year-old old father is getting pressure from his friends to join a league, even though he still doesn’t know what a shift key is. Speaking of which, I really hope he doesn’t join a league that I’m in. He’s rather competitive, and I don’t want to be grounded for knocking him down a peg.