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It all started way back in 1962 when an avid football fan and non-active partner of the Oakland Raiders came up with the idea in a New York bar. But little did Wilfred Winkenbach - or “Bill the Gill” to his friends – realise that nearly sixty years later the idea he jotted down on the back of a napkin would have taken America by storm. It’s estimated that today over 60 million people indulge in fantasy sports of all kinds, but with the vast majority of them playing football, estimated to be around 80% of players.
This has been very good news for the sport and many observers believe that, without it, football wouldn’t be as big as it is today. That’s because it has raised interest, stoked up more passion and also managed to draw in more women fans than ever before. It’s estimated that around 30% of fantasy football players are female, encouraged to participate in supporting what has always been considered to be a male dominated sport.
It’s also given rise to another phenomenon, media experts not just in the sport itself but in the fantasy games that surround it, with a prime example being ESPN’s Matthew Berry.
Of all the variations available to play, among the favourites are the daily games. These require more active management by players, and they also offer a more frequent way to win money than others in which points accumulate over the whole 16-week NFL season.
While the same basic principles apply for the daily and the longer running versions of fantasy football, there are certain aspects of the former that need to be taken into account if a player wants to succeed. Of course, many of these also apply to all the variations of the game as well as to other fantasy sports. Knowing all about these and using them to fantasy football players’ advantage is what is helping the phenomenon grow.
There are plenty of sites to choose from
The first thing to consider when you’re getting into NFL fantasy football is to seek out a site that seems to suit you. It’s always good idea to look at the biggest and most well-known sites and the sheer choice of theses has undoubtedly attracted more and more people to play. The fact that the biggest sites can also guarantee that they’re safe and secure, not to mention reliable, is a big part of the attraction.
The facts are all there for you
Football has always been a game that is rich in data and performance information, so anyone looking to put a fantasy football team together will have plenty to absorb. It’s no coincidence that the arrival of the internet in everyone’s lives kick-started a rapid increase in the number of people playing as, suddenly, so much more detailed information became available covering every aspect of individual players’ performances across their whole careers.
There’s no such thing as too much information
It can seem that the sheer wealth of data, facts, stats and figures is a little overwhelming. But, on the other hand, it seems to have also been instrumental in giving many people the confidence they need to get involved – hence the steady increase in the numbers of people playing. We also have experts like Matthew Berry to thank for this as he’s someone who frequently condenses huge chunks of data into easily comprehensible information that can be used to draft a team.
The very best players make the very best fantasy teams
Every season there are players who emerge as being quite outstanding – players like Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Donald and Lamar Jackson. The great appeal of fantasy football is that, even if they play for a team that the fantasy player doesn’t support, they can be drafted into their line-up. Yes, they’ll be expensive, but the stats don’t lie and this means that they will be well worth the money.
It’s good to go your own way
Another appeal of the fantasy game is that it encourages the maverick in the player. It’s the fact that a truly individual team can be built up using some truly left-field choices that can still prove to be more successful than some of the all-star line-ups. There’s also the sheer pleasure to be savored when the most unlikely of selections come good against all the odds.
Big slates mean big excitement
There’s nothing a true football fan likes more than the days when there are a large number of matches on. Not only does it mean there’s going to be plenty of action to enjoy, it also makes the pool of potential players bigger. Plus, even games featuring teams the player doesn’t support suddenly become very interesting indeed.
Daily doesn’t have to mean daily
Lots of players also like the fact that the daily version of the game means extra flexibility over whether to play or not to play. In fact, just like in poker where the real experts pull out of more hands than they play, this means that fantasy football fans can be super selective. There are going to be days when it’s just too hard to decide who will be making the winning plays and it’s on these occasions that it’s best to sit back and just enjoy the on-field action.
Then there’s the money
Last, but by no means least, there’s the small matter of the chance of some pretty reasonable winnings that has made the popularity of daily fantasy football grow. Given sensible bankroll management and a cautious approach to choosing when to play, it can be quite a lucrative business. While it doesn’t involve life-changing fortunes, the chance to win frequently is of a big appeal to many players.
So, there are plenty of ways to take daily fantasy football seriously, and plenty of reasons why its popularity continues to grow. And, for any football fan who’s not experienced it for themselves, it’s certainly something that’s well worth looking into.