The life of a sports star, much like a rock star’s one, is a faraway desire for a large majority of us, due to the fact we never had the talent, the possibilities, or because we developed a bit of a beer gut. But that doesn’t mean we don’t feel passionate about the sports industry, with lots of us following, religiously, our team and watching as many games as we can.
But something is missing. We want to feel more connected. Ultimately, we want to be in the shoes of those people we see on TV. That’s where fantasy sports come in. According to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association, in 2019, 19% of Americans aged 18+ were playing some kind of fantasy sport and when we compare that number to 2014, we can see a 6% rise.
Now, it can be a bit of a complicated world, so we’re here to guide you into the most fun and comfortable experience possible and hopefully offer you a new way to interact with your favorite sports.
A Bit of Context
We don’t want to bore you with dates, but it’s always interesting to give you a little bit of the background. This type of contest, where you pick players and compete based on their individual stats came shortly after World War II. Wilfred “Bill” Wikenbauch was an Oakland’s businessman and, even though he started with the game of golf, he understood the potential of his idea and brought it to the two most popular sports in America: Football and Baseball. So, in 1960, the first fantasy baseball league was created, with the football one rightly after, in 1962.
What Are Fantasy Sports?
As we’ve mentioned before, fantasy sports are a way of putting yourself into the shoes of a team’s manager. The big difference between real sports and this game is that in the first one, what matter is which team wins and in the latter, the points won in accordance to your player’s individual stats in the real world is what can give you the cup and the right to taunt your friends at the end of the season.
The points system can change depending on the sport and even the league’s rules. Some use intricate and complicated algorithms to reach those values while, in others, a league commissioner will simply make some math and present the points. The rest of the tasks that come with the job are pretty similar to the real world. You can choose your team’s lineup, plan drafts, trade, sell and buy players and even cut anyone you feel it’s not doing that well.
From basketball to soccer, to ice hockey, golf, and even e-sports, fantasy leagues have been covering every main sport available in the world but there are two that stand out, due to a large amount of popularity. Since most fantasy players are from the USA, it’s not that surprising that the sports we’re talking about are American Football and Baseball.
The standard Fantasy Football league consists of 10 to 12 teams and follows a common format. You start by picking your team’s players through a draft (where each owner picks a spot in turn). You can also, later in the season, adjust your rooster through trades, sells and buys. Then, every week you plan your lineup taking into account every stats you can find and your “football gut”. If the players on your team perform well in the NFL that week, you’ll get a lot of points.
Typical point system:
- 6 points for rushing and receiving touchdowns
- 4 points for passing touchdowns
- 1 point for every 25 yards passing
- 1 point for every 10 yards rushing or receiving
- 2 points for any two-point conversion
- 3 points for a field goal
The teams with most points in week 14 will qualify for the play-offs, where each owner will compete head-to-head with the same points system until a winner is declared. Even though luck is involved, it’s considered a skill game. If you’re looking for some help in choosing a solid roaster with the budget at disposal, then lineup optimizers are the way to go – you can check out the top ones for the NFL by clicking here. ESPN, NFL.com, CBS, FOX Sports and My Fantasy League are some of the most popular fantasy football hosting sites.
This was the first sport being used in fantasy sports, mainly due to the fact of having easy access and detailed scorecards, as well as long statistical reports. In the early days, you would get cards with players and their prior season performances. You would play one-on-one and the roll of dice would decide which cards would go against each other.
Nowadays the game is much more similar to the fantasy football described previously. At the beginning of a season, each owner selects 23-27 players (there are set quotas from each position), in a draft system and points are attributed to their present-day individual performances.
The points system varies a lot, but the statistics used are pretty much the same: battering average; runs scored; home runs; saves; runs batted in; earned run average and walks plus hits per innings pitched. Again, similar to the last one, you can trade, buy, sell and drop players as the season progresses. MLB.com, ESPN, CBS, TG Fantasy Baseball and Fox Sports are the main websites where people play fantasy baseball.
You will immerse yourself in the experience of managing a sports team and everything that comes with it – it’s been a rising game for a reason. We’re pretty sure you’ll start watching games with a renewed spirit and energy. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility, so pick your players thoughtfully. Thanks for reading and go win some trophies!