Responsible Fantasy Football

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The NFL football season is here and if you’re like me, that means yes so is Fantasy Football! In the past, I have played with zero investment and the payoff was bragging rights. But this year our commissioner decided it was a $20 buy in to play. I think that is a reasonable amount to both incorporate in a dollar amount to the competition and to make the experience more competitive. Especially since I found out that on average people spend $107 on fantasy football: Deal News. Furthermore, we decided to do payouts for 1st 2nd and 3rd place which would be $120, $50 and $30 respectively. This also makes sense so that teams continue to be competitive even if during the course of the season their ranking does not allow them to win it all.


The Basics


Wait so what exactly is fantasy football you ask. Well, in a nutshell, you get together with some other friends, family, co-workers, and pick a team of real players in the NFL on a computer. Then once you’re team is set you play with the other participants’ teams in your league. Websites like Yahoo offer the capability to create or join an existing league: Here’s an example of what two teams could look like:


Position DangeRuss Wilson Fumblelicious
QB Russell Wilson Aaron Rodgers
RB Todd Gurley Mark Ingram
RB David Johnson Adrian Peterson
WR Odell Beckham Jr. Antonio Brown
WR Steve Smith Sr. Julian Edelman
TE Tyler Eifert Rob Gronkowski
K Justin Tucker Graham Gano
DEF Denver Arizona
Source: SMM


I remember when we weren’t playing for money, some of the participants would be lazy with their teams (e.g., not update their players on the team’s bye week and not replace injured players with replacements). So when I played those teams I was almost sure to win…but the win was not as satisfying because my opponent did not have a real incentive to work hard in setting up his team’s lineup.


On the other end of the spectrum are sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel. I admit I was enticed by their ad to be able to win hundreds of thousands of dollars. I thought, hey I think I know enough to win some of that.


So last year I spent about $10 on one of these but realized it wasn’t really for me. To not get into a lot of detail, you are basically playing with other people on the internet each week and picking a different team. Higher ranked players cost more to buy, so the more you spend the more chances you have of winning, I think. But it’s not an exact science. The main drawback for me was that I was playing against people I don’t even know so it was missing this human element and thus lacked a certain satisfaction.


A Little Money = A Lot of Fun


So in order to play fantasy football responsibly, my take is to invest both a small amount of money and time. This way you’ll be able to enjoy it enough and not let it consume your daily life. For myself, I set the amount limit at $20 to play in a league and the time limit to 1 hour per week researching players, setting my line up, adding and dropping, etc. So go out there football fans and play….virtually that is!