Fantasy football is one of the United States’ favorite pastimes. The concept is simple. At the beginning of the season you must select a squad of NFL or NCAA players who you think are going to garner the most fantasy points.
There are plenty of different ways to earn points. Touchdowns, passing and running yards, tackles, interceptions and sacks are just some of the metrics to look out for. These days following your team’s progress could not be easier. You can make alterations to your starting lineup and roster from your smartphone or laptop and your stats can be tracked just as easily.
It was not always like this, though. Back in the early days fantasy football points had to be tracked by hand. The first ever league was set up in Oakland in 1963 by Will Winkenbach with help from Scotty Stirling and Bill Tunnell.
Initially only open to Oakland Raiders members, a few years later someone in the league took the idea to a local bar. The rest, as they say, is history, with fantasy football spreading all over the world over the next few decades. The question is, what makes the game popular with so many players?
Where can you play fantasy football?
There is plenty of choice when you are selecting one of the many fantasy football providers.
DraftKings offers players a number of special features which helps it stand out from the crowd. One of its best aspects is the wide range of leagues. All in all, DraftKings has six different leagues to try ranging from Classic Draft to Casual, meaning there is something for every player to enjoy.
Another great feature is their mobile app. Intuitive and well-designed, this allows players to make alterations to their starting XI in seconds. For those who are serious about fantasy football DraftKings offers a World Championship series where the top prize is a crazy $2.5 million!
Why is fantasy football so popular?
Brings people together
Perhaps the very best thing about fantasy football is its ability to bring people together. Millions of people across the world are involved in friends’ head-to-head leagues each and every season.
Draft parties at the beginning of the year are common but the excitement does not stop there. The fighting talk continues throughout the season, keeping you and your friends connected even when you are not seeing each other.
Fantasy football can also be a great way to break the ice at work. It gives colleagues something to bond over.
Allows you to be the boss
Fantasy football also performs the role of wish fulfilment for many fans. Let’s be honest. At one time or another we’ve all thought we would do a better job than some of the coaches in the NFL.
Of course, these notions are completely fanciful, but fantasy football does at least give you the chance to prove your knowledge of the NFL. Don’t fancy the look of a player that everyone else is raving about? Fine, take him out of your team.
Giving its players the power to choose can make fantasy football extremely addictive.
You can win real money
While a significant proportion of fantasy football players compete solely for the pride of being named champion, there is also the option to play for real money. There are several different ways to do this.
As we mentioned previously, DraftKings offers a World Championship every season. If you are just starting out, though, we recommend organising a private prize pot among your friends or entering a public league with lower stakes.
The professionalization of fantasy sports is set to accelerate over the next few years. There is already a significant amount of paid analytics services which offer players an edge for a price and more are likely to spring up soon.
Keeps you engaged in the action all season long
When your NFL team is not playing it can sometimes be hard to get engaged with the on-field action, particularly towards the end of the season when the Playoff picture has already been decided.
This is where fantasy football can come in. When you have players from each team in the league to monitor, every single match matters. Keeping track of your points scorers is therefore a great way to remain engaged in the NFL season.
Top scoring fantasy football players last season
During the 2020 NFL season, plenty of players earned big points in fantasy football. As usual quarterbacks and running backs were the highest scoring positions but there were also significant points returned by some wide receivers and linebackers.
Leading the way was Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Not only did Allen throw 37 touchdowns last season he also rushed for eight. This makes him the perfect tactical profile for fantasy football as he is capable of scoring in different ways.
The top scoring running back was Tennessee Titans man Derrick Henry. Overall he rushed for a league high 2027 yards, taking full advantage of his side’s running heavy offense.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers also impressed, registering 18 touchdowns. The highest scoring defender was Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White who narrowly beat out competition from the Chicago Bears’ Roquan Smith.