One of the first rules of fantasy football is that nobody wants to hear about your fantasy football team. Well, I'm going to break that rule here.
If you're an avid fan of a pro team, you already have a vested interest in the game your team is playing in. The great thing about fantasy is that you will have players on teams you're not used to following. Not only does it make those games inherently more interesting, it gives you a player to root for, a match-up to watch, a "hero" vs. a "villain" that has an impact on your team. You can become frustrated with that player when they don't perform, hate their offensive coordinator if they're not getting the ball in the hands of your player, cuss out the quarterback if they choose to throw the ball to other guys on the team. Either way, you're watching other games with more than a casual interest.
If you're just a casual fan looking to get more knowledge of the sport, fantasy football is a great place to start. There are plenty of platforms to choose from, whether it's ESPN's fantasy app, the Yahoo! sports app, or DraftKings, the list goes on and on. These apps have lots of cool features to help educate you about the game, with projections for the week, videos from fantasy "experts" talking about match-ups season-long expectations, and a plethora of statistics and information to dive into. There's more tools and information available on these apps and sites than ever to help you get a better sense of the game. Every week, you'll gain a better understanding of your team and your league, which will ultimately give you more confidence when setting your lineup.
Every week is different. Guys you think are locks to have a big week will end up breaking your heart. Players expected to put up a measly 7 points could end up scoring big time and winning you your matchup. It's a week-to-week proposition, and you truly never know what you're going to get.It's a season-to-season proposition as well. Who would have thought Adam Thielen would be the leading scorer for wide receivers in fantasy this year? No sane person was predicting that months ago. (Several years ago, I drafted Thielen in my dynasty league. Everyone thought I was stupid at the time. Now I'm in first place in my league, in large part due to Thielen producing big time. That's not a humble brag, that's just a brag.)
Fantasy football is frustrating as hell sometimes, but is so worth it when you set the perfect lineup and barely beat out your opponent by just a few points. I can say with confidence there is an unmistakable high you get when you need a player to come through in the clutch when you're down a few points and that player narrowly delivers. It's euphoric when it goes your way, and heartbreaking when it doesn't.
There's more than one way to set up your league. Some leagues are standard (draft new players every year), some dynasty (draft a new bench of rookies every year, keep your starters). Some PPR (point per reception), some half PPR. You can get in leagues where you draft a new team every week. You can put money on the leagues, or just play for fun. You can get into leagues with your friends, or draft against a bunch of random competitors. If one isn't enough, you can do a combination of all of the above and jump in several leagues at once. The point is, you've got options in whatever league you decide to do.
Fantasy is a great way to keep in touch with friends you may not keep up with otherwise. Sports are an easy bridge for people to start conversations with. It's easy to get people excited when you start a conversation with, "Aaron Rodgers sure balled out this weekend," especially if your buddy's starting him as his QB.
I have a real life example. I'm in a dynasty league with my fraternity brothers. We plan to keep the league going long after we graduate college and that'll be a fun way for us to stay in touch with each other each year. The loser is required do something embarrassing. This year we've settled on an outdoor, shirtless workout in the middle of winter on the balcony of our downtown apartment, complete with blaring music. It's going to be ridiculous.