I've been a football fan practically my whole life. However, this year was the first in which I decided to join a fantasy football league with some of my friends.
I never quite understood the appeal of fantasy football, yet I felt like I needed to do it since I enjoyed watching the NFL so much.
Two weeks in, I've survived the draft, I've gotten the hang of figuring out my lineup each week, and miraculously, I am 2-0. You could say that I'm happy with my decision to join a fantasy football league.
What I didn't realize when I started this endeavor was how much it would affect how I watch and interact with football.
Firstly, during the draft, I had to go against my ingrained biases and draft players from teams I despise. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, it hurt my heart when I drafted Ben Roethlisberger, Saquon Barkley, and Zach Ertz onto my team. However, from a fantasy perspective, it was the smart option.
Secondly, I talk to my dad more. Football is already something that we've bonded over for a long time, but now I enlist his help in setting up my lineup each week. As the week progresses, we also keep in touch because he likes to stay informed about how my team is holding up.
Also, game watching is weird. In week one, Dallas played Carolina. I was rooting for Dallas, but I was also rooting for Christian McCaffrey, Carolina's running back, because he's on my fantasy team. Even further, I was also rooting against Dallas' running back, Ezekiel Elliott, because he was on my opponent's fantasy team and didn't want him to get points. Long gone are the days where I can simply root for Dallas only.
Doing fantasy football has also helped me stay up-to-date on what's happening throughout the NFL. In past years, I've only known what was going on with the Cowboys. However, now I have to keep up with how well teams are playing and how good the teams that they play are so I can gauge how many points my players will earn. I have to know who is injured and when bye weeks are so I can have the best lineup possible. Because of fantasy football, I now know players throughout the league and how the league as a whole is playing out.
If you are thinking about joining a fantasy football league next year, I'd definitely recommend it. It's a fun, competitive way to learn more about football, and it gives you an excuse to keep up with the happenings around the league.