Internet Fantasy Football
Playing Fantasy Football on the Internet
Internet fantasy football won't leave me alone. Between the two teams I'm managing this year, my boss' fantasy football addiction, and the constant "fantasy" updates on television and sports radio, I sometimes feel like the fantasy game IS the game. Forget what those overpaid freaks of nature do in football stadiums every weekend -- the real game is playing out on millions of computer screens around the country.
To put the amount of people playing armchair manager in perspective, the top three Internet fantasy football sites (Yahoo Sports, ESPN, and CBS Sportsline) were responsible for over 10 million individual fantasy sports teams. That's just the top three web-based fantasy football sites -- imagine the numbers for all fantasy sports at all venues.
How Many People Are Playing Fantasy Football on the Internet?
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, made up of nearly 300 fantasy sports venues, there are over 15 million Americans involved in fantasy football on the Internet . Web-based fantasy football is big money now, with some fantasy football groups paying out tens of thousands of dollars to winners, and private fantasy leagues in offices and bars across the country paying out hefty sums as well, it is difficult to ignore the economic side of the fantasy game. Having said that, it is my firm belief that most people play the game for free, for the love of football and the competitive nature of the head to head fantasy game.
But it isn't just fantasy football winners who are making bank -- there is money to be made off fantasy sports fans in other ways. There are fantasy magazines, fees to enter fantasy leagues, mail-order software and draft assistance kits, and other fantasy related interests that generate between 1 and 2 BILLION dollars per year, more than the GDP of some entire countries.
One example of the impact of fantasy sports is The Sporting News. This old mainstay of sports reintroduced its fantasy site back in October of 2005. Since that site opened again, the Sporting News website has averaged over a million unique hits per month. As webmasters can tell you, all that new traffic brings in serious ad revenue -- for The Sporting News, it has meant an ad revenue increase of over 50% in the past two financial quarters alone. Even better for the Sporting News -- fantasy football managers spend plenty of time on their site, and the Sporting News can prove this "engagement" to the advertisers, making fantasy fans more valuable audience members.
The Internet has changed the landscape of fantasy sports. Once upon a time, fantasy sports was an elite club, open only to those able and willing to perform complicated stats and scoring after the weekend's NFL games. Now that the Internet fantasy football sites do all the calculating for you, any fool with a mouse and a dialup connection can play NFL manager. What was once a game of loners with clipboards and pencils is now a social activity shared by millions of people. There's nothing better than sitting down with a cold bottle of beer and chatting up your fantasy buddies on draft day.
Here are some solid Internet fantasy football resources -- links that every fantasy football fan should have bookmarked.
This is the Sporting News Fantasy Football site talked about in the article. There are so many resources for fantasy football articles, stats, and opinions that it is easy to get lost or pick the wrong source. You can't go wrong with the material at the Sporting News -- they're a trusted name in sports reporting and their fantasy sites is one of the more popular source of info. The Sporting News has some interesting versions of fantasy play, including the Three For All, one of my favorite mini fantasy football games, in which you select three players instead of an entire team. Looking for a one stop shop for fantasy football on the Internet? Check out the Sporting News.
The Red Zone
When you need an overall look at the NFL -- from news about players, roster changes on teams, trade rumors, or even gossip via fan forums, the Red Zone is the place to go. Every fantasy football player needs a good source of NFL news, and this easy to navigate, bare bones NFL news site will get you what you need in a hurry. The Red Zone doesn't contain as much original writing or articles about fantasy football, but it collects NFL news and links from around the web and puts them in one tidy location.
Fantasy Football and the Weather
Unless the game you're worried about is played in a dome (and there's only seven domes in the NFL) you need to pay attention to the weather at an upcoming game. The weather and the stadium conditions that result will have a major impact on any one player's performance. If you want to figure out just how to make that that last minute fantasy adjustment, making it based on the weather conditions at a game site can move you to the top of your fantasy class, quick.
This site is an easy clickable interface that will take you to the weather at any NFL city. This is also a good resource for tailgaters and fans headed to games. It may sound like a strange bookmark to have, but knowing the weather at your NFL stadium could be the insight that wins your office pool.
Addict Fantasy Sports
Addict Fantasy Sports is another great catchall for fantasy advice and resources. A variety of authors bring you straight forward fantasy strategy and news. This is one site you should keep away from the others in your fantasy league.