Fantasy football dominates the playing field

by Connor Smith
It used to be when student football fans referred to “their” teams, they meant the Giants or the Jets. Now, so many students are acting as the general managers of their own fantasy football teams that real-life action on the playing field of the Meadowlands is just an afterthought.
Joining leagues made up of groups of friends that are connected via websites such as ESPN, fantasy football players build their own virtual dream teams by drafting players from a variety of real NFL teams to cover all the positions. Then, they collect points by trading, adding, and fielding players who will have significant statistics throughout the season, such as yards gained and touchdowns scored. Each week teams go head to head against those of other league members, and whichever team racks up the most fantasy points wins the matchup.

For many students, gathering statistics has taken the place of watching their local teams actually play a game. Fantasy football fans can spend hours proposing trades and making acquisitions with league mates to strengthen their pretend teams’ standings.
“I think it’s more  important for my fantasy team to win because it shows you are better than your friends,” said sophomore Adam Cohen, who spends most of his free time checking his fantasy team.
Estimates of the number of Americans participating in fantasy football leagues run as high as 30 million, and sports organizations are just beginning to investigate how its rising popularity is affecting real-game attendance and TV viewing of NFL games.
However, a recent study published in the Journal of Sport Administration and Supervision reported that fantasy football might increase TV viewership overall.
The authors found that fans watch more games because their fantasy teams are comprised of players from many different NFL teams, increasing interest in nonlocal games.
For senior Haley Regan, playing fantasy football only enhances the way she watches real football. “I’m always interested in seeing the New York Giants win.
They are my favorite team,” she said. “If my fantasy team wins, it’s a bonus.”