The Fantasy Football Life

2013-11-14T14:10:00Z The Fantasy Football LifeMatt Sharp Niche Assistant nwitimes.com
November 14, 2013 2:10 pm  • 

It happened a little more than a year ago. I was hooked, addicted for life; once you start, it becomes a lifestyle. Fantasy Football is becoming a sport of its own, as friends or complete strangers get together and battle it out one-on-one online every Sunday during the NFL season.

I was introduced to Fantasy Football when some of my coworkers asked if I have ever played before. They were shocked when I responded with a no because I was such a huge football fan who has never missed a Bears game in two years. I thought I wouldn't have enough time for it and I would just fall behind, but they convinced me to try it. So I created my own league with all my coworkers, and it began a tradition.

Fantasy Football is easy to pick up once you know the basics. It all starts with a draft; this is my favorite part because your whole league gets together, which consists of about eight to 14 people. During draft season, some businesses offer special Fantasy Football packages. This year we went to Buffalo Wild Wings where you get a special draft kit. For those pressed for time, drafting can be done from any computer or tablet.

As you draft your team player by player, you have to be strategic to make sure you get the best possible players at each position, so it does take a little bit of research. After the draft and before the first weekend of games, you want to set your lineup. On ESPN.com, you can find weekly projections to give you a little bit of an idea on how a certain player will do. It also gives you a ranking of the match-ups those players are playing. For instance, I have Matt Forte from the Bears, and he plays the Baltimore Ravens this week. The Ravens' run defense is ranked at No. 1 for fantasy football, so I have a pretty tough match-up.

After you set your match-up, you are ready to watch some football. Each week you will play a different member of the league. This week, I play my good friend and roommate Nate Akers. He is projected to beat me, but we will see what happens. Different players get points for different things such as yardage gained or touchdown. As the games progress, your players' points add up. Whoever has the most points out of the match-up wins, which will obviously be me.

If you aren't already in a league this season, you should consider it for next year. Fantasy football has come a long way, and it gets you more involved in the game. You will go from just talking about how the Bears did on Sunday to talking about how 12 different players did individually and how all 32 teams did.

As most people check their phones as they wake up, I am checking my fantasy lineup to see who is still injured, or maybe someone from league dropped somebody I would be interested in picking up. ESPN also has different writers that come out with different articles every day. My personal favorite, which comes out on Thursdays, is the 'Love/Hate' article. An analyst picks the players he thinks will do good and the ones he thinks will do bad. Fantasy football changed what I get excited for in the morning.

It really brings a group of friends closer. My league all started with people that worked at my old job, and now some of us have moved on. But we all stay close because of fantasy football, and we will remain to stay close because of it. Every Sunday I have some of the guys over and we all have our computers, phones or tablets out as we watch the games. We get a chance to watch all of the games and talk about all of the players, it gives you a whole new view on the game. When anybody scores we instantly look to see who has him playing or possible benched and the cheers of joy come from that person.

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