Fantasy football is hotter than ever. What started as a fun, kind of nerdy game that put statistics under a microscope has turned into a worldwide phenomenon. The most popular sport in America is football, and fantasy football is growing rapidly every year. Over 7 million people played for the first time last year! You can see the soaring popularity of fantasy when you watch NFL games and ESPN pre-game broadcasts. Not only do they talk about the games, but they also talk about fantasy football. During games, there is a ticker at the bottom that keeps up with the day’s best fantasy performers. ESPN has a whole show dedicated to fantasy football.


There are many, but here are my top 5 reasons to play fantasy football:


5. You know more about every NFL team.


As a fan of the NFL, I’m sure you have a favorite team, and you also probably have a handful of teams that you keep up with. You might even know the starters for most teams. When you begin playing fantasy football, it’s amazing how quickly you become familiar with nearly every skill position player in the league. You’ll become more knowledgeable when talking to others about football. Because fantasy revolves around statistics, you’ll have a good idea of how well players have been producing. It makes you feel like even more of an NFL fan than you were before.


4. You care about games that don’t really matter.


The Jaguars/Raiders game is on, and you’re glued to the TV! Why? Because the guy that you’re playing this week has Amari Cooper, and if he gets another touchdown, you will be in trouble. Also, you notice that the backup running back for the Jaguars is looking great every time he gets a handoff. Nobody in your league has him on your team, so you’re licking your chops in hopes that you can add him for next week. Normally this game wouldn’t excite most fans, but every game becomes important to fantasy football players.


3. You feel like an NFL GM.


Do you ever watch the draft and think “Man, I would have picked someone else with that pick!”? When you play fantasy football, you have the chance to do that. You have full control over a team. You can add or release players, make trades, bench players who aren’t performing well, and take chances on people who show potential. It’s a very rewarding feeling to assemble a team who dominates its opponent. Win a championship and have bragging rights for a year!


2. You can win money.


Playing fantasy is rewarding…not only in the feeling you get from winning, but it can also be lucrative. If you want everyone in your league to give their best effort, make it a paid league. If all teams chip in $100, the stakes are much higher, and the payout is nice. There’s not much better than winning the championship in your league and getting a nice chunk of change on top of it. Break your league-mates’ hearts twice by taking the championship and their money. Aside from standard leagues, you can play daily fantasy games at DraftKings and win money every week with teams that you put together for that week, specifically. They have thousands of contests every week. It’s tons of fun!


Which brings me to my #1 reason for playing fantasy football…..


1. It’s fun!


Fantasy football is addictively fun! You’ll find yourself obsessed with how your players are performing, how you can improve your team, what other teams are doing, and which NFL teams are making moves. There are many resources out there to feed your obsession. Fantasy football podcasts are a great way to get the latest news and expert opinions. When you know that you have bragging rights and possibly some money at stake, it increases the importance of your team succeeding. Fantasy football is such a fun game that adds so much to the already-incredible NFL. You’ll find yourself flipping between all of the games, and the NFL Red Zone channel becomes a must-watch.


So, those are my top 5 reasons for playing fantasy football. If you already play, what are your top reasons? Let me know!