The start of the National Football League season also means the start of my season of fun-stration: Fantasy football season.
I love football and I love fantasy sports of all kinds. I’ve participated in just about every kind of fantasy sports game. Season-long baseball leagues with daily transactions are my personal favorite.
I’m also happy to say that I can admit to this in public now that sports gambling is legal, although I never considered fantasy to be the same thing as betting on actual games.
While I prefer fantasy baseball, most fantasy sports players would take football as their favorite. The numbers show it. While the numbers in general are down due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, 78 percent of fantasy sports participants play fantasy football. In comparison, 39 percent play fantasy baseball, 19 percent play fantasy basketball, 18 percent play fantasy hockey, 14 percent play fantasy soccer and 13 percent play fantasy golf. Those numbers are according to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association.
More interesting numbers — 81 percent of fantasy players are male, 50 percent are between the ages of 18-34 with the average overall age 37.7, 67 percent have a full-time job and 47 percent made more than $75,000 per year.
It is a lot of fun. I’m playing in three leagues this year, all with good friends. I have done more “national” leagues before with people you are paired against on the internet, but those aren’t as fun. There isn’t the trash talking and you get a bunch of ridiculous trade offers because if people don’t know you they are more likely to flat out try to rip you off. Plus, you never know when Joe Blow is going to lose interest and just stop trying. With my luck it usually happens right after he has his best week of the season against me and then he doesn’t win another game all year.
Online drafting is not as fun either, but thanks to the ‘Rona most of us were stuck with that this year. Zoom and other social gathering sites helped some, but you still can’t beat a bunch of friends gathering in someone’s basement with plenty of beverages and snacks available and the trash talk happening in person.
But fantasy football is immeasurably frustrating too. I said many words that should not reach print on Sunday, Sept. 13, when Jamison Crowder, a receiver I own in two of my three leagues, caught a 68-yard touchdown pass. Why? Because, of course, I didn’t have him in my lineup in either league so those points went to waste. Happens every week. SMH.
Plus, I’m the commissioner in one league, which is the most thankless task ever. Everyone has suggestions or complaints (I’m guilty too in the leagues I don’t run). No one wants to help with anything not directly related to their own team or its place in the standings.
But still, it put a smile on my face to wake up this morning and be able to back up my trash talk with a victory over Iowa Information’s most famous employee — managing editor Ty Rushing. Of course, that's kind of shooting fish in a barrel.