Fantasy sports participation has grown over 60% the past four years as over 32 million people now actively playing in the U.S. and Canada. Do you want to know why millions of people play this game every year?
You can easily find a guide about how to start playing fantasy sports but most sites offer an endorsement of this type: “because it’s easy and fun”. Lying on the bed provides the same pros so I really don’t think it’s a good way to explain it or encourage anybody to create his own fantasy team.
Also it’s a deceiving one: it’s very easy to learn the basic rules but you will need hundreds if not thousands of hours to master what you should do with them at any time to enjoy maximal possible benefit.
This post is my attempt to explain in detail WHY you should start playing fantasy.
I’ll use fantasy basketball as an example but it really applies to every fantasy sport. You just have to like it.
[Additionally I think it’s a fitting introduction to a new category on this blog – “Fantasy for Real” where I’ll take such trivial subject as fantasy very seriously. That’s because there are many sites with advanced statistics and in-depth big-picture analysis for the NBA and many different internet addresses with fantasy basketball projections and topics yet IMHO there are very few, if any, places which combine those two angles].
For a Challenge and to Compete with other people, preferably your friends
Competition is the core of every non-professional sport-related activity.
If you want to test or measure your level of anything you really need to compare it to somebody’s results.
In case of fantasy sports you don’t use your speed, agility, strength or any other physical attributes but…
Your knowledge. Your understanding of the game of basketball. Your strategic thinking. Your assessment of current situation in any given NBA team. Your opinion on what will happen in the near future.
Have you ever thought to yourself “hey, I understand basketball very well“? Or “I know about this sport more than any of my friends“? Or anything like that?
You can’t find a better test for such statements than fantasy basketball.
Video games are better every year but they either lack human element [it’s way easier to convince computer opponent to make a trade than a fellow human] either they become the game of beating the system’s algorithms not other player’s skills [I find that problem pretty much with every competition with others based on computer simulation]. Fantasy sports is the best way to put your NBA knowledge into action because…
It’s Your Best Chance to put a General Manager hat on
Have you ever second-guessed decision by GM of your favourite or any other team in the NBA?
Have you ever questioned GMs sanity?
Have you ever had a thought “I could do better than those [enter own negative comment here]”?
If your answer is “yes” to any of above questions it means you are ready to play fantasy ball.
There are only 30 available decision-making positions in the NBA but there’s an unlimited number of available opportunities to become fantasy general manager where you decide team’s roster.
Where You decide who plays and you decide when it’s time to change any player.
That’s why you should try it.
Additional bonus is that if you do make a mistake, it won’t cost millions of dollars. Speaking of which…
To better understand nuances about NBA rules
Obviously you don’t need fantasy basketball for that… but it does add an enormous incentive.
Without fantasy basketball you usually don’t care how NBA trades work or why GMs do certain things this way not another… but if you have a personal fantasy team and you try to predict where player from your team can land, you really need to know how the sausage is made in the NBA.
And trades are just one example but it relates to draft, contracts, coaching decisions, playing time, matchups and any other little things. And that’s not the end of this list…
To improve your overall big-picture knowledge about the NBA
Little things are one thing, big ones are a different animal.
Obviously you don’t need fantasy basketball for that… but again it does add an enormous incentive.
Without fantasy you usually don’t care how NBA redistributes it’s salaries or how they set their financial goals.
Or why their set of rules named CBA is so freaking long. But if your player becomes free agent you suddenly have a strong urge to know where he can sign and what salary cap has to do with it.
What’s more, by expanding your interest to the whole league you will start to detect patterns like those regarding injuries or productivity of bench players. For example, I’m pretty sure you will learn that those guys at the end of bench aren’t necessarily useless.. Hell, in some cases they are more interesting than starters.
Even if you are not interested in any of the above consequences and you prefer to maintain the status of casual fan there are still three reasons left why you should play fantasy sports like basketball:
Fantasy sports enhance fan’s experience and excitement
Do you like cheering for your favourite team?
Do you like watching how your favourite players around the league perform?
How would you feel if you created a team full of them?
Thanks to fantasy basketball you can do that! It gets even better, you can have more favourite players… and you will find more reasons to hate players you already don’t like!
What’s more, because of fantasy basketball you will be able to find fun in more games during every regular season. Even those games in late April won’t be no longer boring and useless because even though in the NBA the may not matter much, they might be crucial to your fantasy team!
Better chances to celebrate a championship with your team
If you are a fan of top contenders in the NBA your chances to celebrate a championship with your team are at best around 25-33% every year. With other NBA teams there are slim to none and you will have to wait long years for a succesful rebuilding project to finish to even have a chance.
Either way why do you have to face so terrible odds or wait so long when in fantasy basketball you can build your team from stretch every year? And with some proper system choices [like auction] you can have a perfect competitive balance with exactly the same payrolls for every team!
Add an information there are usually less than half of NBA teams in a typical fantasy league and overall it means your chances to win a championship in a single year are way higher than those in the NBA … and you don’t have to play in just one fantasy league per year!
So if you follow NBA for those happy moments… you will have more of them thanks to fantasy basketball.
Add a new layer to all your NBA discussions
Do you remember that conversation with your friend “which player is better?”.
Have you ever tried to convince someone why one team will beat the other one?
Well, thanks to fantasy you will have a whole new layer of those topics because they will involve players you have chosen to beat other contestants. Also you will have more inside information about everything because, again, you will defend some your own moves.
Do you like prop bets? Fantasy is a goldmine for those…
Oh, and it’s a good place to mention about inevitable depths of trash-talk between managers…