Is fantasy football good for the NFL?

The NFL is losing devoted fans to fantasy football

by Evan Tompkins

I have played fantasy football for as long as I can remember. I’m always in multiple leagues, trying to navigate the waiver wire and negotiate trades to prepare my team for championship glory.

However, the longer I have played, the more I have noticed that fantasy football is dragging down the sport.

In the last decade or so, fan- tasy football has caused the rise in popularity of NFL Redzone, a TV channel that covers all of the exciting moments from around the league, commercial-free. It advertises itself as “the perfect fantasy football companion” because it allows viewers to see how all of the players on their fantasy team are doing in one place. This is a great concept, and I will be the first to admit that it is fun to watch, but, like fantasy football as a whole, it satisfies people with lower attention spans. It is constantly providing new and interesting content, with the ability to leave out the dull moments of the games.

I worry that some fans watch this channel instead of watching their favorite team play a full NFL game on network television because it can seem more exciting. This could cause people to lose interest in a regular game, which moves slower and has less action.

This ruins some of the best moments of football since witnessing the pivotal play in a game does not have as much of an appeal without the story that led to this climactic ending. The fun part is missing.

Fantasy football also complicates who and what fans root for. Experienced fantasy managers try to put biases aside when drafting their teams, which often means selecting players from rival teams. This causes managers to have moral dilemmas, not knowing how to feel when their fantasy player does well, given the conflict with their favorite team.

These types of situations are often present, as a single play can often have multiple ramifications for a fantasy manager given the numerous fantasy teams and NFL teams that they are simultaneously rooting for. It seems unnatural to be thinking about the game in these ways, and it is becoming unenjoyable as it is impossible for me to watch football without losing out in some way.

Fantasy football is taking away from the aspects that make being a football fan fun. Fans need to stop obsessing over it to allow the true appeal of the sport to return.


Interest in the NFL has never been higher

by Ethan Messerman

Similar to Evan, I have played fantasy football for years. I am currently in two leagues. They have been running for a long time, but when we first started, not all the participants were football fans. They had their favorite team, and that was it. Now, however, the members of both leagues follow the entire NFL.

Drafting and managing a fantasy team requires you to root for all of the players on your roster, most of whom are on different NFL teams. As a result, most fantasy managers find themselves interested in games they previously wouldn’t have cared about.

For example, when the Cincinnati Bengals played the Jack- sonville Jaguars. Although this game was completely irrelevant to my favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles, I still found myself watching it because I had players on both teams starting in fantasy. With nine players on both of my fantasy lineups, this happens quite frequently.

Watching games that someone’s fantasy players are playing in often causes managers to become fans of players, even after the fantasy season ends. For instance, one of my friends drafted Quarterback Russell Wilson three years in a row and even though he no longer has Wilson on his team, he’s still a fan and even owns his jersey. Surprisingly, many manag- ers become invested in their players and decide to buy a jersey or a shirt , ultimately boosting the NFL’s sales.

In addition, I’ve found that many people play fantasy football for fun, and not because they’re football gurus. After a while, fantasy managers who play for fun usually become much more invested in the sport as a whole, and begin watching football weekly, adding to the football following and average viewership.

Increased viewership from new fantasy managers is actually quite significant given that there are believed to be millions of leagues in existence. With increased viewership, the NFL can make more money from commercials and sponsorships and then pay their players more as well.

While I understand the con- cerns people have regarding fantasy football’s impact on the NFL, football is a business and therefore, the increased fans and viewership across all games makes fantasy good for the NFL.


This poll has ended.

After reading the two arguments, which side are you on?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.