Growth of the NFL: Where Fantasy is Reality


Julian Sealy, Fact Checking Editor/Staff Writer

Whether it’s the day of the annual draft or the competitive spirit and fun of watching your team’s matchups over the season, fantasy football is one of the most exciting times of the year for football fans. According to Athlon Sports, over 75 million people are expected to play fantasy football during the 2022 NFL season. Between discussing trades at the lunch table or heated debates over which players and teams are better, the excitement surrounding this time of the year is seen all over the Trinity campus.

According to a recent Voice survey, most students who participate at Trinity say they have been in a league for more than a year with 47.2% of students being in a league for two to five plus years. It is common in fantasy football to be in multiple leagues with different people. 40% of players said they’re in leagues both in and out of school. Nearly 80% of students said they’re only playing in one or two leagues this year, but the smaller more experienced 20.2% of students said they’re a part of three plus leagues this year.

Fantasy football is played through websites, the main ones being Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, and the official NFL app. Most leagues consist of 10-12 members, but can span from anywhere between 4-18. Players can play for money and prizes, consequences for the loser, or just for fun.

To build your team, there is a draft, usually consisting of 16 rounds where you draft all of the positions including a defense, kicker, and a bench of backups. The number of players for each position is interchangeable depending on the league preferences. Trades and transactions can be made to acquire new players, before matching up against the other members of the league over a 12-week span.

There’s PPR (points per reception) leagues and non-PPR, which decides how the scoring works, but each league usually varies in how each position scores points. Finally, the best four to six teams, depending on the league, faceoff to decide the winner during the final weeks of the NFL regular season.

Junior Tavish Ward has now been a part of a fantasy football league for eight years and is in three leagues this year, two with friends and one with family.

“Trying to win every year is a big part of it,” Ward said. “It makes football more interesting to watch because it’s not just your favorite team playing.” Seniors Alec Naft and Porter Sherman have both been playing fantasy football since their early middle school days.

“I think the NFL as a whole has gained a lot of popularity and fantasy football has really just followed in its footsteps where it’s a better alternative to sports gambling,” Sherman said.

Naft said why he thinks fantasy football has gained so much popularity.

“There’s so many options when it comes to fantasy football and so many different versions of it that make it really fun every weekend,” Naft said.

Fantasy football has a spirit to it that can build friendships and bring people closer together in a fun and competitive way. At the same time, it can also draw people further apart. Ward explained a scenario where the competitive spirit has taken over and turned friends into enemies.

“It can really spark rivalries among people,” Ward said. “This year everyone in one of my leagues is pretty united all against one person who won last year.”

Sherman said what he loves most about playing fantasy football.

“The competitiveness, honestly,” Sherman said. “It gives you something to do on a Sunday and allows you to root for teams and players that you wouldn’t normally root for.”