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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Fantasy football the key to becoming more personally invested in the NFL

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson scores against the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 27, 2015, at University of Phoenix Stadium. Johnson led all NFL players in ESPN fantasy football points last season.

Every Sunday during football season while I was still at home, my Dad and I would sit down in the living room after our weekly run to Costco and watch that afternoon’s NFL games.

There we were, lounging on the coach with a footlong hot dog in one hand and our laptops displaying fantasy football scoreboards in the other.

Our living room had two TVs, one to watch the New York Jets and the other to watch NFL RedZone.

While we were never in a league together, my passion for fantasy football stems from my Dad.

In my first year playing, he helped set my lineup every week.

Ok, most of the time he did the entire thing for me.

But since that first season back in eighth grade, I’ve gotten more involved with fantasy football, going as far as joining a dynasty league last year. For those who don’t know, a dynasty league is where you retain the same players you had on your team from the previous season. There is a draft each year for any free agents and rookies in the league.

The prize for winning: a championship belt and whatever money is leftover.

My dad also has a league he jokingly calls his “nerd league,” where he and his buddies meet up and draft teams to engage in some friendly competition. The first and second place finishers earn a trophy.

If I could recommend two things for a group of friends that are looking to get more interested in football, the first would be to have someone create a fantasy league.

With football season approaching fast, now would be the perfect time to do so. It puts you in the same shoes as an NFL general manager, allowing you to draft, trade, release and sign players like a professional team would.

The second thing I would recommend is to add a twist.

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For my dad and I, our leagues are just like most in America, with the winner earning something of value. But for others, it gets way more intense.

Case in point: the Tattoo League. The person who has the worst team gets a tattoo designed by the other owners and has it placed somewhere on their body.

The most famous one would have to be the Justin Bieber tattoo in 2012, which was inked on the loser’s arm and said “Fantasy Loser 2012 #yoloswag.”

While I’m not saying your league should force the worst team's owner to make his body a canvas for the enjoyment of others, what I am saying is to make a league that is fun, has high stakes and gives everyone a good laugh at the end of the season.

You don’t even have to play for money, just enjoy the competition.

Fantasy football was the best thing I could’ve done to get me more interested in the NFL, so for those looking to do the same, follow my path.

Jake Dreilinger is the assistant sports editor of the Alligator. His columns appear frequently on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at jdreilinger@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake.

 

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson scores against the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 27, 2015, at University of Phoenix Stadium. Johnson led all NFL players in ESPN fantasy football points last season.

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