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Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football vs Real Football

What is fantasy football, and how is it different from “real” football? If you’re a Steelers fan and you do not know what fantasy football is or how it works, this post is for you. While waiting for next season, you may want to enjoy something football-related and equally exciting. So get to know how to play fantasy football, and find out what makes people like playing it.

What is Fantasy Football?

It is a game wherein players act as general managers of professional football teams in the virtual world. The teams are created with the players selecting the members for their respective teams in a draft. During a draft, fantasy football players choose from a list of real football players in the league. Fantasy football usually focuses on the following leagues: National Football League, Canadian Football League, and college football. Players/general managers win points based on actual performance of players in the real world games they drafted.

To avoid confusion in the succeeding text, the term “players” will refer to the players drafted by the general managers. Those playing the fantasy football game, on the other hand, will be referred to as “general managers”.

Fantasy football has two major types: traditional and daily. Traditional fantasy football is usually operated by amateurs. It runs for a full season or for several seasons (in the case of keeper leagues). Daily fantasy football, on the other hand, is described as an accelerated version of fantasy football. The competitions are conducted in short periods, in one day or a week for example. It is usually operated by commercial Internet companies. These companies take a cut from the betting pool.

How Is Fantasy Football Different from Real Football?

Certainly, there are many differences between fantasy football and the real football you see on TV. Here’s a summary of these differences with brief discussions.

  • Fantasy football is real and not. Fantasy football is a real sport played by real people. It has been played for a long time. The origin of fantasy football can be traced to the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League or GOPPPL, the inaugural fantasy football league that held its first draft in August 1963. Additionally, fantasy football is real because the players playing in it (as chosen by the general managers or the players of fantasy football) are based on real players who are playing in real games or events. The fantasy aspect is in the formation of teams.
  • Scoring is different. General managers earn points based on the scores earned by their starting players. Obviously, since the players are often not from the same team, the scores general managers get will be different from the scores obtained by teams in actual football games.
  • Real football fosters team loyalty while fantasy football tends to dismantle it. Not many may agree with this point, but it’s something worth thinking over. More of this is discussed in the next section below (Real Football Fans Don’t Play Fantasy Football).
  • The bye week is not going to be a vacation for your fantasy football team. Since you likely would be picking players from different real teams, you will end up with a team with players who have different bye weeks. This setup would reveal how much depth your team has and emphasizes the importance of the picks you make in your fantasy draft. Most fantasy leagues, nevertheless, allow the dropping and adding of players as the season proceeds.
  • The quarterback is deemed the most important position in real football but you shouldn’t always draft a quarterback too early in fantasy football. Quarterbacks are of course very important even in fantasy football but there are reasons you should be careful in drafting them. Go over this detailed explanation to better understand why this is so.
  • You want running backs in fantasy football consistently running for 100 yards and scoring as much as possible. In real football, you would prefer running backs running for a number of yards and scoring as many points as possible. In the NFL, there’s a popular trend of having a two-back offense.
  • In fantasy football, you would want to have a wide receiver, a player who can rack up as many yards and as many touchdowns as possible. In real football, you would prefer a receiver that scores touchdowns, draws defenders to his side of the field, and also someone who picks up first downs.
  • When it comes to defense and special teams, you want one that does not give up a lot of points and also generates several game changing plays. In real football, the preference is for a defense to stop the offense and obtain solid field position every time they are deployed on the field.

Real Football Fans Don’t Play Fantasy Football?

An article in The Federalist claims that real football fans don’t play fantasy football. It’s an opinion piece with some compelling points. Accordingly, it’s disrespectful to real football players to reduce them to mere numbers and become the subject of a different kind of “playing” by fantasy football general managers. The writer says it’s like turning things into math instead of being about poetry.

Another compelling point raised in the article is about loyalty. Real football, as asserted in the article, increases team loyalty. Fantasy football, on the other hand, is doing the opposite. To win in fantasy football, you have to look at the numbers of individual players and not the team performance. This most often means choosing players not from the same team. If you’re a Steelers fan, you know that not all of the team’s players can deliver the results you need to win. That’s why it’s only logical for general managers to draft players from other teams, in a way betraying a fan’s sense of loyalty.


Indeed, American fantasy football online is different from real football. If you want to win, you can’t just be the same old football fan you are. You can’t be too loyal to your favorite team lest you end up assembling a less than competitive team. It’s about strategizing and relying on statistics. This shouldn’t mean, though, that you are abandoning being a fan of a certain team. If you are a Steelers fan, you will always be a Steelers fan even as you play fantasy football and employ strategies that would seem to make you less of a loyal fan with your player choices.

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