Affiliate FFL

Justin Herbert

It is sometimes a hard fact to remember but life does not begin when we notice it for the first time. Fantasy football has been around from before you started partaking in it and it will likely surpass your involvement.

David MontgomeryThe hobby/business/empire has taken over our fall Sundays (and Mondays, Thursday, and some other occasional days). When Bill Winkenbach formed the first fantasy football league back in 1963 there is no way anyone could have expected what it would turn into. What is even more remarkable is that the league has continued to operate in its original fashion.

In the years since there were other leagues that began to pop up but things really took the next step in 1985 with Grandstand Sports Services developing the first leagues that were available on a national basis. Pigskin Playoff followed in 1990 and then internet began to take over 1997 and things really began to snowball. And we haven’t looked back since.

Even at that time though I’m not sure anyone, and this includes those who were firmly implanted in the industry on all sides, thought that things would progress in the manner they did.

Austing HooperWay back in 1987, Fantasy Football Index launched as the first nationwide publication devoted to the game and previewing the upcoming season. Perhaps one of the biggest indications of the growth we have seen since those early days is that fact that preview magazines have come full circle. They used to be all we could get, and man we couldn’t get enough of them, but now they are outdated and a relic of the past.

And for that we can thank the internet. Not only can you play any type of game you want through the worldwide web but there is plenty of information readily available at your finger tips on a 24/7 basis.

For the most part fantasy football has remained the same since its inception as has the scoring. You either play in a standard league (zero points per reception), a league that offers half a point per reception, and then a third option where you receive a full point per reception. Some leagues incorporate individual defensive players (IDP) while others use just team defenses. Aside from that things have remained pretty standard.

Well aside from one big variable that is. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) has been around for a decade or so, but over the last few years things have really began to pick up steam. That is especially true when it comes to football as you have no shortage of options both as players and for information.

Based on the weekly nature of football and the way the fantasy game is played, things are simply set up perfectly for DFS. There are some differences of course but at its roots the game is pretty similar. In fact I would argue it is even better than season long fantasy football as it takes the best part of the game while excluding the worst and optimizing things.

The two best parts of the fantasy season are the draft and cashing at the end of the season. Thanks to DFS you can do that as often as you would like throughout the season. But you don’t have to deal with underperforming draft picks or injuries (aside from the current slate) or have the grind of working the waiver wire. It is this immediate gratification that is truly helping DFS football to grow.

While you can have the slow grind through 50-50’s and methodologically work on increasing your bankroll on a weekly basis (there is nothing wrong with this and it is the prudent strategy) what really drives the popularity of DFS football is the GPP chase. It is all about working towards that million dollar pay day and the big check we see plastered on across advertisements. I mean who wouldn’t want that to be them?

Even going back to 1997 when CBS sports first launched online fantasy football no one would have ever expected to see words like stack (rostering multiple players from the same team on a GPP roster to maximize potential) and chalk (high owned players) become part of our vocabulary. Now not only can you find all of the content you could consume on picking the correct quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or tight end, but also on game theory.

At this point it is pretty clear that fantasy football is not going anywhere and instead it is picking up steam. DFS is playing a large part in that but it is also helping to ensure the NFL also continues to gain popularity.