fantasyfootballI’ve been playing fantasy football for years. I was comically inept at it when I started, and I remain pretty terrible. (This past week I started a dude who had torn his ACL and is out for the season. I didn’t know this, and found it odd that he had scored no points for my team until one of my friends began harassing me about my misstep via text message.)

I don’t follow football closely enough to be great at managing a fake team of real players. I like the sport, but watch it for mere entertainment and am generally apathetic about statistics.

Like many of you, I simply don’t have a great deal of surplus time that I’m willing to dedicate to managing a fantasy football team.

So why do I play?

Because I think fantasy football makes my life a little bit better in a few ways. And if something does that, I’ll participate (if halfheartedly) for as long as I can. And here are a few reasons why:

  • Fantasy football is a great way to stay in touch with your friends. As men, we tend not to gossip about our daily lives as much as women are stereotypically alleged to do. So, when we move to different areas and establish individual lives after college, it can be easy to get out of touch. Annually, my friends and I set aside a weekend to meet up for our fantasy draft. It’s more a drunken reunion than anything else. Then, through the rest of the year, we maintain a group email conversation where we talk shit on one another and keep the group abreast of what is going on in our personal lives.
  • Sometimes you’re going to find yourself in a situation where you have to make conversation with men you do not know. If you play fantasy, you’ll unwittingly gain knowledge you can use in conversations with other men. It’s statistically probable that the guy you’re talking to knows something about football, and it’s likely that he plays fantasy, as well.
  • Almost every game being played will become at least moderately interesting to you. When you’ve assembled a team of professional athletes who play for myriad NFL teams, you’re going to have a steak in most of the games being played on a weekly basis. So it makes those games your friends are watching that you normally wouldn’t care about just a little bit less boring.
  • It can stoke competitive juices that have lain dormant since you finished playing competitive sports after high school (or whenever). It starts with fantasy football, and then transcends into other parts of your life. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a promotion because of it or something.

There’s a chance, however small it may be, that you will win some money. I mean, NFL players make so much to do so little, you should at least give them an opportunity to help put some money in your pocket. And fantasy is lower risk than gambling on individual games.