Fantasy Football

Either the bane of your existence or saving grace, Fantasy Football is now deeply ingrained in the NFL fan experience. Emerging in 1962 when the NFL’s Bill Winkenbach, the then part-owner of the Oakland Raiders, and a couple of his buddies made a fantasy league where they could draft any players they wanted, the league has now ballooned to become it’s own living, breathing community predicated on mock-drafts, weekly rankings, stats, and a bit of dumb-luck. 

Fantasy Football leagues have evolved from their humble beginnings. Traditionally, in the virtual mock league fans create groups at the beginning of the NFL season and then draft available players onto their own lineups. Points are rewarded based on how the players performed during that week of NFL games. For example, let’s say you draft QB Patrick Mahomes or WR Stefon Diggs to your lineup and they put up a spectacular Week 6 & 7 performance—tallying a lot of total yards or touchdowns—than your team would rack up a lot of points and climb the ranking in your individual league. The overarching Fantasy Football league holds everyone's individual groups who have entered, so it’s key to pay attention to weekly NFL matchups to see what players you should keep in your lineup, and which should be relegated to your bench if they aren’t playing. It’s also key to watch NFL injury reports because losing a player on your lineup could devastate your ranking in your league.

Fantasy Football has also become a lucrative business, with websites like DraftKings dedicated to awarding money to whoever has the best team within individual leagues when the season ends. Scores appear on the weekly rankings as well. From matchups to rankings, draft picks, and stress galore, Fantasy Football leagues have now become an integral part of the sport.

Sign up for Complex notifications for breaking news and stories.