The NFL season has returned which means fantasy football has reappeared into the lives of an estimated 41 million people according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. With the NFL losing popularity because of health concerns, they still remain the alpha-dog of all sports leagues primarily because of fantasy football.
Basketball stars are much more popular than NFL stars, yet football remains king. For example, Lebron James made $55 million off of endorsements while Andrew Luck only made $3 million. There are also more games in baseball and basketball than in football. Despite the difference in endorsements and the number of games, the NFL is worth about $35 billion more than the MLB and the NBA. The reason for the difference in revenue and popularity is primarily because of fantasy football. It has caused people from all over the country to watch games of teams they don’t care about simply because people want to watch players on their fantasy teams. Revenue generated by ads on fantasy football websites is estimated at $2 to $5 million annually. Fantasy football has also led to the rise of daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and Fanduel. Without fantasy football, the NFL would be increasingly declining in popularity and have to face many issues about fixing their popularity.
For the upcoming fantasy football season, the running back class is top-heavy which means it is necessary to pick at least one in the first two rounds. If you have a top 2 pick in your draft, you should draft Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson without hesitating. Both of them have been so reliable and so productive for the past few years that it should be a no-brainer to take them. If you take a wide receiver first round, I would suggest definitely going running back in the second round. After the top 6 or 7 running backs the class drops heavily. Devonta Freeman is a projected second round running back and I would pick him in an instant if he falls to you in the second round. Jordan Howard could also be due for a huge year if the Bears’ quarterback play can improve. For your RB2 position, pick Isaiah Crowell for the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have a very underrated offensive line that got much better over the offseason and Crowell was still a top 10 running back last year. If you don’t feel confident in your running backs and it’s the 8th or 9th round, pick Bilal Powell or Eddie Lacy. Powell has been a pass-catching machine who could be really valuable in a Points Per Reception scoring league. Even in a standard scoring system league, Powell should be valuable because he is going to be the Jets starting running back and they should give him a large amount of carries because their quarterback situation is a mess. Eddie Lacy has a chance to be really good this year because the Seahawks have a history of turning running backs into studs like Marshawn Lynch or Thomas Rawls and Lacy is such a unique talent that the Seahawks will find a way to make him useful. Another late round flier at running back is Mike Gillislee of the New England Patriots. Gillislee averaged the most yards per carry in the league last year when he played for the Bills. This year the Patriots should make his fantasy stats get even better because they average the most rushing touchdowns on a year to year basis no matter who is their running back. For the quarterback position, do not take a quarterback high in the draft unless Rodgers falls to the third round. Make sure if you are in a PPR league not to take a quarterback until round 8 or 9 because the skill positions are so much more valuable. Even in standard scoring don’t take a quarterback high because they are about 10 to 11 reliable quarterback options who can get you enough points to win a fantasy matchup even if they aren’t elite like Brady or Rodgers.
Fantasy football is also a big deal at MBA because a lot of people play in leagues together whether it is just a friends league or an advisory league. In a league among friends, the prize for winning is typically money while in advisory leagues the prize is normally food. Fantasy football is a common occurrence in a decent amount of MBA student’s lives and with the hype around the Titans we could see many more fantasy football players at MBA this year.