I love fantasy football. No, I mean really. Like, only hyperbole and cliche will suffice.
So it's funny when people ask if I think fantasy hurts or helps the game. I get what they're asking, but it's a complicated question. What does "hurt" or "help" mean?
It's week 2 and last night the Broncos beat the Chiefs largely because the Chiefs' star running back, Jamaal Charles, fumbled late in the 4th quarter. So it's either "yay Broncos" or "poor Chiefs," depending where your loyalties lie. It's pretty simple, right? Maybe not.
Every fantasy league scores things a little different, but this is my blog, so we're going to use my league to make the point. Last night, Charles carried for 125 yards and had one touchdown, two fumbles. All that was good for 43 points - I know because my opponent has him on his roster and I'm still limping today. So does that make JC a chump or a champ?
If you're a Chiefs fan, you probably lean toward chump. But if you're my buddy Dan, you want to hoist the dude on your non-juiced shoulders. Where the "hurt or help" debate begins is for people who fit into both categories. Let's say you are a Chiefs fan AND have JC on your fantasy roster. Does elation over fantasy points outweigh disgust for your star blowing a rival game? Is your fandom somehow less pure? If so, sure...fantasy might hurt football.
On the other hand, millions of people just like me wouldn't give a half a shake about last night's game without the skin that fantasy creates. I cheered, I cussed, and luckily for the NFL, I watched. After a few years in sports marketing, I'd forgotten how to be a fan until my husband's fantasy league needed another body. So in this case, it helped.
Whatever side of the debate you're on, beer always helps an argument. Happy football season to all, and to all a good fight.