Why do i love fantasy sports? there are a bunch of reasons...there's the competition factor. Bonding with friends through competition and trash-talking. I love sports. I've always been interested in the front office/player personnell and league administration side of sports (which comes in handy since I'm a Sports Management major). And it frees me from suffering the brainless moves made by idiot owners, GMs, and coaches of teams that I'm a fan of (this is ESPECIALLY true right now since I'm a Broncos fan). In fantasy sports, I'M the idiot owner/GM/coach.
I'm involved in many different sports, at different levels of interest. Yes, i go as far as playing Fantasy NASCAR and Fantasy Premier League (English soccer for those who don't know), but with them, I'm at the level where i'll go check my lineup and the standings each week, but i don't do much more than that. I'll do like the Tournament Pick 'em and playoff fantasy football on CBSSports.com, but for me, they're at the same level. Make the picks, and hopefully i'll do good enough to win some cash.
Football, baseball, and hockey are different matters, however. I orignally started playing fantasy sports in the early 90's, when i tracked everything myself, including pulling stats from the paper every day. The leagues were all keeper leagues, and they all folded in 1995. In the late 90's/early 2000's, i started to get back into it, playing in throwaway leagues on Sandbox (when it was a free site) and Yahoo!, and well as a commissioner league on Sportsline in 2000. Then in 2005, i decided to restart MY leagues. With the football and hockey leagues, i brought back the league names, as well as my first team in each league, doing what the NFL did with the Browns and treating the leagues like they were suspended for 10 years (with baseball, i just did that with my team, and not the league itself).
For baseball, we have an 8-team keeper league, featuring disabled lists that have up to 6 players during the regular season, 25-man rosters, and minor-league rosters which we can keep up to 5 players on. I write a 126-game regular season schedule and pull the scores every day (much better than pulling ALL the stats). The schedule is written with home teams and away teams scheduled (for tiebreaking), and teams play in 3-game series.
In hockey, it's set up the same way. The regular season is 76 games long, followed by the divisional playoffs and the finals. It's a keeper league with 22-man active rosters, and an IR that holds up to 6 players.
Football is where it REALLY gets serious. The league is IDP, and we start 22 players total. We have 15 bench players, practice squads of up to 5 players, and an IR that expands to as many as 8 players during bye weeks. The owners in all the leagues picked a city to base their teams in, and weather is a factor in the games. We also do something called the Franchise Championship, which combines a team's on-field performance with a bunch of off-field factors taken into account such as payroll, attendance, and sales of tickets, merchandise, etc., to determine the overall best-run franchise in the league. One of the things i strive for in my leagues is to give them an element of realism, and i do that in the way that they're run.
I know that there are some people who DESPISE fantasy leagues, and i've never really understood that. There are the ones who say that they don't like it because it makes you root against your "real team". I could see where they're coming from with that, but honestly, if one of my fantasy players are up against one of my "real teams", i'll root for my player to do good, but i still root for my "real team" to win. There are other people who think it wrecks sports somehow, but i don't see that either. If anything, i think it gets people MORE into sports, like gambling does (although for a better reason). I think that, as a sports fan, it lets me get involved, and burn off some of the competitive energy i have since the days of being able to go outside and play a sport every day after school are long gone.