Fantasy sports have exploded from a small group of friends to nearly 30 million participants. As the NFL season kicks off, football fans gather together to draft their favorite picks.
One local fantasy football league known as the “Chi-town Ballers” recently held their 7th annual draft. They say they get just as excited for draft day as a kid on Christmas morning.
“It’s just an exciting time to get together with friends and talk a little smack and get excited for the next season,” said John Machak, junior., a member of the league.
During the draft, everyone takes turns creating a dream team of 12 players based on last year’s performance and this year’s projections.
“If you just bank on what they did last year, you could be disappointed or you could hit a home run,” said the league’s Comissioner, John Machak senior. “Basically it has to do with some preparation but a lot of luck as well.”
Participants then act as a general manager for their team. Each week, they strategically choose a lineup from their team that will earn them points based on their player’s statistical performance.
“Quarterback touchdowns, passing yards, running back rushing yards, receiving yards,” Tom Buresh listed off as examples. “Then each week you play a different competitor and the winner of that week gets the W.”
Throughout the season, fantasy football players can manage their teams online, adding, dropping, or trading players.
Last year’s winner, John Machak Jr., hopes to smoke the competition again, despite a rough draft.
“I’m a little nervous this season,” he said. “I would’ve liked to have had some of my guys I had on my team last year but I think there’s a lot of quality guys out there and I think I’ll definitely repeat.
Meanwhile his friend Tom Buresh hopes to take the trophy this year.
“This year’s my year. Next year’s my year. They don’t stand a chance!” said Buresh.
Among all the trash talk, the fantasy football draft really comes down to one thing.
“We’ve got eight guys that love football and we get a chance once a year to get together and share in the experience,” said John Machak senior.
Fantasy sports have become so popular that ESPN estimates it to be a $4 billion industry.
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