Athletics

Gauging the impact of fantasy football on NFL fandom

By Kyle Krajewski
Sports Editor\

Just like any other NFL season, injuries are taking over and knocking big-name players out for weeks at a time.

The natural response to sports injuries would be to wish the best to the athlete and hope for a quick recovery. But when you add fantasy football into the mix you get anger and disrespect toward these players.

It’s been a recurring situation ever since social media gave angry fans the chance to speak out. Once a player goes down with a severe injury they get bombarded with angry tweets about how their fantasy season is now in shambles.

Gauging the impact – Photo courtesy of google.

In a recent post-game interview, Richard Sherman went on about how fantasy football has ruined fans’ ability to feel sympathy toward injured players.

“You’re not thinking, ‘Hey man, this guy got hurt — he’s really physically hurt and he’s going to take time to recover and it’s probably going to affect his mental state and his physical state and now he has a long, rigorous rehab.’ You’re thinking, ‘Oh, man, he’s messing up my fantasy team.’”

It’s not just injuries that generate this sort of negativity toward players, but also poor performance. Todd Gurley could be primed to have a high scoring game against a team because they have a bad run defense, but if he goes on to have a poor performance he would get a lot of hate from some teams who started him and lost their games.

There’s an odd line that fantasy football has created in terms of interest to players. While Sherman is correct that fantasy takes some of the humanity out of NFL players, it also creates a lot more interest to players around the league.

Without fantasy football the only people that would pay attention to when Andrew Luck is going to make his season debut are Colts fans, but instead you have fans of all teams following his return. Some Eagles fans are actually upset that Odell Beckham Jr. is out for the season. Steelers fans are hoping their games against the Bengals are high scoring so that AJ Green could reach the end zone a couple times.

There’s always been a level of negativity in football. Fantasy football has just pinpointed that harshness on single players instead of entire teams

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