By Brandon Niles EBS Sports Columnist
You may have noticed the incessant advertisements promoting daily fantasy sports leagues. While many claim that DFS is just gambling, there’s no arguing it’s become a wildly popular enterprise.
Fantasy websites have changed strategies over the past three years to catch up to the market, and leading fantasy sports experts like ESPN’s Matthew Berry have integrated DFS advice into their long-running columns.
After participating in traditional fantasy sports for more than 20 years, I decided to dabble in DFS this season – I’ve enjoyed it thus far and would recommend it to those looking for some added fantasy fun. However, I wouldn’t suggest it for people looking to make quick money, or those struggling with gambling addiction. I believe DFS should be considered solely entertainment.
Here are three reasons to give DFS a shot if you’re on the fence:
DFS is a one-off experience, choosing your players for one week of NFL action. This allows you to draft a new team the following week if you crashed and burned, or to keep using your favorite players if you like rooting for them.
The biggest flaw in traditional fantasy football leagues is drafting a bad team at the beginning of the season, and being stuck with it all year – barring some shrewd work on the waiver wire and trade market. This can make fantasy owners disengaged from the process if their first-round picks get hurt early in the season, and can take away the fun of fantasy sports.
DFS can be risky to partake in if you spend a lot of money, and some leagues are costly to get into, raising the stakes tremendously. However, there are many free and low-cost leagues that start at $1 to join. I’ve been playing $3 leagues each week this year, making my maximum potential loss for the entire NFL regular season only $51.
The money makes it a little more interesting, but the low entry fees reduce the risk for those not willing to wager a boatload of cash. Also, you’re only committed to the contests you enter, and if you don’t like it you can always retrieve the rest of your deposit.
DFS leagues expand on a concept that’s been rapidly growing for decades. By engaging in any type of fantasy sports, fans have more to watch for and more to be excited about as the season unfolds. As a fan of teams that rarely sustain winning streaks, fantasy sports are a way for me to remain engaged all season. Sometimes joining a fantasy league can lead to becoming a bigger sports fan.
DFS and fantasy sports in general are not for everyone, but if you already like fantasy and have been wavering about diving into this relatively new wrinkle in the field, I think there are enough positives to make it worthwhile.
Start with the free leagues and see what you think, it might help you make it through the season. Especially if your top three fantasy draft picks were the injured trio of Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Brandon Niles is a longtime fan of football and scotch, and has been writing about sports for the past decade. He is a fantasy football scout for 4for4 Fantasy Football and is co-host of the 2 Guys Podcast.
Editors’ note: DFS money tournaments are illegal in Montana. Watch your P’s and Q’s.