Building the perfect team, theoretically
Fantasy sports turn your average sports fans into acting general managers and scouts for their respective fantasy teams.
Fantasy sport is a game whereby participants, acting as owners, build teams based on the real-life stats of players.
Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer – you name it, there’s a league for it. Even fantasy cricket is available online.
And fantasy leagues are much more complex than they were in the past. Ten years ago, the idea of a hockey pool simply meant picking a team at the start of the season, and adding up all the points at the end.
Fantasy sports give participants all the powers possessed by a real general manager. Players can trade amongst one another in their leagues, and make waiver claims for players not on a current roster.
Most leagues require a commissioner to oversee the transactions. The commissioner should be assigned to an honest individual, and the job is to approve every trade and transaction. Without a system, like this fantasy players would be able to stack certain teams and team up against one another.
Though fantasy leagues can improve your managing skills, a strong fantasy resume will not put you in line for an NHL general manager position.
SAIT student Ryan Stewart, who plays fantasy hockey, says there’s a lot of strategy in picking a team.
“It’s important not to focus only on the previous year’s stats,” he said. “It makes all the difference if you can get a young guy lower in the draft who has a breakout season.”
If one thing is certain, fantasy players view games in a different light than the average sports fans. They are not cheering for one specific team; they hope for big individual performances from the players under their fantasy roster.
Trevor McAlister, a U of C student who plays fantasy hockey and baseball, says playing in a fantasy league adds to the viewing experience of sports.
“It makes the games much more interesting to watch,” he said. “You learn more about the sport, and you pay more attention to individual players and try to find those guys that slip under the radar.”
There are also fantasy hockey “keeper leagues,” that can carry on for multiple years. Rosters stay the same throughout the offseason, and there is a different mentality in these types of leagues.
The goal is to invest in young, talented players and see if they can pay off in the next couple of seasons. If they don’t pan out, the young prospects can be used as bargaining chips to acquire more productive veteran players.
Despite the draw, some fans stay away from fantasy sports because of a conflict of interest. For a Calgary fan, a loss by the Flames may be more acceptable if the opposing goaltender falls under their fantasy roster. But then again, a die-hard fan should never be satisfied with a loss.