Way back in the 60s a group of colleagues were in the Manhattan Hotel in New York discussing how they could make football more watchable.
The most important person at the table was Wilfred Winkenbach, who was a businessman from Oakland, California who was part owner of the Oakland Raiders at that time. It was his vision that led to the creation of NFL fantasy football.
His Raiders side had only won three games across the 1961 and 1962 season, and enticing fans to the stadium was getting difficult.
The group of men spent the night devising the rules for Fantasy Football which was based on a fantasy golf game which Winkenbach had previously created in the 1950s.
In 1963 the first league, named the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (GOPPPL), was created and journalists, employees and season ticket holders were invited into a room for the inaugural draft.
The league was invite only and it wasn’t till 1969 that it made its first steps to becoming a national phenomenon.
Around 20 years later more than a million people played the game across the United States, and today it is played all over the world. In 1997, CBS launched their first version of the game which was free to play, and it became immensely popular and by 2006 over 18 million people in the United States played the game.
NFL Fantasy has become much more sophisticated in the details of points scoring, while the game has become big business for the league, the technology giants as well as sportsbooks who have created daily fantasy draft leagues.
Today, more than 60 million people play fantasy football in the United States and Canada alone. It is a global pastime and a number of companies and online platforms have created ways of helping you plan your draft and lineup, as well as help throughout the season with trades and waivers.
ESPN Draft Kit
Articles and insider updates are available on the site for all to view, mostly free, though you can pay a subscription for unlimited access to everything produced.
There is guidance from seasoned journalists and former players to give their opinions on the latest sleepers, injury updates, how teams are likely to play as well as who is likely to play the most snaps.
Each player has a projection for the upcoming game as well as for the season giving a brief update on their opportunities to pick up points and what you can expect.
You can filter by position or search specific players, getting concise information on each player. It is a useful tool for getting up to date as quickly as possible before your draft.
The Rotowire site is a full and extensive encyclopedia of information for you to use in preparing to draft as well as managing your roster throughout the season.
A full Draft Kit is available to all with cheat sheets, rankings, projections and much more to help you plan a strategy and manage how you approach your draft.
They have an ‘ask the expert’ section to pitch your questions as well as a mock draft page to practice and plan for the real thing.
Full information on the league is kept up to date throughout the season, so any injuries and updates on each team are instantly available.
They have rankings for all forms of fantasy football to help all who play in each format. It is a must add to your bookmarks page for regular updates.
From the league itself, the NFL Fantasy Football App has all the latest news and information, as well as having a full fantasy football specific app.
THey NFL runs its own fantasy football game where you can play for free with friends or join into public leagues. Here they also offer plenty of advice from journalists who focus on fantasy football.
Predictions on player performances, all the stats from their careers through to the present day, as well as full injury updates and more are available.
Throughout the season a “Start ‘em, Sit ‘em” page gives you advice for each position of players who have a good or bad match up each weekend to help you organise your line up.
The NFL site and app gives you a wealth of information which can help you get up to date on the league, the players to watch and the way each team will play from some of the most respected names in football journalism.
By reading through this, and sites like ESPN who have their own version of fantasy football as well, can ensure you are well informed going into the draft.
As the demand and the popularity of fantasy football grew, it responded well to the demands of those who play it. There is a vast amount of information produced each day to help you understand the league and the game and help you throughout the season.