Sports (fantasy leagues)

Compiled by David Furones, posted Sept. 26, 2010

With the increasing popularity of fantasy sports leagues among sport fanatics, it’s important that sports journalism expands to providing coverage of it. Today, virtually anyone who follows sports simultaneously manages a fantasy team of some kind. It’s critical that sports news outlets, particularly through the medium of the Internet, provide updated information on anything that could potentially affect someone’s fantasy team (anything ranging from updates on player injuries to week-to-week tips on how to better manage your team to an interactive aspect asking fans to e-mail the experts questions for suggestions with their teams).

1. Fantasy on Yahoo! Sports — This is where it all got started for me when I was in ninth grade and I managed my first fantasy football team to a championship. Yahoo provides for its users a fantasy game or two for virtually every sport. It also offers news and updates from its dedicated staff on anything going on in the world that may affect your many fantasy teams.

2. NFL.com/fantasy — NFL.com is obviously a site dedicated entirely to the National Football League so it doesn’t offer the variety in fantasy sports that other sites might— it focuses on fantasy football. NFL.com provides live scoring on its page that does not need to be refreshed to be updated. The NFL is usually the first in updating players’ injury situations throughout the week.

3. ESPN.com — ESPN, the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports, offers equivalent, if not better, variety in fantasy sports as Yahoo. One game that I am particularly fond of on ESPN is Streak for the Cash, which allows people to predict one out of two options on a series of propositions on sporting events throughout the day. Players are not forced to pick on any props, but most of them are roughly 50/50 in probability. Whoever puts together the longest streak of correct picks over the course of a month earns a cash prize. ESPN is excellent at providing gameday updates on players’ availability coming off injury.

4. CBSSports.com — CBS Sports offers fantasy football, basketball, baseball, and college sports. CBS works in conjunction with the fantasy football format that NFL.com utilizes. CBS also offers mock drafts before seasons start so players can sharpen their draft strategies.

5. Fantasy Sports Portal — Now to some lesser known fantasy sport providers — Fantasy Sports Portal is not a site that I’m very familiar with, but I found it during my research on fantasy sites. The Sports Portal appears to be an excellent source for information as they provide links to sports writers’ latest columns and have a feature titled the fantasy spotlight focusing on one player each day.

6. Fanball — Fanball is a site that works with NBC Sports. It is dedicated to both breaking sports news as soon as it occurs as well as the basic fantasy play. Its primary feature is the “newsbreakers” section that is a built-in news feed on everything sports.

7. RotoWorld — RotoWorld is a site very similar to Fanball. It is similarly run by NBC Sports and works in conjunction with MSN. RotoWorld takes pride in its sports coverage as its mission statement is “America’s #1 source for fantasy sports news.” For every breaking news post, it also adds its analysis on the situation.

8. Fox Sports — Fox Sports’ fantasy play and news coverage is very similar to CBS Sports and the sites provided by NBC Sports. Fox is a big corporation so it gets more name credibility than some of the lesser known sites. It is also commonly perceived as more reliable with its news and analysis.

9. Fantasy Sports and Math — This was an extremely interesting site that I found in my research on fantasy football. The information from this site isn’t free to all users and is only available with a nominal fee, but the site’s home page serves as a decent reminder of how important statistical information and mathematics is to success in the fantasy world.

10. Pro Football Reference — The next three sites are pretty much almanacs of statistical information that are all recorded and maintained by the same group of people. Pro Football Reference focuses on providing an extensive and accurate source for any NFL stat one may be interested in researching.

11. Basketball Reference — Basketball Reference is a statistical Mecca for everything that has to do with the NBA. One can research statistics from every year that the NBA existed including team standings, team stats, individual player stats, etc. This kind of information is valuable, not only for fantasy play, but journalistically for any sports writer.

12. Baseball Reference/Baseball Prospectus — Baseball Reference derives from the same branch as the previous two sites. However, I don’t enjoy the format of display on baseball statistics as much there, so I would suggest Baseball Prospectus over it. Both are similar almanac-style sources of Major League Baseball statistics and information.

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