Fantasy football isn't just for dudes. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, about 6.4 million of us ladies played in 2013, up from only 462,000 in 2012.
So, it made sense for espnW -- ESPN's network for women -- to cover this interest. Unfortunately, they did so by using relationship statuses to explain fantasy rankings. Calvin Johnson was highly ranked as “marriage material,” while players like Wes Welker were ranked as “it’s complicated.” What was less complicated was the implication that we can't understand fantasy football enough to enjoy it in conventional terms, and espnW has since posted an apology
We sat down with fantasy champ (and fellow girl) Erin Honto, who told us why girls are really having so much fun with it.
1. We like to be competitive
If you don't think girls are natural competitors, then you haven't been in a room with more than one of us at a time. Honto, a former athlete herself, explained that she doesn't play to be "one of the guys" -- she plays to beat them: "The only thing better than just winning is beating guys at what they think is their own game."
2. Internet stalking
Picking the right fantasy team depends on being up-to-date on internet gossip -- and when it comes to digital stalking, guys can't compete. "I spent more time researching my fantasy draft than I did studying for my four years of college combined," joked Honto. We have that game on lock, so why not use it to win another?
3. Trash talking
You can make fun of a guy for playing too much fantasy football, or you can mock him for sucking at it. The latter is more fun. "Guys aren't the only people who like to clown on each other -- but when we do it, it comes off as catty," Honto said. Your league gives you context to trash talk every week, as long as you can dish it out and take it.
4. It's a social activity
Fantasy football is an excuse to see people, yell and have fun, and that can be as big of a draw as whatever match-up is happening that day. "It's a great excuse to bond with your man, or your friends," Honto said. Plus, with at least one girl around, a draft party may actually have napkins this time -- starting off a season without a laptop covered in buffalo sauce will be good luck, bros.
5. We like winning money just as much as guys do
Let's review why anybody does anything sports-related: To. Win. Something. In this case, it's more than the respect of other players -- it's cash. "Last year I won and bought a Michael Kors purse," Honto bragged, "just to piss off my league."