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‘Worst season.’ Fantasy football industry takes big hit amid COVID-19

FILE PHOTO
FILE PHOTO

HOUSTON – Is your lineup set before Thursday night’s game?

Are you ready to trust your fantasy team again?

These are questions that fewer people are asking during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to fantasy football industry experts.

“Just talking to people inside the industry people are saying this is our worst season in a number of years,” said Scott Barrett, the co-owner of Fantasypoints.com, a fantasy football advice subscription website.

“The numbers have actually been going up the past few weeks as we’ve gotten closer to the season,” said Barrett. “But if you just search ‘fantasy football’ on Google, searches are 40% to 60% down from where they were last year.”

Barrett is one of many fantasy football professionals hoping that people re-discover their interest in fantasy sports. His website, Fantasypoints.com, features rankings based on Barrett’s own mathematical model, which he calls expected fantasy points.

“My claim to fame among my friends is the ones that don’t know anything about football have won their fantasy leagues,” said Barrett. “All they had to do was follow my rankings and stats and read my weekly waiver wire article.”

Barrett’s Sunday set up isn’t much different from the typical football fan - a couch and a TV. But it’s his double-barreled computer where Barrett spends most of his time.

“I live in Excel,” said Barrett. “I didn’t study this in school, I just took a long time and watched Youtube videos about these things.”

Becoming a fantasy football writer full-time has been a multi-year grind for Barrett, who started a WordPress blog in 2012, covering fantasy baseball. That morphed into a $20-per-article gig with another site, before landing with Pro Football Focus and finally helping a group of fantasy insiders start a site.

“I have the coolest job in the world,” said Barrett. “My friends joke around that all I do is sit on the couch, watch football and tweet in my boxers.”