Just in case there was any doubt, fantasy football is insanely popular. So popular, in fact, that according to SurveyMonkey’s recent poll of 1,100 Americans (and more than 900 CBSSports.com fantasy football players), 47 percent of respondents said that fantasy football draft day is the most anticipated day of the year, easily beating out Christmas (40 percent) and their own birthdays (8 percent).
Also not surprising: Fantasy football players are obsessive about the game; 29 percent of players admitted that they will be tinkering with their lineups for over an hour each week — while they’re at work. Another 23 percent will spend two hours on their lineups. There’s more: 74 percent of CBSSports.com fantasy players say they’ve checked scores while in the bathroom (hey, it beats reading the paper), and 77 percent of these players have done over holiday dinner (hey, it beats listening to Uncle Ed regale you with the same story you’ve heard 100 times before).
Perhaps more than any other segment of the football-watching population, fantasy players have strong opinions about the NFL and its players. Of those surveyed, 18 percent like the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC. Almost double — 32 percent — think the New England Patriots , even with Tom Brady suspended for the first month of the season, will win the AFC, and 15 percent expect the Patriots to win another Super Bowl.
In terms of individual NFL players, their fantasy counterparts (36 percent of them) considered the Pittsburgh Steelers ‘ Antonio Brown the most valuable wide receiver, 24 percent pegged the Minnesota Vikings ‘ Adrian Peterson as the most valuable running back, Carolinas’s Cam Newton as the most valuable quarterback (28 percent), and the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos as having the most valuable defense (33 percent). On the other hand, the most overrated players included Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (23 percent), Peterson and Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott (15 percent), Cowboys QB Tony Romo (23 percent) — are you sensing a theme here? — and the Seattle Seahawks had the most overrated defense (22 percent).
And if you thought the Brady vs. Manning debate would have died with Manning’s retirement … well, you’d be very, very wrong. Fantasy football fans are all-in on Manning. Yes, his final season wasn’t up to the typical Manning standards, but 69 percent of fantasy players say he’ll have the better legacy.
Finally, because no conversation about fandom — fantasy or otherwise — would be complete without mentioning which team has the best fans, here you go: 15 percent of respondents said the Packers had the best fans, followed by the Cowboys (10 percent), Patriots (7.7 percent) and Seahawks (7.5 percent). The worst fans? The Jacksonville Jaguars were dead last (0.4 percent), just below the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams (0.7 percent).
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / SurveyMonkey: Fantasy fans are more excited about draft day than Christmas