ESPN Fantasy Football Sees Record Participation
Third Season of Emmy Award-Winning Fantasy Football Now debuts on ESPN.com Sunday
With football season, and fantasy football competition, set to begin, ESPN Fantasy Football has set new records for participation and is set for the return of its Emmy-winning live online program Fantasy Football Now.
With just days remaining before the start of football season, participation in ESPN Fantasy Football has reached new records, up 22 percent compared to last year. The game once again features a broad lineup of free features including live scoring, multiple draft options, mobile alerts and team management, fully customizable rules and scoring, and the broadest collection of analysis, news and statistical information available.
Additionally, with Fantasy Football competition, beginning this week ESPN.com’s Emmy Award-winning live program Fantasy Football Now returns for its third season this Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The program expands from an hour to 90 minutes this season, appearing live every Sunday morning on ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile TV. Former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck joins host Erik Kuselias and ESPN fantasy guru Matthew Berry. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, injury analyst Stephania Bell and contributor Molly Qerim will be regulars on the show, with additional game-site reporting from Sal Paolantonio, Ed Werder, Rachel Nichols and Michael Smith.
The continued growth of fantasy football has also helped drive interest on television. ESPN’s SportsCenter Fantasy Draft Special (televised August 20 on ESPN) saw double-digit increases in both households (17%) and total viewers (15%) compared to the 2008 special. The program was hosted by Suzy Kolber and featured Berry, Bell, Schefter and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth.
Fantasy Draft Surprises
Based on the results of fantasy football drafts held to date on ESPN.com, one of the biggest surprises has been Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler. Ranked 6th among all players in fantasy points last year (and 3rd among QBs), Cutler’s average draft position this year fell to the 68th overall pick (68.2), 11th among quarterbacks. ESPN Fantasy Sports experts also listed their sleepers for the season in Sleepers/Busts 2.0. They include:
- Quarterback – Carson Palmer (Bengals), Brett Favre (Vikings), Joe Flacco (Ravens)
- Running Back – Kevin Smith (Lions), Larry Johnson (Chiefs), Felix Jones (Cowboys), James Davis (Browns), Glen Coffee (49ers), Mike Bell (Saints)
- Wide Receiver – Eddie Royal (Broncos), Devin Hester (Bears), Chris Henry (Bengals), Steve Smith (Giants), Earl Bennett (Bears), Laurent Robinson (Rams), Brandon Stokley (Broncos)
- Tight End – Greg Olsen (Bears), Kevin Boss (Giants), Visanthe Shiancoe (Vikings), Brent Celek (Eagles)
- Kicker – David Akers (Eagles)
- Defense / Special Teams – New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys