It's definitely that time of year again.
Fantasy football owners are preparing for their drafts by researching every possible skilled position player in the NFL, tracking their projected stats, picking up every fantasy football magazines at the super market, formulating a strategy come draft day and even conducting their own mock drafts.
It's a multimillion dollar a year business, and fantasy participants enjoy playing a game giving them a vested interest in other NFL teams separate from the one they personally root for.
But has fantasy football gone too far?
Is it to the point where few care to root for their home team and instead only focus on the fictitious "fantasy" team they've constructed?
Here are three reasons why fantasy football is ruining the real NFL experience.
The dedicated Fantasy owner that has zero allegiance to any NFL team can turn the page now.
It's unfathomable how a diehard Bills fan, who happened to draft Tom Brady in the third round, can possibly root for both sides. I've heard the excuses before: "If Brady scores me 25 fantasy points and the Bills are victorious, it's a win-win situation."
How often does that happen? Never.
It feels like loyalty goes out the window when a fantasy player is competing against the home team. Is that enjoyable?
If the Bills win and Brady has a bad game, the owner's upset. If Brady has a career day and the Bills lose, same predicament. So where's the fun in that? It sounds frustrating and waters down the NFL viewing experience.
How many times has this been uttered? "As long as I win my fantasy matchup this week, I don't care if my Bills lose."
One has to love the bandwagon attitude.
With that type of proclivity, who wants to watch the game with them?
Everyone has that one degenerate friend who has to look at his or her iPhone every two minutes while watching a game inside the stadium.
The crowd can erupt at a 50-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Kolb to Larry Fitzgerald over Joe Haden and they would still be glued to the phone, scrolling through their team's stats.
The idea of going to a live game is to interact with other fans all while experiencing the excitement of NFL football. No one wants to hang out with the one person who shows no emotion, with their head buried in a phone, during a high-energy and exhilarating ball game.
Why bother going to the game if you're not going to even watch it?
The live game experience truly becomes pointless because the only thing on his or her mind is, "I wonder how Frank Gore is doing right now," when they should be focused on the Cardinals.
So now, going to games is certainly out of the question because the fantasy owner would much rather have two TVs set up in the living room and their laptop spread across the coffee table.
Or how about going to a bar that's WiFi accessible with your laptop and watch 10 games all at once?
How can you not love that kind of fan support?
Fantasy owners drool over their offensive players' stats. It's considered a successful day if Arian Foster and Roddy White both score serious points, and that's the fantasy owner's focus: offense.
Sure, they keep track of the defensive matchups because they want to utilize the player that has the best opportunity to pile on points, but this leaves the defenders as an afterthought.
I guarantee fantasy owners can name just about every offensive player that is worth a darn, but how many of them can name stellar defenders?
The offensive category is scored individually, allowing the owner to bond better with the offense, yet defense is in a category by itself.
Defensive players aren't recognized as an integral part of the fantasy football universe. If anything, the defensive category hurts owners because there's a real possibility the owner can receive negative points.
If Nnamdi Asomugha picks Tony Romo off, Asomugha isn't awarded the points. It goes to the defense. Why should a fantasy owner care about individual defensive players when their names aren't at all prevalent? Why even play defense at all? The disassociation between offensive and defensive stats are self-evident. Ray Lewis, Darrelle Revis and DeMarcus Ware are all worthless in fantasy.
Fantasy football is a great way for fans to be included within the realm of the NFL. The problem is, owners are too busy focusing on their computer and stat sheet to notice if a great game is taking place or not.
Sure, a contest like Cleveland versus Cincinnati is going to bore most to tears, and the only way to make it interesting is if a player within the game is representing a fantasy owner's team.
With the way technology is accelerating, the game has gone from being played on the field to being played on the laptop with a fictional team.
There's nothing wrong with it, but it is devaluing the NFL experience as well as turning even the most intense fan fickle.
Now, with that said, where's my stat sheet? I've got a league to win!