I'm not sure most people realize the value of fantasy sports. They make you smarter. More analytical. They force you to look at sports in a different way, or else you lose. If you don't adapt your lose your money, your friends make fun of you for doing that making that stupid trade, you're always last on the waiver wire. It's similar to how they say video games like Starcraft improve your reaction time. Your judgements about specific players, coaches, even entire organizations change.
Sports is a subjective science. Everyone has their own opinion on a particular athlete and they are always right. When it comes to fantasy sports, the trick to winning is giving yourself the opportunity to be more likely to be right. I like basketball, so I'll use Greg Popovic and Kahwi Leonard as an example. If you bought into the hype (which I did) last year, you saw Leonard as a sleeper. This dude is one of those guys who throws down lines. Points, rebounds, blocks, steals, the whole sha-bang. You'll think "If Popovic is worth half his salt he's going to use Leonard!" (I thought this as well). As the season went on, and Leonard was doing okay fantasy-wise for me. But he wasn't throwing down lines and winning me weeks up like I expected him to.
I started to ask myself why? I looked at his coach. What is Popovic's coaching style? Does he like to throw developing players into the fire and learn as he goes? Or is he more of a long term project that is going to be brought along gradually. You start to look at the Spurs as an organization. What kind of players are "Spurs"? What kind of players do they target? I started to realize, "Damn, Leonard is doing okay for me, but he's never going to be that dude,"(A least this year, -.^).
As someone who didn't have a background in basketball, I was learning on the fly. I still am. I just now know what a "dig" is. I started to look past the Show that is basketball and started noticing smaller, more nuanced things. Which GM's are savvy (being from Tampa I'm SUPER excited about the Magic), which players get thrown into the fire (Damian Lillard, who I picked too), who gets plays ran for them, etc.
I hate the argument that "I stop loving the game and just look at it from fantasy,". Fuck that. You can still love a team or a player and play fantasy sports. I have an irrational love for Steph Curry (Fuck the person who auto-drafted him RIGHT before I was about to last year). It's actually doubly awesome when your favorite player or team is kicking ass AND throwing down a ridiculous line! It's twice the adrenaline.
Just saying, more people who are sports fans should play fantasy sports. You'll get smarter, I promise.