As the NFL season fast approaches, Yahoo Sports and ESPN.com have both reported sharp declines in fantasy football numbers compared to years prior. Experts point to a single cause for this: isekai football.
“The fantasy genre is old hat; it’s all about isekai now,” a post on Anime-Planet isekai football discussion board reads.
New online isekai football leagues allow users to draft a team of NFL players would perform the best if suddenly teleported into an alternate universe. Fans who play isekai football are passionate, each claiming that their isekai football team is “actually good, unlike the others.”
The strategy in isekai football is complex and often convoluted, as isekai football enthusiast Jason Mewitt explains.
“I had the first overall pick and I could have taken [New York Giants running back] Saquon Barkley,” Mewitt tells Anime Maru. “But he’s only good in fantasy football; what if he’s teleported into a non-fantasy world?”
“How does he perform as a vending machine? What about if his mom is with him? So I went with [Carolina Panthers running back Christian] McCaffery.”
Isekai Pros, a community-driven website focused on isekai football advice and insights, recommends Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton if he’s available in the late second round, in case he is teleported to another universe where Andrew Luck was still his quarterback.
Experts say the explosive popularity of isekai football could foreshadow other types of games in the future, such as idol football, slice of life football, and battle harem football.