Draft a Celebrity

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Nonsports fantasy leagues delve in everything from tabloids to the Oscars.

It's my fantasy league's draft day, and I'm a little stumped. I got the superstar I wanted with my first pick, but I think my second could make or break my team: Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Anston?

That's right, I'm drafting for a celebrity fantasy league. By mixing America's obsession with celebrity with its love of football, these leagues are the pop culture equivalent of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup: two great tastes in one.

Celebrity fantasy games work just like fantasy football. In Fafarazzi.com's celebrity league, players draft about two dozen celebrities, picking 10 players to "start" each week of a three- to eight-week season. Players score points each time one of their celebrities is mentioned in a customizable list of tabloids and gossip websites. Players can change their lineup from week-to-week, make trades and pick up free agent celebs.

Celebrifantasy.com's leagues are similar, though with its own twists. It only counts the four major print tabloids, but scoring is weighted -- ranging from 10 points for making the cover to minus-three points for making In Touch's "Who Wore It Worst" feature.

Some sites like Picktainment.com focus on awards shows and reality competition shows like American Idol. Fafarazzi also has a Jersey Shore game in which players draft three people from the show and score based on what happens in each episode -- from one point for trying to speak Italian to three points for making out to a whopping eight points for a full GTL.

Boxofficefantasy.com spins the idea by having players draft a roster of movies to play during a season like summer. Points can be scored based on such factors as total box office, weekend grosses and profitability.

At Picktainment, the Idol pools are about 60 percent women, but founder Phil Wallace says men often start the leagues because they "regularly participate in fantasy sports and intuitively understand how to set up a league and get started. I've also found that men who are fantasy sports players really just love the competition in general. And this is the one fantasy game that they can participate with their wives or girlfriends."

Celebrity fantasy leagues have only sprung up in the past three years, but Wallace says participation in Picktainment's Oscar pools has tripled each year, reaching nearly 6,500 players in 2011. He says its players tend to spend a lot of time on the site, and once they have joined, they're highly likely to return for another game.

Fafarazzi user Honeybunch1 agrees with Wallace about the addictive nature of the games, saying that playing "keeps you in the know … you find out all the gossip and make points in the games too."           

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