Fantasy Football kicks into high gear over the next seven days. Getty

It's that time of the year when friends and co-workers join the yearly fantasy football league. It also coincides with the plethora of excuses to turn down the overtures, with the 2017 NFL season kicking off on Thursday, Sept. 7.

The excuses are as familiar as they are convincing: "It's a waste of time, energy and money. I don't know that much about football anyway."

Fair points.

But there are reasons to reconsider before shutting down offers with the obligatory "thanks but no thanks" response. It might be worthwhile to take some time and weigh being among the over 32 million participants in fantasy football.

It Makes Watching Games That Don't Matter More Interesting

Having a vested interest in every nationally televised game is basically impossible, but when playing fantasy football, a viewer can pay attention to specifics of the game, like pulling for one or two players. In Week 15, when the Chicago Bears play the Detroit Lions in a Saturday afternoon game on the NFL Network, most of the country will be tuning out unless they are fans of either team. But not if they're playing fantasy football.

It Makes Sports Fans Smarter

Why not broaden knowledge outside of a favorite sports team? There are more NFL games on television now than ever, so fantasy football can be an opportunity to follow the league with a more objective and keen eye. Sports fans often love the feeling of knowing more than others — those seeking evidence can check the comment section of any sports website to see all of the aggressive comments — making fantasy football a helpful tool in gaining an edge on the "competition."

Builds Camaraderie And Strengthens Relationships

Having trouble making friends in the office? Struggling to form a bond with an acquaintance? Fantasy football gets the ball rolling. It's a great conversation starter and a good way to get to know people that you may not otherwise communicate with. It also is a good way to reconnect with friends that may have lost touch.

Hey, There's Money In It

At its worst, a fantasy participant loses some loose cash along with some free time. At its best, a participant comes away with a decent chunk of change to buy a new gadget that will be obsolete in two years. Seems like the money and the time wasted over four months is worth the potential windfall.

Boosts Research Skills

Charting players' production can help kick-start an interest in charting stocks, real estate prices and other data-related objectives. There is a lot of good that can come out of focusing on statistics, and that's mostly what fantasy football is all about: taking an interest in sports while placing an emphasis on data. Being a nerd has its benefits. (Yes, this might be a stretch, but give it some thought.)