Fantasy football fanatics rule the halls

Kyle Cohen, Staff Writers

It is the fourth quarter of the Eagles-Panthers game. The Eagles are up 45-7 in a clear blowout.  However, thousands of fans, including Schreiber students, are anxiously watching, unable to keep their eyes off of the screen.  Why not?  Fantasy football.

Fantasy sports give fans a chance to get a group of friends together and create an imaginary league in which they draft players and manage a roster throughout the season.

Enthusiasts immediately become attached to players, cheering for them to do well each and every week.  Managers will pick up players from the waiver wire and swing trades, struggle with bye weeks, and bench players if they are not playing well, just as a normal general manager would do in professional sports.

The types of fantasy leagues vary.  The main ones are football, basketball, hockey, and baseball leagues.

The amount of teams in the league varies as well, but most stay between 8 and 14.  Some leagues are purely for fun, while others are for money and obscure rewards/consequences.  Leagues often create a fun, yet very real, rivalry among friends.

Fantasy sports also give fans a distinct reason to watch games. It automatically attaches them to players and team owners and makes them want their players to succeed.  However, it often creates a conflict between their favorite teams and their fantasy players.  For example, if a Jet fan has Tom Brady on their fantasy team, they find themselves rooting for Tom Brady to do well, even if he is playing the Jets.

“Fantasy football has taken over the lives of millions, and nowadays everyone has a team,” said senior Matthew Nicholson.  “Although it has gotten many people invested into the sport, I also believe it takes away from the game itself.  People only care about their players and not the game itself.  For example, I could have one player on my team, and root from them, while the team that I’m playing could have a different player on the same NFL team, and I would root against him.  It truly takes away from rooting for a team.”

While fantasy football may take away from rooting for teams, some people actually enjoy rooting for their specific players more than rooting for a team.  Also, fantasy football allows friends to compete with each other in a friendly manner.  Schreiber students have fun talking to friends about who has the better team or who is going to win a given matchup.

“Fantasy sports are great because they give me an incentive to watch games, and it helps to create a fun rivalry between my friends and me,” said senior Noah Linder.

Fantasy sports have become incredibly popular throughout the sporting world.  Some players even have teams themselves.  New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell said a few weeks ago that he lost his matchup by a few points.  He took himself out of his own lineup for a different NFL tight end, but that week Donnell had multiple touchdowns and an abundance of points that thrilled Donnell “owners” across the fantasy spectrum.  Players often receive tweets from fans because they are on their fantasy team.  Sometimes, fans like to thank players, but sometimes they are frustrated with a certain performance and vent online.  One player, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Stevie Johnson, was fed up with the virtual criticism.

He fired back at fantasy football players who reproached him by tweeting in a mockingly way, “I drafted many of you to my fantasy work team so make sure to grab me some points today at your workplace.  Don’t let me down.”

In reality, Johnson is right.  Fans are relying on these men to do their jobs well, and get on their case when they do not.  Fantasy sports are great for professional sports.  They increase the sports’ popularity and always keep fans interested.  Blowout games are suddenly interesting in the last quarter when your team’s top running back is on offense and you only need two more points to win.

The downside is that this can cause people to watch only for this reason and add unwanted pressure to the players.

In the end, fantasy sports are a fun way to get together with some friends and have fun.

Next time you are wandering the halls or the cafeteria, keep your ears open for something along the lines of, “Yeah, Peterson just got suspended for the rest of the year,” or, “Yes!  Le’veon Bell put up 27 points last night!”