New fantasy football season is full of surprises

Jacob Bernstein, Contributing Writer

It’s that time of year again: fantasy football has returned, taking football fans by storm all over the country.   From the outbreak of rookie running back Kareem Hunt to the surprising inconsistency of superstar Le’veon Bell, this fantasy football season has been action-packed and surprising like never before, even at only four  weeks in.

For those who have never played fantasy football before, fantasy football is a virtual sports game in which which you draft players to your team to construct a fictional roster, using real players from all across the NFL. Then you make trades with other teams, release and pick up new players, and strategize which players to play each week to create the best team possible.  As these players participate in their real-life NFL games, you accumulate points based off how well they play.  Each week you face off against a different team in your league to see who created the best lineup possible.  Even though you are not participating in an actual sports game, fantasy football is still oddly competitive among those who play.

“I love fantasy football because it drives my competitive spirit and I love being able to control my own team, just like in the NFL,” said sophomore Mikey Beil.

Fantasy football is actually an incredibly social activity, as you can connect with your real-life friends and compare teams.

“I got into fantasy football because my best friend asked me to join one of his highly competitive fantasy leagues. I made the decision to join, and from then on I fell in love with it,” said Beil.

There have been numerous exciting outbreaks of players thus far.  Every year, a rookie running back is bound to break out.  This season, Kareem Hunt is a prime example of just that.  The Toledo alumni and late third-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft went from being almost unheard of to being one of the best fantasy players this year. From racking up 246 all-purpose yards (and more than 41 fantasy ‘points’) in his first game, to now leading the league in rushing yards through three weeks, Hunt is certainly a player to keep an eye on as he electrifies the Chiefs’ offense and takes down anyone who stands in his way.

In terms of rookies, Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings is another breakout star. Starting off the year with only 19 combined points in his first two games, Dalvin started to show his true self with an incredible 22 points in the Vikings’ 34-17 win over the Buccaneers. Unfortunately, Cook tore his ACL in the second half of the Vikings’ week four game against Detroit.  Cook was in the midst of having another huge game when he suffered the non-contact injury on a run up the middle.

In contrast, there have also been quite a few fantasy busts, which refers to players who haven’t quite lived up to public expectations.  Two of the biggest fantasy busts include Cam Newton and Isaiah Crowell.  Newton, once considered one of the best fantasy players, is now a below-average quarterback who probably even belongs on the bench in a standard ten team league. A lot has changed in just two years. With just 38 combined fantasy points through three games this season, Cam is a clear bust. By comparison, he has had more than 40 points in single game performances in past seasons, multiple times for that matter.  Isaiah Crowell, the Cleveland Brown running back, is another disappointment.  With just 16 points in all three games he has played so far, he might be someone to consider releasing.

Week five of the NFL season kicks off with a boom this Thursday, as the reigning champion New England Patriots will look to get the win against a young and hungry Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. So set your lineups, and get ready for another exciting week!