Millions scramble to set their lineups as Fantasy Football heats up


The Ringer

Todd Gurley, a popular first overall pick, hurdles Bashaud Breeland. The Rams lost that game 20-27 to the Redskins.

Zach Lustbader and Ryan Klein

Fantasy Football is an increasingly popular way for NFL fans to build their ideal team, and watch as it gains points and competes against other players throughout the season.  Fans “recruit” players to build their teams and, as the season progresses, they are able to track the status of their team.  This team must include different positions, such as running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, quarterbacks, kickers, and a defense/special teams.

“I enjoy partaking in fantasy football because it helps me get excited about the season and keeps me in the know” said junior Ethan Mitchell.

It seems that many football fans enjoy this because it gives them another way to analyze the sport.  Analysis is a necessity in drafting a team that will take you to victory in your league.  The teams are drafted just like a normal college draft, but instead all the players in the current NFL are available. The most popular sites that host drafts are Yahoo and ESPN, and they have drafting orders that are determined randomly.  

A very popular first overall draft pick of the 2018-2019 season was Le’veon Bell, a running back on the Pittsburgh Steelers, who has yet to play a game because he has a contract dispute with the team.  The draft is usually sixteen rounds, and is a point per reception (PPR) format, which means that for every catch a player gets, the team owner gets a point.  The PPR league favors the players that get the most touches on the ball, mainly wide receivers.  A fantasy participant’s main job is to use all these components of a football team and assemble their own squad that can outscore the opponent in a head-to-head-like competition, and be the most successful in their own league.

     In fantasy football, many tough choices are made on who to pick to play for your team. Typically, participants who partake in fantasy football analyze and research who they should pick in their draft days, or even weeks, prior to the big night. For starters, there are obvious choice on who to pick and when to pick them.  Normally pass catchers and running backs are drafted earlier than quarterbacks, defense/special teams, and kickers because there is more differentiation in their scoring outputs.  

This means that there are a large amount of quarterbacks that put up the same number of points on weekly basis. However, this is, for the most part, not true for the other positions. There are only a select number of wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends that can put up large numbers on a normal basis. This is why these positions are picked early because participants scramble to try and get the best player as early as possible. 

The other strategy of fantasy football is to take a chance on a “sleeper” player, and avoid “bust” players.  A sleeper is someone who is underrated by fellow drafters, but is set up for a possible monsterous player season.  A bust is someone who doesn’t even come close to meeting their expectations for the season.  Already into the third week of football, many busts have arisen. 

“It’s hard to say who is the biggest bust because it’s only been three weeks into the season, but if I had choose, it would be Le’veon Bell. This is because he was a top 3 draft pick in just about every league, and he has not even reported to his team yet. In my opinion, a guy who isn’t even playing is worse then a player who is not playing well” said sophomore grader Tyler Curmi.  

Other busts from this young season are Jimmy Garoppolo of the 49ers, who tore his ACL, Leonard Fournette of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who has missed two games, and Amari Cooper, who has yet to play up to expectations as the top receiver for the Oakland Raiders.  

“I would definitely say Ryan Fitzpatrick is the biggest sleeper so far because he has exceeding everyone’s expectations so far this season because he was expected to just be Jameis Winston’s replacement, but he has become far more than that.”  said senior Jared Scharlat. 

Some sleepers so far have been Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons, all the Los Angeles Rams wide receivers, Desean Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Carlos Hyde of the Cleveland Browns.  

Overall, fantasy football provides a fun, competitive, online atmosphere that keeps you up do date with the season and keeps you on your toes for who to look out for next week.