When the game gets real
The basics of Fantasy Football
November 20, 2014
The NFL has some heated rivalries. Border wars. Ex-teammates. But some rivalries last more than one game. Some last all season. Fantasy Football keeps getting bigger and bigger, with sports networks dedicating whole segments just to Fantasy Football. For those who don’t know what Fantasy Football is, a group of 6-14 people get together and draft actual NFL players to make a “fantasy” team. The common starting lineup drafted consists of a quarterback, two running backs, 2-3 wide receivers, a tight end, kicker, a team defense, and bench players. Every week, each individual in the league has to set his or her lineups, so they can put players in from their bench or add a player from the “free agent” pool (these are players who were not drafted or dropped by others in the league.) Each week, each person faces off with another and the team with more points scored wins. Players get points for yards gained and touchdowns. The kickers get points for field goals and extra points made. Defense/special teams get points for points/yards allowed and touchdowns. At the end of the fantasy regular season (around 12 weeks long), the top 4-8 teams (depending on league set-up and teams in league) play each other in the playoffs, high seed vs. low seed.
Usually, there is a buy-in to play, the two most common ways being money or an agreement where the person who finishes last has to get or do something embarrassing. Also, many of these fantasy leagues contain keepers. A keeper is one player each team in the league can keep on their team at the end of the year so that he is on their team next year. This causes for many trades throughout the year, wanting to acquire a good keeper and stay competitive. The draft order is determined by random for first year leagues, and for leagues with keepers the draft order is the opposite of the standings from the year before.
Many boys and girls of all ages continue the annual tradition of playing Fantasy Football. There is probably not a single person who has not heard about Fantasy Football. It has become such a big deal, that it’s to the point where a lot of people only watch football to see how their players are doing. The NFL is not complaining though, more and more people are beginning to pay attention to the sport (which means more money), but the idea of watching football to root for a favorite team is disappearing. What do people look at for so long? Well every week it is important to look at free agents. Also, it can take a lot of research on whom to start depending on the matchup or many other variables about that specific team or game. On average, people in serious leagues spend around three hours a week on Fantasy Football.
Here at OHS, the wide variety of players is evident. There are many teachers and girls who even play, along with the usual all-guy leagues. At OHS, it was found that the guy leagues are the most serious, that they spend the most time on it and the buy-ins are usually the biggest. The girls tend to not care a whole lot, compared to the boys, but the fact that they still play shows they obviously know what fantasy football is at least. The amount of teachers who play at OHS is surprising. Mrs. Wagner, Mr. Churchill, Mr. Skala, and Mr. Benson are a few who play. Mrs. Wagner always brags about how she is number one in her league, she thinks she’s pretty good. Mr. Benson’s league contains around six juniors here from OHS, along with his family friends or relatives. He is the league commissioner. “Every trade goes through me, I decide if it should be vetoed or not,” said Benson. Brady Ruiter is one of those juniors in the league, and he said, “This league is arguably my favorite one to be in because of the variety of players involved, there is also a large buy in so the incentive to try is higher.” The higher the buy-in equals more time spent looking at fantasy.
Every year, more and more time and money is put into Fantasy Football. It is expanding everywhere, with more and more people gaining knowledge of it. The nice thing about it is that depending on who is in the league, the rules, buy-in, and scoring can be changed however so that the league can be as fun and time consuming as wanted. No matter the smack talk and bragging that goes throughout the regular season, the winning team is always whoever gets hot during the playoff run. Through all the smack talk and build up each week, Fantasy Football contains more suspense throughout the year than the actual NFL season.