Fantasyland

Fans Stay Connected, Engaged Through Fantasy Football

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Connor Bulgrin

Snapshot: A view of the layout on the ESPN Fantasy Football App. “I use the ESPN app, for a league with my friends,” junior Garrick Wilson said. The app is free to download from the app store.

Since fans, in large part, are barred from entering stadiums due to new coronavirus pandemic related restrictions. Football fans must find new ways to gain a personal connection to the teams and players they love to watch. One way they are doing this is through fantasy football, a pastime that has been growing ever more popular in recent years.
“I enjoy fantasy football,” junior Garrick Wilson said. “Because it is really fun to compete with friends and rub it in their face when you beat them one week. It’s also really fun if you do a punishment at the end of the season for the person with the worst team.”
Fantasy leagues start with a draft at the beginning of the season. Each week two teams face off against each other. The goal is to earn more points than your opponent. Point values are ascribed to different plays made during the game. Complex sequences like touchdowns, field goals, long runs and passes, and turnovers are worth more points while more mundane plays like short runs and passes as well as receptions are worth less.
“As a general manager,” history instructor Mr. Jon Swanson said. “I have been very lucky to have different players step up at different times. Josh Allen has had some big games. Joe Mixon exploded a couple of weeks ago, and the Ravens defense bailed me out last week with like 20 points. I do have a fear of leaving some big players on the bench some weeks though.”
The best teams with the most wins at the end of the season are entered into a four-team tournament that sorts out the winner. In order to finish in the top portion and compete for a chance at the championship, shrewd managers have to consistently update their teams to keep them winning, or rely on the inattentiveness of their opponents.
“I’m doing really well so far,” Wilson said. “I am 5-0. I can thank my starting lineup for that because they all do really well. I can also thank the people in my league who don’t watch football and get rid of their good players.”
Not everyone can get so lucky though, and bad fortunes can last for weeks at a time, losing game after game despite the most valuable of efforts. If the tide of these performances is not stemmed teams can be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs early in the year.
“It’s been a middle of the road season,” Mr. Swanson said. “I started 0 and three, two of them not good showings, the third I scored the second highest points in the league, but I was facing the highest points in the league. Now I am up to two and three, and on a two game win-streak.”
In a season that has seen a great deal of turmoil fans have needed a constant way to stay connected. Without a chance to get out and see their teams in action, they are still able to feel a part of the game through fantasy football.