Fantasy Football Scores Big at MN

November 2, 2015

Every Sunday, you race to your laptop, study the matchups, and prepare for another volatile week of scoring. Who should I start at my flex? What about my defense? Facing so many problems, you have until noon to lock in your lineups.

Of course, this is the die-hard, trash-talking, passion-filled sport of fantasy football, and it has taken, not only MN, but also the world by storm with its mass popularity that appeals to many different audiences.

Fantasy football has boomed in the past five years, with 33 million people playing worldwide, according to Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Now, one could take a cruise through the hallway every Monday, and hear a plethora of fantasy football updates.

“I really enjoy playing with my friends. It puts more fun into actually being in a league,” senior Stephen Kloewer said.

Kloewer participates in a 12-team league with his fellow cross-country members. The creation of a league can help bond a group or maintains old friendships from past times.

“This is our fifth year. It is a group of old college buddies. Usually I enjoy the trash talk, but our league is pretty lame on that,” Spanish teacher Shaun Hoover said.

To many, leagues require dedication and knowledge, but also plenty of educated luck. To be successful, everyone must pay attention week in and week out. Without such commitment, few teams have a legitimate chance to take home the trophy.

“I don’t really devote much time to fantasy football. I wish I had more time. It has really hurt my time. I’ve gotten a little unlucky, but I’m kind of the joke of the league,” senior Michael Banwo said.

Because the league requires daily attention, success can rely solely on participation. This necessity can inspire even the lowest levels of talent into a heavily contributing member.

“Being in a fantasy football league has definitely made me more interested, and makes me want to be more involved in our league and in football,” Kloewer said.

While leagues tend to focus around the central premise of scoring more points than their opponent, each group has their own unique twist. Whether it is a funny rule change, or a quirky championship system, everyone seems to have his or her own distinctive preference. Differences can range from subtle scoring changes to an odd starting lineup.

“We actually play a defensive player. It’s different than a lot of other leagues. We also have a different scoring system for quarterbacks,” Hoover said.

Even without prior fan-hood in professional sports, many of those lacking sports knowledge have begun participating in fantasy football. This has accelerated the popularity of the sport, especially in the exponential rise in fantasy football in the past decade.

“I think it keeps supporting the corrupt NFL machine. But it has gotten a lot more people interested in football. I have friends in Mexico that pay attention to football. A few years ago this would not have happened,” Hoover said.

The end goal in any fantasy league is winning a championship. Winning comes with various prizes and trophies, but most of all, you prove you are better than all of your friends.

“Looking at the competition, I probably won’t win this year, but we play for pride and bragging rights,” Kloewer said.

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