By Alex Russell for Somos Sports
Football season is back in full swing, which also brings the competitive nature of fantasy football players to an all-time high. Fantasy football has been great for the NFL in recent years, increasing not only revenue, but interest from people of all types of backgrounds who simply love to compete.
A lot of things must come together in order to have a successful season. A creative team name, determining which type of league one wants to join and a draft strategy are a few things that come to mind.
Fantasy football isn’t just a game, but an all-around social experience. It connects people to other fans, increases knowledge of the game and brings the fun of a little friendly competition of playing against friends or family.
Students at Arizona State University have become general managers of their own teams and play each week in hopes of winning big, whether it be money or bragging rights.
“I have a league with five of my friends here at Cronkite,” said ASU student Jack Lautaret. “We don’t really have a prize for the winner, it’s just bragging rights. We talk a lot of crap to each other, it’s a lot of fun though.”
The process begins by creating a league on whichever platform you choose to play with. The most popular fantasy football platforms are NFL.com, Yahoo.com and ESPN.com. In order to create a league, participants recruit friends, co-workers or family to form about six to ten teams.
After choosing a league name, which most have been deemed journalistically inappropriate by students, it’s time to set up a draft.
ASU students have draft parties each year, which has become tradition within these friend groups. Although most of them have said they don’t watch games together on Sundays, they make it a priority to host a big draft.
“I’m in a league with my friends from back home and while we were in high school, we’d do a live draft at my friend’s house and we’d get the whole white board set up and make it this big thing. But now that we’re all at separate colleges, we just do an online draft and have a group chat that we can talk trash in,” said ASU student Sean Rice.
According to Rice, the draft order is a make or break situation and requires choosing wisely. He advises to draft a running back first, saying that there is a “monopoly” on RBs. Obviously everyone wants the best players in the league, but not everyone reaps the benefits of those players.
Some players however, don’t seem to go into the draft with any strategy whatsoever. These players have one thing on their mind. The cash prize.
Sasha Holmes, ASU student and first time fantasy footballer, experienced the backlash of the no-strategy method. This is Holmes’ first season playing fantasy football and after some research prior to the draft held within her family, she still didn’t know who to pick, so she chose her players at random.
“My football knowledge isn’t the best and I didn’t know who I wanted to be on my team so I was just hoping I would get lucky,” said Holmes. Her first time playing fantasy football is already a bust, but Holmes said she is keeping the faith, and is only playing to be in the running for her family’s $400 cash prize.
While the more casual fans don’t take it too serious, most diehard fans find that playing fantasy football is a competitive tradition within families or groups of friends that brings them closer to each other and closer to the game and players that they love.