Fantasy Football Fanatics Look Forward to Draft Day

In+a+time+when+its+hard+to+keep+in+touch+with+friends+and+family%2C+fantasy+football+season+is+approaching+as+a+method+of+reunion%2C+My+sister+doesnt+watch+sports%2C+doesnt+care+about+sports%2C+but+she+decided+to+get+into+fantasy+football.+Now%2C+shes+the+one+sending+us+texts+about+random+plays+and+random+players+and+mocking+me+for+my+pickups.+Before+she+started+playing+%5Bfantasy%5D+she+had+never+watched+a+football+game%3B+even+when+we+had+the+Rams+in+town%2C+she+never+watched+a+football+game%2C+but+now+she%E2%80%99s+into+it%2C+because+it%E2%80%99s+a+family+thing%2C+and+that%E2%80%99s+what+I+enjoy+about+it%2C+said+social+studies+teacher+Andrew+Rudolph.

In a time when it’s hard to keep in touch with friends and family, fantasy football season is approaching as a method of reunion, “My sister doesn’t watch sports, doesn’t care about sports, but she decided to get into fantasy football. Now, she’s the one sending us texts about random plays and random players and mocking me for my pickups. Before she started playing [fantasy] she had never watched a football game; even when we had the Rams in town, she never watched a football game, but now she’s into it, because it’s a family thing, and that’s what I enjoy about it,” said social studies teacher Andrew Rudolph.

Jordan Eisen, Editor-in-chief

With the NFL season kicking off on September 9, many fantasy football fanatics are anxiously awaiting fantasy draft day to gather with their friends and select players to their teams.

At its core, football isn’t anything exceptional. Sure, it’s naturally fun to watch people execute unbelievable plays and root for a player with an inspiring story, but the same applies to any other sport. What makes football different is the competition that surrounds fantasy football.

“I have a league with my extended family on my Rudolph side, a league with my in-laws, and a group with my old coworkers. Do I need three leagues? Absolutely not. It’s a way to communicate and stay in touch with a lot of these groups of different people that I would otherwise fall-out from or not talk to very much,” said social studies teacher Andrew Rudolph, who is looking forward to draft day.

The most important and anticipated day of the fantasy season is draft day, which takes place just before the NFL season. Fantasy managers (as fantasy players have been dubbed) gather for a roughly two hour marathon of selecting players for their team.

“There’s usually lots of trash talking; you can put a whiteboard with magnets of the players up to see what’s going on,” said Rudolph. “With family, it’s the interaction of booing when someone makes a bad choice or chooses a player that you want-that makes it fun.”

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has significantly altered these treasured draft day rituals, forcing many to participate in draft day via Zoom.

“Draft day on Zoom was a little off. Everyone was in their homes. It just didn’t have the same energy or hype as an in-person draft,” said senior Nilesh Gupta. “It didn’t have the same tension and excitement either.”

Although draft day is the most important singular event of the fantasy season, managers can develop their team throughout the 17-week NFL season via trades with their leaguemates, often sparking conversation.

“I like trying to turn assets into more assets and trying to improve [my] team,” said senior Avery Brown.

“[Negotiating trades] sparks some interesting conversations during and after the fact,” said Gupta.

The fantasy season concludes before the actual NFL season does. Fantasy managers build their team for the final few weeks of the season where they compete with their leaguemates in a single-elimination style bracket that resembles a mini March Madness according to Brown.

“In my most competitive league, I had a terrible start, and I needed to win the last four weeks and have four teams to go 0-4 [to get in the playoffs]. And that happened. Then I swept the playoffs and won by 0.2 points on a last second catch by Julian Edelman,” said Rudolph.

“I loved watching Alvin Kamara get six touchdowns on Christmas Day [in the championship week],” said Brown.

In a time when people are having to stay away from friends and family more often than normal, fantasy football drafts and the NFL season returning provides a much anticipated reunion for fantasy managers with their friends on draft day.