by Matthew Bruning '20 and Chris Sosnik '20
Fantasy football. From September 6th to December 30th, you will be hard-pressed to walk through the halls of St. Albans and not hear trade talk, waiver-wire pickups, injury reports, or depth charts. People go so far as to buy services like FantasyPros, spend free periods haggling trades, and customize alerts on phones for specific players’ news. Here are some numbers from Forbes showing how addicting fantasy football can be:
Usually completed the week before school, drafts leave some with confidence and some with dread. There’s good reason for concern: league punishments are as severe as shaving heads and league buy-ins often deplete Sam’s Bar reserves (not that we still go there, anyway). Furthermore, in twelve- or fourteen- man leagues, the limited ability to pick up players off of the waiver wire means that early-round choices will carry your team for the rest of the season and that drafting a sleeper rookie or undervalued vet could be the difference between winning and losing on any given week. With these thoughts in mind, league members watched football Sunday waiting to see how their team would shape up.
The first regular season games came at the end of the first week of school, perhaps bringing with them more anxiety than school itself. Odds are frustration and pain came for losing teams while winning squads just pushed that torment to another Sunday later this year. No matter whether you rejoiced or suffered last Sunday, many questions still remain for the rest of the season. When will the Le’Veon Bell hold-out end? Can I ever trust Matthew Berry again? Is it worth adding Jay Cutler as a deep sleeper stash? As some managers watched their teams sink, worries like these heralded in the first trades this season (like my team, which sank with 72.5 PPR points this past week).
Hastily-made and often regretted, trades have been known to completely change the course of a season (just ask Henry New ‘20). Teams that started out 6-0 then fell to 6-10 because of poor management and misleading FantasyPros advice. However, bad trades aren’t necessarily that way from the start; sometimes players just get hurt. In fact, these injuries are a constant source of uncertainty throughout the season (unless you have Jordan Reed, in which case there is no question).
While draft day ultimately sets the framework for most teams at the start of the season, by the end of the year injuries leave new benches and hobbled starters. Most times the deepest teams become the playoff-bound folk—rookie breakouts and surprising veteran comebacks continually march teams to scores above 150 points.
In that case, I guess only time will tell which teams will go down in the annals of history as embodying greatness and which ones will make their owners regret having spent countless hours on the ESPN app. Maybe Bell will come back before Week 9 and demote James Conner. Maybe Matthew Berry will earn his title as a fantasy analyst. Maybe, just maybe, Jay Cutler will come back from retirement again and win his first MVP. And with any luck, the Giants will win the NFC East. Thankfully, four months still lie ahead to appreciate fantasy football. The season is just beginning.