Fantasy football gives NFL fans a chance to lead their own teams to glory

With the dawn of a new football season, NFL fans everywhere can prepare to have their own respective football seasons. Fantasy football is a means for people to follow their favorite NFL teams while drafting their own rosters of players from teams across the league and competing against their friends and family for the top prize.

Fantasy also provides an opportunity for fans to better understand what is going on around the entire league, rather than just their hometown team. Instead of being resigned to watching just one football game on a given Sunday, fantasy football allows fans and participants to follow multiple games and multiple teams, broadening their understanding of the league as well as providing a fun experience.

According to Cory Wiard, ‘21, there are many reasons to get involved with fantasy football, with the main reason for most being a love for the sport.

“I got into fantasy due to my love of football,” Wiard said. “I had a lot of knowledge around football and I really enjoy competition.”

For Wiard, the love of the game was not the only reason he decided to try fantasy football.

“The enjoyable aspects of fantasy football are that it gives you something to root for beyond your team, which is nice for someone like me who has only experienced pain and suffering being a New York Jets fan,” Wiard said.

Although picking your own players from different teams is one of the highlights of playing fantasy football, Wiard recognizes the enjoyment in trying to build one’s team each week to eventually be the champion of the league.

“I love going through a draft with my friends and have to strategically pick my team,” Wiard said. “But there is nothing like fantasy football and the grind of the season — going through the season, making trades to improve my team, watching every game at once to see how your team is doing and winning or losing nail-biting games like last year when I beat my best friend in the championship on a 50-yard touchdown run by Aaron Jones.”

Fantasy football brings excitement and happiness to many fans, but it also tends to bring out passion and sportsmanship, as well.

Brian Beck, ’22, emphasized that fantasy football brings out a competitive nature amongst him and his friends

“The most enjoyable part is the competition and rivalry created with friends every week of the season,” Beck said. “On Sunday, you watch the scoreboard all day in anticipation of what the end results will be.”

The competition, according to Beck, is not the only enjoyable and worthwhile part of being involved with fantasy football. Beck talked about the camaraderie amongst owners of teams in his leagues, and the overall togetherness that participating in fantasy football creates for anyone involved.

“What I get out of fantasy football is the friendship and camaraderie that you create with the people in your league over the course of a season,” Beck said.

Beck acknowledged that all of these aspects of fantasy football grouped together makes for an exciting and worthwhile experience.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the status of the NFL season, for a while, was uncertain. For many football fans, especially fantasy football participants, they faced the prospect of not having the sporting outlet this fall, and they will all have been happy to see football season underway again.

The most enjoyable part (of fantasy) is the competition and rivalry created with friends every week of the season. On Sunday, you watch the scoreboard all day in anticipation of what the end results will be.”

— Brian Beck, '22, Fantasy Football Player

One of those fans is Sam Rundquist, ’22, who supports the Buffalo Bills. Although he describes himself a massive fan of the team, he highlighted the uniqueness of fantasy football in that it allows fans to compete with each other every week without being concerned only about one team.

“Fantasy football makes the football season more interesting because you watch all different games and teams you don’t really care about,” Rundquist said.

Rudquist acknowledged that watching NFL teams other than the team he roots for, supporting the players on his fantasy team, is a nice change of pace and it makes the experience more relaxing.

He also discussed what he liked most about participating in fantasy football.

“I like playing fantasy football because of the competition among friends,” Rundquist said. “It makes the league more interesting.”

Rundquist asserted that to him and all fantasy football and NFL fans, competition, camaraderie and friendship are the ultimate reasons that they choose to participate, and the reasons that they look forward to and enjoy the season each and every year.