For the third year running, the Office of Student Activities Intramurals division is offering Elizabethtown College students the option of participating in a sponsored Fantasy Football League. The draft took place Sept. 5
According to intramurals coordinator senior Sean Post, the draft started when intramurals came under control of OSA. The club wanted to expand the program from offering exclusively athletic options, so they came up with the Fantasy football draft.
Almost 50 years ago, 16 men made up the first Fantasy Football League, which was originally called the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League according to espn.com. Only one member of that original league, Andy Mousalimas remains, but the popularity and abundance of leagues has dramatically increased as Fantasy football participants number around 20 million, ESPN estimates. Also, in Mousalimas’ time, he and his friends had to put immense time into researching statistics and good draft picks, while today’s fantasy player has a plethora of sites and analysts to point him or her to the right draft pick.
Etown’s league has a 13-week regular season with three weeks of playoffs. The typical fantasy team has 16 roster spots – nine starters and seven subs. Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, a place-kicker, an offensive flex player and a team defense are all drafted by each student. Throughout the season, each student must manage his or her team by substituting players who are unproductive in terms of statistics, have a bye week or who become injured during the course of the season. Obviously strategy plays a huge role during the draft and during each week’s match-up.
Senior Adam Thompson’s strategy during the draft is to get the best running back available. “However, if there is a quarterback such as Rodgers or Brady available and not an elite running back like McCoy, Foster or Johnson I’ll take them,” he said. “After I get them I’ll build my wide receiver core and get the defense and special teams on a week to week basis based on matchups.”
Sophomore Tori Giaquinto has a bit of a different strategy when it comes to the draft. “I usually look at projected stats, and sometimes I just pick players that I really like in general and hope they’ll be good,” she said. “I’m hoping I can score David Akers again, because he is a great kicker but also because he is a favorite.”
A student’s team accumulates points when his or her players make statistically significant plays during their games that week. For example, when a quarterback throws for a touchdown, he earns six points for the Fantasy league. A team defense earns points for interceptions, sacks and a low amount of total points scored against them. The defense also gets any stats from the special team unit.
Several Etown students are very excited for the league here at school. Sophomore Ethan Gruber is no stranger to Fantasy football, and he is looking forward to trying his skills in Etown’s league. “I enjoy Fantasy football because it gives you a chance to customize a team anyway you want,” he said. “You can use your own strategy to try and make the best team you can, whether it’s a good use of your first couple of picks or finding sleepers in the later rounds that produce much higher than expected.”
Junior Tyler Britt likes Fantasy football because it helps create interest in other games with less popular teams. “Say the Redskins are playing the Browns … nobody cares about that game, but if someone on your fantasy team is playing, you might be inclined to watch to see how your player does,” he said.
However, junior Andrew Herm is one student who does not particularly care for Fantasy football. According to Herm, the leagues have “people focus more on the individual than the team, which isn’t how a team sport should be. On top of that, it dehumanizes players a bit, if all you care about is if a wide receiver so-and-so catches the ball 10 times a game.”
Still the consensus among Thompson, Giaquinto, Gruber and Britt is that football is the best fantasy sport. “I do Fantasy baseball, but Fantasy football is way better! It is less time consuming and doesn’t require as much work,” Giaquinto said.