Down by ten with one player left to play, the first week of fantasy football in September is about to wrap up. My hopes are high for the season, as my number one draft pick, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, scores a solid 24 points to rocket me to a win. “This fantasy season is going to be a good one,” I think to myself. A week two blowout 65-101 loss does not deter my confidence. Two wins and four blowout losses later, including one last place team in the league, my faith in my fantasy team has been ruined. My team only scoring more than 100 points three times has led to a disappointing season. Having the first overall draft pick had me hopeful for a successful season, but underperformance from almost all of my players has plagued my season thus far.
When asked about the fantasy football season, Matthew Gelozin (‘17) said his was, “Excellent, I don’t want to talk about it.” Sharing my same 3-5 record, Gelozin’s season has been disappointing as well. Underperformance and injuries have always hindered football teams, and they have affected more than just Gelozin’s team (called “Meet Me in the A Gap”) and mine (“Innnnnn West Philadelphia”). Justin Schruijer’s (‘17) team was “straight fire for like five weeks, but now it is straight garbage.” Colton Jones’ (‘17) team (“Team Ham”) “was garbage cans to start and has started to show some life. Since then, 44.4% of my team got injured! YEAH!” Injuries from Broncos’ starting running back C.J. Anderson, Chargers’ star wide receiver Keenan Allen, and (predictably) Browns’ quarterback Robert Griffin III are just a few injuries to big-name players.
This is the beast that is fantasy football. The NFL is unpredictable, dangerous, and causes ample amounts of frustration. Fantasy football is a playground football game where you are the coach. You get to choose who is on your team, who plays in a certain week, but you also have to suffer through losses, injuries, and underperformance. Scoring is based on how a player plays in their real game, and points are awarded for specific actions: touchdowns are six points, each ten receiving or rushing yards are one point, and 25 passing yards are one point.
Unlike pickup games, fantasy football lasts for 13 weeks, has recorded records, and involves trading. When one of my top draft picks, Raiders’ wide receiver Amari Cooper, played quite poorly for three straight weeks, I traded him. Then he averaged 12.6 points for the next five weeks, making me wonder why I even have a fantasy team. To make matters worse, the player I traded him for, C.J. Anderson, got put on the injured reserve with a knee injury and is likely out for the rest of the season. When my team scored a solid 64 points, despite being projected to score 113.8, leaves me wondering what I did to make someone mad. Mohith Dhillon’s (‘18) season has been similar to my experience. “[My team was a] solid 4-4, bit disappointing. Started off 4-1, but started to become disappointing.” He traded away Falcons’ running back Devonta Freeman (another player with a terrible start, who then averaged 17), and his team just continued to underperform.
Where some suffer, others succeed. My brother Sam Hunter’s (‘17) team has averaged 117 points through the whole season and has yet to have a week where he scores less than 100 points. “[My season has] been going pretty well,” he commented. I would be happy to have one week where I score 117 points.
The beast that is fantasy is cruel and has no rules. Is it luck, skill, or football knowledge? Or is it a combination of all of these factors? Whatever the secret to fantasy football is, it evades my grasp. With playoff hopes clearly out of reach, all I can shoot for is to not finish last. A last place finish in fantasy football is more than just a loss. It puts you at the mercy of your friends, and you are subject to any punishment they see fit. Whether it is dying your hair blonde, or other non-school appropriate punishments, being in last is a scary place to be. If your team has the worst overall record, you know that you are in for a treat. Also, in most leagues the winner will get a monetary reward. Some leagues will have buy-ins and the winner, the person who has the best overall record will win it all. Thankfully, my team has played just well enough to stay out of the bottom.
As upsetting fantasy football can be, my hopes at a championship-bound fantasy NBA basketball team have not been hampered by our still young 0-1 record. Nearly doubling this week’s competition in score, my dream is still alive.
Featured image courtesy of the NFL.