Fantasy football gives fans chance to run the league

Acting as a companion to America’s favorite Sunday pastime, Fantasy Football allows fans to participate in a strategy based game that incorporates actual statistics and events from the current NFL season.

Fantasy Football operates by creating a mock NFL season. A group of eight to sixteen participants form their own league, with each individual acting as the owner of their own team. These leagues can be created through various online simulators or run among groups of friends.

Freshman Philip Lents revealed that “The way each league works is very different between each and every one,” explaining that very specific rules are put into place by each team prior to beginning of the season.

At the start of a season, an order of participants is selected and run through an NFL style draft. A roster for each team is carefully constructed by each participant as they analyze the current stats of every athlete playing in the upcoming NFL season.

This is what is most intriguing and unique about the game. Various football video games allow for the selection of players in prime condition, some of which are retired players who have garnered acclaim from seasons past.

As is regionally appropriate, participants wishing to draft Aaron Hernandez for their 2013 teams couldn’t do so because of his June arrest for murder charges, and teams had to wait until Week 9 to add Rob Gronkowski to their roster due to back, forearm and hamstring complications benching him for the beginning of the season. The mid-season adding, dropping and trading of players allows for strategy to alleviate some of these issues.

Each of these elements varies from league to league. With his league, Freshman Cody Jones explains that “Each team is allowed one bench add per week which means on a day when there is an NFL game taking place (Thursday, Sunday and Monday) you are allowed to swap one member of your roster with either a player who is a free agent or placed on waivers. You also have an unlimited number of bench substitutions which means you can move a player from your bench into your starting lineup.”

After all statistics and injury reports are considered, participants construct a starting lineup that is turned in prior to game day on Sunday. The participants in each league have their teams matched up, with the winner being determined by a summation of points earned by players’ real world performances.

On the offensive side, Jones reveals that “The starting lineup consists of all the major offensive positions of a football team. There is one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end and a kicker.” Jones went on to explain the defensive side of the game, explaining that “there is an entire defensive unit from an NFL team.”

Touchdowns and field goals earn a predetermined value of points, usually set at the proper regulation amounts of six and three, respectively. Scores for defensive play are determined by a comparison of points allowed versus the success of defensive plays such as sacks, turnovers and safeties.

Playoff play is run in the same manner, usually commencing two or three weeks prior to the end of the NFL’s regular season.

While some leagues gather for recreational play, others are highly competitive, with some of these playoffs resulting in a monetary prize for the champion.

While both Lents and Jones admitted to treating the game more casually when they first started, both have become more engrossed and addicted with each season that they play. Having played for three years, Lents is involved with numerous leagues with his roommate (Jones), friends from college and high school, family and various individuals online. He commented that it is “Even better when you play with people you are close to and can trash talk with.”

Jones has quickly grown to appreciate the game despite only starting to play this year. After not paying much attention to the game and falling behind to a 0-4 record, Jones explained that after Week 5 “I began putting some effort into maintaining my team by making changes to my roster and the starting lineup.”

Since then, he has enjoyed a five game winning streak.

A shared comment of Lents and Jones was the enjoyment they derive from playing the game. This comes as no surprise, as Fantasy Football allows fans to delve deeper into their favorite sport for an unrivaled interactive experience.