A Bobcat’s guide to fantasy football

Chris Collier | Staff Writer | Sept. 4, 2019

Angie Yones | Art Director

The Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears will open the NFL’s 100th season when they clash in front of thousands at Soldier Field during the night of Sept. 5.

It’s the introduction to an NFL season featuring heavy-weight matchups, dramatic storylines and, of course, fantasy football.

According to Fox Sports, an estimated 40 million people will participate in fantasy football this year. It’s a global phenomenon in which players put themselves into the shoes of an NFL coach, managing a hand-picked roster of NFL superstars on a weekly basis.

Fantasy football is growing by the season. For the uninitiated, it’s never too late to jump in. If you’re a rookie, it never hurts to hear from grizzled fantasy football veterans.

Nathan Pak, a senior management-information-systems major, said the way you construct your draft night will determine the kind of experience you have.

“I think a big group with maybe some pizza and wings—that’s a good time,” Pak said. “A lot of times when you have people separate, a lot of people will miss their first couple picks.”

Chandler New, a junior management information systems major, started playing fantasy football three years ago with his friends. Although fantasy football users have a variety of websites to draft from, New said users unfamiliar with the game should eye ESPN because of its intuitive user interface.

Once your group decides which site to play on, it’s essential to research which NFL stars to aim for in the draft. Sports Illustrated lists Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffery and Odell Beckham Jr. as some of the top fantasy prospects for the 2019 campaign.

Omar Abuaisheh, a senior business management major, has been playing fantasy football since he was a senior in high school. Abuaisheh advises newcomers to put their fandom aside as they build their team.

“If you’re like, ‘I like the Saints, [and] I want to keep everybody on the Saints’—that’s not going to work,” Abuaisheh said.

Pak has a draft strategy that he implements into his team each year.

“Don’t value the quarterback too much,” Pak said. “I always go running back early, like the first round for sure; maybe [the] second round as well.”

The NFL season is a long and unpredictable one, so player management is integral to your team’s chances of success. New said there are tools available if your season doesn’t begin the way you had hoped.

“If injuries pop up, you just have to keep your eye on the waiver wire and see who’s available to be picked up,” New said. “And from there, if it’s a long-term injury, you just have to drop them and move on from the player.”

New encourages NFL fans at GC to give fantasy football a shot, even if they’ve never experienced it before.

“Find some people who are interested in doing it, even if it’s not your direct friends,” New said. “See if you can join a league, and it’s always fun no matter who you’re playing against.”