Virtually Undefeated

Aidan Smith, Writer

The football flies through the air, locked on its target, with fans on the sideline cheering as the wide receiver pulls it close.
Taking off down the sideline, footsteps thundering behind him, he sees the end zone getting closer by the second. As his foot crosses the line, the stadium erupts with noise. At the same time, thousands of miles away, piano sophomore Jeffrey Zimmerman cheers — on his sofa. He just won another week of fantasy football.

The Kick-Off

Officially started in 1997 by CBS Sports as a simple office betting game between 70 employees, the phenomenon of fantasy football has grown at an exponential rate for years, with around 65 million annual players in America and Canada, according to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association.

Reading the Plays

Fantasy football is a competition between those in specific leagues who each devise their own dream team of players, constructed
through a draft at the beginning of the season and modifying with trades throughout the season. Users compete and earn points based on their players’ individual performance, not the performance of the NFL teams their players belong to. The marketing of fantasy football has often been perceived as promoting hyper-competitiveness between a largely male audience, although the NFL has found that fantasy football leagues nationwide are more diverse than ever before, with 53% more minorities and women competing in the 2022 season.

“I’m in a couple of different leagues with kids from Dreyfoos, and both of them have a mix of both boys and girls,” band sophomore Phillip Margolis said. “It’s not what you would expect, but it’s pretty cool.”

Competitive Collaboration

Fantasy football can be a catalyst of friendships between players such as communications sophomore David Sanchez who believes it creates connections between those who play, through trades, wins, and the games themselves.

This juxtaposition captures the attention of people nationwide for weeks on end, given that the regular season lasts about 16 weeks. From watching games to making trades to keeping track of injuries, players must balance multiple responsibilities. This also is apparent when trades are proposed, given that it requires players to understand statistics and even do additional research.

The Hot Take Club aims to further connect students through fantasy football by starting a league of their own, which is open for members of the club and those who are interested.

“By having an opportunity to compete in fantasy (football) through a club at school, it makes it a lot more competitive and fun because you are competing with your friends,” Hot Take Club member and dance junior Kaylee Rampersad said, “It’s a lot different from what people think, too. Fantasy actually requires reasoning and strategy more than is usually conveyed.”

Despite the school’s lack of a football team, fantasy football allows sports enthusiasts and novices to collaborate and compete in a virtual competition that lets everyone be a winner, even though they may have to be a loser more often than not.