SPORTS — October 26, 2020 at 5:53 pm

[Multimedia] MSD Students participate in Fantasy Football Leagues

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Week 7 fantasy football score for Team Rosenthal vs. Team Wolfman on the ESPN app. Photo provided by Matthew Rosenthal.

To make the football season more enjoyable, fans across the country participate in a game called ‘Fantasy Football’ where they create their own rosters composed of professional NFL players. Fans can use their personally picked athletes to compete with other participants. These participants can either auto-draft or manually draft their nine starters and six bench players in a seven-round drafting process. 

The “drafted” NFL athletes are categorized by how well they played in their previous game, and the number of points they are worth can be predicted from their game performance. For example, the Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback  Lamar Jackson (8) got 34.50 fantasy points. This is derived from his 275 passing yards, three touchdowns, one 40-yard completion pass, and 45 rushing yards, against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. 

There are usually a total of 15 weeks in a “fantasy season.” The fantasy teams with the best records go into a playoff round, and the team with the most points at the end wins the entire Fantasy Football season.

Drafting Process:  

Before the NFL season, all fantasy players involved will be a part of a draft pick that can either go three ways: a snake draft, an auto-draft, and a salary cap draft. To elaborate, a snake draft means draft picks will go in the opposite order each round. An auto-draft is where the picks are automatically selected by the computer and a salary cap draft works where every player has a specific “cap”, this is used mostly by participants who are gambling. 

After drafting, most teams have their “locks” for the season, which refers to the player most used in their roster. The lock would most likely be a player who plays typically well in games. 

Finally, comes the decision to either start or sit specific players for each game. These decisions usually include starting a questionable running back or a starting wide receiver at W/R/T (flex) position, which is basically a position where you have all wide receivers, running backs and tight ends available to be put at that position. 

Top Picks of the Season: 

There are roughly a total of 1,728 players eligible to be acquired in a season. Fantasy participants can drop and pick up new players based on who they believe will score them the most points for the week.

The top three players overall per position in the 2020 Fantasy season according to Yahoo Fantasy Sports before Week 7 Sunday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals:  

https://www.opinionstage.com/msdeagleeye/top-projected-players-in-each-position-week-7

Sleepers:  

A “sleeper” is an NFL draft pick who is not expected to perform well during the season. Most Fantasy Football participants avoid picking these types of players because of their average statistics. However, some contenders will choose these players due to a “feeling” their sleeper will play unexpectedly well during certain games. 

One of the most unexpected performances was from Steelers’ wide receiver  Chase Claypool (11), in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Claypool finished the game with four touchdowns, one rush,  110 reception yards, leading to a total of 43.60 fantasy points. 

According to NFL Fantasy Analyst Michael Florio, one player who is predicted to play well in Week 7 is the Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Tim Patrick (81). He had great back-to-back games in Week 4 against the New York Jets and in Week 6 against the New England Patriots.

Another unexpected performance came from the Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback  Gardner Minshew (15). The run-of-the-mill QB had a great stretch of games from Weeks 4-6, with a game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 25. 

Lastly, the New Orleans Saints’ running back  Latavius Murray (28) had a great Week 4 game against the Detroit Lions, in replacement for starter Alvin Kamara who was injured.

Players like Patrick, Minshew, and Murray have had inconsistent game performances; however, this season they have already made a positive impact on their team’s value. Some average players who are still expected to have exceptional game performances in the future include recently acquired Kansas City Chiefs’ RB Le’Veon Bell (26) and suspended Buccaneers’ WR Antonio Brown (17). 

Both players have both been recently signed, and are now on teams with star athletes. Brown was signed to the Buccaneers on Oct. 23, which includes future Hall of Famer Tom Brady (12) and Rob Gronkowski (87). 

MSD Students Participate:  

Many staff members and students attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School take part in Fantasy Football leagues. Some students play the game for pleasure, while others compete for money with parental consent. 

Based on a poll made by writers on the Eagle Eye staff, out of 217 MSD faculty and students who participated, 72 people said that they played fantasy football. Dividing the 72 participants, 57 said they played for fun, while 15 said they gambled. 

Despite the end product of their fantasy season, most students are concerned with their players statistics. There are many factors that can influence a fantasy football team’s performance. For instance, a player injury can result in them being officially removed from a fantasy roster. 

“My best strength is my quarterback and running backs. My weakness is also my running backs because both of them are hurt. My quarterback and wide receivers are my strengths and I’m not sure how my team will do with Raheem Mostert (31) and Derrick Henry (22) out,” senior Jahrel Wilson said.

Depending on the injuries, an NFL draft player can be substituted for the week. However, after replacing the injured player, the roster can not be changed. Injuries, along with the other factors, like COVID-19, can be proven to diminish a fantasy roster.

“My best strength is probably Alvin Kamara (41) and weakest is Evan Engram (88). I think my team could do well because I have one of the top teams in the league and most of my players are not injured,” freshman Ryan Cruz said. 

COVID-19 has caused weariness for hardcore Fantasy Football players, due to a questionable season in regards to the 2020 pandemic. However, their concerns were relieved after a 2020 season was confirmed with the commencement of the NFL draft on April 23-25. This gave fantasy football participants a chance to either commit to friendly competition or gamble for the 2020 season. Despite the pandemics’ circumstances, most fantasy players will always find time to make leagues worth coming back for next season. 

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David Lerner is a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He loves sports and playing hockey. He plays for the 16u A Makos hockey team.

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