Football fans embrace virtual power

Sophomore Cory Andrews celebrates good news for his fantasy football team from the comfort of his dorm room.
Sophomore Cory Andrews celebrates good news for his fantasy football team from the comfort of his dorm room.

By Thomas Regan

Sophomore accounting and sports management double-major Cory Andrews started to pay close attention to his fantasy football leagues — maybe too close. The thrill of managing a team by making trades and adding players to his roster made the game addicting.

“I’ve had people get mad at me for being too active in my leagues and I was on it multiple times a day; it became an addiction,” Andrews said. “Last year, I knew I started making too many transactions and eventually, I got burned in a few trades and I knew I had to change something.”

The objective in fantasy football is for participants to pick NFL players who will, ideally, have the best seasons. Once people create or join a league, a draft occurs, and participants are given a draft pick to select players for their squad. Throughout the rounds, owners try to construct the optimal team.

In ESPN standard leagues, the scoring consists of one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving, six points for every touchdown and negative two points for every lost fumble. However, passing statistics earn a point for every 25 yards thrown, four points for every passing touchdown and negative two for every interception and lost fumble.

Weekly, participants go head-to-head with other owners within their league — usually 8 to 12 teams — with the objective of their team outscoring their opponent’s.

Within the league, the idea is to accumulate the best record, make the playoffs, and hopefully win the championship.

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) estimates 37 million people in the United States and Canada will play fantasy football this upcoming season. This number would be approximately 9.7 percent of both countries’ population.

The 9.7 percent of participants between the U.S. and Canada would suggest there are approximately 430 students at Rider who participate in fantasy football.

Dr. A.J. Moore, who has been involved in fantasy football since 1992 and is currently involved in three fantasy leagues, believes the game has come a long way since his inaugural season.

“Now its much more mainstream and it’s a regular part of broadcasting and telecasting the game,” Moore said. “A lot of the football coverage is seen with fantasy football as primary motive of the coverage.”

Moore believes fantasy football is such a popular activity for sports fans to participate in because of the front office simulation it provides its members.

“It empowers the fan, the fan thinks he’s smarter, the fan thinks he’s part of the game, the fan thinks he’s part of the decision-making process,” Moore said.

While fantasy football can be an entertaining way for sports fans to enjoy the NFL, it is not without negative implications.

According to the FSTA, fantasy sports participants will spend approximately 8.67 hours a week consuming fantasy, affecting work productivity and costing companies an estimated $13.4 billion a year.

Senior journalism major Steve Sica believes fantasy football allows him to find interest in more games than he normally would.

“I used to only care about my team and maybe division rivals, but doing fantasy football has me watching several games at once and giving almost every game meaning,” Sica said.

Fantasy football requires a lot of attention because of how closely owners must follow their players.

Andrews understands how distracting fantasy football can be for its participants.

“You have to, at the very least, check in every day to see if waivers are updated and if a certain player is available,” Andrews said. “You have to follow injury updates and weigh in on who will help you build the best lineup for the week.”

Just as fantasy football results in lost productivity at work, the same could be said for students and professors both in and out of the classroom.

Moore admits to usually having a fantasy football tab open whenever he is using his computer doing work.

“Every day I’ll have a window open on my desktop whenever I’m trying to make a trade,” Moore said.

In addition to being distracting, fantasy football makes it difficult to remain loyal to the participant’s NFL team.

“It makes you forget about your favorite team and makes the sport more neutral, rooting for other teams and players, even that of your hated enemies,” Andrews said.

Moore, on the other hand, tries his best to avoid any players on draft day who play for the division rivals of his favorite team, the San Diego Chargers.

“It’s probably not the wisest choice, but I try not to draft a Raider, a Bronco or a Chief,” Moore said. “I’m still a football fan primarily, first and foremost a Charger fan, but some people have lost allegiance to their teams.”

With the NFL season now moving into week four, Rider students will have to decide when it’s time to work and when it’s time to play.

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