Fantasy football provides outlet for sports enthusiasts

Odi Opole, Web Editor

Quarterback, running back, receivers, tight ends and, of course, the defensive line.
During the season, those positions are watched closely. Stats are constantly collected and analyzed because they can be used to determine whether or not each player will remain on his original team.
Long passing, rush plays, touchdowns, receptions.
At the end of it all, one team in the league reigns victorious.
Some years it changes, some years it doesn’t.
However, one thing doesn’t change: fantasy football’s popularity among NFL fans.
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 19 million people in the US and Canada play the game.
History teacher Jason Peres said fantasy football is entertaining because it allows friends to get together and connect.
“To say it’s fun — I just don’t think that does it justice,” he said. “I think we, as humans, have an innate competitive drive. Fantasy football fuels that competitive desire.”
Peres said he began playing when some friends intro- duced him to it in college.
“I knew nothing about it,” Peres said. “[They] explained it to me, and it was really just a competition among friends. I played it that year in college and I loved it, and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Peres plays in two leagues — one in-school league and one that he organizes with his friends outside BV. He said he enjoys the second league because he and his friends get to socialize in a different setting.
“We always have a draft day,” he said. “It’s really cool because you get to see the girls getting so into it. Honestly, I think my wife is more competitive than me, because I just make my roster and walk away. Kathy’s always the one crunching numbers and looking up stats and all that.”
Sophomore Cale Reber said he started playing fantasy football simply because a friend asked him to join his
league. Before the season starts, he has a draft party with other members of his league to choose their players.
“We usually just meet at [a friend’s] house, and there are snacks,” he said. “It’s not really a party, but we all get together around the computer and draft.”
Reber said playing fantasy football makes the real-life NFL games more interesting.
“It makes me want to watch football more than I nor- mally would,” he said. “On Sundays I just watch football and kind of watch my players, too. It makes it more fun.”
Reber said his league makes a cash pool that goes out to the top three players at the end of the playoffs.
“It definitely makes it more competitive,” he said.
Peres said even though a cash prize makes people more competitive, bragging rights motivate participants just as much.
“Believe it or not, when you lose in a fantasy football week, you feel bad,” he said. “You’re like, ‘Oh man, how did that happen?’ But every week is a new opportunity, and when you win, it feels good.”