Fantasy football serves as a competitive outlet for students

Weekly competition adds a different element to the NFL season

Tori Aerni and Braden Shaw

As the Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch ran into the end zone for a touchdown, senior Ben Gillig cheered. Gillig usually wasn’t a fan of the Seahawks, but being a part of a fantasy football league changed his rooting interest momentarily.

Seniors Ben Gillig, Spencer Boaz, Connor Julian, Hunter Canning, Luke Leininger, Derrell McLemore, Brian FitzSimmons, Spencer Hamilton and Logan Harvey make up one fantasy football league of Mill Valley students. Gillig has the league football as a competitive way to keep up with the NFL.

In fantasy football, each participant drafts a team of a set number of NFL players, which becomes their initial roster for the season. Within the league, teams are put up against each other. League members gain points based on their lineups’ performance in NFL games. The team that receives the most points in a matchup wins for the week.

It’s fun to take football an extra step and [get] more involved with the NFL and specific players.”

— Senior Ben Gillig

Along with Gillig’s league, seniors Nick Vitale, Clay McGraw, Nick Lecuru, Cameron Hite, Shane Calkins, Brock Miles, Tyler Shurley and Joe Wilson formed their own league last season for friendly competition.

In preparation for the season, participants vary in their draft strategies. While some base their picks on prior knowledge of players, others spend significant amounts of time researching players in order to make the best selections on draft day. Vitale said some of his top prospects included “the greatest of all time” Devonta Freeman, along with Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell and Randall Cobb.

“I spent about an upwards of about six hours on the computer looking at players,” Vitale said. “I really wanted Le’Veon Bell but I couldn’t get him.”

After seeing other students form leagues, juniors Daniel Archibong, Jansen McCabe, Blake Montgomery, Draek James, Jack Cooper, Ryan Younger and Joey Pentola decided to begin a league this season.

With the goal being to score more points than your opponent’s team, running backs and quarterbacks are the most important to draft.

“I usually draft a plethora of quarterbacks,” Archibong said. “I also have a lot of running backs — [both are] main sources of points.”

Participants have different levels of dedication once the season begins. Vitale’s strategy throughout the season is to “wing it.” FitzSimmons, on the other hand,  checks on his roster frequently, proving to be highly dedicated.

“I spend about half an hour every day checking the waiver wire to see if I can make the right picks for this week to see if I can win,” FitzSimmons said. “Game day is very stressful. You’re constantly checking and refreshing your lineup throughout the day.”

With all of the competition, Gillig and his fellow league members use fantasy football as an opportunity to “cheer for certain teams or certain players that [you] normally wouldn’t” — even if it is only momentarily.

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