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Drafting players: COVID-19 affects Fantasy Football players’ lineups


By George Zhang, Staff Reporter

It was a grim Sunday on Oct. 4 in the final quarter for Eagles fans.  Quarterback Carson Wentz was underperforming throughout the game against the San Francisco 49ers, former NFC champs  The Eagles were trailing 11-14 with five minutes remaining in the game. It was second-and-18 and Wentz threw a long pass from the 50-yard line to Travis Fulgham.  Caught and into the endzone! Philly then went on to beat the 49ers 25-20. This day was also a victory for Fantasy Football players that had Wentz and Fulgham in their lineup. 

 `Stoga has a vibrant population of people who enjoy playing Fantasy Football. Fantasy Football is a game where players act as a team’s manager and draft real NFL players into their lineup. The managers then get points for the performance of each player in a real game. For example, players get one point for every ten yards rushed or received, and if the player is injured or unable to play, they get no points for that game. These rules have remained relatively the same even after the emergence of COVID-19, but the game itself changed dramatically.

COVID-19 has had a significant effect on Fantasy Football and NFL in general, resulting in cancellation of games, players being unable to play, and so much more.  Freshman Sachin Blake believes that COVID-19 influenced the injuries of many NFL players who are important in fantasy.

“I feel as though because the players didn’t have as much of a preseason, they didn’t get as warmed up for the season. They didn’t get as ready as they usually do and prepare. And because of that, there’s been so many injuries, especially just some star players that are super relevant in fantasy,” Blake said.  “Christian McCaffrey went out really early, and he’s been out for a lot of the season. Dalvin Cook’s missed time. Joe Mixon’s missed time. So many players that are huge in fantasy that were really early picks have missed a lot of time.”

Freshman Benner Miller believes that COVID-19 affects the NFL by having players take unexpected “bye” weeks, weeks where a team does not play. He also believes a significant effect of COVID-19 on Fantasy Football is requiring free agents, players who are not currently signed to an NFL team, to pass through seven days of negative COVID-19 tests.

COVID-19 has been both beneficial and detrimental to Fantasy Football players’ lineups. Blake, for example, saw benefits.

“I think I’ve gotten lucky with that (COVID-19 in fantasy). I know that (my friend) had Cam Newton who got COVID.  So I played him one week and he lost his starting quarterback so that gave me an easy win. So I guess I’ve benefited more from it than I’ve actually got hurt by it,” Blake said.

However, this was not the same case for Miller.

“Le’Veon Bell: when he went into free agency, I couldn’t use him for two weeks. I believe Derrick Henry and the Titans got shut down and had an unexpected bye. Same with Melvin Gordon and the Broncos,” Miller said.  “I’ve had situations where I could have won, but my players were out because of COVID.”

But in some situations, like that of freshman Mohit Manna, COVID-19 really didn’t have that much of an effect on Fantasy Football lineups.

“My lineup was really good, and I had the top performers but Sony Michel, and Cam Newton. (got put on the COVID list) But they were on my bench so I was kinda lucky,” Manna said. “If I didn’t have them, I would have to sign a couple of more players, and it would be kind of bad.”

Fantasy Football is also a great way to keep in touch with friends during Covid-19 and it is a good social outlet in general. Senior Ty Seifert enjoys playing Fantasy Football because he gets to hang-out with his friends while being competitive at the same time.

“I enjoy hanging out with my friends and it’s a friendly competition so we can just hang out and just watch the game together and compete.  Just from the camaraderie you get competing against people you know, it’s probably my favorite part,” said Seifert.  “You could also do money leagues, which makes it more competitive.  So I think that’s definitely a fun part about being with your friends because you can’t get that with random people online.” 

For Senior Charlie Sisian, the favorite thing about being in a league with friends is the friendly banter and trash-talk. 

“I think it’s probably the trash talk because it’s all joking but it’s pretty fun especially if you’re a good team who can go and win week in week out.  It’s definitely fun to kind of go make fun of your friends”, said Sisian.

There are also many leagues in Fantasy Football that put things like money on the line.  Most leagues have every player chip in a couple of dollars and the winner of the league would get all of it.  And then there are some leagues, like Sisian’s, which give a punishment to the loser.  Last year’s punishment was the loser roleplaying as a butler at their Superbowl party.

“My league that I’m in, we do a $20 buy-in each year so the winner gets and then we also have a punishment for the person who comes in last that changes on a year to year basis.  But we always come up with something creative to try to make people try to not lose even if they know they’re not gonna win,” said Sisian. “Last year, I think we had someone be a butler at our Super Bowl party and they had to go get everyone food and drinks whenever we asked.”

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About the Contributor
George Zhang
George Zhang, Co-Director of Staff Development
George Zhang is a senior and the Co-Director of Staff Development of The Spoke. He enjoys covering a wide variety of topics ranging from news to sports. Outside of The Spoke, George enjoys taking pictures with his trusty Canon 90D, inhaling Graham Central Station ice cream at Handels, registering youth voters through New Voters and playing basketball at Wilson Farm Park. He also leads a variety of clubs such as the National Honor Society of which he is the vice-president and Future Business Leaders of America of which he is the co-president.