Fantasy Football is Back. How Do Your Picks Compare?

With the 2022-2023 NFL season underway, fans are excited to follow their favorite teams and players. For many, Fantasy Football is a large part of the experience, adding an extra layer of excitement to the season for over 40 million Americans.

Fantasy Football is a game that enables fans to own and manage their own custom football teams. Each participant drafts a team composed of their favorite NFL players, and based on their on-field performance in a given week, fans score points and compete against one other person in their league per week.

Points are awarded for offensive players for completing passes, rushing yards, reception yards, field goals and extra points. Defensively, points are awarded for sacks, points allowed, fumbles and interceptions. The team with the most accumulated points at the end of the NFL week is the winner.

This makes Fantasy Football a different type of competition that offers something for fans across the board. For many Sidwell students, however, competition is not the only reason why they play Fantasy Football.

“One of the biggest appeals of Fantasy Football is playing with and against your friends, mixed with the strategic element of setting your team and making trades,” freshman Rafi Cressall said. “It’s just a really good time,” he added.

Cressall also discussed the community that exists within a league that helps fuel the competition and brings football fans closer together.

In addition to bragging rights, many leagues have incentives to encourage winning and to avoid losing. League winners may receive a trophy as a token of their victory or even a cash prize. In many leagues, the person who comes in last place usually will have to complete a challenge of the winner’s choice.

In one former Sidwell student’s league, the loser had to dress as Pikachu and perform the Pokémon theme song at Arts Guild, for example. These aspects of Fantasy keep things competitive throughout the year.

Junior Mikey Levy described Draft Day as “the most exciting day of Fantasy season where everyone is super involved.” Members of a league will gather either in person or virtually to pick their players for the season.

Each year before Draft Day, one question looms: Who will be the No. 1 overall pick? This year, this question has been a point of discussion with many different answers. Twenty Sidwell students were asked for their opinion on the matter and gave many different responses. The most common answer was Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, but other common answers included Minnestoa Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson and Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler.

From sports analysts at Sporting News, other No. 1 draft pick prospects also include running back Christian McCaffrey, running back Najee Harris and wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes are projected to produce high scores all season from the quarterback position. For the tight end position, Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews were the most desirable picks. Top defensive picks include the Buffalo Bills’ and Cowboys’ defenses, who are both projected to produce highly for Fantasy scoring with sacks and interceptions.

“It really just depends on the league,” junior William Friedman said. “There are plenty of great picks, and even if you don’t have the first overall selection, you can have a really good draft,” he added.

Whether participating in Fantasy Football for the prize and competition or for the social interaction, community and strategic planning, there is something for everybody.