Bonding through fantasy football

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Anthony J. Hyatt
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
With the college football season kicking off Sept. 1 and the professional football season about to begin, a group of Airmen here took their love for the game to another league -- the fantasy football league.

A collection of Airmen, spouses and contractors gathered together Sept. 2 to take part in a friendly fantasy football draft to build camaraderie.

Fantasy football is an interactive, virtual competition in which people manage professional football players against others.

Tech. Sgt. Gregory Hasecuster, 39th Comptroller Squadron quality assurance manager, coordinated his own fantasy football league this year and invited players to his house for a fantasy draft.

"The thing I like most about fantasy football is it makes the games more interesting. I would watch the games anyways because I love football. Although I am an Indianapolis Colts fan, I can root for other teams because I have one of their players on my fantasy team," said Hasecuster.

Fantasy drafts can be done two ways: online or in person. While both types of drafts have the same end result, there are some differences.

With an online draft, players can participate in a draft from the comfort of their home. Players log on to the specific website chosen to play fantasy football at the time their draft was set. It is recommended to log on 15 minutes prior.

When the draft begins online, players are notified of the draft order and are notified of their turn to draft. Depending on the leagues, the time to draft players can vary. If you don't make a draft in the time allotted, the best player available is drafted for your team. So be alert and prepared.

Live drafts occur at a set time, date and place. These types of drafts offer those participating an opportunity to meet opponents face-to-face to enjoy a professional draft atmosphere. Although these drafts may last longer than online drafts, they typically include plenty of finger-foods and friendly banter.

Instead of the computer arranging player's draft picks, in live drafts the players write or place a sticker of the player's name they draft on a large draft board. Each player takes his or her turn to draft. This will continue until the number of rounds, which is pre-determined, is complete.

When everyone's team is drafted, the commissioner or person in charge of the league will input all the draft picks online. From there, individuals can view their team, make their starting line-up, add players, drop players and post comments.

"Although online drafting can be more convenient because you don't have to get everyone in the same place at the same time, in-person drafts require a little more skill level; and quite honestly, they are a lot more fun," said Senior Airman William O'Brien, 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs journalist. "I am currently participating in five different fantasy football leagues, and I have won more than 10 championships in the past five years."

Every fantasy football league has their own scoring rules, so scoring can vary depending on your league. For instance, a touchdown can count as four points in one league, but as six points in another. This is usually determined by the commissioner beforehand, and participants are recommended to review league rules and scoring prior to the draft.

A fantasy player can gain points in various ways. Points are gained by scoring passing or rushing touchdowns; throwing, rushing or receiving yards; kicking field goals and points after touchdowns; getting sacks, making interceptions and tackles; and holding a team to a specific amount of points.

When the actual professional football season starts Sept. 8, fantasy football will start. Each week one player's fantasy team will go up against another's team. The team who has accumulated more fantasy points at the end of the week is determined the winner.

Every week, your team is matched up against a new opponent. By week 14 of the football season, in most leagues the top eight teams with the best win-to-loss ratio will qualify for the league playoffs. This can vary depending on league rules. The winner of the playoffs is named the champion.

"I play fantasy football to get out and hang with the guys. It's a good change of pace from work," said Staff Sgt. Clay DeRogatis, 39th CPTS deputy disbursing officer. "Also, I play because I enjoy dominating the competition while showing my superiority to all my friends."

Many free leagues are still open to play and will remain open after the season has begun. Anyone can join a league today and participate in the experience by visiting any website that supports fantasy football.