Students compete in fantasy football leagues

As the NFL season draws to a close, students share details about their leagues, including strategies and what’s in store for the winners and losers


Staff photo

Seniors Patrick McHugh and Ben Irastorza discuss their fantasy football rankings in the cafeteria one day after school. The two have been in a league together with some of their cross country teammates since sophomore year.

Kyle Knuth, Staff Writer

With the NFL season in full swing, fans and viewers alike find new ways to enjoy the game. Some place bets on scores and records while others try to predict games outright; however, no form of sports betting comes anywhere close to the classic fantasy football. 

The concept for fantasy football is simple: users draft a team of players at the start of the season that they think will award them enough points in weekly head-to-head matchups to move on to the playoffs and hopefully win their league championship. Leagues are usually anywhere from 8-12 users with differing rules constituting trades and other fantasy football minutia. There are many fantasy football leagues at St. Pius, and these groups enjoy putting their own spin on the game to make it more fun.

Senior Shaun Cook started a fantasy football league this year with members like fellow golf teammate junior Carter Kontur. Their league has 12 players, and Cook makes it interesting for everyone involved. After every game, he puts together a “Weekly Report” for the league consisting of division standings, a power rankings system that ranks teams based on their win-loss record and their strength of schedule, and a projected playoff bracket. 

“It’s a fun way to make the league more interesting, and it allows me to give advice and make some jokes about players in last,” said an optimistic Cook, who currently resides in the middle of the standings. 

Cook’s league has experienced a number of trades throughout the season, particularly because of Kontur who has a reputation for bombarding his leaguemates with dozens of large trades every week. Kontur started the season projected to finish 10th overall, which would put him out of the league playoffs and into the loser’s bracket, making paying money to the winners a real possibility. Luckily, these trades have paid off and Kontur has enjoyed success in recent weeks.

“On draft day I drafted a really bad team,” said Kontur, “so I just started trading with people and now these trades are the reason that I’m now number one in the league.” He added, “I have depth for days.”

Other fantasy football leagues around St. Pius incur punishments for the loser. Seniors Ben Irastorza and Patrick Kelly started a fantasy football league during their sophomore year that included cross country runners. In their league, the reward for the winner is that he is allowed to pick a punishment for the loser. 

Irastorza, who currently sits in 6th place, won the league in its first year, so he had lots of choices to choose from. 

“Out of all my options,” he said, “I decided to make the loser of our league wear a dress to cross country practice.”

The next year, Irastorza again found himself in the mix for a championship but was dethroned in the finals by a vastly superior team. 

“This past year,” Irastorza said, “We made the loser eat the Paqui One Chip Challenge, which is the world’s hottest chip.” 

Success in fantasy football is never taken for granted, and users will take whatever means it takes to get there. Whether it’s just luck, skill, or an odd superstition, people find ways to outsmart the competition and take the prize or avoid the punishment. Sophomore Charlie Hendrix never had a chance to change his name at the start of the season last year. With the default name “Team Hendrix,” Charlie went 4-0 in his first four games and ended up winning the championship.

“I’ve just kept the name ever since going through last year and onto this year, and it’s going really well,” said an optimistic Hendrix who recently traded for a healthy Christian McCaffery. 

No matter who wins or loses, fantasy football changes the NFL experience for the better and can make Sundays more enjoyable even if your favorite team loses. It diversifies the game and gives users a new take on their beloved game. 

“Fantasy football is great because it actually makes you watch other NFL teams every Sunday,” said Kelly, who currently sits in the middle of the standings this year. 

The combination of stress, logic, and charisma that fantasy football encourages is unmatched to any form of sports betting. Through ways like trading, weekly reports, and rewards and punishments, students at Pius make the long season more interesting and enjoyable for everyone involved.