Students and Faculty Prepare for Fantasy Football Season

By Phil Schoch – Staff Writer

As the fall semester kicks off for the university, an even more important season begins for some people in the university’s community – that being fantasy football. 

That’s right, the reason some people scream at their TVs, sometimes rooting against their own team for an individual to put up monster statistics, is back. 

One might not expect philosophy professor Dr. Andrew LaZella to boast to his senior SJLA class about his success last year as the champion of a faculty-run fantasy league, but he admittedly does it regularly. Last year was his first time he was crowned champion in the league since it was created back in 2015. 

New to this year for the faculty-run league is now the inclusion of a trophy for the champion. Instead of bragging rights, faculty can now show off their fantasy prowess to the student body by putting it on display in their office. LaZella looks to start that tradition.  

In bold words, the front of the trophy reads, “Ignatian Values in Fantasy” with a subtitle “To the victor belong the spoils.” 

At almost two feet tall, this trophy is one of the first things people notice when heading into LaZella’s office. 

“I’m pretty proud of all the things I’ve done in my life between getting a Ph.D. and getting a job… and having a child, I would have to put this at the top of my list.” LaZella said jokingly, staring at his prize trophy. 

Yes, people take fantasy football very seriously. Especially for the person unfortunate enough to finish last in their leagues. Then it becomes their worst nightmare. 

For those people, some leagues tend to have special punishments for those unlucky souls. 

Perhaps you have seen it on social media. Videos of people doing embarrassing and humiliating tasks because they lost in their fantasy league. 

LaZella pondered a bit when asked about any punishments for those in last place. 

“I think we might want to devise some, especially for [Dr.] Joe Kraus [of the English department,] who will definitely come in last this year.” LaZella said, also jokingly. 

Drafting is one of the trickiest aspects of fantasy football, but at the same time very exciting for LaZella. It’s one of my favorite times of the year as well. 

For me, it’s very important to get the best player available, and have a balanced draft. A lesson I learned from last year is that tight ends are one of the best positions to have the best players. The talent drop-off is too steep to not consider the elite talent there, such as Mark Andres of the Baltimore Ravens or Travis Kelce from the Kansas City Chiefs. 

However, LaZella went a different route, not prioritizing tight end as much, and preferring receivers. 

“I drafted 12th this year because of my championship last year… I wanted to have at least one running back in my first two picks because I knew [wide] receivers were much stronger in later rounds.” LaZella said. 

It was a tricky spot, as LaZella was in a running back “dead zone,” which he explained as “several rounds, where running back gets really weak but there is a strength of wide receivers.” 

For newcomers, this is certainly a lot to take in, with knowing when to pick and who to pick. 

My own word of advice is to pay close attention to the waiver wires, especially if someone else in the league drops someone important. 

Waiver wires are the periods between weeks when people can pick up and drop players but must follow through a waiver process. Depending on the order of the waivers, someone higher in the list could take the player that others wanted to take as well. 

LaZella only had one word of advice for any newcomers. 

“Don’t play with [Father] Ron McKinney because he used to be in our league, but he quit because we had too many rules about waivers, and he wanted to have unlimited waiver picks.” LaZella said.