The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School

The Scratching Post

The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School

The Scratching Post

The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School

The Scratching Post

Students tackle fantasy football at VHHS

Charlie Collier
Scott Wolfe (9) checks his lineup during lunch

Fall normally means cold temperatures, orange leaves, and pumpkin spice, but for fantasy football players, it means the start of a brand new season.

Brayden Dechter (11) started playing fantasy football in 4th grade, and is currently in four different leagues.

“It adds another element to watching football. Because obviously you have the team you support, but then now you have a group of players that you’re constantly rooting for, too, which then expands your love for the game past just your team,” said Dechter.

Bryce Drexler (12) is another huge fantasy football fan who’s been playing since 2014.

“I’ve always loved the game of football, and it’s just a fun way to connect with my family and friends,” said Drexler.

To start, a new player needs to join a league, usually run by friends or family. There’s a wide variety of leagues that range from casual to incredibly competitive.

Some leagues add prizes to increase the stakes for players, which means they have to pay to play for a cash pool at the end.

“Since I’ve started playing, my leagues have gotten more and more competitive. In one of them, I split a team with my dad and it is pretty expensive,” said Drexler.

Sashank Kurra (12) has been in the same league with his friends since 6th grade.

“In my main league, each person puts in $30. It’s a 10-person league, so I want that money,” said Kurra.

Lighthearted punishments for the worst team are also common. In Drexler’s league, the loser has to eat a really spicy tortilla chip. In Dechter’s, the loser has to go to Six Flags dressed like the rapper Ice Spice. 

Once in a league, the next step is picking an initial team of players in the draft. There’s a lot of different strategies and plans for drafting the best team, but both Kurra and Dechter shared one similar sentiment.

“Don’t draft quarterbacks until round 7 or 8. Get your wide receivers and running backs early,” said Kurra.

“Don’t take a QB early. That’s a common beginner mistake,” said Dechter. 

Once the season starts, a competitor’s mission is to manage their team and set the lineup that will net them the most possible points in each week’s game. Additionally, Injured players take up space on your team while providing no benefit, with coaches having to make the decision to either cut them off the team, or wait to see if they recover.

“I didn’t get very good picks this year. I would say right now the best on my team is probably like Saquon [Barkley], but he’s been injured a lot,” said Drexler.

Trading players between teams is also common, but this opens the door for experienced players to take advantage of new players.

“Research trades because if you’re new, a lot of people will start to try and scam you on your trades,” said Dechter.

However, the best way to win, according to Dechter, is to be lucky.

“A lot of it’s luck, if I’m being honest. 60% in my opinion,” said Dechter.