Fantasy fates: The creative ways that students are playing fantasy football

Students share the creative ways they are playing fantasy football.

Illustration by Michael Lolley

Students share the creative ways they are playing fantasy football.

Some fantasy football leagues reward for the winner, but these leagues have a unique catch: a punishment for the loser. Students joined their respective leagues back in August with one common goal in mind: no matter what, do not come in last.

Fantasy football leagues work the same as any football league would — you draft a team and each week you match up with someone. Whoever has the most points at the end of the week wins. Points are based on how well your players perform in their National Football League (NFL) matchups, and at the end of the season the standings are based on win percentage. Having the worst win percentage means that you get stuck with the punishment.

“Whoever comes in last place at the end of the year has to spend 24 hours in a Waffle House,” senior Dawson Potter said. “But for every waffle they eat, they get one hour taken off of their timer. I can’t even imagine having to do the punishment, I just don’t think I have the stomach or the patience for that.”

Other leagues have similar punishments. In senior Ben Key’s four-person league, whoever finishes in last place has to spend 12 hours in a McDonald’s, and for every 10-piece McNugget meal that they eat, they get an hour taken off of their timer.

“All year, it’s been my goal to not come in last. I really don’t care about coming in first place at this point; I’m just worried about avoiding the punishment at any cost,” Key said.

Other leagues are doing punishments based around embarrassment, like wearing an ugly outfit or doing something absurd in public.

“In our league, the loser has to go to the mall and confess their love to a complete stranger,” senior Hudson Ribble said. “We have to keep doing it until the person gives a good reaction or we cause a scene.”

Most people in these leagues can cruise into the end of the season with no worries and no chance of falling into last place. But for others, this is the most stressful part of their season.

“I’m in last place right now and I’m literally doing everything possible to make a push forward and not have to do this Waffle House [punishment],” senior Alex Wester said. “The idea of spending that much time there and having to eat that much [food] sounds miserable, and I really just do not want to do it.”

Other people in last place have begun bargaining and trying to make their punishments less extreme.

“At this point, I just want to get the amount of time down. 12 hours in a McDonald’s is not my description of a perfect day, and I definitely can’t eat that much food,” senior Nathan Basler said. “I’ve offered to pay them and do other punishments instead. I’m really doing anything to get out of that McDonald’s in as little time as possible.”

What started as a way to add stakes but save money has turned into a competitive challenge for every fantasy league. And with the season coming to an end, the goal for everyone is to avoid being handed the short end of the stick.

“I’ve spent all year with the same goal in mind,” Potter said. “I’m only worried about not coming in last.”