WKU students share the joys of fantasy football

Lynda Eernisse, Sports reporter

Each and every year, thousands of college students gather around their computers to form their own fantasy football teams. 

According to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Industry, an estimated 45.9 million adults in the United States played fantasy sports in 2019, and of that number 78% were playing fantasy football. 

Whether it’s for fun or money, most everyone who participates shares the same love and enthusiasm for the game. Here at Western Kentucky University, the story is no different.

Will Stewart, a business major and freshman at WKU, has played fantasy football for almost six years and started at a very young age. 

“I knew a lot about sports when I was really young, so as more of my friends kind of figured out sports, I started to play more with them and that has expanded the amount of fantasy football I play,” Stewart said.

Stewart is currently in five different leagues and has participated in close to 30 of them since he first got involved with the hobby, playing with strangers, friends and family members. 

“I’m a big gambler, and I’ve always been pretty smart with sports…it’s partially about beating my friends and taking their money, but it’s also because I feel like I have a really good chance at doing it,” Stewart said. “Plus, it gives me something to do when the Bears aren’t on.”

Stewart has found big success in his fantasy career, raking in money in amounts that may surprise casual players.

“There was one year that I came in first place in three out of four of my leagues, and I won my dad’s league one time, and it was about $5,000,” Stewart said.

Connor Wosik, a business management major and freshman at WKU, has been participating in leagues since his middle school years. His love for football serves as the main motivation, but he also admits he enjoys the risks that go along with playing.

“Of course money’s in my head, but it’s still a fun experience – with fantasy football I get to watch anything and enjoy it,” Wosik said.

Wosik has been in at least 20 different leagues with his friends, family or just anyone that invites him to play over the years.

“In most of the leagues [I play in] there is money at stake, there’s always these leagues I do just for fun but I usually don’t like it unless there’s something on the line because people don’t take it as [seriously].” Wosik said. 

Another thing Wosik enjoys about the fantasy football experience is his friends’ draft-night traditions.

“On draft night we get together, have some food, watch some college football, just to try and make it fun for all of us and be with each other while we’re drafting,” Wosik said.

On the other hand, some students participate in leagues just to have fun and connect with friends, rather than to gamble or make money. This is how Sean Dillon, a data analytics major and senior at WKU, approaches the game.

“I’m not really into the whole playing and gambling thing, I just play to have fun and enjoy myself,” Dillon said. He is currently in a league with his brothers in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

“When I first started it was just people in my church, but then when I got to college I started joining teams with friends,” Dillon said. “This year I am doing it with my fraternity brothers in Fiji.”

Regardless of who he’s playing with, Dillon has started his own drafting tradition in order to stay loyal to his main team. 

“My mom is from Wisconsin, so I will try to pick one Packers player every year, and that is usually Aaron Rodgers because he is pretty consistent,” Dillon said. 

Sports reporter Lynda Eernisse can be reached at [email protected]