by Sahil Veeramoney
For many, the month of November is a symbolic period of time.
It marks the peak of the autumn season, the iconic Thanksgiving holidays, the college applications process for seniors, and for some, this November will go down in the history books as the month when Donald J. Trump was elected as POTUS. But for about twenty percent of the American population, November has and always will represent one main thing: Fantasy Sports.
Now, the term “fantasy sports” is a broad one that encompasses several different athletic forms including soccer, baseball, and hockey. Statistically speaking however, majority of players in the US, including me, choose to partake in either Fantasy Basketball or Fantasy Football (sometimes both). The National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) start in September and October respectively. As a result, November is the month where an owner begins to get to know his or her team.
Year after year, I have repudiated allegations that my skills in Fantasy Football are lackluster despite having finished last in my league three years in a row. This year however, I decided to recognize my shortcomings and make strides in the right direction! I will be quitting Fantasy Football for the foreseeable future and dedicating my efforts into the one fantasy sport I have had some success with over the years: basketball.
To give some insight to those who are dying to know how the league is faring so far, obviously every OESian, I will be breaking down my Fantasy League owner by owner – most of whom are members of the OES US community. So without further ado, let’s meet the owners and their teams.
Team Edupuganti (2-0)
Vineet E. is a guy who I’m pretty certain at this point is good at everything he does. Owner of “Team E,” Vineet still refuses to enter his full last name into the ESPN website as I presume he believes a stalker will be monitoring his profile and proceed to abduct him.
Nonetheless, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge his formidable roster. Studded with renowned players in Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, and Andre Drummond, Vineet is undefeated in the first two weeks and poised to be a contender for the championship. This year our league decided to create a $15.00 fee to enter and it unfortunately looks like Vineet has his eyes set on cashing in on some of that money.
Team Finley (1-1)
Historically, Alex F. has struggled within the Fantasy Basketball realm. Cursed as forever fourth, Alex has consistently been in the middle of the pack and has had difficulty breaking into the top three. This may be a result of his false-confidence as many league owners share glances of disapproval and disbelief when Alex talks basketball at the lunch table. Jokes aside, the future is uncertain for the remarkably handsome young adult.
Although his team is built around powerhouses LeBron and Karl-Anthony Towns, his supporting players are unproven and inconsistent. If all the stars align however, his team has enough potential to make a run deep into the season and possibly break the curse that has plagued him since the inception of our annual tradition.
Team Bharadwaj (0-2)
Although things were looking promising for Shiva B. at the start of the season, the first two weeks have certainly been tumultuous. With multiple underperforming members including Jeff Teague, Nicolas Batum, and traitor LaMarcus Aldridge, the adept mridangam player has seen better days. However, other league owners see the production from his core players, mainly Anthony Davis, and would be foolish to underestimate the capabilities of his team. Despite the misleading record, Shiva’s team working at one-hundred percent is a force to be reckoned with.
Team Reichman (1-1)
Debate king Louis. R has annoyingly won the majority of our fantasy leagues over the years. This may be a direct result of the fact that in the past all owners in our league have typically stopped caring about their teams after the first two months. Louis is not like “all owners.” Louis is that guy adding and dropping players late into to the season, monitoring sleeper picks, and consistently substituting his roster despite having no competition whatsoever.
This year is different. The cash-reward was implemented to mitigate burnout and keep all players engaged throughout the season. We’ll see how he fares in an active league. Louis doesn’t have a “brand-name” roster so to speak but he unfortunately defeated me last week and I have to respect the consistent production from his players. However, I still credit my loss to the fact that his players had more games than mine did and I am looking forward to getting revenge in our rematch.
Team Veeramoney (1-1)
After opening week, I was convinced that my team was nearly unstoppable. The decision to take Russell Westbrook with the first pick in the draft was paying off as he was averaging insane numbers and showed no signs of slowing down. And my other team members, especially those who went untouched in the draft, were giving me spectacular production as well; I ended the week with higher cumulative points than any owner in the league.
Unfortunately last week showed me the somewhat volatile nature of my team after I lost by a moderate margin to Louis. This week I am facing Vineet, the only owner left in the league with undefeated record. Regardless of the outcome of the match, I am confident I have a shot of netting the championship prize at the end of the season.
Team Mehari (1-1)
“My team will be top 2.” The audacious prediction of owner Simon M. was met with ridicule and disbelief within the league group message. With the choice of taking Kawhi Leonard with the sixth pick over namely Harden who is currently averaging an insane 31.6 points and 12.7 assists per game, Simon may have tried to over-analyze some players for his roster. And deciding to take a severely underperforming Rajon Rondo in the fourth round of the draft is an additional cause for concern.
Currently, in week three, things are looking dire as Simon is behind every other team by at least 200 cumulative fantasy points. However, Simon managed to pick-up a week-one win over Alex and maybe has the capacity to qualify for playoffs if his players can start living up to their expectations.
Team Ewnetu (1-1)
Hailing from Seattle, Washington is the school’s beloved student body president, Daniel E. With a team centered around Steph Curry, Jimmy Butler, and Paul George, Big D has the potential to make some waves and break into the playoff semifinals. Big D might be regretting taking Steph Curry so early in the draft as the latter’s fantasy value seems to have diminished on a star-studded Golden States Warriors team.
Despite this setback, Daniel has been very vocal about the strength of his team and his belief in the value of each player on the roster. Having had struggled to find some footing in our league’s over the past couple of years, Big D is poised to have the best season in his Fantasy Basketball history.
Team X (1-1)
For confidentiality reasons, the last member of our league (not part of the OES community) wishes to be undisclosed. Team X, built around Chris Paul and the red-hot James Harden, sputtered to life in week two and showed signs of immense potential. Similar to Alex’s team however, X’s supporting cast is unreliable and could theoretically cause a loss to any team in the league (even Simon’s lol).
If James Harden continues to provide insane statistics night-in and night-out, X could prove to be a worthy contender. Unfortunately, or fortunately for me, this seems unlikely and I predict Harden’s value to plateau over the course of the upcoming weeks. As a result, I see a diminishing future for Team X in terms of fantasy production.
If you made it to end, thank you for reading! I will most likely provide an update of our Fantasy Basketball league later on in the season.