Some students fantasize instead of study.

Scott adds dashes of rosemary, salt and red pepper flakes to his marinating chicken pieces for lunch. He stirs the ingredients in a pan on the hot electric coils of his stove, tossing some pasta into the mix.

The chef returns to his kitchen hours later, standing in front of the stove once again. His townhouse now filled with nine other men, they expect the best out of him as they all stare at their laptop screens.

The stove coils slowly heat up though never reaching a temperature hot enough to cook. However, the competitive fire in the room warms the area.

The timer counts down on the computers… 3, 2, 1.

This timer does not indicate a cooked meal, though. Instead, a voice echoes from the laptops. “Are you ready to get started? 2011 NFL draft is officially open.”

With his laptop roaring and battery continuing to warm his stovetop desk, Scott Wozer the chef becomes the manager of Laces Out.

The fantasy football draft begins.

Fantasy leagues allow people to become general manager and coach of a sports team. Participants pick their own teams comprised of players from real professional teams, according to NFL.com. The National Football League uses real statistics of over 1,000 players during the season, converting touchdowns, interceptions and other plays into a point system.

However, playing alone could be boring. Instead, fantasizers form groups, or leagues, with perhaps a betting pool and hope their players have a great season.

A league enlists for a specific time to draft players on a website supporting this fantasy, such as NFL.com. At the time of the draft opening, each manager has 1 minute and 30 seconds for every draft round to choose players, says senior finance major Wozer.

Kyle Zappia had the idea of commissioning a fantasy league with his friends at St. Bonaventure University. Rooting for the Buffalo Bills and watching many disappointing losses, Zappia has gradually lost interest in following football.

“Having a fantasy league will keep me interested in an entire football season, let me have fun and perhaps win some money,” says the senior journalism/ mass communication major.

The general manager and coach for the Prairie Dogs, Zappia did not strategize very much before the draft unlike his roommate and competing fantasy coach.

As soon as Zappia told Anthony Burke over the summer about the league idea, the fantasy fanatic bought a magazine to prepare for the best possible draft.

Previously participating in dozens of fantasy leagues for baseball and football, Burke knew how to strategize. He intended to make his own player-ranking system based on his own criteria instead of using the one provided by the NFL.com, says the journalism/ mass communication and integrated marketing communications dual major.

The draft opened at 11:30 p.m. Burke claimed the fought-over comfy green chair 2 hours before. Snagging the chair—not doing first-week homework—gripped his mind. The geared-up manager of the Buffalo Jills reviewed his plan of action once again before the timed picks ticked.

“No matter how prepared I could make myself, I still had a draft round that came down to the last 5 seconds to pick a player,” says Burke.

What about when someone’s laptop runs low on battery power? And his pick will be, at the maximum, in 3 minutes depending on how quickly the two managers before him choose their players.

Wozer sees his stunned reflection in his computer screen, as black as the coils on his stovetop desk.

The dedicated drafter sprints from the oven.

He makes a full 180-degree turn around a corner into the main common area, whizzes past his fantasy friends and darts to his room.

Fumbling with tangled cords, Wozer tries to grab the one that will save his draft round.

With his power source in hand, he wonders if his 1-minute-30-second countdown has already started.

It is the 12th of 15 drafting rounds. Having the website automatically draft now for a manager could mean ending up with an unneeded, unwanted, only semi-decent player.

Worried Wozer dashes back to his computer. He pushes one end of his cord into the wall and the other into the side of his unreliable buddy.

The screen turns on.

He picks his player with time to spare.

The 15th round completes each of the managers’ rosters. After viewing each other’s picks, a few notice that someone picked a player that got bumped down to the practice team.

Clearly a newb.

Examining competing teams, the new coaches have finished their version of homework for the first week of school.

Time for bed—or some beers. And so they wait for the first NFL football game of the season on September 8.

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