Draft day drama disrupts WJ fantasy football league

Luke Liden

More stories from Luke Liden


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Fantasy football, while created in the 1960s, has remained a staple of American football culture to this day.

On a cool fall evening earlier this year, Walter Johnson High School junior Jackson Van Wagener waited patiently on his back porch to find out if he was going to get what he had been praying for: first pick in his friends’ fantasy football league. When his app refreshed at 7:30 that evening, he saw what he had feared: once again the league commissioner had secured the coveted first draft pick slot. “Of course!” Jackson exclaimed, frustrated.

When there is just one supreme power in an organization, many believe corruption is apt to ensue. The “Dubs” fantasy football league has been run by the same commissioner, Cooper Simons, for three years and as the league grows, so does unrest among league members regarding the morals of said commissioner. With money and the euphoric feeling of surpassing your peers on the line, many of its members believe it is reasonable to question whether Simons has been cheating throughout the league’s history.

Each year 10 league members put $30 each into the prize pool for the winner of the league, meaning there is a $300 reward on the line each year.Simons sets the rules, creates the draft order and deals with day to day management of the league. According to league member and Walter Johnson junior JP Rakis, “It’s a little suspicious that for the third year in a row he has the first pick in the draft,” referencing the fact that although Simons claims the draft order is randomized, he repeatedly gets the best spot.

Simons has run separate leagues in the past, and league members seem to think there was foul play involved in those cases. Van Wagener claims Simons admitted he had cheated in his other leagues. “He told me that he rigged the draft order (referring to a different league). I don’t see what would be stopping him from doing it to our league as well.” Since hearing of Simons’ past indiscretions, league members have harbored reasonable doubts about the integrity of the league’s leader.

Although the draft order is the primary source of unrest and distress throughout the league, others have reported separate problems which further contribute to league member’s questions about Simons’ league management. “Cooper makes decisions that affect the whole league every day, but he never consults the rest of us when making them,”Jesse Sadelson, Walter Johnson junior claims. Rakis said that, “Cooper’s decisions are based on his agenda and are meant to benefit him, not the league.”

Simons attempted to clear his name regarding accusations flying his direction, “The order of the draft has been randomized every year that I’ve been commissioner, if I get the first pick I get the first pick.” He continued to explain that the league’s whole purpose would be missed if his intentions weren’t pure, “The competition is my favorite part, there’s no fun in cheating my way to a victory.”

There’s no solid evidence to support claims of Simons’ cheating, but circumstantial evidence has certainly stoked hard feelings. Whether there has been foul play or the league is chalk clean, there are certain to be changes in the near future, “No way I’m letting him be commissioner next year, I don’t think any of us will,” Sadelson said.