Dreams Never Die: NESCAC Fantasy Football is Back!


We know you were hoping that we wouldn’t do this again. That we’d stop pretending that this is the NFL and just let the kids play. That we’d retire our make-believe fantasies of running an NFL organization and building a perennial championship competitor.

But we did it anyway.

This season, four opponents once again step up to the plate and compete for NESCAC Fantasy Supremacy – editors Joe MacDonald and Adam Lamont, longtime contributor Carson Kenney and newcomer Nick DiBenedetto.

The rules are basically the same as last year. We shrunk the roster size slightly, bringing it down to 14 players. We’ll be starting two each of QBs, RBs and WRs, one TE, one FLEX (RB, WR, TE), a D/ST and a K. Each team has four bench spots.

With this week as an exception, player acquisitions will be made on Tuesdays every week via the very sophisticated method of group chat. The waiver order will always go in reverse order of the standings. If there is a tie in the standings the tiebreakers listed below will take affect.

The following two sections are basically copied verbatim from last year’s initial fantasy article:


Our scoring scheme is essentially the same as an ESPN standard league, so in the interest of saving time and space I won’t put down every point total here.
The only difference is in the points we award for passing. In ESPN standard leagues, QB’s receive one point for every 25 passing yards and four points for a TD pass. However, the NFL is much more pass happy than the NESCAC. Over the three years from 2011-2013 (I chose not to go through the tedious work of adding the 2014 information to this study), there were 316 passing touchdowns and 306 rushing touchdowns in the NESCAC, and 45,452 passing yards compared to 34,181 rushing yards. So, we decided to award six points for touchdowns of any kind (passing, rushing or receiving), and one point for every 20 passing yards as opposed to 25. Running backs and receivers earn one point for every 10 yards on the ground or through the air.
One other miscellaneous note: individual players do not receive points for kick returns. For example, Darrien Myers ’17 is one of the league’s best return men, but if he runs a kickoff back for a touchdown he will accrue no points, while the Trinity D/ST will receive six.

We will be competing in weekly head-to-head matchups. There are four teams, so each team will play each other team twice over the first six weeks. Weeks 7 and 8 will serve as a single-elimination playoff. The top seed will play the fourth seed, the second will play the third, and the winners of the Week 7 matchups will compete for the title.
First tie-breaker: Head-to-head record
Second tie-breaker: Most points in head-to-head matchups
Playoff tie-breaker: QB points
Second playoff tie-breaker: RB points
Third playoff tie-breaker: WR points

We’ve also added one new wrinkle to try and compensate for the most glaring inefficiency in NESCAC Fantasy Football – injuries. So, if an owner plays an individual who ends up not appearing in that week’s game, and there was no prior indication that he would not be playing (meaning that he played the entire game last week, and to the best of our knowledge was healthy going into the current Saturday), then the owner will receive the average of all the players on his bench who are eligible to play that position. Make sense? Good.

Below is how the draft itself shook out. Some picks might raise a few eyebrows. After each round there is a bit of analysis from one of the team owners.


Joe MacDonad: Middlebury QB Matt Milano ’16
Adam Lamont: Amherst RB Nick Kelly ’16
Carson Kenney: Wesleyan RB LaDarius Drew ’15
Nick DiBenedetto: Trinity RB Joe Moreno ’19

Joe: The NESCAC is a running back-heavy league. So I took the gunslinging Matt Milano. No one throws it quite as often or effectively as Middlebury, and that offense is loaded. I really wanted either Drew or Moreno in Round 2 (specifically Drew), but my competitors were too smart for that. Shocker. I also will be interested to see if Moreno can really return this level of value.


ND: Trinity WR Darrien Myers ’17
CK: Middlebury WR Matt Minno ’16
AL: Tufts RB Chance Brady
JM: Wesleyan RB Lou Stevens

Adam: Such a blatant homer pick by Nick to take Trinity WR Darrien Myers ’17 that you can’t help but love it. The Minno pick could be considered high for a WR, but he looks primed for a massive year the way he and Milano found chemistry down the stretch. I love Chance Brady, might have picked him a little high there at seven. Joe showed his respect for the Wesleyan offense by taking another Cardinals running back eighth.


JM: Bowdoin RB Tyler Grant
AL: Williams QB Austin Lommen
CK: Trinity QB Sonny Puzzo
ND: Colby QB Gabe Harrington

Carson: I got off to a great start in my opinion by snagging Drew and Minno, but I needed a quarterback. As a Trin alumn/current employee, obviously my allegiance is with the Bantams. Puzzo didn’t play at all last year so he should have a lot to prove. Word on the street is the kid is about to blow, and since he’ll get fantasy points through the air and on the ground, I thought he was a good choice at QB. Adam taking Lommen that early, in my opinion, was a bit of a panic pick.


ND: Bowdoin WR Dan Barone
CK: Bates WR Mark Riley
AL: Wesleyan QB Gernald Hawkins
JM: Colby RB Jabari Hurdle-Price

Nick: Mac’s pick in the fourth round looks promising. The Colby RB’s should have ample opportunities to put fantasy points on the board. Mark Riley seems to be Bates’ weapon, that may or may not work out for Carson as teams may stack Riley’s side. Adam went with a young Wesleyan QB in the fourth round, which could prove to be the pick of the draft. The Floridian knows what football is, but does he know how to play in the frozen tundras of the Coop. Gernald Hawkins could emerge as a big-time player this year. Lastly, Dan Barone is a solid pick as he should be a big contributor to Bowdoin’s offense at wide receiver.


JM: Middlebury WR Ryan Rizzo
AL: Colby WR Ryder Arsenault
CK: Middlebury RB Jonathan Hurvitz
ND: Amherst QB Alex Berluti

Joe: If you’ve read anything I’ve written about Middlebury this season, I’ve been hyping up Rizzo like you wouldn’t believe. Full disclosure, he’s a friend of mine, but he’s also a damn good football player. The caveat is that there are some other really good wideouts pushing him right now, and I could see Conrad Banky ’19 taking away some of his reps. But I think when the time comes, Rizzo will produce.


ND: Trinity TE Matt Hirshman
CK: Trinity WR Ian Dugger
AL: Tufts WR Mike Rando
JM: Tufts TE Nik Dean

Adam: Quickly getting into the part of the draft where we say, why not, I’ll take him. Hirshman didn’t have a catch last year so total trust pick. Carson also stays loyal to Trinity and makes a solid pick with Dugger. Then Joe and I go back to back with Tufts guys, two good picks. Nik Dean at tight end is a really good one for Joe because the NESCAC as a league does not tend to use tight ends in the passing game very often, and Dean should get consistent targets.


JM: Colby WR Mbasa Mayikana
AL: Bates Slotback Shaun Carroll
CK: Amherst TE Rob Thoma
ND: Wesleyan TE Ben Kurtz

Carson: I was confident in the team I had picked up to this point. Have a good group of receivers, two running backs I like, a QB, so I figured I needed a tight end. I wanted to take Hirshman since he’s a Bantam and is looking to have a big year, but DiBo had a stroke and forgot how to human, so I let him have him. Amherst is going to be good this year but they are inexperienced at QB. So why not throw quick passes to your TE? Also, I like Monty’s pick with Carroll. Could have a sneaky good year in Bates’s two slotback offense.


ND: Trin D/ST
CK: Amherst D/ST
AL: Amherst WR Jackson McGonagle
JM: Tufts QB Alex Snyder

Nick: I started off the eighth round with a flawless pick in the Trinity D/ST. The Bantams are on brink of another undefeated season, and if all goes well, the Trinity defense will be up to par. Trinity had a solid special teams last year, and Devanney welcomes in a true competitor in a freshman kicker. Carson followed in my footsteps, taking one of the other top defenses in the league. The Amherst defense is gritty and they are looking to repeat as undisputed NESCAC Champions. If all goes well for Amherst, this pick from CK will be the right one. Adam has a nice pick with Amherst wide reciever Jackson McGonagle, coming into his senior year he should be a threat, and we heard that he trained with a lot of D-I talent this summer – potential for consistent points there. Really uneasy about Joe’s pick here. Why go with a QB who is going to win one game this year!?!? Tufts QB Alex Snyder has seemed to grow exponentially since his freshman year, but I’d rather see Joe choose a winning QB.


JM: Hamilton RB LaShawn Ware
AL: Wesleyan K Ike Fuchs
CK: Wesleyan WR Neil O’Connor
ND: Williams RB Connor Harris

Joe: I like my pick better than the rest here. I actually think the Hamilton O can be middle of the pack, as Ware is a good runner, and whoever ends up starting for Hamilton – whether that’s Brandon Tobin or Chase Rosenberg – will be doing so because they had a promising camp. Either Rosenberg will have shown improvement, or Tobin will have come in and wrestled the starting job away. I do think Connor Harris could be a steal, though. He showed off his athleticism in the return game last season. Let’s see if that translates to the backfield now.


ND: Middlebury TE Trevor Miletich
CK: Trinity WR Nick Gaynor
AL: Williams TE Alex Way
JM: Trinity RB Ethan Suraci

Adam: The round started with Nick changing his pick from the Trinity freshman kicker who he couldn’t remember the name of to Middlebury’s tight end Trevor Miletich ’16. Ended up working out pretty nice for him. Then what felt like the 20th Trinity player came off the board. I grabbed my tight end in Alex Way, and then somehow Joe decided that it was necessary to take yet another Trinity player with his pick. Unless the Bantams score 100 points a game, some of these picks are going to look quite silly.


JM: Midd D/ST
AL: Tufts WR Ben Berey
CK: Middlebury K Charlie Gordon
ND: Trinity Kicker

Carson: I’m a big believer that kickers are the most underrated player on your fantasy team. A good kicker can get you an easy 10-12 points a week which can be huge in winning a matchup. I took Mason Crosby in the seventh round of my real life fantasy draft (which I’ve started out 0-2 so what do I know). Gordon should only have to worry about extra points for most of the year, or kicks from 30 yards or closer, so I’m optimistic he can get me quality points every week. Trinity Kicker is a funny name for a person but I trust Dibo knows what he’s doing.


ND: Middlebury RB Diego Meritus
CK: Middlebury QB Jared Lebowitz
AL: Hamilton WR Pat Donahue
JM: Bates QB Pat Dugan

Nick: Diego was my Middlebury RB pick out of the hat, but he is actually nasty after watching his highschool highlight film. Carson went with Middlebury’s hometown (sort of) hero. Jared Lebowitz is a big bodied sophomore QB who may not see the field due to Matt Milano, but I believe Lebowitz is up and coming. Backup QB’s are awkward picks, but in the 12th round he is a fine pick. Adam chose Pat Donahue. Joe went with the Bates senior which is a good pick to get a starting QB this late.


JM: Middlebury WR James Burke
AL: Colby RB Carl Lipani
CK: Bates Slotback Frank Williams
ND: Bowdoin QB Tim Drakeley

Joe: I think Burke is a steal here, and I actually had Banky on my mind but couldn’t pass up on Midd’s starting wideout opposite of Minno. Sure, maybe a bit of a homer pick, but I like Burke’s upside way more than anybody picked after him. Maybe Lipani will make me look like a fool, though, if he can seriusly cut into Hurdle-Price’s carries.


ND: Middlebury WR Tanner Contois
CK: Trinity QB Henry Foye
AL: Wes Defense/ST
JM: Amherst K Charlie Wall

Adam: Taking a Midd wide receiver late is never a bad pick since they throw the ball so often, even though Contois is pretty deep on the depth chart right now. I grabbed the Wesleyan Defense/ST, realizing my mistake of not grabbing one of Trinity, Middlebury, or Amherst too late. Wesleyan had a great defense a year ago, but that unit is almost entirely gone. I think that while the defense will take a step back, this will still be a good unit because of the talent on the roster and the coaching ability of the Wesleyan staff.

Taking Back the Coop: Trinity Season Preview

Yosa Nosamiefan '17 (16) leads one of the country's best lockdown defenses from the corner position. Moving the ball on the Bantams is always tough. (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)
Yosa Nosamiefan ’17 (16) leads one of the country’s best lockdown defenses from the corner position. Moving the ball on the Bantams is always tough. (Courtesy of Williams Athletics)

Editors’ Note: While 99 percent of the work done in these previews is credited directly to the author, the projected records are a decision made together by the editors, Adam and Joe. So if you don’t like it, blame us.

Projected Record: 6-2

Projected Offensive Starters (*Four Returning)

QB: Sonny Puzzo ’18
RB: Joe Moreno ’19
TE: Matt Hirshman ’17
WR: Darrien Myers ’17*
WR: Ian Dugger ’16*
WR: Nick Gaynor ’17
LT: Matt Porter ’16*
LG: Franco Serrao ’16
C: Angel Tejada ’17
RG: Steve Krushell ’18
RT: Chris Simmons ’18*

Projected Defensive Starters (*Five Returning)

DE: Lyle Baker ’16*
DT: Matt D’Andrea ’17*
DE: Preston Kelly ’16*
LB: Liam Kenneally ’18
LB: Frank Leyva ’16
LB: Kevin Martin ’17
LB: John Murtagh ’16
Boundary CB: Yosa Nosamifan ’17*
FS: Spencer Donahue ’17*
DB: Dominique Seagears ’18
DB: Archi Jerome ’17

Offensive MVP: QB Sonny Puzzo ’18

QB Sonny Puzzo ’18, RB Joe Moreno’19 and WR Darrien Myers ’17 all stand out as X-factors. However, Puzzo will be the Offensive MVP because if Moreno and Myers are going to have good numbers, it will be a result of Puzzo’s performance. In his first collegiate season two years ago the dual-threat QB was the NESCAC Rookie of the Year, an award that Moreno might have an eye on this season, which would make it a three-peat for Trinity players and the aforementioned award. In Puzzo’s freshman year he threw for 950 yards on 72 completions with a 58.5 completion percentage and chipped in 191 yards on the ground.

Defensive MVP: FS Spencer Donahue ’17

There have been a few standout defensive players thus far in camp. Donahue and Lyle Baker ’16 at defensive end should make big impacts this season. The defensive MVP could go to either of these guys. Donahue might win the award because of his great instincts in the secondary. Last season, he had 23 tackles and two interceptions in eight games. He has improved this off-season and looks to be in great shape for a great season. His game-to-game preparation will be key in his success. Look for improved consistency from Donahue this fall.

Biggest Surprise in Camp: Coach Devanney feels great about how camp has gone this season.

“We’ve had more surprises – more positive surprises – in camp that I can ever remember. We have some upperclassmen who haven’t really done much for a couple of years, and they’ve worked their butts off to get themselves in a position to be better than I thought they would be. We also have some young players who are acting like they aren’t young players.”

It seems as though the Bantams will have a lot of depth this year, which may be very important considering that last season the team faded while going 0-3 down the stretch, and an injury to the team’s quarterback, Henry Foye ’16, really damaged the Bantams’ chances.

Biggest Game: October 31 at Middlebury

The biggest game will be the Middlebury game on Halloween – the same team that broke the Bantams’ hallowed home winning streak. Both teams hope to be undefeated at that point barring any slip ups. This game will be a grinder, playing in Vermont in October the air will be thinner and both teams are going to have to exhaust their engines in order to win this game. Trinity has lost two heartbreakers the past two seasons to Middlebury.

Jeff Devanney has led the Trinity program to a 60-12 record in nine seasons as head coach, including two undefeated seasons, and in 14 years with the program he has coached the No. 1 defense in the country five times.
Jeff Devanney has led the Trinity program to a 60-12 record in nine seasons as head coach, including two undefeated seasons, and in 14 years with the program he has coached the No. 1 defense in the country five times. (Courtesy of Trinity Athletics)

Best Tweet of the Offseason:

When a kid has all kind of obstacles thrown in his face, and for three straight years wants nothing but to walk out on the football field geared up and ready to play but for multiple reasons he can’t do it, and still he sticks with the game he loves and finally makes it back to where he wants to be … that’s when we remember what sports, especially at this level, are all about. Congrats, Joe, on making it to this point. Can’t wait to see you in these on September 26.


The Bantam offense is laced with talent this year beyond the three key players mentioned above. There is still a battle at quarterback between Puzzo and Foye, tough it seems to be Puzzo’s spot to lose. Yet when Foye was healthy last season the Bantams did not lose and the Trinity faithful have trust in Foye and believe that either quarterback will be able to lead the Bantams to another undefeated season. Moreno is a gritty downfield type of runner who should be able to produce very consistent numbers running the ball. It is hard to see him breaking into defensive backfields for huge gains, but he is a guy that will get you yards on every carry. On the occasion he does come face-to-face with opponents in the backfield, Moreno can break tackles and get back to the line of scrimmage. Even though he has not played a collegiate game before, he will pose an immediate threat to opposing defenses. He may be a freshman in terms of eligibility, but he’s not a boy anymore at 21 years old. Coach Devanney even went so far to say Moreno reminds him of the dominant Evan Bunker ’14, the NESCAC’s all-time leading rusher. Myers plays the role of the speedster and doubles as the team’s go-to kick returner. As a freshman, Myers set a school record with 455 kickoff return yards. In addition to his light feet, he led the team with 21 receptions last season. Darrien is a clear veteran at this point in his career having played in all 16 games and recording at least one catch in all eight games in 2014. A new role at tight end may emerge this year with Matt Hirshman ’17 in place of the H-back role formerly filled by All-NESCAC player Michael Budness ’14. The big-bodied Hirshman stands at 6’3″ and has converted to tight end from being a quarterback as a freshman. Puzzo and Hirshman put in a lot of off-season work running routes, so look for the two of them to connect throughout the season. Trinity’s offense could prove to be lethal this year, and it may come down to protection at the line. Look forward to seeing Matt Porter ’16 and Chris Simmons ’18 at the tackles. Simmons is coming off a Rookie of the Year season. Franco Serrao ’16, a homegrown boy from right outside of Hartford, is also a lock to start somewhere on the O-line. The other two spots are entirely up for grabs, and in the mix are Angel Tejada ’17, Steve Krushell ’18, Joe Farrah’18 and Mike Castellana ’16. Their roles on the interior have yet to be decided, as well.

Fortunately Trinity’s defense is sound as always. The defensive line boasts some vicious athletes and might be the best in the NESCAC; the starters are DE Preston Kelly ’16, DT Matt D’Andrea ’17 and DE Baker. Beyond their veteran line, their defensive backfield should be consistent with Donahue holding down the reigns at a safety position. Also look for Frank Leyva ’16 to be a force at linebacker. The Florida native had 41 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in 2014.

The Bantams are very solid on both sides of the field this year, and they are hoping for a huge improvement on special teams with a new kicker. The past two seasons have been plagued by poor field goal kicking, so Devanney has brought in a freshman who he claims is a real competitor and an athlete. Beyond all the good, a weakness this year for the Bantams will be their experience, as they are a generally young team. But, their biggest strength is speed, and speed kills. That is exactly what Coach Devanney and the Bantams plan to do this year. And the Head Coach has high hopes, predicting an undefeated season for his team. A lack of confidence will not be what causes the Bantams to fall short this season.