Fantasy Football – Caution from a Shell of a Man
This public service announcement is brought to you by our guest writer, Chris.
Ah, the humble sports fan. I envy them. They follow a team, be it in NFL, college football, NBA, Aussie Rules, NRL or whatever. They wear a simple allegiance on the sleeves of their team jerseys.
They care only about a win, not who scores for their team (and how). They don’t squint at the TV to try and identify the jersey number of the wide receiver who just hauled in a 62-yard bomb before celebrating. They feel just as good for a 3-0 win as they do for an OT 41-38.
Their only preparation for the weekend is finding a pub that shows the one game in which their team plays and maybe reading a couple of articles about their key players’ rehab from injuries. They don’t pore over injury reports or follow Twitter feeds of dudes with names like Clayton, Mortensen and King to try and score snippets of info about playing time and game plans all week.
They don’t delve into the defensive schemes of half a dozen teams to see how they stack up against the run or whether they have a shut down corner. Dammit, these freaks don’t even care whether the game is being played in a dome or outdoors in Boston in December!
These people are actually able to perform the duties for which they are being paid while at work.
Fifteen years ago that was me. I had just moved to Seattle after completing a degree at the University of Nebraska. I therefore had already developed a love of college football (three national championships in five years, thank you very much Tommie Frazer et al) and was living in an NFL city for the first time. Sure, the Seahawks were the Cronulla Sharks/Western Bulldogs/Khloe Kardashian of the NFL, but I lived there and it was my duty to follow the home team. I was living with four fellow rugby players when it first happened.
One of my roommates (let’s call him Avon Barksdale…) told me that there was a way of making every game interesting and fun, even when the Browns played at Buffalo.
He told me it was harmless, cheap and I could quit any time I wanted. All the other guys in the house were doing it and they seemed to function just fine. Almost half of them had jobs and one even had a girlfriend one time. So I was suckered in. My Fantasy Football career had begun.
This happened to be the year of the Rams impossible Super Bowl season. Somehow I landed Isaac Bruce and picked up Kurt Warner in free agency and they joined Eddie George in leading the rookie Aussie to the title. Like the guy who has a big win the first time he sits in that wildly depressing pokies room at the pub, I was hooked and I would forever be chasing the feeling of that victory.
Despite being a perennial playoff contender in my leagues, winning several titles along the way, I reckon that I have recouped maybe 4% of my total monetised investment into fantasy football. Apart from the old school fantasy preview magazines that I bought in the early days (like rushing to purchase a fantasy mag that was released in may was going to help me win a title), there were the odd subsciption-only websites, league fees and the biggest expense of all – the opportunity cost of the thousands of hours spent researching Andre Johnson’s hamstring, Marshall Faulk’s knee, Rae Carruth’s murder trial and all the rest when I could have been inventing Twitter, RedTube or a petition to stop the spread of Nickelback.
It’s way too late for me. I’m the bloke who has tried to explain to my wife how amazing it was when I had Wayne Chrebet at WR for the Jets on MNF going against his own QB, or when Vinny Testaverde and I won the week on an improbable half back option TD thrown by Curtis Martin. I know! I don’t know why she wasn’t enthralled by each telling of that tale either.
But if you must choose to accept that free sample of this amazing stuff from your Baltimore-native roommate, then I have some pieces of advice that you won’t find on the thousands of fantasy football sites out there:
- Don’t pick anyone from a team you hate. Fantasy football offers any number of emotional quandaries. The worst is when you either have to support a player going against your favourite team, or having to root for a guy who wears a uniform that sickens you to your very core (I’ll see you in hell before I pick you or any of your teammates, Tony Romo).
- Don’t pick anyone from a team you love. Do you really want to be disappointed when your favourite team scores, but then feel crestfallen when you realise that Belichek has put in yet another RB that you’ve never heard of at the goal line to steal Woodhead’s TD?
- Look at the TV schedule to help make a tough lineup decision. So you can’t pick between the Bucs and the Steelers D? Well, which one has the 3am game and which has the 6am game (for us Aussie die-hards)? Note that this tie-breaker should only be used when the two choices are really close. It is NOT to be used to sway you to pick Christian Ponder because he is on Sunday night over Cam Newtown and his early game.
- Don’t plan any important meetings on Monday morning. Another for the Aussie die hards – it may not be the best idea to enter cutthroat negotiations with the Chinese over the rights to mine Uranium on your company land after you have already been up for 8 hours, trying to scream without making noise as your kick returner breaks one to the house, punching pillows as Adrian Peterson fumbles yet again and downing your special Red Bull, coffee and red cordial breakfast shake to stay awake.
Now, get back to either draft research or developing that website/movement to stop douchey music.