For the past 6-7 years, I absolutely despised fantasy football. I avoided it like the plague.
I hated how all of my friends talked in a language that sounded like absolute gibberish to me. I would hear things like “LT scored me 45 points today, and with a solid performance from Marvin Harrison Monday night, I might move into 3rd place in one of my leagues.”
These kinds of conversations infuriated me, not only because I didn’t understand what they were saying, but because these people overnight feel that they are gurus of the NFL.
All of a sudden these fantasy football players think they are better GMs than those actually employed by billionaire owners to maximize their investments in their teams. Clearly they aren’t, but these “experts” ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT. Of course they aren’t operating under the countless limitations the professionals are, but if they were to be given the chance, they would take the worst team to the Super Bowl within 3 years, because they have won their fantasy football league 3 out of the last 5 years. And believe me, they only get more adamant about this exponentially with each Bud Light that goes down the hatch.
Guess what. I am that guy now.
I accepted an invitation from one of my buddies from school to join his fantasy football team this year. I figured what the hell, why not? I have tried fantasy baseball and basketball in the past, but with games going on every day, I felt there was just too much to keep up with. Since the NFL plays on at most 3-4 days a week, I thought I could spend a few moments per day tweaking my roster, and hope for the best. Yeah, I was dead wrong.
As the draft approached, I found myself reading articles, and studying stats more than I had in the past. And why wouldn’t I? I paid $75, the winner is awarded $550, so why not give myself the best chance to win? I started consulting my friends who are fantasy veterans, buying magazines that actually rate every player in the NFL (with formulas more complicated than your basic shuttle launch), and paid extra attention to fantasy segments on all of the ESPN shows.
After the draft, I was excited about the team I picked, started talking a little smack with the other guys and girls in the league, thinking this will just be just some nice, innocent fun I can have in addition to watching the Browns every week. After the first week of the season, I realized there was no turning back. It has totally affected my life.
I attend every Browns home game with my Dad, sitting in seats that give me a very, very good view of the field. The past couple of years I never missed a play, and every few moments would say something to my Dad that may actually sound like I know what’s happening on every play of the game. How focused am I on the game now? I’d say about 70 percent. The other 30 percent of the time, I’m looking in the Northwest corner of the stadium at the Fantasy Football Scoreboard or reading the text messages I’m receiving from my friends updating me on how the teams are doing.
Fantasy football has also managed to change my allegiances for seconds at a time, and has given me a change of heart for one of my former enemies (even though he doesn’t know it). I drafted Tom Brady with my 3rd pick in my draft, which is where he was pretty much projected to go. I also know he is a top-5 quarterback in the NFL, and he would be a good addition to my team, and he wouldn’t necessarily lose me games, but I didn’t think he’d put me over the top either. Let me preface my obsessions with Tom Brady’s play with the fact that I used to hate him. I mean HATE him. Drew Bledsoe used to be my favorite player in the NFL. The Patriots team was the one I took as my own when the Browns left town, and Bledsoe at that time was the face of the franchise. Well in 2001, Bledsoe was injured, and some 6th round pick out of Michigan (yuck) comes in the game and eventually wins the Patriots the Super Bowl, and wins the Super Bowl MVP. Of course the Browns were back at that time, but I still rooted for Bledsoe, so it killed me to see him lose his job, right before my eyes. And some kid from Michigan took it. For the past 6 years, I have rooted for him to fail. Then I draft him on my fantasy team, and I can’t possibly root harder for him. Because of his record breaking year, I am off to a 7-0-0 start, and demolished the only other undefeated team in the league, led my none other than Mr. Brady himself. His 6 TDs brought me nothing but joy, and I couldn’t be happier about his performance. When the Patriots played our beloved Browns a few weeks ago, I felt myself being pulled in two directions. Of course I wanted the Browns to win, but at the same time I couldn’t afford Brady to have a bad game. So every Brady touchdown didn’t hurt soooo bad, and although I wasn’t rooting for him to win, I wanted him to have a good game.
That’s the funny thing about fanatasy football. You develop these weird relationships with players that you never had before, and you watch every game from about a million different angles. Suddently you become obsessed with guys named Kenton Keith, Wes Welker, and Selvin Young, all before this year I couldn’t pull them out of a police lineup, let alone tell them what team they play for. I thoroughly read every sports website, and watch every show ESPN and the NFL network have to offer. I spend countless hours talking with my friends about my team, their team, and what we should do about them. I tell them how good of a GM I am in only my first year, and how each year will be better than the one before it. Like I said, I am that guy. And now people probably hate me, but you know what? I don’t care.
Note: As the weeks go on, I will provide updates of Pacman’s Defense Team (my team, not that you care) as I continue to embark on what could be the first undefeated fantasy football team in documented history. I will let you know my roster moves, and I am more than welcome to your praise and criticisms. If you would also like to let me know about your teams and your suggestions, I’d love to hear from you.
I will do my best to give my own suggestions, but take them with a grain of salt because as I said above, Tom Brady is single-handedly winning me this league, and everything is pretty much luck.