Friday, August 29, 2014

Living the Fantasy Life

"Hi Guru, I'm in a 12-team super-flex, PPR and I've got the sixth pick, but can keep two players drafted after the tenth round last year and I've got a keeper question," begins almost every ride home if you're in your car listening to the Fantasy Sports Channel on Sirius/XM radio. 

That is if you "play" Fantasy Football.

For years, I resisted the siren's call of Fantasy Football.  I played in various Fantasy (or "Rotisserie") Baseball and knew it was an addictive, all-consuming, hell-on-earth (unless you won).  I explained to my pusher/friend that it was like sending an alcoholic to a bar.  But, like all good pushers/friends, he was persistent, promising me fun and good times.  But, in this case, the first taste wasn't free (there was a $190 league entry fee).  I relented and joined one league, and was immediately immersed in the lifestyle.

I found myself avoiding non-Giant players from the NFC East; I tried to maintain my dignity by rooting for or against certain teams; I paid fleeting attention to the waiver wire; then a funny thing happened - I didn't make the playoffs.  

I came back the next season having spent countless hours reading ten different web sites; getting daily email updates; and running about 200 mock drafts to get an idea of how to react on draft day.  I drafted Tony Romo.  Then a funnier thing happened - I was the leading money winner in the league. 

I was in for good. 

I stressed out about fourth wide receivers; joined a second league; spent more time watching the gazillion fantasy sports shows on ESPN and the NFL Network then I spent with my kids; joined a third league; started giving other people advice(!); and became one of the 33 million people who are hooked from August through December. (Quick question: what are the other 7+ billion doing?)

I do find myself pondering the larger, existential questions about Fantasy Football: 
  • Is Fantasy ruining the fan experience by diluting team allegiances or growing the sport by getting fans actively engaged? 
  • Can players really be hosting their own shows about this (Maurice Jones-Drew is a huge Fantasy participant, but no longer a Fantasy "stud")?
  • Will my home life survive or will my wife start her own "Fantasy Husband" league?
  • Will I go over or under 5,000 on the number of times I scream "f you" at certain players during the season? (I think I'll be over by Week 5.)
Regardless of the answers I may find to these and other questions, I find that the real fantasy lies in the chase for the perfect draft pick or waiver wire selection; getting together with the guys at the draft; begging for players in trade proposals; and sitting there right before kickoff on opening Sunday, hoping you get it all right.

Just Sayin'

Please, someone tell me the Giants' offense is sandbagging us.

I'm ready for Johnny Manziel to retire already. Never has someone gotten so much out of so little.  

Are the Yankees playing with our hearts?  They have not missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since Derek Jeter started - now is not the time to start.

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