Fantasy football blows. It really does. I’m reminded of it every week during football season. I tell myself every year that I’m never playing again, usually after Jamaal Charles breaks his ankle in 70 places before Week 3 or when I lose by 0.4 points because the Steelers decided to take a knee at the end of the game rather than hand off to Rashard Mendenhall just one more time.
Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve developed some kind of odd Stockholm Syndrome-like relationship with fantasy football. I picture myself sitting in some damp, mold-ridden basement, unshaven with dirt caked under my fingernails, obsessively refreshing my NFL Mobile app while the Fantasy Gods open the cellar door and toss me down a stale touchdown or two every week.
Here’s the funny thing, though: I play every goddamn year, without fail. So I guess the question is why do I do it to myself? Why is it necessary to endure 16 weeks of pure frustration when I haven’t finished better than second in all eight years of playing?
Because I’m an idiot.
Listen, I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from participating in fantasy football. That would be hypocritical of me since I have two drafts coming up in the next week. All I’m trying to do is open your eyes to the torture fantasy football junkies experience so that maybe you’ll be better equipped to deal with your inevitable misfortune.
Misfortune that will ultimately lead you to the sixth overall pick so you can begrudgingly convince yourself to draft Chris Johnson and watch in abject horror as he limps his way to 38 yards on 14 carries every Sunday.
Misfortune that will ensure that any player you bench on any given Sunday will undoubtedly end up scoring multiple touchdowns and the player you replace him with will pull a hammy on the second drive of the game.
The reality of fantasy football is that most of you, no matter how much time you spend poring over cheat sheets, rankings, projections, scouting reports, injury reports and TPS reports, are going to hate your teams. It’s just the way it goes. That wide-eyed optimism you feel when you’re three beers in and getting ready to make your first-round pick goes into the shitter by the time the fifth round arrives and you’re considering drafting a tight end.
You want some draft advice? Here’s a hint: throw your “strategy” out the window. It’s every man for himself out there. There’s no time for second-guessing because you’ll guess wrong every single time. Got stuck with the 8th overall pick and you can’t decide whether you should just draft Darren McFadden or maybe go with an early wide receiver like Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson.
Oops, you picked Darren McFadden and he missed the last 12 weeks of the season! Tough shit!
Then you have the quarterback dilemma. Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady usually get snatched up fairly quickly and then there’s a lull on quarterback selections that lasts a few rounds. So you think to yourself, “I have time to pick a good QB, I’ll wait.”
And you wait and wait and wait, grabbing “value picks” along the way like Dwayne Bowe and Darren Sproles and then before you know it, the only quarterbacks left are Colt McCoy and Kevin Kolb and you’re stuck trying to convince yourself that you can employ a Quarterback By Committee gameplan and just play the waiver wires every week.
It’s like going to a party and not wanting to be the first person to attack the catering table for fear that everyone will assume you’re a fat slob who just came to stuff his face with free finger foods, so you wait for a few people to start eating first and you make some small talk in the meantime. Then, the next time you turn around the bacon-wrapped scallops and deviled eggs are gone and you’re left with cold potstickers and a mini quiche with a bite taken out of it.
Like I said before, you’re going to hate your fantasy team. Then you’re going to convince yourself that they’re a bunch of scrappy sleepers who’ll put together wins for you. Then you’ll hate them again. And this cycle will repeat itself all season.
Basically, it’s like being a New York Mets fan.
Now that I think about it, that’s a pretty apt comparison for playing fantasy football; the frustration, the angst, the fleeting moments of excitement, and the inevitable despair.
Playing fantasy football is like being a Mets fan.
No wonder I can’t stay away.
Good luck this season!
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