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Fantasy Football, It Will Change You

Christina Roth (2L)

Fantasy Football is a fun way to compete against friends and a “valid” excuse to ignore homework on Thursday nights, Sundays, and Monday evenings because you “have” to watch the games. There are some great things about playing fantasy sports. For example, I knew nothing about football until four years ago and I can now discuss and debate about players, teams, etc. It’s great fun to trash talk with your friends and get together to watch games. And beer, somehow fantasy football has increased the appropriate amount and times that beer can be consumed. However, this addicting game is a tricky mistress and can turn the most pleasant person into an obsessive manager. Here is what happens to you when you start playing fantasy football:

Multiple Leagues Dilemmas. If you’re managing in more than one league, you are constantly placed in the position of playing against yourself. Sure, Tom Brady got you twenty plus points in your one league, but that talentless hack is also the reason you lost in your other one.

Hating Your Bench. There are weeks when your bench players outscore your actual team. Forcing you to stare in disbelief at the thirty points Blake Bortles got that you can’t use. Instead, you’re stuck with the measly seven points from Peyton Manning.

Misleading Projections. Maybe you look at matchups and decide which players will be in your lineup that way. Or maybe, like most people, you look at the projections. By Tuesday, you’re staring at last week’s results betrayed that your wide receiver who was supposed to get fifteen points, got two. TWO. After a friend tells you that projections are decided by playing Madden, you lose all faith in the system.

Dropping Players. Dropping players is a thing of terror. What if you drop him and your opponent picks him up and he starts heating up? If you can’t get good numbers out of him than no one else should, and that’s the guy you keep on your bench all season.

Injured Players. You agonize over whether to drop an injured player. For example, the talented Dez Bryant broke his foot at the beginning of the season. Do you drop your (possible) number one pick, or do you pray that his estimated nine-week recovery will miraculously be shortened and couldn’t possibly be extended.

Paranoia. Being offered a trade causes an instant paranoid reaction. Why does Boris want Alfred Morris, is there something I’m missing? Why is he offering me Andrew Luck? And on and on until you reject the trade simply because Boris must be out to get you. Struggling Veterans. You struggle with cutting veteran players loose. Take Peyton Manning, you drafted him because he’s consistent, high scoring, and you really like those Papa John commercials. But the fact is, he’s had a mediocre performance thus far. Some will say you can’t drop him because HE’S PEYTON MANNING FOR PETE’S SAKE. Others will say that even the best quarterbacks have got to go sometime and at this point you might as well pick up a promising rookie.

Talking to Your Television. You, the calmest of the calm, begin yelling at the tiny players on television. Maybe it’s to exclaim touchdown! Unfortunately, it’s more than likely though that you’re gesturing at Andre Johnson and yelling at him for getting you zero points the last couple of weeks despite playing in both games.

Suspensions. You begin to marvel at how many players get suspended and what they get suspended for. Sure there’s the violent offences that the media gets a hold of but how can another player on your team be suspended for drug use? Are they doing it in front of the commissioner? Are they lighting joints and running around practice offering it to coaches? Seriously guys, how hard is it to keep it behind closed doors or use your millions of dollars to hire someone to pee in the cup for you?

Ill Will. You start to wish injuries on people you’ve never met. Maybe you start with yelling a vague “get him” as your defense starts enclosing on a quarterback, but eventually you’ll wish that Adrian Peterson would just break his leg already and stop getting fifteen plus points every week, keeping someone else in the number one spot.

Strange Rituals. You start to note strange practices you never noticed before. For example, NFL players like to hit each other on the head in celebration. This is all well and good until they start doing this to your player who had a concussion last week. You stare in disbelief thinking, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? LEAVE HIM ALONE! HIS BRAIN IS INJURED!

These are things that almost every fantasy football participant will go through, but it’s all worth it. It’s incredibly rewarding to see your running back charge through a group of giants, to see your wide receiver make an incredible catch, and to watch that large defenseman run the whole field to get a touchdown. Sports are always better to watch when you’re engaged and invested in the outcome. So I recommend joining a fantasy league to enhance your knowledge of a sport and its players, to give you some easy competition between friends, and of course, to drink more beer.