Just took the plunge into my fantasy football draft research last night and I can’t help but come to one conclusion: fantasy football is all luck, no skill. Basically there is no way to distinguish yourself in the players you select, only a way to hurt yourself. There’s always the two random guys every year (Vick and Hillis last season) who come out of nowhere on the waiver wire to being a top ten fantasy player, but you’re not a better fantasy player as a result of picking them up, only the person with the fastest internet connection on their smart phone. This of course makes it all the more depressing that fantasy football is by far the biggest sport that I invest my emotions into, far exceeding my personal favorite of baseball in terms of message board banter and hairs pulled out of my head.
For instance, I am literally in what I consider to be the greatest fantasy football league in the United States. We used to go straight message board on the Yahoo! site but recently discovered it was far more efficient to just go straight email with the trash talk. This has led to no less than fifty emails exchanged per day since the lockout ended and a high amount of comedy that would make even a standup blush. It’s the best.
On top of the fact that the participation is 1,239,047,132 times better than your dopey league where everybody stops paying attention the second after the draft ends, we distinguish ourselves further with perhaps the single most unique scoring system in all of fantasy. Think: points, lots of points. I’m talking an eastern bloc ice skating judges rating a Soviet performance amount of points. The average game is usually around 250 to 245 and you can’t feel confident with a victory unless you somehow accumulated a cool 325 points in a week. Other than that, forget about it, most especially if the guy opposite you has a quarterback playing Monday Night Football. Throw in absurd positional eligibilities (2 QBs, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 DEF, 1 K, and 2 Def players) along with that liberal scoring system and abracadabra! Best fantasy league on the planet.
Participation in the league though borders on the insane.
Before our draft date on Labor Day Weekend, I will likely participate in no fewer than 25 mock drafts from the position I was awarded in that specific draft (even though I’m in three other leagues). I will consume tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of words from at least four of the best fantasy websites and the sad thing is, I won’t be able to tell you if Felix Jones or Ahmad Bradshaw is the more desirable running back to have this year (I say Bradshaw). It’s all luck. Two years ago I exploited a market flaw in our league (everyone severely undervalued quarterbacks) sabermetric style and took it to the most dominant season in our league’s nearly ten year history. I won the thing and finished with only a single loss. I was almost positive I’d be able to do it again last year until, to my total shock and horror, three different guys told me before the draft they were going to copy my strategy. Advantage gone, sanity lost. So much for my big secret. I still managed to finish last year with the coveted “most points scored in the regular season” title and took that all the way to a devastating first round playoff lost where I literally ended up losing because the other guy’s quarterback went into overtime and accumulated the necessary three points to beat me in that extra time. And that’s not even close to being the worst bad beat I’ve ever had in the league.
The worst part about all of it was the guy who ended up winning the thing had one of the worst championship rosters ever assembled. You have no idea how badly it hurts to talk down to people all year about your strategy being superior only to see it proven completely worthless when the guy who wins it all did the complete opposite, and, if anything, rendered your theory worthless while he was at it.
And did I mention the message board/trash talking involved? How I have to study actual stand up comedy, constantly check facebook updates for an potential weaknesses in my foes, and be forced to not take anything personally despite the fact that my greatest flaws and insecurities are being tossed around like a baseball in a friendly game of catch? Could you handle that kind of pressure?? I freely admit I can’t. I’ve been suspended two times from the league (you read that correctly: suspensions) and it took me years before I could keep my emotion out of the trash talk.
And all of that is exactly what makes the hours spent worthwhile, in some backwards logic that would only make sense to the 11 other guys in Mile High Pigskin (our league name). Let’s just say we walk with a certain amount of fantasy swagger that we know you can’t touch. Our heads are a little higher and we have the confidence of Squints in the Sandlot after he put the moves on Wendy Peffercorn. We scoff at your feeble references to your weak fantasy leagues because no matter what you can bring up, we’ve likely already been there, done that…five years ago.
Now, if we could just get that damn Vegas draft organized.
Generation Y, where we plan on winning the auction for the discarded Cy-Hawk trophy.
Fantasy owners everywhere weep. From ESPN:
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will miss the rest of Green Bay’s game against Detroit with a concussion.
Rodgers was replaced by backup Matt Flynn late in the second quarter Sunday. On the Packers’ previous drive, Rodgers was slow getting up after being hit by Amari Spievy and Landon Johnson at the end of an 18-yard scramble. Green Bay took a timeout, then Rodgers took a sack on the next play.
Rodgers stayed in for the rest of the drive before being replaced. He also had a concussion in an overtime loss at Washington in October. He played the following week.
Horrible news for his owners as Rodgers carried a lot of guys into the playoffs and has left a ton of teams without their best player. Just the way it goes sometimes I guess. For every team out there who’s pissed off, there’s another team dancing in the streets.
I swear I’m not making this up. From TheStreet, “Perhaps it’s because more than 65% of those surveyed play fantasy football and more than 69% of workplaces say they are aware of participation among the ranks and don’t discourage it. While this isn’t a new development – 40% of respondents to an Ipsos poll four years ago said fantasy sports was a positive, camaraderie-building influence on the workplace, with 25% saying it helped develop business contacts – fantasy football-friendly workplaces have helped turn the game into an $800 million industry. So go ahead: Take time between TPS reports to trash talk the team owner who drafted former Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Trent Edwards in the second round. It’s not loafing: It’s team building. ‘Companies that not only allow workers to indulge in fantasy football, but actually encourage it by organizing a company leagues are likely to see significant benefits in morale as well as productivity,” Challenger said. “In the long run, this may lead to increased employee retention.'”
The Texans running back burst onto the scene last week with an absurd 231 yard, three TD game this weekend against the defending AFC Champion Colts. I’m sure he’s taken, but if he’s somehow still available in your fantasy league, pick him up ASAP. If you’d like to know more about the new star of Houston, check out this Wall Street Journal profile which reveals everything you need to know. “But if it’s scrappiness, doggedness, a colorful personality and some real underdog bondafides that you like in your first-week phenomenons, Mr. Foster has all you need. There’s the mysterious New-Age first name: His father, Carl, says it’s short for Aquarian, refering to the water bearer bringing in the Age of Aquarius that, he says, “we’re living in.” There’s a tattoo on his arm that reads: “Against All Odds.” He has an obsession with writing poetry about the moon and the stars and he recently named his one-year-old daughter Zeniah Egypt, a consequence of a fascination with ancient Egyptian culture he says he developed from watching the Discovery Channel.”
[Wall Street Journal]
Go add Brandon Jackson (RB-GB) to your fantasy roster immediately. Ryan Grant is done for the year according to this tweet by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer. “Tough blow for the Packers, I’m reporting RB Ryan Grant is done for the year w severe ankle and leg injuries. Will be placed on IR.”
Adam Schefter just came out with the following tweet, “Packers RB Ryan Grant will require surgery to correct a torn ligament in his ankle that will leave him on crutches for 10-12 weeks.”
Yahoo! put together a list of the all time greatest seasons in fantasy football for every position. If you’re an avid fantasy player it’s a must read as it also includes the all-time busts. [Yahoo! Sports]
You’d expect that after holding out for a third of the 2009 campaign, teammates and coaches would pretty much outcast and dislike former Texas Tech star WR Michael Crabtree. That’s not the case. Michael Silver did an excellent profile on the young wideout for Yahoo! Sports and it seems as though he might be on the cusp of superstardom. “’He was away forever,’ Niners tackle Joe Staley(notes) recalled, ‘and some guys were expecting him to be out of shape and not really know the playbook. But the dude came in and balled, and he knew [his assignments]. It was evident right away why he was [considered] the best receiver in the draft. He’s an intelligent guy, a good kid, and he made his mark right away.’ Crabtree also impressed a somewhat skeptical Singletary, who had spoken to the player ‘a couple of times’ during the protracted standoff.” Your fantasy football draft is no doubt around the corner. You might be wise to spend an early sleeper pick on him [Yahoo! Sports]