In football fantasyland, never say dieAt 4-9 there is little hope. I feel like a smurf. Going to 7-Eleven is a pain. My dreams have been dashed, and my self-esteem is squashed like a tomato.
Back in August when I talked about U.S. football fantasy leagues, I was ready to rock. Now, with playoff chances gone, not even mathematically alive, there is little reason to play or feel excited. Or is there? Of course there is. By now, you should have figured out if you have a shot at the playoffs. If you don’t, now is the perfect time to say the classic line, “I am playing for pride.” And playing the role of spoiler will give you another reason to fight until the bitter end and draw a Maginot line.
Not to mention the fact that depending on your final record, your draft order for next season (if you are in a keeper league) will be determined. So don’t give up yet. And of course, playing to avoid not being named “goat of the season,” “cellar boy,” all honorifics that go to the last place team owner, should be incentive enough.
Playing in fantasy leagues is fun. But sometimes you need to have a reality check. There could be a downside to this exclusive hobby and you may look for similarities here because I can guarantee you, with only 93 points behind the top league’s total points, my league is one of the toughest on earth. If you find yourself nodding along as you read this column you may be out of touch with reality, or at least your “normal” life gets distracted.
Our League, with 10 players scattered around the globe in five different time zones but willing to all go live on draft day, you know you have a bunch of serious nuts. Not to mention that the league is a paid one.
When you have friends calling friends at 2:30 a.m., reminding each other the draft is on, you know you’d better be ready. When you hear on the other end of the phone the bewildered voice of your friend’s wife saying, “Draft? What draft?” you know he is in trouble. You are not.
You smile on draft day because that friend got himself two kickers from the automatic draft but you are worry-free: You have 160 players ranked and filed just in case. You are a serious player.
When a friend e-mails you and confesses he has to quit, even hinting that next season might be in jeopardy because his wife suspects he is actually having an affair, due to the constant e-mail checking and texting barrage going back and forth, you know you may have crossed the line.
But there is even more to this fantasy world.
Raise your hand if you have used any one combination of these tools to play in your league. Your cell phone, chatting software, PDA, phone mail and the Internet. Are you subscribing to more than two so-called “inside info” providers? Have you utilized your Excel skills by making spreadsheets trying to determine the correlation between the kicker’s score and the weather? Did you just spent more than two hours chatting to negotiate a three-way trade?
You should take a deep breath. Close your eyes, forget your record for once. Stop looking at the waiver list. Your research department is permanently closed. Go back to your family. Don’t forget your duties as husband and father.
But remember there will be those who will not rest, and who will stay up all night until it’s finally over.
by Brian Lee