For example, somehow I can rattle off the top 10 tight ends in the NFL but I can’t necessarily tell you which division each team is in. I will cheer when Philip Rivers delivers a 40-yard touchdown pass but I will boo when the Chargers run it in for 6. I’m the biggest Vikings fan when I watch AP pile on the stats but could care less whether they win or lose. Yes, fantasy football puts the focus on stats and individual players rather than teams; I know that.
That’s not to say that there is nothing to hate about fantasy football. I hate what fantasy football does to my Sunday mornings, afternoons, and evenings. Fantasy football will distract me from anything and everything; fortunately, football is scheduled for a mere 10 to 12 hours on Sundays. Sometimes convincing the wife that I need a measely 3 hours of uninterrupted tv time Sunday afternoon is about as easy as an offensive linemen trying to convince his coach that he can play tight end. The only difference is that I will occasionally win the battle from Sunday to Sunday while that poor offensive lineman will never have the opportunity to touch the ball and make a significant contribution to a football game! (Kidding…just kidding)
Occasionally I am able to avoid all those little things on Sunday that constantly stand in the way of being able to watch a football game (you know, housework, dog walks, chores, and family). On this particular Sunday, the Wife has decided to go grocery shopping, leaving me home alone to do whatever I want. I’ve now got 3 hours to enjoy the first football game of the day. I got my game snack, my feet are up, and my fantasy football roster is set. The game starts and I can’t think of a better place to be at that moment. Here is how a Sunday afternoon game will typically unfold for me:
1st Quarter, 13 minutes remaining – I’ve lasted two minutes without checking for a fantasy football update. Talk about control. I almost wish the wife was here to witness this moment. She continually is astonished that such a stupid game (her words) can have such a grip on me. Well, not anymore. Maybe this time I just want to relax and watch some football.
1st Quarter, 11 minutes remaining – I MUST get a fantasy football update! Typically at this time in the broadcast our first Game Break has come up. Tight End X just caught a 19-yard touchdown pass for Team Y. This gets me all revved up and my mind quickly wonders. I wonder if my tight end has made a catch yet? Have their been any other touchdowns scored that my receivers may have had something to do with? What kind of start has my running back got off to? To the computer!I I bolt off of the couch and check every box score available. I have lost control only four minutes into the first quarter. Getting better.
1st Quarter, 6 minutes remaining – I am still on the computer. I now realize that I was foolish for taking the advice of the Fox Pre-Game Show crew in regards to my starting receiver and would give anything to go back in time 25 minutes to start the right player (receiver in my line-up most likely has 1 target, no receptions, and his team has run 5 or less offensive plays so far while the receiver on my bench has 3 receptions and his team is poised to score; he will probably catch the touchdown pass and be well on his way to a another career day) How could I have been so oblivious? All the signs were there I just wasn’t paying attention.
2nd Quarter, 8 minutes remaining – The wife is back home with the groceries and wants some help unloading the car. I realize that I’m going to have only three opportunities to put this off before she gets really upset. The second I give into one chore during the football game I know that more will follow. I am going to have to play this extremely well to maximize my football watching time. She asks for some help. I decide to play my ace first: get upset. Not upset-upset, more like whiny-upset. I mention something about all of the stuff I did throughout the week, bring up a situation earlier in the week where I gave her some extra time to do what she wanted, then finish it off by reminding her that three hours of uninterrupted tv time is all I have asked for this week (which is such a horrible exaggeration that it almost makes me laugh as I say it). I’m sure the Wife realizes just how irrational I am being but she’s kind enough to concede right there and lets me get back to the game.
2nd Quarter, 5 minutes remaining – Time to check on my fantasy football team once again. Not good, it’s a slow start. Fortunately it’s an even slower start for my opponent. I know I got some guaranteed big performers playing this week and it’s just a matter of time before I blow this thing wide open.
2nd Quarter, 3 minutes remaining – Back to the game. Watching football is very strange. Every game has a million different questions that will be answered on the field within a 3-hour period. Will the stingy defence dominate or will the high-scoring offence prevail? Will special teams be the difference? Which players will better their performance from last week? Which players will perform worst than last week? Which players will be shut down completey? There are all of these weird little match ups and at the beginning of the game, it seems impossible to accurately predict a football game. I have more confidence that I could nail the weather forecast 5 years down the road for a city I’ve never heard of.
In predicting football, one could argue that less logic is the key to predicting what will happen on the field. In fact, you may be better off to ditch everything you know about football, Google each teams mascot, and determine how they would do in a cage wrestling match against each other (this method works great when trying to predict the outcome in games involving either the Buffalo Bills, with Billy the Buffalo, or the Carolina Panthers, with Sir Purr). By half-time, most of the questions have been answered and the answer is usually so painfully obvious that it’s embarrassing to think there was even a question to begin with.
Half-time – Ah, half-time. The wife is relentless. Her Spidy senses go off. Somehow, without watching or listening to the game, she always knows when it’s half-time. The groceries have waited this long, there’s no reason they can’t wait a little longer. Time to get a rundown of the days scores!
3rd Quarter, 12 minutes remaining – Check out the other fantasy scores in my league. Hmm, my game may not be going exactly as planned. In fact, after doing some quick fantasy math, I no longer believe I am in the driver’s seat.
3rd Quarter, 6 minutes remaining – There’s no way I can go through another week like this! That’s it, I’m done with this rag-tag group of misfits I call a fantasy football team! It’s time to shake up the roster with some trades.
Instead of determining which players I should trade for (aka – the bounty) and which players I should trade (aka – the bait), I find it easier to first figure out who I want to trade with (aka – the sucker). Typically, I try to find a trade partner who has lost a few games in a row and really doesn’t have a very good idea of what’s going on. They’re probably getting desperate for some wins and are now acting on impulse with little rational in their decision making.
3rd Quarter, 3 minutes remaining – Still trying to figure out who I should trade with. Unfortunately, reviewing the rosters of other teams has made me realize just how bad my roster actually is. If I don’t turn this thing around quickly, I think there is a legit chance that I may not win the rest of the season!
3rd Quarter, 1 minutes remaining – I can’t find anybody that’s hurting enough to consider dealing with me. As it turns out, I’m the only owner out there that meets all of my criteria for a trading partner! Mental note: don’t make any trades or roster adjustments for at least one week.
4th Quarter, 12 minutes remaining – The wife will not tolerate being ignored any further. Unpacking the groceries has actually relieved some of the tension in my shoulders and has temporarily destressed me. Weird. Maybe my Sundays would be much more relaxing if I just checked my fantasy football scores at the end of the day.
4th Quarter, 10 minutes remaining – Would Sundays be more relaxing? Probably. Enjoyable? Nope. Back to the computer to check the fantasy football scores. My team has come to life but I still trail by a pretty steep margin. Quick fantasy football math: he has 4 players playing this afternoon and 2 players playing on Monday. I got 3 playing this afternoon and nobody playing on Monday. If I can land 3 exceptional performances in the afternoon games and at least 4 of his 6 remaining players completely flub their games, it would be anybody’s ball game.
4thQuarter, 5 minutes remaining – Finally, back to the tv. Unfortunately, the football game is essentially decided even with 5 minutes remaining. However, in terms of fantasy football, this is where fantasy matches are won and lost. You see, if a team is leading, they tend to run the ball and try to take the clock down. If a team is losing, they tend to throw the ball often to put up points as fast as possible. As a good fantasy owner, nothing is better than seeing your quarterback, who would have otherwise had just an average day, rip it up in the fourth quarter to have a spectacular fantasy day. Typically, his team will still lose by a significant margin but who cares about that!
As a bad fantasy owner, aka me, these scenarios are usually flipped around. For example, as an owner of Adrian Peterson, one could imagine how frustrating it was to watch the Vikings insist on throwing on all four downs during the second half of the Saints-Vikings game on Thursday.
Man, I love fantasy football!