As usual, I’m as excited as ever for the first NFL Sunday of the season. But instead of penning an NFL preview column, I decided to celebrate my 10-year relationship with fantasy football by listing the reasons why I’ll be forever hooked on the game.
Some may argue this is the best part of the fantasy football season, even though it just kicks off the year. I like to think of the fantasy draft, usually held in August, as the unofficial start of the NFL season.
It also shows which owners have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. This year, someone took the New York Jets defense in the third round. Truly a draft day blunder for the ages. You should never take a defense that early in the draft — even a defensive unit as good as the Jets. And there’s always that one person who takes the full 90 seconds to make their pick, immediately turning the league angrily against them on the first day. Fantasy fanatics should have a good idea of who they’re going to pick and remember this is not the real NFL draft — you should not take all day with your choice.
Being a general manager
If Isiah Thomas and Matt Millen are the answers, the question is usually, “Who are the worst two general managers in recent history?” For years while Thomas was in charge of the Knicks and Millen ran the Lions, I would marvel at the new and innovative ways they ran their respective franchises into the ground. Like many others, I thought to myself, “How exactly did these guys get the keys to run a professional sports franchise?”
Now running a fantasy football team is the very watered-down version of being a GM, but I still enjoy it. You can drop players who aren’t performing well, add free agents to boost your squad and, best of all, make sketchy trades throughout the season with your friends. In one league, someone traded Rashard Mendenhall, Derrick Mason and Mike Williams for Adrian Peterson and Lee Evans. Trades do not get more one-sided than that.
Every Game Matters
While growing up as a kid in northern New Jersey, I would watch the New York Giants every Sunday. But after their game was over, I’d waste away the remaining slate of NFL games. Fifteen contests would go by each weekend that had no real meaning to me.
However, this all changed with the creation of fantasy football. For example, the San Diego Chargers play the Kansas City Chiefs in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader. I have the San Diego Chargers defense and my opponent has San Diego running back Ryan Matthews in our matchup. If it’s a close game between us, you can guarantee I’ll be forgoing my homework and staying up late Monday night to see who comes out victorious — in fantasy, of course.
There’s nothing better than going into work or school on Tuesday morning and talking smack to your friends or co-workers, especially after a tough defeat. With the newly added “Smack Talk” option in the Yahoo! Sports fantasy game, nothing is off limits when it comes to taking shots at your opponents.
One year against the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook decided to take a knee and win the real game rather than take the clear path to the endzone for six (fantasy) points.
The moment after this happened my inbox was flooded with text messages from angry Westbrook owners. “Westbrook is a (expletive)!” and “Screw him” were the gist of the messages I received that night. A friend who owned Westbrook that season still gets ripped on to this day at the way his fantasy season ended, and I’m not even sure he’s fully recovered yet.
After months of waiting the fantasy season is finally upon us, and all is right with the world.