Dear Fantasy Football: I love you, and I hate you.
Hello. My name is Matthew Holt, and I’m an addict.
My addiction started in my sophomore year of high school, when my friends and I decided to create a fantasy football league. We each threw $10 in a pot before our draft for a little bit of incentive, and from that moment on, I was hooked.
If you don’t know anything about fantasy football, the basis is quite simple. You draft players from around the league onto your team and win points based on their performances in games. A passing touchdown is worth four points. Rushing and receiving touchdowns are worth six points. The defense gets points for forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, interceptions, etc. In a standard league, each team starts a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, a flex (either a wide receiver or running back), a defense/special teams and a kicker. Whoever has the most points at the end of every Monday Night Football game wins that week.
Seems easy enough, right?
There are some things in this life that you cannot control, and this definitely applies to fantasy football. Year after year, my team has been hit with incidents that are out of my control. I picked Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the second round of my draft this year. Nelson was coming of a great season where he scored the third most fantasy points out of all wide receivers. But before the season even started, I lost Nelson to a torn ACL.
The year before that, I thought I had the team to finally win a championship and the $300 grand prize. I managed to nab Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in the draft, and my heart lept with joy. For the first time in my fantasy football career, I had the best running back in the NFL. Peterson was coming off an MVP season, and I truly believed that he would take me to the promised land - until he was charged with child abuse and missed the entirety of the 2014 season.
Despite losing Peterson for the season, I still made the playoffs for the first time in my career. But my success made losing Peterson hurt even more. I could have made a run for the championship with him back in my line-up, but instead I finished 4th in the league.
Last year, I only had one fantasy football team. This year, I’m in three different leagues. Why am I setting myself up for heartbreak? Haven’t I learned my lesson?
Truthfully, I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing fantasy football. The competition between friends and the thrill of victory is something that I can’t give up, even if the victories don’t come often for me.
For now the hope of making the playoffs again is driving me. I got a taste, and now I want the entire meal. I will not stop playing fantasy football until I win a championship. But who knows, that day may never come.
So here’s my advice to all of you: Unless you want to develop a semi-unhealthy love/hate relationship for something that you can’t control, don’t play fantasy football.
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