I learned a few things about fantasy football this year.
Grown men take it way too seriously and there are some hurt feelings if things don’t go their way. That’s understandable. We don’t have actual serious things to worry about: drones fight our wars, we don’t have to hunt for our food, and for the most part the only things we have to mobilize and fight for is keeping our photos from being sold by a greedy corporation. Life is good. And if fantasy football is your main gripe, take a deep breath and thank whatever deity, element or celebrity you worship for your charmed life.
The second thing I learned is that some special draft strategy you’ve concocted will not win you diddly squat in fantasy football. For the last couple of seasons, I’ve adopted a strategy of not going for the heavy hitting point scorer, but loading up with valuable, yet not so lucrative players to build a fantasy squad that would hopefully be productive while still not blowing anyone out of the water.
This hasn’t worked out too well for me. Last season was a disaster and this year yielded mixed results where I implemented it this strategy. Unless you can hit on some real gems while avoiding that guaranteed weekly bonanza, you’ll never win it all. Out of four leagues I played in this year, I’m in the finals for three, and of those three, only two have some of the consistent top scorers. In the other league, I have a mishmash of mid level performers and it’s very dubious if I will even compete in my championship match up this weekend. I call this one my ALL-DUBIOUS team.
For example, in a fourth league where I did not qualify for the playoffs, I adopted a strategy of going for high upside – but non marquee - players instead of a proven point getter. I was doing horrendous until I made a trade for Tom Brady. After the trade, I only lost one game which proved to be the one that knocked me out of the playoffs. Had I acquired someone of Tom Brady’s ilk form the start, I may not have missed getting in the mix at the end of the season.
Some people chalk fantasy football up to luck (not Andrew, although I’m playing in him in one league). And while this does seem to be a general theme in a lot of losses, if you play in a league with competent managers, luck will only carry you so far. You do need to know what you’re doing, but luck always has its way of creeping in. I made the finals with my ALL-DUBIOUS team because my opponent had a historically bad day with almost all of his heavy hitters. That happens, but statistically, it doesn’t happen much. To win with my dubious team, I will need another bit of good fortune. But that’s the beauty of the NFL and fantasy football: anything can happen. But still, if you play the percentages, you will not win if you try a whack ass strategy like mine. If you pick early in a round, you will need that top tier QB or RB. And if you’re picking late in the round, do your research because just like the real NFL, you’ll need to make that first pick count.
But really I learned that fantasy football is just another game, and when you’re a grown man (or woman) and your fantasy britches are in a twist because of some perceived faux-gridiron travesty, just remember there are worse fates than a missing the fantasy playoffs. Life is good because you have the luxury to play fantasy football. Better luck next year.