An Open Letter to My Fellow Fantasy Football Owners
Dearest Fellow Owners:
You feel good, don’t you?
You’re not alone.
At this time of the year, everyone feels like the smartest person in their league, looking up and down their roster at the perfect mix of studs, sleepers and late-round values, wondering which of the bevy of capable players on their team deserves a Week 1 start. There are so many to choose from, after all. You didn’t make a bad pick in your fantasy draft.
No one did.
They’ll all be fine, right? The wide receiver with injury concerns? The quarterback who severely underperformed and is due for a bounce back year? They running back in a time share who is clearly more talented and should get the majority of the carries? The tight end who’s on a team with, like, four other good tight ends? They’ll all be good this year, right?
This time of the year optimism reigns. No one’s sad or depressed.
But doesn’t it kill you to know that somewhere, way down low on the now-discarded Top-300 list you printed out to serve as your draft guide, there’s a name that will swing the championship race of your fantasy football league? He’s there. Every year, he comes back, in a new form, like Freddy Krueger if he changed his costume.
Three years ago, it was Miles Austin. Two years ago, the Michael Vick resurrection shook the fantasy football landscape. A year ago at this time, Victor Cruz was some guy no one outside of Giants’ headquarters had ever heard of.
If you had one of those guys, cheers to you. Problem is, more than likely you didn’t.
Remember how everyone at your fantasy draft last season made fun of the guy who drafted Cam Newton? How’d that turn out?
You see, my fellow owners, the fun part of fantasy football, the part we look forward to all summer long – the draft – is over, and the rest of the season starts now. Reality has set in, and no matter how much preparation you did for your draft, the real thing begins now – and no one has any idea what’s going to happen. The autumn of indecision, anxiety and doubt supersedes the summer of anticipation. The unholy agony of 16 (or 17) weeks of second-guessing yourself and self-loathing all because of something you can’t control is underway.
I am not sure about you, comrades, but I am afflicted with a kind of amnesia when it comes to this reality. Every year, I forget about the anxiety until Week 1 – and every year, sometime around Week 5 or 6, I wonder if football-watching would be more enjoyable if I rid myself of this odd obsession called fantasy football.
Sunday mornings turn into crunch sessions, worried about matchups and injuries and game-time decisions. Church service becomes a place where your mind wanders to flex play decisions rather than the sermon or the songs. Spending time with your family? Getting projects done around the house? Only if you’re forced to. Am I right?
When you play fantasy football, Sundays are about hoping your favorite team plays well while simultaneously antagonizing over the performance of dozens of random player s around the football landscape. You start to wonder which you want more – are you pulling more for your team to win, or your teams to win? The absurd nature of that reality isn’t lost on (most) people, but the fact that it becomes a gray area, even for a little while, says a lot about how important fantasy football has become.
It’s Week One, and you know for certain that the guys on your team are going to come through. They’ll all play well and none of them will get hurt and they’ll all be productive and you’ll be a genius, a GENIUS, for assembling such a dominant team. You’re going to win it all.
Trouble is, that wish only comes through for one out of every ten, twelve or sixteen people who play.
You feel good, don’t you?
BreakTheHuddle is a fan of the Twins, Timberwolves and the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers. Reach him at BreakTheHuddle@gmail.com, @BreakTheHuddle on Twitter or leave a comment below!