The Tribulations of a Football Obsessed, Mathematically Challenged Fantasy Wannabe
Week 1: Somehow I’ll Make a Man Out of You(r Fantasy Football Team)
By Patrick Wall
After reading Evan’s funny and well-articulated thoughts on our fantasy league (not to mention Brian Chan’s wonderfully in-depth look at our draft,) I thought it prudent to give my take. After all, I run the league. I am, wait for it… League Manager. With a capital “L” and a capital “M.”
I’m the boss. The king. The shah. And you’d think that with my phenomenal cosmic (read: fantasy football) power, I’d be working on a three-peat. Or at least a repeat. Something.
Well, fair reader. You’d be wrong. Very wrong.
You see, I seem to be snake-bitten when it comes to the world of fantasy football. I can tell you about non-name players like Bethel Johnson and Jeremy Bloom. I can spout of useless stats like it’s my job. But, the elusive title of MAFL league champion still eludes me.
True, I did win the league’s inaugural year. But considering no one else knew how to play fantasy football (and also considering that some of us were still in junior high at the time,) it’s hard to count that a win. After all, you don’t go around talking about how great the Las Vegas Locomotives’ championship year was, do you?
After a great deal of introspection, self-searching and training montages, I think I’ve figured out what ails me.
I love football too much.
Yes, anyone who knows me also knows how utterly obnoxious I am during the NFL season. And for that, I’m sorry (nah, just kidding. I’m not. Like, at all.) But being able to separate the head from the heart and turning my knowledge and love for the game into something tangible has proven more difficult than it might seem at first.
Like everyone else, I have a wide range of opinions. In the world of football, these can be based on past performances (I hate you, Matt Forte,) predictions (such as my decision to not draft anyone on the Chiefs, Redskins or Bengals) or just simple homerism (with the fifth pick in the MAFL draft, my Philadelphia Finishers selected Michael Vick.)
But too often I allow these factors to seep in. At first, I played the fantasy game like a snake—cold and calculated. I watched the stats, looked for matchups and went for the kill when I thought there was a play to be made. Sometimes it worked, but I found myself burned too often by terrible draft picks and bad luck.
I found that my success came not when I fussed every day about which third down back made the best flex play, but when I approached fantasy football like a normal, functioning member of society. You know, those people with jobs, social lives and girlfriends.
And you know what? It worked. Sure, I came in last in our division this past season. And yes, that meant that I placed lower than two guys who never once updated their rosters. But this year will be different. This year, I have a plan. I call it, drum roll please:
Patrick’s Incredible Plan for (Fantasy Football) World Domination
Essentially, the PIPf(FF)WD breaks down like this: compare last year’s stats to this year’s projections, factor in minimal bias and avoid boom-or-bust potential as much as possible. In our draft last week I placed a premium on players I felt would be the most consistent.
Ultimately my team, like anything worth having in life, required some sacrifice and compromise, but I think I have a stronger team than in years past. The star power is somewhat lacking, but I’m banking on solid players continuing to be solid than risking it all on another big year from Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles, for example.
My Finishers are headlined by Vick, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, Jets wideout Santonio Holmes and a running back tandem of Rashard Mendenhall and Amhad Bradshaw. True, neither back is a world-beater. But they are consistent, play on good teams and have talent.
My second goal is to watch the waiver wire, but not to make snap decisions and not to fawn over my team like an overprotective parent whose child develops an immunity to Neosporin before the age of four.
Will this all work? Will I finally claim a legitimate MAFL championship? It remains to be seen. But I like my chances and I think this year will be different. And I’m glad you’re coming along for the ride.