I’m rooting for Eli Manning to throw four touchdowns on Sunday. I need him to-why? Certainly not because I am a fan. I’ve hated the Giants since the NFC Championship game in 1991 where Jim Burt and Leonard Marshall broke Joe Montana’s hand and my spirit. The thing is, Eli is my fantasy quarterback, and I need a win this week. Don’t ask how I ended up with him, the whole fantasy draft was a blur of people picking the players I wanted long before it was my turn. All I know is that every Sunday, in spite of myself, and Joe Montana, I want him to do well.
I’m not alone either. In the sports bar I frequent on Sundays, people are glued to their phones to check their fantasy scores and tallying points on the fly. They are yelling at players they never heard of until they got them off the waiver wire on Wednesday to “run” or “score”. They are gleeful, they are angry, they are playing fantasy football.
It is hilarious to me how the prospect of a fantasy win will cause the most die hard fan to root against their own team. You see it every Sunday-the die hard Jet fan rooting for Brett Favre to throw ANOTHER interception. The Browns fan with the Ravens’ defense cheering for a sack. The Steeler fan who is praying that Hines Ward will spend the afternoon blocking and dropping passes.
On some levels, fantasy football is one of the greatest sports ideas ever. It brings a new dimension to the game. The concept is great. Create a team out of your favorite players from all teams across the league and see how many points you can score against someone elses crafted team. Unfortunately, there are some very real lessons to be learned when you start playing fantasy football, and they aren’t always pleasant:
1. Real life GM’s are way smarter than you think they are. They have to do this with 53 dudes and you may have heard of five. Under a salary cap and with real life egos. That can’t be a walk in the park.
2. Picking last year’s “it” guy does not guarantee success this year. Tom Brady, Ladainian Tomlinson and Peyton Manning owners can attest to this one. Injuries are very real and make for strange bedfellows in fantasyland.
3. That chick who knows nothing about football and picked players because she thought they were cute or liked their name/uniform is going to beat you and probably win the pot. This is just the law of the universe. Accept it and move on, and copy off her cheat sheet next year.
4. If you pick in the middle of your draft, you will have a mediocre to horrible team. How do I know this? Because it happens to me year after year. I picked first ONE TIME. I won the whole thing. Last year, in both my leagues I picked in the middle. I finished 10th out of 12 in one, and 11th out of 12 in the other. Coincidence? I think not.
5. Playing against close friends can destroy the relationship for a few hours twice a season. I had to play one of my closest friends last season, twice. He felt the need to talk so much shit to me after beating me the second time, that when the news of his impending divorce came out the day after one fantasy beatdown, I couldn’t be a friend, I was still pissed about the fantasy game. We’re fine now, but I refused to play in his league this year, and probably won’t again.
I know I’m not the only one who is hopelessly obsessed with fantasy football. There are magazines, television shows and websites all devoted to helping you pick a winner. I used to be a faithful listener, starting and sitting who the “experts” said, patrolling the waiver wires for the next big thing. Then I realized I was still in last place. So much for that method.
For some people, it isn’t an issue. They pick, they play, they win, they lose and they’re fine. I wish I could achieve that type of sports nirvana. Instead, I’m probably going to find myself glued to the screen, willing the team I hate the most to complete as many touchdown passes as humanly possible, and drowning my sorrows in my beer when they don’t.
Like Teritaâ€™s take on sports? Tired of people assuming that women arenâ€™t die hard sports fans? Or maybe youâ€™re using this column to make sure your bfâ€™s weekly sports obsession doesnâ€™t completely put you to sleep and you can make conversation? Either way, read the rest of Teritaâ€™s sportie run down here.