Magma Pizza. No TD for Rice. Double Shots of SoCo. Jiff y Pop Jumpsuit. What the heck am I talking about, you ask? Quite simply, it’s fantasy football.
This column isn’t going to be a primer on fantasy football or explain how you can get involved. There are plenty of websites out there that will tell you everything you need to know, and like many things we talk about in this magazine, the Internet has revolutionized the “sport” and made it simple for anyone to find a league and get involved. So do so if you want to. I’ve been playing fantasy football for 10 years, and the names listed above are some of the team names I’ve used in my pursuit of a league championship. This year, my Deaf Lesbian Chainsaw Murderers
are 2-1. If you’re one of the estimated 15-18 million people who play fantasy sports, you know how addicting it can be and how your interest in the real NFL season is dictated by your fantasy draft.
I am not kidding. My life from September until January is colored by the outcome of our annual live fantasy draft, an event that sends me into a deeper rage every year as I watch clueless owners waste 4th-round picks on the Chicago Bears defense/special teams, and squander 7th-round picks on kickers. Then I have to live with 16 weeks of fielding ridiculous trade offers, scouring injury reports, and exploiting the matchups that will give my fantasy team the best chance to win every week. Exhausting, frustrating, and maddening… and in the end, it means nothing.
Every week, I ask myself why I subject myself to this torture. Why do I worry about whether to play Laveranues Coles against the Dolphins? Why did I go against everything in my heart and pick up Maurice Jones-Drew with my second pick?
How many times should I bang my head against the wall for passing up Randy Moss and taking Donovan McNabb in the 3rd round? Why do I care if someone wants to pick up Todd Heap with their fourth pick? It’s their funeral, right? Should I remind the homer picking up all St. Louis Rams players
that they’re not running Mike Martz’s offense anymore? Nah. And speaking of the Rams, what is up with Steven Jackson?
YOU ARE A NO. 2 OVERALL PICK!!! Kill me now.
Fantasy football also has me all twisted up inside every year because of my NFL team allegiances. I’m a Giants fan, and yet I’ll pick a player from a rival team (the Eagles’ McNabb) and then ROOT for this guy all year! And you know what’s worse? OK, yes, those brutal Eagles throwback jerseys are disgusting, but even worse than that is playing against a fantasy team that has a player going from my favorite real team (say, the Giants’ Jeremy Shockey) and REALIZING THAT I’M ACTUALLY ROOTING AGAINST HIM, HOPING HE DOESN’T SCORE. “No, throw it to Plaxico Burress, not Shockey, you idiot Eli Manning!” Th is is what fantasy football does to you. I can’t take it. Being commissioner of a fantasy football league is another great thing—I enjoy it about as much as I enjoy chewing on a nice big ball of aluminum foil. Still, I offer to handle it every year for whatever reason. Explaining the rules, scoring system, waiver wire pickups, free agency, playoff system, etc, every week of every year, to a bunch of grown men is like attending a 12-hour Libby Lu party
—yet I continue to subject myself to the agony.
That’s all bad enough, but my absolute favorite part of fantasy football is the guy who has to get an auto-picked team because he couldn’t draft like the rest of us due to the fact that he’s running Windows 95 on an eMachine with 128MB
and a 1600 baud modem—so of course he wins the whole freaking thing after finally sending me his league entry fee on Week 16. I’m getting sick just typing that sentence.
Fantasy football. The reality? It’s a love-hate relationship.