Most of what I learned about fantasy football has been from watching The League on FX. We’ll see how that holds up as I explore my first season in a fantasy football league.
I was never into fantasy football. I had this rule when it came to sports games based on sports games (*hint hint, wink*). If you have to root for a rival or just directly against your own team, only do it for one off-field game. Choose a knockout pool, weekly picks on the line, fantasy football, or even just the “MY TEAM IS BETTER THAN EVERYTHING” game that most fans play, and stick with it.
My logic was, if you’re playing too many different types of games, chances are you want to win them. That means:
- You prop your picks and strategy around specific outcomes in the games. Your stud fantasy player, Aaron Rodgers, throws for 500 yards against the Minnesota Vikings while Adrian Peterson only rushes for 50 yards, AND the Packers cover the line of 16. Usually, you find yourself losing somewhere.
- You spread out your strategy and picks so that each and every play during the week, you’re both cheering and crying at the same time. Again, you’re going to find yourself losing somewhere.
- The only way you root for the team that you are an actual fan of is by wearing their jersey while watching the highlight reels on ESPN rather than an actual football game.
It seemed ridiculous to take on more than one off-field game. I want to enjoy football the sport, not football the randomly decided betting game.
This season, however, I’m taking a chance. I am entering my first fantasy football league. I don’t know if I know all the rules or how to play. Most of what I learned about fantasy football has been from watching The League on FX. We’ll see how that holds up as I explore my first season in a fantasy football league.
Stage 1: Setting Up Your Fantasy Football Team
In the days before the internet had everything from medical diagnosis to sports stats to pictures of Paris Hilton’s hoo-hah, fantasy football was done with pencil, paper, and a pile of sports sections from newspapers. It was tough, tedious work, and I had no interest in it. Not that I was a degenerate gambler at 12 years old, but looking back on how fantasy football used to be, I’m guessing it was a bit like Dungeons & Dragons. I hated Dungeons & Dragons. It wasn’t that I don’t like RPGs now. I do. I have my copy of Diablo 3 that I got bored with and everything. It was the time involved in playing. Rolling a dice, writing out actions, and absolutely nothing visual except for a circle of sweaty guys in your basement. I didn’t even last one night.
Then RPGs came to the computer. Yes, it was a stupid pixel moving around a pixel maze with text popping up, but it was quick, visual, and I got hooked. I don’t even remember the name of the game. It may have been a student DOS project.
Fantasy football progressed the same way. Now it’s easy to join a league and set up a team. You can play with a bunch of strangers online for free if you want to, but I think it’s more interesting when you play with people you know. The trash talk has to be better.
My “Commissioner” friend set our league up on Yahoo, so I had the opportunity to set up yet another email account. Luckily, there was some sort of log-in linking I could do, which probably means my account will get hacked and start sending everyone ads for penis enlargements. Or I’ll just get an unending stream of spam from Yahoo. Looks like the latter so far.
So now I am officially the manager of a team called “Patrick’s Team.” Our helmets have the Dallas Cowboys colors with a little lightning bolt logo. The first thing I have to do is fix the name and the logo. It’s not personal, which means that it’s also not funny.
Luckily, the helmet selection allows you to upload a custom image. I don’t know if this custom image only pops up for me or if my poor, unsuspecting opponents will see it as well, but I figured I should change it. But to what? What screams “I AM AWESOME” and “I AM AN ASSHOLE” at the same time?
The answer was simple: a Darth Vader helmet. I found one. The upload was allowed. Now I have combined two of my top 5 things in the world: football and Star Wars. I am pleased, like a good nerd should be.
Next up was a name. “Patrick’s Team” would normally be good enough because, even though this is my first fantasy football team, I am awesome, so I should naturally have my name in my team name. In fact, everyone should have my name in their team name, and not followed with “SUCKS.”
I wanted to have a funny team name, but right away I couldn’t think of anything news, so I threw in “Manningface” as a space filler. It was an old joke on Eli Manning, but I got a lot of life out of it.
Still, it would only be really be funny if I drafted Eli Manning to be my quarterback and he brought me a ton of fantasy football points. I didn’t have much hope of that happening, so I started brainstorming.
My first thought was “Barkevious Rex”, but then I remembered that I didn’t want to be caught dead with a Browns player if his name wasn’t Trent Richardson.
Then I read a glorious article about Pete Carroll having team meditations, and remembered how hug-happy he was. The name “Pete Carroll’s Beautiful People” went right into my team name. Unfortunately, it was too many characters. So was “Carroll’s Beautiful People.”
I finally decided on “Carroll’s Love-In.” It may be vague, but I followed it up with the team slogan, “The hits will cost you. The hugs are for free.”
Now I await my draft, which was supposed to be on Sunday but was pushed to Tuesday. That’s okay. Gives me more time to screw up my pre-draft rankings.
Coming up next: Draft preparation, the draft, and the team I end up with.
Stage 1: Setting Up Your Fantasy Football Team