Confessions of a fantasy football addict


by Alex McCarty

What is the one thing that could drive a man to gamble, wake up at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning and go against his deepest moral codes? How could something force me to be glued to the TV for 12 hours straight? What activity would I rather spend hours researching for instead of reading about Civil War strategy?

Well, fantasy football is this GPA killing, roommate fight inducing activity that I love to be a part of. That’s right. I’m the guy who roots for his favorite team’s rival running back to score four touchdowns, has scoreboards and stats pulled up on his laptop every Sunday during football season, and put $25 into a league only to sit back and hope my roster racks up scores and yards.

I first started my addiction my senior year of high school. Nine of my buddies and I decided to start our own league, and we were going to do it in style. We reserved the party room at a local restaurant to host our live draft and set up our own draft stations at individual tables. We had a whiteboard with all of the players’ names on it, and each of us thought of ourselves as a general manager for our respective teams.

We didn’t care that people stopped and stared at us, we were living the dream. I knew I was in for a lifetime of hair-pulling and stat searching when I was the only one with pre-draft rankings, and a highlighted strategy for who I was going to pick.

Looking back, this was a stepping-stone towards years of heartbreak and jubilation.

Before I go much further I should explain to all those who probably think I’m crazy by now how fantasy football actually works. To begin this tedious process a commissioner is granted to run the league. This individual is the person who sets scoring settings, presides over trades, and has the last say in any issues that may arise.

The “commish,” as us fantasy nerds like to call him, invites people to join his league, and then draft players from the NFL to be on their “team.” All offensive players in the league are eligible to be drafted, and most leagues use a team defense as a player on their fantasy teams. Real innovative commissioners even allow individual defensive to be drafted.

The draft is where most of the strategy in this sport takes place. I set pre-draft rankings of players I want to pick and did three mock drafts to get ready for the season. A team owner usually drafts a quarterback, running backs, wide receivers, a tight end and a defense. Kickers are picked as well, but come on; no one takes them seriously.

Once teams are picked and rosters are full, the season starts and players earn points, or lose points (see Jay Cutler) for their respective teams based on their statistics. When Aaron Rodgers throws a touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, Rodgers and Jennings both score six points for their respective teams. So the better a player on your team performs on the field, the closer to your heart he grows.

The draft is only part of what takes place during the season for a true fantasy team owner. I am proud to tell you I have five teams this season. For each one I meticulously scour over stats and matchups trying to find the perfect roster to maximize the number of points I score each week. I start this process on Thursday, when the injury reports are released, to start my strategic moves for the week.

This week in particular I’m looking for more production out of my running back position. For the sake of my TV, which had multiple objects thrown at it after LeSean McCoy fumbled again, I proposed trades to the owners of “Roger Goodell” and “Helu to Suh too.”

Which brings me to my favorite part of fantasy football: the team names.

From “Plaxidental Shooting” to” Revis Christ,” team names are sometimes the biggest part of a fantasy team owner’s thought process. Regarding the aforementioned names, these are obvious play on words using NFL players’ names to bring some humor to the stressful ways of the fantasy league.

Plaxcio Burress shot himself in the foot, and Darrelle Revis is regarded as one of the best corners in the league. Most team names are used in ways that are not suitable for print in the Simpsonian, but for those interested just Google fantasy football names and let the laughs begin.

Now that I have introduced you to this obsessive and stats junkie life I live during the NFL season, I hope you learned several things. First, I am not ashamed to admit I spend more time on than any sane human should.

Secondly, when the Packers play the Lions on Thanksgiving I will be hoping Calvin Johnson, of the Lions, scores six touchdowns and Green Bay, the team I live and die with, wins by two points.

Finally, I hope that all of the blood, sweat and tears pay off.

You are reading the column of the three time defending champion of the Houckamaniacs League.

For all of the broken TV remotes and late nights wondering if Arian Foster will play through a pulled hamstring, there is the indescribable joy of talking smack to your buddies after a hard fought win.

And all you had to do was sit on your butt and watch the greatest sport in the world.