by Kevin Burton
The morning orange juice is sweeter, the song of the birds outside more melodious, even the cats’ litter box is less odoriferous, when all four of your fantasy teams have won.
This is silliness, even profound silliness, but it’s a thing, I promise you.
Winning at fantasy football is like driving past the Wonder bread factory and smelling that fresh bread; you breathe it in, and you smile.
This inner harmony is subject to change at a moment’s notice. All fantasy managers know this. By the time this post gets published, I may be looking up from an abyss again as I was two weeks ago when all my teams lost.
I’ve just seen advertised, a t-shirt that says “I love fantasy football” on one side and “I hate fantasy football” on the other. Now imagine that shirt on a clothesline (Google that if you need to kiddies!), the wind blowing it this way and that, and you’ve summed up the fortunes of a fantasy football manager. That’s about the level of control you have over wins and losses.
“I love it when a plan works out,” people say. Mostly in fantasy, I wouldn’t know. But this week, four teams, four wins.
As a manager you help yourself by learning the players’ strengths and weaknesses and drafting well. You help yourself by paying attention to who is playing who, who is available on waivers, likely game scenarios, weather conditions, and real-life trades.
You help yourself, but you guarantee nothing.
Football is a violent sport and an injury can happen at any time. Life is a violent sport too. Your first-round draft pick doesn’t need to be in a game to suffer an injury.
My wife is co-manager of all these teams. Jeannette is truly happy when our teams win, but I sense it’s more relief than fist-pumping joy. No storm clouds for the moment.
She calls herself the “silent partner.” But she isn’t necessarily silent on an NFL Sunday.
“You take this too seriously,” she might say. If I hear her, I’ll respond, “whatever.” If I don’t hear her because my manic pacing has carried me out of earshot, so much the better for both of us.
I will admit to one flaw however. I have all but lost my sense for teams and rooting for teams.
Wake me from a sound sleep and ask “Are you a football fan?”
“No, I’m a fantasy manager,” I will say, and go back to sleep.
Isn’t that the same thing,” you ask?
I don’t know, but when Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati’s all-world wide receiver was injured and I learned he would miss several weeks, it was not the fortunes of my favorite Bengals I was fretting over. It was the fortunes of my fantasy team, which had already lost Hollywood Brown and would soon lose Deebo Samuel to injury.
Draft three super receivers and watch them all go away, that’s fantasy. This is doubly painful because you then have to spend time weighing the receiver mediocrities available on waivers.
I don’t even hate the people and teams I’m supposed to hate all the time any more.
Don’t tell anybody this, I’m not so proud of it, but on Sunday I even rooted for Tom Brady’s team to score a touchdown late and win a game, just so my fantasy team kicker could get another point.
I also feel sorry for Brady because his wife is divorcing him, by all accounts, just because of his choice of profession. But mostly I wanted that point, because actually it’s four points. I have Tampa Bay kicker Ryan Succop on all four of my fantasy teams.
I’ve gotten a lot of points from Succop because Tampa Bay doesn’t finish off drives they way they used to. He leads the league in field goals made with 22, according to NFL.com.
But if he is ever a late scratch on gameday I will have a very hard time replacing him, quick-quick, on four teams.
So here we are at week 10 and I’m back in line for the rollercoaster.
You think I’m crazy? There are people who put money on this stuff. That’s truly crazy.