Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010
By Joe Collins
"Life is just a fantasy. Can you live this fantasy life?" Aldo Nova, "Fantasy"
There is no better way to start a fantasy football column than with a song lyric from a cheesy 80s rock song. Really, there isn't. Well hey, it was that, or I could have pulled a lyric from "What's Your Fantasy" by Ludacris. And even though the Ludacris song does mention the Georgia Dome and the 50-yard line, I doubt I'd be able to print anything else associated with that song without a pink slip lurking.
Can you live the fantasy football life? Millions across America seem to be able to do it just fine. In fact, if you're one of the many fantasy football fun junkies, the last few weeks in August are ones that are meticulously spent going over statistics, projections and predictions from blowhard analysts.
A fantasy football league has its own share of comedic relief. There are many, many personalities you will encounter from draft day to your league's championship game. Usually, a fantasy 'baller will fall into one of the following personality types:
Mr. Condescending: Show me a fantasy football player with a more irritating personality. I dare you. Every draft pick you make gets criticized. Your team name isn't good enough. You haven't been in the league long enough. You haven't won enough money. You always, apparently, "steal" his guy off the waiver wire or the draft board. He's the schmuck that TYPES IN ALL-CAPS and hits "reply all" on every fantasy football vote. A complete tool. It's not all doom and gloom, though. Because you know it's just a matter of time before Mr. Condescending smashes his TV screen on a last-second FG and has to walk around in a cast for the next 6-8 weeks.
The Mail-It-Inner: Sometimes you will hear the term "mailing it in" in conjunction with everyday life (jobs, politics...etc). I define it as "doing the least amount of work possible to get the job done, regardless of the ensuing public outcry and negative perception; the epitome of laziness." On draft day, the mail-it-inner sleeps through draft day and ends up with a team anchored by Alex Smith, Beanie Wells and Nate Burleson. The team name usually sounds like something out of a Gilmore Girls episode. The final record is around 2-12. The mail-it-inner is never heard from again.
Mr. Reactionary (AKA, Johnny Waiver Wire): Let's say that superstar running back "A" goes down with a leg injury. Before this poor guy's femur is picked up off the field by the trainer, Mr. Reactionary has already scooped up the backup RB on that team. Johnny Waiver Wire strikes again! A third nickname can also be given to this person: "Mr. Flash In The Pan". You know-- the type that notices some random tight end catch a few one-yard TDs one week. By the next week he's starting on Mr. Reactionary's roster. Of course, everyone but Mr. Reactionary knows that the flash in the pan will never see the end zone again.
The Three-Ring Binder: I'm actually friends with the original "Three-Ring Binder" guy. I used to work with him at another station in town. He now works as a sports producer in another midwestern city. At one of our live drafts, he came to the meeting with (you guessed it) a three-ring binder full of statistics and notes. We all laughed of course, but there's one thing you have to respect about the Three-Ring-Binder guy: attention to detail You'd be hard-pressed to find somebody of this nature finishing in the bottom half of your league. Note: the Three-Ring-Binder guy is not related to Mr. Reactionary because of the homework done by "TRB" on draft day.
The Girl: I shouldn't rip "The Girl" because, more often than not, she absolutely torments the league she's in. If her favorite color is red, she picks every Arizona Cardinals player on the board. After she gets laughed off the planet during draft day, you notice that by week five she's in first place...thanks to Larry Fitzgerald and company. She runs off with your money and makes you look like a fool in the process.
The 55-League Guy: This czar of Internet football pays very little attention to the league you're in because, apparently, he is just "flat-out bringing it" in one of the other leagues he is in. "Oh I'm not upset that I lost 135-27 last week in your league because the 200-three-keeper-AFC-four-wide-receiver-head-to-head-16-team-assists-on-tackles-get-two-points league I'm in is a gold mine!" The 55-league guy is the same dork that goes out to the bars, buys one light beer and toggles every one of his starting lineups on his phone for the next three hours. Even on a Tuesday night.
Fantasy Football Hero, 2003 (AKA, The Al Bundy Of Fantasy Football): This is the guy that everybody laughs at --not with-- on draft day. You can almost find out the exact point when this guy got engagedmarriedhad a kid based on his wildly inept draft selections. For instance, let's say the guy got married in 2003. His 2010 fantasy football team would look like one from 2003 because he spent the last seven years trapped within the walls of Linens 'n Things or stuck watching Grey's Anatomy with his significant other. His roster includes a starting nucleus of Jake Delhomme, Clinton Portis and Martin Gramatica. He also keeps asking, "Priest Holmest didn't get picked yet...did he?"
Also, let's not forget some honorable mentions: Mr. Outrageous Trade Offer Guy, Team Collusion (two players in the same league in cahoots with one another-- shady transactions...etc), Johnny Message Board Dominator, Mr. "We-Need-A-Rule-Change" Guy and The Player Who Forgets To Set His Lineup And Then Blames The Computer.
If you end up losing a game --or worse, a championship-- by a few points to either one of these guys, you're likely to give them what Nicky Santoro got at the end of "Casino". Of course if you win, all of these people don't matter, you host the year-end pizza party with a big smile on your face and you have some extra cash for the 4am bars. Such is life.
And such is fantasy football.
Or something like that.