Last August, I wrote a blog post about my contempt for Fantasy Sports (“It’s Just a Fantasy, 8/23/11). In it, I called fantasy sports out on “taking the soul out of sports”, and among other things, the individual over the unit that serves partly as what is wrong with sports these days. Last week, on the pass that Drew Brees threw to Darren Sproles to break the NFL single-season passing yards record, I clinched my first ever fantasy sport title, in any sport, according to my Yahoo profile which dates back to 2005 (this does not include NCAA Bracket contests against less than 10 people, where my record is impeccable).
How much did I impact my team? Well, honestly, not that much. You see, I missed the draft for that league, which is comprised of people that I’ve been playing video games with for half a decade. That’s right, while everyone was deciding who they were going to take first, I was handing out packs of gum and magazines and an incredibly long day of work that forced me to miss the draft. What was my punishment? I was given Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Matthew Stafford, the aforementioned Darren Sproles, and the Ravens defense.
Good thing I missed the draft!
That’s not to say I didn’t need to do my share of managing. I was also given Kenny Britt, who looked more like Larry Fitzgerald this season than Larry Fitzgerald. I did not start Britt the first two weeks, and he put up nearly 50 points. Impressed, I started him in Week 3, where he then tore out is ACL and MCL.
There were weeks when I didn’t know which Matthew Stafford would show up, and my only other option was an even greater role of the dice in Tony Romo. Luckily, I never really had to start Romo. The only time I might have was on Thanksgiving and when the Lions had their bye.
Halfway into the season, as none of my wide receivers were producing (because they were all either Larry Fitzgerald, an Indianapolis Colt, or walking on crutches), I picked up Early Doucett on the waiver wire. If you do a quick Google search for “Week 16 fails”, I’m sure Doucett’s dropped game-tying touchdown catch is very high on the list. Must have ran into that invisible defender. Mind you, that was in the championship game, which was a single-digit contest up until the Sproles touchdown.
You see, my opponent had Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback, the fantasy football equivalent of a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, and an instance where a fantasy player can single-handedly win championships both on paper and in the NFL. I had led by about 50 points going into the Christmas Night game. By the time Aaron Rodgers played Santa Claus to his receiver’s happy children, I led only by 13.
Somehow, and I really have no idea how, I did ended up winning. Not only did I win the championship, I went on something like an 8 game winning streak to close out the regular season and ended up as the top-seed in the playoffs. If only my strat-o-matic teams could have this much blind success!
So does my championship change my outlook at all on fantasy sports?
Even though my strategy for fantasy baseball drafts has changed (I will going by Moneyball principals this year, for the first time), I still expect myself to take Derek Jeter at least three rounds higher than he should be taken. I’ll probably also take David Robertson for all the fictional points I’ll should (but won’t) get for when he strikes a batter out with the bases loaded. I’ll probably also take someone solely for defensive purposes, even though defense isn’t really looked at. If I do somehow manage to bowl through competition that way, through a draft where the players that I chose actually do something, then just maybe I’ll start to like fantasy sports even more. Until baseball season though, the only thing that matters is how many points Jimmer Fredette can score for my fantasy team.
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