Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More Than Just a Fantasy

What’s the one thing women hate more than forgotten anniversaries, broken Tivos on E! Hollywood News marathon day, and jeans that make their butts look big? Easy: football.

And what’s the one thing that confuses women even more than men’s love for watching this great American game? Playing fantasy football.

It confounds them. When I told Amy about my fantasy draft last weekend she smiled at me politely with an “Oh, neat” kind of look (notice the absence of the exclamation point), so that officially she showed support but deep down was thinking, “I have no idea what the hell that is, let alone why he’s so excited about it.”

But those of us who have allowed ourselves to drift deep into the mesmerizing, seedy underbelly of the fantasy sports world know that a live draft is something worth getting very excited about. If one allows himself (or herself, in rare cases) to indulge fully in the activity, it can be more fun than, say, playing in the children’s playsets at your area McDonald’s.

Yet so many entirely capable sports fans let the opportunity to join leagues with friends slip right on by year after fantasy-less year. Why, you might ask? Because like Amy, they aren’t exactly sure what participating in a league would entail.

Let me break it down for you quickly:

After joining, you draft real NFL players to your team. Everybody in the league takes turns picking, just like in a real draft (except unlike the Detroit Lions, you usually don’t take a wide receiver in the first round), so the talent is as evenly dispersed as possible.

Each player on your squad earns points for the team based on the stats he puts up in his actual, real-life game that week. For example, Peyton Manning = good, and Brett Favre = very, very bad. After all the games have been played that week the computer adds up your points and your opponent’s points, and a winner is announced. Your wins and losses over the course of the season get tallied like a real team, and there are playoffs towards the end of the season, when a fantasy champion is crowned.

The strategy of the game comes in picking up sleeper guys off the waiver wire, making smart trades with the other managers (a.k.a. “your friends”), and deciding which guys to play and which guys to bench each week (only the ones you play earn your team points).

Most importantly, with each victory you’re able to talk smack to those friends of yours with inferior fantasy sporting talents. Men are especially good at this. Embarrassing those you love is key to the fantasy experience.

It’s one of those Don’t-Knock-It-Until-You-Try-It scenarios. Think of trying fantasy football like sampling a new interesting restaurant for the first time. On the ride home you’d be like, “Wow, that was very delicious and awesome. I can’t wait to go back.” Except with fantasy you don’t have to eat it and it’s free.

Not so confusing now, is it?


Adam said...

thanks for explaining, but I am no good at the stats thing, and I don;t know any players name. should I find a new past-time?

Mea said...

Good post.