Frustations of a first-time fantasy football player

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Frustations of a first-time fantasy football player

By Alex Wise / Staff Writer

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Fantasy football is the worst.

And I’m not just saying that because I lost this week — which I did. I’m saying that because fantasy football, together with Yik Yak and inserting lines from 2 Chainz songs into everyday conversation, is slowly taking over my life. I’ve become what I thought I’d never allow myself to become: a Sunday bum, with my butt glued firmly to the couch, my hands glued firmly to a bag of potato chips and my eyes darting uncontrollably between the television and my phone (in actuality, this is what I’ve done every Sunday since college began. It’s just become more intense).

I’m obsessed.

But I hate myself for being obsessed because now I get angry at players whose only fault was being available on the draft board when I made my selections. I benched Frank Gore after he went a full game with just 10 yards on six touches. I cursed his name and considered dropping him. 

Apparently, Frank didn’t like that I punished him with the fantasy football equivalent of “go to your room,” so he decided to rebel by rushing for 120 yards and catching a touchdown pass, tormenting me in the process. Real mature, Frank.

I thought I had a sure pick in Drew Brees. He’s been a consistently great quarterback for years now, even cracking 5,000 yards in a single season. But Brees hasn’t come anywhere close to my expectations. He’s been mediocre. And what’s worse, he hasn’t been throwing to his rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who I drafted in hopes of having a deadly one-two punch. In a way, I was right. It is deadly. Because it’s killing my team. 

But the biggest disappointment so far has been my first-round pick, my shining star, the one I thought I would be able to count on, even if all else fell apart. Calvin Johnson has given me nothing. He tallied 12 receiving yards last week. Twelve! How am I supposed to win fantasy games when the best wide receiver in the game can’t get the ball?

But Johnson isn’t my only wideout who’s struggling. Andre Johnson has been atrocious. The Eagles’ offense went stagnant on Sunday, meaning Jeremy Maclin gave me nothing. I already talked about the Brandin Cooks problem. He’s been my flex player each week since his great debut (when he was, naturally, on my bench).

After some serious thought, I’ve come up with a few conclusions about fantasy football.

First, I’ve reached the conclusion that my players don’t care about me. And that hurts. If nobody else in this world, I thought my fantasy football team would have my back. I thought they’d always be there to bring me that little bit of joy for the week, working as hard as they could to ensure my happiness for an afternoon. But I guess I overestimated my guys. They don’t love me.

The second conclusion I’ve reached is that fantasy football is really no different from playing roulette at the casino. If you play roulette the way I play roulette, you stick to the outside of the table. There’s no need to play the numbers when you’ve got red and black right in front of you. Simply choosing a color makes it easy to tell whether or not you’ve won: if you have chips on black and the ball lands on a black space, you win. If you have chips on red and the ball lands on black, you lose. It’s a 50/50 chance. You have no idea what the outcome will be when you put your chips down. There’s no skill, gameplay or strategy involved. You just guess and wait and hope. Maybe it’ll work out, maybe it won’t. Based on my luck, it typically doesn’t.

And that’s what fantasy football is to me. Guess, wait and hope. Maybe it’ll work out, maybe it won’t. When I look at my roster before each week, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I don’t choose which of my running backs will play based on the strength of the run defense of their opponents. I don’t have a clue which teams have good run defenses and which don’t, and I’m too lazy to Google it.

Instead, I look at Alfred Morris, Frank Gore, Fred Jackson and Pierre Thomas and think to myself, “Which of these guys do I have a good feeling about this week?” And, since my good feelings at the roulette table are almost always wrong, I play the other two. If Morris and Jackson are red, and I have a good feeling about red, Gore and Thomas are starting. It’s a highly unscientific and ineffective way to run my team, but I don’t really have much of a choice. I’m as good at fantasy football as I am at winning money at the casino: not good at all.

If you’ve learned nothing from this, I’ll summarize: don’t use the Alex Wise Method at the casino. And definitely don’t use it for fantasy football.

I’ve given this league the old college try. I’ve paid attention on Sundays. I think I’ve watched more games in the first four weeks of this season than I watched all of last year combined. I even remember to update my lineup. But my frustration is mounting with each passing weekend, and I don’t know how much longer I’ll last. Fantasy football is killing me.

If I die, bury me inside the Gucci store.


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